You Think Therefore the Universe Is

Or why life might underpin the existence of a universe

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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.

Food for thought.

Let the board sound


On a time twisting speed limit

“Let there be light”

Photo by Tsuyoshi Kozu

“Let there be light.” According to Genesis 1:3, this is how it all started. If we keep pulling on the metaphorical thread though, we might realize there is more to it.

It is by these words that the universe was stamped with a seal over which no trespassing is possible. This seal is the speed of light. It bears a name, c, and its value is known, 299 792 458 meters per second. A universal speed limit imposed on everything, or more precisely on anything which has mass, energy or which can hold information, so pretty much everything of interest. Nothing can go faster, not even light itself.

We only came to know about this seal in the beginning of the 20th century, when Einstein uncovered it in his theory of relativity. He discovered that it is an absolute limit, true everywhere, anywhere, regardless of the frame of reference you are in. A perfect boundary. A mind twisting one too, or rather a time twisting one. You see the higher the speed at which you travel, the slower time passes for you. Relativity again. The effect is tiny and beyond measurable for ordinary everyday speeds. It becomes dramatic however for speeds approaching c. Even time is not absolute in the vicinity of the ultimate speed limit.

We know today that there are hard limits in our universe, like the speed of light, the absolute zero or the uncertainty principle. Unlike previous epochs where so called science was rooted in the Scriptures, which lead the sun to revolve around the earth and Galilei’s life to jeopardy, these relatively modern limits are the fruits of scientific theories which have been experimentally verified over and again. They are as real as it gets. Bottom-line: Impossible is something, impossible is certain. Impossible is universal, by design may I say.

And maybe it is a good thing. It puts us back in perspective: our lives are too short to tame the impossible, but they are long enough to chase it: that’s called fundamental research for some, endeavor for others, adventure if you will, and that is what keeps dreams alive and humanity going forward.

To Maroun and Liliane

Let the board sound