Monday, November 14, 2011

Trapped in Time and Space

Those of us who were born into time and space think of it as natural. We accept the laws of physics as not only given, but as good--they enable carbon atoms to exist and join into complex chains that make biology possible. But humans may well suffer from a four-dimensional provincialism that can't imagine the horrible limits space and time would impose on a being from before the Big Bang.

Imagine a multidimensional sphere one Planck length across which contains at least ten times the mass of our observable universe. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle would permit any particle to move at any speed from 0 to the speed of light anywhere within these boundaries--so the constraints of physics as you and I know them would not apply within this hypersphere. If intelligent beings emerged within this sphere, they would appear as gods or angels to us.

Now imagine the perfect symmetry of that sphere distended for some reason. Perhaps a hundred trillion angels choose to follow a single leader leader in one orbit and their combined mass creates a bulge in hyperspace. Let that orbit expand until it exceeds the Planck length and their perfect freedom becomes constrained at Heisenberg's limit. If nothing pulls them back, the bulge could turn into a blow-out--the universe's first environmental disaster.

What happens to a hundred trillion intelligences hurled out of Heaven into space?