• Styles Yugen

Birds of a Feather

Why’s Robin gone? Well, because you didn’t ask them to stay. Because of that, you woke up alone, apartment devoid of your best friend.


But why is Robin really gone?


Interesting question, that; you were going to ask them to stay last night but you forgot. Why did you forget? Because you decided to open up a new bottle of hooch after having them over for dinner--that bottle you’d been saving for a special occasion--and you got drunk. Robin drank too, of that you’re sure, but why did you decide to drink in the first place?

Well, because while coming home the other day, anxious about Robin’s visit, you got the hooch to fortify your nerves. So no, it wasn’t a bottle you were saving for a special occasion; you bought it because you were insecure about your feelings.


So Robin’s gone because you are insecure about your feelings…? But why were you insecure about your feelings?


Well, because you’ve known Robin for years, practically grew up together, and don’t want to ruin everything. You love Robin, but why are you friends in the first place?


Well, because ever since your family moved into the apartment downstairs from Robin when you were a kid, you hit it off. Skinned knees, acrid air from particle fields in the dead of summer, you’ve been through it all. Robin is practically family, and ever since your folks died, you’ve only gotten closer. But why did your family move into the downstairs apartment?

Well, because the Affordable Housing Assembly collapsed after The Rust Initiative dissolved the Workers’ Union and your family couldn’t afford their old place. But why did Rust dissolve the Union?

Well, because the Union was campaigning for higher wages and Rust is a corporation looking out for their bottom line in a time of economic upset--a dog eat dog world. Corporations rip chunks off each other just to get ahead, and as soon as there’s blood in the water, it’s all over. But why is money so hard to come by?


Well, because the total population of humanity is projected to cross the trillion mark within the century and there are too many people.


So Robin’s gone because there are too many people…? But why are there so many people?


Well, because millions of people have endeavored to make their lives, and those of their children’s better, inadvertently launching the species on an escape trajectory off their home planet and into the stars.

But the Earth only exists because a gas cloud condensed into the sun and the solar system a few billion years ago; and all of that came from a big bang a few billion years before that.

So Robin’s really gone because space and time materialized out of apparently nothing 14 billion years ago…?


And if that’s true, did the universe know all this was going to happen when it materialized, forming into galaxies and stars that gave rise to planets; and the planets developed ecosystems, single celled life, complex organisms, humans, human society, your parents, Robin, and finally you; that you would eventually wake up in your apartment alone 14 billion years later?

Depends.


Imagine a game of holoball where you roll the puck at a certain angle at a certain speed: the pips will all bounce a certain way. Do it again, and again, and again, the pips will always bounce the same way. It’s predictable. An AI can work out all the angles on the table and predict where everything is going to end up before you even roll the puck. Take the same shot a hundred times and it will always turn out the same way.

But imagine if space and time materialized the same way it did 14 billion years ago hundreds of times. Would you wake up to an empty apartment, Robin gone, each of those hundreds of times? Doesn’t that also mean that everything about your life was already predetermined just because some weird things called space and time decided to materialize just the way it did? Your date of birth, death, and everything in between: calculable just like the puck and pips on that holoball court.


But we have free will, right?


Well, because the universe is made of atoms bumping into each other and interacting based on what happened before, and because your brain is made up of atoms that follow the same rules, you can just decide to do stuff. Right?


Well, otherwise we’re all just pucks and pips in a cosmic game of holoball with no free will at all, meaning we’re all just actors following a predetermined script that dictates the actions within the universe; choice is but an illusion we delude ourselves with. Nevermind it was all predetermined 14 billion years ago when time and space decided to throw a party, making every afterparty for all eternity pointless--just as pointless as your apartment is empty.


Robin’s gone and you’re all alone, an empty bottle of hooch from the party for two all that’s left. Your feelings for them are still just as strong, but you failed. You couldn’t make the move when it mattered.


Memento Mori: everyone dies. What do you care if everything is predetermined? Your time is limited but each new day is just that: NEW. Live in the moment, but live for the future. Make mistakes. Cry and laugh.


Robin’s gone for now, but they’re still out there. They’re not gone forever, you just have to try again. But don’t take too long, you magnificent bastards, there are only so many new days out there.


Styles Yugen, signing off.

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Science Fiction and the pursuit of escapism, 2020.