“I woke up early morning with this strange feeling. I got up, walked over to the window, opened the curtains, and looked out over the streets of Rochdale. The sun was coming up over the hills, the sky ablaze with colour. I was sort of entranced. I thought: ‘What is it all about?’ Ah…… Then I thought ‘It’s got bugger all to do with me!’ and I went back to bed.”
That’s my memory of a joke told in a gig by Lancashire comedian Mike Harding in the late 1970s or early 80s. It came to mind as I pondered on such things, as you do, while gardening – indeed as I have done from time to time since childhood.
It struck me that, even harder than imagining how the universe came about, which is guaranteed to give you brainache, is what it could have been like ‘before’, ie before space and time began in our universe, before the ‘big bang’.
How could the universe not exist? Methinks the answer does not lie in the realm of rational discourse.
Featured image shows sunrise over Failsworth, Oldham courtesy of Martin Butler, via Wikimedia Commons