It’s a scientific fact that the universe is expanding. But think about that for a second. It’s hard to. The universe is everything. We’re on a rock, spinning around a ball of plasma that pulls us along as it too warps around the Milky Way. The Milky Way which is clustered among more galaxies than we can count, each containing more stars, more planets, more things than we can comprehend with our feeble grey matter. It’s far too easy to forget that all of this is out there beyond the blue dome we live under every day.
But here’s the kicker. What is the universe, all of that and more that we cannot see due to the relatively slow crawl of light speed, expanding into exactly?
I’ve fallen into the deep end. Warning! Back up and get out now or else have an aneurysm. You see, this one of those questions that pulls me out of and above the fray of everyday life, one of those things that makes all of my problems seem insignificant and washes over me with a warm aura. An existential calm. Like I’m at peace with the universe. I wonder if this happens to other people too?
The sad part is, and this fits along with what I believe insofar as death and the afterlife go, I’ll never have the answer to this question. Does the infinite blackness go on and on forever? Does space curve upon itself? If I fly on for long enough, do I end up where I started? Since we’re sure the universe started from a singularity at the big bang, it must have a middle, right? Or not? If it does, does that mean there’s a sphere outside of which there is no matter? What does that look like? (Stupid question, it doesn’t look like anything because our sight is based on light and there isn’t any) Okay, what does it look like… in the other direction!? (Stupid again, the light hasn’t reached outside the sphere of the universe’s boundary yet)
How about this: what would it be like to see everything in existence at once, regardless of the speed of light? As humans, we have the ability to time travel, to do things outside of the realm of physics and natural law– these things happen in our minds all the time. Forget the pitifully slow movement of light, we don’t need it in our mind’s eye. So, what if we could see everything that is, but in our brains?
What would that look like? Just pretend all the light is everywhere instantly. Would that be nothing but whiteness from an infinitesimally dense field of astral bodies? Would it just be like our clearest night skies? Would it be so empty we could see all the way across everything?
When these ideas cross my head, I’m overcome with a wish that I could manipulate space and time, be everywhere instantly and at once. As a functional human adult, I cannot devote more than a few seconds to thoughts like these, else I’d be halted by amazement, stricken by depression that I can’t answer them, spontaneously felled by aforementioned aneurysm, or otherwise distracted when I have important (hah!) things to do.
I don’t grapple with philosophical questions like “what’s the meaning of life” or “why are we here?” If you’re open to the idea that nothing happens for a reason, you’re free from the burden of having to justify the randomness of existence. I’ve accepted chaos as the order of the universe. It simply is. I just really want to experience the rest of its vast beauty, up close and with my own senses.