When Sadie prodded her for the reason behind her discontent, she went into a rambling discourse on Newton's Opticks, a five-hundred year-old treatise written by a closeted religious zealot and brilliant natural philosopher.
Here was a being who couldn't possibly fathom their way of life or even the nature of their existences, but had teased out basic laws and facts about the universe that still influenced his descendents today. He lived on a tiny planet, under threat of death by raging wars and disease. But this individual, virtually a caveman, had scratched marks on his dead tree slabs that still had value.
She asked, "What is my place in this vast universe?" They swam in the aether like whales once did in the oceans of Newton's Earth -- a bywater historical park in this age, standing watch over its strange brethren and progeny like the abandoned sphinxes of Egypt.
Sadie came to realize that, to her sister, this power and freedom still seemed meaningless without the kind of lasting importance that Newton had attained. They were really no closer to answering it than those Cro-Magnons that had scribbled ochre on the caves at Lascaux, when homo sapiens was in its infancy.
Post Date: Jul 10, 2007 - 5:53 am