Yesterday I saw a a program about the creation of the Universe on YouTube. It began with a black picture and then a deep voice said. “In the beginning there was nothing” and then …". A big explosion appeared on the screen.
The picture that the video presented is dead wrong. First there was no beginning, because the time did not exist. With big bang the space, the matter and the time were created. Time, space and matter (energy) can’t exist one without the other. So there was no time, and there was no black screen either because the space did not exist. So what is the right picture of what really happened?
You can try to imagine it, but as hard as you try you will not succeed. Because our brains were made to help us survive not to see the reality as it is.
So how do we know what really happened?
It has to do with a remarkable insight of a few remarkable people. The Homo Sapiens have been around with the same brain as us for about 100 000 years. But it was only the last couple of thousand years that people had this insight, or at least were able to tell us about it thanks to the invention of the writing.
(I do not know the source of this insight, maybe deep meditation or psychedelic mushrooms gave a glimpse of another reality. Or maybe some serendipitous discovery that you could express qualities of pleasant “tones” as ratio of whole numbers.)
And what was their insight?
They saw that our brains do not give us the correct picture of reality and they found out two ways to go beyond the limitations of the brain. Those two ways are known as Mathematics and Scientific experiment. The slogan “Don’t believe in authorities” is a way to come away from the false picture that our brain and our society impose on us.
With these two weapons we have discovered a world, that literally goes beyond our imagination. The grandeur of the universe with billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars, the wonders of quantum mechanics with its uncertainty principle, spooky action at a distance, the wonders of theory of relativity with black holes, dark matter, dark energy and time travel. The fruits of that knowledge in form of electricity, computers, medicine, and much much more are also impressive. All of that would be impossible without the very insight that we must find ways to go beyond the limitations of our brains, and the invention and construction of Mathematics and Scientific Experiment.
Maybe in the future there will be other inventions that expand our knowledge of reality. The scientific experiments of today can only register what happens in the four dimensional world of time and space. That is not surprising since the measuring instruments are constructed out of “dead matter” that only register what happens in space and time. But suppose that the reality has more than four dimensions (mathematics of super symmetry suggests 10 dimensions). My guess is that these dimensions are not hidden or curled up, but simply that our instruments (which are made up of matter) can’t detect them. Maybe one or all of these extra dimensions have to do with consciousness. We experience that consciousness is within us, yet no instrument can detect it. It is rather naive to reason that just because the “instruments” can’t detect something it is not a part of reality. It is like a person having blue glasses claims that there are only blue colors in the world.
Suppose that consciousness really is in the other dimensions. That means that our consciousness, is outside place and time, which means that that part of ourselves can’t die. It is obvious since death can only happen in time. That does not mean that your ego or your little me, will not die and disappear. It surely will, because that part is tied to time and space, but the “inner” you, the essence of you will not disappear, because it is in those extra dimensions. That is what the sages have been telling us for a long time, and I’m not sure that they are wrong.
Now you might ask yourself: "Who, when and where created those extra dimensions? Since those dimension do not consist of matter (who), do not have time (when) and do not have space (where), the question is meaningless. Those dimensions are eternal (orthogonal to time), but they are not everlasting (which obviously has to do with time). Since these dimensions are independent of time and space, could they be the ones responsible for the big bang, that is the creation of time, space and matter? Sages tell us that those dimensions are the ultimate source of creativity. They say that in deep meditation you can experience the truth of this. Since I have no such experience myself, I can’t tell that it is so or that it is not so, but the possibility that it is so is fascinating.
This is something I have postulated in the past (as a purely amateur why of reconciling faith to physics). There is an extensive thread were AmberV and several of us poked at this idea a few times. That was mostly in the concept of how the supernatural (what I think I would label your dimensions) could exist and influence out reality.
What William James has done is to collect various religious and supernatural experiences that people have had, and made analysis of them. The experience themselves are illuminating and provide interesting reading. Here’s one example.
“’You must first get rid of anger and worry.’ ‘But,’ said I, ‘is that possible?’ ‘Yes,’ replied he; ‘it is possible to the Japanese, and ought to be possible to us.’
On my way back I could think of nothing else but the words ‘get rid, get rid’; and the idea must have continued to possess me during my sleeping hours, for the first consciousness in the morning brought back the same thought, with the revelation of a discovery, which framed itself into the reasoning, ‘If it is possible to get rid of anger and worry, why is it necessary to have them at all?’ I felt the strength of the argument, and at once accepted the reasoning. The baby had discovered that it could walk. It would scorn to creep any longer.
From the instant I realized that these cancer spots of worry and anger were removable, they left me. With the discovery of their weakness they were exorcised. From that time life has had an entirely different aspect.
Although from that moment the possibility and desirability of freedom from the depressing passions has been a reality to me, it took me some months to feel absolute security in my new position; but, as the usual occasions for worry and anger have presented themselves over and over again, and I have been unable to feel them in the slightest degree, I no longer dread or guard against them, and I am amazed at my increased energy and vigor of mind; at my strength to meet situations of all kinds, and at my disposition to love and appreciate everything.
I have had occasion to travel more than ten thousand miles by rail since that morning. The same Pullman porter, conductor, hotel-waiter, peddler, book-agent, cabman, and others who were formerly a source of annoyance and irritation have been met, but I am not conscious of a single incivility. All at once the whole world has turned good to me. I have become, as it were, sensitive only to the rays of good.
I could recount many experiences which prove a brand-new condition of mind, but one will be sufficient. Without the slightest feeling of annoyance or impatience, I have seen a train that I had planned to take with a good deal of interested and pleasurable anticipation move out of the station without me, because my baggage did not arrive. The porter from the hotel came running and panting into the station just as the train pulled out of sight. When he saw me, he looked as if he feared a scolding, and began to tell of being blocked in a crowded street and unable to get out. When he had finished, I said to him: ‘It does n’t matter at all, you could n’t help it, so we will try again to-morrow. Here is your fee, I am sorry you had all this trouble in earning it.’ The look of surprise that came over his face was so filled with pleasure that I was repaid on the spot for the delay in my departure. Next day he would not accept a cent for the service, and he and I are friends for life.
During the first weeks of my experience I was on guard only against worry and anger; but, in the mean time, having noticed the absence of the other depressing and dwarfing passions, I began to trace a relationship, until I was convinced that they are all growths from the two roots I have specified. I have felt the freedom now for so long a time that I am sure of my relation toward it; and I could no more harbor any of the thieving and depressing influences that once I nursed as a heritage of humanity than a fop would voluntarily wallow in a filthy gutter.
There is no doubt in my mind that pure Christianity and pure Buddhism, and the Mental Sciences and all Religions, fundamentally teach what has been a discovery to me; but none of them have presented it in the light of a simple and easy process of elimination. At one time I wondered if the elimination would not yield to indifference and sloth. In my experience, the contrary is the result. I feel such an increased desire to do something useful that it seems as if I were a boy again and the energy for play had returned. I could fight as readily as (and better than) ever, if there were occasion for it. It does not make one a coward. It can’t, since fear is one of the things eliminated. I notice the absence of timidity in the presence of any audience.
When a boy, I was standing under a tree which was struck by lightning, and received a shock from the effects of which I never knew exemption until I had dissolved partnership with worry. Since then, lightning and thunder have been encountered under conditions which would formerly have caused great depression and discomfort, without [my -WJ] experiencing a trace of either. Surprise is also greatly modified, and one is less liable to become startled by unexpected sights or noises.
As far as I am individually concerned, I am not bothering myself at present as to what the results of this emancipated condition may be. I have no doubt that the perfect health aimed at by Christian Science may be one of the possibilities, for I note a marked improvement in the way my stomach does its duty in assimilating the food I give it to handle, and I am sure it works better to the sound of a song than under the friction of a frown. Neither am I wasting any of this precious time formulating an idea of a future existence or a future Heaven. The Heaven that I have within myself is as attractive as any that has been promised or that I can imagine; and I am willing to let the
10 growth lead where it will, as long as the anger and their brood have no part in misguiding it.”
I used to think about this kind of questions when I was younger. Nowadays when my thoughts begin to wander off in that direction, I ask my family guru what he thinks about this. What is the meaning of life? Where do we all come from? And why are we here??
He always looks at me with his yellow eyes, make a small flick with his tail, and says in that voice that only really smart cats have:
“You really are stupid, you do know that, don’t you? You are here to serve me. That’s the meaning of your life. You and the mice and the dog (and everyone and everything else, come to think about it) are here for my pleasure. It’s as simple as that.”