Super Ape: a brief history of the Universe

January 28, 2019

 

Part 1: Big bang

 

Crash!

Bang!

Wallop!

 

Something forged out of a massive nothing,

A singular density,

The beginning of time.

 

A universe, at once infinitesimally small

And infinitely dense,

Foretelling our seemingly thin grip on reality.

 

As far as the eye can see,

Beyond even light,

The eternal expansion of a septillion stars,

 

Spells the story of how we came to be,

From the mist of nebulae long since scattered,

The shattered corpse of a rising solar sea.

 

Who can foresee where we’re going,

In a universe of infinite complexity?

Is our goal to explain all at once what we see?

 

And what does it all mean?

 

What we see, obscured by notions of a creator,

Unlikely as they seem, in a universe

That lacks any arbitrary order.

A universe that defers to chaos in a heartbeat.

And what does it all mean?

 

From Einstein to Heisenberg,

Relativity not so general in a world of Uncertainty,

Where strings don’t make the orchestra.

 

It’s the Principle of it.

 

A Quantum of solace,

mind blown.

It's nice to know,

amidst all that we do know,

we haven't a clue what's really going on.

 

The fabric of reality,

as tangible as a duvet

that floats away as the sleeper dreams

and possibly freezes.

 

Intangible, it seems.

But, like a duvet,

comfortable.

 

Sweet dreams…


 

Part 2: The birth of the Super Ape

 

A glorious, technicolour bundle of life,

Abundant in ores christened within a fiery core.

 

Blazing a dizzy path around a glistening star;

Flying through infinite, atomless space, and time.

 

Each passing day a mere revolution among the trillions,

Among the trillions, evolution unto Gaia.

 

A pale blue dot, of balmy blue seas,

An infinity pool of infinite infinites -

 

The origin of species,

Bubbling forth from the alkaline froth,

Convection currents in a hydrothermal vent,

Circulating through a primordial broth.

 

Four billion years from nucleic chance

To the mossy fur of a slovenly sloth.

 

What were the chances?

 

Before the watchmaker’s eyes

Were even there to go blind,

The mysterious chemistry of a land

Before an uncontemplated time.

 

If only we could delve

Into those first three minutes,

The quantum minutiae

Of two big bangs.

 

Two apparent singularities, of two

Disparate but not dissimilar sorts.

 

Life, the universe,

And two beginnings of time,

Brought forth

To all we see today.

 

From the eyes of the beholder, the eyes

Of the Super Ape.


 

Part 3: Rise of the Super Ape

 

African blood is flowing through my veins,

I and I

You and me.

 

60 000 years and twice out of Africa,

One lot down to Australia, seemingly free,

Until the Empire’s rejects sealed their fate.

 

Elsewhere, amidst the waves of immigration,

Innovation, in a Fertile Crescent,

From nomadic steppe to civilisation.

 

The seeds of static cities,

Stratified societies,

Borne through selection - a tough rachis.

 

Seeds, no longer ear-dropped,

But threshed on hard rock

And ground to make bread.

 

A hard knock life,

Easy like Sunday Mornings

For the priests.

 

Indus to Babylon, Persia and Greece,

Innovation fueled the feast,

As China, in the East, paved the way

 

For fire and fury,

As the demise of Rome

Sank the West into obscurity.

 

Until, finally, out of Feudal insecurity,

Through black deaths and rabid inquisitions,

Squalid superstitions…

 

The Rise of the Super Ape,

Da Vinci, Galileo,

The renaissance man,

 

Showed us that science can

Explain the world

Better than demons.

 

African blood is flowing through my veins,

But I and I,

Still waiting in vain for acceptance of fact through fanciful fiction.

 

2% out of 100,

Apparently enough to represent a contradiction

Amid the rampant onslaught of our present mass extinction.

 

Part 4: Consumer Ape

 

It paints a painful picture,

A technicolour world rendered greyscale.

Coral reefs bleached and deceased,

Algae, pickled, under battery acid seas.

 

A fickle audience consumes

Organic vegetables in a plastic bag,

And amongst the stomachs of seabirds we exhume

Are plastic bits of plastic shit in plastic fish of plastic doom.

 

Plastic thread on plastic looms,

As if the wool of two or three billion sheep

Is somehow a luxurious commodity.

 

2018, a batshit insane odyssey,

Through scorching fields and burning rain.

This swarm of seven billion sprawls,

Slashing trees and spitting fire,

Orangutans toasted under Napalm pyres

For palm oil so we can eat Nutella.

 

On biodiversity, we live or die.

No matter if cruise missiles rain from the sky,

A nuclear winter is no more of a splinter

To Mother Nature’s beating heart

On which our civilised world relies.

In the eyes of the destroyer,

The savage lives a simple life

But the want to be at one with nature

Is the elixir for all to thrive.

 

On biodiversity, we live, or die.

 

But, whether a climate change denier,

Or indeed - a believer,

Opulent omnivore,

Or frugal vegan.

 

We’re all complicit.

 

I want to to buy a fancy car

I want to travel near and far

I want to fly to Zanzibar

We're all complicit.

 

I want the latest Apple phone

I want to let my data roam

I want my life engraved in chrome

We're all complicit.

 

I want my showers steaming hot

I want the stove to heat my pot

I want it all I want the lot

We’re all complicit.

 

<Google search> Extinction </>

<Google search> Deforestation </>

<Google search> Environmental destruction </>

 

OK Google: What’s inside my smartphone?

 

Oil for plastic,

Copper, zinc -

And where do we find it?

We mine it.

 

And where do we look,

Once the reserves run dry?

We plunder the rainforests

And the animals still die.

 

It’s easy to chastise big business, big pharma, big ag:

But are we any wiser?

And where would we be?

 

Paper straws are a soggy needle in a plastic-fueled haystack…

 

 

Part 5: Computer Ape

 

Red pill or blue pill?

A third singularity lies just ahead,

Pending the choices we make.

 

Terminator or life saver?

The answers to the questions lie within and without

Binary calculations and quantum machinations.

 

Artificial intelligence.

Machines that learn.

Would they ever yearn?

 

What defines life?

Replication, reproduction, adaptation.

3D printers and Google working in an interconnected web...

 

The virus lies dormant, for now.

 

Will the conquerors of the future

Be Human, Cyborg, or machine?

Where is the plug to be pulled in a world living in the Cloud?

 

Every firewall has a leaky hose pipe spraying loosely at the back.

 

Surely the master can’t be overthrown.

The masters of our planet, galaxy, the whole simulation perhaps?

 

The next stage in evolution.

 

The computer ape,

Glued to the screen, behind the wheel

Of an all-knowing servant.

 

The rise of technology,

The best is yet to come.

For who?

 

 

Part 6: Future Ape

 

Crash!

Bang!

Wallop!

 

The tidal wave of an asteroid splash

Drowns the rainforest we’ve finally learned to conserve

And we glance up to the pale red dot.

 

Humanity’s last chance,

Vanished in an armageddon,

Long since the last breath escaped Bruce Willis.

We die hard.

 

Driftwood from the Amazon sea

Becomes the coal of a future generation

Of amphibious octopuses,

Who’ll learn to combust it all the same,

Eventually.

 

The humans drift among the stars,

Existing on synthetically-derived products,

Yearning to return to a pale blue dot

Of balmy blue seas and infinite infinities.

 

Life on Mars,

Dubai was the practise run -

When the baking sands

Become too inhospitable,

The oil long since gone,

The caliphate will fly.

Beyond Burj Khalifa,

A million miles and more,

High on the sands

Of a cold, red planet

Barely insulated

By the distant sun.

 

But no matter how far we run,

We can’t escape the light.

 

The end of the world.

A hot sphere blazing red,

Searing flesh and melting roads,

Blocked as the exodus

In vain tries to reach

The dark side of the globe.

 

The end of the road.

 

At the speed of light,

Ages vanish into ages past.

 

The Super Ape expires, at last.

 

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