Saturday 2 March 2013

#7 The universe

This is the seventh post so I'm going to give an explanation of how and why it all happened. This isn't a good explanation. In fact, it might not even make sense.

The questions of how and why the universe began are perhaps holy grails of physics and philosophy. I expect most people ask these questions as young children and revisit them as they grow or are reintroduced to them by their associates.

I tend to imagine the big bang as a large explosion at night. It would have looked similar. Somebody wanted to make a giant firework, so they compressed all these really tiny bits of gunpowder and the whole thing blew up. Whoever did it wanted it to be really big and last a really long time.

So where do we fit in to it all? People are very self-centred at times like this. We used to think that the sun revolved around the earth. We thought that because we didn’t realise that the earth was moving. Similarly, I have often thought that the universe exists in order for us to witness it. People are the only things in the known universe capable of witnessing the real the glory of such a big explosion. We need to exist in order for the firework to exist (the whole tree falling in the woods metaphor). We sometimes want to eat hotdogs while we watch fireworks so the Lord provided pigs along with plenty of water and salt. We had to evolve in order develop senses capable of fully appreciating the explosion.

You could keep saying “yeah but why did this or that event happen” but when you view the universe as a whole, rather than just from your own perspective, cause and effect disappear. Time does too. To use a phrase that makes no sense other than to reaffirm itself, “it is what it is”. By which I mean, there couldn’t be nothing so there had to be something and that something had to be everything. There couldn’t just be a frog because it had to eat flies and sit on a lily.

None of what I have written so far today is particularly original or useful so I’d like to close with a couple of links that I like:

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