Jan 17

Creating a Myth

Mandelbrot Set

There is a being so great, we would not recognize its foot as anything other than an infinite wall. The life span of this being is also so long, it would seem to have always existed. But let’s not be too abstract about this being; He has a name, after all. His name is Phil and He seems to have a cold.

Phil has actually been sneezing (an anthropomorphism to be sure) for countless millennium. The force of this sneeze because of His gigantic attributes would destroy us easily. But this same destructive force can also create unknown to Him.

You see, Phil is made of basically the same “stuff” as the rest of us. He consists of familiar elements plus some that are less familiar. To see why this matters for His great power of creation, let’s examine one of His sneezes more closely.

Sneeze 12-B-78-GF-X (If Phil were actually classifying them)

What began at a point in Phil’s nose shot outward with great force and velocity, comparatively speaking. While Phil doesn’t know what happens at the microscopic and submicroscopic levels of His newly released sneeze, and doesn’t care to–it’s a sneeze, after all–there are some interesting things if we look closer.

As the sneeze blows outward, we can notice patterns beneath the apparent randomness. The sneeze is made of the same fundamental particles as everything else and contains a few of the elements that were in Phil. At first, it is mostly hydrogen, helium, and lithium, but elements have a way of forming other heavier elements. It is expanding and cooling, as it leaves its smaller and warmer place in His body. Some particles are even colliding with each other and others are bursting, releasing their substance outward in many smaller pieces. This is just what happens in the aftermath of a sneeze, but we don’t stop to care about it, and neither does Phil.

Who would imagine that these patterns predictably emerging would form systems out of these common elements based on the same basic forces that rule Phil’s world? Sure, the objects are tiny to Him and their gravity is so minuscule it couldn’t possibly affect Him, but to each other these minuscule particles and the forces they exert can be quite forceful.

In one insignificant area of this expanding sneeze, we find some unusual activity. There seems to have formed some kind of intelligence. It’s not really surprising, though. After all, if we just keep moving down level-by-level we see there are patterns, randomness, more patterns, more randomness all the way to particles so small even the powerful Phil can’t imagine their existence. As we said, Phil is basically made of the same fundamental stuff too, He just isn’t aware because it’s too small for His measurement.

The civilization that has developed is living quite a happy and productive life. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite aware that Phil’s sneeze, on which they reside, is expanding more still, cooling, and coming ever closer to the floor of Phil’s world. They eventually do reach that floor, which spells doom for anything living within the sneeze. The force is so great it basically “splats” every elemental gathering that had formed. Don’t feel too bad for this civilization, though. That sneeze took 100 billion years of their relative time to reach the floor.

Now, you might think I’ve just described our own history and Universe. Don’t be silly, though, as we are of course still alive. We are actually Sneeze 46-W-12-HY-P (again, if Phil actually cared to catalogue such things as sneezes) and we are much more recent. By my calculations, we still have at least 30 billion years before life is no longer sustainable–probably about 30 seconds in His relative time.

However unpleasant this may seem, the facts are unavoidable. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, we are made of “Phil Stuff.”

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2 pings

  1. Paul Collis

    It’s not the floor you’ve got to worry about. It’s the coming of the great white handkerchief!

  2. Mike

    Thanks for the great link. That’s both hilarious and disappointing. Disappointing because I thought my story was original, but I bet they didn’t think to name the creator Phil! That’s what I get for putting off reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide for much too long.

  3. Niarlo

    I guess Phil is a pretty cool guy. he create universes after all.

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