Diary of a Financier

Bookshelf update: Why Does the World Exist?

In Bookshelf, Existential on Tue 30 Aug 2016 at 05:08

One major takeaway from Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story, as embodied by the following excerpt…


Something can be created from nothing.  For example…

0 = 1 – 1
1 – 1 = 0

Of course, those equations denote two integers offsetting one another to create zero (and vice versa)…

“…but picture the opposite, with zero peeling apart into +1 and -1… Where once you had nothing, now you have two somethings. Opposites of some kind, evidently. Positive and negative energy. Matter and anti-matter. Yin and yang…

“Even more suggestively, -1 might be considered the same as +1, only moving back in time.”

I have thought a lot about this fascinating theory, and originally, my biggest hangup was that it violates the most fundamental of physics’ laws, The Conservation of Mass-Energy: matter cannot be created or destroyed.  Yet, maybe physics was wrong… in fact, there are a number of caveats to the theory of mass/matter conservation.

Therefore, perhaps there was nothing, then nothing split into a positive and negative charge, triggering the Big Bang.  Maybe the Big Bang was really just time zero, where multiple universes (past & future) met at a wormhole.  Maybe the universe is ever-expanding via an ongoing process of creation like this.  Maybe it’s expanding from the edges and the expansion is incalculable or unobservable from where we sit near the relative epicenter.  Then, maybe the universe expands so far in either direction that past & future meet at their extremes to form a black hole, where all of the positive and negative matter start to net-out one another, and everything gets sucked into the black hole, collapsing back into nothing.

I’m such a novice when it comes to quantum physics and general relativity, but I’m so curious…




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