It’s a strange universe. Just to start with we shouldn’t be here. Were any of the basic physical constants slightly different, condensed matter–atoms, molecules–wouldn’t exist at all, let alone life.
If you’re religious, this oddity may not strike you as a mystery. You may just appeal for a divine preference for the kind of universe where people could exist and eventually pray. Exactly like a bookworm defining the purpose of a book. But that’s play tennis without net. Not the kind of game I like.
There should be a natural–mechanical, so to say–reason why we do exist. (Assuming that we do exist. Who knows? We may just be a dream of giant eternal turtle.)
You could simply argue that it was an amazing coincidence that all things are well tuned to have a nicely hospitable universe, but from the moment it happened, it opened the possibility for our existence. Better than the divine wish or the turtle’s dream options, but not good enough though: I don’t like amazing coincidences.
Maybe things just couldn’t be different. Maybe, for instance, the fine-structure constant must always be 1/137 atomic units and that’s all. But why? Nobody can really tell why it couldn’t have another value in principle.
But I may also be looking at a half-empty glass. Maybe this is not a comfortable universe. After all, it’s a big, empty, dark, and cold place, where everything dies out driven by ruthless increasing entropy.
Maybe we’re just looking with the wrong earth-centered eyes. The observable universe is 93 billion light years side to side and has been around for 13.8 billion years since the big bang. But how was the universe during the eternity before the big bang? How is it going to be during the eternity that starts today?
Who can really guarantee that the universe is homogenous, with the same physical laws applying everywhere? Maybe somewhere-somewhen out of this little space-time bubble of 93 billion light years × 13.8 billion years things run differently. Maybe there are regions where matter does not exist and others where things are much more comfortable than here.
But I’m still playing safe, trapped within my four-dimensional self-centered point of view. Why should we have only four dimensions? Open yourself for more dimensions and then even our infinite four-dimensional bubble would only be a bubble in a multidimensional ocean. An ocean with infinite other bubbles, each of them with their own physics. We exist because one of those bubbles had just the right conditions for us.
I could appeal to string theories to give some feeling of scientific truth for these speculations. But I won’t do that. I want to leave these lots of maybes as pure speculations. I want to invite you to let your imagination flow without anchors and to be amazed with the infinite possibilities.
Leave the hard boring work for the physicists; leave the lazy useless work for the theologians. Just fly.
- No, I wasn’t high when I wrote this post. In fact, I’m trapped in a ten-hours Madrid-Rio flight. I can’t discard, however, that the combination of cheap wine and low pressure may have some weird effects.
- But anyway, did you take a moment to fly? Share with us.
- If you enjoyed this post, you may also like “A big red button for the end of the universe.”
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