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The Source of All Things
From mysticism to science to wonder, the secrets of the cosmos remains elusive.
We have the cosmos, but it is still very much a mystery and a miracle
When we look out into the far flung cosmos and all things seen and unseen, making new discoveries in sheer joy, as Richard Feynman once truly stated, we look upon a wonder indeed. Only with the careful balancing of primal forces in a truly fine way, do we have a cosmos suited to the evolution of complex life. And yet, just a tiny part of that cosmos appears to be suited to life with even more exact conditions that are required to be fulfilled. All things originated from the Planck quantum false vacuum at the earliest moment in the history of the universe. It is a state and condition of which we can have no substantial appreciation or concept, we who are so well suited to the world we inhabit and evolved within.
Humanity and for that matter, the entire biota of the world are adapted to the unique set of circumstances of this complex planet. It is one of a handful in the galaxy that are suited in just the right combination of circumstances for complex life. Many more worlds have life, but it is on the simplest level. For most of the history of the Earth, it was just like this, that is, an environment where only cyanobacteria, viruses and other bacteria could live. Yet, these simple life forms changed everything. Once in the deep past, the Earth was like this. So, whence comes self-organization and all the myriad complex processes including the observation and thinking that has lead us to this appreciation?
The cosmos was born out of an incredibly violent and furious moment called the big bang when everything that was to become the present manifested from an instability in the false vacuum. Just how it became unstable and how time manifested from the timeless is a mystery yet unsolved. Yet, to this day and in days to come, we can see the outpouring of this into the visible cosmos in the form of virtual particles. This effects everything in the visibly manifest sea of energy and matter and is the source that drives many phenomena. Many exchanges and transformations are dependent on discreet quantum processes. In a very real way, electromagnetic phenomenon and all that is built of that, manifests from quantum interaction. The things we can see and impress our minds, the thoughts that surface seemingly from nowhere, all have their source here. We inhabit a profound mystery! We are a profound mystery! That we can be conscious of it is another profound mystery! Mystery upon mystery, the plot thickens. Science, still in its ignorance of such questions, asks why there is something rather than nothing, and how is it that we can be conscious of this?
Looking at everything we experience in such a casual manner, we can begin to fathom that mass is nothing more than an expression of the vector interrelationship of myriad parts in a relative way. It is the same for energy, space and time. From a condition of infinite curvature of space/time, energy/matter, we arrive at something other than that; the present condition of the cosmos, so delicately balanced where we can watch and appreciate it. It should have us agape with awe, yet most of us are largely unaware of the mystery, which in itself is astounding. We become caught up in petty concerns as the cosmos evolves around us and the same energy courses through us. It is easy to become distracted from the awesome reality in which we are immersed. In out civilized society, that is so apparently removed from and seemingly superior to nature and cosmos, we miss a true and awesome miracle. All our cherished notions are only allowed because of the existence of everything that supports us. Without that, there is nothing more profound than even what our imagining could ever perceive.
I am one who is in perpetual awe of it all and am doggedly determined to learn the why and the how of it. I respect anyone who is involved in this pursuit. Yes there are many blind alleys and mistaken directions, but at least we know what it isn’t. We have all the giants of near and far antiquity to thank for the shoulders to stand on to have our present understanding, which by the way, is still incomplete. Someday, provided we don’t drive ourselves to extinction in the mad quest to dominate all and everything, others will stand on our understandings and misunderstandings to more accurately know the cosmos.
Everything we see and that which we don’t yet see, has its foundation and source in the quantum. This includes all the things that we are involved in. The fabulously complex structure of our own bodies, so well tuned to the earthly environment, is structured on DNA that boarders on the quantum realm. In fact it is quantum activity that structures and changes the code in the first place. The mind-brain interface is quantum driven. All our seeing, hearing, primal drives to eat and have sex, all our thoughts have as their foundation, the quantum processes of the cosmos. The new research into the nature of consciousness done by Francis Crick and others reveals a complex quantum connection here as well. The incredible volume of change in the quantum drives it all. The original gradient of the birth of the cosmos was from the false vacuum to the real vacuum. All subsequent change drives the evolving cosmos to this day.
How is it then that we can harbor such terrible and destructive thoughts and actions toward one another, when we know that we ought to be compassionate in our collective dilemma of inhabiting a beautiful but violent cosmos? Perhaps this too has as its source, as all else in the quantum. Another reason is that by and large most of us have become alienated from nature in our artificial reconstruction of the world. Then there is the division of humanity into class stratification, interest focus and the desire of a few to control everything and everyone else toward a perceived paradise. This course usually leads to the destruction of the only environment to which we are collectively suited. It is the only environment that we understand as we are an intimate piece of it. We have no direct concept of what non-time, non-space is like, because we are not constructed for that environment. Indeed, it seems to be almost impossible to “put ourselves in someone else shoes” and consciously experience life directly from their point of view as they experience consciousness. Instead of the consciousness of awe and respect, we have that of contempt and vilification based on nothing more than ignorance and negative myth building. We think that we can redesign the cosmos in a single generation after 13 plus billion years of evolution in the natural way. We cannot, for the most part, redirect our own lives.
Life did not originate on Earth, but predates the solar system. This has been verified from finding microscopic organisms trapped inside primordial space rocks. These have been grown in petri dishes after being dormant for uncounted billions of years. They arrived from outside of the solar system and are a direct proof of the concept of panspermia; the interstellar migration of simple life. During huge impacts in Earth’s history, some of Earth’s life in turn got ejected into deep space and some of it, trapped inside Earth born rocks is making its way through interstellar space. In short, the cosmos exploded into existence complete with the capability of supporting life and ultimately consciousness.
We return again the idea of consciousness and what constitutes a conscious being. A conscious being must primarily be aware of its surroundings in one way or another. It must be able to self-organize out of available surrounding materials using available energy gradients. Life after all is a phenomenon that exists in a state far from equilibrium. There should be a sense of time and future and the ability to reshape the local environment to aid survival and reproduction of some type. Viruses can fulfill these conditions. They can also lay dormant for vast stretches of time. There is an intrinsic consciousness, rudimentary intelligence and ability to redirect the environment as witnessed by disease processes. Microscopic life had the first word and no doubt the last one as well. When conditions are correct in a multitude of ways, complex life can arise in surprising environments. The Earth itself bears witness to this fact. Complex conscious life exists by utilizing the energy gradient provided by the sun, by living off of beings that live by the sun and also from energy gradients provided by sulfur compounds in underwater volcanic vents. There are no doubt more surprises in store as we explore further.
Are there other universes? The speculation here is yes, but none of them exactly and discreetly like ours. Most would be short lived and some long lived but functioning on different laws of physics as foreign to us as non-time, non-space. If we take a statistical approach to the required conditions of cosmic birth, ours is an unique cosmos indeed. It is so finely tuned that it defies rational explanation as to how a “just so” cosmos could even come into existence given the countless possibilities. Some speculation has it that our cosmos is but one branch of a fractal universe, far more vast and complex than what we are aware. Most of this super universe would not be able to support conditions of any type to which we are so familiar. Even within the confines of our own cosmos, there are strange things going on indeed. We are still trying to come to grips with some major contradictions. How is it that quantum entanglement can coexist with quantum relativity? Both concepts can be demonstrated experimentally. There must be some kind of quantum relativity, for the curved structure of space-time was born out of that at the very beginning.