Sometime during the first decade of my life I wondered exactly what defined the absolute instant of motion (or stillness) of an object at the microcosmic level. I first pondered about that while being driven in a car. At that time, I didn’t know about the fuzziness and jiggling of electronic ‘clouds’ that permeate matter at the microcosmic level of matter, but I intuitively sensed that an auto was not the proper vehicle for the answer to my ‘deep’ kinematic question. I also didn’t know that Planck had an answer to that question. And, not exactly at the caliber of Einstein’s ‘thought experiments,’ I also didn’t know that my question was the first instance of my lifelong cosmological speculations. There has since been a steady stream of speculation.
The Singularity of the Universe
A few years ago, I read an article that posited the universe would eventually slow down forever but never absolutely stop expanding. The theory is based on the assumption that any length can be divided in half infinitely. Ooops!…there goes Planck’s Constant, where anything beyond its limit is meaningless.
Of course I’m not thinking about an auto, or classical science or quantum mechanics, or a potential breakdown of physics as we know it. I’m thinking of what is usually called, the “fabric of space.” I have no difficulty understanding that we are unable to imagine the very large or very small, but the theory described above lacks reason. Reason itself prevents me from accepting any theory that contradicts reason no matter what the mathematics. Mathematics can describe reality, e.g., E=MC2, but cannot create it.
On January 15, 2012, I posted an article on my website titled Disambiguation (Part 3 of 3). A quote from that article reads: “Trying to [imagine] nothingness is like trying to remember a dreamless sleep.” You will find it impossible to imagine absolutely nothing. Try it.
Darkness? ‘Nothing’ means no darkness, no anything. ‘Nothing’ is just as unimaginable as infinity. Given that nothing means nothing, then there would be nothing beyond the fringes of the universe. That would make the universe finite whatever its size. Even an inch is infinite if there is absolutely nothing else other than that inch.
The same is true of infinite space or infinite ‘anything.’ That too, is unimaginable. Yet ─ to the credit of human thought ─ we engage in speculation about space, time, and life.
By definition, speculation is open-ended, but it is also subject to the dictates of reason, the guidepost for reasonable speculation. It is reasonable to think that numbers are infinite: just add 1 to any number. But that is an exclusively mental construct that has no existence and no finite or infinite number.
However, space and matter are real. So is life. All three are open to speculation. Even if religion is excluded from valid speculation, there remains a plethora of definitions and explanations for the existence of space and matter, let alone their interactions.
Yet, there are those who claim that existence is merely a dream or a hologram of some other reality, as in Plato’s cave analogy. And there are those who claim that our senses intrinsically give us a distorted concept of ‘reality,’ even when enhanced by spectacular technology. In other words, we are blind because we have eyes and we are unable to perceive reality because our brains distort it. Others demand proof that existence exists even though that is the ultimate axiom!
The impulse to write this article was triggered by a graphic on the popular TV show (How the Universe Works) which depicted four separate universes birthed by a central, undefined cosmic progenitor (super universe?).
The concept of a ‘multiverse’ is implied in that graphic although the existence of multiple universes can never be proved. The purpose of the graphic was to posit the theory that the dark energy of the universe is caused by the combined gravitational pull of four separate universes surrounding and tugging ‘our’ universe’s expansion.
By definition, nothing proved about the universe is hyperbole. But theories that categorically cannot be proved, pale in the light of both proved and reasonable theories.
One More Item
I apologize for my plunge into the excessive writing style of Germanic philosophers of the late 18th and 19th century. Paradoxically, while the Information Age is exponentially bursting with accessibility and distribution of knowledge at a global level, the art of reasoning continues to nosedive. More on that in my next posting.