And, in one part of the Rig Veda learned by the older boys, you can find a very interesting thought. It addresses a crucial question about the formation of the universe. “The gods are later than creation.” I think that’s a remarkable sentence. It displays real intellectual rigour and honesty. It’s obviously not a sufficiently good answer to say, “Well, all this exists because it was willed into existence merely by some kind of deity.”
Nothing, emptiness, is about the only thing that’s forbidden by the rules of quantum mechanics. Before our universe became filled with particles of matter, it wasn’t empty, it was filled with energy, and like the surface of the sea it was constantly fluctuating, rippling with a form of energy that causes space to expand exponentially fast. At the trough of one of the waves, the energy driving the expansion fell below a certain level. So that region stopped inflating and the energy was transformed into the recognisable particles of today’s universe. And that transformation is what we see as the Big Bang, the birth of our observable universe. The Theory of Inflation is extraordinary.
But, just like the formation of islands or any other mechanism in nature, inflation needn’t stop at one universe. Why should it? The process of inflation could be going on eternally, always making universes, even now. And each one of these universes could be like a ticket in a lottery bearing different numbers for constants of nature such as the strength of gravity or the speed of light. So amongst them all there has to be a winning ticket. A human universe. It’s absolutely inevitable.
If the Theory of Inflation is correct, it explains how our universe appeared apparently from nothing. And it also strongly suggests that there’s not just our universe but a vast number, perhaps even an infinity of them.Now we’ve known for a long time that we’re infinitesimal specks in a vast universe, but now the suggestion is that we’re infinitesimal specks in a vast infinity of universes. Our current best theory for the origin of the universe, backed up by experimental evidence, suggests that there are an infinite number of universes, an infinite number of copies of you and me, and that the existence of the whole thing is inevitable. No purpose, nothing special, you are because you have to be.
How does that make you feel?
Well, the wonderful thing is nobody knows, nobody’s worked it out yet, so the answer is up to you.
What do you think?
El relato cosmogónico que Brian Cox despliega en este capítulo de Human Universe se basa en la Teoría Inflacionaria del Universo. El elemento primigenio es un mar de energía sin fronteras y en constante movimiento capaz de generar infinitud de universos. Entre todos ellos sólo uno posee las constantes físicas específicas para albergar la vida humana tal y como la conocemos. Los dioses, el bien y el mal, el fin de la creación, son fabulaciones a posteriori tal y como afirman los versos del Rig-Veda. El ser del Universo se justifica a sí mismo, no existe un propósito más allá. Existimos porque sí. Eso es todo. Una mota del polvo en un universo sin límites que coexiste con un número infinito de universos. A pesar de nuestra insignificancia resuena en el discurso de Brian Cox el asombro pascaliano ante el milagro de la conciencia humana.