Skip to main content

The Point of It All

Toothpaste For Dinner comic: thermodynamics heat death * Text: thermodynamics posits that the universe with reach heat death at a time well call t t is the day i no longer have to mow the lawn

What is the point of human life? We're all going to die anyway, after all, inhabiting thereafter an everlasting nothingness.

Here's an answer to that question that doesn't try to deconstruct it.

The point may involve saving the universe from itself. The Big Bang of contemporary astronomical theory, combined with the conventional understanding of the 2d law of thermodynamics, leads to a rather dismal prospect of a universe that expires slowly but inevitably into nothingness, by spreading out and cooling off until nothing is left. Like a clock that can never re-wind itself. Like our own lives, but on a really big scale. And with nothing left to carry on, nor any project left to be carried, or any place to carry it.  

Can the universe avoid that fate? Perhaps -- I suspect that advanced species can and sometimes do get far enough in their own scientific development to figure out how to beat the 2d law in their cosmic locality. Those localities then become sources of growth and restoration for the whole.

If I'm right, then the Big Bang theory could be wrong, and something like the Steady State theory of Hoyle could be right. The advancement of certain self-conscious species on certain planets may be the way in which the universe as a clock re-winds itself.

I hope and expect that the human race survives its own worst impulses and reaches the state where it can play its part in this cosmic drama. I hope and believe that I, in my 56 years and counting, have already played a (very small but real) role in the survival and reconciliation of our species.

Thus, I think my own life has had and is having plenty of point, and I propose the same hypothesis for your consideration.

Comments

  1. Did you know that you can shorten your long links with Shortest and get dollars from every visitor to your shortened links.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…