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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Again, Something versus Nothing

Perhaps this is what Jung referred to as synchronicity. A few days after I wrote the blog entry about what I think about the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?", Oliver Burkeman published a rather amusing feature in Guardian on an amateur philosopher who claims to have solved the mystery of universe. This jewelry dealer and philosopher's answer is --- potential.

Whatever. I don't intend to discuss this philosophy. I just remembered a radio interview I heard some time ago with a female physics professor and researcher. She said something to the effect of "Yes there is a defined size to our universe and it is approximately 13.6 billion years old." Her point was that our universe is an enclosed system, like the inside of a ball. Also she said that it was pointless to ask what was there BEFORE the Big Bang, because "before" is a concept of time, and time did not exist outside of our universe, which was created by the Big Bang. If I understand correctly, she meant that time in itself is a product of the Big Bang, just like the 3 dimensional space itself, which is expanding as we speak. Time as we know it is just like space that exists only within the confines of our universe. Therefore there is no BEFORE the Big Bang because there was no TIME outside of the Big Bang.

Imagine a supernatural being who exists outside of our universe looking in, the same way as we, creatures of 3 dimensions, looking at an ant who lives in a 2-dimensional world. It seems obvious, isn't it, that time does not have to be infinite. It can be a line and a creature not actually ON the line can see any point on the line, but a creature living on the line can only see that particular point he is standing on? It is only the human memory that allows us to see a minute distance behind us on this line but not most of it. To organisms without memory, they live on a point, although not the same point from one instance to another, on this line.

But memory is but an illusion, not reality. It's a recording of the moment "then," which stands at some point behind "now" but it is not really "then." An analogy is that a photograph is merely a picture that depicts the image of a moment in the past, but what you are seeing now (when you look at the photograph) is the photograph, not the past itself. There is no contradiction of past and present existing together.

Anyway, so, what I'm trying to say is that humans often fall into the trap of being unable to distinguish the self, in the form of consciousness, and everything else that is not the self, including the molecular and chemical processes that enable consciousness. It is incredibly self-centered and grandiose and delusional, yes, but what else would you expect from the consciousness, especially that of men and especially that of men like Thomas Nagel (who believes that consciousness is the basis for the existence of the universe)? People do believe they are the center of the universe and they can't be reasoned out of it.

Imagine though that you were a supernatural being living outside of this 4-dimensional universe and time is but a thread laid out in front of you and means no mystery to you. You watch the little creatures crawling on the thread, blind to what lies before or behind them, yet, against all reality, they believe the electrochemical flutters in their head causes the universe to exist. Wouldn't you laugh your ass off, assuming you laugh? I vaguely remember Chuang Tzu saying something to this effect. Hmm, why do you need Nagel when you already have Chuang Tzu?

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