Or why life might underpin the existence of a universe
Dear reader. Dear life. Imagine if the universe was the result of a random event. Imagine if it was empty of life. No consciousness creating it, no consciousness to experience it through senses or thoughts. No God, no humans, to be a bit less cryptic. No one witnessing its creation. No one experiencing it.
Existence would not be an attribute of such a universe. No one would be there to tell. No one would be there to decide and no one to prove them wrong. Or right.
On the other hand, consciousness without a universe is very possible. It could always imagine one. It could dream one. You could dream one.
Consciousness closed its eyes and imagined.
Light. Something bright. Fast travelling. Visible. That will come in handy later.
Energy. And for energy to work, it imagined movement, speed, kinetics, heat. Matter. These did not have meaning until then. They came to be in its mind.
A point of infinite energy, of infinite density. Infinite heat. And a sudden expansion creating matter, made from tiny bits and pieces, themselves made of even tinier bits and pieces.
And then it became even more interesting. From the chaos of the infinitely dense, it imagined order. Order led to life. And with life came senses, consciousness, imagination.
And Life imagined.
It may well be that existence can only be through the mind of consciousness. Descartes if you will, but a little wider than your mere person: Je pense donc l’univers existe.
I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore, the universe exists.
So yes, that life of mine, of yours, miserable and finite comedy as it may be, might still underpin the existence of a universe.
First, let me set things straight with the title: some choices are obviously wrong. You can tell right away. You would be ashamed to even consider them. In this sense, they are not exactly choices.
Some others are a bit less obvious to figure out. For those, God, or the cosmic dice, or evolution, whatever you believe in, has provided us with an infallible compass. It is the inner voice telling you not to buy the Porsche. The one compelling you to study for the mid-terms instead of going out for drinks.
You can choose to ignore it, but you know you should not. Still you do sometimes and you hide behind rubbish like “You Only Live Once”. I know I have, many times over.
I’d like to argue these are not choices either. With a bit of inner listening, you can figure out what to do, and you end up realizing there was only one path to walk, and it did not involve a Porsche. Early enough or too late, that is the real question.
A sea of hesitation
Apart from the non-choices above, remains an ocean of hesitations. These are the real choices, the ones which have no true or false answer in general. Which job offer should I take? Who should I vote for? Do we go for a third child or do we stop at two? Medium or Vocal?
Standing on the crossroad, who’s to tell if left is better than right, especially not knowing where the roads lead? In many if not most situations, the road itself does not know where it leads. So, which is better?
In my opinion, adjectives like good, bad, right or wrong and their superlativesdo not apply to such choices. Good and bad are outcomes in this instance. They depend not on the choice itself, but on the course of actions one takes after the choice is made.
One has also to keep in mind that there are many dependencies to the choice which are out of one’s control. You take left. It is raining. Your car skids and ends up in a tree. Had you taken right, you could have avoided the accident. Or could you have? Whose to say? The road was slippery in both cases, and you might have ended up in an even worse situation. The fact is, you just do not know.
Warning, geek stuff ahead!
You see, the universe is governed by laws which simply prevent us from figuring out precisely what the future holds.
Here comes the geek part, brace yourselves!
Classical physics teach us that we can model the behavior of a system with a set of differential equations, which, given the right initial conditions, should allow us to predict the state of a system at any point in time. However, the devil is in the details. You need to figure out precise enough initial conditions, if you want your predictions to be accurate, for instance, the exact position and initial speed of the system you are trying to model.
Practically speaking, you could predict the exact position of an oscillating pendulum at future times for long enough. You would not be able to predict the path of a ball in a flowing river beyond a few seconds, and that is assuming tremendous calculation power to solve the differential equations behind the prediction.
It gets even more complicated when we move to less classical physics. Quantum mechanics teach us that it is not possible to know with arbitrary high certainty the position and speed of a particle at the same time. If you figure out its exact speed, you lose its position. This is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
In a nutshell, no one can predict the precise outcome of a choice. The laws of the known universe will stand against such a prediction.
So how to make a choice? Well, if your inner voice is silent and you do not feel inclined towards one of the alternatives, heads or tails should be a good enough method. You cannot be wrong. Not when making a choice.