This column does not exist

This column does not exist

The universe is about to be invaded by billions of giant floating brains. I am not making this up.

The universe is about to be invaded by billions of giant floating brains. I am not making this up. Well, OK, maybe I am making up the bit about the giant brains. No one knows how large the invading brains will be, although for humanity's sake I hope they are huge, because legions of tiny brains could easily be mistaken for, say, an invading force of dandruff, in which case (looking around the office here) the invasion is already well under way and humanity has already been defeated.

It may also be that I am using the words "about to be" in the journalistic (that is not technically true, as such) sense. Technically, the invasion will take place any time between now and the end of time - the end of time being something which, according to same cosmologists who stumbled across the invasion plans, is about to happen, too.

But what I am not making up is the inevitability that, statistically speaking, the universe will one day be overrun by floating brains.

The shocking news comes via an alert reader in Darwin, Mrs Sarah Bellum, who forwarded me an article from The New York Times, about some of the recent calculations of some of the world's most respected cosmologists.

(Another one of the calculations, which reveals that, statistically speaking, you probably don't exist, and that you are possibly just a "momentary fluctuation in the field of matter and energy", doesn't bear reporting upon in this column, for the obvious reason that, if it's true, then you will never get to read about it. On the other hand, reporting on it could win me an imaginary Walkley Award. Although I have a few of those already.)

Now, you may be asking why you, as a business person, should be concerned about the universe being invaded by brains. Well, for starters, given that there will be an infinite number of floating brains for every "normal brain", it follows that at least some of the brains should arrive in Australia, which would go some of the way towards reversing the brain drain which many business people have been complaining about for decades. Floating brains would make excellent back-office employees who, when things got stressful, could double as footballs.

Also, an infinite number of brains floating around the streets could present new business opportunities for certain types of business - sunscreen manufacturers, for instance, could make a killing during the summer.

The reason the scientists are predicting the influx of brains is, to say the least, a little complicated. As far as I can make out, it has to do with there being an infinite number of universes, and the fact that nature finds it much, much easier to make incomplete things rather than complete things.

Thus, in the overwhelming majority of universes, it's vastly more likely that there will be incomplete humans rather than complete humans, leading to the mathematical certainty that the universe will soon be populated entirely by floating brains. Equally, the scientists might have predicted a universe populated entirely by large floating toenails, except that the cosmology out of which these theories arise calls for a "freaky observer", and it's hard to imagine a toenail (or any other part of the foot for that matter) being too observant. The upside to all of this is that, when the invasion occurs, there's a decent chance you personally will be on the winning side, at least a couple of times.

Given there will be an infinite number of universes, and thus an infinite (though smaller) number of brain invasions, it's bound to happen that at least some of these brains will be exactly like your brain, meaning that, statistically speaking, you'll be re-incarnated just as you are, only of course without the arms, legs, torso, neck, eyes, ears, mouth and skull. This would have numerous advantages, not the least of which being you wouldn't have to read this column.

There are some cosmologists who disagree with the floating brain theory, however, largely on the grounds that the theory calculates that cosmologists - along with all other "normal brains" - only stand an infinitesimal chance of actually existing, as such.

If cosmologists probably don't exist, then their giant floating brain theories probably don't exist, either, rendering the question of whether the theories are correct or not somewhat moot.

As a professional magazine columnist, I'm rather in favour of normal things probably not existing at all, however, because it means this column probably doesn't exist, either, which means it probably doesn't matter whether I finish it, or ...

John Davidson's column, This Digital Life, appears in The Australian Financial Review.

© Fairfax Business Media

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