8

I was reading an article in Time magazine about Interstellar and it opened with a quote that was never attributed:

There is no reason at all you should care about the universe. For one thing, it doesn't care a whit about you.

Since the article was on page 42 and titled Life, the Universe and Everything, I expected it to be a Douglas Adams quote, but couldn't find any reference.

Although it could just as easily be a physicist or cosmologist.

Does anyone know the source?

  • The statement "The universe don't care." can originally be attributed to Mr. Honey Badger III, Esq. – Omegacron Aug 14 '15 at 20:11
  • I came to this site looking for confirmation of the source of the quote, "The first thing to recognize is that the Universe doesn't care." I seem to remember John W Campbell Jr writing this in an editorial in Astounding about 1960. I'll continue my search and report back here if I can find the issue. – user68803 Jul 13 '16 at 15:53
8

I found this article opening with the quote, but it has a different title than the one you mentioned.

In any case, based on a Google search it appears that Jeffrey Kluger (The author of that article) made it up. Pretty much every attempt to search for the phrase directs me to Kluger's article in one form or another, except for this article posted on Bernstein & Andriulli's website last week:

We are very, very small. In the context of even our Solar System, human beings are such a minute part of the total planetary existence that we’re hardly worth mentioning. Put that into the context of the universe, and we wouldn't be a footnote. As TIME Magazine reporter Jeffrey Kluger puts it, "There is no reason at all you should care about the universe. For one thing, it doesn't care a whit about you."

Emphasis mine. Although it does kind of sound like it belongs in a Douglas Adams book, it seems to be an original creation.

  • Perhaps it is just the sentiment that is familiar, but the quote is original to the author. – Jim McKeeth Nov 15 '14 at 19:50
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Here's an older one...Pre 1900

“A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:

“Sir, I exist!”

“However,” replied the universe,

“The fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.”

― Stephen Crane, War Is Kind and Other Poems

9

The earliest source I am aware of is Michael Moorcock's The Black Corridor, a portion of which was subsequently used by Hawkwind for a song of the same name.

The Moorcock book dates to 1969, the Hawkwind song to 1972.

Space does not care, space does not threaten
Space does not comfort
It does not speak, it does not wake
It does not dream
It does not know, it does not fear
It does not love, it does not hate
It does not encourage any of these qualities

Despite this, the concept of the universe not caring does seem to be quite a common trope, so it's unlikely that you're ever going to get a definite source for the article itself.

2

The 'uncaring universe' quote may be derived from Niven's third law: "Mother Nature doesn't care if you're having fun."

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