The meaning of life, the universe and everything?
The greatest question of all time. The question mankind has pondered over since the dawn of time. The question that goes to the very heart of our existence. Why are we here? Why does the universe exist? What is the meaning of it all?
'Antennae' colliding galaxies
When we contemplate the unimaginable vastness of the universe, the incredible diversity and complexity of life on Earth, the sheer tenacity of life to survive, the wonderful beauty of nature, we are filled with a sense of amazement. !3,000,000,000 years or so in the making, and here we are, wondering why.
In this unbelievable universe, with its 100 billion galaxies, each containing 100's of billions of stars, we inhabit a small world circling one ordinary star. One star amongst 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
And we wonder why.
We consider the processes that followed the Big Bang. how the universe cooled down as it expanded, how matter formed out of radiation, how gravity shaped star formation and galaxies, how stars created heavier elements, how those elements formed planets, and how life developed on at least one of those planets.
And we wonder why.
We study the emergence of life on Earth, how asteroid impacts, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, fire, droughts, disease, starvation, ice ages, all threaten to extinguish that life. But it survives.
And we wonder why.
Why are we here? What is the purpose of it all?
What do I think?
The answer to life, the universe and everything, is a matter for the individual. If you really want to know what I think then here it is.
I don't believe we will ever know. The really important question for me is, why do we ask? If we knew the answer to that, the answer to the original question may be self apparent.
As I say in Is there a reason for our existence? there need not be a reason, or meaning, to any of this. Once the Big Bang started, the stage was set and events took their course. You may ask why there was a Big Bang in the first instance, but thats just the same question. You could also ask what events took place to initiate the Big Bang, and so on. See The Big Bang Theory We can keep going back in time asking the same old question - why did this event happen? I say in Where did the universe come from? that at some point we must accept that we are going around in circles. We are looking for a 'start' to everything, the original first event, but there can not be one, it's quite simply impossible to have a first event. Its the old chicken and egg question, or if you prefer, cause and effect.
So here we are, existing in a universe that has an impossible beginning. There are two conclusions that may be drawn from this.
1) We, and the universe, do not exist. We can not prove that we exist, we just think we do. See I think, therefore I think? That being the case there is no need for any of it to make sense. We just try to make sense of it.
2), Science is unable to provide an explanation. There is no reason to believe that science will be able to explain everything.
Our understanding of the universe is restricted to the 3 physical dimensions that we happen to exist in, plus of course the dimension of time. Many theories strongly indicate that there are many more dimensions in the universe. Perhaps with an understanding of these other dimensions it will all make sense. Perhaps not. Probably not.
As I said in "Is there a reason for our existence?", everything in the universe is linked, every individual thing was formed from the Big Bang singularity. The entire universe is one, vast, complex organism. Every star, galaxy, planet, atom, person, are all inter-linked parts of the one same universe. We are the universe.
Some people will tell you that this is the very concept of what God is, A oneness. That we are all a part of God, that we all contain God within us. See What evidence is there for God?
So the answer to the question "The meaning of life, the universe and everything?"
I believe there is no answer. We shouldn't assume that just because we can raise the question automatically means that there must be an answer. I don't believe we, or the universe, exist for a reason, we just exist.
I hope that this initial page sets the scene for what is to follow. Open your mind and question everything, but don't expect answers. Maybe just a few opinions though, and I'm sure you have yours.
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