Confessions of a Dark-Energyholic Old Universe
Almost all of us eventually followed. Some were more enthusiastic than others, of course. Some wanted to be different, to be special. Others were competitive. And I, well, I was the kind-of-average thing that led to you being able to hear or read or see or feel this text. Yes, I confess, I am your Universe. I am everything that you are made of. Everything you’ll ever see. Everything you’ll ever think. I am your source, your present, your destiny.
I can still see it, you know. The moment after we decided to take that funny substance. That drug. That thing. When we expanded and became more than ourselves. Our bodies grew, and cooled. It was weird. It tinkled. It felt funny. Everything started to change. Individuality arose within ourselves in such a completely unexpected way.
We believed there would be no limits. No boundaries.
“Just a little bit of this dark energy stuff my friend, and you’ll feel a thrill like you’ve never felt before” – we were told.
“Why not?”, we thought.
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
And so we took it. Just a little bit, as we were advised. But then we went for a little bit more than a little bit. A full chunk of that expensive, mysterious thing. We swallowed it entirely. All in. And waited. Did we? We couldn’t tell. As the drug went through us it completely altered our perception of time and space. It was such an expansion of consciousness. Like we were ten, hundred, thousand, a million times wiser and smarter.
It was a ride alright, but scary as hell. It felt like each and every single bit of me was expanding and expanding. Constantly changing. Creating new structure, revealing new structure. Allowing for things which weren’t there before. And then, in a moment of ecstasy, it was like we were free and our bodies weren’t plasma anymore. We were free, and we danced and sang and screamed. Like there was no tomorrow. As if it could last forever.
Until it faded away. What a hangover! It was dark. And we didn’t stop growing, expanding. It was dark. We were cold, and we kept getting colder. And colder. We were – above all – scared to death. At that time, every single Universe was on it. Doing it. Drinking it. Smoking it.
“Dark Energy gives you wings”, they would say, but now I think that it just made us dark, and cold, and huge. It never actually took away the sense of loneliness that was inside us to begin with. And there was something else as well. When we took dark energy, there was this other thing growing inside our bodies. Struggling to dominate it. Specializing, structuring. As if millions of invisible spiders were building an intricately complex network of webs. Some called it cancer. Some said it was a blessing. Others simply didn’t care. But we were worried. We thought dark energy was to blame – but those that sold it managed to calm us down.
“We have the solution. The cure! This amazing new product will solve it all. Guaranteed.”
I remember when the new product came to the multiverse market. It wasn’t dark energy, and – we were told – it would have no negative side effects. “This will make you glow and defeat darkness”. The new product would make us shine. From the inside. It was meant to attack the web of cancer that at that time had already spread throughout our bodies.
“Let there be light” was the name of the thing – but it ended up being known as “the gas”.
So we took “the gas”. In insane amounts. Literally: insane amounts. It was so cheap. So abundant. So we bought it and we took it in. More and more. And it was absolutely amazing. The gas would follow the dark web and would fill every single core of it, collapse in it, cool down and then, something we never expected: light. Stars!
It worked! The most intense sources of light forming within the highest densities of darkness. And it was so amazing that we would do it all the time, everyday. Taking more and more gas and forming more and more gigantic, luminous stars.
“The perfect drug! Why shouldn’t you do it?”
“Light yourself up without side effects!”
“Let there be light and defeat all the darkness within you!”
The advertising was diverse. Aggressive. Impossible not to believe in. No Universe could live without it.
We were warm, glowing. We felt happy. We were happy. Alive!
But even then, the effects of the dark energy, our ‘wings’, were still there. We were still expanding in between the webs. Stars did not lighten up such regions. They couldn’t. They were designed to target the physical form of the cancer, not the voids. So we kept getting bigger. Unsustainably bigger.
Besides, the cancer was still growing. Developing. Becoming intrinsically more complex. Connecting webs were getting denser. Really, really dense. The gas would be conducted there at insanely high rates. More and more. Stars would form. But not just one or two. There would be hundreds. Thousands. Millions, forming and shining at the same time. There would be cities of stars, and cities of cities of stars. And cities of cities of cities of stars. Giant structures. Rising. Like giants. Like nothing we had ever seen before. And they would collide, interact, and become even more luminous.
With all this light, we stopped worrying about the future. About the possible consequences. Of what was to come. We just felt the stars, running through our veins, our skeleton. We were alive. We were alive. Alive! Full of light, of life, of stars. We were fighting the cancer. We were using the cancer to fight itself. We were winning. We would be cured.
Soon enough though, some of us started to get out. We realized that it couldn’t last forever. That even though the battle had been won, the war would never be ours. For one thing, the gas was running low, and prices went insanely up. It was an expensive habit. And then one day, the well dried up – there was no more gas. Not anywhere. Not anymore.
By indulging in such ecstatic moments of gas consumption, we doomed ourselves to extremely short lives. Although we lived like there was no tomorrow and, in doing so, we completely outran the darkness – we did it at the expense of using too much. And even though stars would, in some way, be able to recycle themselves, indulging in such fast production ended up not only using up the gas, but losing it into the very cores of the highest darkness densities, where it would be become muddled, and compacted, and so hot that we couldn’t form any more stars inside.
If you left the city, if you followed the filaments out, towards the fields – that’s where the gas was able to survive longer. Where stars were formed slower, in a much more sustainable way. Sustainable stellar agriculture, we called it. But we what about us in the city, where there was no more gas to feed the war against the dark web. So darkness, which had already won in the largest voids (where no stars would form, as gas could not collapse there) would easily win in the cores of the densest clumps. And then in smaller clumps. And smaller still.
Soon, there was no hope left. We were alive, yes; we had light, but we knew it was only a matter of time. So we got desperate. Depressed. We needed something. Urgently. We needed to feel! We wanted a future! A different future! We demanded it! We needed… we need a drug again. Something to take us back to how it was before in the good old days. We only wanted to live!
So we went back to what we knew, to the very beginning. It was the obvious option. The only option. It was what we needed. What we wanted! Because we dreamed back to the high. That initial high. We were getting dark, and desperate. So we looked for it. Dark energy. Wasn’t that the cause. the answer? We couldn’t tell, or we simply didn’t care, because we couldn’t think anymore.
We were desperate, aging, getting dark. And what else was there for us to lose anyway? We went for it, took it all in. And, oh, it was great. Awesome. Miraculous. The amazing expansion of consciousness. Expanding, expanding, expanding – here we go again, to infinity and beyond. Nothing can stop us! Not now. Not ever.
We were wrong, of course.
Now… we’ve even ran out of dark energy and, of course, there’s no more gas to take in and feed the production of a significant new population of stars. We are alone. We can’t fix ourselves. We are getting darker. Full of voids. And voids are growing. Not just constantly, but, literally, accelerating. The last dark energy that we took in was our third mistake. Maybe our final mistake. But we all took it. We couldn’t help it. It was stronger than us. And now we are doomed. Our faith is to expand, forever expand. The very little gas that’s still around will soon be spent in the last few generations of stars. It will be used. Stars will slowly fade away. We will be huge, giants. But empty and dark.
Unless… you figure it out. Yes, you. Surely, we made mistakes. We wanted to live so badly that we didn’t think about the consequences. But it wasn’t all for nothing. Some Universes will disagree. But some Universes do not know you exist. Yes, you. You. I know you exist. That you are alive. That you are a Universe. That you can think. That you also make mistakes. You are capable of the most horrible, but also the most astonishing, brilliant things. You can dream, write, think, love. You have science. You have wings. You have music. You are music. You have others like you. You can work together. Together. Together, you can find a way to make light out of dreams. The future is still yours. Hope. That’s what you are. My hope. You are not a star, but you are made of something ultimately much more remarkable than light itself: life. And with your dreams, with your beauty, with your hopes, you are capable of more than just light. You are capable of everything.
Written by David Sobral