The Adventures of Boltzmann Brain (part I)

My name is Boltzmann Brain. I was born in 1953 in New York.

You ask whether I am sure about that.

Well, how the hell am I supposed to know?

I believe I was born on one chilly October morning of 1953 in the city of New York. Does that sound better?

I always wanted to live big and live fast. Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll and all that stuff.

But here's the catch: If you want to live big you have to slow down.

Science-fiction writers of my youth believed that it was easier to break the inviolable laws of physics than it was to bend the human nature.

Such fools! They imagined spaceships flying faster than light.

Well, I am around for quite a bit now and I've never seen a particle moving faster than light.

Although, admittedly, neutrinos are somewhat hard to spot if you forget to put your glasses on.

That reminds me of the old joke:

Barman says: We don't serve alcoholic beverages to the particles faster than light!

A neutrino walks into a bar.




No warp-drives, folks! No "Beam me down, Mr. Sulu!" No-communication theorem, you see.

If you want to get to Alpha Centauri, young man, you'd better stand up and start walking.

And once you've sailed the Centaurian Hanging Sea, planted a tree, made love to a local girl and raised the azure banner of Intergalactic Hegemony on the ruined building of the Sublime Porte, it's time to move on. You start to drag your feet again.

Karl Baedeker says: At a decent hiking speed you can make one parsec in 697 million years.

Sure, I am not suggesting that there's no faster way to travel. That's why we invented the steam engine after all. But after sailing down the interstellar Mississippi, along the filament, with a grey mare and a preacher on board, you suddenly find out that several trillion years have passed.

I'm going to use scientific notation from now on.

And I'll tell you one thing: By the time I'll finish you'll get used to it.

In 1912 I was getting a haircut at our farm near Olmütz. The summer day was bright and hot, with bees buzzing and a hint of dust in the air. The harvest had already begun. The chair I was sitting on was placed on a white blanket in the middle of the yard, under the old pear tree. My grandfather used scissors and a comb, cautiously cutting the hair first at one place, then at another, trying to keep it evenly long everywhere. I was six years old back then. After what seemed like centuries Opa held a mirror in front of me. AND WE WERE ONLY HALF WAY DONE! That haircut took longer than my trip to nebula chi-tau-rho, which was four billion years long. You can evolve a pterodactyl from mixture of methane and ammonia in time that long. Na stellen Sie sich das mal vor!

Nobody seemed to have though about what happens to human condition over such a long time. Person of ninety was considered to be old back then.

One night in the nuclear winter of 2012 I sat among other refugees in a battered down, nondescript police station somewhere by the southern border and told them stories about my years spent with beatniks. Nobody believed I can be that old.

Or was that in 2021?

Well, anyway, if you think that 85 year old person as wasted, consider what happens to your denture over couple of million years.

Seriously, I'll tell you what happens: You become a species of your own.


March 12th, 2016