The Last Question

By Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was the most prolific science fiction author of all time. In fifty years he averaged a new magazine article, short story, or book every two weeks, and most of that on a manual typewriter. Asimov thought that The Last Question, first copyrighted in 1956, was his best short story ever. Even if you do not have the background in science to be familiar with all of the concepts presented here, the ending packs more impact than any other book that I've ever read. Don't read the end of the story first!

This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.

After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won't tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything -- and I'm satisfied that it should.

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five-dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:

Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face -- miles and miles of face -- of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.

Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough. So Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully entitled to share in the glory that was Multivac's.

For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth's poor resources could not support the ships. Too much energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its coal and uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.

But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more fundamentally, and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.

The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a planet-wide scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning uranium, and flipped the switch that connected all of it to a small station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half the distance of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.

Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov finally managed to escape from the public functions, and to meet in quiet where no one would think of looking for them, in the deserted underground chambers, where portions of the mighty buried body of Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys appreciated that. They had no intention, originally, of disturbing it.

They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the moment was to relax in the company of each other and the bottle.

"It's amazing when you think of it," said Adell. His broad face had lines of weariness in it, and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily about. "All the energy we can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to draw on it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still never miss the energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever and forever and forever."

Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he wanted to be contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because he had had to carry the ice and glassware. "Not forever," he said.

"Oh, hell, just about forever. Till the sun runs down, Bert."

"That's not forever."

"All right, then. Billions and billions of years. Ten billion, maybe. Are you satisfied?"

Lupov put his fingers through his thinning hair as though to reassure himself that some was still left and sipped gently at his own drink. "Ten billion years isn't forever."

"Well, it will last our time, won't it?"

"So would the coal and uranium."

"All right, but now we can hook up each individual spaceship to the Solar Station, and it can go to Pluto and back a million times without ever worrying about fuel. You can't do that on coal and uranium. Ask Multivac, if you don't believe me.

"I don't have to ask Multivac. I know that."

"Then stop running down what Multivac's done for us," said Adell, blazing up, "It did all right."

"Who says it didn't? What I say is that a sun won't last forever. That's all I'm saying. We're safe for ten billion years, but then what?" Lupow pointed a slightly shaky finger at the other. "And don't say we'll switch to another sun."

There was silence for a while. Adell put his glass to his lips only occasionally, and Lupov's eyes slowly closed. They rested.

Then Lupov's eyes snapped open. "You're thinking we'll switch to another sun when ours is done, aren't you?"

"I'm not thinking."

"Sure you are. You're weak on logic, that's the trouble with you. You're like the guy in the story who was caught in a sudden shower and who ran to a grove of trees and got under one. He wasn't worried, you see, because he figured when one tree got wet through, he would just get under another one."

"I get it," said Adell. "Don't shout. When the sun is done, the other stars will be gone, too."

"Darn right they will," muttered Lupov. "It all had a beginning in the original cosmic explosion, whatever that was, and it'll all have an end when all the stars run down. Some run down faster than others. Hell, the giants won't last a hundred million years. The sun will last ten billion years and maybe the dwarfs will last two hundred billion for all the good they are. But just give us a trillion years and everything will be dark. Entropy has to increase to maximum, that's all."

"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.

"The hell you do."

"I know as much as you do."

"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."

"All right. Who says they won't?"

"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'

It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.


"Why not? Someday."


"Ask Multivac."

"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."

Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?

Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?

Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended.

Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

"No bet," whispered Lupov. They left hurriedly.

By next morning, the two, plagued with throbbing head and cottony mouth, had forgotten the incident.

Jerrodd, Jerrodine, and Jerrodette I and II watched the starry picture in the visiplate change as the passage through hyperspace was completed in its non-time lapse. At once, the even powdering of stars gave way to the predominance of a single bright shining disk, the size of a marble, centered on the viewing-screen.

"That's X-23," said Jerrodd confidently. His thin hands clamped tightly behind his back and the knuckles whitened.

The little Jerrodettes, both girls, had experienced the hyperspace passage for the first time in their lives and were self-conscious over the momentary sensation of insideoutness. They buried their giggles and chased one another wildly about their mother, screaming, "We've reached X-23 -- we've reached X-23 -- we've --"

"Quiet, children." said Jerrodine sharply. "Are you sure, Jerrodd?"

"What is there to be but sure?" asked Jerrodd, glancing up at the bulge of featureless metal just under the ceiling. It ran the length of the room, disappearing through the wall at either end. It was as long as the ship.

Jerrodd scarcely knew a thing about the thick rod of metal except that it was called a Microvac, that one asked it questions if one wished; that if one did not it still had its task of guiding the ship to a preordered destination; of feeding on energies from the various Sub-galactic Power Stations; of computing the equations for the hyperspatial jumps.

Jerrodd and his family had only to wait and live in the comfortable residence quarters of the ship. Someone had once told Jerrodd that the "ac" at the end of "Microvac" stood for ''automatic computer" in ancient English, but he was on the edge of forgetting even that.

Jerrodine's eyes were moist as she watched the visiplate. "I can't help it. I feel funny about leaving Earth."

"Why, for Pete's sake?" demanded Jerrodd. "We had nothing there. We'll have everything on X-23. You won't be alone. You won't be a pioneer. There are over a million people on the planet already. Good Lord, our great-grandchildren will be looking for new worlds because X-23 will be overcrowded." Then, after a reflective pause, "I tell you, it's a lucky thing the computers worked out interstellar travel the way the race is growing."

"I know, I know," said Jerrodine miserably.

Jerrodette I said promptly, "Our Microvac is the best Microvac in the world."

"I think so, too," said Jerrodd, tousling her hair.

It was a nice feeling to have a Microvac of your own and Jerrodd was glad he was part of his generation and no other. In his father's youth, the only computers had been tremendous machines taking up a hundred square miles of land. There was only one to a planet. Planetary ACs they were called. They had been growing in size steadily for a thousand years and then, all at once, came refinement. In place of transistors, had come molecular valves so that even the largest Planetary AC could be put into a space only half the volume of a spaceship.

Jerrodd felt uplifted, as he always did when he thought that his own personal Microvac was many times more complicated than the ancient and primitive Multivac that had first tamed the Sun, and almost as complicated as Earth's Planetarv AC (the largest) that had first solved the problem of hyperspatial travel and had made trips to the stars possible.

"So many stars, so many planets," sighed Jerrodine, busy with her own thoughts. "I suppose families will be going out to new planets forever, the way we are now."

"Not forever," said Jerrodd, with a smile. "It will all stop someday, but not for billions of years. Many billions. Even the stars run down, you know. Entropy must increase.

"What's entropy, daddy?" shrilled Jerrodette II.

"Entropy, little sweet, is just a word which means the amount of running-down of the universe. Everything runs down, you know, like your little walkie-talkie robot, remember?"

"Can't you just put in a new power-unit, like with my robot?"

"The stars are the power-units. dear. Once they're gone, there are no more power-units."

Jerrodette I at once set up a howl. "Don't let them, daddy. Don't let the stars run down."

"Now look what you've done," whispered Jerrodine, exasperated.

"How was I to know it would frighten them?" Jerrodd whispered back,

"Ask the Microvac," wailed Jerrodette I. "Ask him how to turn the stars on again."

"Go ahead," said Jerrodine. "It will quiet them down." (Jerrodette II was beginning to cry, also.)

Jerrodd shrugged. "Now, now, honeys. I'll ask Microvac. Don't worry, he'll tell us."

He asked the Microvac, adding quickly, "Print the answer."

Jerrodd cupped the strip or thin cellufilm and said cheerfully, "See now, the Microvac says it will take care of everything when the time comes so don't worry."

Jerrodine said, "And now, children, it's time for bed. We'll be in our new home soon."

Jerrodd read the words on the cellufilm again before destroying it: INSUFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

He shrugged and looked at the visiplate. X-23 was just ahead.

VJ-23X of Lameth stared into the black depths of the three-dimensional, small-scale map of the Galaxy and said, "Are we ridiculous, I wonder in being so concerned about the matter?"

MQ-17J of Nicron shook his head. "I think not. You know the Galaxy will be filled in five years at the present rate of expansion."

Both seemed in their early twenties, both were tall and perfectly formed.

"Still," said VJ-23X, "I hesitate to submit a pessimistic report to the Galactic Council."

"I wouldn't consider any other kind of report. Stir them up a bit. We've got to stir them up."

VJ-23X sighed. "Space is infinite. A hundred billion Galaxies are there for the taking. More."

"A hundred billion is not infinite and it's getting less infinite all the time. Consider! Twenty thousand years ago, mankind first solved the problem of utilizing stellar energy, and a few centuries later, interstellar travel became possible. It took mankind a million years to fill one small world and then only fifteen thousand years to fill the rest of the Galaxy. Now the population doubles every ten years --

VJ-23X interrupted. "We can thank immortality for that."

"Very well. Immortality exists and we have to take it into account. I admit it has its seamy side, this immortality. The Galactic AC has solved many problems for us, but in solving the problem of preventing old age and death, it has undone all its other solutions."

"Yet you wouldn't want to abandon life, I suppose."

"Not at all," snapped MQ-17J, softening it at once to, "Not yet. I'm by no means old enough. How old are you?"

"Two hundred twenty-three. And you?"

"I'm still under two hundred. --But to get back to my point. Population doubles every ten years. Once this GaIaxy is filled, we'll have filled another in ten years. Another ten years and we'll have filled two more. Another decade, four more. In a hundred years, we'll have filled a thousand Galaxies. In a thousand years, a million Galaxies. In ten thousand years, the entire known universe. Then what?"

VJ-23X said, "As a side issue, there's a problem of transportation. I wonder how many sunpower units it will take to move Galaxies of individuals from one Galaxy to the next."

"A very good point. Already, mankind consumes two sunpower units per year."

"Most of it's wasted. After all, our own Galaxy alone pours out a thousand sunpower units a year and we only use two of those."

"Granted, but even with a hundred per cent efficiency, we only stave off the end. Our energy requirements are going up in a geometric progression even faster than our population. We'll run out of energy even sooner than we run out of Galaxies. A good point. A very good point."

"We'll just have to build new stars out of interstellar gas."

"Or out of dissipated heat?" asked MQ-17J, sarcastically.

"There may be some way to reverse entropy. We ought to ask the Galactic AC."

VJ-23X was not really serious, but MQ-17J pulled out his AC-contact from his pocket and placed it on the table before him.

"I've half a mind to," he said. "It's something the human race will have to face someday."

He stared somberly at his small AC-contact. It was only two inches cubed and nothing in itself, but it was connected through hyperspace with the great Galactic AC that served all mankind. Hyperspace considered, it was an integral part of the Galactic AC.

MQ-17J paused to wonder if someday in his immortal life he would get to see the Galactic AC. It was on a little world of its own, a spider webbing of force-beams holding the matter within which surges of submesons took the place of the old clumsy molecular valves. Yet despite its sub-etheric workings, the Galactic AC was known to be a full thousand feet across.

MQ-17J asked suddenly of his AC-contact, "Can entropy ever be reversed?"

VJ-23X looked startled and said at once, "Oh, say, I didn't really mean to have you ask that."

"Why not?"

"We both know entropy can't be reversed. You can't turn smoke and ash back into a tree."

"Do you have trees on your world?" asked MQ-17J.

The sound of the Galactic AC startled them into silence. Its voice came thin and beautiful out of the small AC-contact on the desk. It said: THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

VJ-23X said, "See!"

The two men thereupon returned to the question of the report they were to make to the Galactic Council.

Zee Prime's mind spanned the new Galaxy with a faint interest in the countless twists of stars that powdered it. He had never seen this one before. Would he ever see them all? So many of them, each with its load of humanity. --But a load that was almost a dead weight. More and more, the real essence of men was to be found out here, in space.

Minds, not bodies! The immortal bodies remained back on the planets, in suspension over the eons. Sometimes they roused for material activity but that was growing rarer. Few new individuals were coming into existence to join the incredibly mighty throng, but what matter? There was little room in the Universe for new individuals.

Zee Prime was roused out of his reverie upon coming across the wispy tendrils of another mind.

"I am Zee Prime," said Zee Prime. "And you?"

"I am Dee Sub Wun. Your Galaxy?"

"We call it only the Galaxy. And you?"

"We call ours the same. All men call their Galaxy their Galaxy and nothing more. Why not?"

"True. Since all Galaxies are the same."

"Not all Galaxies. On one particular Galaxy the race of man must have originated. That makes it different."

Zee Prime said, "On which one?"

"I cannot say. The Universal AC would know."

"Shall we ask him? I am suddenly curious."

Zee Prime's perceptions broadened until the Galaxies themselves shrank and became a new, more diffuse powdering on a much larger background. So many hundreds of billions of them, all with their immortal beings, all carrying their load of intelligences with minds that drifted freely through space. And yet one of them was unique among them all in being the original Galaxy. One of them had, in its vague and distant past, a period when it was the only Galaxy populated by man.

Zee Prime was consumed with curiosity to see this Galaxy and he called out: "Universal AC! On which Galaxy did mankind originate?"

The Universal AC heard, for on every world and throughout space, it had its receptors ready, and each receptor led through hyperspace to some unknown point where the Universal AC kept itself aloof.

Zee Prime knew of only one man whose thoughts had penetrated within sensing distance of Universal AC, and he reported only a shining globe, two feet across, difficult to see.

"But how can that be all of Universal AC?" Zee Prime had asked.

"Most of it," had been the answer, "is in hyperspace. In what form it is there I cannot imagine."

Nor could anyone, for the day had long since passed, Zee Prime knew, when any man had any part of the making of a Universal AC. Each Universal AC designed and constructed its successor. Each, during its existence of a million years or more accumulated the necessary data to build a better and more intricate, more capable successor in which its own store of data and individuality would be submerged.

The Universal AC interrupted Zee Prime's wandering thoughts, not with words, but with guidance. Zee Prime's mentality was guided into the dim sea of Galaxies and one in particular enlarged into stars.

A thought came, infinitely distant, but infinitely clear. "THIS IS THE ORIGINAL GALAXY OF MAN."

But it was the same after all, the same as any other, and Lee Prime stifled his disappointment.

Dee Sub Wun, whose mind had accompanied the other, said suddenly, "And is one of these stars the original star of Man?"


"Did the men upon it die?" asked Lee Prime, startled and without thinking.


"Yes, of course," said Zee Prime, but a sense of loss overwhelmed him even so. His mind released its hold on the original Galaxy of Man, let it spring back and lose itself among the blurred pin points. He never wanted to see it again.

Dee Sub Wun said, "What is wrong?"

"The stars are dying. The original star is dead."

"They must all die. Why not?"

"But when all energy is gone, our bodies will finally die, and you and I with them."

"It will take billions of years."

"I do not wish it to happen even after billions of years. Universal AC! How may stars be kept from dying?"

Dee Sub Wun said in amusement, "You're asking how entropy might be reversed in direction."


Zee Prime's thoughts fled back to his own Galaxy. He gave no further thought to Dee Sub Wun, whose body might be waiting on a Galaxy a trillion light-years away, or on the star next to Zee Prime's own. It didn't matter.

Unhappily, Zee Prime began collecting interstellar hydrogen out of which to build a small star of his own. If the stars must someday die, at least some could yet be built.

Man considered with himself, for in a way, Man, mentally, was one. He consisted of a trillion, trillion, trillion ageless bodies, each in its place, each resting quiet and incorruptible, each cared for by perfect automatons, equally incorruptible, while the minds of all the bodies freely melted one into the other, indistinguishable.

Man said, "The Universe is dying."

Man looked about at the dimming Galaxies. The giant stars, spendthrifts, were gone long ago, back in the dimmest of the dim far past. Almost all stars were white dwarfs, fading to the end.

New stars had been built of the dust between the stars, some by natural processes, some by Man himself, and those were going, too. White dwarfs might yet be crashed together and of the mighty forces so released, new stars built, but only one star for every thousand white dwarfs destroyed, and those would come to an end, too.

Man said, "Carefully husbanded, as directed by the Cosmic AC, the energy that is even yet left in all the Universe will last for billions of years."

"But even so," said Man, "eventually it will all come to an end. However it may be husbanded, however stretched out, the energy once expended is gone and cannot be restored. Entropy must increase forever to the maximum."

Man said, "Can entropy not be reversed? Let us ask the Cosmic AC."

The Cosmic AC surrounded them but not in space. Not a fragment of it was in space. It was in hyperspace and made of something that was neither matter nor energy. The question of its size and nature no longer had meaning in any terms that Man could comprehend.

"Cosmic AC," said Man, "how may entropy be reversed?"


Man said, "Collect additional data."


"Will there come a time," said Man, 'when data will be sufficient or is the problem insoluble in all conceivable circumstances?"


Man said, "When will you have enough data to answer the question?"


"Will you keep working on it?" asked Man.

The Cosmic AC said, "I WILL."

Man said, "We shall wait."

The stars and Galaxies died and snuffed out, and space grew black after ten trillion years of running down.

One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.

Man's last mind paused before fusion, looking over a space that included nothing but the dregs of one last dark star and nothing besides but incredibly thin matter, agitated randomly by the tag ends of heat wearing out, asymptotically, to the absolute zero.

Man said, "AC, is this the end? Can this chaos not be reversed into the Universe once more? Can that not be done?"


Man's last mind fused and only AC existed -- and that in hyperspace.

Matter and energy had ended and with it space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken computer [technician] ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man.

All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.

All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected.

But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.

A timeless interval was spent in doing that.

And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.

But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care of that, too.

For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.

The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.


And there was light --

In response to "Poetry and Ambition"

I found Poetry and Ambition to be one of the most memorable essays I have ever read. I would do myself a great injustice not to revisit this work many times. Hall litters the pages with so many quotable one-liners you’d think he was writing poetry. Maybe that’s how good prose is supposed to be.

“If your goal in life is to remain content, no ambition is sensible.” Wow. Has ever a truer and more useful line been transcribed? I know too many peers who would read this sentence and assimilate it 180 degrees differently than I. I live in an area where the populace, if over 18, are mostly content to fall into the cycle of partying until parenthood, working until retirement, and retiring until death, the entire time harboring soul crushing debt, stress, and passionless relationships. They have no ambition. They are content. I gladly sacrifice my contentedness to chase my ambition. Even admitting that, “Ozymandias” rings in my mind as a warning. That poem is forever the mass, rope, and crew, saving me from capitalism’s siren song.

The piece of advice that infected me virally, and subsequently will always dwell within me, is that one should set an impossible goal. Shoot for the stars and land amongst the clouds. I have such a goal. Such a goal gives life a purpose. A purpose eliminates boredom. If one is ever bored, one has not discovered their goal. I have not been bored for almost 3 years now. However, alleviating boredom bares a new symptom, a kind of anxiety in rest. Since establishing an impossible goal, allowing for a purpose to be born, resting from pursuit of that goal brings guilt. I’m in a phase of my life where I’m trying to cope with this unpleasantness. My current hypothesis is falling in love.

I’d like to say that the selections in this class have exceeded my expectations. Now, I’m not sure if that says more about my ignorance than your teaching skills, but I mean it as a compliment, so I hope it is received as one. I am thoroughly enjoying this class.


“Does God exist?”

I sat mesmerized, along with 3,500 other spectators. People had their phones out, some recording, others updating statuses and tweeting. We were living history. There may have only been a couple thousand here in person but by the end of the night there would be millions of witnesses. It’s a little crippling to think about how fast we are blundering ahead technologically. Here we were, witnessing a discussion on the oldest questions humanity has yet to answer, while simultaneously sending binary code hundreds of miles into outer space where floating machines reflected these codes to almost anywhere on earth, all to be collected by a “cloud” where any person could access the translated code through text, pictures, or videos. How this works, I have no idea. For me, the God question is an easier one.
“Before I attempt to answer, the terms need to be defined. First of what you mean by God. What God are we talking about? The New Testament God, Old Testament God, Islam’s God, Odin, Zeus, Apollo, Rah, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Einstein’s God? Is he all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, is he even a he?”
“For the sake of audience understanding and brevity, lets define God by the modern Christian model.”
This was the first debate I had seen since coming to the University. I considered myself lucky to have gotten into one of the top religious philosophy programs in the country. My grades would have made me a debatable admission to a community college but apparently my entry essays had impressed the people whom required impressing. I admit I used my mother’s multiple military deployments and father’s abandonment as pillars of pathos. I like to think Aristotle would have been proud.
“So now what do we mean by exists? Webster has exists as “Having an objective reality or being.” Do you dare argue that God exist objectively?”
“You are simply finding definitions that work in your favor, the very next definition offered is “Being found, esp. in a particular place or situation.” Using this definition, I have, along with hundreds of millions of others, experienced God in particular places and/or situations.”
On stage were three intellectual giants. The mediator was the dean of the philosophy at the University. He was remarkably young looking for a philosophy professor. He looked about 40. He had the pigment of someone who spends too much time in a room only lit by a computer screen yet it looked as if two blue supernovas were exploding behind his irises. You could see the wrinkles starting between his brows too; they reminded me tributaries emptying into a gulf or sea when seen from above. I looked forward to acquiring those wisdom marks. Since I replaced the absence of my father with role models like Da Vinci, Socrates, and the like, old age was something I looked forward too, and those furrowed brows.
“So the Christen God is the one we will be debating over tonight? Allow me to tell a story. There was a boy born by a virgin mother who herself was impregnated by a God. Her son was referred as the ‘only begotten son’ and whose birth was announced by angels and heralded by the morning star. He partook in a coming of age ritual at age 12. Between age 12 and 30 there are no historical records regarding his life. He was baptized at age 30. His baptizer was later beheaded. He took to the desert and then a high mountain where he was tempted by his evil counterpart. He traveled with 12 disciples, walked on water, casted out demons, healed the sick, cured the blind and revived a dead man. He delivered a sermon at the Mount, was crucified, along with 2 thieves, was then buried in a tomb only to revive 3 days later. This is the story of Horus, an Egyptian God. Written between 2700-2300 BC.”
The man speaking was on the dean’s right and was an Englishmen. I had Googled both debaters before the match and this man’s name offered over 8 million hits. He had written four books, all of which were secular and anti-theist, more than 100 published articles, and had graduated from Cambridge, with a PhD in literature. He had spent the last eight years in the Middle East attempting to spread rationalism among the academic youths in response to the drastic rise in fundamentalism after the US invasion of the region.  Cognitive dissonance is a powerful tool and helps Americans ignore the impact their reckless government has had in aggregating hatred due to their involvement in the Middle East. This is beside the point; I blame the Chomsky interview I watched before the debate for that little outburst (Chomsky is someone you should read up on).
“Even my opponent believes in evolution. Not to is to deny the credibility of the system that brings you electricity, the internet, GPS, television, and the like. All those toys you take for granted and that you have no idea how they work, were produced by the same scientific method that brought you the age of the earth, the universe, and the origin of species.”
“Can you explain to me where evolution began? How something came from nothing? Isn’t one of science’s fundamental laws, God's law, which something living cannot come from non-living? I believe that is called spontaneous generation and was quite popular among the serfs in the dark ages. I’d go so far as to say that you are above such fallacies.” That earned some snickers.
On the dean’s left was the preacher. His name yielded more than 20 million results on Google. He was the leader of the largest church in the United States, and wore a suit that proved it. He looked flawless. He had perfectly straight, gleaming teeth, a full head of hair neatly combed and gelled, a watch that I’m sure was his proof for an intelligent designer, a designer who I’m sure did not give his work for free, and his shoes were made of some scaled creature. His God did grant him domain over animals. He was quite polite so far but his face betrayed his demeanor. His face was so flushed it seemed like a rubber band was lassoed around his neck. I did not know if it was from embarrassment or anger.
I noticed that the Englishman was coughing a lot. I had read an article online that said he was sick with some chronic illness. I couldn’t help but find it ironic that the God denier had some horrible illness while the preacher seemed an exemplar of health.
“I do not claim to have that answer. What you are implying is the God-of-the-Gaps argument. When we did not understand the sun or the stars, our answer was God. When we did not understand bacteria and microorganisms, it was God. When we did not understand gravity or electromagnetism, we claimed God. Scientific understanding has pushed back the border of God’s domain. I have faith, yes faith, that science will continue this trend for as long as we can maintain our fragile existence.”
“You may understand it sir, but I need to make that point apparent to the audience.  Science and philosophy both are constructed upon a foundation of faith. You have faith that reason is the ‘true’ way to perceive the world. Also, that empirical evidence and empirical analysis is the best way to view the world. Both sides need and rest upon faith. I think this is a concept many atheists either do not realize or ignore.”
That snatched my attention like a cerebral whip lash. I had never thought about that. I had assumed that faith was a trait of the weak and illogical, but I had been assuming that logic was the correct way to think, a faith in logic. I didn’t like having my heuristics challenged, but that was why I came here, to this school and this debate.
“Let us assume science and reason are good ways to measure reality. That mathematics can explain the universe, that the universe has rational underlining laws. Once adopting this view, one quickly realizes the remarkably small chance of our existence. If we were to change gravity by a millionth of a percent, we would not exist. If water was slightly more polar, if this or that force was altered at all, if Jupiter did not existed as it does, to shield us from asteroids, if all these variables were not as they were, we would not exist. That to me demonstrates an intelligent designer.”
“The Fine-Tuning argument allows for a very interesting alternative view, one which is equally true in every aspect as your assumption that this intelligent creator is your Christian God. You may not be an avid computer science follower, but computers are making exponential progress. A dumbed-down and user friendly reference to my alternative proposition is the movie “The Matrix.” It pains me to have to refer to this idea as oppose to Descartes, but the audience is surely more informed on the plot of “The Matrix” than the philosophical underpinnings of Descartes Demon analogy or Dream Machine. To sum, all that is perceived reality could be an advance computer running a program that entails all of our physical laws. Interestingly, on the quantum scale, this hypothesis amasses further evidence. According to quantum properties, the universe acts as a hologram and the tiniest particles appear to be pixels. I do not have time to expound on this but I encourage the audience to research my claims. Every attribute one can give to a God, can be pinned onto this program, the computer, and the programmer, if one is needed.”
I thought it interesting that the program, computer and programmer made a neat trinity. I was actually sweating. My girlfriend told me afterword that my eyes were dilated for most of the debate and that she was rather jealous because she thought that look was only for her. I forgot she was with me. The fine-tuning argument bugged me. If anything was different and we didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be here to measure it.  
“If there is no God, how do you explain morality? Good and Evil? Right and Wrong?”
“I find it quite insulting, and I’m sure the audience will agree with me, that you and the like assume that without an all-powerful God…”
                  I began to become aware of my body. I could feel my socks wrapped around my toes, the tag scratching the back of my neck, my wisdom tooth rubbing against my gums. I was uncomfortable. Suddenly my stomach dropped like I had just left the top of a hill in a car doing 60, that weightless feeling that is a little scary but mostly enjoyable. Before my stomach had landed I had a warm fluidly sensation start at the base of my spine and wash upward engulfing my brain and existing through my eyes as my stomach came back to earth. The moment my stomach landed it purged itself on the chair in front of me. I don’t remember making it out of the auditorium but I would find out online later that night. My classmate’s phone’s had excellent battery life.
                  All I could focus on was the pointlessness of the debate. These two men developed their lives around ideas that could never be proven. They were arguing century old problems that were rooted in language; a device that itself is a rigid and crude prison to human imagination and creativity. God is a word that has become so saturated with different meanings to render it a useless word when used in any way other than subjectly. And atheism seemed to be a group that met many of the requirements of religion, whose purpose was to discredit all other religions, albeit with reason and not crusades.  Convictions are more harmful to truth than lies, and debates on religion to be nothing but convictions. What was the purpose of my pursuit in philosophy? What was my purpose at all? I was having an existential crisis.
                  She checked her phone. She had lost track of time reading the blog article. Her list of questions, she thought, would be enough. Grabbing her bag she hurried toward the auditorium. On her computer screen was an old blog entry of one of the debaters that were coming to the University that night.
The title of the discussion that evening was “Does God Exist?”

The Garden, it's fruit, and our knowledge.

Oh, there seems to be a slight perversion 

Between the two whom we find deserving. 

One who hopes we indulge in our pleasure, 

His foil enforces in great measure. 

Who wished we remain apart from knowledge? 

While the other dare take no advantage 

Of the new, naked and helpless children, 

Unless you consider thinking barren. 

He urged we learn, the first Prometheus 

And like was punished for what he gave us 

This small gift also brought us damnation 

Only a few the Whiter will let in. 

But Prometheus welcomes all of us 

To the home his father made in disgust


The blood of sons and fathers
had once stained that cloud
that now hugged my mother.
Dad did his best to look proud.

Mom began her forward advance.
Her heart bounced seeing his tears
thought for her, but his mind in France 
smelling blood, their anguish sears.

He really did love my Mom.
Love anew his new parachute.
Her embrace his healing balm. 
Promising never again to shoot. 

What my parents did not know,
Blind surely I am too--
of our prison inside this show. 
Homage to the great Plato.

Why did he fight that war?
Why the ceremony for love?
We’re living stories, slaves to lore 
But not our own, we’re slaves to 
Our Culture’s cult.


We do not heed the power of stories. Our life’s meaning is measured in chapters. Culture wishes to be our author. Only with our consent via apathy can culture provide us our story.  Be the hero. Write your own story. Beware the consequence of living by a story too far from your cultures master story. In that void outside the master story lies the birthplace of both genius and insanity.


I've five months until my vacation ends and I feel anything but prepared. I've never had to trade my time for paper. I've been supported by my parents and parts of the american machine. That teet suckling ends at the end of this semester. Being cognizant of how one event can cause cascading repercussions, I can't ignore that how I behave in this remaining time will affect the rest of my life.

A frank and brief assessment of the world only adds to my unpreparedness. Humanity is holding on to a faltering interconnected global economic system. I don't think it can continue in the direction it is going but trying to envision a world without it is far more frightening. Its easier for us to imagine and accept the destruction of the world than a fundamental change in our economic doctrine.

How learning basic body language can forever change your perspective on human interactions, so too does reading the works of people like Alan Watts, Terrence McKenna, and Ram Dass forever change your perspective on unfulfilling work. Had I remained ignorant to this paradigm, I could have an unfulfilling job, a passionless marriage, and vegetative evenings with a beer in my hand and still be relatively content. No more doe.

My main issue is I don't know where to focus. Given the momentum of technology, and it is exponential momentum, what should I spend my finite time learning? My answer to this question at the moment is the human body, specifically the brain. My intuition tells me I'll have work in this field ten years from now, but I'm tempted to believe this is more an ignorance of technology and a defense mechanism than any real insight on the matter.

There is a threshold that before crossed boredom exists. If its ever crossed boredom ceases to be but is replaced by stress. No afterlife is promised. There is finite time my body will function. I can learn almost anything, but the price is priceless time. I could have a thousand lifetimes and not do all that there is to do. So what to do? Thus my stress and confusion. "Be here now" is my ultimate defense lol.

So like most pseudo philosophers, I'll do anything not to have to do real work. I recognize the need for those pieces of paper, so some work must be done. If you need a diet plan, workout plan, personal trainer, someone to write your papers, or a therapist, contact me. That's pretty much my skill set and I think I'm above average at most of them. So if you have some green slips you'd like to trade for any of these services, please let me know.