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The Nature of the Universe, and Where We're Heading

Updated on February 4, 2018

The Question to End All Questions

Since humanity first looked up at the stars in wonder, we have asked the question: why? What is life, and on a grander scale, what is this thing we call the universe? Across the millenia, our ancestors have spent entire lifetimes seeking answers to these questions. Yet, despite all the insights our collective had gleaned throughout the ages, we are still questioning the nature of existence today.

A Real Brain Buster

The Truth About Truth

It may not be possible to know the truth, from an epistemological standpoint. Some of us have taken introduction courses to philosophy where we question if this is all a simulation. Some of us have probably heard someone say it is impossible to know the true nature of God; a reflection of the quandary of a finite mind contemplating the infinite. Certainly, from a logical standpoint, the idea of having an absolute model of reality is impossible. Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem states just that: as long as a model of reality is logically consistent, it can never be completed.

But this does not mean we cannot know anything. Certainly, we can determine certain things as truth. For instance, at the absolute least, we must know we exist: cognito ergo sum. From there, we can look inwards and discern truths about our nature. If we look deep enough, we can see the fractal nature of our being. Everything about our consciousness is built from modular pieces. We can see this in many ways. For example, when we are waking up or falling asleep, we can perceive parts of our minds not working as they normally would. Or, we can measure how different foods affect our consciousness differently. While in deep meditation, we can focus on individual parts of our being. A well-practiced meditator can even delve deeper to perceive the elements that compose those pieces.

Fractals Are Everywhere

"Everything is complex patterns built on less complex patterns."

The Universe is Reflected in Each of Us

If we take this knowledge and apply it to what we know about the universe through scientific endeavors, we can see the same patterns playing out. Everything is complex patterns built on less complex patterns. Life exists as an extension of cells, which are an extension of molecules, which are an extension of atoms, and so on. This overarching pattern continues as turtles all the way down.

This implies that we are a reflection of the universe, or perhaps vice versa. Regardless of the cause and effect relationship, we can see that the universe and us are a unified extension of each other. Whatever the nature of reality, we must contain some truth about it's form, as we are built from the same laws which govern everything.

Dissectional Art - Alex Grey - 2001
Dissectional Art - Alex Grey - 2001 | Source

Forward Thinking

"This leads to an interesting thought: if everything is built from something else, what are we building?"

The Evolution of Humanity

This leads to an interesting thought: if everything is built from something else, what are we building? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the human brain. It is made of neurons which create connections with other neurons. Each of these neurons acts as a node in a communication network; transmitting, receiving, modifying, and storing information. Understanding this, let’s take a look at civilization. Our societies are ultimately built from individual people, which connect with other people to form things like families, businesses, and governments. Each one of us acts as a node in a communication network. We can all transmit, receive, modify, and store information in much the same form the brain does, but in a more complex way.

Again, another fractal pattern! But what does it mean? Across our history, humanity has grown from small, nomadic tribes to a global network comprised of billions. This is not all that has grown. As our collective super-brain has evolved through the generations, one resource has been continuously growing: knowledge. It is our generated knowledge that has given us the ability to radically alter the planet, and ourselves with it. Simply take a look at one aspect of our lives which has evolved with us: how we communicate. There was a time when all communication was done with our voices and simple hand gestures. Across the ages, alternate means of communicating developed, offering different strengths and weaknesses. Writing, the printing press, telegrams, telephones, televisions, and the internet is a simple list showing this evolution.

Most of those improvements have manifested in the recent past. Like our population numbers, our technology is growing exponentially. Looking into the future, there are a handful of technologies which seem inevitable. Brain-to-brain communication (functional telepathy), artificial intelligence, and offworld colonization are a few that are particularly interesting, given our collectives brain-like nature. As we spread across the universe, we will grow increasingly connected to one another. All knowledge will be accessible instantly, and our ability to transform the universe will dwarf our current limitations.

Nodal Networks Making More Complex Nodal Networks

We do this on our planet: next we'll do it across the stars!
We do this on our planet: next we'll do it across the stars!

The Universal Omega Point

On a long enough timeline, this form of expansion will lead to us creating titanic, planet-sized computers hosting unimaginable artificial intelligences. Each of these will be able to directly communicate with anyone and everyone in our collective. Following this form of expansion further, it is inevitable that we will consume the cosmos until all definable resources are part of a singular mind.

What comes after that? No one can know for certain, but we can take what we know from ourselves and our observations and theorize. What does a theoretically omniscient and omnipotent super-mind do in an otherwise empty void? Is that the end of time: the functional Omega Point? Does it create more universe to play with? Does it look back and recreate the minds of the past? If so, what does it create when the possibilities are endless? What are your thoughts and opinions?

Thoughts of the Infinite

As the Author...

Personally, I find this understanding of the cosmos comforting. It takes the functionality of a purely mechanical model of reality while simultaneously removing the existential concerns voiced by many of the scientifically minded people of the world. It gives a sense of being part of something greater than the self, while also raising humanity to the center stage. It's a way of looking at things that reminds me to focus on the moment, as I am a piece of a divine clock, and I can do my part by centering myself in Love.

The more we Love, the more connected we become. The more connected we are, the better we act as a collective. The better we act as a collective, the more likely we are to solve the problems we currently face, and can enter a brighter future as One.


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    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Laws are like truths, they depend. Laws depend on situation. Truths depend on Perception. There really is only one Law, the Law of One: "all things are one, that there is no polarity, no right or wrong, no disharmony, but only identity. All is one, and that one is love/light, light/love, the Infinite Creator."

      "Each one of us acts as a node in a communication network." - I suppose in a way, yes. I see it as more like just pieces to a puzzle.

      "On a long enough timeline, this form of expansion will lead to us creating titanic, planet-sized computers hosting unimaginable artificial intelligences." - Unimaginable artificial intelligence can have unintended consequences, wouldn't You say?

      "The more we Love, the more connected we become." - That's a worthy pursuit, in my opinion.

      Interesting piece of writing. Food for thought - cheers!

    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 2 months ago from Australia

      For a while I have been trying to search for another expression of the word love as love has become tainted with the uglies more often than not. Tender hearted was one word I liked. Then, I came across this other explanation. The trouble is I cannot remember exactly how it was relayed but that love instead of being singular and competitive for survival why not make love more altruistic so that we relish in other's qualities that add value to others, as well as asking the other to do the same for us. Thereby, everyone wins more often than not. And life is more about the art of negotiation rather than devouring or domination. Sorry, I cannot do better than that. (and I may have gone off on a tangent, too-smile)

    • Jessie L Watson profile image

      Jessie Watson 2 months ago from Wenatchee Washington

      I think we agree on pretty much everything. Even more so on the concept of chaos and order. But there always comes preferential treatment to one half of that dynamic. We generally have an instinct to move toward that which is bright and promising and nurturing. The problem with that is that it comes with its own brand of pathology. One that produces vulnerability to hazard and devouring mothers.

      We could both walk away from the binary, yin-yang allegory feeling pretty confident in our judgments about how the world is supposed to be. But I'm always wary of instances where large-scale phenomena are reduced to a single fundamental principle. "The world is the way it is because of X". Where does the conversation go after that? Someone like me has to come along and complete the circuit, or other half of the dynamic if you will.

    • Greg Manning profile image

      Greg Manning 2 months ago from California

      Thanks for the comment Jessie!

      I agree with what you say about love being a gerrymandered term, but that can apply to pretty much any word or phrase, no? I tend to define love as light; to mean in the same form as the dominant strategy the universe takes. From this, we know there is a time to build up and a time to tear down.

      Chaos is needed as much as Order for existence to manifest. Chaos without Order is formless void; Order without Chaos is static, unmoving form. The errors, the mutations, and the destruction of information is chaos which allows for evolution. I think of evolution as a process that extends beyond biology, and it is this continuous process which allows for the complexity we are lost in. The balance of these forces is where we derive meaning, as we are birthed from Order resisting Chaos, and perpetuate our happiness through Order.

      This opens up a heuristic understanding of Love. We live in a world where it is bad to push someone, but good to push someone out of the way of a bus, and we get a weird feeling in our gut if we are faced with pushing Hitler out of the way of a bus. If we were try to define Love absolutely, any definition we create would be limited, and inaccurate from some perspective.

      But again, that holds true for all language. Even the best poet cannot capture the absolute nature of reality, yet we can still understand each other. Thus, when I say Love, I mean it in a way that isn't so much a maxim, but rather a continuous process that is dependent on the context of the situation. We can say with certainty that pushing a man down and stomping his face in with no reason is not an act of Love. Likewise, bringing a smile to someone's face on a rainy day can be said to be an act of Love.

    • Jessie L Watson profile image

      Jessie Watson 2 months ago from Wenatchee Washington

      The term love has been gerrymandered to mean so many different things. The problem with that is not everyone is equipped to experience or interpret love the same way. A general respect for life is probably the best attitude to have with regard to how we operate in the world but it doesn't offer any metaphysical insight into the nature of reality. Largely because nature itself is the most real thing we know of and it's quite discriminatory and unfair to many different forms of life. It benefits from the failure and death of different species in addition to fertility.

      So, you can characterize reality as a complex, interdependent system. But systems as a whole actually benefit from things you might not feel comfortable characterizing as love. There's a term by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan, called "antifragile" that he describes as a unit of measurement of things that gain from disorder. Nature itself is obviously at the top of that list but other complex systems like societies and economies also abide by these principles.

      At the end of the day, failure and error are information. Very useful information at that. Information that allows us to grow and become more robust. 100% love 100% of the time is not at all how I would describe the universe.

      Great writing.