Cosmos 101 – The Mother, The Baby and The Neurosurgeon

Cosmos 101 – The Mother, The Baby and The Neurosurgeon August 23, 2016

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

[Note: this is the first half of a two-part short story; the second half is on its way.]

       They were as cosmopolitan a group as you would expect to find on the New York subway.  Engrossed in their own worlds, each one’s attire told something of their profession.  The young woman with the baby in her arms looked like a hippie from the ‘60’s – definitely an “earth mother.”  Beside her sat a doctor-type.  He was, in fact, a neurosurgeon.  On the other side of the surgeon was a dreamy-eyed college girl, a student of goddess lore – dreaming of love and romance.  Across from them sat the psychic who could tell you your past lives simply by looking at your aura.  And, finally, beside her, fully awake with the soft embracing gaze of Shakyamuni, was a Zen Buddhist monk.

Standing in the middle was the person who set the whole episode in motion.  With one hand he was holding on expertly to the overhead strap, as the train bucked and squealed and tried to throw him.  In the other hand he held a newspaper, and something in it was giving him great pleasure.  He beamed, guffawed, and to nobody in particular announced “Well whad’ya know. So, black holes in space may not be the annihilators of matter they were reputed to be. They may, in fact, be the birth canals for new universes!”  Just then the train came to a screeching halt and with a final amused shake of his head, he imprisoned the newspaper under his left arm and disappeared into the milling masses on the station.  Five pairs of eyes followed him until he was swallowed up, and the train began to lurch away.  Then five brains began to muse.

The young mother hugged her baby more tightly, smiled to herself and thought, “Of course the mother does not annihilate!  What appears to be destruction is but a reconfiguring.  What were those scientists thinking about when they claimed that black holes were terminators, annihilators or destroyers?  We live in a Brahma-Shiva universe.  Creation always re-emerges from apparent entropy.”  She gazed adoringly at the sleeping face of her infant and thought, “Perhaps, this universe, our universe, came from a black hole in our mother universe?  I’m sure the Big Bang was her joyful shout as she gave birth to this baby universe in which we live.  I wonder how many baby universes can a parent universe create?”

She looked out the window as the train shuddered to a halt at the next station.  On the platform a group of carolers in Santa Clause outfits sang Christmas songs.  The lyrics drifted into the open compartment as it disgorged one group and sucked in a whole new troupe.

“I wonder” she mused “if some incredibly wise beings were watching, billions of years ago, and enquired of the locals, ‘Where is the new cosmos to be born?  We have seen its star in the East and have come to bring it gifts.’ ”

The train pulled into the darkness again, and now when she looked toward the window she could see her own form.  A form that up to two months ago was pregnant.  She had feared four months ago that she would go on expanding forever!  “Perhaps” she mused “that is what is puzzling the astronomers, who can’t figure out whether we live in an ever-expanding universe or not.  That’s the reason!”  she felt, with a great surge of discovery.  “It only appears to be expanding forever because it has been increasingly pregnant for as long as we have known it.  When it gives birth, then it will contract until its next conception.  I wonder if post-partum mother universes have to do yoga to get their shapes back!”  She laughed aloud at this thought, put her hand embarrassedly to her mouth and looked furtively at her companions.  Nobody, except the Zen Buddhist monk, seemed to have noticed.

She remembered a lecture she has once heard by an eminent physicist.  “What had he said?”  She cast about trying to remember the numbers and the statement.  He had said something like, “For every cubic centimeter of eleven-dimensional mathematical space, 10 27 brand new universes are created every second!”  She thought “Wow, what a mouthful.  Wow, what prodigality.”  He had gone on to say that many of them were duds that only lasted nanoseconds.  The notion now caught in her throat “Are these, then, still-born universes?  I wonder does a mother universe weep when she miscarries?”  She hugged her own baby close, and then stood up carefully as the train approached her stop.

The neuro-surgeon watched her go and then went back to his own reverie.  “I wonder if black holes are the dendrites and the axons joining the siblings to their parent in the brain of God?  Is each universe a single cell in the divine brain?  And are black holes the neural pathways which create the network?  Are there psychic and literary umbilical cords connecting Shakespeare to all of his creations?  and his creations to each other?  The mother of all universes may not so much be a parent, who birthed and is now separate from, though in contact with, all of her daughter universes, but rather a ‘suprawomb’ in which all the adult-children-universes continue to live and evolve while, themselves, birthing their own baby universes!  Rather like an extended, multi-generational, meta-cosmic family.”

For some reason he remembered a nature film he had once seen, in which a water-spider was filmed in a pond.  The camera work was superb and it tracked her as she built her underwater home.  First she swam to the surface and, somehow, trapped a pocket of air with her two hind legs.  She pulled this bubble several feet underwater and fastened it to the stalk of a water lily.  Then she went back to the surface and lassoed some more air.  She fused the two bubbles into one, doubling its size.  She made several more trips and each time she managed to merge the bubbles, until she had one great bubble attached to the stalk.  Then – the piece de resistance – she went inside the bubble without ever popping it!  This was her home and she entered and exited at will, without bursting the delicate membrane!

Perhaps” thought the neuro-surgeon “the pond is like the suprawomb and the bubbles are like the baby universes within it?”  Suddenly, he had a vision of a tiny, quivering baby universe, shivering in the palm of God’s hand as She crooned, “Do not be afraid, little one, because I love you.”  Quite suddenly a large tear ran down his right cheek.  “Did anybody notice?”  he thought self-consciously.  Nobody had – except the Zen Buddhist monk.


[This story will be completed in the second essay]

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