They stand proudly surveying their creation. A monster born of the human mind. A group of men have built a huge machine on the top of a hill. It looks like a something covered with beady eyes, all looking up into the sky. The people who made this thing have few friends, and have constructed this monstrosity in secret. What the machine does is unknown to outsiders, and why it was built is equally mysterious.
There are technicians and engineers with sheets of notes and numbers and construction instructions. Then there are those who designed this behemoth. They dwell in the far end of the world of physical sciences, and there are few people with whom they can talk about what they are doing.
They have decided that the machine is ready to operate, and shortly it will burst into life. When operating it will crush the known laws of physics. It will bend space and time into any shape desired. It will undo the glue that holds everything together. It will climb into the furtherest reaches of the imagination, and manifest all and any possibilities found there. Finally it will prove conclusively that we know very little about the world that surrounds us. Undoubtedly it will cause a disturbance, which will require others to interrupt their regular tasks to rectify.
Outside of the small group of people involved in this project, there are very few who have any inkling that anything unusual is happening. Between their everyday busy-ness, their favourite distractions and the general malaise of disinterest, they cannot muster much concern for the furtive activities of a group of scientific misfits and boffins.
They come and go, dressed in their white coats and jerseys with holes in the elbows. One day they decide to start their machine, and immediately they do, the sky falls down. Everyone everywhere looks up, startled, and wonder aloud – what happened ? With it, their world, and everything that held it in place begins to collapse. They mutter to themselves and cling to whatever they most dearly believe-in, even as it fails them. Again and again this might happen. Doing so and becoming further and further adrift from life.
Navigating their way around the fallen sky, they ask themselves what went wrong with their plan ? Why did this happen and what can be done about it. The larger mass of folk loudly lament that things will never be the same again. Things will never be as they were. We can’t even be sure that things are as they are. A smaller group of folk quietly find what they need and a new way of doing things. A whole new approach to life. They always knew that things would never be the same as they were before, and that they just appeared as if they would do so. Now they know that things aren’t as they thought that they would be either. As if somehow they knew about the monstrous machine.
There is a shambolic scene surrounds them. The sky has fallen, and there is a big hole in the ground where the machine was. Its makers wring their hands in disappointment and impotence. Their moment of glory has been snatched from them, and a moment of truth that they would prefer not to encounter has taken its place.
They will return to their burrows and bunkers to reassess their plan, and the execution thereof. The plan itself seems sound, though none seem to notice that the paradigm that supports it is faulty. It looks good from some vantage points, but not from all. It helps some things but harms many more. It appears as being well conceived, and yet on closer examination is seen to be lacking in a basic understanding of life.
Their paradigm crumbles as they steadfastly ignore its demise, instead making even more grandiose plans. The paradigm finally collapses, and the shell of their ideas and ideals shatters with it, becoming a big heap of rubble and carnage.
Curiously, for many the ability to see things as they are returns. No longer is the idea and the imagined ideal paramount. Sadly this ability is not claimed by all, and some of the boffins and their followers still bump around clumsily, led by the head.
There will always be a retrogressive group that hangs around long after a notable event. Holding to the event in the hope that it once again delivers its spark of inspiration. Picking up the pieces of their failed endeavours, even if for no purpose other than to gather the memories together and remember how things once were. Bring them back into the heart. Sadly it was so often in the moment of anticipation of the greatest success that the greatest collapse came.
They one day stop what they are doing and wonder. Wonder about nothing in particular. The whole edifice of thought has collapsed. The constructs in their head have been deconstructed. Their great project had failed, and they will stop and wonder. Why why why why why ? If their great project had succeeded and razed the world and all life on it, they would have also stopped and wondered. Why why why why why ? They stop and wonder, and everything seems to come to a halt around them.
They stop and wonder about how much of what is happening here on earth is absolutely necessary. The brutality and callousness. The pain and the suffering. How much is needed at all. The monster machine was to be their savior. They had given up waiting for the other saviors, because they had failed to appear. If they appeared they failed to be noticed. If they were noticed they failed to be recognised. If they were recognised they failed to explain things clearly. If they explained things clearly, they failed to be believed. So some clever minds from near and from far would gather together to make a machine that would do all of the saving that was necessary. Yet with all of the saving that the machine was expected to offer, there is something that it seems miss. Amiss it is.
They wait by their fallen fantasy in the hope that it can be resurrected. Alas it might be a long wait, to see it restored and operating. There are others who watch over this scene from afar. They watch in wonder, and marvel in the fact that life seems to be able to produce so much variation in this species. So many preposterous prepositions and ridiculous rationales. Those watching simply wait in quiet space and bide their time.
The boffins have a practiced manner for their moments of failure, as they occur with great regularity. Usually they stiffen themselves and reapply the same plan or a variation of it. Sometimes they see through the problem and throw away the plan and put their efforts into the paradigm, even as it crumbles before their eyes.
Again and again they follow this course, and again and again the results remain the same. They hear very few voices from outside their tight community, and steadfastly ignore most of what they do hear. Of the remainder, they discard because they cause irritation when introduced to their favoured beliefs.
If they don’t fail then they grotesquely succeed, and with every trick that defeats the course of nature their goal becomes more faint. More engines and circuits that need maintenance, eventually to be discarded with everything else that anybody ever made.
Those who watch over this scene might eventually resign from their watching and go home. If they didn’t know the futility of it, they would be exasperated. They do and they are anyway. The other inhabitants who remained so studiously ignorant of the furtive activities might remain so. They do not become any wiser from what they chose not to see.
Stalemate it is. All have applied their regular way of doing things, and all find themselves exactly as they were when they began. A repeating episode of life. The sky and the stars watch on from in their own cycles of time. In millions and billions of years it would seem that change has been manifest. Generally in the pattern of one step forward and two steps back. Stumbling across the goal by accident. Stumbling across the goal after walking around the planet backwards. Stumbling across the goal after having completely forgotten about it.
Eventually weeds and trees will grow and cover their folly. Rocks and dust will rain upon it and shield it from discovery. A great forest will cover it, and volcanoes will throw rocks all over it. It will disappear, to never be seen again. Those with a clear eye who chose to pay full attention to what was happening will have long since left, leaving only stories and legends of their deeds. Those who couldn’t be bothered seeing must wait until the day when they finally begin to care.