Monday, 28 June 2010

Where is here?

If you are not baffled by the size of the universe, you have not understood how big it is yet.

We could be forgiven for thinking that the size of the universe has been designed with the deliberate intention of making any life within it feel insignificant. But in fact the situation is much worse: on the scale of the size of the universe, life within it is not significant
enough for any feeling of insignificance that life might have to merit as a deliberate intention. We are not significant enough to merit the status of deliberate insignificance.

Why go to all the trouble of making a universe this big, only to put life into this tiny grain of it? It makes no sense what so ever. The earth is like the foot of an ant on a football pitch the size of the world. If somebody squashed that ant, almost nothing would be any different. And yet here we all are, utterly convinced that we matter, and our lives matter, and curiously enough, perhaps they do.

As we are disenclined to believe in Creators these days, the obvious alternative to them seems to be that the universe could not help but come into existence. The existence of our vast universe was somehow evitable. It called itself forth. Something along the lines of this:

In the beginning there was nothing, but nothing had been nothing for so long that it was bored of being nothing. And so the universe said "Let there be me!" and there was him(her)(it).

Of course it is so hard to think of nothing, without it sneakily becoming a something. This might be why it is hard for us to understand how nothing leads inevitably to something. Because we have to keep reminding ourselves that the nothing we are talking about isn't something called nothing, but actually not any something at all. What ever we might think nothing is, it is actually not that. (That being the point.)

However if the universe did, as it were, say "Let there be me", our intuitions about symetry point towards some additional wonders. If one universe can say "Let there be me", why should another infinity of universes not do the same? Do universes come in a whole load of different sizes, in the same way that planets and stars and galaxies do? Are there some really small universes out there, where sentient beings similar to ourselves are not so inclined to be baffled by the size of that universe, because the universe in question isn't actually all that big? Maybe there are one or two universes out there that are just big enough for a family of four? Maybe we could move in?

Still you might ask, "where are any of these universes located?" - but that of course misses the more immediate question: "where is This universe located?"

Obviously it is Here. But where is Here?

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