The Never-ending Staircase Model of the Universe
He looked up at the stars in the clear night sky, and down at the lights of the busy traffic. There was something in the air that made him love this particular night. Maybe it was certainty. He wasn’t sure.
“C’est la vie?” she asked with an instantaneous smile on her face.
“Well, if it is, it’s an unfortunate one.”
She chuckled briefly, and continued, “Everything’s unfortunate.”
The silence returned. It was weird how comfortable the silence was in every conversation of theirs. It had a special place. It fit in between the awkward exchanges of words and phrases perfectly. He waited for her to say something, but she never initiated anything, not when he was around. And so, he looked up at the stars in the clear night sky that was getting cloudier.
“Man, I need someone to bother with my new theory about the nature of the universe,” he said, and let out a sigh. He waited for her. Say something. After a moment, around 17 seconds, he thought, she said,
“Dude, you could just have told me.” He couldn’t help but smile. “Anyway. Tell me.”
He nodded, smiled, and cleared his throat.
“I think the universe as we know it only exists because we, humans, observe it. If no entity acted as an observer, the significance of the universe would tend to zero.” He looked at her, like he habitually did every time he finished a thought. And then he looked at her, once again, and then went on talking. “In simpler words, I’m observed, therefore I am.”
She looked back at him, which was a rare occurrence, and nodded. Go on.
“And I find it really weird how the universe exists in a way that’s just so convenient for us. If the Sun was any larger, or the crust of the Earth was any thinner, we’d all turn to ash.” His mouth closed. He looked at her again. No, not the silence again. No. So, he gathered his thoughts and began to talk again, “So, I guess what I’m trying to say is… The universe was designed by the humans in a way that is most effective for them. So, there’s a huge chance of everything that exists being nothing but a dream someone dreams. That someone being misinterpreted as God… Maybe that someone is you. Or me. Maybe all of us dream up our own universes.”
She looked at the stars, and leaned against the railing. “Can I suggest something?”
“Sure,” he said, making it a point to sound calm. In actuality, though, he was surprised she had any insights about something that he proposed.
“I believe the theory that Earth is the ultimate super computer and basically everything The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy stands for. So, basically, by your theory, everything is made to make sure we exist in this specific way, the only difference being I don’t think humans made this world. They are too stupid for that. And the so called Gods are the mice. Obviously.”
“You make a compelling point,” he said, “But for now, humans are the smartest species on this planet. And they’re the only ones that let their evolution form the intellect. So, I think even in the off chance that humans did design the universe, they did so subconsciously, because after all, the majority is either afraid of the absolute truth or oblivious to it.”
He gulped a huge volume of air, and continued to rant, “Usually, it’s both. I’m not saying that humans are the all mighty all powerful creators, I’m simply saying that the concept of religion is pure bullshit, because all it does is breed generations with inferiority complexes, resonating with fear of consequence.” A breeze blew her hair, and he had an urge to gently brush her hair behind her ears, but he fought that urge diligently. “However, what you’re saying makes sense. Natural disasters on the planet or collisions of objects in space could simply be faults in codes.”
“I can’t stand the idea of humans designing anything, honestly,” she said.
“Fair enough. I guess my theory is far fetched.”
“It’s not far fetched, it’s just that humans are too scared and too naive to actually think of something like the Earth. Humans do live in oblivion, and are afraid of the unknown and basically existing without a higher purpose. Hence, we have religion.”
“That’s what the irritating thing is. There is no higher purpose. We just simply exist, either due to coincidence or just probability. There’s nothing more to it. Everything other than real objects is a psychological construct.”
“Which is what makes humans fear it. Anything psychological is practically hearsay, and very easy to destroy and create, which makes our lives useless, worthless and purposeless.”
“I guess it just depends on how you see it. The whole concept of subjectivity comes to play here. What’s worthless to you may mean everything to someone else. That’s why we can’t advance as a species, because everybody has different opinions, and we fail as a society when the majority opinion is wrong, or just inefficient. Which is also why I think governments suck, because people just cannot come together.” He laughed. “That makes me such a classical economist… But yeah, the gift of thought is more so a bane.”
“Yes. Truly, the gift of thought is going to be the end, and I am just waiting for that ball to drop. I can’t wait. Then I can sit back and be like yeah, I was totally right.”
“I don’t think there’s ever gonna be any occurrence that qualifies as the end, because in all probability, things will begin again. The universe tends to do that.”
“The human race can’t begin again. It won’t. It’s too egotistical.”
“Well, they’ll have to prioritise existence over ego. I like to think of it as matter over mind.”
“Ego will win. It is matter over mind.”
“By matter I mean the act of existing in the physical world, and by mind I mean the ego that these worthless cretins possess,” he explained.
“I know what you meant. I’m not stupid, jeez.” She brushed her hair back.
“Sorry. I know you aren’t. You’re the second smartest person I know. The first being someone I haven’t met yet. I think there’s a very high probability there’s someone who’d understand me better than you do. I just haven’t met them yet.”
“Or you have and you just don’t want to tell me.”
“I haven’t, I’ll tell you when I do.”
The silence crept its way back. It grew stronger by the minute, just like the breeze. He took it upon himself to make the silence leave, once and for all.
“Do you have anyone that understands you?”
“I don’t know.”
“I hope you find someone. Honest, I’m glad I found you.”
“What happens if I don’t? What happens if I am stuck like this forever?” she sighed. “Life isn’t going to work out for me.”
“I’ll try to understand you better then. It would suck for you if I’m the only one you’d have, but really, I really would try my best.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad you exist, and that we’re friends and everything, but it’s just something-”
“-I know what you mean, I do. You want someone that knows the shit in your head almost as well as you do. I want that too. Part of why I change friends so frequently is because I’m always looking for that one person.”
“It’s not that I want someone who knows me, it’s okay if they don’t. They should know themselves and be that person. Also, their opinion shouldn’t piss me off. I’ve been breaking up with people because I don’t like the way they think. At least that’s what I tell myself.”
“I don’t believe that wishes come true but I really do wish you find that,” he said, and he really did mean it.
“Eh, we’ll see. I hope you find someone who understands you better than I do.”
“Thanks, I hope that someday isn’t too far away.”
“What if you get stuck with me?” she laughed. It was one of the few times he’d seen her laugh for real. She looked really pretty whenever she seemed happy. “That’ll be so unfortunate.”
“I wouldn’t mind that.”
“Not really. I wish we could talk more, but that never seems to work out, so nevermind.”
“We would if I was different. I’m sorry I’m not.”
“You don’t need to be sorry. I like you just the way you are. And I like that you don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t.”
“How do you know? I could be pretending. I could be a very good pretender.”
“True, I’ll never know, but I hope you don’t pretend when you’re with me.”
“I hope you don’t pretend when you’re with me.”
She dug through the pockets of her grey and white hoodie, and pulled out a packet of cigarettes. She slid one out, and lit it. She breathed in the smoke.
“You know, it’s weird, I don’t know you at all. But I know how bad I really, really want to,” he said, trying to balance himself while walking on a metal pipe. “It just hit me, I don’t know anyone, not even myself. I guess we just can’t really understand what we’re made of, emotionally. I guess you’re the only dynamic entity I know. Everyone else is just static. Stationary. One dimensional.”
“You can understand people by the way they express themselves through actions body language and whatever else we are able to project into other people.” She exhaled the smoke, then inhaled it once again. “The reason behind the projection is what we aren’t able to decipher.” Again. “The reason is static, stationary, and one dimensional.” Again. “Also, exclusively fake.” Again. “Which is so pissing off.”
“Because we want to project ourselves? Because we want to seek attention?”
“It’s not that simple, but essentially, yes. They thrive off other people while trying to rejuvenate themselves.” She burned her cigarette butt on the rusty railing. The ashes floated in the air.
“I hate how we’re so dependent on what others think. This is why I hate society. Especially those who conform to it… It’s like we’re hardwired to feel like shit when we’re alone.” He watched her light up another cigarette. “Screw that, I believe in solitude. The worst thing about our existence is that we need to be validated by others. This is why I dread relationships of any kind, because I’m not in control. And this is why I don’t do drugs or drink, because I like to remain in control at all times. Sanity is important. But I don’t know, I find so many loopholes in my own logic.” He laughed, as softly as he could, and then concluded, “So, in a nutshell, screw everything, I want to immerse myself into the trees and turn into a force of nature that erodes away till there’s nothing left.”
“You have no idea how much I want that too.” She exhaled, and looked up. “Except that you’re wrong about the drugs.”
“I have friends that scored some coke and lost their minds, and drank so much they called me and asked me to marry them and then passed out. That scares the shit out of me; not being in control.”
“Sanity isn’t important. Drugs affect people based on what drives them. The reaction one has is based on the person. You must know that.”
He didn’t agree at all, but he kept quiet and watched her smoke her life away. It would be no use telling her to quit. She never quit anything. Well, this is uncomfortable. Let me change the topic.
“I think I’m gonna go live in the forest when I have enough money to build myself a house. What really pisses me off is that loneliness is always associated to something negative. I don’t want to have to be with other people to feel good about myself. I don’t want to be that worthless. I… I don’t want to worry about how I make other people sad when they’re with me.”
“I’ve stopped going out for anything, too. Only when necessary.” She was done with her second one. “It’s sad how little people mean to me.”
“I won’t show up at my graduation.” He started laughing, and so did she.
“Same.” They laughed some more.
“Honestly, I like to think that I don’t need people. I don’t think it’s sad. They’re insignificant. It’s such a dilemma. Do people create societies or do societies create people?”
“I am content with myself alone. I like being alone. I don’t care about society. I can’t bear to think about it.”
“And I think that’s incredible… I just wish I had more time with myself,” he expressed.
“We all need more time.”
“I wish my lungs could go on breathing and my legs could keep supporting my weight so that I could run till I evaporated.”
“Wishes don’t come true.”
“I know. If they did, I would be a cat. Or the world would have exploded. I’m fine either way.”
“Oh, the way the world could have been.” She made him smile from ear to ear and to an arbitrary point in time when he would remember this particular conversation next year.
“I’m gonna make my wishes come true. I’ll build a time machine or a nuclear bomb.”
“Okay, good luck.”
“Thanks, but meh, it’s very improbable. I feel stupid now.”
“You shouldn’t, because well, you aren’t.”
“No, I am. I don’t mind that I am. Not much.”
“But you aren’t.”
He waved his hand as if waving off that direction in the conversation,
“More importantly, do you think there’s any meaning to life? I don’t.”
“I don’t either.”
“I think that all we know might just be a series of consequences. And nothing more. Something like an endless staircase. With the steps being time. And the direction of the staircase being occurrences.”
“I wish I could paint that concept.”
“You could try, and I could try to explain how I imagine the universe in my mind.”
“Tomorrow, if you’re free?” he asked, pushing his luck.
“You want me to draw your explanation of the universe?”
“If you’d like. I just want to watch you create the universe.”
“I am not capable of that.”
“Nothing is. But you could try if you really want to.”
“I’ll do it sometime when it doesn’t seem pointless.”
They were running out of things to talk about, and he knew that this night would never come back to them. He didn’t want to ruin an eventuality so significant for him, so he decided it was time to let go, “Okay, thanks for letting me talk to you.”
“I would say anytime, but we both know that’s not true.” That sentence broke his heart into a million pieces, which was better than how she usually broke it into a billion. He maintained his composure. “I feel, I don’t know, happy there’s someone that I can clear my mind with.”
“Do you really feel happy?” she asked, and stared at him for the tiniest moment.
“I do. It’s not gonna last very long, but I do.”
“I really hope you find the person that will say anytime so that you could be happy all the time.”
“I really hope you find the person with whom you don’t mind sharing your heart out. To whom you could say anytime to.” He had a lump in his throat. “Anyway, I’ll always be here if you want to talk or hang out. I’m not gonna initiate anything because it doesn’t work well most of the time. Good night, sleep tight and sweet dreams.”
They jumped down onto the 18th floor from the roof. The elevator ride down was awkward, with the elevator music complementing how fazed the situation was. He dropped her home, and went back to his.