posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 06:01 AM
I am sure this has been tackled on here before... but it is something that I have been musing over for many years now....
Ok, most of us accept that the universe as we know and perceive it, will eventually, one day, come to an end. This understanding is intrinsically
linked to our general belief that the universe must have had a beginning, an unfortunate by-product of causality and the laws of thermodynamics of
course. Most, well, all to be truthfull, of us will be long gone by the time this cataclysmic event actually takes place, but I find myself constantly
intrigued by the question of what will eventually happen, not only to our tiny corner of the small amount of space we can actually see, but to the
entire universe itself. When beginning to think of the universe as an entity you immediately come across questions that are not only inconceivable,
but impossible to prove. These questions are the questions of boundary, mass, structure, and location, to name a few.
If we accept that the universe "Began" at a given time and location with the explosion of matter from a space/time singularity, we have to first ask
ourselves "where did this event take place"? What was this singularity existing within before the event took place? our brains tell us that
logically there must have been another universe for this "bubble" universe to have formed in, this is the only explanation that we can naturally
come to, because this is the only form of existence that we have experience with, and it is all we can do to apply experience, logic and reason to the
formation of our opinions. Again, we are within the realms of imagination and speculation, an all too familiar bed-fellow in this game. So, in order
for us to carry on with the argument we must accept that the universe as we know it today was once a "black hole", a tiny point in space/time with
zero volume and infinite density, (theres that word, infinite, you'll be hearing more of that believe me), and no mechanics of time. Now, i don't
usually like people telling me to believe or accept things that can't be proved to me, but for the sake of this ramble, lets accept that small point.
If we do accept this we have to accept that the universe was smaller at some point in time, such as 3 minutes after the big bang for instance. So,
again, this would suggest an actual boundary. The actual theory that the universe is expanding, backed up by the discovery that most of the observable
galaxies/stars within our vicinity are moving away from us at roughly the same speed, does itself suggest that it must have a centre, and naturally
"edges". Some say the universe is donut shaped, now, i find this conceivable given that einstein suggested, and later proved, as far as he possibly
could, that light travelling over extremely large distances is actually refracted minutely by distant and weak gravitational forces, so that it
effectively "bends"... if we accept this we must surely accept it is plausible that should you travel far enough in a straight line, at some point
in the future, you will end up back where you started, (a feeling anyone that has been through American airport security recently will be all too
familiar with). But why the hole in the middle i ask? this smacks of insanity, surely of all the mathematical structures and shapes we know of the
universe can't be shaped like a fried dough cake..... I don't think my sanity could cope with that....
So, to imagine that the universe has a boundary, an actual "end", is very difficult, for what would exist outside of that boundary? but at the same
time its even harder to accept that it may not have one, given the human minds apparent inability to comprehend infinity as a figure, or an idea. So,
the answer to that one eludes us, thats a kind of running theme to be honest, but please persevere.....
Ok, the second question is the question of the present. We can tell by observing the "red shift" (a fluctuation in radiational output, and on a
visible level, colour) of distant stars and galaxies, that the universe is expanding, a subject much written about and discussed by Mr S. Hawking, my
original inspiration for this piece. Not only that, but it happens to be expanding at exactly a rate just below that rate at which it would begin to
contract, eventually collapsing back in on itself and re-forming a singularity. So, thats a bit lucky then?..... not only that but the precise values
of the many environmental conditions that interact to make the world as we know it possible are intrinsically linked to each other, each needing and
relying on all the others for the formation of matter as we know it. Without these exact measurements for density and temperature and matter to
anti-matter ratio, electrons would not be able to effectively orbit the nucleus of an atom, meaning that the very building blocks of life and matter
itself could not, and would not, form. You would end up with a kind of milky solution of electrons, protons and neutrons all floating around space
with not much to do, what a terrible waste.
So, we are left with the insight that the "settings", if you will, at the exact moment of the creation of the universe, had to be precise, some may
even say "set", in order for us to see what we see today.... now, Stephen argue's that this suggests the existence of a "higher power" or god
like figure, "just messing about and that", however, I find this hard to believe, not because I dis-agree with him, but because to believe this
would make a complete breakdown and re-formation of my belief system necessary, an undertaking that I find frightening to be honest. So, I choose to
believe that its just a fluke, that this existence is happening, because it just so happens that it can. It exists because it can exist. Some may call
this ignorance, I call it Hawking ignoring.... i mean c'mon, he can't know everything, can he?
I point you towards Occam's razor for answering some of the harder questions of metaphysics and philosphy.
Occam's razor states that the explanation of any phonomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating, those that make no difference in
the observable predictions of the explanatory theory. In short, when given two equally valid explanations for a phenomenon, you should embrace the
less complicated formulation, for its most likely the correct one.