Compassionate Theory of Everything

The Great Why (a tiny story about big things)


“Time to put the world back together again,” he said, and with half a lifetime he would do it.

The Great Why, in a voice like all the trees in all the nobody-there forests in all the world falling at the same time, went on. “I have granted you the boon of paradox, and you guys have resented me for it. While you’re alive you don’t notice the experience of living, yet you complain when people die. All your red beating hearts and pink grasping hands were once gray and inert, as undying as a booger already flicked. Long ago, everything was not a bunch of things but one big gray blob. Without even a nothing around it. There wasn’t nothing, because all of the nothing was mixed up in the colorless gray shapeless blob. All the white stars and black space and warm souls and cold nothing were together as one.”

Looking in at The Why, the boy’s thoughts pushed hard enough that his eyebrows and lips crawled towards the tip of his nose to get out of the way. “Wasn’t that love?” he asked, and his eyebrows and lips went back home.

“It was boring as shit, is what it was.” said The Why.

“I heard about that together-as-one thing on the radio, but the singer guy seemed to like it,” said the boy.

“Oh yeah,” said The Why. “It sounds great to people, now. Change is the fun part. Planets and protons and people have split up and moved apart for a while. Now you’ve got contrast to play with. You can enjoy all the yearning and mourning you want, if that’s your thing. You can see the world as separate particles, and separate yourself from the particles. A little science will help you do that. You can isolate your living soul from the universe and make life a waiting room for your appointment with death. A little religion will help you do that. Allness has been shattered to shards and broken up into objects for a long time. But separation gets old after a while. And when allness is together-forever, that gets old, too. When Point A is one with Point B, you can’t draw a line between them. You’ve got to have separate pieces to create relationship, and you’ve got to have relationship to feel anything. Now you get to be apart from the world or a part of the world. Your choice. To feel closeness and warmth, you’ve got to have cold separation as a possibility.”

“So that there’s stuff to sing about,” the boy interrupted, almost.

The Great Why smiled out at the boy. Being nearly interrupted was his favorite thing. As an entrepreneurial Why, it felt especially good to be told when he was doing a good job.

“You got it, kid. A while ago, many people felt connection with the world around them. They had to pay attention to how it moved, if they wanted to eat. They stuck their hands in the earth. People watched how a deer would leap, and where a deer would leap, so they could leap in front of it. People noticed how and when a cotyledon sprouted in the sun. They payed attention to cycles, allowing the spin of the earth to tell them when to poke seeds in it. Then some people stopped looking around outside. They watched the patterns in their minds instead, and saw the straight lines of their own reasoning. Other people brought them food, and started paying attention to what was in their heads, a place where points and lines exist without curves. People began to forget that the food was ever alive like they were. They forgot that it lived and died like they did and was made of the same stuff. Eventually people separated themselves from the world around them. Now they fly in a straight line from point A to point B without really noticing either one. And they complain about the food people bring them while they fly.”
“Time to put the world back together again,” said the boy.



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