Einstein, a pillar of modern physics made of papier mâché 4*
My Singapore’s speech
In this chat, has man a sense in the world in which he lives?,I will talk about cosmic reality, cosmic reality as it is and not how we want it to be. Forgive me if I insist in these two ways of seeing the world: one objective and one subjective
I divide the world into real and not real. Particles, atoms, molecules, all physical things are real; ideas, theories, concepts, are unreal in the sense that they are not physical, they exist thanks to the physical world. This last one istotally independent from the human world.Sure, we can have a brief, a very brief influence on it, a locally influence, of course, this yes, but, in the long run, the world will be always the old world.Life and harmony are a temporary phenomenon in our universe; chaos, instead, is its real stabilized nature: entropy and the second law of thermodynamics require it.
And this is not all. The whole universe is a metaphysical concept, a concept that goes beyond the physical world. Its essence is not made of particles, atoms, substance, corporeity; it’s essence, as we know, is made of nothingness of nothingness. This is what brought the world into the world. So, when we talk about the universe, we have to keep in mind that we are talking of something that goes beyond science, beyond phenomena, beyond ourselves.
In what follows, I am going to give you eight brief pictures of the universe, and in these eight brief pictures I’ll try to describe it and our position in it as objectively as I can, just as I have done till now.
(slide 12) **
First picture of the universe. Let’s see, for an instant, all the phenomena that make up the entire universe, not the way we want to see them, but for what they really are: things without names, naked and rudimentary objects in an immense vacuum. This is their reality. Seeing them so, how would they appear to us? They would appear as lifeless matter, blind bodies, bodies big and small, strong and weak, bare and barren, of long and short duration. In short, blind bodies and nothing else.
The universe, when we see it as it is, we realize that it is only a mixture of bodies of all imaginable and unimaginable dimensions, structures, properties, bodies and bodies ourselves. Voilàits reality: a mass of objects, of phenomena, of wonders and nightmares, nothing more, nothing less than a mass of physical elements that roar chaotically in an infinite vacuum, crashing blindly against one another and, in the end, they destroy themselves by losing and disintegrating in the immensity they are in. This is our universe and this is also its ultimate truth and reality.
Someone of you may say: “It’s not true that the universe is only a mass of physical objects and nothing more. It’s enough to take us with our creativity, thoughts, believes, cultures, to demonstrate that what you just said is wrong”.
To this remark I would reply by saying that, if we see this lifeless mass of objects that constitute the whole universe only in the short run, then the remark is correct. Correct, of course, up to a certain point, since all the values we gave to the universe are not its, are ours, we gave them to it. Instead, if we see this mass of objects that constitute the whole universe in the long run, in millions and billions of years, then we realize that we, for this mass of objects constantly in collision with one another, we are for them only momentary dust, pus, itch, disease, rubbish or, if you want, why not, a momentary decoration and nothing else.
Second picture of the universe. It’s time to admit that there are only two dominating forces in the universe, and these two dominating forces are neither quantum mechanics nor general relativity. At all. These two real forces of the universe are expansion and contraction or extension and gravity. Expansion and contraction are produced by matter, by existing things, by phenomena. No phenomena, no expansion and no contraction, therefore no universe. However, expansion and contraction exist. Now, all these bodies that speed chaotically and blindly in the universe, either they get lost in the unlimited space or they attract one another according to their mass, so the big ones become bigger and the small ones smaller. That is it. All the rest is secondary or, if you prefer, learned blah blah.
Third picture of the universe. The truth about the world we live in is fundamentally this: once we are out of our solar system, we all grope in the unknown and in fog and vagueness regarding the real knowledge of the universe, and despite of this, we claim to know it as we know the back of our hands. Sure, we can know some basic things, like nothingness of nothingness, particles, atoms, molecules, but we can’t know exactly how matter is disposed and how it behaves out of our solar system, and let’s not talk about bigger distances.
To sustain this idea, it’s enough one single example among billions of others from the Chaos Theory. Let’s see it according to the Butterfly Effect. We can say that, as far as our existence is concerned, a small, a very small shift of the Earth’s axis would have been enough and we wouldn’t have been here today.
Man is a creature of this world, of this structure, of this atmosphere and out of it, even in the nearest space around the Earth, his life and existence are in danger. The Earth is his heart, his body, his soul, his house, his world, his universe. Out of this human cosmos in miniature in which man lives, for him there is 99 percent of darkness and only one percent of survival. May be! Man is, and we all know it, a product of this big stone we call Earth and of its elements, and out of them he is an expatriate, an extra-terrestrial, if you want. Man is shaped from head to toe in this world and to this world he belongs, for good and for bad.
Fourth picture of the universe.We live, like it or not, in a cosmic crater, the crater the Sun made in the space with its mass, and in this crater we are born, live and die. There is no way out, considering the huge empty space that surround us, that we can escape from this cosmic prison. Our destiny started on this planet and on this planet, sooner or later, one way or another, will finish, because that’s how things work in the immensity we live in.
When we humbly bow to the phenomenal world to which we belong, then we’ll discover that no science or philosophy can help us to get away from our cosmic prison and loneliness.
Fifth picture of the universe.We know, but only a few of us find the courage to say it, we know that one of these days, just like that, one of these days, a huge asteroid will pop up from the deep cosmos and point straight towards the Earth. It passes near the Sun, brushes Mercury, then Venus, avoids the Moon, flirts with man’s nuclear weapons and crashes in full might against the Earth.
What about this happening? Well, nothing to say, just another event like many others. In our world these happenings are the routine, the rule and not the exception.
Now just think about the crash between the huge asteroid and our planet, a crash that destroyed all life and everything else on it, do you think that our Sun noticed anything? Venus, Mars and the Moon noticed anything? The rest of the solar system noticed anything? The Earth noticed anything? The sea, the continents, the mountains, the islands noticed anything? No, nothing. All deaf, blind and dumb. Nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything, nobody took notice of anything. All, in the solar system, continues on its way, just as before.
Question: Has the Earth ever been inhabited?
Answer: No, never, because nobody will ever find out one way or another.
Sixth picture of the universe.Our life, in this world, is made of instants and all of them slaves of an eternal here and now.We don’t own anything else in this immense in which we live, but only this here and now.Eternity, for human beings, means here and now.
Seventh picture of the universe. In a cosmic perspective we can see ourselves as a tight rope walker, one who walks on a stretched rope over a bottomless abyss. There is nothing in sight, only the rope, us and the abyss. This is our reality and this reality knows only the present, the eternal present. This present moment has nothing to do with time, but it has something to do with the duration that our body, a phenomenon among other phenomena, manages to achieve by balancing itself over the abyss over which, from birth to death, it is obliged to walk.
Eighth picture of the universe.This is, in a few words, our reality. It is from here that we must start, if we want to build ourselves a home and give a real meaning to our life, a life that is worth living, a real life, even if this means building upon an abyss; a life, therefore, without illusions and total. Living with this awareness and lucidity of mind is the maximum that a human being can achieve. This vision is no longer a desperate and absurd vision, it is a healthy and objective vision, because it is in harmony with the rest of the world. This vision, the vision that embraces our life and the totality of the universe, redeems us as children of nothingness of nothingness and makes us immortal. This means, of course, accepting life and the universe for what they are and not for how we want them to be!
* See the first post.
** Don’t pay attention to the words “slides” that you will find along this writing. It was supposed to be a conference but, unfortunately, didn’t happen.
© Francis Sgambelluri