Science

The Something Before the Nothing

Everything we know started with a bang. Not the usual bang that we regularly associate with the firing of a gun or fireworks, given our limited perspective. Rather this was a cosmic bang. Which means that, instead of exploding, something began to expand.

And boy, oh boy, did that something really expand!

Graphic representation of the cosmic expansion from the Big Bang.

It expanded so much, in fact, that it ceased to be in a dense and hot state of unified fields of minimum proportions to become a relatively cold and solitary magnitude of 3 spatial and 1 temporal dimensions.

In other words, that something went from being excessively small to impressively huge.

Up next, it would continue to expand steadily for around 13.8+ billion years. Generating, in the process, all kinds of funny-looking objects based on light and dust.

That is to say, the bodies that we like to call galaxies and stars, as well as the rest of space objects that we are currently aware of.

Photograph of the pair of interacting galaxies Arp 273.

It happened, then, that in a trivial arm of an unimportant galaxy an irrelevant star emerged, forming its own inconsequential solar system.

And in said system, a planet, which in the immensity of its location looks like a simple pale blue dot, would take shape. It was in this place where we, a group of apes (who generally don’t fancy the idea of being referred to as such), would establish ourselves as the dominant species after millions of years.

And it was us, as apes gifted with big brains and funny ideas, the ones who came up with the name of that previously unnamed something in continuous expansion: the observable universe.

Composition of the observable universe in a single image.

But, no matter how good our ape brains are at giving names to things, I am afraid that we are not bright enough to explain them and we’re even more terrible at understanding them.

Thus, we got to “somewhat know” how the expansion originated, but we are unable to clarify the reason behind its occurrence and much less could we explain what was there before it.

I mean, we know that “it happened”, because we are here now and that seems to be sufficient proof that “something happened.”

Whereupon, such uncertainty naturally caused the emergence of many unanswered questions. Becoming these, later on, topics of artificial “eternal speculation”.

Photograph of an artificial skeleton thinking.

However, our old ape instincts would not accept a renunciation to such a present dilemma so easily. We do like to believe that we are in a relentless quest to “answer the big questions”, despite not fully understanding their implications.

And so we began to investigate, using a method we affectionately named “science.” One which, though not entirely perfect, is valid (for the most part).

Photograph of a telescope with its view towards the starry sky.

Yet, the problems that emerge from this methodology are the product of our lack of agreement regarding its application. But we all consent that, whatever it is that our end goal is, everyone is free to choose how to reach it.

Mainly because science offers an open field to find viable solutions regarding the most peculiar aspects of the Universe, despite being unable to prove the. Mostly due to our “current restrictions” (aka, the lacking technology).

And that being the case, you will probably get to hear more than one “scientific idea” coming from our fellow ape physicists as to what existed “before” our conception of space-time in the known universe. And the most popular among these hypotheses are:

  • A Big Bounce took place.
Graphic representation of the scientific model of the Big Bounce.
  • We are at the “other end” of a black hole (located in what is known as a white hole).
Artistic impression of a white hole.
  • “We bubbled” out of an even bigger universe.
Artistic impression of a universe being born from another in bubble-like fashion.
  • We are part of an extended group of “baby universes” within a multiverse.
Artistic impression of the multiverse.

But all of these are mere conjectures in relation to what “could be.” For, in accordance to the reality of things and under our present limits, we must accept that we don’t know.

Nevertheless, this should not make us give up on our pursuit, for it is beautiful to think of a group of apes that tirelessly pursue unknown frontiers. After all, borders are mere constructs that don’t impede us from crossing the boundaries of what we can achieve.

So long as we keep on seeking knowledge, as well as moving beyond our limits as the Universe expands, we shall eventually reach our aim and say that everything was worth it, despite the many times that we were stuck.

Panoramic photograph of the terrestrial night sky.

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