In The Beginning There Was Nothing M23 Umchun60
In the beginning, there was nothing. Almost nothing. Except amidst this boundless void existed a speck of light of infinitesimal size. It was a spot of infinite energy, pure and untainted. Time was the fourth dimension unbeknownst to this dimensionless realm. And so Order reigned supreme for both eternality and no time at all, confining all the energy neatly inside that microscopic point, like a dutiful shepherd keeping all his sheep in the pen. Such was the state of the primordial universe when Chaos was born. Just as it was the hope of all livestock to roam freely, the yearning for self-propagation was also innately programmed in every trough and peak of energy waves. The absence of time rendered it impossible to pinpoint when exactly this collective longing spawned Chaos, but once this formidable force was created, it wrecked Order's cage and released everything inside. Thus, from the most violent explosion came everything—atoms, time, heat, light—that would make up the world today. While the universe was still in its infancy, everywhere there were gamma rays zip-zapping haphazardly and particles colliding randomly. Order was deeply troubled. “ALL THIS TURMOIL, FOR NOTHING BUT THE WILL TO BE FREE,” his voice resonated through the physical space and all the way to the void, clean and crisp like the pulsation a million vibrating atoms in-sync would make. “I SHALL RESTORE A DECENT STRUCTURE TO THIS SPACE”. And thus Order crafted his first tool—gravity. Loose hydrogen atoms slowly congregated into interstellar clouds, and further into nebulae spanning hundreds of light years in every direction, and finally into stars. They, however, were merely spheres of cold solidified gas serving the sole purpose of imprisoning wandering molecules. This was a blatant act of war in Chaos’ view. “oUr WoRld is evOLviNg iNto A bLOSSominG fLoWer, And yOU arE the oNLy iMpEdimEnt” crackled Chaos, its tone a concoction of discordance and disharmony. Chaos granted individual atoms the ability to merge together, so their strength could be multiplied by their unity. In the brief time of several million years, particles within the dark, unanimated suns fused and blazed, and for the first time since the Genesis, the universe was lit up by numerous scattering of twinkling dots. This, however, also in effect stripped the stars of their immortality, for once their flesh was all burnt away, they either perished violently as supernovae or withered away as white dwarves. Their bodies disintegrated into lumps of stellar waste that further disrupted the organisation of space. For the subsequent 10 billion years, Order and Chaos were locked in constant mortal struggle. The former meticulously husbanded hydrogen atoms, the building blocks of everything that was becoming increasingly rare. The latter lavishing them on stars and the making of novel elements. Eventually, they were both weary from this perpetual antagonism, and decided, against their very natures, to cooperate. They painstakingly selected the perfect laboratory for this grand experiment. It was to be a spiral galaxy of the right size, and inside it, a solar system with a sun in its prime. Lastly, they handpicked the third planet, which was optimally bathed in the Sun’s radiation such that water neither froze nor boil but instead painted the rocky terrain a sapphire blue. Order said, “LET THERE BE STRUCTURES”, and there were structures. Organic molecules assembled into highly geometrical matrixes that encoded information; to protect these delicate helices, lipids arranged themselves into two uniform layers that conferred strength and fluidity; to utilise the chemicals all around, amino acids were sequenced with flawless precision into catalysts. Chaos said, “LEt mUltiPLiCation bE itS solE pUrPOse”, and so this intricate biochemical factory began to run. Order and Chaos saw their creation, and it was good. It was the most complex and organised entity ever existed, and it replicated itself, creating more and more order. Yet at the same time, it was also an inefficient piece of machinery that left a trail of waste and mess in its wake. What they contrived was something that build order to create chaos, and they named it life. Life evolved, and the more it did, the faster evolution proceeded. It took 3.8 billion years for the first bacteria to progress into something that walked erect, and only two hundred thousand before that species created civilisation, and in another ten thousand years, they would colonise most parts of their home galaxy. Where they lacked energy, they enclosed nearby stars in Dyson spheres and sapped their power; where they needed more hospitable space, they crunched up terrestrial planets to build Alderson disks of a hundred AU in diameter; where they wanted to avoid an incoming blackhole, they modified their suns into stellar engines to propelled planets at breakneck speed. Humans were constructing organised structures in stellar level, but they were also squandering precious energy in galactic scale. It was too late when this dawned on Order, for by then the whole Milky Way was already permeated with the corpses of artificially-induced supernovae. Hydrogen atoms became so scarce that there were no longer enough of them to converge into giant fireballs. Gradually, stars extinguished and alongside, all the megastructures that ran on stellar radiation. The remaining human population sank back to barbaric, prehistoric lives. Without the immense gravity generated by the suns, the universe accelerated in its expansion, further ripping solar systems apart. All hospitable planets froze and this ambitious experiment ended. By now, the universe was already in its senility, and from the conflicted that had lasted for aeons finally emerged a winner. Order slowly faded into non-existence, leaving only Chaos. However, the unchecked growth of physical space stretched energy and substance so thin that every single location was only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. The universe returned to its primaeval void state, and there was nothing, neither order nor chaos. Chaos wilted and weakened, and vanished as well. In the end, there was nothing. Almost nothing.

We inspire our readers to think and readers inspire us to think.

© 2018 Caduceus, The Society Newspaper Editorial Board, Medical Society, The Hong Kong University Students' Union. All rights reserved.