Dec 202017
 

Not a story, not a poem, not really sure what it is TBH. But David Smith wrote it…  

Let There be Light 

  • ‘Let there be light,’ he said, and there was light.
  • First there was a singularity, so small it hardly existed at all. Then it exploded and created everything…
  • Once there was a void. Then there was a gap in the void. Everything lighter than the void floated up to make the heavens. Everything heavier than the void fell and made the earth…
  • Once there was a nose and a Great Green Arkleseizure…
  • Once there was chaos, a yawning nothingness. Nyx. From chaos emerged the gods of creation: Gaia, Eros, Tarterus, Erebus…
  • Once there was only Theta, a life force, an energy. Then Theta created MEST…
  • Once there was a turtle and on that turtle’s back was a great, flat disc…
  • Once there was a great Cosmic Ocean…
  • Once there was a great Cosmic Egg…
  • Once there was a virgin who found herself with child…
  • Once there was a programmer who wrote a new code…

Let’s face it, we haven’t got a clue, really, have we? We’re arguing over things we know nothing about.

Science thinks it knows – well, likes to think it thinks it knows – but it’s chased its own tail up so many wrong paths it’s hard for anyone to say what exactly it is it thinks it thinks it knows anymore. All it’s really come up with, in terms of the much-sought Theory of Everything, are two favoured models, both theoretically proven to the nth degree and each completely incompatible with the other. We know two wrongs can’t make a right, but how many wrongs do two rights make? Is it two wrongs, one big wrong, or are both those rights wrong in the first place? And if it’s the latter, where’s the third right – the right right – that can make sense of it all? Oh. M Theory. That’s something to look forward to then… Basically, it boils down to “we haven’t got all the answers yet, but if we put our faith in science one day we will have”. Now where have I heard that word faith before?

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands (I should really Google it but I can’t be arsed*) of different religions in which believers can put their faith, and they all seem sure they’ve got the definitive answer. Many of them have arrived at pretty-much the same answer, but they put a great deal of time, energy and venom into arguing over the details. The details, depending on your personal taste in idioms, can contain god or the devil, but ironically both variations effectively mean the same thing. So that doesn’t help much, does it? Whichever you pick, nine times out of ten the evils that man collectively inflicts on his fellow man are purportedly sanctioned by some god or other, so good and evil, it would seem, are intimately intertwined.

Of course, I am completely ignorant. I’m not a great physicist or a learned theologian or inspired philosopher; I’m just a rather poorly educated bloke with a word processor and access to the internet. But it strikes me that in this stuff we’re all ignorant – just ignorant to different degrees and in different ways. And if we’re all ignorant, then what gives any of us the right to point the finger at anyone else? Such arrogance!

I’m not sure where Christmas comes into all this, but I think it does, and I think that over the years it’s become a word that many are uncomfortable with. Mainly that’s because of the “Christ” bit, which is sacred to some and anathema to others, but I think that’s far too much power to invest in a single word, especially when for many it means nothing more than an old and inconsistently told fairytale. So you don’t need to bore me with explanations of its pagan origins in the winter solstice and its usurpation by the Christian church, or the Romans and Saturnalia, or the feast offered to the sun god, Sol, on the very day that some now celebrate the birth of Christ… Christmas is just a sound, a noise made by the human larynx to express a concept that means many different things to many different people. That is all.

But everything starts somewhere (though some physicists might disagree), and for me Christmas starts with fond memories of loved ones who are no longer here and the very simple idea that for just one or two days of the year we can all try that little bit harder to be nicer to one another and to get along. Whether it started with a bang, or a sneeze, or a river, or an egg, the idea of a special day to celebrate that incredibly improbable event seems a good one, and aligning it to a date – however accurately or inaccurately – that’s been so significant for so long for so many seems a good idea too. It’s all part of the line, the continuum, between then and now.

While the bigger question of how all this came about remains unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) there is one thing we can all, hand on heart, say with a degree of certainty: we could all try a little bit harder to be a little bit kinder. A couple of days is probably the most we can keep that up for (if we can manage that, horrid, selfish, argumentative little creatures that we are!), but the rest of the year will be none the worse for that.

Merry Christmas. […insertnamehere…] bless us, every one.

 

* I did in the end… around four to four-and-a-half- thousand was the first answer I got, and that’ll do for me.

 

  4 Responses to “On the Eighth Day of Christmas…”

  1. Interesting piece. The prompt also made me think about faith, certainty and knowledge – I like your observation about putting faith in science. And yes to more kindness, for sure.

  2. And yet another ukulele! 🙂

  3. Thanks David. I found your piece very thought provoking. Whilst it reminded me of how the human species can be so confrontational and intransigent over matters that are just conjecture the final paragraphs are uplifting and a great message for Christmas! 🙂 . Good old Tiny Tim!

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