Monday, January 26, 2009

You Brain Too Short To Box With Santa Claus

So the Peeper wanted to sleep out on the living room sofa. I made him a cozy nest on the big down couch, tucked him in, kissed him goodnight and went back to shove some wood filler in the uglier of the out-of-plumb gaps in the window mouldings. In less than two minutes I heard crying from the living room.

"I had a bad dream" announces the Peeper as I entered, wiping wood filler of my fingers.

"Peep,you haven't even been to sleep yet..." I replied, sitting on the couch next to him. That layed him a dead stymie.

"Well...I had a scary thought in my head and I couldn't get it out."

Well, that's different. So I cuddled him and we talked about scary stuff and how the daylight is nice but the dark changes stuff and makes it scary. I showed him the tree outside that was the same, and the cars were the same, and the houses. He said that trees grow and change, they start out little and change and grow. I reminded him that that was over years, not one night.

He was okay with that.

Then he struck out on a completely unexpected tangent. "What happened before there was anything? When there was nothing, before everything was made?" I said I wasn't sure, that there were lots of different ideas, but that lots of really smart people thought that there was this time when everything was all together in one tiny place, and then, in an instant, it rushed outwards like the hyperspace in Star Wars (Note: parents will recognize this as the "find a kid hook to hang your concept on" strategy) and all the universe and the galaxies and stars and planets started.

He thought about this for a little.

"I really want to know about that stuff, I think about it a lot." he said, "I really think about what was there before everything and how everything is."

I agreed that that was something to know about, and that he could learn a lot about it and think about it and he might be the one to find out the answer.

"I think only one person knows everything, maybe two." he announced, a little sleepily.

"Who's that?"

"I think maybe Santa Claus." he yawned, "And God."

"Goodnight, Peeper." I kissed his soft, little-boy-smelling hair.

"G'night, Dada." he said, snuggling down into his blankets.

And I turned down the light.


walternatives said...

An amazing little dude, that Peep. Did he stay on the couch all night?

FDChief said...

W: Yep. He was until a moment ago, when the naughty cats woke him feuding with a rival outside. Now he's cuddling with Mojo on our bed as I get ready for work.

Oh, and Maxine woke up, too, at 5:15. I tucked her back in with a juice sippy, but I'll bet she's up again in a minute.

Early risers, these little folks.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

I viscerally remember how that concept of the expanding universe used to make my head spin when I was small. We had a 4000-acre ranch in Southern CO back then, and I'd lie on my back in the empty pasture and just gaze at the sky for hours, trying to imagine it. It would literally make my brain itch, but I couldn't stop trying. I mean, how can something be infinite but expanding????

FDChief said...

WD: I have to admit to being as fascinated as the Peep and you are about the Universe and the expansion or contraction thereof. It's the Biggest of Big Questions. I just think it's pretty cool that he thinks about it at age five. I hope he never loses that wondering...

mike said...

Hopefully, Santa and God know the answer for we do not, regardless of Sagan and Hawking and the rest of their crew.

I do not reject Hubbel's red-shift. And the evolution of the stars do seem to support the theory. However, there are still too many unknowns, they are "known unknowns" to quote my least-favorite SecDef.

There were many that challenged the "big bang" as introducing too much religion into science.

But steady-state believers are out of fashion. So I like the theory that a big-bang happened, but that it was an isolated event in a march larger universe which we have not yet been able to observe due to the limited range of our astronomical sensors.

FDChief said...
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FDChief said...

I should probably admit at this point that as a child (of perhaps eight or nine) I had a recurring dream wherein I travelled in a ship to the outer edge of the universe. Said edge was an enormous cardboard wall. I drifted up to the top of the wall where it met the equally enormous cardboard ceiling. There was a vast light-filled opening where the two met, and I and my spaceship travelled to and through it, only to emerge as tiny figures in my bedroom, where the entire universe was contained in a cardboard shoebox on my dresser.

I'm not sure what that means, or meant. But at the time it seemed profoundly reassuring.

Lisa said...


Your dream was quite profound. It told you that you had everything you needed right here.

My recurring dream concerned infinity. I would go to the edge of the universe, which was, of course, a fence, and wondered what was beyond that. Other universes circumscribed by other fences, but what was beyond that? What happens when you get to the end of infinity?

By definition, infinite, but I was certain there was an end to what we could could conceptualize as space/matter/time, and I wanted to know what that new thing looked like.

FDChief said...

Lisa: Being finite ourselves, I think we like to round our little universes with a sleep. Or a fence. Or a cardboard box. OR something.

Not sure if that has something to do with the rarity of Einsteins and Newtons, the sorts of people who are comfy working around infinite universes.

Lisa said...

The dilemma may be that our consciousness is infinite, yet it is encompassed by this limiting body box. So yes, we come into life with a conception of my, me and mine -- our unrelenting and undeniable needs, and then everyone elses, which inevitably encroach upon and delimit ours.

If there is more than what we perceive, that is what the human conception of an "afterlife" is. I find that one rather funny, because it is only "after" to us -- how quintessentially egotistical! Everything is right now.

But that knowledge wouldn't create very obedient or obeisant stewards, would it?