Wouldn’t it be horrible, if…?

Ever play that, as a kid?—“wouldn’t it be horrible, if…?”

Like, wouldn’t it be horrible if we’re deep into the black hole era? The universe is winding down, on the eve of its last fireworks show, and we—well, there is no we. We’re an I, a great noodle of agonised consciousness, spiralling into oblivion. We’re dreaming as we go, conjuring visions of a universe that might’ve existed, worlds that could’ve been and maybe were. Our civilisations are memories, or they’re fantasies. Our knowledge is an echo of some monstrous record, fuzzy and disordered with sleep. Much of it’s dissipated already, vanished into the void. We—I—there’s no getting that back. We can snatch at its tail, and even the thought of doing so takes fifty thousand years. And we’ll snatch in vain: it’s gone, and soon we will be, too. A trillion years, or a trillion trillion, and we’ll be geysers of light, and then we’ll be nothing. It’ll all be nothing. Forever, and nothing.

Or wouldn’t it be horrible if you woke up one morning and bees were pouring from your electrical outlets? That happens, you know—bees in the walls; honeylogged sockets….

You can still play as an adult, of course. You don’t have to be a kid. You just have to dig deeper. Like with that first scenario, you’d, like…you’d take it to its logical conclusion: death won’t end your suffering. You’re everyone; your pain’s all the pain that ever was. It spans a gulch of years you can’t conceive of.

Or with the bees, you’d be all…imagine the cost, to be rid of them! They’d have to go into the walls, dig out the honeycombs, probably redo your electric. And your insurance would call it an act of God. They’d never cover it. And maybe your pain wouldn’t be eternal, but it’d certainly feel that way.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if the best day of your life was already behind you?

I’ve always wanted a Nobel Prize—ideally, for peace: that’s the good one, the ultimate pat on the head. But I write genre fiction under other people’s names. They don’t hand out Nobel Prizes for that. And even if they did, even if, by some miracle…I’d get some money, I suppose, but I have enough money. I’d get…I don’t know. It really is just money, isn’t it?—bit of cash, bit of fame, but you don’t…what I want is blinding sunlight, waves in my face, salt spray and shouting children, a sense of boisterous wellbeing. I want to have fun. I want the world to stop being so resolutely on the other side of that window.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if all the dogs in the world just wound down one day, lay down to sleep and drifted into some great communal dream, never to return?

I wish I had a dog.

I wish I had a cyborg body that could carry my brain anywhere it liked. And I could have antennae, if I wanted, or a tail, or big claws. Or legs like a kangaroo. Or a willy, or two willies, or, ah…what do cassowaries have? Maybe that.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if wishes actually were horses, and the whole world filled with horses, right up to the stratosphere? And in our dying moments, we’d be wishing the horses would go away, creating even more horses….

Wouldn’t it be horrible if you read this whole thing, expecting a punchline, but I was really just playing “wouldn’t it be horrible?” with myself?

Ha, ha….

9 thoughts on “Wouldn’t it be horrible, if…?

  1. If wishes were horses and you’d create more and more the universe would probably crash, like an OS when you open too many Windows… Unless the universe operated on a non-computable base, but we don’t know that, yet. Anyway, that would be a really inglorious end to the universe.

    Emotions are difficult to recapture and are probably non-computable (how can you express well being with numbers…? that’s my little personal proof that we don’t live in a computer simulation). I have an opportunity for some sunlight and sea*, but usually too worried to enjoy them. This is how it always is, isn’t it? The universe is broke and nothing works right.

    *If you ever visit Israel, I’d take you to all the places that still feel like that for me.

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    1. So, as I understand it, you’re suggesting that any type of grey ooze scenario is theoretically unsustainable, as the numbers would grow too large, and the universe would crash? Though, as long as no matter or energy was being created from nothing, wouldn’t the essential numbers remain constant? And if the universe CAN crash, owing to lack of computational power, isn’t it doomed to that, no matter what, as measures of time and distance approach the infinite? Or maybe neither time nor distance enters into the equation, and both are essentially meaningless quantities.

      I think I’d need more of a maths background to really get into that. I stopped doing maths halfway through university.

      Also, I hope the universe DOES crash, and I hope I get another life, when it reboots. Infinite lives, even. Once every iteration.

      I wouldn’t say NOTHING works right…every once in a while, you get a moment of pure joy, even an hour of it. But then, you can’t orchestrate those moments, or at least, I can’t. They just happen, and even if you recreate the circumstances, you can’t guarantee the feeling comes with them. Ah, well, even a broken clock’s right twice a day.

      Strangely, Israel isn’t THAT unlikely a place for me to visit, one day. I’m hoping to move to Italy, at some point in the indeterminate future, and I love that whole Mediterranean area, in there. The food, the sun, the water–really all of it.

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      1. The multiplying horses/wishes reminded me of the times old Windows would freeze, and then, if you moved a window around its duplicates began to fill a screen ad infinitum… So, what if they did the same to the universe? (assuming the Universe is not infinite and runs on some algorithmic process and every horsewish, being a wish, created another horsewish ad infinitum) Most things that do nothing but multiply themselves copy/paste fashion are bad… Viruses, cancer cells, political factions with ubiquitous flags/sigils (any group that has a brand it wants to stick everywhere is evil). In short, sameness kills. Even the Universe might not be immune.

        I hope that all of our guesses about what an afterlife/reincarnation may entail are wrong, and the reality is both somehow weirder and better… Basically heaven for everyone, but that heaven that each of us privately imagines and longs for, not some dogmatic religious playground with clouds/harps and a glorified father figure. That’d be the only thing better than oblivion…. Anyway, these days I feel like I may pass on reincarnation.

        It’s not that things are awful, but that “Universe has sprung a leak” feeling is there. Of course it’s subjective, and has partly to do with fact that I tend to focus on negatives too much.

        I am constantly torn between Israel and Russia. Israel has the better landscape/atmosphere, but I connect easier with Russians than Israelis, so more friends are over there. If I had enough money I’d just travel between the two as suits my mood.

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        1. Oh, yeah. I remember Windows. (Been a while since I’ve used a Windows computer, but those endlessly-replicating crash windows were a real annoyance.)

          Things that copy and paste themselves ad infinitum…oh, my God. Have I created the first horseypasta? Ha, ha…I should show this to Natee, with their pudgy horse, and all. (But, no. It’d be too sad to picture poor Pudgy Horse replicating like a broken Window.)

          In truth, I can’t believe in any hope of reincarnation or an afterlife (though, the idea that the universe is capable of collapsing in on itself and re-expanding forever, perhaps playing out every possible scenario every time, over a multitude of universes, is not an impossible one. Improbable, yes. Impossible…well, it’s hardly likely). Still, I’d be delighted if there were something. Even if the universe HAS sprung a leak. The thing is, however grim life might seem, I still want mine. I can’t picture a scenario where I wouldn’t. Even if I had Alzheimer’s, and I could only choose immediate death or slow decline, I’d wait as long as I could to pull the trigger. I don’t want it all to be over.

          You know, I thought of moving to Russia, when I left Sweden. It’d have been easier to get to, say, Vladivostok, than all the way to Vancouver. And cheaper to live there. But Mother wanted me in Canada (which seems silly, in retrospect: it took her nearly a decade to visit me, once I arrived). In the end, I gave in because I don’t speak Russian, and because I knew she’d bother me forever if I didn’t.

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          1. Natee’s Pudgy Horse is the farthest thing from the kind of apocalyptic pest that I imagined, and in no way should be subjected to such indignities. I imagined more like, creepy mannequin horse puppet things, without any personality or consciousness. Zombie horses. Now that is a horseypasta. 😶

            I have a problem with closed systems and limited possibilities. No matter how numerous they are, they still feel disappointing and claustrophobic. There are few things more depressing than the thought of a Universe that’s just a system of gears replaying n combinations for all eternity. I want an infinite universe where there’s always a horizon beyond which something new can be discovered (you will never see all of it, but it’s comforting to know that it’s there).

            Vladivostok has that “edge of the world” charm, doesn’t it? The kind of faraway and dreary place that is paradoxically attractive precisely because of that. You imagine yourself living a quiet, hermit-like life and wondering through grey, wintry streets while lost in thought.

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            1. Creepy mannequin horse puppet things…eugh. I’m not sure exactly what I was picturing. More of, like, a great, writhing pile of Clydesdales, screaming and kicking and suffocating under their own weight. (Oh, God!)

              Man. I don’t like the horseypasta. Y’know, I just threw that in there as a silly one. To lighten the mood, sort of thing. I thought the dog one would be the real horror, or the black hole era one. But the horseypasta is bad. Very bad. Some of them take a bit of thought, I suppose.

              Even if the universe IS just an endlessly repeating pattern, we have the illusion of new discoveries, while we’re alive. We can do this–we can chat on the Internet and speculate over what might be. We don’t know it’s the same thing every time (and also not, because there’s also a universe where I’m a serial killer, and one where you’re a farmer, and those also exist every time). And, hey, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s a one-time deal, rocketing towards an unending age of nothing.

              Maybe it’s fitting that we’re talking about Vladivostok and the heat death of the universe in the same breath, eh? Ha, ha, ha. I did rather like the idea, though. I liked Sweden, in the winter. I like grey streets. I like the sense of living in “The Overcoat,” or, at least, in the sort of place “The Overcoat” might’ve happened. Too much world; too little time. Takes a while to explore a place, to properly settle in. There’s never enough time to go around.

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              1. Nonsense IS one step apart from horror. The dog thing was more heartwrenchingly sad than horrifying, like any situation where someone goes away and never comes back. The black hole scenario horrifying but abstract.

                I actually don’t mind my life being a shooting star in the dark, one time deal kind of thing. There’s no difference between experiencing something once or infinitely many times with gaps of oblivion in between. It’s just that I want the Universe I inhabit to be more than a machine, but something with a space for magic and the irrational, even if I get to inhabit it only once.

                You’re right, however, in that just having the opportunity to speculate on those things is quite a lot.

                Vladivostok may just be cold enough to keep thermal inequality going till the end of the world and beyond. One city where I’d want to live is St. Petersburg, it’s the only large city I know that doesn’t feel like one. It has as much in the way of grey streets as Vladivostok, but also canals and historic architecture.

                And speaking of settling, have you begun planning to install a bird feeder by now? Just so that the birds outside the window may compete with the ladder.

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                1. Ah, yes. Good point. Too sad, and fear can turn to tears. Not quite the effect I’d had in mind. The black hole scenario feels immediate to me, inasmuch as stumbling off the edge of the known universe can seem immediate, but maybe I spend too much time thinking about these things.

                  Even if there’s no difference between experiencing something once and experiencing it infinite times without knowing, it gives me a sense of hope, imagining I might see the highlights again. Doesn’t matter if it always feels like the first time. That might even make it better. And the oblivion between times is immaterial: since I won’t know it’s there, in practice, my life will be unending and uninterrupted. (Well, if the universe DOES repeat itself. If it doesn’t, I suppose this is it.

                  I’ve heard St. Petersburg is nice. It wasn’t a city I considered, though, as the cost of living was higher. I like cheap places (which makes it strange that I live in Vancouver–but when it comes to Canada, this is home).

                  On the subject of bird feeders, yes. I’ve got my hummingbird feeder ready to go, but nothing to hang it on. I’m waiting to get paid for my latest novel, and then I’m going to get a four-feeder stand. I’ll put the hummingbird feeder on one arm, a seed feeder for small birds on another, and plants on the last two. I might get a bird bath, as well–though, would birds use that, on a balcony? I suppose it might be a hard sell. Well, we’ll see. I do miss my little visitors.

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