Freedom Digital Library

Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
II.4 | Contents | II.6

II.5. The Myth of Objective Reality

It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.
       —Niels Bohr, 1885-19621

Yes, Virginia, there is an "objective reality;" yet it includes the paradox that there is no way, evidently, for a finite being to be objective about it – which either contradicts the "objectivity" of "objective reality," or else consigns the concept of "objective reality" to the domain of myth. That is, there is such a thing as reality, which is as real and concrete as anyone might wish. Fine; so far, so good. The sticky part comes in with the inescapable corollary that you, me, everybody, and everything that exist are included within the precincts of this "objective reality" – which makes it pretty damned difficult for anybody to be "objective" about it. Is that clear? No? Then read on....

Contents of this section:

Infinity and Complementarity, Again
In addition to the matter of the near event horizon enclosing all finite beings, in relation to the (presumedly) infinite Cosmos,2 we have the principle of complementarity.3 As far as we can guess, or rationally surmise, "All That Is" is infinite – or in any event, there seems no conceptual possibility of viewing it "whole," from "outside." For if one were somehow to gain a vantage point "outside" of "All That Is," where would one be? Somewhere among "all that is not?" Additionally, there is the principle of complementarity, originally discovered at the quantum scale, yet evidently applicable at all scales; wherein reality is composed of innumerable pairs of complementary properties, both of which are essential for a complete description of reality; yet observation of either of which excludes observation of the other. An example at the quantum scale of such a complementary pair of properties is the mutually exclusive relation between the quantum and wave properties of a beam of light. Observation of one prohibits observation of the other, and the whole beam of light defies complete description.

At the more prosaic human scale, imagine a tracker examining the ground, following the track of a small animal – when the shadow of a bird passes near him. He does not see the bird in the sky; he only sees its shadow on the ground, and imagines what kind of bird it must be, and possibly some elements of its contextual significance. When he examines the sky, the bird is nowhere to be seen – and the small animal he had been stalking darts away unobserved, and disappears in the underbrush.

Pat & Mike, or Do You Recognize This Vase?Or, to make the matter of complementarity somewhat more personal, and intimately applicable to you and me, imagine two friends – call them Pat and Mike – who have been friends for years, and know each other well. Pat and Mike have many experiences in common over the course of many years, and have observed each other under many different circumstances. Both of them are intelligent, sensitive, and honest, about themselves, each other, and about the world in which they live. Each has a reasonable and realistic appraisal of himself, and of his longtime friend.

Now, given all that, here is a multifold question: a) Is Pat's self-appraisal perfectly congruent with Mike's appraisal of Pat? b) Is Mike's self-appraisal perfectly congruent with Pat's appraisal of Mike? c) Is either Pat's or Mike's self-appraisal, or their appraisals of each other, perfectly congruent with anyone else's appraisal of them who knows them, intimately or slightly, including their own mothers? d) If none of the above appraisals are perfectly congruent, which one(s), if any, are "objectively true?"

I submit to your considered evaluation the proposition that, just as the complementary quantum and wave properties of light cannot be simultaneously observed, just as uncompromisingly, no one can "know" himself as another "knows" him; and no one can "know" another as she "knows" herself. All such "knowledge" consists of partial descriptions of individuals who cannot possibly be fully described, either by themselves, or by anybody else.

Complementarity: it's all around us, all the time. Look north, and your southern view is eclipsed by the back of your head. Look at the ground, and you don't see the sky; and vice-versa. While observing a paramecium on a microscope slide, you are certified not to be observing the rings of Saturn, visible only through a telescope. In fact, when you're focused upon a paramecium through a microscope, not only are you not simultaneously observing the rings of Saturn; you're pretty much not observing anything else in the entire universe – assuming you're really focused. If you're not focused, you may not be observing anything at all!

Show me a scholar, or an expert in any field, and I'll show you an ignoramus; for in order to acquire his or her peculiar erudition, the expert necessarily had to pour a great deal of undivided effort into her or his domain(s) of study, to the exclusion of all else. The more refined and polished the scholarship, the more profound and abysmal the ignorance of all that lies beyond the domain of study. Is this a criticism of scholarship? Of course not! It simply points out the universal principle that you can't have it both ways. And "scholar" and "ignoramus" too are complementary partial descriptions of a single individual.

So we create pictures of reality in our minds, unavoidably informed by a maximum of one-half, and virtually always, by a vastly great deal less than ½ of its very real properties. What we create in our minds are therefore myths, which are nevertheless indispensable "aids to navigation" in our endless exploration and mapping of "objective reality." So maybe we had best drop the "objective" part, and simply use the term, "reality;" which naturally does not at all imply that reality is not entirely real. Rather, the implication is that observer and observed are themselves at all times complementary elements of reality. You, and what you think, and sense, and feel, are properties complementary to those of all you survey. "All you survey" cannot be completely described absent a complete description of you who survey it: the observer, who is unavoidably part of the composition being observed. It works the other way too: you cannot be completely described either, without a complete description of all you survey. "And much, much more!" And of course, neither you, nor all you survey, may be completely described either – because you are both composed of innumerable pairs of complementary properties mutually exclusive of observation or description.

[Return to contents of this section.]

"Post-Civilized" Physics
The mission of "civilized" physics, a/k/a classical physics, was to investigate and describe with precision the properties of "objective reality;" and so gradually, incrementally, to build an accurate description of everything. Although a lot of people didn't like it, the discovery of quantum theory precluded the possibility, both of complete descriptions, and of the "objectivity" of reality. Instead, we were left with limitless choices among partial descriptions of reality, at the cost of remaining entirely ignorant of the complements to the properties so described. Hence, the relevance of the Bohr quote at the top of this section. "What we can say about Nature" may be either "this," or "that," at any particular moment, in description of the results of any particular experiment. Yet if, on the basis of experiment, we are able to say "this," we are thereby precluded from positively saying "that," a description of the complementary properties necessarily excluded from our experiment or observation.

In fact, before all of Cosmos, and given our extremely narrow horizon of observation, combined with the necessary exclusion of everything outside the focus of anyone's attention from moment to moment, and it is not too much to say that we all live in a universe consisting almost entirely of myth, all the time. That is, the universe each of us perceives at any given moment consists of content exclusive to our individual minds, brought fractionally up to date from moment to moment by whatever occupies our specific attention in a given moment. Hence, we are perpetually subject to surprise – if we do not shut out its sources by ignoring them – because new phenomena are constantly entering the focal point of our ceaselessly shifting attention, potentially freshening what we thought we knew, with what we are constantly learning about reality.

Therefore, the "civilized" expectation of an eventual description of everything, by means of which humans might reliably navigate, explore, and exploit the world and Cosmos around us, has been demonstrated to have been misplaced, and such an "objective" description cannot be articulated. The world around us simply does not "hold still" long enough, at the quantum scale, or at any scale, for anything like an "accurate description" to be formulated. We are thus faced with the necessity of redefining the mission of physics, because its original mission has been shown to be unattainable. What then shall be the mission of "post-civilized" physics?

I am not a physicist, yet I can suggest a mission for "post-civilized" physics which I believe will not in any way compromise its rational or experimental integrity, and will put it on the entirely open-ended track of providing useful information about reality which will be highly valued by surviving humans and future generations. That physics can no longer be claimed to inform us about "how Nature is" does not diminish its rational and experimental integrity; for quantum physics has disclosed that "how Nature is" is such that no mode of human analysis – physics, or any other – can inform us "how Nature is," and yield a complete description of Nature. This by itself is a priceless disclosure, for it brings to an end a futile and erroneously conceived quest.

What physics can do, which capacity has in no way been impaired by the discovery of quantum theory, is to help humans distinguish between tenable and untenable myths about "how Nature is," and about how humans can best interact with Nature and one another in optimum, non-destructive ways. Living in partial ignorance about "how Nature is" does not preclude filling the vacant unknowns in our perceptions with myths about "how Nature is;" or even about "how Nature might be." People have been doing this for at least hundreds of thousands of years, perpetually uninformed by countless illuminating recent and future discoveries; and there is no end in sight for this necessary and useful practice.

During the meteoric careers of "civilization" and classical physics, such myths have been widely equated with superstition and ignorance, and no effort has been spared in stamping them out, wherever they have been found. "Civilized" people everywhere have been extremely generous and forthcoming in correcting the "obvious errors" and "primitive superstitions" of indigenous peoples all over the world. During the past few decades, however, although most "civilized" people have continued to ignore it, others have discovered that "civilized" notions about "how Nature is" have been no less myths than those of the indigenous peoples they had taken it upon themselves to correct; and indeed that "civilized" people can do no better themselves in describing "how Nature is" than by fabricating myths about it. This, it turns out, they have been doing all along anyway, just as the "primitive savages" had been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. Only... many of the "civilized" myths have proven to be catastrophically destructive to "civilization" itself, and to all Life on planet Earth.

Such emergent myths, which cannot be certified to be decisively either "true" or "false," because they may now be seen to be unavoidably founded upon partial descriptions disclosed through the choices of human experimentalists and observers, can nevertheless be distinguished as either plausible or implausible, and especially as being either constructive or destructive to human relationships with one another, and with Earth and Cosmos at large. "Post-civilized" physics, in synergy with numerous other well developed human disciplines, might play a very valuable role in clarifying such distinctions among "post-civilized" myths.

The discovery that the erstwhile task of disclosing "how Nature is" cannot be accomplished, potentially takes a great deal of pressure off of physics and physicists, and off of scientific research in general; and opens possibilities for the rich commingling of interdisciplinary studies. It invites the dismantling of the heretofore increasingly fine-grained compartmentalization between esoteric and exclusive specializations that has been the trend in physics, and among scientific disciplines in general, and makes possible the resurrection of the more comprehensive "natural philosophies" of old. Replacing the impossible and single-minded quest for "Absolute Truth" with the multidimensional quest for plausible myths opens many formerly closed doors in the corridors of human inquiry; for although there can be only one "Absolute Truth," and anything not in agreement with it must by definition be "absolutely false," there is limitless room for any number of contrasting and richly varied plausible myths. One need not even adhere rigidly to a single myth, but may embrace many myths, under many different circumstances; for ever and always, it is the observer who decides what to look for, what to see, and what to ignore among the numberless partial descriptions of reality.

[Return to contents of this section.]

The F-word
A pragmatic realist might observe that all this may be very fine, conceptually; but it is nevertheless one of the "facts of life" that anyone who does physics anywhere in the civilized world – or scientific research, or R & D of any kind – must somehow come to terms with...

Funding. Scientists do their work at laboratories, at observatories, and in institutions of various kinds, often requiring a great deal of specialized and costly equipment and experimental apparatus; and so whatever mathematical, inventive, or creative genius they may uniquely possess, in order to carry on their work they must also be adept at the art of acquiring funding from those in a position to underwrite their research. Such sources of ready cash may not find it within their interests to shift the mission of physics, for instance, from a quest for "Absolute Truth," or "objective reality," to a quest for plausible myths about reality.

They may not be interested in, grasp, or believe the esoteric nuances of quantum theory which disclose the futility of the classical goals of physics; and they may have their own reasons for preferring the "classical" style of research by means of hermetically sealed specializations, over more eclectic, fluid, and multidisciplinary approaches that may evolve in response to discoveries and disclosures both within and without quantum theory. They may, for example, place the motive of economic gain at a higher priority than the motive of "discovery of Cosmic secrets," disclosure of which may even be seen in some instances as inimical to realization of immediate economic advantages.4

Unfortunately, it must be owned that, so long as scientific research is dependent upon the decisions of parties with a financial interest in its outcome, rather than upon the free human impulse to explore any line of inquiry that leads, even if only potentially, to deepened understanding of ourselves in relation to the Cosmos we inhabit; so long will scientific research, and human inquiry in general, be held hostage by agendas not necessarily congruent with the best interests of humans on planet Earth, and of Life in Cosmos. As discussed at length elsewhere throughout this work,5 contemporary "civilization," has effectively defined itself for the past few thousand years as being headlong at war with all that it deems not to be in its self-defined interest, or consistent with its self-defined agenda. Therefore, every human endeavor, including "civilized" science, whatever else it may be, is deemed either to be a weapon useful to the conduct of that war, or an obstacle to be overcome in the conduct of the "civilized" war upon everything.

The "good news" – potentially; at least for those who come out of it alive – is that the contemporary form of "civilization" is now in an advanced stage of total and irrevocable collapse, for the simple reason that the "civilized agenda" can no longer be sustained on the planet, and so may reliably be predicted not to be sustained, "for very much longer." Therefore, it is appropriate to discuss "post-civilized" science, in anticipation of the eventual emergence of a renewed interest in scientific inquiry among survivors and future generations, following the collapse of "civilization."

One of the premises upon which this work is based is the expectation that there will be survivors of the collapse of "civilization;" and another is that however many or few these may be, and however richly varied and widely scattered over the Earth, survivors will share in common one perception, at least: that they have narrowly escaped from something fundamentally unsound from its inception, which wended its way to an unavoidably sticky end upon a path that, come what may, must never again be undertaken or tolerated.

This last premise may be nothing more substantial than my own "wishful thinking." It is, if you will, an "article of faith" in the survivability and basic soundness of the human genotype. It is the belief, or the hope, that humans bear within us a potential, which we may yet fulfill, once we have drained to the dregs the bitter cup of "the errors of our youth." It seems to me this is a necessary premise, however unlikely it may appear on the basis of the early track record of genus Homo; for the alternative assumption, that no such potential exists within us, leads to the conclusion that we don't have what it takes to survive in Cosmos, or to participate in its ongoing evolution, and are soon destined to take our place beside the dinosaurs, and the many other extinct species no longer resident on planet Earth. Simply stated, I choose to reject this conclusion, and to adhere steadfastly to its more optimistic alternative. Quantum theory confirms to me that my choice is relevant, because I am a complementary observer of all I choose to observe, and one among many potent deciders of the evolutionary path of "All That Is."

Thus my choice is that there will somehow emerge out of the wreckage of "civilization" a "post-civilized," possibly sadder but wiser humanity, with fundamentally altered perceptions of our own best interests. I think there will emerge a profound appreciation, almost entirely lacking in contemporary "civilized" cultures, of the incalculable value to each individual, and to the entire fabric of Life on Earth and in Cosmos, of the healthy evolution of the conditions of richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty; and a shared conscious and deliberate willingness among humans to conduct our lives in such ways as to nurture, husband, and proliferate these life-giving conditions.

Therefore, I do not look to "civilized" financiers to fund "post-civilized" physics, or any other aspect of "post-civilized" human evolution. At the root of contemporary economic theory, as practiced throughout the "civilized world," is the myth of limitless economic growth; which for a population inhabiting a finite planet is neither plausible nor constructive of a healthy, sustainable human society. Such a myth will have no place in the "post-civilized" culture I choose to imagine, and it will therefore be incumbent upon "post-civilized" humans themselves to prioritize their choices, and to take whatever measures are required to undertake whatever pursuits, scientific or otherwise, upon which they decide.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Transition to "Post-Civilization"
Nascent or would-be "post-civilized" humans living in the transitional period during which the collapse of "civilization" is in progress, but has not entirely run its course, may, if they elect to make the required effort, take initiatives to form networks of various kinds which may eventually replace various "civilized" institutions, but instead on the basis of entirely different, "post-civilized" premises. This has already been spontaneously occurring for at least awhile now,6 not necessarily in the same terms or vocabulary as used here; and may be accelerating and proliferating in many places, and in many domains of human endeavor, in synchrony with the accelerating collapse of "civilization." There may even be a possibility that the transition between "civilization" and "post-civilization" could occur with minimal turbulence, at least for those with enough awareness of what is happening to be "in the flow" of the transition, instead of panicking and increasing the turbulence in and around themselves. There is obviously a good deal of the latter taking place too, but it probably holds few survival advantages.

Similarly, or in parallel, individuals who choose to may exchange with others so inclined, outside the "conventional" marketplace; may cease or diminish trade with large corporate structures; may use alternative currencies of their mutual devising, and / or barter goods and services within expanding networks of exchange. This applies as well to exchanges within the "marketplace of ideas." Creative individuals may commence sharing and exchanging their creativity outside the "jurisdiction" of conventional "civilized" institutions established for brokering such exchanges, and instead plant the seeds for, and nurture the growth of organic "post-civilized" alternatives to such institutions.

Choices: people make them all the time, either consciously or unconsciously; either intentionally, deliberately, purposefully; or on the basis of unconscious habit, and in response to conditioning via mass media, schools, churches, and national, ethnic, or family traditions. The basis of one's choices is also a choice. One may, if one so chooses, make an analysis of the general basis of one's choices, in every domain of one's life; and make deliberately considered changes in those areas which one evaluates as worth the effort. Every individual is constantly flooded with opportunities for change in large and small ways; yet change is never accomplished without effort, and it is therefore incumbent upon each individual to decide upon the trade-offs between the effort required by potential changes, and the benefits to be gained thereby. Those who make prudent choices – or "guess right" in a sufficient number of experiments – may gradually position themselves favorably for a relatively "smooth transition" into "post-civilization."

[Return to contents of this section.]

A "Post-Civilized" Myth About Reality
Given that quantum theory discloses that so-called "objective reality" amounts after all to a myth, because whatever reality is can only be partially described in terms of complementary pairs of properties mutually exclusive of observation; it therefore falls to us – we who inhabit it – to fabricate for ourselves plausible, constructive myths about the nature of reality. Whether our myths about reality are true or not, may turn out to be of less importance to us, practically, than whether they are constructive to our lives, and to the life of our planet, or not. I propose the following elements, possibly among others, for incorporation into a candidate "post-civilized" myth about reality:

[Return to contents of this section.]

The idea of ubiquitous self-similarity throughout reality may not be necessitated by empirical evidence; nor is it, I believe, contradicted by the evidence. It does have a great deal of intuitive appeal, and facilitates an elegantly simplified myth which is nevertheless able to accommodate limitless complexity. As succinctly summed up by the alchemists of another age, As above, so below; as below, so above.

The principle of self-similarity is well illustrated in many fractal images, such as the Mandelbrot Set used to illustrate II.1. A Post-Civilized Creation Myth; in which the same or similar complex forms appear repeatedly at multiple scales, often slightly or greatly modified. Applied to reality, self-similarity suggests that principles operative at the quantum scale may have their analogs at many or all scales. An example is the principle of complementarity, discovered at the quantum scale, yet evident at the human scale, and other scales accessible to human observation.

Interpreted more broadly, the principle of self-similarity suggests that the wave properties observed in statistical analysis of large numbers of quanta, such as photons or electrons, may also be observable in statistical analysis of large numbers of people, or populations of microbes, or operational neural networks within living brains. An example that springs to mind is the familiar image of waves of wheat stirred by a fresh breeze. Wave patterns are also observable at times in aerial views of rush-hour traffic. Additional examples may suggest themselves.

Conversely, the emergent phenomenon of metaconsciousness, which spontaneously emerges at all scales and domains in which conditions of richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty prevail, may be imagined via the principle of self-similarity to pervade the quantum scale, which links together all of Cosmos in a network of unimaginably fine mesh, in which information of endless richness and variety is possibly in constant instantaneous exchange among countless complementary pairs of parts and wholes, everywhere.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Cosmological Scale Expansion
The Scale Expanding Cosmos (SEC), under development by C. Johan Masreliez,7 is a recently proposed alternative to the Big Bang (BB), or the Standard Cosmological Model (SCM). The main feature of the Scale Expanding Cosmos is the deceptively simple idea that the expansion of the universe is such that "The universe expands in space and time rather than just in space."8 That is, the expansion of the universe involves the expansion of the three coordinates of space, x, y, and z, such that "centimeters and inches are getting longer;" and the single coordinate of time, t, such that "seconds and minutes are getting longer" too, at the same or complementary rates of expansion. For beings such as ourselves, who inhabit this expanding universe, the expansion of space-time is not immediately obvious, because all instruments for measuring the expansion are themselves expanding at the same rate, and so register no measurable change. It is necessary to look deep into intergalactic space for evidence of the SEC; and it is there to be found. It can even be found in the interplanetary space of the inner Solar System; but you have to know what to look for, and how to interpret what you find. Such confirming evidence may already have been observed, and noted, yet not recognized as indicating a Scale Expanding Cosmos.

The Standard Cosmological Model, in contrast, has the three coordinates of space expanding, but not the fourth coordinate of time. The differences between these two theories have profound logical consequences, and are subject to test in the crucible of observation.

The observational and logical basis for the Standard Cosmological Model is that, in view of the evidence that the universe is expanding, as predicted by General Relativity, and confirmed by the cosmological redshift discovered by Edwin Hubble early in the 20th century, cosmologists have been led to the surmise that if galaxies and extra-galactic objects are receding from each other at velocities proportional to the distances between them (Hubble's law), they must at one time have been very much closer together than they are observed to be now. This led in turn to an extrapolation backwards in time to an imagined point of convergence at which all the matter and energy in the universe must have emerged from a singularity – a dimensionless point of infinite density, out of which everything suddenly emerged in a... "Big Bang!" This Big Bang creation event is believed by contemporary cosmologists to lie approximately 12 to 14 billion (1.2-1.4 × 1010) years in the past. Before the Big Bang, there wasn't anything, because that is evidently how everything got started. This, in a nutshell, is the Standard Cosmological Model prevalent among cosmologists throughout the world today.

Perhaps the most at once simple and profound philosophical objection to the Standard Cosmological Model is its incomprehensible assumption that there is any imaginable way for everything to have been "caused by," or to have "emerged from" nothing. Then there is the corollary principle that everything with a beginning also has an end. The SCM offers no reply to the first; and its corollary is in fact one of the predictions of the Standard Cosmological Model. The SCM view of the remote future is one or the other of two possibilities: a) that as the universe continues to expand and attenuate, distances between galaxies will lengthen, their stars will eventually consume their fuel and go out, and the final state of the present universe will be a cold "heat death" in which all the matter and remaining energy in the universe will be thinly and homogeneously distributed, and nothing resembling life will be possible anywhere; or alternatively b) that the mass density of the present universe is sufficient to slow the universe's expansion to an eventual standstill, at which point all the matter in the universe will reverse direction and begin falling into its common gravitational center, and end in a "Big Crunch" (or "Gnab Gib"), symmetrical counterpart to the "Big Bang." Nobody really likes this idea, for after all, what's to like about it? As physicist Steven Weinberg has remarked, "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless."

Unfortunately, like it or not, the clincher for the BB was that, implausible and unappealing as it might appear, nobody could come up with a more plausible explanation as to how all this stuff – atoms, and planets, and solar systems, and galaxies, etc. – came to be here, expanding all over the place, and filling space for as far as anyone can see.

Well, in fact there have been competitive theories, most notably the Steady State theory, developed by Sir Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi, and others; which proposed the constant creation of new matter out of the vacuum at a rate "just right" to fill the vacant space among receding galaxies, and maintain the average density of the universe perpetually at a steady state. The universe would not have had to create much new matter to achieve this balance. A few hundred brand-new atoms of hydrogen per year per galaxy should about do it. If the entire universe could have emerged instantaneously out of the vacuum in a Big Bang, surely a few hundred new atoms could plausibly be squeezed out of a galaxy each year? Thus the Steady State theory obviated the troublesome necessity, otherwise, for a Big Bang, or a temporally-identified creation event – or a converse terminal event of any description. It ran into troubles of its own, however, with the discovery at Bell Labs in the 1960s, predicted by the Big Bang theory, of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. The Steady State theory didn't have a plausible explanation for the Cosmic Microwave Background, and so in spite of its philosophical appeal, lost credibility among most cosmologists.9

Now comes the Scale Expanding Cosmos theory, and the Big Bang suddenly has another competitor – and maybe the universe isn't pointless, after all! There is an elegant simplicity about the SEC which is very appealing, and which seems to explain observable phenomena much more tidily than does the laboring and increasingly strained and patched-up Big Bang theory. Perhaps the most formidable obstacle to widespread acceptance of the Scale Expanding Cosmos, in spite of its intuitive appeal, is the enormous investment over the past 80 years that has been poured into fleshing out the details of the Standard Cosmological Model. One can see the thing from the point of view of those whose scientific careers have been founded and built upon exploration of the details and implications of the SCM. An interested party in the matter would not willingly abandon the SCM without some very compelling reasons for doing so. Let us look a little more closely at the SEC, and see if we can discover any such reasons.

Perhaps the most surprising fact about the scale of the universe is that the universe exhibits no "preference" for any particular scale at all. The four-dimensional space-time universe works just as well, in other words, if say, an apple, were the size of a pea, or the size of the Earth, instead of the size it is – provided everything else, including time, is similarly scaled in equal proportion. The same is true of time: if an hour in a universe of a different scale than ours were the length of a minute here, or a year, and all else in that imaginary space-time were scaled proportionately, then all other things being equal, one could discover no obvious difference between such a universe and ours. The equations for General Relativity work just as well describing one such universe as another of a different scale. Thus the observable universe may be said to be cosmologically "scale invariant," or "scale equivalent."10 This makes sense, because if the universe did have a preference for a particular space-time scale over all others, such a preference must somehow have been established "outside" of the universe – which entails a contradiction in terms. There is nothing "outside" the universe, if the universe is defined as encompassing "All That Is."

Now, since such shifts of scale are theoretically possible, what if they were actually occurring in our universe? As already mentioned, if such were the case, it would not be obvious, because everything, from atoms to galaxies – including all tape measures, clocks, and measuring instruments of every kind, and the humans making measurements with them – would be changing scale in perfect synchrony with everything else; so it would require very keen observation indeed to notice that any change was taking place at all. Yet there would be profound consequences in such a scenario, and at least some of those consequences are predictable and observably verifiable, or falsifiable.

If the universe were expanding continuously, then it would come into conflict with General Relativity. However, we have already seen that in the quantum theory, which pervades the universe, motion does not occur continuously, but in "quantum leaps," of a very fine granularity.11 If the expansion of the universe were to occur similarly in incremental steps, a tiny bit each second, and General Relativity were slightly modified to describe such incremental expansion, then there could exist a comfortable fit between cosmological scale expansion and General Relativity.12

A surprising artifact of the Scale Expanding Cosmos is its prediction of a cosmological redshift – but for an entirely different reason than that predicted by the Big Bang. The Big Bang is largely based upon Edwin Hubble's observation that the light spectra from distant galaxies are shifted toward the long, or red frequencies of the spectrum, and that the extent of this redshift is proportional to the galaxies' distance from the Solar System, from which the redshift is being observed. The redshift observed by Hubble was interpreted as a Doppler effect, whereby frequencies originating from a moving source are apparently "stretched" in wavelength when the observed source is moving away, and are apparently "compressed" in wavelength when the source is moving toward the observer. When the source is emitting light, the light appears to be shifted toward the long end of the spectrum if it is moving away from the observer, and toward the short end of the spectrum if it is moving toward the observer.

An analogous effect is observable in approaching and receding sound sources, such as a train sounding its whistle as it approaches and passes by a stationary observer: the whistle seems to lower in pitch as the train passes by. The cosmological redshift observed by astronomers is similarly interpreted to mean that the light from distant galaxies is Doppler shifted toward the red because the galaxies are moving away from the Solar System; and Hubble established that the extent of this redshift is proportional to the distance between us and the distant galaxies. That is, the farther away a galaxy is, the more pronounced its redshift, and the faster it is interpreted to be moving away from us. This effect is observable in any direction we look, and implies a steady density attenuation among extra-galactic objects moving away from each other throughout space-time. The theoretical absolute "horizon" of the universe is thus established by the radius at which extra-galactic objects are moving away at the speed of light, and the frequency of their light is therefore "stretched flat" and can no longer be observed by us at any frequency.

The Scale Expanding Cosmos also predicts a cosmological redshift – not because galaxies are moving appreciably relative to one another, but because the scale of Cosmos itself is expanding. That is, the distance between galaxies is increasing at the same rate the galaxies themselves (and the atoms of which the galaxies are composed) are expanding, so the relative distance between them remains measurably unchanged. As we observe objects at increasing depths in space-time, we are actually observing light that has been moving toward us for an extended duration; during which space has steadily (in incremental "ticks") been expanding. What we are seeing, therefore, as we peer deeply into Cosmos, is "tired light" which has been steadily losing energy over the course of its journey to us from its distant sources; because the expansion of space absorbs energy. When photons lose energy, they do not slow down, because they always travel at the speed of light: instead, they lower their frequency, or shift toward the red end of the spectrum – which is exactly what we observe as we examine distant galaxies, in every direction we look.

Another, even more surprising artifact of the Scale Expanding Cosmos, related to the phenomenon of "tired light," is its prediction of cosmic drag; which also follows from the expansion of the metrics of space. If space is expanding, and "inches are getting longer," then objects in constant motion at velocities less than the speed of light are gradually slowing down in relation to the expanding space metric. One result of this prediction – which should be observable, if measured with excruciating care, based upon correct assumptions – is that the trajectories of bodies in orbit should be gradually spiraling inward, toward their primaries, with a corresponding shortening of the rate at which such bodies complete their orbits. That is, as Earth, for example, spirals gradually nearer the Sun, the length of the sidereal year (the length of a year, as measured against the background stars) should be growing incrementally shorter; because Earth, at incrementally lower orbits around the Sun completes its annual circuit in incrementally shorter spans of time. This in-fall / angular acceleration does not amount to a great deal: Masreliez calculates that Earth is drifting Sun-ward at a rate of about 25 meters / year, and has an angular acceleration of about three arcseconds per century per century (3"/cy2).13

Similarly, were it not for the angular momentum Earth's Moon acquires from tidal slowing of Earth's rotation, the Moon too might be approaching Earth along a spiral trajectory of incrementally diminishing radius. As it is, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth – but at a significantly slower rate than that predicted by the standard theory, which by extrapolation has the Moon and Earth in physical contact about 1.5 billion years ago. However, the biological and geological evidence do not support this. The Scale Expanding theory instead places the Moon and Earth in close juxtaposition about five or six billion years ago, around the time the Earth / Moon system may have been forming; which agrees much more comfortably with existing physical evidence.14 Additionally, there may be evidence for the gradual planetary approach to the Sun in mysterious and so far unexplained minute discrepancies between measured and predicted orbits of the inner planets, particularly since such measurement procedures began incorporating extremely precise atomic clocks, beginning in 1955.15 This is an intricate discussion, addressed at length in Masreliez, 2006, "5. Pioneer anomaly, planetary position discrepancies and a Moon mystery," pp. 27-32; and in Masreliez, 2000, "Chapter 5: Evidence of Expanding Spacetime Close to Home," pp. 69-83.

Farther afield, the Standard Cosmological Model has not been successful in modeling the observed relative velocities and shapes of galaxies. Everywhere we look, galaxies exhibit velocities in relation to one another of small fractions of the speed of light; whereas if Cosmos originated in a Big Bang, galaxies would be expected to be moving through space at every conceivable velocity relative to one another. The Scale Expanding theory explains this discrepancy with cosmic drag due to expansion of the space metric; wherein relative motion over time tends to be dampened and approach a limiting stasis. This limit might be viewed as in some ways analogous to the terminal velocity achieved by freely falling bodies in Earth's atmosphere. The analogy is only partial, however, because the limiting stasis among galaxies produced by cosmic drag tends toward zero relative motion, whereas terminal velocity in the atmosphere is achieved when acceleration due to gravity is balanced by the atmospheric resistance of the falling body. Thus terminal velocity is not the same for a snowflake as for a cannon ball.

Cosmic DragAlso as mentioned, the Standard Cosmological Model has not been successful in accounting for the observed shapes of spiral galaxies, on the basis of standard assumptions about gravity and the preservation of angular momentum. Evidently, there is some unseen mechanism at work whereby the angular momentum of the stars in the galactic arms is somehow shed, drawing them incrementally nearer the galactic hub. In the schematic diagram sketching the geometric shape of two spiral galactic arms, along which lie points a to f, and a' to f', the object at a (or a'), is by some means caused to lose velocity and drop to incrementally lower orbits, such as that occupied by the objects at b and b'. The new orbit of a lower velocity is also of a shorter radius, so objects at b and b' actually complete their orbits more quickly than do objects at a and a', even though the b and b' objects are not moving at as high a velocity as are the a and a' objects. That is, the objects at a, a', and so on, are following nearly circular orbits around the galactic hub, as indicated by the evenly spaced concentric circles. Because these objects are continuously losing angular momentum, they gradually slip into incrementally lower orbits, slightly overtaking objects in higher orbits. Because a galaxy is composed of a great many objects under similar conditions, these tend to gravitate into the wheeling spiral-shaped arms typical of galactic geometry. In the Standard Cosmological Model, "Dark Matter" has been postulated in attempts to explain this, but so far no such hypothesis has been able to account plausibly for the shapes of spiral galaxies. The Scale Expanding Cosmos again invokes cosmic drag to account for the loss of angular momentum, and to model the shapes of spiral galaxies, and has been successful at producing simulations very close to the shapes of observed galaxies.16

Confirmation of cosmic drag would also clarify a long-standing puzzle that both Newton and Einstein grappled with, and remains a mystery today. Newton observed a spinning bucket of water, noting that its surface becomes concave in response to centrifugal force. How does the bucket "know" that it is spinning, Newton wondered, and in reference to what, outside the bucket, is the water deforming its shape from that it displays at rest? Einstein imagined an entirely empty universe, with the exception of a single object: a sphere of liquid water held together by gravitational forces. He questioned whether, if this sphere were spinning, its spherical shape would be deformed by centrifugal force into that of an oblate spheroid, or would it remain perfectly round? And if the former, in relation to what (in an otherwise empty universe) would it be spinning?

A related mystery concerns the phenomenon of inertia, whereby acceleration, but not steady motion in a straight line, is invariably associated with an unmistakable force similar to gravity. When a vehicle, for instance, accelerates from a standing stop, or rounds a corner at speed, passengers and driver are thrust back in their seats, or are tugged in the direction of the outside of the turn. In relation to what are these forces being applied? That is, when one is moving through space at a constant velocity in a straight line, if there are no windows, the sensation is indistinguishable from being at rest. Yet at rest, or in motion, if the speed or direction changes – which is what is meant by acceleration – one immediately experiences a force, indistinguishable from gravity, in response and proportion to the acceleration. In reference to what is this force being exerted?

The implication of these questions is that there must somehow exist, in addition to and apart from, the combined matter and energy in the universe, some kind of absolute frame of reference, in relation to which acceleration and spin may be measured. This reasoning led to the concept of the "ether," an invisible medium that fills Cosmos, in reference to which absolute motion may be plotted. The ether has been debated down the centuries and decades, from Newton's day to this, and Einstein's views on it were ambivalent, and changed over the course of his lifetime.17

The Scale Expanding Cosmos, by predicting cosmic drag, provides the basis for an inertial frame of reference for all Cosmos: it is the frame in which all relative velocities tend toward zero. It was mentioned above that, contrary to expectations implied by the Big Bang, galaxies in all directions are moving at very small fractions of the speed of light relative to one another, and in the SEC this is attributed to cosmic drag, the slowing down of bodies in motion due to space expansion over time. By this means, a Cosmic frame of reference for inertia and centrifugal force emerges throughout Cosmos, as an essential property of Cosmic Scale Expansion; and a 300-year-old mystery may finally have a solution.

We mentioned earlier that "The Steady State theory didn't have a plausible explanation for the Cosmic Microwave Background, and so in spite of its philosophical appeal, lost credibility among most cosmologists." This invites the obvious question, What is the Scale Expanding Cosmos explanation for the Cosmic Microwave Background? which is addressed by Masreliez in "Scale Expanding Cosmos Theory – II: Cosmic Drag," in an Appendix titled, "AGN activities may explain the Cosmic Microwave Background."18

Here, "AGN" refers to the active galactic nuclei observed in some galaxies to emit bursts of energy into surrounding space. Active galactic nuclei are an important mechanism in the Scale Expanding Cosmos, because they may account for the fact that galaxies apparently maintain a nearly steady state over great expanses of time, in spite of the constant spiraling into the galactic core, due to cosmic drag, of matter originating in the galactic arms. If galaxies did not maintain a very nearly steady state over time, we would expect to observe a great many more galactic geometries than we do as we gaze about us through the depths of space-time.

An imaginary "hybrid" cosmological theory consisting of elements of both the Scale Expanding Cosmos and the Standard Cosmological Model might try to account for the evident "absorption" of matter falling into the galactic cores by imagining the presence there of black holes: hypothetical singularities of infinite density swallowing up the constant stream of in-falling matter originating in the galactic arms. However, the formation of black holes is evidently prohibited by the dynamics of the Scale Expanding Cosmos.19 Therefore, the SEC requires an alternative mechanism for accounting for the steady flow of mass entering galactic cores, yet not accumulating there beyond the nearly constant mass of the typical bulge at the hub of spiral galaxies. This mechanism is suggested to be the periodic bursts, or possibly continuous radiation into intergalactic space, of matter and energy from active galactic nuclei.

Masreliez notes that one of the differences between the Scale Expanding Cosmos and the Standard Cosmological Model is that the Planck black body spectrum is preserved in the expansion of the former, but not in that of the latter; with the consequence that the observed Cosmic Microwave Background can be accounted for in the SEC as "thermalization of existing electromagnetic radiation from various sources in the universe." In the SCM, this is not possible, because the Planck black body spectrum is not preserved, "and the observed CMB spectrum cannot arise spontaneously. This has justified the assumption that the CMB initially was emitted as black body radiation at a very high temperature after the big bang and since then has cooled down with the spatial expansion."20

Masreliez claims that observed galactic geometries can be accounted for by the assumption that 10% to 15% of the galactic mass falls into the galactic core per Hubble time (which is interpreted in the Standard Cosmological Model to be the "age of the universe" since the Big Bang, on the basis of extrapolation backwards in time of the observable expansion attributed to the Doppler redshift). Therefore, if periodic and / or continuous action of active galactic nuclei may be assumed for all galaxies, and accounts for the ejection of 10% to 15% of galactic mass per Hubble time; and if 5% to 8% of this mass ejection takes the form of electromagnetic radiation, Masreliez calculates that, factoring in the attenuation of the Cosmic Microwave Background attributable to cosmic drag, the observed CMB might plausibly be explained by the combined action of active galactic nuclei throughout the Scale Expanding Cosmos.21 If so, this would very tidily solve at once two difficulties encountered by the Standard Cosmological Model, a) accounting for observed spiral galactic geometries, and b) accounting for the Cosmic Microwave Background.

There is a great deal more to the Scale Expanding Cosmos than can possibly be touched upon here – much of it incorporating advanced mathematical arguments beyond the scope of a discussion such as this one. It addresses exotic phenomena like quasars and black holes, of which we have barely hinted – "and much, much more!" Although the SEC presents a formidable challenge to the Standard Cosmological Model, which may not be welcomed by those who have devoted their careers to fleshing out the details of the SCM, it must remain a nonnegotiable principle of scientific inquiry that the theory which best explains observed and experimental phenomena must ultimately take priority over those which are less able to account for observation. This is the court of final appeal in science, and it is not a respecter of persons, credentials, or reputations. Although the SEC has not yet been "officially sanctioned" by the peer review scientific community, if it has genuine merit, this may be expected in due course. Meanwhile, the Scale Expanding Cosmos may have the potential for providing the cosmological basis for a very appealing, uplifting and plausible myth about reality. This of course would cease to obtain, were serious observational evidence brought forward which contradicts the SEC. As of this writing, however, no argument has emerged in rebuttal of the Scale Expanding Cosmos.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Panspermia, literally "seeds everywhere," is an idea about the origin of life on Earth first proposed by the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras in the fifth century BCE, and later revived by such theorists as Hermann von Helmholtz in 1879; Svante Arrhenius in 1903; and more recently by Sir Fred Hoyle, and Chandra Wickramasinghe.22

In its more contemporary versions, the myth of panspermia addresses a problem faced by the Darwinian myth of evolution, which places Earth as the point of origin for biological life, by means of the natural selection of fortuitously occurring molecular-biological combinations in Earth's primordial seas. The main difficulty faced by the Darwinian model is the narrow time frame it allows for this extraordinary evolutionary development to have taken place; which I have also addressed elsewhere.23 Mainly, the Solar System, including planet Earth, are currently believed to have formed on the order of about 4.5 billion (4.5 × 109) years ago, and the planetary mass may have cooled enough by 4.2 billion years ago to permit condensation of water vapor, and formation of the primordial seas. The oldest fossilized bacterial aggregates so far discovered on Earth have been dated at 3.5 billion years old; which provides a maximum window of 700 million years during which conditions prevailed upon the planetary surface under which biological life may have been possible, and before the appearance of fossil evidence that biological life was actually present on the planet.

Now 700 million years sounds like a fairly formidable chunk of time, and to we humans it certainly is almost unimaginably vast. Yet in comparison to the proposed "task" of "accidentally" fabricating living organisms out of the inorganic matter presumably available on the virgin Earth, 700 million years begins to look like a mighty tight deadline. Here are some of the critical thresholds that, somehow, were evidently achieved during the 700 million years between the formation of the seas and the formation of the first fossil bacteria colonies:

  1. The surface of Earth cooled sufficiently to allow the condensation of liquid water out of the water vapor in the atmosphere;

  2. The spontaneous synthesis of simple organic molecules occurred, such as the 20 amino acids, and the five nucleotide bases, Guanine, Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Uracil, that form the basis for the DNA and RNA nucleic acids that make biological replication possible;

  3. The spontaneous synthesis of actual DNA and RNA occurred (including, speculatively, their possibly simpler "ancestors"), which in any case made possible the replicative process of biological evolution;

  4. The spontaneous synthesis of the first protein macromolecules occurred, which combined in the first functional living cells, whose fossils have been discovered and dated to 3.5 billion years ago.

The 3.5 billion-year-old bacterial fossils are believed to have been photosynthetic;24 which demonstrates that cellular evolution had evolved within the 700-million-year "deadline," at least to the threshold required for the "invention" of photosynthesis as the energetic means of sustaining cell replication. This requires that the macromolecule chlorophyll, among a great many other specialized proteins, must have been spontaneously synthesized, after the "groundwork" mentioned in items b and c above had already been accomplished. As discussed elsewhere,23 chlorophyll is a highly specialized protein consisting of on the order of 400 carefully sequenced amino acid residues. Chlorophyll, and all proteins required for cellular functioning, are reproduced in contemporary living cells by means of the detailed "recipe" for such molecules encoded in the elaborate system of DNA and RNA replication. Chlorophyll, and other proteins, whose amino sequences are out of order, are dysfunctional and are not able to fulfill the tasks for which they were... ah, "designed."

As previously discussed, the probability of the proper sequencing of the 400 amino acid residues required for the spontaneous emergence of a single functional chlorophyll molecule was calculated as 1 : 2.582 × 10520 against; and it was also mentioned that, "by itself a chlorophyll molecule is not capable of 'sucking energy, quantum by quantum, from the sun.' A great deal of ancillary cellular machinery must also be present, and the probability of that happening 'by accident,' we need not even discuss."23

Yes, 700 million years is a long time. But how long is it, after all, in relation to the "task" of spontaneously and "accidentally" synthesizing living cells out of the inorganic matter of a virgin planet? This is the conundrum the myth of panspermia addresses, by vastly enlarging the "window" during which biological synthesis and evolution may have occurred. If, as postulated above by Masreliez, the universe does not have a beginning in time, but is of eternal duration, and if panspermia provides a plausible and observationally verifiable explanation of the seeding of Earth and Earth-like planets with biological life, then the genesis and biological evolution of life on Earth becomes suddenly far more comprehensible than they have ever been, on the basis of the prior assumptions that the universe began a finite time-span ago, and that all biological life currently resident on Earth had its origin nowhere else than Earth.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Metaconsciousness is briefly defined as "an emergent behavior which exhibits itself in complex information-sharing systems of all kinds, and at all scales, under conditions of sufficient richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty, as a capacity for learning from experience, or its functional equivalent."25 The spontaneous tendency of metaconsciousness is to expand and evolve, and to proliferate the conditions which favor its emergence and evolution, namely richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty. As such, it constitutes the Cosmic complement to the second law of thermodynamics, defined as "the tendency for entropy to increase in closed systems." Entropy is defined as "the measure of randomness and disorder in a system." Metaconsciousness brings emergent order out of chaos; entropy invades orderly systems with chaos. Metaconsciousness manifests the Cosmic impulse for generation, growth, and creativity; entropy manifests the Cosmic impulse for disassembly, decay, and recycling. Metaconsciousness produces, shares, and proliferates information, understanding, and wisdom; entropy degrades, fragments, and isolates information, and proliferates ignorance. Together, the myth of metaconsciousness and the second law of thermodynamics may be said to be yet another complementary pair of partial descriptions of "objective reality."

The Scale Expanding Cosmos discussed above exemplifies perfect balance between such complementary Cosmic impulses in a changelessly dynamic system without beginning or end: in which the scale expansion of time produces a net energy increase, which is absorbed by the complementary scale expansion of space – resulting in a net energy change perpetually equal to zero (0). That is, viewed from the expanding time dimension, "seconds are getting longer," so dynamic systems appear to be "speeding up," or "getting warmer," or "gaining energy." Conversely, viewed from the expanding space dimension, "inches are getting longer," so dynamic systems appear to be "slowing down," or "getting cooler," or "losing energy." The sum of these two effects is zero (0) – perpetually, and the eternal SEC never has to "run down." This does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, because the Scale Expanding Cosmos is not a closed system.

In the "length and breadth" of the infinite, ageless, dynamically changeless, Scale Expanding Cosmos, there may be innumerable mechanisms for proliferating metaconsciousness; just as there are innumerable mechanisms for proliferating entropy. Here on Earth, the biological evolution of life seems to be one of the former, and if some of we humans are able to survive the human predicament, which appears to have reached its crisis stage in the approximately present moment, Homo sapiens may yet evolve into a particularly potent agent for the proliferation of metaconsciousness. If surviving humans and future generations are able to establish a stable stasis at peace, rather than war, with Earth's biological systems, and the metaconscious fabric of Life throughout the planet, then there is no reason for humanity not to continue evolving on Earth indefinitely into the future. As Earth-humans have already glimpsed, the course of such sustainable human evolution is likely to expand, sooner or later, off of planet Earth, and into the wider Cosmos.

In that eventuality, it is not unlikely that "the children of our children's children" may, sooner or later, encounter other agents for the proliferation of metaconsciousness who, like our future descendants, will have learned the secret of sustainable living in Cosmos; and so the ongoing adventure of being human may advance into currently unimaginable dimensions of social exchange at ever expanding scales.

Nearer at hand, and with even greater probability, it is likely that future humans will encounter abundant opportunities for proliferating metaconsciousness; for by the example of our own Solar System, Earth-like, life-bearing planets are probably vastly outnumbered in Cosmos by planets incapable, for various reasons, of sustaining biological and human life. The Moon hasn't an atmosphere; Mars barely has one; the atmosphere of Venus is carbon-rich, with a greenhouse effect which makes biological life there impossible; and so on. The second law of thermodynamics certifies that there are vastly more ways for a planet to be uninhabitable than ways for it to be habitable, and therefore that uninhabitable planets vastly outnumber Earth-like planets.

With human and possibly human-like agents for the proliferation of metaconsciousness at large in Cosmos, this proportion may possibly change; for "the children of our children's children" may discover uninhabitable planets with the potential for sustaining life – and "terraform" them, and deliberately seed them from the rich biological diversity of the Home Planet. They may even discover – who knows? practically anything imaginable is possible in an ageless, dynamically changeless, Scale Expanding Cosmos – that this is the very mechanism whereby Earth, a long time ago, came to harbor an evolving proliferation of biological life, and eventually, humans as well; and that "the children of our children's children" are simply bestowing the gift of Life where it had previously not been present, as had once been done on Earth, making their lives, and yours, and mine, possible. By such means, the rare gems of biologically habitable Earth-like planets may eventually proliferate across the universe, and come into much more equitable proportion, numerically, with uninhabitable planets unlike Earth. Indeed, in an ageless, dynamically changeless, Scale Expanding Cosmos, this may already have happened.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Whatever it is, Cosmos is. It exists; and it is what it is. It works. It may be that it is what it is because it cannot possibly be anything else. This speculation lies entirely in the domain of myth, because in order to know this with certainty, one would have to view "All That Is" from "outside," and see it Whole; and as mentioned at the outset, where would one be then?

There may be any number of ways, potentially, for Cosmos to be; or, there may be only one way: the way it is. In either case, it works, is sustainable, and sustains Life, and all else that may be found within it – presumably, on the basis of Cosmological Scale Expansion, forever, without beginning or end. In such a cosmos, everything found within it is necessary – not in the rigid, linear sense that implies brittleness and inflexibility, but in a fluid, dynamic, and multidimensional sense in which every detail of "What Is" plays a vital and participatory part in "how it is."

At an earlier stage of my life there was a period during which I was a seaman aboard a ship, which was an entirely new and novel experience for me. I remember looking around my new surroundings, and reflecting that every detail of the ship, every fitting, cleat, turnbuckle, line, pulley, and davit, had a very explicit and carefully thought-out purpose; many of which were obvious; others of which I never did learn, because I never saw them put to use while I was a member of the crew.

Analogously, perhaps, the unexpected discovery in 1937 of the μ- meson, or "muon," which turned out to be indistinguishable from an electron, except that a muon is about 200 times more massive than an electron, is said to have wrenched the anguished cry, "Who ordered that?" from physicist I.I. Rabi, because the muon didn't seem to have any purpose or place in the scheme then understood of the subatomic particles.26 Whether the purpose of the μ- meson was subsequently worked out, I never learned either; yet I feel confident, as I had earlier aboard ship, that every feature of Cosmos occupies a necessary place within it, whether I, or my fellow humans "understand" it or not; and that there is some vital purpose for the presence of μ- mesons in the eternally uncoiling spiral of Cosmos – as there is for your presence, and for mine. In Cosmos, there is nothing extra, nothing missing, ever.

Naturally, this is of the substance of myth; is an article of faith, or personal bias, and can neither be verified nor falsified in the domains of experiment or observation. Yet it too seems to be a vital component of a "post civilized" mythology for a race of humans intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually equipped to have a long-term part in the evolution of Cosmos. Where that evolution has been, and where it may eventually go, in an ageless, dynamically changeless, Scale Expanding Cosmos, is perhaps less important than the immediately present opportunity it affords you, and me, right here, right now, and "the children of our children's children," forever, to experience it.

[Return to contents of this section.]

Thus, self-similarity, cosmological scale expansion, panspermia, metaconsciousness, and necessity, among possibly others, may be viable components for a plausible, and psychologically and socially constructive "post-civilized" myth about our origins, and our part in the perpetual unfolding of "objective reality." Such a "post-civilized" myth could go, briefly, something like this:

  1. The Scale Expanding Cosmos has always been, and will always be, changelessly dynamic, ever expanding, yet always the same: the perpetually impenetrable mystery of perpetual being. The origin of biological Life within Cosmos is, like Cosmos itself, a complementary impenetrable mystery: there is Life, and there is Cosmos, in which Life is at liberty to evolve. So it is, was, and ever shall be. It is mysterious, it is metaconscious, and it works.

  2. About 3½ billion years ago, possibly seeded "accidentally," or possibly "deliberately," from preexisting sources elsewhere, Life emerged in the seas of a small planet near the core of a recently formed solar system in one of the outer spiral arms of one of innumerable already ancient galaxies. The planet was later named Earth by some of the life forms that developed there – or whose ancestors had possibly colonized the planet, or were eventually transplanted there.

  3. The course of biological evolution on nascent Earth, though unique, was also a widely familiar pattern, being common to similar planets salted throughout the Galaxy, and throughout Cosmos, essentially forever. The emergence or seeding of genus Homo on the planet was a development of particular interest to other members of the genus residing elsewhere, who had taken the evolutionary path to becoming human during earlier epochs. As contemporary human parents on Earth take a lifelong interest in the careers of their own children, so the progenitors of the first humans to appear on Earth were ever afterward vigilant observers of the course of human events on Earth.

  4. The evolutionary path of genus Homo was familiar, and known to those who had already taken it, to be fraught with peril. Many who had set forth upon the path to humanity had perished along the way; for genus Homo is innately endowed with a combination of capabilities unique among biological species – such as bipedal locomotion, exquisitely engineered hands with opposable thumbs, stereoscopic vision, large brains, the vocal apparatus for intelligible speech, and an innate facility for cooperative social interaction. All of these qualities, with the possible exception of opposable thumbs, are found among other biological species, yet only in humans are all of them combined.

  5. One critical test for evolving Earth-humanity – before passing which Earth-humans may not be said to be fully human, or viable in Cosmos – is one all initiated humans must pass in one form or another. On Earth, it took the form humans have called "civilization," or more particularly, dominator civilization. It was prompted by the fact that, given the unique combination of capabilities that make humans human, there exists on any planet they occupy no possible mechanism for curbing the scope of human ambition, regardless of the direction it may eventually take. This is the critical hazard inherent to being human, and it requires that humans themselves develop the conscious skill of sustained harmony and balance with the living web which sustains all life on the planets they inhabit; and without which they cannot live at all.

  6. The critical point of this evolutionary path, which eventually decides whether a particular planetary human race will or will not take its place among its Cosmic peers, has been reached by Earth-humans in the generation now living upon planet Earth. It remains shortly to be seen whether or not Earth-humanity achieves viability as a fully human race in Cosmos.

To me, this, or something like it, is a vastly more satisfying and plausible myth than the one I was given at birth: that is, that my birth was an arbitrary and purposeless product of an accidental process that momentarily emerged in a mindless and pointless universe, which was itself the product of an incalculably improbable and inexplicable explosion of something out of nothing, whose eventual sequel is either an inevitable "heat death," or a cataclysmic "big crunch." The ultimate significance, meaning, and purpose of any life lived in such a universe, no matter how creative, magnificent, or sublime, and no matter how long the interval of time between "Beginning" and "End," must eventually amount to zero, zip, nada; and may as well never have been lived at all.

What we believe – our myths about the nature of reality – have a very considerable impact upon how we live our lives, the decisions we make, and even upon what we actually see, hear, smell, touch, and taste as we experience the world around us. They color every facet of the conduct of our daily lives, individually, and collectively, in great and small ways, everywhere, always; because they color the choices we make, the experiments we conduct, from moment to moment, every day of our lives. That is why I suggest careful consideration and cultivation of discerning insight in evaluating our myths.

The good news is that all our myths about reality are supported by a maximum – and in practice, by a great deal less than ½ of the complementary partial descriptions potentially available to us of reality. This gives each of us rich latitude for legitimately and plausibly choosing and deliberately shaping our myths in ways calculated to encourage healthful, peaceful, sustainable, comfortable relationships with one another, with our fellow biological planetary inhabitants, and with Cosmos at large. Thus the "solution" to the human predicament is, finally, actually in the hands of each one of us. This is a circumstance for which we may each be appropriately, and profoundly, thankful.


1. Quoted by Heinz R. Pagels, The Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature, A Bantam New Age Book, Bantam Books, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland, 1982, 1983.

2. Discussed in What I Mean by Myth, in the Prologue; and in section II.4. In view of the discussion below of the Big Bang Myth in the sub-subsection on Cosmological Scale Expansion, not everyone may agree with me that Cosmos is self-evidently infinite. However, it seems intuitively plausible to me that if the so-called "Big-Bang Universe" is effectively finite, it is likely to have peers – innumerable other "Big Bang Universes" – scattered throughout an effectively infinite "universe of universes," or what I call Cosmos with a capital C, or "All That Is." For wherever one finds one (1) of anything, there are bound to be multitudes like it, be they atoms, seeds, stars, galaxies, or finite universes.

3. Discussed in Heisenberg May Have Slept Here, section I.4.

4. This is by no means a new development. The life of Nikola Tesla, 1856 to 1943, doubtless the most gifted and prolific inventor to have emerged in human history, is illustrative; and is brought to life in Tad Wise's biographical novel, Tesla, Turner Publishing, Inc., Atlanta, 1994.

5. For example, in Why You Should Listen to Me, in the Prologue; and Dominator and Partnership Civilizations, in section I.8; and The Wider Dimensions of Warfare, Warfare and Predation, and The Games of Life, and "Win all the Marbles", in section II.3.

6. For example, see I.6. The Hacker Tribe in the domain of software development.

7. C. Johan Masreliez, "Does Cosmological Scale Expansion Explain the Universe?", Physics Essays, March, 2006; The Expanding Spacetime Theory: A Coherent World View from Quantum Theory to Cosmology, Nu, Inc., Corvallis, Oregon, 2000 [].

8. Masreliez, 2000, p. ix.

9. The issue of the Cosmic Microwave Background is further elaborated below, but reading the intervening paragraphs first is recommended.

10. Masreliez, 2006, p. 3.

11. The Beginning of "Quantum Weirdness", in section I.4.

12. Masreliez, 2006, pp. 5-6.

13. Masreliez, 2000, p. 69. An arcsecond (1") is 1/3600th of a degree; 360° = 1,296,000" = a single orbit of the Sun. The mean distance between Earth and the Sun is 9.289 × 107 miles = 1.496 × 1011 meters = one astronomical unit (1 AU).

14. Ibid., p. 82.

15. Masreliez, 2006, p. 29.

16. Ibid., pp. 20-5.

17. C. Johan Masreliez, "On the Origin of Inertial Force," Apeiron, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2006, pp. 44-5.

18. C. Johan Masreliez, "Scale Expanding Cosmos Theory – II: Cosmic Drag," Apeiron, Vol. 11, No. 4, October 2004; particularly in Appendix 2, "AGN activities may explain the Cosmic Microwave Background," pp. 28-9.

19. C. Johan Masreliez, "Scale Expanding Cosmos Theory III – Gravitation," Apeiron, Vol. 11, No. 4, October 2004, pp. 46-8.

20. Masreliez, October 2004a, p. 28.

21. Loc. Cit., p. 29.

22. Panspermia, in the Wikipedia.

23. See a portion of my essay, Preemptive Use of Force, dated 15 February 2004, for a critique of the "evolution by accident" biological model.

24. Narrow time window for geogenesis, in the Wikipedia.

25. What I Mean by Metaconsciousness, in the Prologue. See also Elements of the Myth of Metaconsciousness in section I.11 for a more comprehensive synopsis of the meaning of metaconsciousness.

26. Pagels, 1982, 1983, pp. 215-6.

Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
II.4 | Contents | II.6