Infinity, those you cannot help themselves, the Thirsty Beaver, and more, on this weeks episode of The Distracted Philosopher.
"Studies have shown evidence of parallel universes. Looking at the stars is looking into the past. Why are we here? Where is here? Is there a faceless old woman who lives in my home? Where is home? What are cows?" - The Distracted Philosopher
Sometimes I ask myself, what is infinity? I know its definition, but what is it really?
For my entire existence I have been contained in something (queue Yakko's Universe). I started inside my mother, or at least that's what I've been told. After birth I was placed in a crib, my new container. My crib was in a room (which is now called a crib, oddly enough). That room was in a house (also a crib), on a street (not a crib), in a city (town, village, whatever), in a state (of perpetual confusion), in a country (ruled by crazy people), on a continent (not incontinent), on a planet (Earth, just in case you were wondering). And while I can travel all over this planet, I am resigned to the fact that this is my container for the rest of my life.
But Earth is only 1 of 9 … I mean 8 planets in our solar system and the distance between them is facken huge! We sent a probe out in 2006 and in 2015 it arrived at Pluto (which was a planet when the probe left). It was traveling, according to Wikipedia, "16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph)" and it took 9 years to travel the 2.66 billon miles (give or take a million) to this now demoted celestial body. I understand these numbers, the speed, the miles, the time, but I don't really understand the true scale because … well … it literally unbelievable.
When the astronauts landed on the moon (and yes, they really did) they could see the earth in the sky — it looks about 13 times larger than the moon does to us. They could see the details, the oceans, continents, clouds, etc. They were about 238,000 miles away but seeing the Earth like that made them feel much closer.
There are talks about people traveling to Mars (about 39.9 million miles away). One way trip. To die there. And when people are there and look into the sky for Earth, all they will see is a tiny dot just like most any other star out there. Earth is gone to them. Forever.
Light travels approximately 186,282 miles per second. It takes light from our sun 8 minutes and 20 seconds (give or take — back off man, I'm not a scientist) to reach earth. That's insane (to me and my tiny brain).
And it gets crazier when I realize the our solar system is just a tiny spec in our entire galaxy. I mean — it took about 9 years to go from Earth to Pluto and now science is telling me that distance, when compared to the size of our galaxy, is like traveling a single centimeter. Holy carp (and yes I meant carp not crap because carp is funnier). The concept of this distance makes sense, but in reality my brain is staring to melt.
Then I read that it is estimated there can be 10’s of billions of solar systems in our galaxy alone.
Star Trek (you know, the sci-fi series that's not Star Wars?) spends the majority of time in the Alpha quadrant — that is just 1/4 of our galaxy. Voyager ended up in the Delta quadrant for a while and Deep Space Nine had a wormhole to the Gamma quadrant, but none of them traveled outside of our galaxy. The Stargate series' did travel to or come upon people from other galaxies, although travel between them took special consideration.
Anyway, back to our galaxy, it is one of billions of galaxies in the universe and these galaxies can be up to 13 billion light years away from each other. What. The. Frack. My brain is feeling woozy (and a bit transgendered).
Let me get back to my container discussion. My entire existence has been in a container of some sort. From birth to Earth to our solar system to our galaxy to the universe. Containers. All of them.
But what contains the universe? It has to be in something, doesn’t it? How can all of these galaxies just ‘be’? My brain is telling me they have to be somewhere. Are we inside of a jar on the desk of God? If so, where is God? What's God's container? What universe does God live in? It can't be this one because he existed before he created this one. Or if you don't believe in God, where did the big bang occur? Theories state there was something before the Big Bang — but what was it?
Big Bang or Supreme Being — it still boggles my mind.
And what about parallel universes? Holy carp! That's even more infinity. How can there be more infinity in infinity?
This takes me to my original question. What is infinitity? How is it possible? What does infinity feel like? Where does infinity exist? My brain has a hard limit and it cannot comprehend and this makes me sad. It's sad when I realize there is an infinite universe and I will only get to see — basically none of it.
You can find links to all the distractions from the show (and some not in the show) on my twitter feed @regisjack.
Read guest philosopher Mykl’s blog Rhetoric of The Idle Mind
Watch Aurelio Voltaire’s Gothic Homemaking And Other Stuff
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This is episode s10e99(381) for Monday, April 24, 2017 and clocked in at 29 minutes, 57 seconds