Friday, February 23, 2007

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Pondering why there is something rather than nothing begins when we use language to make assumptions. This line of reasoning assumes there is such a concept as “nothing” and that this can apply to reality external to the mind. “Why” denotes a purpose, and purpose is often a result of conscious thought. “Why” is a human question that has limited application beyond earthly affairs.

Everything in the universe can be represented as information. These bits of information react with each other, forming complex patterns of matter and energy. Taken as a whole, the universe can be thought of as a giant computer (beware the analogy). The brain as a computer is vastly inferior to the processing capacity of the entire universe, which means that while the universe can be known by us, not all of it can be known at once. Likewise, this universal computer cannot know all of itself. What it processes we are discovering now, even as we are elements of it. To know what it processes is to know how it processes is to know why it processes.

We are fond of manipulating and controlling our surroundings and assume that if we run our lives in such a way, then perhaps there is a great conductor who in turn operates everything. We look to higher and more complex entities as being possible explanations or sources of action for what occurs around us. Very rarely do we consider that there is no great conductor, or even supposing there were, that it would not know anything beyond what it was immediately doing (as in the giant computer analogy). To seek answers in more complex forms may be overlooking the simpler forms as the source of complexity.

String theory suggests the four dimensions of the universe we experience are complimented by a sixth dimensional universe (amongst perhaps more dimensions – depending on who you ask, anywhere from 11 to 26). What we know of this (our) universe tells us very little about how these higher dimensions operate. Our concepts of beginning and end, cause and effect, existence and non-existence may not apply in these dimensions. How the information in these alternate dimensions is processed may explain how (and thus why) this four-dimensional universe operates. If the universe (all dimensions of it) operates in a perpetual cycle, or is infinite and eternal, then the something/nothing question may be invalid the way it was phrased. Existence cannot be compared to non-existence because the latter may only ‘exist’ as a concept in the minds of humans.



Blogger Delta said...

Very rarely do we consider that there is no great conductor, or even supposing there were, that it would not know anything beyond what it was immediately doing (as in the giant computer analogy)

Good point. People assume that there is always some higher power "controlling" the processes that they see, by drawing analogy with the processes that they themselves control. However, when we look closer and realize that humans do not have some sort of external, non-causal free will and are simply reacting to stimuli in accordance with natural laws, then the idea that there exists ANY controller of anything at all, much less a master controller, looks more and more foreign to our experience.

27 February, 2007 09:27  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Because our "language" is inadequate to define the concepts we can't comprehend, we "assume" a "higher" power. It is as if we file the thought neatly in a box and sigh that the matter is settled. That way humans can continue to go about each day and concentrate on survival, pursuit of happiness, etc. without delving too deeply into uncomfortable or incomprehensible matters. The few individuals who stretch out mentally to explore beyond that which is known prove that the human brain is not merely "programmed" to accept a higher power. The question is how can we as a species evolve brain-wise to continually stretch out to try to understand the universe, and therefore leave superstition behind. Will we celebrate the forward-thinking individuals, or will society force them to keep silent for fear of disturbing the status quo?

05 April, 2007 20:28  

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