When reading articles about science or watching television programs on scientific subjects, I am reminded of my limited intelligence and learning. Still, they fascinate me, and I enjoy learning something new or trying to understand a complicated subject. I am happy to have my horizons expanded.
One example is a BBC program called What Happened Before The Big Bang? How’s that for an unanswerable question? Of course, too many people in America think that the Earth is the center of the universe (or they are), but the extent of the universe is a mystery. Like adjacent puddles, is ours merely one of many? If the universe is moving through space, where did it come from, where has it been, and where is it headed?
Fortunately, I do not have to understand all this to enjoy the short bit of total time that I spend on this Earth, in this universe, in this...whatever. But, when I think about it, the most-amazing aspect of life is that an animal has evolved on a rock floating through infinite(?) space that is able to ask questions and figure some of the answers. Sadly, stupid people, who become politicians, have also evolved (just not in intelligence)...
Once again, I had a strange thought. Sorry. I can’t seem to stop.
I was thinking about what happens to all the data created for the Internet. Is everything stored forever? Is anything erased, like burning leaves in the fall, which disappear into smoke (carbon atoms?)?
If all data is saved, a huge pile must exist somewhere, because a whole bunch has been created since the advent of the computers...and the mountain grows. Perhaps, data expands like universe, whose extent is unknowable.
But, that was not my strange thought. I wondered if the saving of data could be a metaphor and compared to people’s belief in Heaven (and Hell). All humans that ever roamed the earth (and associated pets) are supposed to reside in Heaven (or Hell), which must be rather large spaces. That’s a whole bunch of folks and the crowd grows each day...like the total amount of data. Perhaps, they could also expand like the universe...
Here's a bit of incomprehension, but it lies at the opposite end of the lack-of-knowledge spectrum from not understanding the universe.
I do not understand why people dress up in weird costumes and elaborate make-up and then stand immobile as in public squares. Beyond a curious glance, I have never paused to stare at these "people", who have turned themselves into living statues.
There was a story in the English papers about an incident involving two statues, but it conerned movement. It seems that "Invisible King" attacked "Silver Wizard" with a brick, accusing him of stealing his (?) audience. How does that work? The "King" must not understand free will and freedom of choice. Perhaps the costume brought on a case of severe megalomania, causing him to believe that all passers-by were his "subjects".
I think I'll return to contemplating the universe: it, after all, is merely a question of mathematics...
Want to feel insignificant (and maybe even a bit dim)? All it takes is to watch a program or read a book about the universe.
Humans like to think that we are special and intelligent. Someone has an answer for everything. Unfortunately, this is not true. It is impossible to answer questions about the universe that surrounds us. How big is it? Even trying to imagine the answer is beyond the ability of all but a few scientists and mathematicians. And, they don't know. No one is sure if there are boundaries and, if so, where they might be. How far is the edge? Maybe there isn't one, which raises a whole bunch of new questions.
Some "facts" have been painstakingly ascertained or questimated by scientists, the magnitude of each impossible for other people to comprehend or even imagine. But, no one can guess the size of the space in which we exist...or even define it. Is it a space within another space--another mind-boggling questions?
That would make humans even more insignificant...if that is possible.
Light from the Andromeda nebula takes 2 1/2 million years to reach earth. That means that light that astronomers see left those stars before human life evolved on this planet. And, scientists tell us that Andromeda is not far...because it lies within the "visible universe". Supposedly (although I do bow to scientists), there are trillions of stars (not planets, moon, asteroids, but only stars like the sun) beyond the visible universe, whose light has yet to reach earth in the 13.7 years since the Big Bang. Only people that deal with the US budget deficit can fathom such numbers.
This last bit leads to another question: if the universe started with the Big Bang, what was "everything" before that point? And, where is it now? When one starts thinking about such questions, it's easy to understand why most people spend their time watching reality television shows...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.