A short break from ‘neutrality’ for an alternative discussion: (though all discussions by implication have associations with neutrality!)
Here are a few options for ‘origin of the universe’:
[‘universe’ = “everything that exists anywhere”. However, for the purposes of this discussion, I intend to expand this definition to “…anywhere and anywhen”]
- A deity created it.
- It was produced by the big bang and the big computers are controlling us.
- It has no origin, and has existed ‘forever’.
- It originated at its own end (it is a product of circular time – its end is its beginning.)
- It is a tiny part (piece of dirt) in an inconceivably larger universe (someone’s backyard).
- It does not exist.
Here are my replies:
- To be terribly unoriginal: what is the origin of the deity? The answer to this question would usually be suggestion #3 above, in which case this suggestion can be considered implicitly there. This would usually be backed up by the definition of most ‘gods’ as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. ‘omnipresent’ one can assume, means not only present at all places simultaneously but also present at all times simultaneously; thus, without ‘determination’. To accept this suggestion would be the total rebellion against logic, and would require a vast leap of faith. Further, this suggestion requires defining the deity in question as somehow outside the meaning of ‘everything’. Interestingly, in both Egyptian and Greek myths, the first gods are themselves borne out of the ‘void’ or ‘chasm of darkness’. This implies a sort of neutral absence of matter or a lack of anything, and hence an exception to the requirements of the definition of the universe [‘absolute absence’ is not contained within ‘everything’]. This, of course, presents the additional problem of creating ‘something’ from ‘nothing’. However, as shall be seen, any of these suggestions requires just that.
- The same question applies: what is the origin of the big bang? In this case, however, there are no theological (and untestable) answers. Perhaps one might say that the big bang was created by the total compression of a previous universe (a common theory), in which case this suggestion becomes a subcategory of suggestion #4 (but a cycle of matter rather than time). Clearly, though the big bang may well be an answer to the question “What created this, our present universe?”, it is not an answer to “What is the origin of the universe.”
- This answer is pretty similar (as already suggested) to #1. In other words, it requires an illogical leap of faith. ‘Illogical’ only because, at present, there is no logic known to man’s philosophies to support it. The simple point is that man cannot conceive of infinite time, it is not within our current capacity. This, although a philosophic possibility, is no more acceptable than belief in creation by the deity.
- This suggestion suggests looping time. Implicit in such a suggestion is the concept of ‘closure’. In other words, this loop creates a concept of a ‘closed loop’ of time. The problem with ‘closure’ is that it is completely incompatible with any concept of the infinite. And the problem with that is that anything which is not the infinite must, by definition, have ‘room’ for something more along its axis of existence. For example, if one were to think of time as being represented in one dimension (a piece of string), non-circular time is an infinite length of string whereas if one loops the piece of string along a curved single dimension (such as the circumference of a sphere) then that leaves room for other (spheres) on either side. Of course, it could be suggested that this ‘extra room’ is merely a repetition of the journey around the same circumference. Essentially, it seems to me that looped time, as a concept, cannot account for “everything that exists anywhere and anywhen”.
- This is clearly not an answer, but a mere (and vain) attempt to explain the infinite. It is perfectly obvious that were one to pursue this line one could progress through an infinite series of ‘universes’ and be absolutely none the wiser.
- This is really a question for Descartes, and another time. “I think, therefore I am.”
So where does this leave us? I would suggest it leaves us thoroughly without an answer. I would like to think that the answers lie somewhere in between it all. It seems to me that there may be a fabric of ‘existence’ the like of which we cannot presently conceive; a ‘divine state’ if you like. This fabric would be capable of being at the same time ‘neutral’ [nothingness] and yet still possess an inherent potential. This would be the ‘void’ out of which the gods sprung.
Hundreds of years ago people believed that rotten meat turned into flies…
….Will we one day craft a microscope powerful enough to see the egg out of which we hatched?