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ROHIT GUPTA
SPACE MONKEY

Rohit Gupta (@fadesingh on Twitter) is a mathematician who thinks the universe is a hologram projected by a microscopic disco ball.

In search of Crystal Radio Sunrise

A representation of legend Timaeus from the Japanese game Eye of Timaeus

ow a civilisation thinks about the universe is directly reflected in the behaviour of its people," says Timaeus, in my dream.

"I would suppose so in Ancient Egypt and the divinity of kings, but what about the modern world? For thousands of years, we have believed that the universe is made of particles. We began with the fire-earth-water thing and then atoms, now we have come down to leptons and quarks," I tried to reason.

"Democracy is based on the very idea that people are particles, grains of shifting sand..." — he interrupts my ramble — "...and all that matters is statistical observations like Gross National Product, the stock market index and so forth. All of this is well-studied under the subject known as thermodynamics. Its another matter that you've always hated statistics and probability." I wasn't expecting to be rebuked by a thought-form ghost of a man who may or may not have lived two thousand years ago in Greece. It is true, I hate statistics. And yet I am not a stranger to its impact on the modern world. Timaeus continues..."In this shattered world, particles collide with each other on a vast scale, and all we are able to observe are things like overall temperature."

I had a funny thought, which I voiced - "In a sense, the view from a particle physicist's eyes is not unlike the traffic situation at Chakala junction in Andheri. " Timaeus, being a simulated creature of the artificial universe in my head, has no sense of humour and does not laugh.

"Complete and utter chaos, that is what I mean, Timmy." I explain further. "The idea that our world is essentially 'out of control' gives power to people who claim to understand it - such as scientists and priests and spiritual gurus. This power is commodified by people who claim to be able to harness this knowledge to create social harmony and progress - such as governments and beauty soap manufacturers. What would happen, tell me Oh Wise Timaeus, if it was discovered that the world is not some broken gas of smithereens - atoms and molecules, this and that, particles running amok - but one complete indivisible whole?"

{
In a sense, the view from a particle physicist’s eyes is not unlike the traffic situation at Chakala junction in Andheri. Complete and utter chaos, that is what I mean, Timmy

"In your world, people are enslaved by puny rulers and desires because they have never imagined anything better. They believe they are particles too, billions of blistering barnacles as it were. A jar of fireflies left on a log in the winter. Neither history nor lore offers a single idea that can give them any other hope. Separated at birth from the protective womb, they feel abandoned by the cosmos. Your civilisation thinks like an orphan, you harbour the ambitions of a prom night dumpster baby. My fanny needs a blanket, and somebody to spank it...I miss my mom...but she's at the prommmm! And I'm a prom night dumpster baby!"  Timaeus is still not perfect and has many bugs and one of these is to try and sing.

"Enough!" I retort, "...its not as bad as that. The bacteria that live in the human body may also behave like particles, but doesn't mean they believe in particle physics."

"They have free wireless Internet though, " replied Timaeus, hinting at some reports based on the work of French virologist Luc Montagnier, which indicate that the genetic material of bacteria contains a sort of radio transmitter.

I have often wondered whether the human mind, and our very consciousness, is some sort of shared radio network. Where do thoughts come from, and whither do they go? Or perhaps there is some secret radio inside the human species that has waited for millions of years for the moment when a gene mutates upon being hit by a neutrino burst from a neighbourhood supernova, and for the first time in history, the genetic radio is switched on. A scream gargles through our ears like the analog screech of a medieval modem, the genetic quasicrystal radio shakes a hand with some invisible protocol and frequency, and all across the earth people hear a low hum. A voice soothing and serene, a sound that would be a whisper if it were not the universe, and one giant organism breathing.

"You're mad. And I'm out of your mind," says Timaeus and vanishes behind my eyelids.

 
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