Friday, June 3, 2011

2001 A Space Odyssey

I've noticed this strange trend of the handful of blog followers I have. Every time a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship of mine ends I lose one follower, the ex-girlfriend. I suppose my writing is dull enough that once you're done dating me, you'd rather just not read it. Well I will try my best to make sure this entry does not disappoint.

Oh about the relationship, yeah, it ended. I don't have the desire to get married in the fancy-pants Mormon ceremonial buildings. Go back about 6 months and you can find another entry about that, if you want. No need to go over it again. Am I heart broken? Well I was for about 18 hours, really I was. I certainly took it a little harder than the prior one (varying levels of intimacy can do that), but then I was just like, "Eh, it happened again. Same girl, different body. Whatever." A month from now she'll just be retired to that deep hole of mostly-good memories with my 14 other ex girlfriends.

Wow, I must be doing this dating thing wrong.. Oh well.. Makes breakups a piece of cake!

Fortunately being single, unemployed and out of classes frees up more time for me to be lonely! Oh joy! This has been filled mainly with video games the last couple days but today I decided to read. I had been hovering around finishing 2001 : A Space Odyssey for about well... since I met her. I read the remainder of it tonight and wow. Literary genius.

Sure it was written in 1968 and it has a few incorrect ideas about what life was like a decade ago, but if you can see past that it's an amazing story. I won't spoil the story to anyone who hasn't read it, but you should definitely read it if you have not. Also if you have not, I'll probably spoil a thing or two in this blog, so you may want to use discretion, but I'll be subtle.

The book really gets you thinking about all kinds of interesting topics. Towards the end it discusses the possibility of extra terrestrials and what they would be like. I found the debate that the main character has with himself to be quite entertaining. First he wonders, since they couldn't possibly live within our solar system, how they got their monolith to the Earth system. He thinks about the distance that the nearest star is and how it would take thousands of years for his ship, which is faster than anything we have today, to reach. Then discusses physical possibilities that despite how well special relativity (the theory that says we can't travel faster than light) has stood up for the past century that maybe one could circumvent this using what the author, Clark, describes as lines straighter than straight.

This concept I find fascinating as it is basically the idea of a wormhole. What if rather than having the shortest distance from point A to point B be a straight line, you can actually bend space-time and have point A and point B be one in the same? Very sci-fi sounding, but physicists in a 1988 paper postulated a wormhole as a possible solution to general relativity and many others who are far more intelligent than I will ever be and say things that I could never hope to interpret or understand have found other potential ways to, in theory, manipulate space-time.

What's interesting about this is that, from my understanding anyway, if you can manipulate space and time, since space and time are relative, you can also manipulate time. This means that if a wormhole were to be possible which, from our understanding it is not, you could jump through time as well as space, trippy. Marty McFly and I could be buddies.

Anyway, from here the character began thinking about how maybe the creators of this monolith are not human-like at all. Maybe they did travel here on a spaceship and thousands of years was nothing but a slightly boring inconvenience to them. Then he began thinking about other possibilities. What do they look like? Are they simply bipeds like we are or not? Personally, if ET's were to exist, I don't think I would expect them to be bipedal. The reason we walk on two feet is because of billions of years of evolution causing this form to be the one that fit best for our species. Why then would all sentient life have to be the same? One thing I've always disliked about most sci-fi is that it never addresses this issue. I suppose Star Trek did once in its story of how one civilization influenced evolution on many planets creating many bipedal sentient races. Kind of reminiscent of playing God I guess.

Then he wondered if the beings responsible for the monolith were even biological. Why couldn't they have developed machines to contain their consciousness in? Why not a step further. Why could they not simply be just pure energy or, in effect, just a spirit? I found the whole chapter where the author writs him contemplating this stuff to be the high point of a fantastic story.

It really got me thinking about these same things. It's so fascinating. This is just me imagining at 4am, I don't really feel I have any way to validate or devalidate (is that a word?) these thoughts, but what if it's not that far off? What if our creators were simply sentient energy which saw a planet with high potential for evolutionary magic and simply influenced it in such a way that we are what we are? Is that really that far off from a Christian held belief? I mean sure, the stories we're told in church don't really support it, but doesn't it seem more likely? Maybe when we die they preserve our consciousness or translate it to something else in store for a later date when it can be reunited with our body, or not. Isn't that basically what the Christian view of the afterlife is anyway?

Of course the author of the book is Christian, so it would make sense that his "Gods" would somewhat parallel the Christian God figure. Amazing story.

In other news I have an interview with Norwest Corporation on Wednesday. This excites me. I just hope, assuming the interview goes well, that my prior commitments to field camp in Oregon later that week don't interfere with a potential job.

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