If one could perceive our universe as a computer simulation projected from a superior universe elsewhere, or by a future and far more advanced generation in this very universe (see THE ALIEN GODS : ARE WE COMPUTER SIMULATIONS? ), I do not see why one must not explore the possibility that our universe is a living organism. Both concepts exist as conjectures supported by intelligent imagination. I am not sure they rank among hypotheses that could become theories – at least not yet.
There has been much speculation in Cosmology and Particle Physics (ironically, one, the invisibly small and the other inconceivably large and yet so interdependent) since one leads to the other. Relativity Theory (the very large and the very fast) and Quantum Physics (rthe very small where energy and matter become just one split personality) took origin during Einstein’s lifetime. If it took time for the student of Physics to comprehend Relativity and the mathematics that went with it; the one pursuing quantum physics finds that its equations lead to plausible solutions in the particle world, but the theory is yet to be understood in full.
Quantum Physics gave rise to String Theory, which is still a hypothesis with some mathematical backing. Mathematics is the most logical and quickest thought process ever invented by man, but it can still be manipulated to arrive at a previously determined solution. Newton explained the mathematics of the stability (or what he considered stability) of the universe by introducing a self-correcting constant named God. Einstein did one better; he replaced God, still under the impression that the universe is in a stable equilibrium, by a small number he called Cosmological Constant just so both sides of his equation would balance themselves while keeping gravity at bay. Fortunately, during his lifetime, it was discovered that the universe is expanding. Einstein then was said to have called his Cosmological Constant the greatest blunder of his life. Perhaps he concluded, after accepting Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre’s theory that the universe set off in an explosion, that the initial thrust of this explosion, combined with Newton’s theory of inexhaustible nature of motion and the momentum thus generated was adequate enough to keep the contents of the universe from piling upon each other under gravity and ending in a heap.
Researches in the nineties led to the understanding that this universe is not just expanding, but the rate of expansion is continually rising – accelerating. This acceleration, like a teenager’s rising shape, weight and height, needs energy; hence the concept of Cosmological constant (slightly larger than what Einstein speculated so as to allow for the newly discovered acceleration) which was conceived and attributed to an unknown energy – simplistically named dark energy. Energy has to have a material base, so a dark matter was proposed and accepted by a majority of the scientific fraternity. The quantum of this dark energy could be worked out (assuming it exists) mathematically if you knew the mass of the universe (another speculation arrived by mathematical modelling) and the rate of acceleration. The residual force from the original thrust of inflation was perhaps not taken into account.
Neither the huge cosmos northe minute basic particles (Up quark, Down quark, electron etc. ) can be directly measured; so science uses analogical modelling and guestimate. Quantum physics could predict many behavioral solutions of these small particles – so quantum equations were accepted as right although they were not quite understood. This led to String Theory. To sustain string theory, one had to accept that there are nine spatial dimensions apart from the Time dimension. So where are these six dimensions that we cannot see? They are supposed to be warped into virtual cylinders of small radius – like a straw tube (like the one used to drink fruit juice) that is so thin and of such huge length that it cannot be seen.
If nine spatial dimensions are not complicated enough, string theory suggests that there are not one, but many universes like ours. These are parallel universes (one suspended over the other like in a sandwich, with no salami stuffing in between). There could be negative universes that contain your alter ego; if you meet her or him and shake hands..bump!.. you both would flare up and vanish into energy.
Eminent Scientists of the status of Stephen Hawking suggest that these are real possibilities. If, indeed, they are positively proved to be true, and we exist as even more insignificant beings in a multiverse than we already are in a universe with a trillion galaxies, we have no alternative but to accept that demotion. If we accept that a man-shaped God could not have scoured out this small planet of ours to create life forms in six days or even a few million years, you’d have to accept the a high-amplitude probability of that there are other habited planets in at least a million of the trillion galaxies that surround us.
I had once heard a wise Christian preacher debating Richard Dawkins ask if there are life forms anywhere else in this universe, why couldn’t we get a response from at least one of them during these several decades when we had been sending out search signals?
I have never heard a more foolish question, assuming the questioner had some idea about the size of the universe. Supposing there is an advanced civilization of some beings (unlikely to be exactly our kind) that exist as close as ten light years away. You send out a signal which does reach them after ten years. In the ocean of electromagnetic waves within which all life forms exist in any livable planet, would they recognize and read this signal unless they were pre-warned and tuned their equipment to the same wavelength? Assuming they accidentally did stumble on this signal which happened to be in the same radio spectrum as we use, will they recognize it as an invitation to talk? How can be sure that CMBR is not a standing invitation to all universes to talk to a highly intelligent planet somewhere out there? Supposing over a period of a decade they do comprehend the meaning of the signal and its source and transmit a return signal and we receive it another ten years later, would we have our receiver tuned to that signal right at that moment? By the way, we do know for sure that life forms – including intelligent life forms like the dolphins – exist in the sea surrounding us. We even exploit them to near extinction. If we send out a search signal into the sea, can we expect to receive a reply that we could comprehend?
Let us forget the multiverse that we cannot easily visualize or verify, and restrict ourselves to this universe of ours. There are a trillion galaxies out there, each of them holding a hundred billion or so stars. Assuming that on on the average each star hs at two planets, and only one in a billion of them are positioned in such a way that they can sustain life – any form of life, not necessarily oxygen imbibing, water guzzling forms, then, statistically, we could say there are millions, even billions of planets and moon-like satellites that hold life forms in this very universe of ours. If Einstein’s limit of the velocity of light is correct for the entire universe and all its galaxies, It is extremely unlikely that we’d meet our neighbors in any foreseeable future. Nor is it likely that, however advanced their technology, they could come calling on us. . Evidently, every constituent particle in this universe is expanding – which means we are growing. That means that there was a time when it was in an infantile state. Working backwards from the accelerated growth (expansion) as we see in teenaged human beings, we can compute the time – 13.8 billion years by the current reckoning – when the universe was a micro-microscopic dot, far, far smaller than a human egg, a throbbing and thriving egg which at anytime could incubate (and often does).
While physicists treat this universe as a dynamic but lifeless massive collection of fairy gases and spinning rocks, there is no reason to believe that it is dead and that these stars and planets are lifeless gasses and minerals that mindlessly obey the laws set down by Kepler, Newton, Einstein and others. On the other hand, we do notice reasons to suspect that there is rationale and logic – which are the ingredients of intelligence- in the behavior of this universe. It is dynamic, and the dynamism is largely predictable. It evolves. It knows what to select and what to discard through what Darwin named natural selection – not just in the biology of this world of ours, but on a larger scale. There is consistent, logical circulation of its component elements in pre-determined paths. Like our body has active, intelligent cells that act logically, and also zombie cells – like the red corpuscles that have no DNA – so it would seem is this universe which can be deemed to be a gargantuan living body whose spatial dimensions and unit of time is fantastically large, yet finite.
Today we know that the rock on the seashore is not a dead, static thing. (Forget the mussels and leaches that stick to them). They have a thriving life inside – vibrating molecules pounded by atoms of several elements with their protons, neutrons and electrons, each of which is in motion. Isn’t motion a sign of life? Like every life form, they are born, thrive and die while others take their place. Isn’t that what life is? You say, but those atoms and molecules do not know what they are doing. How do you know that? You say that they do not possess consciousness. What is consciousness – the ability to philosophise or to tell lies, or the skill for self-preservation? Who watched or controlled the inflation that happened from what George Lemaitre called a primieval atom and then its re-organization into gasses, then to stars and galaxies, planets and satellites till what we consider to be full life forms come into existence on our planet, and most probably other life forms exist elsewhere?
It is like your computer of tiny switches can think only an OFF or ON, but billions of them put together can organize your work, write your letter, compute your accounting needs, solve your engineering problems, take photos and do complicated graphics or draw cartoons of a jealous prophet and get you into serious trouble, Everyone of those tiny switches contain information – a YES or NO, but together, a lot many YES’s and NO’s can do wonders. This whole universe of ours is a giant computing machine to which our rocks and particles of sand, drops of water and living humans furnish data. Each of these is a living organism, just as our cells are living organisms which can think for themselves and mend a finger if it is cut or fight an intruder if it is hostile, but leave alone, under careful watch, every friendly bacteria that pitch tents on our skin or help our metabolism within our guts. Imagine how many activities go on inside your body without your ever knowing it. You walk, talk, hold, skip or dance while a series of servo-mechanisms (which engineers understand us negative feedback systems) help you do it. Who controls this complicated autonomous machine that is you – more than seven billions of your like on this one planet – if not intelligent, thinking, fast-acting cells that have independent life cycles of their own?
Yes, it is quite conceivable that this universe is a living organism comprising several living organisms – just as, our own body is a complex assemblage of several living organisms – cells, genomes, chromosomes, DNA, white and red corpuscles, friendly bacteria, unfriendly bacteria, virus, you name it.
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