Back in 1929 the brilliant and persistent astronomer Edwin Hubble made discoveries that proved that our universe was expanding, with all the heavenly bodies moving away from each other in a straight dance, like coloured dots on the surface of an ever inflating balloon. Something that is well known today and taken for granted, but back then it was pretty amazing to just discover that our Milky Way galaxy was not the only one in the universe, let alone that the universe contained a huge number of other galaxies and other exotic heavenly bodies that are all for some reason moving away from each other as if they all had appointments in separate destinations and wanted to get there in a hurry.
Recently, in the 1990’s it was also shown by a series of independent observations that not only is our universe expanding but it is doing so in an ever increasing rate!! This means that everything is moving away from us with a continuously increasing speed!! Side-stepping any scientific implications and head-scratching that such a discovery brings about and how it turns gravity on its head and how it brings into the forefront -for once more- the work of none other than Albert Einstein, it is perhaps interesting to sit and consider all this from a slightly different angle…
As Brian Greene points out in his very interesting and inspiring TED talk on “multiverses” http://bit.ly/IqVUvn(and where would we all be without TED…) there will come a time in our future when every galaxy and star and other body or magical cloud in the universe will have moved so far away from us that even light will not be able to reach us any more. We will be sitting in our own darkness. This of course is not only true for our planet, the Earth, as every single heavenly body is moving away and all that exists will one day be too far from its closest neighbour.
The question now arises, as to whether our distant descendants will accept what they see -the complete darkness- as the ultimate truth about the universe, or whether they will believe their ancient ancestors and their discoveries of galaxies, stars, planets, nebulae and supernovas.
If the future according to what we have seen so far ends up hiding the truth from us then the present we are living now becomes ever more precious and fragile. What we are living now and the way we document it and preserve it is what will connect the future human beings with the reality of the universe.
Even more importantly though and carrying this line of thought a bit further, the universe and our knowledge of it does not necessarily move in a straight line. There is it appears no master plan the way we would like to think, the way that makes us feel secure. The way our parents taught us. The universe is complex, it is probably more weird than we could ever imagine, and we cannot take it for granted.
But even more than all this, there are also maybe some philosophical implications worth considering: If the future hides the truth from us then what do we know of our past?? And how accurate is our knowledge of the past?? And which truths are hidden from us?? In an earlier post, http://onlymywriting.com/index.php/2015/07/22/model-dependent-reality/ we talked about how there is not only one past but a whole history of “all possible paths” that the past takes to get here, that we never really perceive. And how our darling universe might have been just one of a million universes, which we will never know. Therefore, where do we stand?? And why do we stand?? Which cosmic truth permeates all of us and all of the universe(s)?? What should we tell our kids?? What truth do we know?? What is inherently good?? How do we know it?? From which past?? We should all perhaps be more humble.
The answer is that we are living a series of now(s) that are very very precious and that will never be the same. And what we don’t know will be come even more precious in the future. But NOTHING is as precious as what we are living now.
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