Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Something Out of Nothing, Nothing Out of Something
Le Vide (The Void) by Yves Klein
Contrary to the belief of some cosmologists, something cannot
come out of nothing. It’s hard to believe that at the time of the Big Bang an
explosion of unimaginable enormity occurred that created the Boson, the
elementary particle of matter that scientists have been trying to chase in the
Large Hadron Collider. Explosions don’t just pop out of nowhere. Perhaps the
Big Bang was actually the work of some ur-suicide jihadist and perhaps there’s
even the hope that all the terror and uncertainly will result in another Big
Bang, which would in essence be a Second Coming. But if the something cannot
come out of nothing, what is the something out of which the early universe was
born? We have a BC or BCE, to designate the era before Christ, but what kind of
world existed before the beginning of time? Was it an ether, whose laws are
simply out of the ken of human consciousness? However, the question of whether
nothing can come out of something is even more complex. If matter is turned to
energy, despite the law of the conservation of energy, energy is ultimately expendable, and all the matter (or energy)
in the universe could, in theory, one day dissipate. It would simply be like a
car running out of gas. The warning light would go on and then, if you didn’t
do anything to replenish the tank, if there were no suns, emitting ultraviolet
radiation, or black holes in which matter is secreted, then the universe could come to an end. The theory of Dark Energy posits the
notion that the universe is always expanding. Hence galaxies at one point will
be so far from each other and the interstitial spaces so dark, that there would
be no possibility of one body rescuing another or finding refuge in the other's gravity. A shipwrecked sailor will
eventually drown unless someone comes to his aid. Yes one day, like the gurgling that occurs when the final
drop of bathwater is sucked out of a tub, the universe may lose its hard-on.
Obviously there will be no eyes left to see it, but imagine ultimate
nothingness, a void that is unknowable even to God.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.