The Midwives of Wonder

All men by nature desire to know. —Aristotle

A: How was the universe created?

B: By inflation and expansion from a singularity.

A: Why does the universe exist?

B: No one knows.

A: Your answers, my friend, are the midwives of wonder; who I shall christen Examination and Inquiry! Oh, Examination! The twin devotions of observing and testing! Oh, Inquiry! The lust to know both the how and the why!

B: “Midwives of wonder?” Devotions and lust? Uh, my friend, in what century are we having this conversation?

A: Oh, virtual cynic! That you and I are even having this conversation is a source of wonder!

B: Yes, yes, I know. The fact that we are having this conversation proves that the universe must be conducive to life.

A: Oh yes indeed! If the universe couldn’t support life, you and I wouldn’t be conversing.

B: That sounds like a tautology. It’s almost like you are saying that life in this universe was inevitable.

A: Well, the conditions of the universe are necessary for the development of carbon based life. If the physical features and constants of the universe weren’t tuned exactly as they are, carbon based life wouldn’t have developed. This is known as the anthropic principle.

B: And is it not also true that the universe consists mostly of hydrogen and helium atoms?

A: Yes, that is also true. We are living in an improbably dense space in an infinity of emptiness.

B: Is that why real estate is so valuable?

A: That’s one reason, yes. But more to the point, the universe is mostly empty. In that sense, you and I are a wondrously complex amalgamation of solid matter.

B: It’s not very flattering to think of myself as a “wondrously complex amalgamation of solid matter.”

A: Ok, how about you are a wondrously cute amalgamation of solid matter!

B: I feel better about myself now. Thank you.

A: You’re welcome.


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