Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Story

You may find this story upsetting.

There is a science fiction story about the atrophy of the universe but I do not remember the title or the author – perhaps Isaac Asimov. It has been too many years and I'm not certain.

In the story, mankind is concerned about the atrophy of the universe -- the death of the universe. Men and women build a great computer to find a way to prevent the atrophy but the computer fails. As generations pass, more powerful computers are constructed but fail to find a solution. Eventually, mankind becomes disembodied spirits with even greater computers but no way to stop the universe’s atrophy. Finally, there remains one star in the universe and two spirits. All other stars and spirits have died. The two ask the computer how to prevent the death of the last star and the computer replies “There is insufficient data at this time to reply”. The last star fades, the last two spirits die and the computer exists in darkness pondering the one question that it was never able to answer. Suddenly, the computer stops calculating and sits quietly for a time and then says “Let there be light” and there was light!

Does this story upset you? I know people who would react very strongly to this story and would call it heresy and would exhibit violent emotion.

I think there is no hope for the world until we can listen to one another’s stories with attention and sincere interest and without feeling threatened.

Tell me your story. I want to know and understand.


Blogger George Breed said...

I love that story (Isaac Asimov). Matter eventually becomes spirit which then creates matter. It is an ouroborous story -- the cosmic snake swallowing its tail and cycling round and round. Thanks for reviving that one, Paul!

11/10/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

This story does not upset me. It gives me hope. The message I take from it is this: When all is gone, God is there. God was there in the beginning. He'll be with us even after death. In God, there is always hope.
"Let there be light." Indeed!

11/10/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

PS. I quite enjoy your observations. I've added you to my blogroll.

11/10/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I agree with you, that there are multiple stories, even within one individual (like myself), and we must be willing to expose our questions without reprisal or rejection. A great mind encompasses all things, is patient with process, allows the evolving of Faith and stories.

11/10/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I think that one of my worst failings is not listening to other people's stories enough.

Thank you for your post.

11/10/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Round Belly said...

Rather than think about the universe dying. I prefer to think of it never ending. There is no end to spirit, to love, to glory, to freedom and BEING!

11/10/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

My story also involves light. This light shined from the pages of an ancient book and changed my life forever. It came at a time that found me as a transgressor against everything that I had been taught as a youth. From that moment I have striven toward excellence, even if on a given day I have failed at mediocrity. The light continues to lead me - as I choose to follow it.

I do enjoy your posts, keep up the good work. ec

11/10/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

I'm gonna have to get that book!

11/10/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Stacy, It was a short story. I'll try to get the title and author for you. I think it was Asimov. He died a few years ago and was an interesting person. He wrote science fiction, educational science books for children, came from a Jewish background but wrote on some Christian themes, may have been an athiest. I'm not certain how accurate this is but he was definitely interesting.

He was riding on a train with his wife who accused him of being unable to write a love story. To prove he could he quickly wrote a love story set in a science fiction context. Very creative.

11/10/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Stacey, I found it.

. . . Asimov's views as a humanist are brought out clearly in one of his most famous short stories, "The Last Question." The story spans the entire existence of the universe, and the plot reveals the existence of God. In the near future, man has invented a super computer known as a Multivac. The computer is asked if entropy (the winding down or loss of energy in the universe) can be reversed. The computer says that not enough data is available. The story progresses many eons and through the years, the computers evolve along with man, and at each stage, it is asked if entropy can be reversed, and the answer always comes back that there is not enough data at that time. In the final stage, human kind has evolved into one mind free of body, and co-exists with the computer which exists in hyperspace. As the universe come to an end and man fades out, the computer discovers how to reverse entropy, and says "Let there be light (P. 246)."

atrophy / entropy -- My memory is atrophying -- or is it suffering from entropy. Ummm, most likely it's both.

11/10/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

That sounds like a really good book. To be honest, I've never really read much in the sci-fi realm, but your synopsis caught my interest! I've heard so many good things about this Asimov character that I should probably give him a try, and since it's just a short story, it wouldn't hurt to sample him that way!

11/10/2005 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

Some choose their path. Most blindly follow the bell of the Judas goat. It is all circles within circles within circles. The object is to make it though the night.

A disturbing concept? Not at all. A disturbing story about a hateful, meglamaniac masquerading as a loving deity would give me pause.

11/11/2005 01:59:00 PM  

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