As a scientist, I remember eagerly following the quest to find the fundamental particle. It was really interesting to see if scientists could find the particle that was essentially the building block of everything we observe. Yet, it seemed like every time scientists found a smaller particle, they also found evidence that there as something smaller still. They still hadn’t found the fundamental particle. But weren’t they missing something that was right in front of them all the time? Space.
In some ways, space is the “elephant in the room” because without space, there would be no particles. You can only define a particle because it has space around it. You can only have a particle if you have somewhere to put it. Space is a fundamental need for our universe. Without space we could not observe anything.
Space warrants further investigation. Can we learn something from this expanse of apparent emptiness?
Space and the big-bang
The best current scientific theory about the origin of the universe is the big-bang. I’ve written about this before (Where did “All That Is” come from?, Could there be multiple universes?, The discovery that could rewrite physics) and the theory says that all the matter in the universe was, at one time, concentrated in a very small space (infinitely small?) which then just exploded in the big-bang. Today, all of the matter is hurtling away from everything else (this is what scientists observe), so our observations are consistent with the big-bang theory.
This theory of the origin of the universe leaves me a little cold because of the inevitable questions – why was everything concentrated in one place? why did it explode? what happened before it exploded? But the most interesting question to me is “where did this concentrated matter exist?”. Where did the space come from? How big is the space?
We’re worrying about a tiny blob of very dense matter and forgetting about the huge expanse of space within which it exists and then into which it expands after it explodes.
Isn’t it this space that’s most amazing?
How big is space?
How big is space? What a cool question. We know it’s pretty big because it contains our whole universe. Does it end at the edge of our universe? No, because we know all the bits of matter in our universe are expanding, and they have to have somewhere to expand into.
It’s quite easy to start thinking that space is infinite. Even if we consider that space ends somewhere, we immediately have the difficult question of “well, what’s beyond that?”. If there was nothing beyond the edge of space, then we have to ask “where does space exist?”. Is there another type of “space” within which our space exists?
Because all these questions start becoming complicated and difficult, it is most likely (using Occam’s Razor) that there must be a “space” that is infinite.
Can we grasp what infinity really means? Something without beginning and without end. There is nowhere where it isn’t. This is a pretty heavy thought and I don’t believe that we can really comprehend the magnitude of the concept of infinity.
In our world, everything is confined. Everything has a beginning and end. We can define its edges and declare where it is. Ironically, we need space to make these definitions.
If something exists everywhere, no beginning, no end, and there is nowhere where it is not, that’s a pretty awesome thing. Having “nowhere where it’s not” means that it must be inside every “thing” we observe as well. This is interesting because scientists know that most of matter is empty space. Even an apparently solid rock is mostly empty space. In their quest for the fundamental particle, scientists have learned that all atoms are almost all empty space and energy. In fact, our bodies are mostly empty space as well. Starting to sound like space could well be an infinite thing.
Even though we often discard it as “empty” space, it must be the most awesome thing we’re aware of.
Just before the big-bang
Let’s go back to the theory of the big-bang and contemplate the moment just before this almighty explosion. What do we have? Infinite space (almost incomprehensible) and a minute blob of very dense matter. That’s it. Sounds very weird, but that’s the theory that fits scientists observations.
Where is the blob of matter? All we can say is it’s within the infinite space. There’s nothing else to use as a reference point to define where it is. It’s just within space. Space exists everywhere and is infinite.
What a strange world it would have been.
You might think some of the things I’m about to say below are strange, but just remember how strange the starting point of science’s big-bang theory really is. It can’t get much weirder than that.
Let’s assume that infinite space is the most fundamental substance of everything. Imagine infinite space, and imagine that there was nothing else but infinite space. If this truly is “empty” space, if that’s all there was, then we wouldn’t be here reading and thinking about it. So, because we see “things” that are not space and we’re here and able to contemplate and think about space, there must be something more fundamental than space.
There must be a more fundamental entity that is conscious and able to create. If it’s more fundamental than space, then it must be infinite as well. In fact, it’s easy to see that such an entity that is conscious and able to create could easily have created “space” for its own purposes. We see ourselves and the planets and things around us, so the fundamental entity must have created them and it would have had to create space as a place to put them.
Sounds pretty weird, right? But it’s also very logical.
The fundamental basis of everything must be an infinite and eternal entity that has consciousness and the ability to create. If that’s not true, we can’t explain what we observe.
For the moment, let’s call this fundamental entity “Mind” as we can easily associate consciousness and creative ability with a mind.
Imagine pure infinite Mind. Imagine nothing else exists. It would have to be the most peaceful possible situation. There’s nothing to worry about (there’s actually nothing other than itself), there are no threats, nobody to argue with. It must be pure peace.
Mind can appreciate this peace, because it is conscious and able to think. Now, it must be able to think of anything because, if it was limited in any way, we couldn’t define what was limiting it. There is nothing else that could limit its thinking.
We also assume that Mind can create because we can see ourselves and things around us, so Mind, being the only thing that existed originally (even though the term ‘originally’ doesn’t have much meaning in ‘eternity’), must have created us and all the other things.
The Creations of Mind
So how does Mind create? We know that Mind is conscious, meaning it can consider itself and dream of possibilities. It’s basically through thinking that Mind creates. The thoughts of Mind are turned into a reality. It might be easy to say that such creations are just dreams but they really have been created, whatever form they have.
Let’s look around us and see what mind has created. We see a world that is full of objects, full of things. We see that Mind has created “space” in which to put these things. We see that these things are all temporary, they have a beginning and an end. We see a lot of unrest, unhappiness, arguing and striving to survive at the expense of others.
All that we see is not very much like Mind at all, which is most likely pure peace, contentment and joy.
So why did Mind create what we see?
Extension of Mind
The most sensible reason Mind has created what we see is because it is extending itself. I’ll need to explain this because it’s a difficult concept. It’s hard to comprehend how something infinite and eternal could extend itself but, if we accept that this is possible in some way, then we can imagine Mind wanting to create more and more of itself.
Imagine that Mind creates extra pieces of itself, new infant Mind pieces. To extend itself, all these new Mind pieces must have all the powers of original Mind, so they must have consciousness and the ability to create through their thoughts. It also follows that nothing can constrain what these Mind pieces can think about, and this has to include the original Mind that created them.
So now we have new infant Mind pieces allowed to think whatever they like. They can think of good things or bad things, there are no constraints. Here, ‘good’ thoughts are best defined as loving thoughts, ones that are based on positive intentions of acceptance, unity and warmth. ‘Bad’ thoughts are based on un-loving intentions such as greed, domination and victory over others.
The new Mind pieces are free to think any thoughts, good or bad, but they quickly see that bad, un-loving thoughts lead to creations that do not last. Anything created based on un-loving thoughts will destroy itself eventually. The Mind pieces will learn that only creations based on loving thoughts will last. In fact, creations based on loving thoughts will conquer time and last forever.
What does this mean for us?
Applying all of the above to our current situation, we can see that all of the life around us, including us, are parts of these new Mind pieces and we’re experiencing a created world based on the thoughts of these Mind pieces but, unfortunately, much of what we see is the result of un-loving thoughts.
But we will learn that only loving thoughts really create. Un-loving thoughts have no real chance of creating anything that lasts.
“With our thoughts, we create the world.” – Buddha
All this also means we have the same capabilities of Infinite Mind, without any limitation. That is surely hard to accept, but it must be true. Anything else wouldn’t make sense. Once we accept this, we see that nothing is really “happening” to us. Nobody is imposing anything upon us. Everything we see and experience in this world (Infinite Mind also means there could be an infinite number of worlds, and there probably are) is the result of our thoughts. That changes a lot.
So, we’re not victims and we have the power to change everything. Hard to believe, but true. Just allow that in for a while and see how that affects you.
It also means that we all come from the same source and we are really are meant to be one with the source. Infinite Mind is extending itself by creating more of itself. The newly created mind pieces are conscious and can think, just like Infinite Mind, and their thoughts naturally start creating as well. Initially, the new creations of these new Mind pieces are the result of a mixture of loving and un-loving thoughts, but they come to realise that loving thoughts are are the only way to truly create. As they focus on loving thoughts, these newly created Mind pieces become ready to join with the source (Infinite Mind) and contribute to its extension.
If you’re reading this and thinking that my logic is flawed and I must be crazy, just remember that all this came from considerations of space. We normally ignore space, but how can we? It’s everywhere, apparently infinite, and we need it so that everything we see and experience can exist. Where could such a thing as space have come from? If you think my logic is wrong, don’t forget that you need to explain where space came from.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing if we can refine and improve these thoughts.
Related Links – Space
- Here is a link to a 4 minute talk from Eckhart Tolle on the fundamental importance of Space – very interesting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm-gyU4cMGc
- The idea that thoughts are creative is not new;
- Where did “All That Is” come from?
- Another thought on infinity – the concept of “infinite” doesn’t make sense if there’s more than one thing, because if space was infinite except where a “thing” existed, then it’s not infinite because it doesn’t exist somewhere. Our observations of space actually lead to the conclusion that the source of everything in the universe must be a single thing that is infinite and eternal. I think this is a fundamental “truth” that we can rely on.