Friday, October 07, 2011

The Late Night Show in the Cheap Motel

I like cheap motels.  And I recently stayed in one.  The name or the place does not matter.  It was between Georgia and New York City.  There is a certain charm to a cheap motel.  For one thing, such a place does not glare glitz.  The place where I stayed was reasonably clean.  The lady at the reception desk was friendly.  She took my information and my money and then gave me the little plastic card for the door and pointed me in the direction of my room.
It was a one floor motel.  As I went to my room, I passed some people partying it up outside and inside their room.  They sat on lawn chairs and seemed friendly and were definitely having a good time.  They were drinking beer and had a bunch of little kids. They said hello to me as I passed and I wondered if they would ask me to join them later on.
The door card worked.  There was a big screen TV with a remote in my room, a little coffee machine, shampoo, soap, conditioner, a little coffee machine with four packets of coffee and a bunch of Styrofoam cups.  The lady at the desk told me that there would be a continental breakfast available in the morning.
It was a bit stuffy so I turned on the air conditioner and got ready for bed.  It was late, and I was tired.
I got into bed, kicked off the covers, bundled up all the pillows so I could lean on them, and turned on the TV.  With the proper aim of the remote, going from channel to channel was easy.
I settled on a show that was on the Science Channel.  It was all about the beginning and the end of things, of everything.  The commentator was a young British guy and he was pleasant enough to listen to and to watch.  He offered all kinds of interesting examples of what he called “entropy.”  That word means, basically, that everything in a closed system goes from order to disorder.  Disorder is the more operative of the two.  It has the upper hand.  It is inevitable.  The British guy showed a castle made of sand that eventually was washed away.  He had other examples too.  Melting ice cubes. He spoke of one of the qualities of time as being a process.  History moves forward.  The universe moves.  One thing happens after another.  There are sequences, developments, chapters, evolutions and revolutions.
So things get better for a while.  Then they corrode.  And rot or die.
I began to feel ill at ease.
I could hear the party outside.  They had not asked me to join them. Now I was wishing they had.
It got worse.
The British man said that the end will come.  In a few billion years, our sun will run out of whatever makes it a big hot source of light and energy and will became a dwarf star.  A puny little thing.  And then it will, finally, become a dark star and everything will be sucked into it, never to return.  Gone for good.  Into the dark hole.
Te British guy said that there would be nothing left.  And to top it off, he said that every star in the universe, every single one, is doomed to the same fate.  In other words, the entire cosmos is destined to be the same that it was before it was.  Nothing.  No matter, no rain or sunshine or earth, wind and fire or Tina Turner.
I cannot remember the end of the show.  Maybe the British guy said something along the lines of enjoying ourselves while we can.  In fact, I think he did say something like that.
Maybe I should have crashed the party that was still going on outside.
Instead, I started to watch the next show.
It was some special with Stephen Hawking, the world famous physicist who has charmed millions and enraged millions.  He has a disease that has left him physically impaired – he has to communicate through a machine – but his mind is incredibly active.
He warmed up to his topic – explaining how the idea of God is just that – an idea – and how science can explain all that people have used God to explain.
It was getting very late.  I was still thinking about the first show and how everything was going to end and vanish and never come back. Including Stephen Hawking.
Then I thought of something.  Actually, I thought of two things.
As far as the first show, the word that came to me was “push.”  This whole thing is being pushed.  Just like when a woman has to push to give birth, God pushed this Cosmos into being from the womb of the void and he is still pushing.
With a flick of the Divine Wrist, everything came into being and is growing, decaying, coming to life again, decaying.  Yin and Yang.
Secondly, I had just seen a friend of mine that morning who is a philosopher.  A professional philosopher.  He wrote a letter to the New York Times and it was published.  He wrote to suggest that someone should not criticize the work of another if one does not have sympathy for it – it one does not share a sense of the world under critique.  He was, specifically, complaining about a writer who wrote about religion in a negative way and did not or could not share the vision of that religion.  In short, my friend suggested that he is an outsider.  Not in the game.  I thought that was a fair criticism.
So, maybe Stephen Hawking should stick to his figurings about the universe without crossing the yard to his religiously inspired neighbors and trashing their party.
A flick of the wrist.  Magic.  Creation.  Something out of nothing.
The party outside had quieted down.  I heard a bit of laughter.  Then it was quiet.
I turned off the TV with a flick of the button.  The screen went blank.
A flick of the wrist, yes.
Goodness, mercy, hope, love, redemptive suffering, going an extra mile, giving from one’s want to those who have little.  Wondrous things that are of as wondrous an origin.  When it all ends, may there be another slight of hand, another flick of the wrist, a new card thrown into the void that then magically comes to life – bringing into being all that was and is, seen and unseen, pushing, pushing, pushing.

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