You want a physicist to talk at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicst to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics, that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is ever destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid eergies of the cosmos you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walkto your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him or her that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were ever interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let him or her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are his or hers eyes, that those photons created within her or him, constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
The physicist will remind the congregation of how much energy is given off as heat. He will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
You you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure; that scientists have measured , precisely, the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope that your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know that your energy is still around.
According to the law of conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you are just less orderly.
Merlin does not approve.
Fred just died
But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.
Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal.
I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?
Jeeeez, I need to do something soon, going stir crazy.
- This is when I really miss smoking; when my hands are too tired to spin a pen around my fingers, when my legs are too tired to run, when my mind is too tired to write, and when my eyes are too tired to read.
- Not normally a problem, I can just call Iz, or we'll cuddle if we happen to be in the same place, but she's in Florida isn't she! Dancing with dolphins or some shit!! : ') Ahh man, I need something to happen soon.
- Oi! Don't call it 'some shit' you Poobag!!
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