The Universe is a very, very complicated thing. To make this idea even more complicated, you need to understand there is not just one Universe rather there are an infinite number of them, and each and every one is just a combination of all the other Universes stuck together in such a higgly-piggly fashion that God must have been really hung over on that Saturday morning when She stuck them all together.
This is a very complicated thing.
Scientists, “gawd bless em”, on the other hand, love to make things simple. They call all the Universes – Flavors. Each Universe comes in a different flavor, not just passion fruit or vanilla, oh no, the Universes came in so many flavors it makes the selection of ice creams at Ben & Jerry's look like it was written on the back of a bus ticket. Of course, the real question was what was a flavour and was it possible to add different combinations of chocolate to it? Flavour is another way of say Existence. Why scientists feel it necessary to use a different word to describe the same thing is why they have PhDs, and everyone else feels confused, this in turn makes everyone else feel quite depressed and the best way to treat depression is to eat Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.
The next to thing to know, is that each Universe is part of a bigger Universe and no matter how far up the Universes you go, you can never reach the final Universe because there are an infinite number of Universes, and what is worse they are all sub-universes of all the other Universes.
At this point you should be reaching for the Chocolate Fudge Strawberry Ripple.
The real trouble is that there is no coat hanger big enough to hang the Universe, or all the Universes, onto. It just hangs there in the emptiness of metaphysical space wondering what to do with itself. It’s really not possible to have a theory of the universe because we need to include not just the Universe, and the theory behind the Universe; we also need a list of all the different flavours of ice cream. A theory big enough to explain the Universe also has to include itself, and straight away all the logic disappears up the metaphysical drainpipe like a rat with a sweet tooth in a cake shop.
This has often made physicists wonder if God is a diabetic.
So let’s try and imagine the thoughts that went through God’s head when she invented the Universe:
“Oh God!” God said, as she collapsed out of bed and landed in last night’s underwear on the floor. “Never again!”
God lays on the floor for another hour with a headache the size of the Big Bang booming in her head. Occasionally a moan makes its way from her mouth, as she feels the Universe swirling around her, and this was before she had even invented it. Finally God staggers to the bathroom and after a quick consultation with the mirror throws up the contents of her stomach in the bath, missing the toilet by a good ten feet. She stares with horror at her vomit and realizes she had had ice cream before she went to bed the night before.
“I don't even like raspberry ripple,” she groans and then accidentally tries to wash out her mouth with toilet duck, and this in turn causes her to throw up the rest of her stomach.
She lies on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor and stays there till mid-morning until her hammering headache forces her to look for aspirin. In the medicine closet she finds a half empty packet of Pepto-Bismol. For a moment she tries to read the instructions but gives up when she discovers she is still so blind drunk she can’t distinguish the writing from fly-scat. In doing so, she fails to learn that it may cause Black Stools and Tongue Discoloration. Ten minutes later, as she once more stares into the mirror, she is horrified to discover her tongue has turned black.
“Feck!” she screams, as she sits down on the toilet and rocks back and forth, cradling her head in her hands, “Oh my God! I will never drink again, I will never drink again.”
Half an hour later she is lying in a warm bath with a beer trying to beat the crap out of the hair of the dog. She watches the ceiling spinning around endlessly. She tries closing her eyes, but the spots in front of her eyes keep whirling around in much the same way. She tries pressing her eyes behind her eyelids but this just amplifies the signal and she leans over the side of the bath and throws up again.
Eventually she falls asleep in the bath and dreams of flying through endless clouds, rainbows and golden zeppelins. Enormous vistas of rolling countryside slip beneath her, as she whirls around the clouds, the whirling become more violent and she begins to crash into the zeppelins. Then in a moment of mayhem her feathered wings begin falling apart and suddenly finds herself falling through the sky, the ocean beneath hurtling towards her, she sees a tiny island in the middle of nowhere reaching up towards her. She slams onto the tiny island, half in the ocean, half on the island and then in a moment of horror she wakes spluttering as she sinks down into the bath and half drowns in a mouthful of water.
“Feck!” she cries as she flails about the bath, and sloshing even more water into her mouth, she grabs onto the shower curtain to drag the curtain rail down on her head. “For the love of Mary!”
God gives up on the ruin of the bathroom, throws on a dressing gown and staggers into her living room. The couch is the centrepiece of the space, a tastefully tacky mishmash of styles from Art Deco, sixties commune and back to Grecian hovel. God has no sense of proportion having nothing to compare anything with, this obviously is because there is nothing else to compare to, this has the advantage she never has to worry about what people think – as there are no people, or thinking for that matter.
She collapses onto the couch, and then discovers the half finished box of pizza between her and the couch. God starts crying at this point and wishes she had a maid. She takes off her dressing gown, drops the box of pizza on it, wraps it all up and then tosses the whole bundle over to the pile of garbage by the door. Then she goes into the bedroom and puts on another dressing gown.
At this point she discovers her date from last night is still there, lying on her bed.
She tiptoes back into the living room, puts a fizzy vitamin B in her beer and tries to remember the guy’s name.
“Was it Thor? No, not Thor, - Wotan maybe? Oh, Jesus don’t let it be Loki, not after last time.”
God puts her head around the door to try and discover his identity, and sees an obviously Nordic fellow lies with his head under her pillow. She can see immediately he is Nordic by the colour of his pubic hair.
“Well it’s not Thor, no way is Thor that small.”
She creeps across the room and gingerly raises the pillow above his head.
“Wha …” a low moan escapes the stranger.
“Loki!” God slams the pillow back down on his head and storms out of the room.
“Honey!” Loki falls out of bed.
“There had better not be!” was her riposte. “I want you out!”
“But honey!” Loki drags himself up and wraps a sheet about him.
“Stop with the honey already!” God sits down on a barstool. “Just go!”
Loki lurches in and falls on the couch.
“I said out!” God throws an ashtray at him but misses wildly and it smashes through a window. “Feck!”
“Honey, it’s alright.” Loki secures a beer from the table and opens it, and then lights a cigarette. “We really should talk.”
“Talk? What the hell is there to talk about?” She railed at him. “You got me drunk on Absinthe, like you do every time, and I wind up smashed out of my mind and thinking there are fairies in the ironing cupboard. It’s what you do every time!”
“I know, honey, I know, but don’t you think that means something?”
“It means, I’ve got to stop going to the Valhalla bar on a Friday night.”
“Well, there is that,” Loki gave a wry grin, “but it’s love baby.”
God gave Loki a look that would boil lead.
“Say that again, and I promise you I’ll remove that which is most important to you and least important to me.”
“Ah,” was the best Loki could manage. “I’ll just get my things.”
Five minutes later God had the flat back to herself and once more she sat on the couch only to discover Loki had a left a burning cigarette which had burned a hole straight through and was smoldering into a small fire.
“You Feck!” she screams as she runs to get a jug of water, and then remembers she is carrying a beer and pours it out on top of the flame. “I’ll kill you!”
God rings her sister.
“I’m in church,” her sister says. “I can’t talk.”
“You can listen can’t you?” God insists.
“Look the pastor is staring at me, I really have to go,” her sister says and hangs up.
“Bitch!” God throws her phone at the wall, “Don't expect a Christmas present!”
God walks on to the balcony and lights another cigarette. Outside there is nothing, as God has yet to invent anything, there is no road, there is no sky, there are no people walking their dogs, there is no wind, basically there is nothing. God found this annoying, as she wants to vent her spleen at something. She turns back to the flat, but discovers it is now missing, as she has forgotten to pay any attention to it while she is smoking her cigarette, and at this point she remembers that everything is just a figment of her imagination.
“Feck!” The couch is gone; the phone is missing, and worse of all the beer has gone missing. “Feck!”
Then she realizes she no longer has a hangover and that all things considered she is feeling remarkably cheerful this morning, as everything including her hangover, the morning vomitorium in the bathroom and the evening with Loki were all just part of a truly hyperactive imagination.
She found herself floating around a pale beige space leaving a trail of smoke in her path.
“Hey!” she says to herself, “I don't smoke.”
With this the smoke and the cigarette from her hand vanished in a puff of divine smoke.
“Blast! I’m back to point zero. Now what do I do?”
For a period of time that has no measure, since there is nothing to measure it against, God floats about. Although strictly speaking, God doesn’t float as there is nothing to float in, but let’s not split infinities. She soon decides to eat something, and with that summons up a bowl of raspberry ripple ice cream. Now those of you with an attention to detail may remember God doesn’t like raspberry ripple ice cream. On the other hand, those of you with an attention to Logic will have figure out that since nothing exists, not even memory, then God can’t remember she doesn’t like raspberry ripple, but again let’s not split infinities.
After finishing the bowl of ice cream, God found herself feeling a sense of queasiness.
“Hmm, guess I don’t like the stuff.”
She gets up and starts walking about her flat, which starts appearing, as she is no longer thinking about the fact it doesn’t exist. This is the true conundrum of God: if God doesn’t pay any attention things disappear, and if she forgets not to pay attention things start appearing. She picks up the phone and rings her sister.
“I’m still in church,” her sister hisses on her mobile.
“You’re always in church,” God hisses back.
“That’s because there’s nowhere else to go to,” her younger sister replies.
“What about…?” God says.
“Yes,” her sister returns, almost hopefully, “what about where? You keep making and destroying everything. There is nowhere to go to.”
“Oh right,” God says ruefully. “I forgot.”
“That’s because you don’t have a memory.”
“I must have a memory, or I couldn’t think about things.”
“Actually you make everything up on the spot,” her sister whispers, “and I mean everything. This includes this conversation, this phone and including me.”
“I do?” God says, “Oh damn.”
The phone disappears, her sister disappears and the flat disappears.
“Back to point zero. Now what do I do?”
As you can imagine this process of creating things and destroying things goes on for a long time, in fact, it goes on for an infinite period of time. She has been doing this for an infinite period of time and will continue to create and destroy things until she gets her act together. So it goes.
Eventually, after God tries all possible permutations of events, laws and probabilities she creates a Universe, which is self-referential. This Universe is a very, very complicated thing. To make this idea even more complicated, you need to understand there is not just one Universe rather there are an infinite number of them, and each and every one is just a combination of all the other Universes stuck together in such a higgly-piggly fashion that God must have been really hung over on that Saturday morning when She stuck them all together.
“Damn it!” says the Author, “I’ve already written that.”
God destroys this Universe, and then recreates it without the Author.
She walks over and turns on the television. There is nothing on but reruns. She flicks idly through the channels, fails to find anything she has watched or created.
“Why am I even paying for cable?” she moans. “What I need is a Universe so big that even I don’t know everything about it. This Universe times itself an infinite number of times.”
She creates this penultimate Universe, penultimate because it has no end. It is quite literally Worlds without end.
"Christ, what an imagination I've got!" says a computer called Shalmaneser in a remote corner of the Universe she has just created. God then destroys this Universe because she is a vengeful god and can’t stand competitors. She then recreates the Universe without the Author or Shalmaneser.
God picks up a book and tries reading it. It is a book about some people called Gödel, Escher and Bach. She reads it in an instant but discovers it is so self-referential she can never quite come to the end without repeatedly backtracking through the book to find out what it’s referring to. Finally she has a Universe with infinite variety, and reads the book an infinite number of times, never tiring of it, never losing interest.
Three hours later she yawns and puts some clothes on. It is now five o’clock in the afternoon, and she is late for a meeting with her publisher.
“Oh Feck!” she runs out the door, grabbing a mackintosh and an umbrella. She arrives at the publisher’s office right on time for the appointment; being God she can do anything.
“You’re late,” says a publisher the white hair and bearded fellow with a twinkle in his eye.
Jim Baen has been God’s publisher for as long as she can remember. God has no memory.
“I…I…hang on, I’m God,” God protests. “I move worlds!”
“I’m James Patrick Baen,” Baen grins back, “I move paper!”
God is about to say something when Baen picks up her manuscript and riffles through it. He weighs it in his hand.
“Bit light, isn’t it?” he says.
“First draft,” God replies.
“We don’t tend to publish under 100,090 words.”
“That was a typo. Give me 90 more words and we’ll see.”
“Can I have an extension?” God almost pleads with Baen.
“No, ninety more words by next Thursday or no deal.”
God destroys this Universe and recreates it with 90 more words.”
“You do work fast,” said Baen.
“I was under a deadline.”
“Fine,” Baen throws the manuscript onto a pile of books in the corner, “don’t contact us, we’ll get back to you in about ten months.”
“Ten months?” God shrieks.
“You’re not the only author in the world, you know?” and then God points at the door. “We have hundreds of others, first come and first serve. Good day.”
God destroys this Universe, and recreates another Universe with no other authors bar herself. She finds herself back in Baen’s office. The pile of books in the corner now has only one - hers.
“We can’t publish your book,” says Baen.
“Since you’re the only author in the Universe the market fell to pieces,” Baen explains, “so no one reads any books at all. Hence there is no market for books, we can’t publish your book.”
God destroys this Universe and puts back the original one.
“Don’t contact us,” says Baen, “we’ll get back to you in about ten months.”
Baen then escorts God to the door and locks it behind her.
“Feck!” says God and storms off in a huff.
She goes outside and gets into a wildly painted 1965 Porsche 356C convertible that looked like it had been driven at ninety miles an hour into a paint factory. The paint job was so psychedelic people get high just watching as it drives past. She drives off with the hood down, her flamboyant hairstyle, of coloured streaks, beads and feathers streaming behind her.
“Oh lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz!” she starts singing. “My friends all have Porsches I must make amends.”
She arrives back at the flat and wonders if she should clean up the mess from the night before which has mysteriously reappeared. The effort, however, is too great for her and the Universe collapses about her.
“Back to point zero. Now what do I do?”
God finds herself doing nothing. The problem of creating the Universe and sustaining it becomes a point of no little annoyance. Thrown into it all, no book deal, no date and she still driving a Porsche. She decides to cut corners and recreates the manifold of Universes all contained within each other, only this times, she makes it self-sustaining and self-perpetuating, any change made to it, results in a contrary change, which puts the Universe back into its original state.
This is the biggest mistake she will ever make.
“Finally,” she mutters and starts clean up her room.
The instant she does this, it reverts back to its original state.
“No wait,” God looks worriedly for the first time. “I didn’t mean I can no longer change anything, I meant it can’t change itself.”
This, however, is too late. God has written herself out of the equation.
For several minutes God tries rearranging the furniture and for several minutes the Universe keeps putting it back in its place.
“You have to be Fecking with me!” She shakes her fist at the Universe but nothing happens. She tries throwing a cigarette tray through the window, but it bounces back and lands on the desk. “No!”
God goes out to the balcony and tries to destroy the Universe. Nothing happens. The Universe is now a self-sustaining, self-referential myriad of lesser Universes, which conspire to defeat her in everyway.
“Frankenstein!” she yells to no one in particular and goes in to pour herself a drink. “I’ve gone too far this time.”
Her hand shakes as she lights a cigarette, and then the phone starts ringing.
“Hello?” she answers.
“What have you done?” asks Isis. “Everything’s set in stone.”
“I think I made the Universes independent,” says God.
“What?” Isis sounds a bit frantic. “Of us? How?”
“I made it run itself.”
“No, we run the Universe!” Isis starts screaming down the line, “We’re the gods!”
God hangs up the phone and it starts ringing again.
“Hello?” she answers.
“What the Hell?” Death asks her.
“Oh Feck,” God groans and covers her face.
“I’m up to my eye sockets in corpses down here.” The raspy voice of Death’s skull can be heard wafting down the line, “Whatever in Hades happened to reincarnation?”
God hangs up the phone once more and yet again it starts ringing.
She puts on her a floppy hat and slips out the back door, just avoiding Zeus blowing the front door open with a thunderbolt demanding to know why no one is down on his or her knees worshipping him anymore. She realizes she can’t drive off in her psychedelic painted car anymore, as it’s too recognizable, so she jumps over the hedge and walks into the city.
She walks along trying to figure out what went wrong and how to put it back to the way it was meant to be.
“Maybe I gave it too much power,” She says and tries powering down all of the Universes, but they resolutely power up again.
“What if I shut off one of them?”
She does so, but all the rest of the Universes conspire and recreate an exact copy of the one that she destroyed.
“Feck! Feck! Feck! I’ve really screwed the pooch this time.”
God walks over to the Haight-Ashbury district, runs into the nearest bar and orders a drink. She hides herself in an alcove and hopes no one will recognize her.
A lone drunk comes over and sits down. He is a tallish fellow with a thin beard and a red hat. He pulls out a packet of tarot cards and begins shuffling them. God looks the other way and tries to see if there is a backdoor to the bar.
“Like your future read?” The stranger asks.
God has the suspicion she has met him before, but just can’t place him.
“Not really,” she says.
“Go on,” he grins, “what harm can it do?”
She sighs waves him on, not caring what he does as long as no one recognizes her.
He lays out the cards in a regular fashion, from left to right.
“This is the Crowley-Harris Book of Thoth Tarot, very special,” he explains. “Now turn one over.”
God does so and lifts up the card signifying The Universe.
“Ha!” she laughs and picks up another, it is The Cat. “There is no cat in the Book of Thoth.”
“Funny you know,” he mutters, “these used to make sense. Well, they did about an hour ago and now zip, I’m getting just garbage out of them.”
“Crowley just made them up to make some money on the side,” says God, “but they never got published till 1969, long after he died. They’re really bogus.”
“Hmm, expert are you?” He asks.
“I know a bit,” says God.
“Let me buy you a drink,” the stranger smiles and goes over to the bar to return with two glasses of green venom. “Try this and you’ll be seeing green fairies in no time.”
“Who are you?”
“Please allow me to introduce myself,” he smiled unctuously. “I'm a man of wealth and taste.”
“Well, that’s hardly your name,” God downed the glass of Absinthe. “This is good, vile, but good. So, what’s your … oh I say, this is good stuff.”
“What’s my name?” asked the stranger.
God collapses in the corner.
“You can call me Loki.”
Copyright reserved by Jim O’Brien ©