Need to Know

Something had to come from something and the thing in question was forever—an infinite cloud of restless dust as far as T. could grasp. When he first started brooding on the matter of creation, T. realized immediately that the human brain was so constructed as to be absolutely unable to make the slightest sense of the whole. As we start and stop so, for us, the cosmos must start and stop. But he could also see that his own reasoning was crippled by the built-in limitations of a two-lobe human brain, with its peculiar hang-up on beginnings and endings when it was change that was the nature of nature. But just as he felt he was on the verge of grasping the whole, everything seen and sensed fell away. Back to Go. “We ask all the wrong questions.” T. pressed the button that summoned up the string of light which represented their small planet’s brief life as a sphere. “And that’s why we keep getting all the wrong answers.”

“There was a man, born the son of a Virgin . . . ” Father Lamy was dogged.

T. Was equally dogged; and annoyed. “I was confirmed by Bishop Freeman himself in the cathedral and I knew then that everything to do with that story is not only useless but designed—only your heaven knows who or what did it and why—to keep us from finding out anything that we actually need to know.”

“Perhaps we don’t need to know the things that you think that you—for now—want to know.”

—Gore Vidal, The Smithsonian Institution

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