A short dream about the unnoticed end of the world

17.31, Friday 9 Apr 2021

I had a dream last night that I was talking to one of my old physics tutors, and he was researching the end of the universe. (This isn’t accurate. He researches Martian weather.)

The universe, he said, runs from the beginning, then gets up to a certain point, and then it ends all at once. At which point it repeats, exactly the same as before, starting from the Big Bang, but it continues a little further each time around.

In fact (this is what he told me, in the dream) while we had been speaking, in the very middle of our conversation, the entire universe had come to a complete end. Then it had restarted, and many many billion years had passed while stars formed again, the Earth cooled again, life began again, humans evolved again, history happened again, we were born again, we grew up and had our lives again, our conversation went along again, until, eventually, we arrived at the point at which we had to leave off before, and this time the universe didn’t stop. It rolled on and now here we are. This time round the universe will continue just a little longer, until it ends again and the whole thing repeats.

We stood up and walked outside.

Did you notice it happening? he said. No, I said.

Yet that’s what happened. 14 billion years between breaths. The old you died. You’re a completely different person to the one you were when we started talking. Separate lives. You feel like you’re the same but you’re not.

One question to ask about dreams is: how did you feel? The feeling is what is real; the dream imagery is assembled out of whatever material is at hand in order to specify that feeling with pinpoint precision.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it by email or on social media. Here’s the link. Thanks, —Matt.