How did we get here? What is our purpose? Is there a god? Will we ever discover the answers to these and the other paradoxical questions about our humanity? My guess is yes. And though I have no proven facts or credentials to write on these subjects, I find them fascinating enough to give it a shot -- even at the risk of being labeled a cook. So, if you have a little time on your hands (this is not a short essay) and you feel like pondering some far out and admittedly unsubstantiated cosmic possibilities, well, settle into a comfy chair and slip on your reading glasses…
FROM THE BEGINNING
At some time in the very, very, very distant past, in fact, so far in the past it was before our universe existed, an explosion of unimaginable size and power took place. Most scientists agree that is how our universe began and they have named that explosion The Big Bang. The Big Bang originated from what these scientists call a Singularity. I will not pretend to be smart or educated enough to explain exactly what a singularity is, however, I do know that it is described as an incredibly dense and, in the case of our Big Bang, almost infinitesimally tiny point. A singularity is also another name for a black hole, by the way, which is an incredibly dense sort of bottomless pit in the fabric of the universe, pulling in everything nearby with such enormous power that not even light can escape it.
A TALE OF TWO BANGS
Let's assume there are at least two scenarios that might have occurred when the Big Bang took place. I call these The Straight Bang and The Curved Bang.
THE STRAIGHT BANG
Imagine the Straight Bang as an explosion that blew enormous amounts of universal material straight out into the nothingness of space. And because space truly was nothingness, all the cosmic chunks and blobs and pre-atomic goop blew straight away from the center and kept going at incredible speed. You could imagine it as something like one of those huge, colorful, 4th of July fireworks explosions that blows fiery points of light straight out in a perfect circle.
THE CURVED BANG
Now picture a second version of the explosion. It begins the same, but in this case, all that cosmic stuff does not go straight away from the center. That’s because in this scenario space is not nothingness. In fact, space, according to Albert Einstein (I think we can trust his definition), is actually “Space-Time”. And space-time, very loosely defined, is something like an immense fabric stretched tightly across the entire expanse of the universe. I have to qualify that statement and say this fabric is not exactly like a single sheet as you might be thinking. It is actually much more complicated than that, but again, for purposes of this story, if you imagine something like an immense taut sheet, that will work just fine.
Now here is the important distinction between these two versions of that initial explosion. As this second version takes place, the blast is so powerful that it ripples and warps this space-time fabric, and that causes the cosmic stuff shot into it to begin to arc and swirl and curve in those ripples and warped areas. You might picture this version of the explosion as something like a blast of material shot away from the center into the waving ripples of an invisible flag blowing in the wind. And this is a very important distinction because the idea that these curves and ripples were created in the very beginning sets the stage rest of this story. How?
These large pieces of stuff slung out into space were very dense, and very dense objects help create those pits and ripples and indentions in the space-time fabric – which are areas of gravitational pull. Picture a golf ball sitting on a blanket that has been stretched very tightly across something like the opening of a large round tub or barrel. The weight of golf ball (it’s density) will create an indention in the blanket, even though it may be stretched very tightly. And if you roll, say, a BB or a marble out onto this blanket, it will begin to circle in toward this indention, suggesting an “orbit” around the golf ball. That’s essentially how gravity works in space. And this is why planets orbit suns and why moons orbit planets – our moon included.
The reason this talk of gravity and pits and swirls and indentions is so important is because had this not been the case, had all that material blown straight out into nothingness (as in the Straight Bang scenario), orbits would not have formed. And without orbits, the stable, harmonious conditions that would later allow life to begin could not have existed. The stuff of the Cosmos would have simply blown away into a vast empty void, it would probably still be going and we would not be having this conversation!
So. At this point we have:
The Big Bang: A tremendous explosion sending massive amounts
of material out into our vast, newly created space-time universe.
Chunks and blobs of this cosmic material swirl and ripple, arcing
and curling in the space-time fabric.
Cosmic materials begin to cool, slowly solidifying as they circle
in around suns
Eventually planets form and (after billions of years) settle into
stable orbits around those suns.
And that wraps up the first part of this story.
Next? You and I…sort of.
THE RECIPE OF LIFE
You see, included in this newly created material that was cooling and orbiting and solidifying and coalescing in space were the basic building blocks of life as we know it. I don’t have a complete list, but again, those are details we can do without. I do know that carbon, water and oxygen are a few of those building blocks, and the important thing to understand is that these building blocks existed or formed or arrived over time on some of those orbiting planets. In order for this to happen, the planets had to be orbiting suns in what scientists call “habitable zones”. That means their orbits had to be the right distances from their suns to create just the right range of stable temperatures so that water and an atmosphere – among other necessities of life – could exist.
And when those conditions came about, when everything – the building blocks of life on planets orbiting in habitable zones – all came together just right, something amazing happened. A spontaneous process took place that made certain materials begin to attract, coalesce, interact and multiply. And out of this process came the first living things.
So, in other words, we could think of the beginning of life as something like the result of a recipe. When you have all the right ingredients (the building blocks of life) and you mix them together under the right conditions (on planets with the right orbital criteria), a reaction takes place, right? As an example, when chocolate bits, sugar, eggs butter and dough are mixed and placed in an oven at the right temperature for the right amount of time, the result is chocolate chip cookies!
In our case, however, the result was the spontaneous creation of life.
Now these first living things were extremely simple, microscopic, one-celled organisms. Most scientists, I think, believe that they began in the oceans and eventually moved onto land. Whatever the case, two other processes seem to have been a part of this spontaneous, life-creating system. One was a kind of built in universal limitation and the other we call evolution. And these two conditions, it turns out, were going to have a major impact on the formation and sustainment of life.
THE BUILT-IN LIMITATION
It seems that the number of times and places this spontaneous process of life-creation could take place was, relatively speaking, very limited. Imagine the entire universe and trillions upon trillions of suns out there, and circling around them trillions of orbiting planets. But on most of those planets, the "perfect” conditions required for the creation of life were not present. Many planets were much too close to their suns, so they were too hot and many were so far out they were too cold. Others were what scientist call gas giants with toxic atmospheres and soupy cores. There were also barren dwarfs and moons, many with no atmosphere at all. The point is this:
Out of the trillions of planets that exist out there, it stands to reason
that only a “handful” (again relatively speaking) would have just
the right conditions and elements for the spontaneous, life-creating
process to take place.
So, we can make a fairly reasonable assumption that the process of life-creation in our universe has been controlled (limited) simply by its immense size and the limited amount of building block materials and perfect conditions. We can further assume the spontaneous process probably has taken place on other planets in the universe – but not many. We'll see why this is important shortly. But first, let’s explore the second part of that process.
The process of evolving from tiny single-celled organisms to human beings like you and me is an extremely long, slow one, and it is fraught with brutality and danger. In our case, it has taken about 4 to 5 billion years, and it has progressed by means of a bloody process of change called Natural Selection.
And this means that of the already very limited life forms created out in the universe, many – probably most – would never make it to what we could call maturity – in other words, a form like us humans. That’s because during the long slow process of evolution, natural cosmic events like large meteor strikes, massive volcanic destruction, exploding suns, escaping atmospheres and many other types of cosmic catastrophes would most likely destroy most of those fledgling life forms before they got too far down the evolutionary road. One example right here on earth is the dinosaurs. Scientists believe a large meteor strike changed the temperature and weather patterns on earth so drastically that the dinosaurs could not survive. In fact, scientists believe that about 99 percent of all species that have existed on earth have gone extinct!
So, if these two aspects - a built in limitation on the amount of life created, and a long, slow process of evolution - do exist, we could sum the idea up this way.
Because the universe is so vast and the perfect conditions
and building blocks of life are limited, only a handful of planets
would have the right conditions for the spontaneous creation
of life. And most of the life forms created on those planets
would probably be cut short by the extremely long, brutal
process of evolution.
The bottom line? As we said, life has probably does exist on other planets in the universe, but not nearly as abundantly as we might like to imagine.
As I said, we will return to the importance of these ideas shortly, because they are very important. But first we should follow how that long, dangerous process of evolution through natural selection has progressed and shaped evolution here on earth.
NATURAL SELECTION: THE "ENDLESS" GAUNTLET
According to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the “fittest” generations of a species benefit from genetic mutations which allow them to evolve and compete more effectively. So that means that, as an example, the most aggressive and successful lions on the African Savannas will most likely get the best mates, and they’ll have cubs with the best genes. As the cubs grow up and do the same, and this happens repeatedly over the generations, the process of evolution produces very slow but steady improvements and changes in the species. One key to this process of natural selection is competition – simply put, the fittest fight it out and the winner gets the prize – the mate, the food, the shelter, etc.!
And as the generations and eons have passed, those first, one-celled organisms have evolved, competing in life and death struggles as they have very slowly evolved into more and more complex life forms, some culminating 4.5 billion years later as us human beings! And in our case alone, after more than 4 billion years, we are the only living things we know of that have reached a level of self-awareness. That means, at some point in our evolution, thousands of years ago, we humans began to the realize that we are living beings on a
huge round rock (at first, of course, it was thought to be flat) in space, under a flaming ball of light, gleaming points in the night, an unfathomable mystery and a virtually boundless universe.
RELIGION – A TEMPORARY “BRIDGE”
Imagine what it must have been like for the first primitive humans who realized that! Who were we? Where had we come from? Who or what had created us? Why? What was our purpose? What happened when we died? It makes sense that these questions would have been frightening and overwhelming to our early ancestors. It also makes sense that religious beliefs would emerge at this phase in our evolution, since they could provide the answers to those frightening questions of origin, mortality and purpose. A belief in the Gods, or a God, resolved these questions for a still relatively ignorant, adolescent race. It also conveniently placed us humans at the center of the universe! What more could we have asked for in terms of comfort, security and a way to alleviate the frightening possibility that we were alone in space?! An all-powerful parent-guardian (a god) to love and guide us – and eternal afterlife thrown in to boot!
It was just what we needed at the time, and boy did we believe! Gods of the sky, gods of the earth and sea. Gods of war and the moon. Gods of love. Happy gods and angry gods causing famine and storms and gods requiring animal and even human sacrifices! Eventually, single gods like Christ and Buddha and Allah became the icons of established religions and symbols of the sacred “truths”. Though these icons remain shrouded in mystery to this day, we have believed ever since those first revelations that these gods (and a son of God) have the answers. And if we abide by their rules, if we follow their commandments, we “imperfect children" of theirs will be given those answers someday in a glorious, endless afterlife somewhere high in the clouds. Sounds wonderful, right? That’s why it has been our spiritual cornerstone for thousands of years.
But “lately” things have changed. You see, as the centuries have passed we’ve learned an enormous amount. And we are no longer ignorant and our intellectual momentum has eroded these godly beliefs. These days a knowledge-building process suggests the traditional religious answers – those known only by the gods and kept hidden until our afterlives – aren’t really answers at all. They have been a form of rationalization appearing at a critical time in our evolution that sustained us until we reached (in fact, are just now reaching) the next phase of our journey.
THE “RELIGIOUS SPOILER”– INTELLECTUAL AWARENESS
Today a new era of scientific research and heightened awareness has emerged. This has led to significant discoveries, and these have compounded in recent years, thus broadening our knowledge on an exponential scale. In short, we have “suddenly” (the last few hundred years) begun to understand: DNA, genetic codes, diseases, the nature of earth and objects in space, time, motion, relativity, atomic and subatomic particles, laws of nature, evolution, and so on, and this immense wave of understanding continues to broaden at an accelerating pace. And with all this new knowledge under our belts, we are fitting these pieces of knowledge together into a much more fact-based (versus religious) model in our search for the answers.
Because of this “new” way of searching for the answers, my guess is that religion will continue to weaken and slowly become obsolete. This won’t be a quick or easy transition because we’ve practiced religious beliefs and traditions for thousands of years and they’re heavily ingrained in the human psyche. None the less, intellectual awareness is becoming the new momentum that will propel us forward on our continuing search for the answers.
This search for the answers, by the way, just like the spontaneous process of life-creation, is built into the fiber of our beings and the framework of the evolutionary process. We can no more give up the search than we can stop eating, sleeping or mating. It is ingrained in us, and that’s for an important reason which we’ll explore shortly. In the meantime, here’s the good news: Logic seems to indicate that we will eventually discover those answers, ifwe survive the incredibly long and painfully slow process of evolution. A species that continues to evolve and improve without being destroyed, must eventually achieve perfection, right?
COMPETITION – LIKE RELIGION?
Earlier, we touched on the subject of competition. And you’ll recall I said that it was part of that brutal process of natural selection and evolution. But as we have gained knowledge and become more and more intellectually aware of our world and our nature, we’ve begun to realize that although competition – just like the gods and traditional religion — has served an important purpose in our evolution, it, too, is becoming obsolete!
Competition is nature’s evolutionary engine, driving and sustaining an uncontrolled environment, in which wild organisms battle for food, mates (most importantly the ability to pass on those “best” genes), survival, shelter and so on. As I’ve noted, this is how species evolve.
But living in controlled communal societies, and becoming continually less wild over thousands of years, we humans have been increasingly regulating and limiting the natural process of competition. For instance, we take care of our weak and defenseless. We allow them to live longer, happier lives. This is a form of empathy and compassion that doesn’t fit into the dangerous (and, as I said, extremely brutal) process of competition. We learn to respect and value all life, including animals, which is also not a part of the competitive process. We domesticate animals, farm for our food, and feed the masses. These and many other types of modifications to the natural process of competition have been broadening for hundreds of thousands of years, and they are becoming continually more expansive and ingrained in our way of life.
Here are a few examples: Think about male and female roles in today’s society. Just as competition is slowly phasing out, aren’t the traditional male and female roles – largely animal courtship traits that are a major foundational element of the competitive process – slowly becoming androgynous? A few examples of this are the growing number of gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals being accepted in societies and family relationships. Also, females, once extremely limited by the basic rules of competition, are moving into more powerful, traditionally “manly” roles. Will female leadership roles continue to expand? Think about it. Aren’t men more effective leaders in highly competitive, physically combative societies – which sums up our distant and recent past ? Women, on the other hand, are more effective at communicating, nurturing compassion and organizing for safety and security – which is what we currently see emerging and the direction we want our societies evolve.
Remember, too, the number of marriages is continually shrinking. And how about the traditional family unit that follows courtship, marriage and mating? For thousands of years it’s been a central, foundational part of our societies, but just as sexual roles have begun to blur, isn’t the family unit – which is based largely on those traditional male-female role-models – becoming increasingly less prevalent in our society? Isn't the traditional family unit slowly disappearing? Though many people, particularly those who think more religeously, may feel the loss of the family unit is a sign of social deterioration, my guess is it’s just the opposite – an indicator that we are moving in the right direction.
But what about reproduction you ask? If it’s true that we’re becoming more androgynous, how will we eventually pass on those “best” genes? Well, we can have all the sex we want for sheer pleasure, and in spite of our increasing "uniformity", we can make babies with test tubes, insemination and genetic mapping that will soon allow us to choose all the characteristics of our offspring.
My guess is that eventually it will become clear to us that the competitive process, including its various facets – like male / female roles and the family unit – is one we are evolving out of simply because we’ve learned we can control the path of our evolution without the bloody, merciless process of competition in natural selection.
And if you look around at today’s world, you will realize that the two ways we’re applying that control are through science and technology.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: THE FINAL STEPS?
Technology, as we know, is progressing at an incredible pace and accelerating almost daily. We are now able to communicate with our hand-held systems at the touch of a graphic screen. We are also using holographic images and things like microscopic implants. These days we have robots that serve as butlers and doctors. We also have cars that can drive themselves. We've produced clones and body parts and mapped the human genome. Computer technology is becoming smaller, more sophisticated and powerful, and cyberspace is now an essential part of our existence.
At the same time, it seems we’re depending less on our bodies, for survival and reproduction. Obesity is increasing, partly because we move much less than we used to, and my guess is that this trend of increasing physical deterioration will continue. At the same time, however, scientific breakthroughs are now allowing us to repair, transplant and create body parts. Synthetic tissues are being produced in labs as I write this. Diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Aids will soon be cured or fully controlled. Life will be sustainable for a much longer period of time – possibly exponentially. Computers and other technological advancements will continue to become increasingly prevalent, concentrated and powerful in our lives,
And where is all this leading us?
Before I continue, it’s only fair to warn you that this is where we leave the past and present and venture into the future. Thus, it is where imaginationbegins to overlap facts and logic. In my case, I find this entire conversation fascinating, and being somewhat of a "weekend Einstein wannabe" I tend to let my imagination go all out. You'll have make your own call on the rest of the story.
With that said, let me repeat the last question. Where is all this leading us? Consider one very possible, and very profound, example:
HUMANS OR MACHINES?
In the near future, the line between natural humanity and manufactured life could become blurred. As an example, at what point is a person still a natural human being, if 50 or 60 percent of his or her body – bones, joints, skin, organs, tendons, etc. – is manufactured in a lab? How about 70 percent? 90 percent? Suppose it reaches 99 percent – which it reasonably could! Suppose at some point the only natural element inside a human being is the brain? Is he or she still a “human” being? A “man-made” being? A “robot” with a human brain?
That begs the question: What exactly is “humanity”? Body and mind? Only mind? And suppose something equivalent to the human brain can eventually be manufactured? Computer science is making incredible advancements, and even today computers are capable of learning and reasoning. What then would be humanity? Digital synapses? Will we even need our bodies in this technologically-driven future – robotic, man-made or natural – since we are finding less and less use for them?
Although it may seem hard to imagine, could it be possible that shedding our extremely limiting, high maintenance, constantly deteriorating muscles, bones and fat, might just be the perfect answer to all that obesity? And could that step take us to the next phase of our evolution?
FINAL STEPS FOR HUMANITY?
Think about a caterpillar.
A plump, lumbering little larva that is extremely slow, earthbound and spends its short life munching leaves. It sheds its exoskeleton several times during its life and on the final time it forms a chrysalis (essentially is own coffin) after attaching itself to plant stem. Inside the chrysalis its body breaks down completely into a soupy mixture Think about that -- no brain, no body parts, just liquid. It then goes through a complete physical re-birth. It is essentially “re-assembled” out of organic “soup” as a butterfly – nimble, thin, light and winged for flight – the opposite of what it once was! Amazing? Complete re-birth from nothing but organic liquid? It seems incredible, even impossible, but it's not science fiction. It's reality.
Isn’t it also possible, then, that when you consider the arc of our evolution -- from microscopic organisms, through sea creatures, to land animals, into the trees, onto the savannas and finally becoming intelligent human beings – that we could be a kind of cumbersome, preliminary life-form evolving out of our animal ancestry? Could it be that with the help of science and technology, we are evolving toward an entirely new form of existence? One that will allow us to shed our obese, severely limiting, and continually troublesome bodies – bodies that until this phase of our existence have served us well – and in some futuristic way “take flight”?
BACK TO THE NATURAL BALANCE
Remember that earlier in this story we touched on a natural limitation in the universe. I said that it was important and we would come back to it. Well, here we are.
Every year thousands of newly hatched sea turtles break free from their eggs in the sands of tropical beaches. Most almost immediately become the victims of crabs, fish, powerful currents, weather and other dangers, and as a result die shortly after their birth. Through this process, nature limits their numbers. In addition, those that die become sustenance for other aquatic travelers in the oceans. In this way, a natural balance is maintained that allows the turtle species (and many other species that have numerous offspring) to remain at proper levels, and the oceans to remain rich, open environments for all aquatic creatures. If all baby turtles grew to maturity, mated and gave birth, it wouldn’t take many years before the compounding effect would allow turtles to overrun and destroy the oceans.
Now suppose I was correct when I suggested earlier that most of those “infant” life forms created on orbiting planets out in the universe, die during their early evolution from the natural cosmic events we talked about. Are they, just like the turtle (and many other) species on earth, being naturally limited by the system to maintain a proper balance of life?
Consider this interesting parallel:
Because our oceans are very large…
(just as the universe is very large)
and a relatively small number of mature sea turtles move though its vast waters…
(just as a limited number of life’s recipe elements exist, moving about in the immense universe)
the number of times mature turtles mate and become fertilized is limited…
(just as the number of times the recipe elements merge on an orbiting planet
and life spontaneously begins).
Later, after the females have laid their eggs and hundreds of baby turtles hatch in the sand on some tropical island, as they try to reach the sea most become victims of seagulls, crabs, fish, treacherous currents and other natural hazards. A small number survive, and as they grow they are culled down even more due to the constant danger of attack and other natural hazards. The result? Relatively a few sea turtles live to maturity…
(just as cosmic events often limit the long, dangerous process of evolution in the universe, wiping out most “infant” life forms, leaving only a few to reach maturity, but allowing the cycle to continue).
Assuming this parallel is valid (get ready here comes a real stretch) are those cosmic life forms out in the universe that perish, like the doomed sea turtles, somehow providing a form of sustenance for other emerging life forms? As an example, had the dinosaurs not emerged and then gone extinct, and as a result we humans had not discovered fossil fuels, would we have been able to progress as we have? Could the remains of the dinosaurs be a form of sustenance helping us further our evolution?
FITTING THE PIECES TOGETHER
The story I have just told is admittedly “out there" and, as I said in the beginning, based on personal opinions. The fascinating thing, however, is that when you consider the full sequence of events, including timing and conditions, the pieces of the story fit logically together and perfectly parallel the natural patterns we see happening around us – perhaps by design? The possibility of all these conditions and events happening with this level of order and timing by coincidence seems to me, virtually impossible. But remember, I am not a religious believer.
So, for whatever it's worth, here is my summarized theory in a nutshell:
Our universe is a nursery for the creation of life.
Once set in motion with a “Big Bang", it has provided all of the
essential materials, environments and a spontaneous process
for the creation and sustenance of life.
A natural, built in process limits the life forms created,
allowing the universe to remain in a proper balance and thus
a productive “nursery”.
A small number of life forms (including us humans) have survived much
of the extremely long, dangerous process of evolution, and we humans
have reached a level of self-awareness.
Though we initially accepted religious “answers”, intellect has
taken over and today science and technology are revealing the real
Assuming we survive the final stages of evolution, we may very possibly undergo
a rebirth which will prepare us to complete the final phase of our journey.
In that final phase of our existence on earth, perhaps we will discover
the answers we seek:
Why the immense, relentless effort to create and sustain life
What is our purpose in that effort?
What else is out there?
Who, or what is the designer?
There seems to be no other conclusion. As I said earlier, continual refinement of a species without extinction must eventually lead to perfection. Then, having undergone a complete rebirth, perhaps we will travel like cosmic butterflies through the vast oceans of space-time in some ethereal form, helping to watch over the natural balance of all things and assuring that the perfect recipe remains intact for the continuing creation of new life.
Perhaps we will become a Cosmos designer!
THE CRITICAL CAVEAT
There is one potentially tragic but very possible variation on this theory of life forms being destroyed by natural events. We might just destroy ourselves! Most people who lived through the nuclear buildup during the Cold War of the 50s and 60s would likely agree we came very close. Today many scientists worry about CO2 emissions and the effects of global warming.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is for sure. Given how far we've come and how close we may be to achieving our ultimate goal, it would be an incalculably shameful waste of over 4 billion years of evolution and genetic refinement to do ourselves in now! If that turns out to be the case, however, maybe we can take some solace in the knowledge that we will become a form of sustenance for the next contenders in their quest to discover the answers.
TIME – OR, HOW FAST IS 14 BILLION YEARS?
Does time also play a role in this story of creation? Or, rather, how we experience time? My guess is it does. It seems that:
Time evolves differently depending on the size and motion
of objects or individuals that experience it.
And if that is the case, it would indeed have an effect on the story of creation. I’m afraid I must again claim a high level of ignorance and over-simplification in explaining why I believe this, but I in my mind the following ideas make perfect sense.
WHAT IS TIME?
Scientists tell us that time is nothing more than motion and change. It does not flow around or past us. It is not a thing that moves forward or backward. We and everything else in motion make time happen. Although I’m paraphrasing, I believe one scientist or philosopher put it something like this: “I do not swim in a river of time, I am the river.”
Einstein confirmed the idea of space-time as the fourth dimension with his theory of relativity. He also proved that multiple perceptions of an event can each be accurate. I believe he also said that time is motion. Time is change. We cannot separate these things. We cannot have motion without time passing, we can’t have time passing without change. The passage of time always involves a quantity of motion -- even if it’s at an atomic or subatomic level – wich is also a quantity of change. So…
If all motion and change suddenly stopped, including the smallest
particles and elements in existence, time would stop.
It has been described in poetic terms this way:
AN END OF TIME
Imagine a thing
we bring to life
by moving through it
a state incapable of being real
if not in motion.
Imagine every galaxy and quasar
every molecule and atom
every Quark, humming String
and hidden Boson seizing up
locking down the infinite
arc of all existence.
Imagine light bolted still
in a hundred billion times
the density of stone.
So, if we subscribe to this notion, we agree that time, motion and change are three facets of one entity. And they do seem to be relative to size. Here’s another “far out” example.
TWO MEN AND A FOOTBALL FIELD
Visualize an incredibly large man, perhaps ten thousand feet tall, about to step over a plot of ground the length of a football field – one hundred yards long. To this man the football field is a tiny rectangular splotch at the toe of his shoe – a shoe which is perhaps the size of a city block! Speaking of tiny, also imagine an extremely small man, perhaps the size of a flea, about to move over that same length of ground. To this little guy, the length of the football field is an immense expanse, stretching far off into the distance.
If both the huge and the tiny man start at the same moment, cover the length of the football field and reach the end at the same time, from an outsider’s observer's point of view both have moved at the same speed. Let’s arbitrarily call it 80 mph.
From their individual points of view, however, that 80 mph looks much different. The huge man had only to leisurely lift his foot to cover the distance. The tiny man had to travel at virtually lightning speed to reach the other side at the same time, right? The rate at which these men move through the environment (e.g. over the same length of ground) and their drastically different sizes, seems to dictate their difference in perceived speed. It follows, then, that if time is motion, time must also be affected by these differences in size, speed and distance.
To see how, let’s take that example a step…well, quite a few steps…further. Think about our giant universe exploding outward in that original Big Bang, covering a vast, virtually unimaginable amount of area. By our perception, as nearly infinitesimally tiny specks deep inside this explosion, to date the blast has taken about 14 billion years – and, of course, it’s still going on!
A “FAR OUT” VIEW OF THE BIG BANG
Now, again, try to visualize another incredibly large man – so large in this case, however, that he has been sitting on a mountain top at some distance outside of our giant universe! I realize, of course, that scientists tell us nothing existed before the Big Bang, but bear with me on this. Imagine this man is out there, and he has been watching the Big Bang explosion take place from afar. Because this person is so large, imagine how a viewing of the Big Bang might unfoldfor him. Perhaps as something like a nuclear explosion might appear to you or me? A tremendous, white-hot blast, far off in the distance?
Wouldn’t the explosion, then, take place much faster for this giant man than for us, the teeny, tiny, really tiny little people inside it? Wouldn’t it happen for the giant man in an instant? Or would he have to sit on that mountain top for 14 billion years watching the slowest explosion any of us could possibly imagine taking place?
If not, doesn’t it stand to reason that an instant perceived by an unimaginably large individual, could very well be the same as 14 billion years perceived by us unimaginably tiny individuals?
Food for thought…