is not Nothing
Just for a moment, imagine if it were possible to experience all possible paths into the future, a growing fragment of the infinite universe. Imagine feeling yourself expand as you split into a myriad of forward time directions. Almost instantly the surrounding world would burst into a solid blur from movement and overlap, each world being only slightly different than the next possibility, each difference being infinitesimal.
If we move into the past and consider every possible world that has been unfolding since the universe began expanding at the Big Bang, we imagine all the different star and planetary formations. The Earth could be slightly larger or smaller, or in a different place in relation to everything else. There would be others like you who were slightly taller and shorter, each having an infinitely small physical difference.
I used to believe that this overlay of worlds, the totally infinite, would be an infinitely dense and infinitely extended three dimensional plane, and I figured this plain, here in the land of broken symmetry, appeared to us as the infinitely dense point in our past. But now I understand that for every matter universe like our own, there exists an opposite anti-matter world to cancel the definition of the first, and thus in truth, if we could observe an infinite universe we would not see anything at all, that is, if we could somehow observe all the worlds together within the same space.
An overlay of worlds would produce not a dense but a neutral medium, a space without any observable matter, where every positive particle is matched with an equal negative particle. Only all the many worlds combined into a single state could possibly create such a perfect medium, where no one thing is apart from others. Yet remove from it a part, and the symmetry is broken. Remove one part and its opposite will appear in its absence. Return the part and the entire infinite field of space returns to zero mass, zero density, zero energy, like a pool of water calmed by stillness, even though it is brimming full of all the many worlds.
The Implicate Order
Our spacetime, according to this theory, presently resides in between two forms of order. The density order from which spacetime began involves concentration and definition, separation and polarization. This order is always expressed as a density of some polarized element of nature. The other kind of order in nature that we do not yet recognize, the one other than density, which relates to the future and the end of spacetime, involves balance and symmetry, unity and wholeness. The extreme expression of this symmetry order is alien to human thought, because it is undivided, its parts blend together, become whole, and so are no longer defined. What I hope that I have communicated in these twelve essays is that what we observe or imagine to be empty space is not at all empty, just as zero is not the same as nothing. Instead both reflect a special kind of order in nature.
The famous physicist David Bohm was a pioneer in the scientific community with his concept of an implicate order. Bohm writes,
Now the word 'implicit' is based on the verb 'to implicate'. This means 'to fold inward' (as multiplication means 'folding many times'). So we may be led to explore the notion that in some sense each region contains a total structure 'enfolded' within it.
It is our nature, as well, to strive for beauty and symmetry. We gravitate toward the arts, judging the complexities of music and painting, sometimes not knowing anything more than how it makes us feel, but clearly it is the complex combinations of order which we are attracted to. And although we each have our own unique sense of beauty, it is true that in literature and drama we relate truth and goodness with symmetry and balance, while the protagonist is often if not always divisive.
The Last Word
My unsuspected thesis has been simply that we know very well the extreme of balance and symmetry, and so we know the infinite universe. The immense sea of space between the stars, or between protons and electrons is well known to us. The space we experience between our bodies and other things in the world, that which we think of as empty space is an extreme form of order. I realize it is not an easy switch, to think of empty space as full, or to not think of zero as nothing, but perhaps it is a transformation long overdue.
We have learned in science that each particle of our body disapears and moves about as a wave of probability, then comes bursting back into reality out of the infinite number of possibilities which form the wave. And Einstein's Relativity describes a four dimensional spacetime existence, not a many worlds, but a many times universe where time bends and flows like a branching river. Yet neither theory has been enough to change that collective image of ourselves as single separate objects miraculously arisen above and afloat in a void of nothingness.
Never do we imagine that the infinite must be all around us, that we are entangled within its ebb and flow; a part without being apart. Who among us is without roots embedded in earth, dependent upon the light, our hands to the sky. No man is an island, but rather part of a seemless whole, and we are all only the universe interacting with itself.
Eastern mystics and western poets have been telling us for a long time that whether we speak of something and nothing, Yin and the Yang, the proton and electron, and now a positive and negative density, we are describing two parts of an undivided whole. I have only begun to think in those terms myself, and I admit that I have been too busy writing and struggling towards explaining what I understand, to sit back and enjoy my own vision of an undivided universe. However, there is no place that is empty, no stone un-turned where existence is not. To be or not to be, is not the question.
I have spoken with physicists and physicians, priests and freelance philosophers, who carried with them a deep personal belief that the universe is infinite. But none had gone further with the idea by making an attempt to understand infinity, or determine if there is any structure or limit to what is possible. Some believed that it is impossible to understand a universe that by definition has no limits, and consequently mistrusted the world, expecting that some ultimate chaos is more primary than whatever supports our logical reasoning.
Each time I think about the way we exist and perceive the world, and each time I think about the structure and sensibility of the infinite, I am lost to the miracle. I guess I expected more than most that it is understandable, or atleast trusted my own ability to embrace whatever ultimate reality there is. But then standing up close and being able to look in, I did not expect it to be quite so penetratable.
If this new cosmological model ever gets discovered, and then stands up to the tests of time and experiment, clearly it promises to be a turning point in our scientific and human understanding of the universe, both the nearby and faraway. Perhaps we should not be surprised when, at journeys end, we find that this knowledge simply leads us back to a new consideration of ourselves, to see a deeper relationship between meaning and matter. In any case, humanity and life are continuing adventures, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
The universe is and always will be. And the world we experience is out of balance, it is complex, it is chaotic, it is meaningless, only when we view a fragment of the whole. Regardless of the world's endless complexity, there is every reason to believe that change moves toward a balance, and the same principle likely applies to all aspects of nature and life. The move toward an undivided whole is likely a universal principle guiding our lives.
As for the cosmos in which we live, beyond the normal unpredictable surprises of the near future, apparently in a far distant future our own spacetime and our parallel anti-matter cosmos which we are inseparably connected to will both merge into a sea of spacetime worlds. Each spacetime having traveled from Bang to Equilibrium, each having been molded by the same basic laws of nature, a multitude of parallel worlds all unite within one place to return to the medium from which they originated. That medium being existence; the alpha and the omega, the base of both matter and mind, and the spirit behind all things.
This completes the science tour. Thank you for reading.