Many years ago when I was just a little pencil stub, about ten years old, I scared myself so badly that I have never forgotten it.
My family had just moved to a home snuggled into the edge of a National Park and fronted by a river.
It was quite strange for a while as the powerful silence was occasionally broken by the strange sounds of the bush and the air was so clear that the stars lit up our surrounds at night.
One night, as I lay in bed looking out at the amazing beauty of the universe, I realised that something was terribly wrong.
Like most little pencils around that age I had learned a bit about the atoms, the universe and the solar system.
As I looked deeply into space, though, it struck me that, despite its immense size and beauty, even the universe had to have an end.
I lay awake for an age worrying until my mind finally solved the problem by encasing the universe inside a huge ball.
Smugly satisfied, I looked at this solution in my mind as I slowly began to drop off into contented sleep.
I never quite made it to sleep that night because, as the truth of my solution hit me, I screamed, covered my head in the blanket and cried and shook with fear.
My mind had viewed its solution from outside the ending of the universe (the ball) and I suddenly realised that even if there was nothing outside of this barrier, that nothing is infinite, never ending.
I had to concede that either the universe extends without end or outside of the universe nothing extends without end.
If you are game, try to imagine an eternity of nothing.
The absolute fear walked with me for weeks until I designed a most unscientific solution to my dilemma and was able to dismiss the problem.
You will find my answer by clicking:
Quark, quark !