A to U: Universe

The universe didn’t care. It went on moving at fantastic speeds. Gravity kept pulling at it, or not. Comets shot through it, or not. Stars burned, planets spun, atoms burst, or not. It didn’t care. Matter changed forms. Things were created, then destroyed. Deep blackness was perforated with specks of something, bits of carbon and hydrogen and light. The universe went on.

One tiny corner of a tiny galaxy of the enormous universe was this planet, mainly blue, mostly rock, but full of life.

This life took different forms. One form of life was called human. They were large and strong, but not the largest nor the strongest. They were rather bright, when they tried to be. Their manner is hard to describe. Sophisticated. Destructive. Intelligent. Short sighted. Violent. Loving. Enduring. Yes, that is perhaps the best word. Enduring.

The humans, today, live in a strange time. They were killing their planet, and they knew it but weren’t stopping it. They were trying to spread love and hope through bullets and exclusion. They spent hours upon days upon weeks discussing the shades of brown they came in and which god, if any, was real.

However, they endured.

They found ways to live without a limb, without a heart. They found ways to capture live images to remember later. They found ways to capture live animals, wild and sharp-toothed, and make them their friends. They found ways to survive hunger, they found ways to survive war, they found ways to help each other, and themselves.

They never stopped trying, not even when it seemed hopeless. Not even when it was hopeless. They were an incredible force of nature.

The universe didn’t care. It never does. It let itself be pulled by gravity. It let things be created, then destroyed. It let the busy, loud, violent, loving, enduring, breathing, fighting humans live on Earth and do as they pleased with it. It didn’t care.

Every human, at some point in their short lives, realizes this. They may be driving their giant machines, or lying in their beds, or playing with their children, or sitting in the rain. They realize in this moment that nothing matters, that the universe doesn’t care about them. Most of them wake up the next morning and are okay with that fact. Some don’t.

Michelle had this thought after the worst few months of her life, after a crying, hissing human ripped its way out of her body and tormented her endlessly. After its birth shortly came its death–they called it “Sudden Infant Death,” they said it had no cause. After its death her husband came home and hugged her stiffly. She didn’t know how to react. He had barely met their son. Three out of the four weeks it was breathing he was gone.

Michelle was driving away from her husband when she realized the universe didn’t care about her. Part of her argued that it did, but she knew it wasn’t true. She was a meaningless speck, with a streak of bad luck, that the universe didn’t care about.

That settled things, for Michelle.

She drove until she could make herself cry. She didn’t want to die with dry eyes. It only took a moment, then she pressed the pedal to the floor of the car like they do in the movies. 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 miles per hour.

Her life flashed by in a series of hims. She only recognized them by number, until Craig, and then Riley. Riley….

The universe went on moving. Gravity kept pulling at it, or not. Comets shot through it, or not. Stars burned, planets spun, atoms burst, or not. It didn’t care.

In a small corner of the universe, on a small road on a small planet, Michelle Wu’s car collided with the forest. The steering wheel hit her, and she made some gasping noise. A disappointing last word, she thought, and then she was gone. And the universe went on.

Karma Exists?

Well, I lost my semester-long subway pass. I’m sick, possibly with the flu, possibly just allergies come on from a crazy New England not-winter. I’m beginning to feel rather lonely over spring break, and my mind’s doing the thing where I see all the negative things in a pattern and none of the positives.

I do this too much. It’s natural to feel sorry for yourself sometimes, especially on a bad day, but I know I do that far too much. I’m not constantly throwing pity parties, and I try to keep my thoughts to myself most of the time, but I’d be lying if “Why me?” doesn’t cross my mind now and then.

I mean, it’s a valid question to ask, and it’s one people have been asking for millennia. The classic question to ask if you were to meet a god figure always seems to be “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

I’d rephrase it as, “Why doesn’t karma exist perfectly?”

I wish karma worked out the way it was supposed to. Do a good thing, good things happen to you. It does to some extent, especially when referring to being nice to people, giving back, etc. But why do bad things happen when we don’t do anything bad to deserve it?

I think it’s 2 reasons. One, maybe you did deserve it and not realize it. It’s not always easy to see faults in yourself. Two, maybe it’s because karma doesn’t exist and the universe doesn’t owe you anything.

After all, I shouldn’t give to charity to feel good about how charitable I am, I should give to charity because it’s the right thing to do. And I shouldn’t go through life expecting the universe to hand me things good things easily just because I’m a “good” person.

I’m not gonna lie, I like a challenge. Life is boring without challenges. I guess it’s just that sometimes the–for lack of a better word–punishments don’t always seem fair, or warranted.

Maybe it’s a sign that the universe is meaningless and ungoverned and etc., etc., deeper talks than I want to get into at midnight when I’m writing this. Who knows?

I do wish karma existed, but then again, I shouldn’t only want to do good things if something good happens to me afterward. And I shouldn’t only refrain from doing bad things just because I’d get punished for doing so, so maybe it’s good for our souls that karma isn’t a perfect system. I’m writing myself into circles now, and should probably get some sleep:)

To wrap up: Does karma exist? I don’t know. I hope so. If it doesn’t, I’d like it to come into existence, please. If anyone knows how to invent a karmic power to govern the universe, please let us know! We can start a kickstarter campaign or something.

The Me-Shaped Space in the Universe

I find poetry the hardest of all types of writing, and I envy and respect poets highly. I am usually not a poet, because I find it so difficult to do, but I believe this topic is best spoken about through a poem. It was written a few weeks ago, when I was caught thinking about how matter is never created nor destroyed, it only changes form. It is one of those things, like how dinosaurs drank the same water we drink, or how the ancient Egyptian jewelry I wrote about awhile ago seems so modern, that makes me feel humble about the universe and my small space in it.

This poem is called The Me-Shaped Space in the Universe.

I fit the me-shaped space in the universe perfectly.

The rest stops at my skin and inside it is me.

I used to see me as a hole

As if I wasn’t made of organs and soul

But of not-space, and not-time,

A bubble in the universe, made of something else.

And I would see my skin as a barrier

Keeping the universe away from my emptiness

A shell to keep predators away from my oysterous interior

But I never saw myself as being a pearl.

I didn’t fill, but now I am full.

I was full before my mother grew fuller with my weight,

Before the food she ate created me

Because matter cannot be created

And I am as old as the stars.

I am not a hole of nothing, nor of something never seen,

I’m not a hole at all, it was wholly wrong to believe

That just because my skin is mine it always was my skin.

I am made of the things I consume, of the air I breathe in,

I can trace my roots like the veins in my wrists.

My atoms were made when the sun was,

There is nothing outer about outer space.

In truth I am not a hole, but a stitch.

The fabric doesn’t stop at me,

I am a small percentage of the universe.

When I die I will not be gone.

My body will become ash, or dirt, then plants

My cells and atoms will continue being.

I fit the me-shaped space in the universe perfectly.

I have stardust in my skin.

The interesting thing about this poem, on self-reflection, is how self centered it is. A common theme on this blog (I think I’ve already talked about it, if not, stay tuned for tomorrow) is/will be the question of self importance. Am I as an individual important, special, or am I nothing? Am I great or unremarkable? In this poem, I try to get across my beliefs on the matter, which are that while we are all important and valuable to ourselves and in our own lives, we are meaningless to the universe, because we are just a part of the fabric of life. Not an unimportant part, but one part of many. We are all, after all, parts of the universe. And that is both amazing and unremarkable all at once.