Is The Universe Only Your Deranged Imagination?
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the book said that there is an infinite number of planets in the universe. Since only some of the planets can be occupied, any number divided by infinity is zero. Likewise the entire population of the universe is zero and anyone that you meet along the way is the result of a deranged imagination.
Which takes us to part two of this occasionally accurate post. The universe as we know it is very complicated. There is really no point in explaining how stupefying bizarre and convoluted the cosmos is.
You only need to get started at the smallest scale with Quantum Mechanics. The atoms inside all the matter in the universe are both particles and waves. This means that you could in theory collide atoms together in a reactor and make them destructively interfere at the same time.
Then there are all the atoms in the universe. You can never really touch them or anything else. Matter is mostly empty space, and all touch is electrostatic repulsion between atoms.
Before you continue reading this lunacy, you are probably imagining all of this right now. In fact it is very likely that none of this ever happened. It is nearly certain that you are nothing more than a random quantum fluctuation that momentarily achieved consciousness in the empty vacuum of space.
You see back in the late 19th century an Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann presented the idea that entropy is more than just a measure of disorder. It can also be a method for counting the order of a system. For example a low-entropy system could be your home. A high-entropy system would than be your home after a contractor drove a bulldozer through it five minutes from now.
Of course we all know that entropy can never decrease. The second-law of thermodynamics is very clear on that, but it’s more complicated than that. Entropy is a lot like temperature, it only counts the statistical average of the system. Over time it is entirely possible for the entropy to decrease, even if it is momentary.
For example, before the contractor gets here turn on your television. After that switch it to an empty channel. You should only be receiving static. Your next job is to watch and wait. Patience, because this could take awhile. Ludwig Boltzmann said that the rules of probability demand that over time all possible states must be occupied. This means that if you wait long enough your favorite show will inevitably materialize on television. You might have to wait for billions or trillions of years.
Likewise, it is possible and even likely that in the cold vacuum of space over trillions of years a quantum fluctuation could assemble a mind capable of thought. You are living a dream, and it will be over quickly.
Before you angrily close your window and walk off, you can’t prove that I’m wrong. Your life is only the sum of your memories and senses. In technical terms, you are only a multitude of electric signals in your brain. The signals could be originating from anywhere. Maybe you are really a brain plugged into a deep underground Nazi laboratory? Perhaps you are an electronic file aboard a spacecraft escaping the planet that died eons ago?
I don’t pretend to know everything, and if I ever say that I do you will know that I’m no wise man. Please tell me which story is more believable? You are the result of a momentary quantum fluctuation in the cold vacuum of space and everything that you have ever known is a delusion. Or you are a talking ape living on a rock that has orbited the sun for billions of years.