The Death of God

Author: Michael Hopkins

It knew itself as awareness. No center. No end. Awareness. It did not know its name. It had no I. A perturbation arose – from where? The agitation expanded – a significant change. It grew. It caused disruption – a point of focus with hope for discovery – all new concepts for it. It asked why. It hoped it would speak its name.

Scientist arguably decided that the universe was billions of years old. From the pinprick of the big bang it was expanding in all directions at the speed of light. Intelligence, as measured through the development of languages (approximated at seven thousand) were starting to disappear. But as the dialects of man dwindled, with increased attention to the universal tongue of mathematics, the languages of animals were discovered and categorized: the song of whales, the chirps of birds, the movements of bees, the barking patterns of dogs. Beyond these, the languages of what were once thought to be unintelligent objects made themselves evident.
Aspen trees with their interconnected root systems, and ability to sway in the wind, which freed microscopic cells to be carried through the air to others of its type, were found to send messages of drought and fire over hundreds of miles.

Mycelium roots were determined to be the largest living organisms, connecting and communicating over thousands of miles.

The movement of the wind and seas, thought to be results of physical phenomena, such as changes in atmospheric pressures and the gravitational pull of the moon, were discovered to be complex dialects, with messages that gave rise to the climate transitions on the earth. The oceans, the large lakes, the small trickling streams carried their messages across the earth: water evaporated, molecules transmitted their utterances through the sky, the wind moved these codes, depositing information, to receptors, with rain.

The name of a god was thought to hold a final power; to know a god was to speak its name. Christ. Allah. Shiva. Vishnu. Elohim. Elah. Shangdi. Maykapal. Bhargava. Surendra. To know this name was man’s purpose for existence; its discovery, spoken aloud, as a prayer, would bring the purpose of man’s existence to an end.

Hebrew intellects searched the ancient texts for the all-encompassing name of god. The many representations all had their purpose. The Tetragrammaton YHWH: Yahweh: Jehovah, a piece, yet incomplete. The art of Kabbalah merged with the complexities of equation to divine the name. But it was the final discovery that gave the greatest hope.

Geologists agreed that the most inanimate of objects were alive – and had language. Stones spoke. The earth’s landmasses, once a single unit, had split into continents: separate parts that yearned to be whole. The 500,000 detectable earthquakes every year began to shape into an alphabet. Many, perceived by only the most sensitive scientific instruments, were seen as a constant chatter: words, sentences, and paragraphs. The largest destructive quakes were theorized to be shouts of pain, calling to their distant pieces. The religion of Gaia: a sentient earth, characterized these as soulful cries of longing across the chasms – lost love.

The earth went silent. As decades progressed with no quakes, the geo-linguists (a science to some, a religion to others), developed more precise instruments and found the mountains themselves spoke. The utterance of a single syllable took years. A word – centuries. The meshing of science and religion turned from the subatomic world for answers, to the macro, the large, the most visible of physical entities. It gave man hope that in the study of these ancient beings, the purpose of creation had focus, and struggled to speak the name of god.

Society, with its diverse economies, competing philosophies, anxious religions, and growing technologies, served to further divide man, rather than make them whole. Peace was always torn at its fundamental fabric by war. Love was subdued by hate.
When the sun grew in size by twenty percent (a surprise event that would reshape the theories of astrophysicists – if there were any to see it), all organic life on the earth was destroyed – in an instant.

The rocks continued to talk, for thousands of years, in the quiet of a dissolved humanity, and moved toward the first utterance of god’s name. When the sun expanded again, the earth was gone, vaporized – its quarks, fermions, and leptons, pulled apart, separated forever, blown in all directions to chaos, to nothingness.

It sensed the loss. It asked why. It wondered if it had a name. It became as it was before. It knew itself as awareness. No center. No end.

9 Comments

  1. mikebailey1979

    Thank you for sharing this! I loved reading it.

  2. Marduk

    This was truly amazing work.

  3. Jae

    Wasn’t so taken with the entry and exit, but the heart of this is a classy piece of inspired imagination.

  4. xdhz8

    Ditto the other comments. A first class flash.

  5. Adam Gerencser

    Also, if you are interested in reading a masterwork of linguistic fiction, I recommend le Guin’s ‘Author of the Acacia Seeds’, a fictional paper on the language and literature of ant colonies.

  6. Adam Gerencser

    Can only echo the preceding praise. Great conceptual density – in my experience, one of the cold equations of the mathematics of literature are: the idea-to-word count ratio of a flash is directly proportional to its quality. Yours excels by this measure.

  7. Hari Navarro

    Stunning, complex but accessibile, wonderfully thought provoking… sorry, my old preserving jar of praise is being drained to empty here. Excellent work, and this is why I too read this genre.

  8. djl

    Superb flash, compelling world build. Fine example of why I read this genre. Keep it up!

  9. djl

    Superb flash, compelling world build, this is a fine example of why we read this genre.

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