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Posts Tagged ‘universe’

Time and place have mystical qualities.  If we consider an eclipse, for example, its occurrence depends upon the more or less exact relation between three or more objects ; but what is surprising is that the appearance of the eclipse is more or less exactly predictable long in advance.  This suggests a mechanical sort of universe.

It suggests a universe where everything runs like clockwork.  Indeed, a universe that is a clockwork ; a clockwork that was wound up long ages ago and which has been running its predictable revolutions ever since.  All motion came from that primal winding-up.

One might expect many interesting things from a mechanical universe ; but voluntary motion is perhaps the very last thing one should expect.

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Something to meditate on.  We say that we live in the World.  We say that we know the World.  What is the difference between the World, on the one hand, and what we know of the World, on the other?

We live in a phenomenal world, a world of mental images consciously perceived. Surely the World (universe) is exactly what we collectively know about it ; it is the collective phenomena ; no more and no less.  If so, then the world would seem to be coterminous with human consciousness.

Of course, this need not mean that there is nothing outside of our consciousness ; but that which is outside of our consciousness is not the World.

I can remember words Pascal the wise
Left us to ponder , which gave rise
To other ideas, paler than his own.
All worlds and suns, and even yet
The brightest stars that nature did beget,
Compare with dust in light of human mind.

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I can remember words Pascal the wise
Left us to ponder , which gave rise
To other ideas, much paler than his own.
All worlds and suns, and even yet
The brightest stars that nature did beget,
Compare with dust in light of human mind.

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Bombs generally are unpleasant things ; that is why it is good to think about them.  A bomb going off in a remote and uninhabited place would attract little attention from the news media.  But a bomb exploding in a crowded public place would be of national and international concern ; it would be at least a nine-day wonder.  Which is why the astronomical Big Bang comes a such a surprise ; or at least the attention given to it is a surprise ; for it certainly occurred in a remote place.

For some theorists, the Big Bang – the biggest anyone can even hope to imagine – did indeed occur in a remote and uninhabited place.  There was no mortal wight present to hear it, or to see it, or to feel it.  Indeed, if modern beliefs are true, the explosion was causeless ; no trigger set it off.  No agent planted that bomb.

The nature of that Big Bomb is so secret that nobody can verify what it was made of ; its ingredients were never seen.  But it is surmised that it was a small device considering its evident great power.  It packed a lot of bang per buck, as we might say.

So, the Bomb went Bang, and the universe was set to create itself.  The stuff of that bomb expanded under its own motive forces ; and as it expanded, so it evolved ; The stuff settled down to what we nowadays call ‘matter’.  After many evolutions, it eventually settled into the state we describe as being made of elements – and of more complex assemblies called compounds.

These states of matter are the residues of the Big Bang.  The countless stars, and the equally countless galaxies to which they belong  are, like the debris, dust and smoke that are the aftermath of a man-made bomb going off in some remote and uninhabited place on Earth.  But we must add that the man-made bomb is designed to a purpose, whereas the Biggest Bomb of All was entirely accidental.

And of course to a modern thinker, the evolution of life in the universe is a continuation of the evolution of matter.  Life is no more than complex matter.  And so, if we are very modern thinkers, we may conclude with confidence that homo sapiens is also no more than the detritus of that Big Bomb.

I cannot help thinking that our very modern thinkers are being very bold when they assert that they (the dust and debris of the universe) have somehow unlocked the mysteries of that universe.  Who is to say that Man is privy to the Natural Secrets, while rabbits and beetles aren’t?

What  might a Being who lives a million light-years away say to that?

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