The Universe Redefined...in which Uncle Duke attempts to blend Science and Poetry


It has struck me of late that I am/we are held together by Invisible Forces. I had never before given it much thought. But all of a sudden, the fact that I do not fly apart became a wonderment to me.

Additionally, I am somehow now aware that whenever I refer to “me”, what I am actually talking about is an accumulation of upwards of 30 trillion (30,000,000,000,000) cells which somehow combine, in precise orientations and sequences, to form skin and kidneys, hair and spleen, to create thought-waves, fingernails, emotions, blood, bowels, intestines and memories. Also, to perceive love and joy, pain and loss. It is a magic trick of no small magnitude.

And the wonderment is that, after these body parts and sensors and organs and ganglia are formed, SOMETHING keeps them all together. SOMETHING keeps “me” together. As much as I talk about the difficulty of keeping my self and the rest of my disorderly shit together, it is not because I am concerned about pieces of my physical self flying off. They may deteriorate over time, unravel a bit, but they do not just get up and drift away. Some may dry up and flake off, but not in any great numbers. No, they do not leave en masse, a trillion or so at a time. I'm not exactly sure what kind of glue is used in this process, but it seems to be mostly a reliable one, and I would write a favorable review if anyone asked me to.

But that is not what I am talking about. And I am not even talking about The Force which keeps me/us from floating off into Space. The Force which all objects with mass exert on one another. The Force which holds the planets together and creates suns, stars, black holes and nebulae, etc. Gravity. That One. I understand that Gravity is a big deal, and I certainly honor its intentions and respect its power and its properties. We couldn't live without it, and I generally try to abide by its precepts and rules.

But it’s not that one. No, the Forces I am talking about are the Primary Forces, the ones without which none of this would even BE. The sine qua non of Forces. They are the mysterious Forces which hold all of our little bits and pieces together. The Forces which bind all of our atoms and molecules together. And not only that, the Forces which connect electrons to protons, protons to neutrons and also bind the quarks to the whatevers, the smaller thingies, the gluons and such, which make up the quarks themselves. And on down the line.

We know what these Forces do and, sort of, how they do it. And we of course have names for them. Because we have names for everything. There are three of them They are the ‘electromagnetic force’, the ‘strong force’ and the ‘weak force’.

Seriously? ‘Magnetic, strong and weak’? That’s the best we could do for the names of the Forces which fasten all matter together, which allow EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to exist? Which bind our Universe together and simultaneously permit both Life and Consciousness, Time itself--Past, Present and Future--to exist and perpetuate?? WTF!

And while we’re at it, we have named the unknown and perhaps unknowable form of Energy, which pervades the Universe, which makes up 68% of the Universe, “Dark Energy”? And the mysterious, ubiquitous Matter which makes up almost all the rest, a full 27% of the Universe, we call this “Dark Matter”. THAT’S THE BEST WE COULD DO?? As a Human, I am embarrassed!

Though I am a huge proponent of science, we really must get the Scientists out of the business of name-giving. Imagination, not just exactness and efficiency, is required here. We need to put the Poets back in charge of that realm of science, the naming part. We need our most sensitive souls, those deeply in touch with the sacredness of the World, to be allowed to give names to the Wonders they see. We need our most Enlightened Beings, aware of the grace and nuance of language, to help us understand and appreciate the Forces which tie us together. Which unify us. Which allow air and lungs and breath and comets. Which give color to sunrises and sunsets, patterns to snowflakes and volume to symphonies.

I am hardly a poet, but the Life Force, the Love Force and the Forces of Awe are the terms which leap out to me—without thinking too hard on it. And they are barely adequate as names for the Wonders they bring into being. For the Forces which mold us and meld us, stitch us together and combine us. These are the God Forces, without which…Nothing.

And it has crossed my mind: WHAT IF these Mysterious Forces ceased to be? What if they just ceased exerting themselves? And atoms were allowed to go flying off willy-nilly in any direction? Except they would no longer be atoms, would they? Because they would now just be the divisible parts of an atom, its electrons and protons detached, then detached further into individual quantum parts. If the quarks came unglued and began dancing individually in space and time. Though without the parts, there would be no Space, no Time at all.

There are, after all, no guarantees here. We see nearly every day that rules are only rules until they aren’t anymore. Laws bend, get broken and get changed all the time. Even physical ones. Species and loved ones come and go. Stars are fleeting. Our own heartbeats are numbered. We just don’t know the exact number. Why should the Immutable Laws of the Universe be any different?


***Hang in there. I’m almost done.***


And, if one believes in Infinity (which I do) then you must believe that there are things that are Infinitesimally Small. Now, something Infinitesimally Large means it encompasses everything. There is no end to it. It is kind of the definition. EVERYTHING! Infinitesimally Small then means they comprise NOTHING. No Space. Zero. That would mean they are so small as to not BE? They would, we could say, cease to exist?

Perhaps that is where this all began. All these mysterious forces were invented/created/imagined at the Big Bang. All this teeny-tiny stuff was out there but it was so small as to be ZERO. With nothing to bind it together. To become SOME THING. And in a moment, in an infinitesimal instant, the Life Force came into being. The Love Force was born. The Forces of Awe assembled, convened, ordered and created, in the aforementioned precise orientations and sequences, the causes and conditions to allow the humble, flawed and imperfect US, ME and YOU, to adorn, complicate and sense this perfect Universe.

So here we are. And no one knows what is really going on. Some might say they do, but they do not. All we can verify is this awesome and terrifying, singular Moment. Replete with the Forces that make this Moment possible. They remain in place for now. Silent and dependable.

And I am grateful for them. So grateful that I am renaming them. After much thought, and by Executive Decree, they are henceforth called the Glory Force, the Force of Truth and the Hallelujah Force. We are hereby, on the Eve of 2021, held together by these combined Forces of Inspiration.

And additionally, I have renamed Dark Energy and Dark Matter. They shall henceforth be called Heroic Energy and Simple Grace. Let us live our lives knowing that we are bound together by the Forces of Glory, Truth and Hallelujah. In a Universe comprised almost entirely of Heroism and Grace. Let’s see if that can make a difference.

Happy New Year,

Uncle Duke