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How Will The Universe End?

Updated on July 20, 2014
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The Big Crunch

(*Please refer to the Glossary at the end of the article for help with bold, italicized words.)


"And where did the energy come from to create this matter? The answer is that it was borrowed from the gravitational energy of the Universe. The Universe has an enormous debt of negative gravitational energy, which exactly balances the positive energy of the matter. During the inflationary period the Universe borrowed heavily from its gravitational energy to finance the creation of more matter... The debt of gravitational energy will not have to be paid until the end of the Universe."—Stephen Hawking[i]

What will be the ultimate fate of the Universe? Is there enough matter for it to stop expanding and reverse back to a point of infinite density, or will it expand indefinitely and burn out? Maybe it will continue expanding until matter becomes cold, sparse, and leaves behind little more than diluted energy. Or perhaps there is not enough matter for the Universe to keep expanding, and the ultimate fate of reality will result in a big bounce, or a rebirth of existence.

If there is not enough matter in the Universe to stop its current rate of expansion, it will not end in a big crunch but continue expanding for trillions of years until temperatures reach absolute zero-degrees Kelvin. (See diagram right below this section.) In this scenario, it will end in ice. If matter in the Universe exceeds the overall critical density, it will end in fire as the overwhelming gravity pulls the Universe back to a point of infinite density. Would it need the help of a Type IV civilization to avoid this fate? Evidence suggests there is enough dark matter to allow for a big bounce or big crunch, and one of these scenarios hold the answer to its eventual fate.

Is the critical density of the Universe equal to, greater than, or less than one? If the entire combined mass of the Universe is less than one, the structure of it is open; it will continue expanding to end in a big chill. If Omega is greater than one, the Universe is closed and the overwhelming mass will force everything to converge back into a big crunch. If it is equal to one, the Universe is flat and either fate is possible.

Michio Kaku does not believe a Type III civilization can escape the final fate of the Universe no matter which scenario wins out. A Type IV civilization, on the other hand, may be a different matter altogether. Billions of years from now, we may develop the technology to leave our universe and create a new one.

The three laws of thermodynamics dictate the death of the Universe is inevitable. Thermodynamics is the basis for all chemical and nuclear processes in the Universe.

The first law, based on the conservation of matter and energy, does not allow procurement of something from nothing. If dark energy exists in a higher dimension or in hyperspace, exceptions to this law could arise under special circumstances.

The second law declares that entropy increases with time. There is no way for the Universe to return to its initial state. Conservation of energy does not permit something to return to its original form. For example, a thirty-year-old man, physically, is not the same person he was at 10. Individual cells throughout his body continuously die and regenerate. He might retain certain characteristics of his previous form, such as personality, memory, and identity, but he is no longer of the same matter. His body is a recycled form of what it used to be. The same must apply to all states of physical matter throughout the Universe.

The third law declares absolute zero is impossible to attain. Some physicists predict it would take trillions of years and only if the Universe continues expanding.

Minus 490 degrees Fahrenheit equals minus 270 degrees Celsius, or zero degrees Kelvin. It is the lowest temperature possible. Nothing can get colder than absolute zero. At this temperature, the motion of atoms comes to a complete standstill. Scientists are able to get within a billionth of this elusive degree in the laboratory.

British Astronomer Martin Rees, in his book Before the Beginning, comments on the endeavors of other scientists and their quest for missing matter. He writes, “Cosmologists betray a strong prejudice…that our Universe contains the full ‘critical density’; this gives an extra motive for seeking the requisite extra dark matter to bridge the gap between an omega of 0.2 and an omega of 1.”[ii] Rees believes those cosmologists harbor initial prejudices for the structure of the Universe in order for their equations to equal their assumptions.

Whether matter comes to a freezing halt, disperses to nothing, or coalesces back to a point of infinite density, life need not worry. It will discover a way to perpetuate. Long before the end approaches, intelligent life throughout the Universe will appear God-like. It will invent a solution to escape the fate of its environment, either through a black hole to a parallel universe or by creating a new one from scratch. As resilient as life is, it will survive.

Perhaps an advanced civilization from another universe needed to depart their dying realm and, in doing so, created this one. They could have been looking for an escape from their collapsing continuum. Maybe the Universe is nothing more than a grand science experiment created by a super-advanced civilization from a parallel universe, and, in doing so, they literally became our God.

[i] Hawking, Stephen. Black Holes and Baby Universes. New York: Bantam Books, 1993, p. 97

[ii] Rees, Martin. Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others. New York: Basic (Helix) Books, 1997, p. 132.

Poll #1

How Do You Think The Universe Will End?

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Spirituality

"It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the Universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be."
"In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is palpable."
—Sigmund Freud[i]

Spirituality is very different from religion. A person can be spiritual but have no association with religion.

Buddhism is considered a religion, but resembles a form of organized spiritualism. Buddhists do not believe in God or Satan but do believe in a type of Heaven. There are 31 distinct levels, or dimensions, of Heaven and Hell, some physical and others ethereal. All sentient beings experience reincarnation and are reborn as a person, animal, or alien being in another star system. Buddhism is one of the few religions inclusive to all potential life throughout the Universe.

The Dalai Lama is referred to as a teacher, not a prophet or messiah. The ultimate goal of Buddhism, through the process of experiencing various past lives, is nirvana, or enlightenment. It is a state of all-knowing contentment where one is able to eliminate all negative feelings. Each past life is meant to bring one closer to this nirvana.

If individual life is not eternal after death, one could argue it has no meaning at all. Without an eternal, imperishable soul, life might appear fleeting and pointless.

The idea of an eternal spirit helps one cope with old age and the inevitable that ensues. If individual life does continue after death, a person may find comfort knowing her consciousness is not lost forever. The concept of a spirit or soul provides that safety net of hope.

Scientists agree the notion of mind is ambiguous. All they do know is the brain is the physical organ harboring the electrical and chemical reactions for processing information, and that it harbors physical consciousness. The definition of mind is a concept outside the physical parameters of how the brain interprets and processes information. In other words, scientists may determine how the brain works in relation to its physical properties but may never learn why.

Why consciousness works the way it does is a complete mystery. Random memories, decision making, and subconscious processes of how the brain keeps the organs functioning are all enigmas to science. Such mysteries force physicists to look for quantum interpretations. Theories of the mind or soul operating on a quantum level, as outlined in earlier sections, might hold the key to this ultimate dilemma.

It is a natural defense mechanism for one to fabricate an eternal solution to the problem of death. The mystery of the mind and individuality is answered with the simple concept of a spiritual soul. A natural, more realistic, quantum version of it might explain individuality and individual displacement, the individual displacement signature, near death experiences, residual conscious impulses, and the sixth sense.

Michael Persinger, a cognitive neuroscientist at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, believes God exists exclusively in our minds. He works in the field of neurotheology and performed many experiments that suggest God is nothing more than a mental projection in our minds. He believes there is a sense presence measured in the right temporal lobe. The God helmet, as it is referred, houses magnets triggered by electrical impulses. When a magnet triggers this part of the brain, a divine presence is felt. Eighty percent of the students he studies sense a presence, or faceless entity, they relate to as God. To them, the experience is very real. When someone religious is praying or experiencing a significant religious moment, this part of the brain reacts to it and makes it appear as a real experience. Persinger may find electromagnetism, like gravity, could provide us with a link or connection to higher dimensions. If so, the presence one feels while wearing the helmet may seem real for a reason.[ii]

Until science is able to interpret and explain every mystery of the mind, the comforting alternative to death is the idea of an immortal soul. The hypothesis presented in this book at least provides a natural, more logical explanation for its potential existence.

[i] Freud, Sigmund. The Future of an Illusion. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1927 (1961), p. 42.

[ii] Hitt, Jack, “This is Your Brain on God.” Wired Magazine. (November 1999).

Poll #2

Do You Believe In Some Form Of Reincarnation

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Death

“Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun.”—Bishop Hall[i]

Some fear death so much, the very thought of it haunts them their entire lives. Gruesome images plague their thoughts and dreams. Their imaginations are so vivid and fear so powerful, they have a difficult time enjoying the very life they covet.

For others, the pain associated with losing a loved one is too unbearable. It can be so insufferable that life becomes a burden and ending it will remove that pain by reuniting them with their family in the afterlife.

Some embrace death as an escape from a cruel and lonely world. Biology and environment are factors that have a profound influence on quality of life. One’s genetic makeup can make him susceptible to overwhelming feelings of depression. Ending that pain by suicide might seem like the only escape. Certain environmental factors further influence suicidal tendencies, perhaps more so than biological ones.

The inevitability of life’s end faces us all. The mind might exist eternal, but the physical body does not. If medical science discovers a method to extend human lifespan to hundreds of years, biological deterioration, inevitably, will occur over time. Scientists may devise methods to allow biological and mechanical integration, but even that has its limits. When the ability to duplicate a human brain arises, neuroscientists doubt the electrical impulses of consciousness will be transferable. Such impulses are unique to the individual. The hypothesis of individual displacement might be the only solution to this dilemma.

Individual consciousness may not last forever, as cold and hopeless as that might seem. Others argue since matter and energy is interchangeable, so should be physical consciousness. In order to ensure we can revive consciousness from a duplicate map of the brain, first we must find a quantum link to it and the mind. If the process acts on its own once a copy of it is activated or the person is revived, the quantum link of his or her specific signal might be universal and connect to the unique mind map on its own.

If our Universe is nothing more than a synthetic alien experiment, we may reside inside an automated, virtual reality program. It may be the size of a universe or the size of an atom if capacity and size are relative. The atom universe hypothesis details how this might be possible. A Type V civilization from another universe may have “unnaturally” added this one to the multiverse pantheon. Motives could range from an escape from their collapsing continuum to nothing more than a grand science experiment, outside looking in. If so, the existence of an all-powerful “God” would be real, and It may have a face after all.

If our Universe is a natural occurrence but is monitored by a Type IV civilization and later added to their Encyclopedia Cosmologica, the consciousness of all intelligent beings on our planet and others could be uploaded automatically at the instant of death. The first civilization to appear in the Universe may have developed the technology to observe and harness each individual-displacement signature of every living being throughout the cosmos and then set parameters to upload that information on its own into some grand supercomputer. Within this three-dimensional universe program, people, animals, bacteria, and all that ever lived throughout the entire Universe could live again or relive their lives in the same manner as their previous existence. This interpretation might solve the mystery of past-life regressions, deja-vu, out-of-body experiences, and the like using science. If, as former arguments suggest, there is no time, the experience of it would transpire in the same chronological order with the same collapsed-wave-function pattern as the previous version. Since parameters could be set in any manner desired, a form of time travel would be possible within such a realm.

A reincarnation version of this program might harbor people reliving different versions of their life by way of automated variants in the supercomputer program. These variants might transpire at random based on the uncertainty principle through an infinite number of alternate programs running at the same time, hence a twist on the many-worlds interpretation. Perhaps in one alternate-reality “Heaven,” the same soul signature could exist as a conscious copy of itself running in different alternate-universe programs. Only on a different plane of existence or within a different manufactured quantum-atom universe could the signature reside in multiple bodies, or virtual reality systems, at the same time.

Similar interpretations reside in our subconscious and manifest themselves in movies like The Matrix, Inception,[ii] the new Battlestar Galactica,[iii] and other stories found throughout various religious texts all over the world. Contemporary interpretations of such metaphysical possibilities make it easier for modern man to digest. Either way, some truths might be universal no matter the specific interpretations of them that change with the times.

If such a virtual-reality Heaven exists for sentient beings, any point in your life could be re-experienced the moment your conscious signature passes in this reality. One could argue we exist in such a program now and phenomena such as ghosts, deja-vu, the sixth sense, and other unexplained occurrences are all minor defects in the programming. During the progression of the timeline, the next life you experience or desire to experience would commence. You would die again in that reality only to be reborn in the next, all within simultaneously running programs. On top of that is the potential to relive a many-worlds version of alternate past lives, perhaps a version where you win the lottery. Versions may be personalized based on the type of life or lives you wish to relive. Some versions of this kind of Heaven could be based on your favorite fantasy or science-fiction realm, others based on your actual dreams. Whatever you wish from your subconscious would become “real.” In this sense, God would be similar to a virtual-reality, video game designer and we would be His characters.

The beauty of this hypothesis is it meshes with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. It also works with Buddhism, reincarnation, and some aspects of monotheistic afterlife religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Though the concept is highly conjectural and, for the most part, based on pure thought, it is no less credible than other interpretations of religious doctrine. It presents a more logical approach to any other afterlife scenario.

If the previous interpretation is plausible, then all religions are in some ways right, in particular those based on some form of reincarnation or afterlife. Perhaps the belief-in-it part creates a subconscious awareness to transmit such a quantum signal. Studies performed by Michael Persinger and his God helmet might provide evidence there is a connection between a god and what goes on in the mind after all.

Professor Rich Terrell from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory believes God is real and we are the imaginary. God is like an interdimensional computer programmer and the Universe is His or Her playground. Similar to the aforementioned hypothesis of a virtual Heaven and those interpreted by the Wachowski brothers, his theory suggests we may reside within such a virtual reality realm this moment. He believes evidence of it is all around us, in particular with regard to the quantum wave function. Our Universe is designed like pixels in a computer, broken down at the quantum level and interwoven throughout higher dimensions.[iv]

Tulane mathematical physicist Frank Tipler devised a similar theory. At some point in the future, we will have the ultimate power to recreate everything in a virtual, reconstructed universe. Everyone will be resurrected and never have to die again. Tipler calls this final stage in our evolutionary development the Omega Point.[v] But the nagging problem of individual consciousness and displacement remains. Will these resurrected entities really be us? Will our individuality remain intact so we can experience this virtual playground, or will they be nothing more than a copy of ourselves?

Death is one of the main promoters of organized religion. The thought of it forces people to have hope and find meaning in the afterlife. Some might ask, if there is no afterlife, then is there a point to it all? Others address the selfishness behind such reasoning and call the idea of immortality nothing more than wishful thinking. Whether life remains eternal, infinite existence is not a requirement for it to have meaning. However long or brief, great or menial, or wise or witless, each life has a purpose and a meaning.

[i] Hall, Bishop. The Homiletic Review. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, Vol. 15, 1888, p. 131.

[ii] Inception, Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros., 2010.

[iii] Battlestar Galactica, Michael Rymer, Universal Studios, 2004.

[iv] MacNevin, Andy, “The Computer-simulated Universe: Divinity or Reality?” Suite 101. Part 2, (October 17, 2011).

[v] Tipler, Frank. The Physics of Immortality. New York: Anchor Books, 1994, pp. 108, 109.

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Survival

"Humanity's survival does not depend on reducing differences to a common identity, but on learning to live creatively with differences."—Anonymous[i]

Humanity will survive a significant asteroid or comet impact with Earth whether the governments of the world take precautions to ensure a significant survival rate or not. An event like this will not wipe out human existence but reduce population numbers and impede technological advancement significantly. Progress will not have to begin again. What is left of civilization will have the opportunity to build upon any remaining technology.

A 110-mile-wide impact crater discovered near the Yucatan in 1992 is the prime candidate for the comet or asteroid responsible for killing off the dinosaurs. Radioactive measurements of argon-39 indicate the crater is just over 65 million years old. Glasslike silicates discovered in concentration around the immediate area and in less frequency as far out as Haiti and Florida provide additional evidence. Five different samples of these tektites pulled from five different locations match the date of the crater measurements.

Mass-extinction events like this take place once every 26 million years and might have something to do with the Solar System’s orbit around the Milky Way. The Oort cloud, a culmination of comets that exists beyond Pluto, is disturbed by a Nemesis sister star once the Solar System reaches a specific orbital position around the Galaxy. Fortunately, over the next 10 million years, ending another 26-million-year cycle, we will have attained Type III status.

Humans are a formidable species. Survival is inevitable. If Earth does not reach Type II status in time, a few of the following scenarios could pose a different problem, the least worrisome an asteroid impact or global nuclear war.

According to the October 2000 issue of Discover Magazine, there are at least 20 ways the world and life could end.

1) Asteroid or comet impact: A comet or asteroid five miles in diameter would be catastrophic for the planet, an extinction-level event. The odds of one hitting Earth depend on its size. One 15 feet in diameter hits Earth once every several months; 35 feet every 10 years; 60 feet every 100 years; 200 feet, or size of the Tunguska impact, every 200 years; 350 feet every several thousand years; 1,000 feet every 50,000 years; six-tenths of a mile every 500,000 years; and five to six miles across every 100 million years.

2) Gamma-ray burst: May be a result of the merging of two collapsed stars. At 1,000 light years away, one would appear as bright as the Sun. The radiation from such a burst would cook the atmosphere, creating nitrogen oxides and destroying the ozone layer. As a result, radiation from the Sun would destroy all life. All active bursts observed by astronomers are distant and rare.

3) Collapse of the vacuum: The vacuum of the Universe could be overtaken by a new vacuum spreading at the speed of light and destroying everything in its path. Some believe physicists could create one by accident, but that is speculative and would require more energy than they could muster.

4) Rogue black holes: It is estimated there are 10 million black holes in the Milky Way. The real threat is not that one would swallow the Solar System, but pass close by and disrupt Earth’s orbit enough to throw it out into deep space.

5) Giant solar flares: Or coronal mass ejections. Within a few hours, a mega superflare from the Sun would fry Earth and disintegrate the ozone layer. Most astronomers believe such an event is impossible since no evidence suggests it has ever happened in four billion years.

6) Reversal of Earth’s magnetic field: Has not happened for 780,000 years. Without its stability, particle storms and cosmic rays from the Sun and energetic subatomic particles from deep space would begin to erode the ozone layer.

7) Flood-basalt volcanism: Sixty-five million years ago, a plume of hot rock from the Earth’s mantle burst through the crust in what is now India. Eruptions raged for centuries, spewing out over a quarter-million cubic miles of lava. A few geologists believe this event is the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Sulfuric volcanic gases produced acid rains and released carbon dioxide, in turn causing massive global warming.

8) Global epidemics: If the balance of coexisting germs and people get out of control, some diseases could kill off humanity on a massive scale.

9) Global warming: The Earth is getting warmer every year. If we take no precautions, Earth could end up like its greenhouse sister, Venus.

10) Ecosystem collapse: Certain species could die off suddenly and have a profound impact on humanity since all life on the planet is connected in a grand ecosystem.

11) Biotech disaster: Scientists creating new species through genetic engineering could be catastrophic. Such tampering might backfire and have an adverse effect on unintended species. The misuse of biotechnology, such as a terrorist group releasing airborne Ebola, could kill off everyone.

12) Particle accelerator mishap: One large enough could make an unwelcome black hole or destabilize the vacuum of the entire Universe. Physicists argue there is nothing to substantiate this claim, and it is based on nothing more than science-fiction.

13) Nanotechnology disaster: Microscopic robots could spread into the biosphere after an industrial accident, reducing it to dust in a matter of days.

14) Environmental toxins: Industrial pollutants, pesticides, and other toxins could spell the end for humanity should any of them spread out of control.

15) Global war: Misuse of biological or nuclear weapons is an obvious concern. Ethnic biological weapons devised by terrorists could wipe out an entire race.

16) Robots take over: Robots maneuvered by remote control or of their own volition could take over the world.

17) Mass insanity: Mental health is declining as physical health improves. Five-hundred million people around the world suffer from some psychological disorder, though it can be argued most are misdiagnosed. By 2020, depression could be a leading cause of death. The real culprit might be the psychosomatic drugs used in treatment.

18) Alien invasion: Not probable, but anything is possible given enough time and motives altogether foreign to us. An advanced civilization might view humanity as hostile or a technological, quantum accident waiting to happen on a universal scale. Or perhaps we have something they need or desire.

19) Divine intervention: Not necessarily by a deity, but doomsday cults could find reason and develop methods to destroy humanity. Religious fanatics out to punish “non-believers” could be a catalyst for the end of the world.

Someone wakes up and realizes it was all a dream or computer program: Reality, or the local three-dimensional vacuum, might not be the most stable form of existence. It may not be so existential, and we could be stuck in a computer program that is the only thing left operating in a predominantly dead Universe.[ii]

[i] Anonymous quote

[ii] Powell, Corey S., “Twenty Ways the World Could End Suddenly.” Discover Magazine. (October 2000): pp. 52-57.

Poll #3

Which Of The Previous 20 Scenarios Do You Think Would Most Likely End Humanity?

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A Journey To The Ends Of Time

"A time will come when science will transform [our bodies] by means which we cannot conjecture... And then, the Earth being small, mankind will migrate into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet from planet, and sun from sun. The Earth will become a Holy Land which will be visited by pilgrims from all quarters of the Universe."—Winwood Reade[i]

In the distant future, technology may advance to a point where humanity is able to build self-sufficient, mountain-sized spacecraft for extended periods of interstellar travel. Construction of these “metro-crafts” would take place somewhere in Earth’s orbit. To transport large populations effectively over extended periods, each would need to be as large as a small city. Everything utilized within the spacecraft would be recyclable. Oxygen, heat, food, waste, energy, and other natural resources would all be reprocessed for each crew to advance to the next star system. Once there, they would acquire raw natural resources necessary for continuation of the mission. Such an undertaking would guarantee the exponential spread of humanity throughout the Galaxy. Within a million years, we will have trekked every promising star system throughout its vast expanse.

The energy source to propel these spaceships might not resemble any form of known conventional fuel. Electromagnetic propulsion and matter-antimatter reactors that bend the space-time continuum might provide the only means of travel across such great distances. The ability to harness and initiate these reactions safely would require a technological feat of momentous proportion. Liquid fuel is negligible because of limited storage space, overall size of ship, weight of fuel, extensive energy requirements, great cost, and overall distance to each destination. An alternative means of propulsion, perhaps similar to those mentioned in Chapter 11, might be the necessary component for interstellar mobility.

While en route, the population of each ship would grow too large for capacity. Construction of additional spacecraft would commence upon reaching each new star system. The acquired raw natural resources would support construction of each new ship. If a particular system contained zero habitable planets, occupants may divide their crew between each ship before going their separate ways. If one of the planets could support life, a portion of the crew would remain behind to inhabit and establish a new colony of humans. Each crew might encounter new civilizations during their voyage, and strict protocols would be in place to avoid contact or contamination. In any event, humanity’s indefinite survival would be assured.

As the death of the Universe approaches, the human race may evolve into something unimaginable. Technology will resemble magic, and interstellar mobility may become as common as computers are today. Overpopulation would make it imperative for us to spread throughout the galaxy, and the previous scenario is a logical summary for just such a mission.

[i] Reade, Winwood. The Martyrdom of Man.London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1872, pp. 514-515.

Glossary

(* Terms devised or given a unique interpretation by the author)

*Alternate Universe A coexisting state of reality, perhaps on another plane (not to be confused with a “brane” in string theory) of existence or in an infinite number of atoms within a particular universe, contained within and related to each distinct parallel universe. A physical alternate reality that lies outside the realm of our detection or experience. The many worlds interpretation is an example of alternate universes.

Atom Universe Hypothesis It is the idea that each universe is contained within a single atom. This violates what scientists know about atoms, but quantum theory might provide us with some surprises as we gain more insight. Size may certainly be relative in this scenario. In conjunction with alternate universe theory, our Universe is a parent universe and every atom within it contains its own plane of existence with its own version of our Universe. Inside each of those atoms is another set of alternate universes, ad infinitum. These atoms are a result of the splits that occur in quantum theory after each alternate decision is made by each conscious being. Atoms may harbor the only “space” necessary to contain an infinite number of alternate universes within each parallel universe realm.

Big Bounce An oscillating Universe interpretation of the big bang. The theory purports there was a big bang, the Universe expanded, and there will be enough matter left (via dark matter, dark energy, etc) for it to collapse back in on itself. After that it will “bounce” back out again following another big bang, ad infinitum.

Big Crunch Similar to the big bounce, but the Universe does not oscillate. Instead, it ceases to exist after matter collapses back in on itself. The laws of thermodynamics insist the universe cannot be recycled to come into existence again.

Dark Energy Hidden energy thought to exist in higher dimensions. It accounts for 72.8% of the missing matter in the Universe. (Dark matter accounts for the missing 22.7%, leaving only 4.6% for normal, observable matter.) Dark energy is the driving force behind the expansion of visible matter in the Universe and its overall uniformity. Dark energy is not to be confused with dark matter, though is also found in hidden dimensions.

*Encyclopedia Cosmologica A universal-wide reference guide or virtual program that includes all information about every event throughout the entire Universe, gathered based on highly advanced quantum processes. It would have to be an automated quantum program that obtains information as it transpires throughout the Universe. A Type IV civilization might be the only one capable of assimilating such information and, in theory, could be currently active. The only place to store this much data might be in a virtual universe they created from scratch. If that much information can be stored in a single atom, versions of it might also contain many world renditions of the Universe.

Entropy In thermodynamics, it is the second law that describes how it must increase over time. Entropy is the progression of disorder from a perfect or ordered state. An apple experiences entropy the moment it is picked and continues until its energy is either consumed or withers away. The energy from it is still there in one form or another, but in a different, disordered state.

Hyperspace Also called zero-dimensional hyperspace. It is the true vacuum of raw interdimensional energy, which is the container of all parallel universes. It has no textures or dimensional properties so cannot be observed by three dimensional beings. It has no causal influence so one could argue it is a non-realm with no discernable properties. It is basically the nothingness that exists “between” each parallel universe and may harbor all lower and higher dimensions outlined in string theory.

*Individual Displacement (ID) The concept of individuality by way of the mind, consciousness, and geographic location, from one person to the next. It is what separates one person from another and explains why you are you instead of someone else. Also referred to as the individual displacement paradox (IDP) since consciousness cannot reside in more than one location at a time, regardless of potential advances in cryobiology.

*Individual Displacement Signature (IDS, aka “The Soul”) Determines the unique individual conscious signature found in all living things. It is a quantum phenomenon that defines and differentiates the energy forces that separates one being from another. Geography, ancestry, environment, and other elements from the idea of individual displacement are determinable factors. It is the interpretation of an eternal soul, but with a scientific explanation as a quantum function. Each signature, like a subatomic radio wave, is unique to the individual being. It is localized and receptive only to the unique structure of a particular brain while said individual is alive. After the person dies, it again becomes a part of the Universe. If the person’s unique mind map is saved and later revived, it would again become receptive to the same conscious signature and that person could, hypothetically, live again. (If memories do not remain intact with the signature, it may be a pointless endeavor.) A Type IV civilization may have the technology to harness this quantum energy signature in a virtual reality universe, which might explain reincarnation and past lives, especially if one also takes into account the many worlds interpretation.

Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) An interpretation of quantum mechanics where an infinite number of possible realities can stem from each and every collapsed wave function. For example, a decision one makes as a boy can lead to him becoming president in one universe, a criminal in another, and everything else in between, ad infinitum. Each and every action or decision made by a conscious being (regardless of level of consciousness) produces an infinite number of alternate decisions that all branch out into their own universe. This would have to occur either on a different three-dimensional plane (though its properties have yet to be defined by theoretical physicists) or in a near infinite number of atoms within each respective universe. Since the Universe may be a quasi-conscious entity and each universe initially perpetuates without conscious beings in it, the interaction of atoms may also be affected, thereby producing alternate reality universes with very peculiar properties. Some of them would be unable to sustain life. Our seemingly “ideal” reality exists only because there are an infinite number of possibilities that allow for it. There could be versions of a universe where everyone on Earth lives in a perfect utopian society with no pain or suffering. Others may resemble what some Christians would consider as Hell.

Multiverse Encompasses all of known and unknown reality and existence. Includes all potential parallel and alternate universes throughout all of hyperspace.

Neurotheology A scientific field of study that argues the religious or spiritual experience occurs exclusively in the mind. Dr. Michael Persinger is the pioneer in this field and has performed many experiments on the temporal lobe to support the theory. The research indicates a religious feeling or experience is not caused by a divine being, but originates exclusively in the mind.

Omega Point The supreme point of complexity and consciousness for the Universe, toward which it is evolving. It is a theory of evolution for the mind and technological advancement. A Type V civilization is an example of one that has reached the Omega Point. It would be a civilization able to escape the fate of its surrounding environment. If a civilization is able to continue evolving after escaping their dying realm, have they yet reached an Omega Point?

*Parallel Universe A coinciding universe that exists beside ours and has its own distinct space-time continuum with its own set of alternate universes. It may also have its own set of multiple dimensions, but they may exist throughout hyperspace as a standard backdrop or framework. A universe containing its own big bang, inaccessible and unobservable from our space-time continuum. This is different from an alternate universe with many worlds, but harbors its own set of alternate histories. Scientists do not make the same distinction between the two and instead lump the terms together, making it very confusing for the average person.

*Plane In the alternate universe, many worlds interpretation, it is a separate realm, or level, of three-dimensional existence. It is a purely hypothetical concept outlined nowhere in particle physics, but is the only logical interpretation to differentiate between parallel and alternate universes. So far, the only valid theory of multiple dimensions exists exclusively in string theory. A plane is a separate three-dimensional realm for the many worlds interpretation whereas a brane separates a higher or lower dimension in string theory. Though multiple dimensions may exist throughout hyperspace and all parallel universes, they are likely confined within each distinct parallel universe. For example, one parallel universe may only contain 7 higher dimensions (6 + 1 of time), this one is thought to contain 11 (10 + 1 of time), and yet another might contain up to 26. There are not enough black holes in the Universe for the parallel universe interpretation to harbor an infinite number of many world alternate histories. There simply are not enough of them to account for an infinite number of possibilities. Another possible interpretation is that other planes of alternate three-dimensional realities exist in an infinite number of atoms throughout each universe, as outlined in the atom universe hypothesis. Theoretical physicists need to differentiate between the different theories with the correct terminology and provide a model that would harbor enough “space” for an infinite number of many world alternate universes. The ones that feel they exist in the same three-dimensional space, but at vastly separated distances, are not in line with big bang cosmology.

Sixth Sense Also known as extra sensory perception, or ESP. Applications of a type of sixth sense are being applied to control systems that are hooked up to the brain. These pattern readers interpret brain activity and are sensitive to thoughts. The Air Force is working on aircraft controls that read these brain patterns to make the plane go a certain direction. Think “left” and the control will move left, think “right” and it will go right, and so on. A true sixth sense will require advances in biology and quantum physics that are well beyond current technology. If the mind is somehow connected to the quantum world, we may one day learn to control our thoughts and send them remotely to another person. It may sound like science-fiction, but there is a lot of science behind the concept.

Thermodynamics Describes the properties of macroscopic objects, such as energy or propulsion systems, and how they relate to each other. Fields of application include several different engineering studies, various biological studies, and what goes on inside engines. There are four laws of thermodynamics, each relating to heat, work, entropy, and energy.

Tunguska impact A comet or meteor impact in Russia that occurred on June 30, 1908. It was the largest recorded impact in modern times. Estimates of its size range up to 330 feet in diameter. 80 million trees in the area were leveled. Should something that size impact near a large city, it would level it entirely. Some conspiracy theorists are convinced it was the crash site of a UFO since nothing remained of the meteor.

Type III Civilization A civilization that masters the energy output from the entire Galaxy. In addition to several Dyson spheres placed at various stars throughout, other forms of energy, such as from supermassive black holes at the center of the Galaxy, might provide a limitless supply of power. It will take between 100,000 and 1 million years before Earth reaches Type III status.

*Type IV Civilization A later addition to the theory since the next logical step is mastery of energy from the entire Universe. Mastery of quantum mechanics and bending the space-time continuum for faster than light travel are other likely accomplishments of a Type IV civilization. Von Neumann machines would be dispatched to various galaxies throughout the Universe to systems that support intelligent life, cataloging all information in each. It would take roughly one billion years for us to attain this status and, by then, we would likely no longer resemble our human ancestors.

*Type V Civilization A God-like civilization that has mastered energy and mobility throughout the multiverse. It would take billions of years for a civilization to attain this hypothetical status. Since our Universe is 13.8 billion years old, it is not out of the realm of possibility that at least one has already done so. (Scientific calculations indicate the oldest civilizations in the Galaxy could be up to four or five billion years ahead of us!) However, this is not a prerequisite since one from an older parallel universe could have already mastered it. It is also possible a Type V civilization could create universes on a whim, having mastered the quantum realm. Our Universe might be nothing more than one of their many science experiments. Their realm would be a utopian universe, as they could predict all possible outcomes of every potential event. They would literally reside in and oversee paradise. If the mind, or soul, is found to be a quantum phenomenon, they may grant all beings an afterlife in one of their paradise universes or in one of their virtual reality programs. Virtually nothing would be out of the realm of possibility for a Type V civilization.

Uncertainty Principle (Heisenberg’s) States that a particle’s position and momentum cannot be precisely known simultaneously. Wave mechanics or matrix mechanics are two interpretations of the uncertainty principle. It also points out the differences between classical and quantum physics.

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    • Bill Sego profile image
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      Bill Sego 3 years ago from Logan, Ohio

      Concepts like this certainly put the entire Universe into a comprehensive perspective that we can all share and relate to. They also provide us with a warning that we're all so very fragile and that survival is our ultimate destiny.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      An awesome hub and topic. I am still speechless so will only say I was lucky once to attend a lecture by Stephen Hawking, not on this topic but regarding physical disabilities. Keep on writing!

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