Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Ascension and the Total Perspective Vortex

"......into one end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it. To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion."

The Total Perspective Vortex, in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe - that book that we would think was brilliant if we hadn't read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The whole of the Universe in a box with you, and a tiny little sign saying "You are here".

It takes under  just over a second for light to arrive from the Moon. 8 minutes, give or take, from the Sun. 1,500 years from Deneb. 2.5 million years from the Andromeda Spiral. 13 bn years from UDFj-39546284. And the observable universe is about 100 bn light years across. Which, if one believes in God, makes God very big and us very small. Or, more precisely, if God exists - our belief is irrelevant, if not irreverent - then God is very big and we are very small.

A man who was very small, compared to the universe, died at a height of a few feet, 2,000 years ago. And, according to his followers, he was raised to a great height, 40 days later. From the height at which he now is - immeasurable in light years, as it's a metaphorical height, which you can't do even in parsecs - he sits next to God, interceding for us, if you believe Hebrews.

Which is the equivalent of saying, I guess, that a constant series of communication goes on between the small man who is God's Word and God the Father. A communication that goes "down there - that galaxy. Western Spiral Arm. Medium-sized yellow star. Third one out - the blue one? Bloke called Dave. Yeah, him. Down there - that galaxy. Western Spiral Arm. Medium-sized yellow star. Third one out - the blue one? Woman called Meriam. Yeah, her. Especially her. Down there - that galaxy. Western Spiral Arm. Medium-sized yellow star. Third one out - the blue one? Those kids. Yeah, them. Down there - that galaxy. Western Spiral Arm. Medium-sized yellow star. Third one out - the blue one? Lad called Harry, being baptised. Yeah, him."

Forever. Or, at least, until he's back here with us, doing it all again but this time forever.

From the right perspective, I reckon you could live with a Total Vortex.

2 comments :

  1. Good post, except that the (average) distance to the moon is about 384,000 km (239,000 mi) so that light takes a little over a second to get here from the moon. It's important to get the details right in the illustrations or some pedant in the audience/readership will spend the whole time fuming about the inaccuracy and so miss the point being illustrated (c.f. that song which refers to a lighthouse).

    I am that pedant.

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