That black hole is nothing but the SCOTUS Hearings.
That black hole is nothing but the SCOTUS Hearings. titoOnz/

It is a total waste of time. The GOP won. They will pack the Supreme Court no matter what we do or say. It's going to be six conservatives versus three liberals. This means a white person in Wyoming (with its population of 500,000) has six judges. And a person-of-color in minority-majority California (population 40 million) has three. To borrow and mix the words of Lauryn Hill: "[We] might win some but [we] just lost [this] one."

Catch Fresh Content Streaming Now at the 14th Annual National Film Festival for Talented Youth
Featuring 234 films from top emerging filmmakers, plus live events daily! Streaming through Sunday.

This Amy Coney Barrett character calls herself a Christian, but she is willing to go along with a plan built entirely on lies. That's all we need to know. Turn away from the fiasco and focus on the election, on voting early, on flipping the Senate and reclaiming the White House on November 3, which is actually possible.

For once, Biden is 100% right. He refuses to satisfy questions about whether or not he will "pack the Supreme Court" if he wins. How is that even the GOP's problem?


Biden raised eyebrows on Friday when he retorted that voters “don’t deserve” to hear his stance on court packing ahead of the election.

"They'll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over," he said a day earlier, claiming that whatever position he takes would be a distraction from more pressing issues.

As the New Yorkers say in situations like this: "Get outta here."

At the moment, it's a great waste of time even to entertain one dot of this "packing court" stuff. Let them do their hearing. Let Mike "Democracy Is Bad" Lee take off his mask and do his "I'm above COVID-19" thing. Whatever. We lost. You lied.

And so, all Democrats should say during this hearing is: Obamacare. Obamacare. Obamacare. Say that and only that. Then we'll vote, and we'll see you in 2021.

Beyond that, Barrett's nomination isn't worth thinking about. But the originality of the universe? Now that's something to think about.

The late poet, writer, and filmmaker, Maya Angelou, made famous a 1973 poem by Waring Cuney called "No Images." I recall watching her reading it in 1991 during a celebration of her career held by the English department of a small and rural Pennsylvania college. And I recall being struck in an instant by the last two lines of "No Images."

The whole poem:

She does not know
her beauty,
she thinks her brown body
has no glory.

If she could dance
under palm trees
and see her image in the river,
she would know.

But there are no palm trees
on the street,
and dish water gives back
no images.

I did not agree with those final lines at all. I understood what the poet was trying to say, but whenever I washed dishes, I did not only see myself in the bubbly water: I saw the whole universe.

In fact, the joy of washing dishes was only intensified by squirting more dish soap into the swirling chore. What I saw was an infinity of bubbles in just one sink. Each bubble a universe. And in each bubble, whole worlds. And there were bubbles upon those bubbles. My universe, one among these bubbles. There was no "no image" in a soapy dish sink, but rather galaxies of palm trees or something like what Walt Whitman called "the all." And if not that, a glimpse of a view that approximated Spinoza's endless god.

Support The Stranger

Last week, the British physicist Roger Penrose and two other physicists won a Nobel Prize for work on black holes. But this scientific work has led Penrose to a controversial conclusion about the universe: it dies and is born again and again and again. This means our universe is not original but owes its existence to another one. This other one is seen or detected as the expulsion of energy from black holes called Hawking radiation. The expulsion is from black holes that existed in another universe. This is called Big Thinking. And to be honest, Penrose is a brilliant cosmic speculator, but his ideas are not easy to grasp. He is not a popularizer of the stature of Stephen Hawking, who also speculated about the black holes/multiverse connection in his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time.

The question for me comes down to the key theory of the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. It's this: Is our experience of the universe locked by the structure of our mind, the brain's product in the sense that a web is a spider's product? For Kant, we can only know what we can process. That's it. The rest of the universe is unknowable. I bring this up because in Penrose's reading of black holes, we find a structure that is comprehensible to the mind: the mechanics of a black hole. The universe has, if we accept Penrose's reasoning, a movement that is narratological, and the same goes for the bubbles in my dish water. My mind can tell the story of soapy universes. It is understandable. There was this bubble, and then there was this other bubble.

The question then is not, "How did the universe begin?" The question is, "What is the form of the story built into Creation, into the universe, into the multiverse?" And this leads us to a key concept in the metaphysics of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a 17th century German philosopher. Is his monad, the most elemental cosmic component, at once an individual and everything that the universe can be? If Leibniz is right, then Penrose is right. And that's something worth thinking about.

Find Out How Seattle’s Westland Distillery Is Turning The World Of Whiskey Upside Down.
Get to know the world-renowned whiskey distillery in your own backyard.