He finally proved it. The work of his life, the reason for many sleepless nights. The reason he was not a genius billionaire, but a “mere scientist” instead. He paused, trying to grasp the consequences, but they eluded him, as if he was thinking about them for the first time. He fell asleep in his chair.
He woke up the next morning. He was in his government-paid apartment, had his government-paid breakfast and went out for a morning walk in the nice neighbourhood he was living in. Scientists were given everything they needed, without luxury, of course, by the government. That happened after the stagnation of science in the early twenty-first century when scientists spent more time figuring out how to make money than doing actual science. Initially the measures were considered “dangerously socialist”, but apparently they worked. So Morris spent 30 years in cross-disciplinary research without thinking of anything else than the research itself. And he didn’t regret it.
He went back home, and for the next couple of weeks completed his paper, putting together all the details in a comprehensible form. He then pushed the paper online and waited for the reviews to come. The initial criticism and denial turned into a wave of congratulations. The theory was not only accepted, but it was deemed so important that Morris was asked to hold a big press conference which was to be covered live throughout the whole world.
He didn’t have any suits or ties, of course, and later many made fun of his attire during the press-conference. But he couldn’t care less. He stood in front of the big room full of reporters and cameras, and started talking.
“I have recently proven the law of conservation of consciousness. You probably all know about the law of conservation of energy, which states that no energy is ever created or lost — it is just transformed into different types of energy. The same principle appears to be true for consciousness as well — consciousness has always existed and will always do, it will simply find different manifestations. A fixed amount of consciousness has existed from the creation of our universe, and no more consciousness can be created. Just like for energy, this has some implications. Entropy is the most important one, and it appears that consciousness gets more and more partitioned and spread out. My theory states that there used to be a single big entity of consciousness right after the Big Bang, which slowly dissolved into more and more, smaller and smaller entities of consciousness. This process is going to continue until consciousness is evenly dispersed within the universe in the smallest fragments possible. At least until the universe starts shrinking. This is what I have to say. I hope we all see the importance that I see in it. Do you have any questions?”
After the profound, scientific questions, which Morris answered with great passion, followed the questions by the media.
“Does our mind transcend our body when we die?”
“I guess the answer is “yes”, but it is not exactly how people would imagine it. Our mind is not the same as our consciousness — it is just the product of it. After our biological death our consciousness gets transferred to whatever vessel it finds next. I explained the rules for that in a previous answer.”
“Will humanity go extinct because of this principle?”
“Most certainly yes. It won’t be anytime soon, though, as the process of reaching the consciousness equilibrium is rather slow. It could take a million years until the units of consciousness that we are being utilizing today decrease in size and increase in number and we are no longer able to be the humans that we are”.
“Does this mean there is no God?”
“Consciousness is not evenly distributed at this moment, so there is a possibility for more conscious beings to exist somewhere else in the universe, it is even possible that they are very close to us. However, it is certain that there has been a super-consciousness in the beginning of the lifetime of our universe. I don’t know if you would call that a God.”
“If all consciousness has been a single entity once, do multiple entities today have the ability to communicate, do they have some intrinsic link?”
“This is a hypothesis we will be investigating in the near future. It may be possible to form clusters of consciousness utilizing that link, but I cannot claim this right now.”
After an hour of questions, the press conference was over. The world knew now. A quiet night followed.
The next day Morris saw the news. Apparently mainstream media got it mostly wrong. Headlines varied, including “Scientist warns the end of humanity is near”, “Proven: God created the universe”, “Is there really no God?”, “Doom is inevitable, scientists prove”, “We are getting dumber everyday” and “Reincarnation is a scientific fact”.
In the upcoming day many expressed their fear that the discovery of certain doom of humanity, no matter how far away in the future it is, would change everything, that people and societies will be shocked, that they will lose their way and chaos will ensue.
But the months and years following the announcement proved that wrong. Apart from a couple of sects and mental patients, people didn’t care. In fact, neither did Morris. Apparently humans weren’t afraid of their species future extinction — it was enough that they and their children will live.
Somehow humanity as a whole was not impressed by its pending demise, and as Morris assumed, it was probably because they couldn’t do anything about it anyway. The media attention was gone in a week, and the law of conservation of consciousness was mostly used in heated pub discussions on atheism or whether that fifth pint of beer mattered to the future of civilization.
And they lived happily and ever so less conscious ever after.