Sunday, 25 May 2008

Entry 14: in which the boy asks a good question

I was staring into a mirror reflecting (little bit of humour there) when the boy appeared. Now I own up to having a soft spot for the boy. He may be a couple of choristers short of a choir, but he's basically a good lad.

After a little bit of this and a little bit of that he gets around to what is on his mind and it is along these lines:

"This universe business"

"Yeees" I respond cautiously

"Watching the big bang and so on ..."

"Yeees ..."

"The creation of space and time in a single tumultuous event ..."

My word, he is on a roll, "Yeees ... "

"Well, if we're watching and birth of the universe, and the creation of space and time and all that, then we can't be 'in' that universe can we? So what's the new universe 'in' that we're 'in', so we can be watching it, but not part of it, if you see what I mean ...?" His voice trails away.

Well naturally I see what he means. That's the curse of being a deity. But, bleeding heck, I wasn't expecting this.

"Well, there is an answer, and it's a jolly good one, but why don't we head for the milk and cookies right now while I think of an equally good way to divert your attention?"

Well, actually, I didn't say all of that, not the last bit anyway, but it did the trick. Now I have to find some simple way of dishing up the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Bugger.


Millennium Housewife said...

I always use my 'Tomb Raider' analogy to explain this one. If you imagine that everthing that has ever been and everything that is ever going to happen is only ever happening in this moment called now, then you can be all places and all things. If you look at Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider video games, there is possibly a trillion things she can do. Any user can make her look left, right, fall over, make a different decision, anything. But all within a framework of the Cd, so at some point the game maker (sorry for the non technical language I'm terrible at technology) has decided and programmed every single response she could have, but a million people could use the game and not once would she make the same choices, in the same order with the same consequences. Thus is life, you exist within a framework of your own choosing (before you were born) but within that is a trillion ways to go and a trillon consequenses. But everything that is going to happen and everything that has happened exists on the CD/in your life pattern. What do you think? MH

Ernest de Cugnac said...

MH - maybe you should take this over! You are right about Lara Croft; same thing for chess. Only a few rules and a few pieces, but an infinite number of games could happen. This is why brute force programming - i.e. "looking ahead" to see all possible endings of the game - doesn't work for chess.

Everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen ... A lot depends on whether time has an arrow or whether there is only now. If there is an arrow, and we move along it, then the future becomes infinitely variable very soon because ridiculously small events change it forever. But perhaps it is determinate.

God's problem (I imagine) is reconcile, at least in the eyes of the boy, his apparent omnipotence with the near impossibility of interacting with a universe that is in a different space-time continuum. And as the boy has cleverly realised, it is so.

Thanks for your visit. I like the way you think, and I like your blog too.

Millennium Housewife said...

I've been pondering this one, especially about God's problem being reconcile. You're right, it is virtually impossible (I venture impossible here) to imagine a world outside the space time continum that we exist in. The very fact that we are 3D dissallows for a conception of another dimension unless it is termed in such a non physical way as Time. Hmmm.
Now, I may lose you here, but I spoke to a man once called Paul, a Judean Physician alive around the time that Jesus existed. I asked him if it was possible to travel im time and he said that he travelled in time every day. By being unfettered by the physical body it is possible to visit different dimensions before or after they happened, because Linear Time only existed in the physical world. Unfortunately I was only about 16 at the time so didn't follow up the conversation in the way I now wish I had, and I haven't seen him for years.
The way I am trying to allow my Daughter the scope to understand the vastness and expanse of a Universe that also includes Things She Cannot See But Are There, is to ask her to close her eyes and think of something she likes. Normally Barbie or ice cream, I then get her to imagine a senario say eating the ice cream, what does it taste of etc. Then when she opens her eyes I ask her about the experience, we then discuss whether this experience actually existed or not, because of course it did, she saw it, tasted it, played with it, but of course it didn't because she cannot see it in physical 3D form. While this doesn't answer her questions it shows her that there are many more ways to approach reality that just observing the physical and apparently logical. I conclude that the imagination is the gateway to all the answers, we just have to trust it, surely we cannot imagine what isn't there? MH

Ernest de Cugnac said...

MH, I stand humbled. And to a degree amazed. This was not *the* Paul or Saul was it?

Time travel is definitely one of the themes I want to explore. I feel that God can travel time, but I was seeing it a bit like a bungee jump - he can go as far forward or back as he likes, but it is ever more difficult, so he may not bother.

There is also the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle element to this. By knowing the future does he thereby change it? In one present, you were an entity who did not know the future. The moment you do, you are in a different present with a different time line too.

Imagination is interesting. You are right. At one level it does not exist. Yet by imagining something, one will without question change the brain's biochemistry, and therefore probably change the future too.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful and very stimulating comments.

Millennium Housewife said...

The old macbeth debate! Does macbeth bring about the witches' prophesies simply because he was told them or would it all have happened anyway. Even Shakespeare was fascinated!
On the Paul/Saul question, I plead ignorance! Could you elaborate? MH

Ernest de Cugnac said...

MH, don't worry about Paul / Saul, he was the tax collector and in this context a red herring.

I think you're right about McBeth, though I must say I had not thought about that before. I believe that knowing the propheses could easily have brought them about.

Millennium Housewife said...

But, not knowing them means that you are unaware that the future has come true.
Paul/Saul was a physician working with the Roman armies, so yes, your Saul a red herring! MH