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This point has been made with sensuous prose by John Updike in his recent Toward the End of Time (1995): "It makes no sense: all those blazing suns, red and swollen or white and shrunken or yellow like our moderate own, blue and new or black and collapsed, madly spinning neutron stars or else all-swallowing black holes denser yet, not to mention planets and cinderlike planetoids and picturesque clouds of glowing gas and dark matter hypothetical or real and titanic streaming soups of neutrinos, could scarcely be expected to converge exactly upon a singularity smaller, by many orders of magnitude, than a pinhead. The Weyl curvature, in other words, was very very very near zero at the Big Bang, but will be much larger at the Big Crunch. But, I ignorantly wonder, how does time’s arrow know this, in our trifling immediate vicinity? What keeps it from spinning about like the arrow of a compass, jumping broken cups back on the table intact and restoring me, if not to a childhood self, to the suburban buck I was when still married." The mystery of aging and ultimate personal demise receive, in Updike’s view, but little help from considerations of the immensity and endurance of the physicist’s universe.

I sometimes make the same point with a witticism that I once heard from a friend: "In the matter of the value and meaning of the universe, science has all the answers, except the interesting ones."

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