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Welcome to Soapbox 42 - my place to reflect on the incredible wonder of existence; life, the universe and everything….
Here we all are, living out our lives mainly completely unaware of what’s out there – outside the comfort of our spaceship Earth; where everything is just right for us to live out our lives. Occasionally, the ‘outside’ impinges on our thoughts and lives; a meteorite comes crashing down and lands in someone’s drive way, an eclipse of the moon, a shooting star or a solar flare that takes out a power grid and affects our lives in a major way - for a short time.
For me - there are some interesting questions to explore:
1/ Where were you before you were born? – well, you don’t exist at that specific time – however, the potential may exist (in some universe) for you to be born at some future time in that universe.
2/ Where are you when you are alive? – well, for a short few moments (years) of time, the conditions are just right for you (in this universe) to be born and live out your life and wonder about things – woohoo!
3/ Where are you when you die? – this would just seem to be the same state as “1/” – the potential exists for you to be born at some time and place in some universe where the conditions are just right….
Now mix 1/, 2/ and 3/ up with the concept of infinity and what do we have? – the potential for ‘you’ to become alive and conscience, an infinite number of times, somewhere/somewhen. Unfortunately, because there would seem to be no way to pass on memories or communication between the various ‘you’s – each new ‘you’ will seem like it’s the first one.
There are two incredible concepts that we conscience beings seem only dimly able to comprehend – firstly that of ‘zero’ or ‘nothing’ and secondly “infinity” - both would seem to be 'singularities' where all reason breaks down.
Now “nothing” might seem like a simple concept but is it? ‘Nothing’ makes some sort of sense only if there is ‘something’ to compare it against. ‘Nothing’ is rather like a singularity (mathematic embarrassment) if it’s taken by itself.
'Infinity' is another ‘monster’ where basically anything is possible if you combine it with 'nothing':
In maths: 1 – 1 = 0
In our universe: Particle + Anti-particle = 0
And in current scientific understanding; something can exist as long as there is something else to cancel it out to ‘nothing’ in the end so:
Energy + spacetime + matter + antimatter + dark energy + dark matter + lots of ‘?’s = 0
The whole universe, while it exists, is basically living on borrowed time; where, in the beginning there was nothing, at the end there will be nothing and in the ‘middle’ – something exists because it has borrowed from the infinite number of ways that something + something else can equal nothing.
Similarly, we exist in a borrowed state; in the beginning there was nothing, at the end there will be nothing and in the middle we are here, free to live out our lives and think our thoughts.
The anthropic principle would seem to describe things well – we are here simply because the particular laws of our universe enable just the right conditions for us to exist and wonder and the concepts of ‘nothing’ and ‘infinity’ make that possibility a certainty. “Just the right conditions” could be made up of an infinite number of starting conditions – the laws of physics that make up that particular universe.
Getting dizzy? - I am!
…think I’ll just go off and have a nice cup of tea and do some more - wondering…
Tags: Existence, infinity, nothing, spacetime, anthropic principal, laws of physics, Douglas Adams, 42, universe,