The age of the Universe, according to the current position of science, is approx. 13 billion years. Scientists regard this value as a number valid for everyone, independent of the observer. Indeed, anyone who has already learned about the bizarre, paradoxical consequences of the special and general relativity theory can immediately feel that something has been swept under the carpet here again.
According to the theory of relativity, time (duration) is dependent on the observer, it depends on the relative speed of the observer and the observed object. In the theory of relativity, the distance traveled in four-dimensional space-time is an observer-independent invariant, but neither the distance traveled in space nor the time required for this is independent of the observer.
A direct consequence of this is that we cannot talk about the age of the Universe or its size without saying what kind of observer these values refer to. Obviously, if we don’t leave the Earth, we can say with a good approximation that the age and size of the Universe are of the same value for every person on earth.
However, once we leave Earth, the situation will be different. In the twin paradox thought experiment, we see that if an astronaut leaves Earth at near the speed of light and returns after a few years in onboard time, he will find that much more time has passed on Earth during his journey. If we now ask the astronaut and his twin left on Earth, who are hopefully still alive, how old the Universe is, they will give two different answers. When they set out, they must have agreed that the Universe was the same age according to both of them. On arrival, however, they will already have a different opinion, the astronaut will say that the Universe is younger than his partner on Earth.
To increase the contrast a bit, imagine a situation in which alien astronauts bring life to Earth three and a half billion years ago, and when they are convinced that life has settled on Earth, they take off in their spaceships and at a speed very close to the speed of light they visit a lot of other viable planets and give life to previously lifeless planets everywhere. Then they return everywhere to see what happened. If they visit us these days and ask how old we think the Universe is, they will be very surprised, because there can be a difference of billions of years between our opinion and theirs. After all, they were constantly on the road, their own time passed more slowly than ours. They live in a younger Universe than we, who owe our existence to them.
To make the situation even more absurd, let us now contrast the positions of the Bible and science on this matter. Based on the Bible, theologians put the age of the Earth and the Universe at about six thousand years, while scientists accept the above-mentioned approximately 13 billion years as valid. They argue against age determination based on the Bible, that there are objects on Earth and in outer space that are obviously older than six thousand years.
We, on the other hand, can easily imagine an astronaut who has been traveling at a speed very close to the speed of light in his spaceship since the beginning of the Universe, so that, according to his on-board clock, only six thousand years have passed since the beginning of his journey, so he will say that he is only six thousand years old Universe. Of course, this does not mean that we can make the argument of the Bible acceptable, we only highlight that if we give up the concept of absolute space and time, as the theory of relativity does, we have to face unpleasant consequences .
So what we object to in today’s position of science: if we reject the concept of absolute time, then how can we say that the Universe has the same age for all observers. The two statements are not compatible. If, on the other hand, the age of the Universe depends on the observer, then the philosophical and scientific consequences of this should also be explained. In this case, we can easily find an object in the Universe that is older than we consider the Universe to be. A bizarre consequence of discarding absolute time is that different observers may measure the background radiation temperature differently.
The principle of relativity states that the laws of physics are the same in different systems. It’s so beautiful, really. But if we add to this the fact that observers in different systems measure the age of the Universe differently, then it is no longer so reassuring.
I would only ask future authors that when they talk about the age of the Universe, they should always add that roughly thirteen billion years is actually a subjective time, we earthly people measure, consider, and feel the Universe to be that old. And let’s not confuse this value with an extraterrestrial who will tell us a much higher or much lower value when we ask him about it.
2,500 years after Zeno of Elea, I came to the same conclusion as he, using the simple tools of logic: movement is impossible. Also, of course it is possible, since I go to work every morning and go home every afternoon, experience shows that there is movement and the world is in constant motion.
The more precise formulation is therefore that according to our experience there is movement, but with our ordinary concepts and the logic we use, it is inexplicable how it is possible and how it works. Something fundamental is missing from what we experience, feel and think about movement, something fundamental without which the whole thing has no meaning.
Towards the end of the working day, I thought it was time to go home, and guided by some inspiration, I formulated this by saying out loud, “Well, let’s port home.” Then, walking on the sidewalk in the rain, I said to myself: “Well, let’s teleport home.” And as I walked, taking one step after another, I imagined myself stepping on the atoms of space, and I realized that I was actually jumping on particles of space, teleporting from one to another in the void between two particles.
Movement is actually teleportation!
Zeno completely revealed all the problems related to movement with only the tools of logic, his paradoxes perfectly show why movement cannot be interpreted with the tools of human logic. And although many people have already tried to present the paradoxes as not real problem, in fact they are still unsolved to this day.
To a first approximation, the movement is simple: given two points in space, the starting point and the end point, and a body, in the simplest case a point of mass, which travels from the starting point to the end point in a finite time. The difficulties begin when we try to imagine the details of this process. The space between the two points can be continuous or made up of discrete points, we cannot currently imagine a third possibility.
Let’s look at the case of continuous space, in this case there is an infinite number of points between the starting point and the end point, which the body passes through during its movement, and which it touches during its movement. Zeno showed that motion is not only not possible, but also cannot begin, we cannot say which point is closest to the starting point, i.e. there is no point next to the starting point. So if we imagine the movement in such a way that the body touches the points between the start and end points in a row, then we are in trouble, since we cannot arrange the points in a row, because there is no point next to a point, no immediate neighbor, even from any point we believe that it is the next point, there will always be another point that is closer to the starting point. In the case of continuous space, we cannot describe the movement locally, i.e. we cannot break down the movement between the start and end points into smaller movements, because while we can identify the start and end points, we cannot identify the points through which the movement passes, we can only say that these points are between the start and end points. No matter how small we choose the distance between the two points, the problem remains the same, regardless of size.
Now let’s imagine that the space is discrete, i.e. there is a finite number of points between the starting point and the end point, we can assign a subsequent point to each point. Let’s now take two adjacent points, let the movement start from one and end at the other. Since the moving body also consists of field quanta, imagine a single field quantum moving between two adjacent field quanta. This takes time, if it didn’t, there would be motion at infinite speed. Moreover, the space quantum must have an extension, otherwise there could be no non-zero distance. But this is an extension in which you can’t move, we either jump through an entire quantum of space, or we stay where we are. And since we cannot be between two space quanta, the jump is momentary, time passes when we are in one space quantum.
On the other hand, the stadium paradox of Zeno clearly shows that discrete space does not solve the problem of movement either. If a body “A” moves to the left relative to “B” by one quantum of space during one quantum of time, and a body “C” moves to the right relative to “B” by the same amount, then “C” is moving to the right relative to “A” by two space quanta in one time quantum, which is impossible. For this reason, time cannot be quantized in the same way as space, and there cannot be a maximum speed, because this speed can always be exceeded due to relative motion.
There are two solutions, one is the special theory of relativity, the other, which I like more, is absolute space-time, because in this case we have to relate all movements to absolute space, and in comparison there can be a limit speed. In this case, however, two bodies can move relative to each other at a speed higher than the limit speed, without exceeding the limit speed in relation to absolute space. However, this is also a rather strange consequence.
So we see that neither the continuous nor the quantum nature of space explains how motion is possible locally. The real solution, therefore, looks like it cannot be grasped locally, but only globally, i.e. with logic alone we reached to the point where quantum mechanics reached with entanglement, the Bell inequality and the Aspect experiment. Reality is non-local.
Even more interesting is Zeno’s paradox of the arrow, where he asks about a flying arrow, how does the arrow actually know, that it flies. After all, at every moment of time it occupies the same part of space as in its state of rest, if we take a snapshot of a flying arrow, it will not differ in any way from a picture taken of a stationary arrow. Our first idea might be that the flying arrow still differs from the stationary arrow in something that we cannot see, but which is actually there in the arrow. It is impulse, which is actually velocity. The only problem with this is that the speed cannot be a property of the arrow, because the relative speed of two arrows flying in the same direction with the same speed relative to the surface is zero! So the two arrows cannot carry the velocity property, since each body moving in relation to them should show different information, for example exactly zero in relation to each other. And here the absolute movement arises again, because then each body carries with it the information of its speed relative to absolute space, and this information can be modified locally by movement relative to each other.
In relation to relative motion, it is not really the impulse that is interesting, but the kinetic energy. We would think that kinetic energy is the property of the moving body, but we can immediately understand that this is not the case if we examine the behavior of colliding bodies moving in different directions relative to each other. Two bodies colliding against each other can release enormous energy during the collision, while moving in the same direction at the same speed, they don’t even collide. How can the magnitude of the collision energy be so different, if kinetic energy is a property of moving bodies? We can say that the impulse is a vector quantity, so the direction is important, but the kinetic energy is a scalar, it has no direction. It seems that macroscopically and locally the movement cannot be explained in any way. We need quantum mechanics with its probability wave or guiding wave, we need the collapse of the wave function, irreversibility. And it is also necessary that the wave function extends to the entire Universe. And when the guiding wave collapses, teleportation actually takes place, the moving particle manifests at a single point, so that a moment later the guiding wave spreads out again to feel where and when the next collapse will occur. So there is no particle migrating from point to point, but a particle that disappears and reappears elsewhere and at a different time, which keeps the information about its movement in the global guiding wave, the relative movement is actually the interaction of the guiding waves.
Actually, we didn’t get very far. We are in the same place as Zeno, we can neither imagine nor explain the movement with our ordinary concepts. So here is something ordinary, which is locally inexplicable for now. Something that is, but that could not be. We cannot explain even the simplest phenomena in the world. We all move in space, but very few of us think about how it is possible, how it happens.
And at this moment, I don’t know of anyone who really understands what movement is.
Nyíregyháza, December 27, 2022
English translation: Nyíregyháza, November 29, 2023
Physicists are very proud of their theories. They often refer to how accurate their theories are, especially quantum electrodynamics (QED) and general relativity are the theories that are often cited for special accuracy. I don’t dispute it, there are some very nice results, and physicists can really be proud that their efforts are sometimes embodied in beautiful equations that can give us accurate predictions that we can check with our experiments, but unfortunately, for physics as a whole, the situation is amazingly bad at the moment. Not only can the accuracy not be expressed in many decimal places, the terrifying situation is that our theories, believed to be incredibly accurate until now, only provide information about 4% of the Universe. And this cannot be called excessive accuracy. Think about the fact that we constantly brag to our friends about how precisely we know our city, that we know where and how big every single blade of grass is on the street. Then he would show us 96% of the city and confront us with the fact that although we know our street perfectly, 96% of the city is uncharted. In addition, it would suddenly seem that this unknown 96% is destroying even the knowledge we believed to be perfect, of which we were so proud until now. And we are not so sure about that 4%.
Dark matter and dark energy: 96% of our Universe is something we know very little about. This is not the first case when scientists, encountering an incomprehensible phenomenon, try to explain it with the assumption of something new. Phlogiston, or life force, were similar, concepts that wore out over time because they were replaced by other, more plausible explanations.
For the time being, dark matter and dark energy still hold their own, the majority of scientists in the world accept them as really existing things, while a minority expresses strong doubts about them.
Now I don’t want to write about who is right in this debate, but about how easily concepts and names that are imprecise and even wrong can spread in science.
Even in its name, dark energy and dark matter reflect the haste and unnecessary effort that characterizes the scientific society so much and has always characterized it. Still, we could expect that as science develops, our concepts will become more and more precise, since how could we expect to know the truth about things that are even named incorrectly.
Dark matter and dark energy are not dark at all, contrary to their names. Not only do I find it amazing and unacceptable that something has been named so badly, but it is also incomprehensible to me that these incorrect names have gained ground among scientists without further ado and are used by practically everyone in the world without any doubt or reservation.
How could I believe scientists who can’t even name a strange phenomenon? Translated from a programmer’s point of view, it’s like I want to write a program without specifying exactly what the program will do. The only way to deal with the properties of elastic bodies is to call them elastic bodies and not cube balls. The flow of liquids can only be discussed if I know what a liquid is and what a flow is.
Neither dark matter nor dark energy is dark. Something is dark if nothing illuminates it, or if light falls on it, it does not let the light through, but absorbs it. If it reflects, I call it reflective, if it lets it through, I call it transparent. But I only call it dark if it doesn’t let the light through. If dark matter and dark energy were dark, we would not see anything from the surrounding galaxies, even a large part of our own galaxy would be invisible. According to today’s assumptions, this 96% “dark” matter fills everything, so if it’s dark, it also covers everything.
How can something be called dark when the most appropriate adjective would be transparent or invisible?
And why do we call one matter and the other energy, when we know very well that matter and energy are one and the same, can be converted into each other and transformed? It is true that the effects of the two phenomena are different, while one exerts a repulsive and the other an attractive force on matter, but this does not justify calling one matter and the other energy. This is another example of irresponsible, imprecise, hasty behavior, something that a scientist should despise and condemn. All self-respecting scientists should distance themselves from these fancy formulations and urgently come up with a more accurate name that is close to reality.
When it was asked what the medium of light could be, at least they gave it a name, the aether, which was at least not misleading. True, the idea was later discarded, but then the aether returned, whether we think of it as a vacuum full of energy, or as curved space-time, or as a material that enables and gives space to entanglement, but even the speed of 600 km/s measured by Cobe we can consider it as the measure of movement relative to the aether, the aether is definitely a good name, a good concept, and in no way misleading.
For the time being, I can’t make any suggestions as to how the two incorrect names could be replaced, especially since I doubt their existence. Before we come up with hypothetical types of matter that we know nothing about in the universe, only that they somehow have a gravitating effect on their environment, we should definitely examine the alternatives, for example, how gravity works at great distances.
When the aether was introduced into physics, they at least imagined what properties it should have: it immediately became clear that it should be both rigid and without resistance, that light waves should vibrate in it at the same time and that the planets should move without resistance, it was immediately apparent that it should be an extraordinary substance, if it really exists. Currently, I am not aware of any attempts that have described what other properties these two hypothetical types of matter should have besides their gravitational properties.
The rotation of galaxies cannot be explained by the theories so far, can dark matter help?
Transparency and penetrability, lack of resistance, are the same as the properties of the supposed aether. We also know that one attracts and the other repels matter, but we do not know if they interact with each other and with themselves: does “dark matter” attract “dark matter” or “dark energy” ”, and does “dark energy” repel itself and “dark matter”. I wonder why we do not detect any of them at the scale of the Galaxy and the Solar System? And is the quantitative ratio of the two and the ratio of the strength of their interaction fine-tuned, and if so, how much? How necessary are they for the existence of the Universe and life in it? Could it be that two strange phenomena are the most shocking examples of fine-tuning, or perhaps planning?
These are all very important and fundamental questions. In order for us to have any chance of finding answers to these questions, first of all we need to clarify our concepts and find a suitable name for these two rebels of the Universe, which somehow managed to resist our attempts to get to know them.
If we manage to get closer to their nature, it may be necessary to rebuild the entire physics, and it may even happen that the question of fine-tuning and planning will be thrown into a completely new light.
I was just watching a TED talk by Jim Holt, who wrote an imaginary equation: “God + Nothing = Something”. The question in connection with which this equation was formulated is the most fundamental question that a thinking person could ever ask himself: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The final question, which we may have thoughts about, but which we will never answer.
But, as I pondered this, I suddenly became enlightened: because Nothing, is the Nothing, it not only has no matter and energy, but also has no information, no laws, no numbers, no mathematics, there is no possibility that anything from it, which different from nothing, can ever be created.
And to make it even more interesting, Nothing does not even possess the property of existence, so this question is not good: “Why is Something rather than Nothing?” Only something can exist, nothing cannot! The question is thus correct: “Why is there anything?” or “Why is there anything at all?”. Even the assumption that “There is Nothing” is false. Nothing inherently does not exist, nor can it exist. We cannot make a positive statement about Nothing, because any such statement would treat Nothing as existing, and Nothing does not exist. We can continue along this line of thought: we cannot formulate any statement about Nothing, not even this statement, which I was forced to write down.
The only way we can talk about Nothing is to be silent.
Since we cannot talk about Nothing, only Something can be the focus of our investigations, because we can make both positive and negative statements about it: “Something exists.”, “There is no such thing as Something.” With this last sentence, we almost showed how it is possible to somehow formulate a statement about Nothing, but this is also not a correct statement, since Something that does not exist is actually Nothing! Thus, we once again asserted something about Nothing, and we cannot do this, as we established before.
After that, once we have realized that Nothing does not exist, our equation takes the following form: “God = Something”. So Creation did not start from Nothing, God created our world from Himself. I don’t even understand how the idea of creation from nothing could even arise, since even the Bible clearly states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There is no question here of creation from nothing, rather separation and shaping is what took place: chaos was shaped into order by inputting information from the Creator, the first representatives of this order were the sky and the earth. The Creator has always been in possession of the information, in other words the Logos, the Word, has always been with him (the Gospel of John is also clear about this). That is why creation was possible with the word: “Let there be light.” This is the projection and imposition of information onto chaos. This is Creation itself.
For many people, the above explanation is not acceptable, there are those who call the idea of Creation or Intelligent Design ridiculous, outdated, and nonsense. They are the atheists who have not yet been able to come up with an explanation that is acceptable to everyone, yet they are arrogant and self-confident when they declare about creation from nothing. Let’s be clear, neither the idea of Creation nor the theory of spontaneous creation from nothing is a scientific explanation, neither stronger nor weaker than the other. The scientific method derives statements from known elements, with assumptions and proofs, which can be verified experimentally, and in the best case, it also comes up with predictions that can later be verified by new measurements. Creation, or creation from nothing, cannot be verified experimentally, and we have no starting assumptions, at least assumptions that everyone could accept. So we have nothing to start from, and we can’t verify either, so I don’t call the teaching of Creation science, nor the theory of creation from nothing in modern physics.
Both the religious and the atheistic part of humanity would do better to accept this and not try to ostensibly move the debate into scientific territory, for creation from nothing, by its very nature cannot be handled by scientific methods. We must see that we all live in the same world, and that we all row in the same boat, and face the same difficulties, when it comes to explaining origins. Here, force, or even violence, impatience, incomprehension of the other camp, authoritarianism and orthodoxy lead nowhere. Unfortunately, the offenses listed here are committed by both fervent religious and fervent atheist thinkers, we are all at the forefront of mistrust and misunderstanding of the other.
What is left for us then? Clear thinking, but it’s not probative. We need to know that we can only produce theories with different probabilities and varying degrees of acceptance regarding the origin of the world, but their general acceptance can always be based on faith. Belief in Intelligent Design is the same belief as atheists’ belief in creation from nothing. We cannot decide between faith and belief with reason.
However, there is a very interesting question that believers and atheists alike can think about and debate with each other, and which may even have an acceptable result for everyone. This question is about the nature and role of Mathematics in the creation and functioning of the world. I wrote it with a capital letter on purpose, as a proper noun, because now it is not included as a field of science, but as a Platonic idea that exists independently of everything.
When we think about whether there was something that existed before the creation of the world, we think about things of a material nature. Naturally, the believers do not understand the existence of God in this, they think of him as existing from eternity. For now, we can’t do anything with time either, we can also imagine a world created together with time, but it doesn’t lead to any contradictions if we accept that time could have existed before the beginning of the Universe. Whether infinite time could have passed until the present moment deserves a separate discussion, but it is certainly conceivable that time could have existed before the creation of the Universe, even if it does not extend infinitely into the past.
God and time can therefore stand as independent entities from the other components of the Universe. But what about Mathematics? Can there be Mathematics independent of the Universe?
When scientists talk about the Multiverse, an endless series of universes, about worlds in which laws are different, matter is different, life is different, they never mention Mathematics. I have never read or heard about something like that the Mathematics is different in some worlds of the Multiverse. Why? Because we can easily imagine multidimensional worlds in which the law of gravity is different, or in which there are interactions of a completely different number and quality, we can even consider completely empty worlds acceptable, but we have not yet tried one thing: to imagine a different Mathematics. It seems that everything that one “discovers” in Mathematics was somehow already a part of our world before, and it was not an exception that previously seemingly useless mathematical tool later turned out to be excellently used by theoretical physics for its own purposes. Even non-Euclidean geometry is part of our world, at least of the Mathematics that exists in our world. So it looks like we can’t imagine a color we haven’t seen before, in the same way we can’t invent mathematics that is different from ours. We are nothing more than explorers wandering in the infinite landscapes of Mathematics.
And what is even more surprising: we can easily imagine Mathematics without the material world! Of course, we could say to this: but if there is no one in whose mind Mathematics can “live”, then how could it actually exist? The truth is that it is enough if one is an idealist and can already imagine Mathematics independent of all material existence.
And we have already received the components of the world: God (Information, Logos, Word), Time, Consciousness, Matter (mass, length, charge, …?), and Mathematics. Four of them could already have existed before the currently known Universe, so the creation actually “only” affects Matter.
To see why Mathematics can stand on its own feet without anything else, it is enough to look at the foundation of number theory starting from the empty set. The empty set is a rather interesting “something”. It is and it is not at the same time. It exists and does not exist at the same time. In addition, there is a potential hidden in it, from which the natural numbers emerge, and from them the entire Mathematics emerges.
If we really want to talk about creation from Nothing, then there is no better example than Mathematics. It is born from the empty set and is infinite both in terms of its elements and its statements, it is inexhaustible and cannot be limited by its own tool, logic, escapes any effort to understand it. Timeless and infinite, it will always contain unverifiable true statements, and we will never be able to prove that it is without contradictions and is complete.
If anything can be really close, it’s God and Mathematics.
We could say that everything that has been discussed so far is completely unnecessary, even meaningless. I think differently, I call all this philosophy, which delights and amuses, sometimes brings you closer to enlightenment, and it is certainly interesting in that you write things that you think at the moment of writing, in this way this activity is completely analogous to creating from nothing. Everything I’m writing about Creation right now is Creation itself. It’s like Escher’s two hands drawing each other as they create each other from Nothing. And that makes you cringe a little. That’s why it’s good to write such things.
But to end with a concrete argument: I would also like to speak briefly about the theory of creation, which is the most popular among atheist scientists today. They present this as a theory of creation from nothing, then they bring up the quantum vacuum and the indeterminacy relation, zero-point energy and virtual particles, and they can continue to consistently talk about creation from nothing, of course without seeing that they did not actually start from nothing, and without providing any verifiable evidence (we have seen that such cannot exist, but atheists are deeply silent about this). This nothingness therefore consists of the following components: time, vacuum (which is not empty), physical laws (indeterminacy relation), mathematics (this is necessary for physics), and wonder. This is necessary for such a virtual bubble to pop out of the vacuum, which does not disappear immediately, but begins to inflate and creates the Universe we know today. Not out of nowhere, I can’t emphasize this enough!
Whether we are from nothing or not, we live here in this world anyway, we are able to think even about abstract concepts like Nothing or Something.
Today, the world again has become somewhat more, information is formed from words, thoughts, which all contribute to the increase in complexity.
Who knows, maybe we are nothing more than the tools of Something, with which we “draw out” the world from Nothing…
I wonder what we can learn about this, probably one of the most fundamental questions facing humanity, if we just use our common sense and call on just a few basic, everyday experiences?
First, we need to clarify in what sense we are examining the infinity of the world. As a first approximation, and this will probably be sufficient, we can consider three types of infinity. Infinity in space, time and events. The latter perhaps needs some further explanation, by historical infinity I mean the number of states of the world, i.e. the inexhaustibility of the world’s phase space, i.e. whether the same thing can happen in the same way again. We will talk more about this later. Of course, the three infinities mentioned are related to each other, as we will see.
Perhaps the simplest is the issue of temporal infinity, and it can certainly be surprising. I myself never thought how simple this question could be handled, until I read the thoughts of an ancient Greek philosopher (I don’t remember who this brilliant philosopher was, only the clarity and simplicity of the thought caught my attention right away). He thought that the world’s past could not be infinite, because infinite time simply could not have passed until the present moment. Infinity is a possibility. If we start counting from one up, it is easy to imagine that we can continue counting to infinity, but we will never reach the last number. Infinity is therefore a possibility that will never be realized, therefore it is infinite. If time is infinite in the past, it is, on the other hand, an embodied infinity, an infinity of which we grasp one end, but the other end is not just a possibility, as in the case of numbers, but a realized infinity. And for this we think that it cannot exist. In fact, the problem with all three infinities is that one can only deal with objects in one’s thoughts that have some kind of equivalent in reality. And infinity is not like that. We have no experience of infinity, we can imagine the possible infinity, but not the actual infinity. Everything in our life has a beginning and an end, but these things with a beginning and an end follow each other in time, seemingly without end, but for us it is a possible infinity and not an actual, experiential infinity, since with our mind being finite in temporal and spatial sense, as well as finite in complexity, we cannot experience infinity.
But I have to admit, now that I’ve tried to explain why it’s clear that infinite time couldn’t have passed until now, I really feel I can’t. I feel it’s simply obvious, but I can’t give a completely exact argument for it. Fortunately, we can list physical arguments against temporal infinity. It looks very much like the Universe is developing in one direction, from hydrogen to helium, from that to carbon and oxygen, and the line ends with iron. Iron is the end of the fusion life of stars, even heavier elements can be created in a supernova explosion, but the fusion era of the Universe will end sooner or later, this requires a finite amount of time, so if the Universe is infinitely old, then there would be no more stars. The world would be filled with black holes, in thermodynamic equilibrium, in the state of heat death, and would actually be in this state for an infinite time, since compared to its infinite past, the finite star age would actually be a flash of time. This is also the problem with the infinite past, that compared to it, any finite duration is actually as if it never happened, compared to infinite time, any finite time shrinks to zero duration.
So let’s accept that the world had a beginning. Unfortunately, we are not helped by this either, because we have no experience of what it is like when nothing exists and the world suddenly pops out of nowhere. Our everyday experiences all show that every consequence has a root cause that precedes it, so we can’t do anything with the image of the world that appears out of nowhere without a cause.
It can therefore be concluded that the more likely answer is that the world has a beginning and is not infinitely old, but we humans cannot be satisfied with this answer either. It can be safely stated that we can have thoughts and opinions about the temporal infinity of the world, but no real reassuring answer to the question can be given.
In fact, we can get to the same point in relation to spatial infinity, the likely answer to this is that the world is not infinite in space, but we cannot be satisfied with this answer either, since we have no experience of what it is like to reach the end of the world and there is no more to go, even though there is nothing to prevent us from doing so. We could accept only one imaginable finite world as it is: in a finite but limitless world, we can never reach the edge of nowhere, on the other hand, if we start in one direction, sooner or later we will return to our starting point without turning around. Although this is very strange, it is conceivable and acceptable. This spatial world is incompatible with temporal infinity, because, for example, the gravitational effect of the mass in it circles the world endlessly, in the same way photons also circle endlessly, which would result in a world multiplying itself infinitely.
Regarding the spatial and temporal infinity of the world, there is a very ancient experience that precludes the world from being infinite both in space and time, and this is none other than the dark night sky. And although our ancestors have always lived under such a dark sky ever since they became conscious as humans, it took a doctor named Olbers to think about this simple fact and to draw far-reaching conclusions from it. If there are an infinite number of stars in space, then no matter which direction we look in the sky, sooner or later our eyes will come across a star. Dust and gas nebulae can hide stars for a while, but what absorbs light sooner or later emits that light, so this cannot cause the darkness of the sky. The world is therefore certainly finite either in space or in time, or if it is infinite in space and time, it cannot contain an infinite number of stars, so the infinite space beyond a limit is already completely empty. At least we can state this much with absolute certainty.
Finally, let’s look at the issue of infinity in events. This is a very important question, because there is a popular misconception that in an infinite universe everything can happen, even an infinite number of times, in other words, there can be an infinite number of copies of us, in an infinite variety of environments, one of us is currently writing Chinese, and the other of us he lives in a Hungary whose borders are washed by three seas. However, the fact that the world is infinite – we have seen that it is probably not – does not mean that all kinds of events take place in it in an infinite number of ways. It is also possible to imagine an infinite world in which only Earth has life, all the other, infinite number of planets are lifeless. And not only is there not an infinite number of human histories, but there is only one, the one that takes place here on this one Earth. Infinite space and time does not necessarily mean infinite variety, although this may provide the basic idea of many sci-fi books or movies, but it is not necessarily true, an infinite world can also be infinitely simple and bleak also.
However, the repetition of events can raise another interesting question, and that is the theme of eternal return, if the Universe reaches a state identical to its previous state, does this mean that everything will repeat itself from then on? If the world is deterministic, then yes. However, many signs point to the fact that quantum mechanics is the guarantee that the world is not deterministic, so the repetition of a previous state does not mean that the entire sequence of events will take place again, as this would result in a Universe that repeats its fate endlessly. According to our current knowledge, the Schrödinger equation, which describes the behavior of the micro world, is not deterministically responsible for the production of measurable macro states, so different outcomes of the same events are possible.
The infinity in events raises another question, which is related to another aspect of infinity, namely the problem of infinite divisibility. If time and space are infinitely divisible, this may raise problems at least as serious as the infinite extent of space and time. Perhaps it is no coincidence that energy cannot be divided into arbitrarily small portions, perhaps the same situation with space and time, it is not continuous, but quantum. Such a world, if it is not infinite in either space or time, and now it seems very likely, it results in a finite state space, i.e. the finitude of events is also ensured, i.e. the Universe can repeat its previous states. It follows from indeterminacy that if you step into the same river once, you will not go through your own fate over and over again, but it is still possible that the same states will repeat themselves over and over again, if not in the same order, i.e. it is possible , that the complexity of the Universe is finite.
Is this world of finite complexity capable of take all of its states, or does it only repeat a small subset of them over and over again, even if the individual events follow each other in different orders?
And is the event when a conscious mind suddenly understands the functioning of the Universe part of the event field of the Universe? Or is this exceptional event part of a subset that the Universe state vector never reaches?
In one of the most difficult periods of my life, I can call myself really lucky – although as it turns out later, it’s not a question of luck, it’s about much more than that – because I met a philosophy, a world view, a way of life that helped me a lot in overcoming the difficulties that faced me, do not knock me down, but teach me, through them I became wiser and stronger. And what is most important, I could solve the tasks I have been given without despair.
I saw the world through the eyes of an ancient Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, while reading his book “Reflections”, and this book opened the path to a new way of life. This way of thinking is positive and fills the person who thinks and acts like this with energy, and can help even in the midst of life’s biggest problems.
I’ve read a lot of books in my life, including, of course, philosophical ones, but after a while I realized that philosophy, in addition to being extremely entertaining and inspiring, does nothing to help solve real-life problems. These books usually raise the biggest questions in existence on the first pages, to which we do not even get meaningful answers on the remaining pages, after chewing through long expositions.
I am a person of faith, and I definitely do not think that faith does not help, I myself have come across events in my life that can best be characterized by the adjective “biblical miracle”. Still, faith places a lot of expectations on a believer, and meeting these expectations is sometimes very difficult, and we can lose a lot of energy during this struggle, which must be complemented with prayer and meditation, otherwise it will end in exhaustion and collapse. If I want to put it very simply, I would say that being good is very difficult until being good becomes a natural part of our being. Until then, however, we have to go through a difficult path, and many people give up in the meantime, becoming compromisers, trying to explain with rational arguments why they did not stay on the narrow path and why they chose an easier one.
The good thing about the stoic way of life is that it is not difficult to follow, it does not require special efforts from the person, in fact, it shows that the things that we have wasted a lot of energy on up to that point may be completely unnecessary. With this, we can make our lives easier, one might say more bearable, and even downright happy.
But what is this way of thinking that has such good and far-reaching consequences?
The first and most important idea is that we can divide things into two parts. One part, that we can control, that is, we can influence it with our decisions, the other part cannot be influenced by us. This division was later supplemented with a third group, which includes things over which we have only partial control, or we cannot say whether these things can be influenced or not. The first part of the third group is actually not an independent group, since the parts that can be influenced and that are beyond our control can be moved to the first two groups. We only have problems with things we can’t decide on right away. In the first approach, let’s put these aside, and if we have already succeeded in properly developing a way of life according to the Stoic Philosophy and become confident and strong, we can take up the undecidable things again. It is important to find a balance between controlling things that can be influenced and dealing with things that cannot directly be decided. If we don’t do this, we can easily end up spending our whole lives thinking about the Goldbach-conjecture, while many solvable problems remain unsolved.
Let’s look at a simple example: “what do I eat for dinner” is something within my scope, “is there a cheese that I like in the store” is not dependent on me. So if I imagine that I want to have a particular cheese for dinner, and there is no such cheese in the store, it is a completely unnecessary waste of energy, and it is even downright harmful to get upset about it, or to get into an argument with the shopkeeper. Because that’s not my competence. But, of course I can change my plan and choose a different kind of cheese for dinner, the kind that is available in the store. Let’s try this method just once, and then notice how liberating it is that what I have no power over has no power over me, if I don’t let it rise above me.
Another example: a car turns in front of you and doesn’t use its turn signal. You, who never commit such a thing, can shout, wave, flash, honk, but you cannot change what has happened. You may risk an accident caused by your upset nervous state, or you may be involved in a personal conflict that may turn violent. In this case, whether you use your turn signal is your decision, whether another person does so is his. His behavior may make you angry, but you are not causing harm to him, but only to yourself. On the other hand, if you smile, you have already provided yourself with positive energy.
Yes, the question may arise, is the stoic person unemotional and cowardly to intervene, running away from arguments? On the surface, it may seem so. But this is not the truth: the stoic person also feels and even prioritizes positive emotions, compassion and helpfulness are the stoic person’s own virtues. He is not afraid to intervene if he has power over what he is confronted with, and he is ready to argue if there is an opportunity for a constructive discussion. The question we always have to ask is whether we can change the things, or whether we don’t have the tools to solve the task, and in these cases it’s not worth wasting our energy unnecessarily.
A very, very important consequence of the first rule: we cannot influence the past, we cannot foresee the future, we do not even have complete control over the present, there are things in the present that we cannot influence at all due to their nature, but there are also things that which we have just missed changing. They are still in the present, but we no longer have time to influence them.
That’s why we should never, ever dwell on what we messed up in the past, what we should have done differently. What we did was the best we could do at that moment, because why would have we wanted to do anything else? We can greatly improve our well-being and zest for life if we simply let go, accept, but still let go of the past. This does not mean that we cannot learn from what happened in the past. It is always possible to learn a lesson so that in a similar case we can act differently than we did in the past, but this does not mean that being ashamed of or regretting our past actions is worthwhile or useful. You shouldn’t grieve, be sad over the past.
At the same time, the future can apparently be influenced, so maybe we should worry about it. Let’s not do it. I’m not curious about my fate for the same reason that I didn’t measure the potential water vessels under my apartment. I can’t move to another apartment, and I can’t move my bed. A prophecy that may or may not come true can destroy an entire life.
Regarding the future, we can also find good advice to take to heart in the Holy Scriptures, “don’t worry about tomorrow”. And this also harmonizes with stoic teachings, let’s just pay attention to the next task, its solution should be enough. The more things we keep in our heads, the more we get confused and lose direction. However, if we go to sleep with only the next task on our minds, the solution will arrive the next day. I can confirm this with countless personal experiences. Of course, I cannot know whether the solutions reach me with the help of the subconscious or a cosmic consciousness. One thing is for sure, since I have been living according to such principles, I can solve my tasks with much better efficiency and enthusiasm.
A technique worth mentioning, which is often used by stoics, is negative visualization, the visualization of negative consequences in our imagination and experiencing them in preparation for enduring them in the future. I don’t agree with this at all, and I don’t even use negative visualization, and I won’t write about it more here. All the more so, because there are much more useful stoic principles that I definitely want to talk about.
Desires are the destroyers of human life, expectations are the destroyers of human relationships. How many marriages, friendships and other human relationships are ruined simply because we expect something from the other person that they cannot fulfill. This will lead to disappointment, then anger, and finally a breakup, which, if we are lucky, will happen peacefully, but unfortunately there is also a high probability of a violent separation. If I ask something of the other person and think in advance what kind of answer I expect from him that is the worst thing I can do. The other person is not in the set of things that can be influenced by me, so I shouldn’t expect him to behave the way I want him to. This is a life-defining stoic principle that, if used well, will make it much easier to maintain and nurture peaceful, friendly relationships with others. Our basic task is acceptance, unconditional acceptance of life and other people, this is the love that the Gospels also speak of as the most important principle.
If the other person doesn’t react as we expected, at first we just ask back without understanding, maybe we get irritated, and the conversation gets more and more tense, negative energy accumulates in both of us, which sooner or later leads to an explosion. On the other hand, if we do not have any presuppositions or expectations, but simply accept what the other person says, the conflict cannot even arise. Of course, it may happen that the other person expects an answer from us that we cannot give him, and because of this he becomes angry and irritated. We can safely tell him that he expected something from us that we can’t fulfill, even don’t want to do, since we are free beings, and if he didn’t get what he expected, it’s because he had false expectations about us.
What should we do if we meet people who are unable to communicate with us without expectations and who definitely want to influence us. In this case, the stoic moves on and avoids meeting negative, toxic people. He realizes that these people are at another level in the learning process, that they also have to go through their own path, so in no way should you offend them or act superior to them. You have to love them too, but you shouldn’t let their negative energies get close to you.
The next very, very important principle, also in line with the Gospels, is refraining from judgment. By this we mean not only abandoning judgment of other people, but also the classification and assessment of events and feelings in general. There is no good and no bad. There are feelings, events, happenings that we form an opinion by ourselves, we sort them into boxes and classes, and although this seems like a useful act, it actually has more disadvantages than advantages. Few people think that what seems very bad now can later turn out to be beneficial to us, and what seems dazzlingly good at first glance, say a bigger prize, can possibly ruin our lives. Of course, there are absolute good and bad things, actions, and events, but most of the world is not like that. In most cases, the best thing is to accept it and completely abandon judgement, forming opinions, it is not necessary to categorize everything into small boxes, the world is much more complicated and interesting, because of this, let’s accept it as it is. The color blue is not good or bad in itself, we can like it or avoid it, but it is up to us, our brain judges, and this is not always good.
A stoic person just lets the world affect him, perceives it, lets it in, breathes in its scents, admires its colors and lights, is enchanted by its sounds, but does not judge it. Because judgments and opinions are just products of our brain. Of course, the experiences accumulated during our lives have shaped the way we judge the world, and we think that this can help in all cases. All I want to say is, let’s try the life without judgment, let’s make sure if this kind of life is for us or not. If so, we can have an easier and more likable life.
My personal experience is that following and experiencing the Stoic Philosophy, outlook on life, and lifestyle made my life much happier and more harmonious. I worry less, I get less annoyed with others, and the energy I save can be used in other ways. I am better able to pay attention to my own path, what tasks were given to me at birth, I am more open to help others and receive signs from the spiritual world, I know what is important and what would only drag me back to the earthly mire.
Why was my encounter with Stoic Philosophy not just pure luck? My life is a constant learning, and for some reason – I attribute this to the intercession of the spiritual world – what I need always comes to me. A book, a video, a poem, a person, a film, an idea, somehow always stumbles in front of me at the right moment. And as I reached a level of understanding on my journey to discover the world, I was given the tools to move to a higher level, in this case it was Marcus Aurelius’ book, and then the other books, videos and my own thoughts that I needed to become a follower and active practitioner of Stoic Philosophy today. .
Zeno, Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius. They lived stoic lives and left us a legacy that can make our lives whole and valuable and, most importantly, useful to others. If we read their works and use Stoic Philosophy, we will be rewarded with a fuller life.
Equator, North and South, It separates, it connects. Connects and separates. Does it separate, does it connect? Accept what the day presents And you will find the answer Between two never-been moments.