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Reply #23: "The Universe... [View All]

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MorningGlow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-27-11 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
23. "The Universe...
"...as has been observed before, is an unsettling big place. The fact which, for the sake of a quiet life, most people tend to ignore. Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings, in fact, do.

"For instance, in one corner of the Eastern Galactic Arm lies the great forest planet Oglaroon. The entire intelligent population of which lives permanently in one fairly small and crowded nut tree. In which tree theyre born, live, fall in love, carve tiny, speculative articles in the bark on the meaning of life, the futility of death, and the importance of birth control, fight a few - very minor - wars, and eventually die strapped to the underside of some of the less accessible outer branches.

"In fact, the only Oglaroonians who ever leave their tree at all are those who are hurled out for the heinous crime of wondering whether any of the other trees might be capable of supporting life at all, or indeed be anything other than illusions brought on by eating too many Oglanuts.

"Exotic though this behaviour may seem, there is no life-form in the galaxy not in some way guilty of the same thing. Which is why the Total Perspective Vortex is as horrific as it undoubtedly is. For when you are put in the Vortex, you are given just one, momentary glimpse of the size of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation along with a tiny little marker saying, 'You are here'.

"The Vortex derives its picture of the whole universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses. To explain - since every piece of matter in the universe is in someway affected by every other piece of matter in the universe, it is, in theory, possible to extrapolate the whole of creation - every galaxy, every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition, and their economic and social history, from, say - one small piece of fairy cake.

"The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so, basically, in order to annoy his wife. Trin Tragula, for that was his name, was a dreamer, a speculative thinker, or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he would spend staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake. 'Have some sense of proportion,' she would say, thirty-eight times a day.

"And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex - just to show her. And in one end he plugged the whole of reality, as extrapolated from a fairy cake, and in the other end he plugged his wife - so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it. To Trin Tragulas horror, the shock annihilated her brain. But to his satisfaction, he realised he had conclusively proved that if life is going to exist in a universe this size, the one thing it cannot afford to have, is a sense of proportion. And it is into this Vortex that Zaphod Beeblebrox has been put, and from which, a few seconds later, he emerges..."

ZAPHOD: Hi.

GARGRAVARR: Beeblebrox! Youre!

ZAPHOD: Fine, fine. Could I have a drink please?

GARGRAVARR: Youve been in the Vortex?!

ZAPHOD: You saw me, kid.

GARGRAVARR: And you saw the whole infinity of creation?!

ZAPHOD: The lot baby - its a real neat place, you know?

GARGRAVARR: And you saw yourself in relation to it all?!

ZAPHOD: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GARGRAVARR: And what did you experience?!

ZAPHOD: It just told me what I knew all the time: Im a really great guy! Didnt I tell ya, baby? I am Zaphod Beeblebrox!

;)
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