Life is the universe in search of itself.
I have tremendous difficulty imagining that the entire universe exploded out of the smallest of particles. I have read numerous explanations about the Big Bang and while I can accept it as (at a minimum) a placeholder for what may have originated all of this, I still cannot wrap my brain around it.
What was the Big Bang?
The Big Bang Theory is the leading explanation for how the universe began. Simply put, it says the universe as we know it started with an infinitely hot and dense single point that inflated and stretched — first at unimaginable speeds, and then at a more measurable rate — over the next 13.8 billion years to the still-expanding cosmos that we know today.
Existing technology doesn’t yet allow astronomers to literally peer back at the universe’s birth, much of what we understand about the Big Bang comes from mathematical formulas and models. Astronomers can, however, see the “echo” of the expansion through a phenomenon known as the cosmic microwave background. As the James Webb Telescope comes online this summer, some of these questions may become more resolvable.
While the majority of the astronomical community accepts the theory, there are some theorists who have alternative explanations besides the Big Bang — such as eternal inflation or an oscillating universe.
The world’s leading scientists at CERN, siphon protons from hydrogen atoms and insert them into the hadron collider and accelerate them to ever increasing speeds to try to understand more about what happened.
That said, I have wondered often if there were a more philosophical approach to this question. My inquiry starts with whether or not the universe has consciousness. If you were to assume perhaps that it does, then my reasoning goes to… if the universe were one thing (call that the dense single point at the origin of the Big Bang, then perhaps if that single point had consciousness, what if it wanted to know more about itself? If that were the case, take the method within which we know about ourselves…. We understand ourselves through comparison. I am taller than some and shorter than others. I weigh more than some and lighter than others. Etc.
A few decades ago, I read a series of books called Conversations with God. Without diving deep into those philosophies, I started to transpose what I was learning there on top of my theory of the Big Bang. So for simple nomenclature, if God was the only thing before the universe and God wished to understand more about itself, would it not make sense for God to subdivide into the entire universe in order that (by comparison) it learned more about itself? Look at Genesis 1:1 (When God began to create heaven and earth—the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and called the darkness Night. And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.)
And, if this were the case, then everything is made from the same entity, so we are all pieces of a larger whole. SO… the golden rule would apply… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I realize it is not a theory, just something I was thinking about. But it gave me another perspective on the greater sum of things that I was determined to leverage in my daily life. So as Doug and I were chatting yesterday and he shared today’s aphorism with me, I felt that it crystalized in a single sentence that which I had postulated 20 years ago.
I do not pretend to know any of this to be true, all the way out to the Big Bang itself. I am just a scholar on the road in life, reporting what I see, think and explore, in order that it trigger others to do same in their own explorations.
If we are all just part of a larger whole, trying to define that which the larger whole contains, then perhaps we are more able to see one another with a greater degree of compassion and empathy. If we are truly one, then we would look to others as if they are we and we are they.
What does any of this mean other than a morning ramble of what ifs?
I think it means that we are foolish and presumptuous to expect that we have a full grasp of any of it. It is easy for any of us to determine that we are solid in our place in the universe, but the reality is far from that perspective. We may be random, we may be determined. We may have purpose or we may be arbitrary.
But the one thing we know we are is alive. Being alive is truly a gift, one of immeasurable value. So when the doldrums set in, and fear threatens to consume you, take a deep breath and realize that you are most probably a small construct of a much larger component, the concept of which would most likely elude us.
You and I are probably just an infinitesimal segment of a much larger puzzle in which the greater whole is still working to solve.