What happened one second before the big bang? This is probably one of the most perplexing questions ever asked. Answering it means solving the riddles about where we all came from and the meaning of life. Rather profound inquiries, indeed.
There are no lack of ideas about that nebulous time before the big bang. What we lack is evidence.
Before we embark upon this blog post, let’s get two things straight.
First, I am not a theoretical physicist. So, all the ideas contained here are just my amateur speculation. Sometimes, I can barely balance my checkbook.
Second, I have not gone woo-woo on you, even though I am going to talk about the universe and consciousness.
Hope we have a deal. Moving on.
The Observer Effect
First we must talk about the observer effect. This is a scientific truism that says you can’t measure any system without factoring in the tool making the measurements. In other words, if you take a room’s temperature with a thermometer, some, at least a tiny portion, of the heat in the room is used to influence the thermometer. Meaning, you can’t really tell the true temperature of the room. You can get close, but you won’t know exactly because measuring the system impacts the results.
If you were to build a model of that room’s heat distribution, you must include the thermometer in your model. Otherwise, it’s not an accurate representation.
Our Instrument Brain
People like to build models. It helps us understand operating systems and places that we cannot see in one glimpse. A model is basically a bird’s-eye view of any subject matter.
It’s interesting that many of the functional models we build, such as the internet, big cities, and even the universe, all mimic our brain.
A map of city sidewalks may really be a diagram of our brain. Let me explain.
Imagine living a big city. With streets and light poles and people and cars and giant buildings reaching toward the clouds. You are a tiny person in this city. You walk around, you encounter people, some fascinate you, others repulse you, some teach you things you carry with you, and then a big city bus tries to plow you over while you’re on the crosswalk. You can stand on the top of buildings, and while looking down on the city, you observe that everything looks like tiny ants, all carrying out a job or task to make the city continue.
From atop that building, imagine every person below is a computer program, running through the circuitry of the streets, carrying out tasks, encountering other programs that want to join them, infect them, stop them, or assist them. Whatever.
Now, imagine that every one of those computer programs below are dendrites and neurons and electrical and chemical impulses rushing through your brain. Each neuron is seeking information, analyzing, calculating, digesting information and storing things in your biological hard drive.
All of these aforementioned things, from the sidewalks to the brains that control our bodies to the city to the universe, seem to operate under similar principles. These are the same systems and methods used by your chemically dripping and electrically blipping brain.
Evolution of the Human Mind
The universe began at a fixed point, exploded, then expanded outward at a very fast rate of speed.
It’s interesting our brain origins are very similar indeed. Our brain began at a very fixed point at the end of a nerve stem. For milleniums, brains were reactionary, amphibian-like, and primitive. But then something happened. For unknown reasons, our ancestors began to think, reason, be creative, learn, and remember things.
About 200-thousand years ago, Homo Sapiens emerged following rapid brain growth in our genus. Homo Sapien brains are filled with all sorts of connections and dendrites and hemispheres. Just like models of the universe.
I am in no way disputing the big bang theory. In fact, I’m celebrating the big bang.
The universe and our brains both began at central points. They both expanded.
If maps of the universe are really just maps of our brains, then seeing time before the big bang requires us to see past our brain stem.
How could we do that?
We would be forced to peer back into our long ancestry, through Australopithecus, and back into the pond and single-cellular existence.
This would require us to see back in time before the big bang of our consciousness. Essentially, we are brain blind.
Recreating our brain system is the only way we understand the universe, or build cities, or design the internet. Because it may be the only path our brains are wired to understand.
As long as our brain is an observational instrument in the system we are modeling, our brain is always going to be factored into the model, whether we realize it or not. Thus, models of the universe beginning with the Big Bang mirror our brain’s evolution.
Is everything connected? Not at all. There are many divergent systems at work in our world. Can a laundromat wall calendar teach us things about flight patterns in China? Um, maybe. Maybe not. Everything is not connected.
I’m simply asking you to notice the models humans build, as if there are no other ways to build them, reflect our own brain’s creation and evolution.
Next time you are constructing a model of the Space Shuttle, or even using a road map to find a restaurant, try to find the similarities between your subject and your brain. The connections. The systems at work. You may be astounded at what you arrive upon.
So your next trip to P. F. Changs can become a journey of great food, and self-discovery.