"Ha! They've found the 'god particle'!" Ra exclaimed, raising his hand. An ornate mahogany table instantly appeared as he brought his hand down with a satisfying whack against its top. He leaned back in the matching chair and called, "Einstein, come join me! If I'm going to talk to myself, I need something to look at!"
A sad-eyed, mustached man with wild white hair appeared in a chair across from Ra. Sighing, he asked, "What now? And who are you today?"
"I am Ra."
"Oh? Ancient Egypt. Last time we talked you were Yahweh."
"So? Listen, the brains at CERN believe they have found what they call 'the god particle' - the so-called Higgs boson. Peter Higgs is still incarnate, isn't he? I'd like to have a word with him, but that would break my rule against revealing myself to the parts of myself I have sent into material existence."
"God forbid breaking your rule," Einstein smiled.
"Yes. That would defeat my purpose, wouldn't it? Relieving the crushing boredom of being omnipotent. I don't know what I would do with my time, without the vicarious pleasure of living in a material body without knowing the outcome."
"Well, you can create only so many supernovas until ﬁreworks become predictable and boring," Einstein agreed.
"Indeed." Ra said. "But sometimes the incarnates prove to be a bit too unpredictable. This tendency of some of them to hang around a bit after 'death' to bugger the living - upsetting them with wild theories of 'ghosts' and such. Even you, Einstein, whispering suggestions in Stephen Hawking's ear while he was sleeping."
"You wanted your creations to evolve. That's why you gave them consciousness, after all those boring eons with dinosaurs and such. Anyway, you can't blame the incarnates for having a little fun after checking out. Spending a lifetime with other incarnates can be stressful. Anyway, they can't see us."
"Of course not. That's why they call us 'dark matter.' The ones who bother to check into such matters, anyway. I'm looking forward to talking with Stephen about the frustrations involved in coping with his disability. I ﬁnd it exhilarating!"
"His frustrations would have been a lot worse if he had been born a hundred years before the technology advanced enough that he could communicate. That's why I whisper in someone's ear after I disincarnate, before checking back in to you."
"Hitler!" Ra called, and Einstein immediately disappeared, to be replaced by the image of the infamous Nazi dictator.
"Ja?" Hitler greeted Ra.
"Adolf, I am becoming a bit disturbed by the dark side of my incarnates. My law of karma - your being reincarnated as a Jew under the Nazi regime for instance -- doesn't seem to be improving the overall behavior of mankind as much as I had hoped. Of course, their being unable to remember past lives doesn't compel better behavior in the next, but I really thought evolution would tend in that direction. There may be fewer spectacular villains than in past history, but there seems to be more of everyday, garden-variety greed, hate, selﬁshness and corruption. Where are the 'saints' of former days? The Oscar Schindlers to your Hitler?"
"Well," Hitler replied, "you may ﬁnd omnipotence a drag at times, but an incarnate with no power at all will ﬁnd it an attractive alternative to the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'! You should well know the exhilaration that power brings, as well as the despair of those without it. You have vicariously experienced it all, a billion times over by making yourself incarnate."
"That's true. But I still feel a need to more fully understand material existence. Even though I have incarnated into the lowliest hamlet in India, expecting a life of crushing poverty, and have found myself becoming the Dalai Lama instead, I still do not understand what drives material existence toward its ﬁnal end."
Hitler laughed. "You want psychology? Maybe you should talk to Jung or Freud."
Ra shrugged, and Hitler and the table disappeared. The endless expanse of the universe stretched before him.
* * *
He really had hoped that if he split himself into enough particles, eventually he would simply cease to exist. His expansion of the universe with ever more and more incarnates wasn't working. His existence was as real - and as disturbing - as ever. His omnipotence didn't extend to ending his own existence. He knew why something, rather than nothing existed; he created it. But the most important question remained:
Who created him?