I am Zaphod Beeblebrox

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the galactic-egoist Zaphod Beeblebrox is subjected to the most horrible torture device ever conceived – the Total Perspective Vortex. Essentially a box with a virtual reality illustration of the infinite universe itself, complete with a microscopic dot and the label “You Are Here”. Zaphod of course (for Reasons) fails to react as per the design, whereby any sentient being placed inside the box immediately perishes from the shock of understanding the crushing weight of their own insignificance, and is awesomed by the experience. The Vortex tells him he’s a hoopy frood. While there’s an utterly brilliant equivalent that’s as close as we’ll ever likely get to the experience online (skip to the end for the real puncher) really I don’t need the Vortex or an interactive zoomfest. I just need the Moon. Best when she’s there, just tinged by our own planet’s shadow, in the blue summer sky, white fringes and surface imperfections so visible and white as opposed to the glaring bright nightlight she is at full dark (and she is a she surely, all curves and mystery, power, scrutiny and suggestiveness as opposed to the sun, that male and ignorantly blaring lighthorn that thrusts itself on us from THE position of authority, the sky). I’ve tried meditation but nothing reaches the right mind in me, gives me the correct perspective to approach the world from my own unique location within my own mind, as when I stand and brazenly give the Moon my full attention. As with the Vortex it is a fixed perspective maker, if the fact is allowed to sink in that what stands in the sky is a sphere of stone indifference rotating in a soundless space around a ball of liquid rock and ageless solidified strata UPON WHICH WE STAND. And beyond the Moon is forever a vast swathe of nothing scattered with gatherings of matter that represent less volume within that nothing than the grits of dirt my children leave at the bottom of our huge drained bathtub. And within all of this I stand, a mind working in a barely comprehensibly tiny wet space within that nothing, eyes fixed up at a celestial ghost goddess that turns tides onto the land in the manner that Diana shrugged off mortal admirers. The Moon centres me, it reminds me where we really are, riding on top of this lump of sand and water, it reminds me that the very insignificance of life, my life, in the unknowableness of the cosmos makes every action I take and every action I make crucially significant. It makes me feel like a hoopy frood. It makes me feel that anything is possible.

|Ben

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