Harald Jezek

Owner, Nuada beauty+wellness

This conversation is closed.

Why is there something rather than nothing ?

We usually live our lives without much thinking about why we or anything that surrounds us actually exist.
However, once in a while we can't bust ask ourselves the age old question why is there something at all rather than nothing ?
Where did all the stuff come from ? Why is it here ? is there any purpose to it ? Why is the universe governed by a very specific set of laws rather than another one ?
I don't expect a resolution to this question but feel free to share your thoughts.

  • thumb
    Apr 16 2014: EXTREMELY existential questions. Those questions form the very basis of religious beliefs. For all we know purposive-ness may just be an illusion. Why do we even think of this things? Can we not just accept things to be like they are just because? Why do we exist at all? And it only gets worse... WAY worse. Lets have a cursory exploration of the three fields that people tend to gather behind to answer such questions.

    SCIENCE!
    The worlds seems to be pretty mundane and 'normal'. We could go about our whole lives with nothing but our 'common sense'. But is it? The more advanced our instruments, and the more extravagant our theories become, more and more incredibly 'un-common sensical' the universe seems to become. Why is there more matter than anti-matter? What is dark matter and dark energy? If the law of entropy states that things tend to eventually become chaos, then why is there order in the first place? Is there no law of order to counteract this? How exactly does energy become mass when we travel? So you mean to say that gravity is nothing but moving space? So space moves?! Are we a wave or a particle? What is energy? etc.. etc...

    PHILOSOPHY!!
    If my truth is different than your truth, then how do we know which? Is there even a truth? On a similar note, is there even a reality? If all proofs must have a basis, then where did all proofs begin? If everything has a cause, then what was the first cause? What caused that cause? How do you proof that? How do you prove your proof? Am I really supposed to believe that because I can think, it is proof of my existence? Am I even conscious? What is consciousness? Is it in the brain somehow or somewhere else? Another dimension maybe?

    RELIGION!!!
    All I can say about religion, is that it is uneducated philosophy. I myself am a Roman Catholic, but come on lets face it. Religion I think is made to jump over the bridge that we call logic. It may or it may not be truth, but its conclusions are definitely ill supported. "By God!"
    • thumb
      Apr 16 2014: Hi Ariel, great points. I agree with you and the division into scientific, philosophical and religious views.
      So what do you think: should we even ask this question or is it a pointless question ?
      Is it even possible to answer such a question ?
      People in general hate questions that can't be answered. Is that where religion comes into the game ? Trying to answer those questions, outside the rigorous framework of science ?
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: i don't think that there is such a thing as a pointless question. we don't know if we can ever arrive to any answer unless we try. that i think is what separates the 'genius' from the not, the recognition of the things that we don't know.
        i think religion kicks in when the explanation for a phenomena is too much to understand. we don't know if its true or not, and we may never know. that is when we throw it all in the wind and lay our beliefs in faith. i have no qualms with people trying to answer things with unscientific methods. i just think that people should not be too hasty with what they think they've found, and also check with other methods if it produces the same results.
        for example, my faith was borne from a recurring statistically improbable series of events that seemed to have started when i tried being sincere with the suggested methods of prayer. i went to extremes and still the 'coincidences' keeps occurring. my scientific mind could not believe how such events could happen. i had no recourse then but to attribute it as 'miraculous'. still, i do not wish to draw conclusions yet, but this faith thing has done me nothing but good. its thus 'sensical' to keep on doing it!
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: "i have no qualms with people trying to answer things with unscientific methods"
          I suppose that depends. If a person feels better because he can answer a particular question whether through scientific or unscientific methods then I think whatever method he chooses is fine.
          However, when one pursues the truth, the rigor of science is necessary and unscientific methods don't lead anywhere.
          As to prayer, I think it works because in the end it's not different from auto suggestion (if you pray for yourself) or suggestion (if you pray for others with their knowledge).
          Where prayer usually fails, is when it is done for others without their knowledge.
          And, yes, if faith makes you fell good in whatever sense, then by any means keep doing what you are doing. The end justifies the means as long as nobody gets hurt on the way.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: Harald,

        Always question everything, including the questions.

        Otherwise we start thinking we know everything
        when, in fact, we know almost nothing
        and understand even less.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: I fully agree, sometimes even the obvious is not always as obvious as it appears ;-)
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: Ariel,

      Everything starts with axioms. Axiom: "a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true." So there!

      From these we go on to prove that we can get ourselves in all sorts of trouble. Why do we start at all? Because not starting is a non-starter. We're here, we gotta do something because it's impossible to do nothing.

      If we had named matters differently, there could be more anti-matter than matter, but we did it the other way around. What could be the matter with that? Nothing. But there is something rather than nothing, so we're stuck with all these questions ... and answers that may or may not be answers.

      So all this muddling about we do is organized chaos, or chaotic organization, whichever you prefer, because your preference doesn't change anything because there's nothing to change ... unless there is something, rather than nothing. If the law of entropy were really a law, it too would become chaotic and no longer apply or even exist, so that's what saves us, unless we exterminate ourselves.

      (continued ...)
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: (... continuation ...)

      The only way we can save ourselves is by realizing the Truth that we're all in this together ... whatever "this" is. We need to realize that we are all intimately and inextricably interconnected and interdependent because we are all there is, otherwise we wouldn't be asking these strange questions, which may or may not exist. And the only possible answer is that we should always treat each other as we ourselves would like to be treated, because there's really only one of "us" - the "I am" - and "we" are an illusion; mere aspects of the "I" that is. That's spirituality. When spirituality gets organized, codified and ritualized, then it's called religion, which is over-organized spirituality, and everything starts to become chaotic and confusing because the axes of "them" and "us" start flailing away at "us" and "them" and at the axioms of "I am" and nothing comes of it except the destruction of everything and then we're back to nothing. Except for the fact that "I am" - masquerading as "we" - is really something! I am something! And so are you.

      Everything moves, even if it's nothing, because change is the only constant, which is why it's so difficult to figure out what's true and what matters. That's why it's always okay to change your mind.

      (to be continued ... ad infinitum ...)
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: you should have spoken in reverse sentences. what you are saying fits your profile picture so well haha!
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: "That's why it's always okay to change your mind."
        Changing minds is essential in science. If we didn't change our minds, science wouldn't exist and we'd still live in caves.
        As to religion, yes it's organized spirituality (wrapped in a dogmatic framework) and spirituality in my view is just a way to deal with issues that science can't deal with.
        This whole question of why there is something rather than nothing also brings up the question of purpose. And I don't mean that in any religious sense. But is there a reason for the universe to exist (and anything beyond it if there is a beyond) ?
        We know (well we don't really know for sure) that the universe was born form a tiny point called a singularity. This is already hard to wrap the mind around, but where did the content of this singularity come from ? Or came everything into existence ex nihilo (equally difficult to wrap the maind around) ?
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: Yes, being open-minded is essential for the scientific method to function. Open-mindedness allows for changes of mind. And the scientific method is currently our best means for exploring the material aspects of the Universe.

          It is also essential to be both open-minded and open-hearted for spiritual inquiry to function. It is a misperception to see spirituality only as a way to temporarily deal with what the scientific method hasn't yet revealed for us. It is actually a way to expand our awareness into the non-material, which is a realm that science cannot explore in a meaningful way.

          Love, for example, is something we can feel, desire, need, give, yet it cannot be weighed, measured, tested in a laboratory. Yes, the methods of science can be used to investigate changes in bodily function - blood chemistry, hormones, heart function, brain activity, etc. - but these are all mechanical aspects of us that are affected by our experience of love, or by our experience of fear, which is the absence of love.

          Love is energetic, yet it doesn't seem to be part of what we understand to be the electromagnetic spectrum, even though love is often equated with or analogously explained in terms of light. Love doesn't seem to be material, yet it affects matter, at least in the form of living beings, particularly we humans. If it truly isn't material, then the scientific method, at least as we know and apply it, cannot be used to investigate love. Does that mean love isn't /real/ - that it's some hocus-pocus figment of our imaginations - that it's something that science will eventually be able to fully explain?

          The essence of spirituality is the investigation of love, including all manifestations of love: kindness, compassion, empathy, care-giving, altruism, beneficence, etc. One of my teachers said "Love is the glue that holds everything together." And he literally meant /everything/ in the Universe. Without love - attraction and bonding - there would be nothing.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: From a spiritual perspective, we are here to manifest love in all of its possible forms. That's our purpose. The ideal of religion is to provide community wherein we can mutually inspire, encourage, guide and assist each other on our individual spiritual paths. The ultimate goal of the spiritual-religious journey is harmonious unity of all the diverse manifestations in the Universe.

          Unfortunately, most religions are not practiced in a way that serves this purpose. In fact, the ways religions are practiced by those who claim to be religious, tend to result in division and separation rather than bonding in unity. That's because people are are egotistical and more inclined to become focused on their own selfish desires which blinds them to the reality that we are indeed all in this together; that we are all intimately and inextricably interconnected and interdependent; that we are all one in the essence of our being.

          When I speak of love, I mean what people often refer to as unconditional love. But that phrase is a confusing misnomer. Love is unconditional. Anything that is conditional isn't love, it's a business deal: I'll give you this if you give me that.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: Carl, I believe that science, in principal can explore any aspect of reality. True, there are many realms that we currently cant access through science, but I believe that eventually we will find scientific explanations. Some questions, although they could be in principal answered by science, might never be answered because we lack the means to explore those realms (e.g. what, if anything lies beyond the boundary of our universe).
        What is love ? it's actually something for which there is no clear cut definition. It means different things to different people and is, most likely, also experienced differently by everybody.
        We know that love relies on our body being alive. A dead body can't experience love. This means that love, is a product of our physical organism and depends on this organism. We know that the feeling of love (as well as other feelings for that matter) produces certain chemical changes in our body. So we know the feeling is a product of our organism and we also know it causes measurable and tangible effects in the organism. Why should we call that as something spiritual ?
        This is even true for religious experiences. It was shown in experiments that the electrical stimulation of certain brain areas produces religious experiences.
        What we call love is probably unique to humans and a result (only speculation) of our brain development. Bonding, attraction, empathy etc also exist in other higher animals. So probably what we call love is just a higher developed mix of such characteristics as bonding, empathy, etc.
        Love also might be something genetically programmed into us because it certainly helps to preserve our species. Imagine, without love, empathy, etc. and our technical capabilities we probably would face disaster if not destruction rather sooner than later.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2014: If science ever evolves to be able to "access" love to study it, beyond electro-chemical and physiological body responses, it will, I think, be a very different sort of science from what we currently know. And it seems to me that it will be a scientific method that embraces the non-material, meaning what we call spiritual. That doesn't mean that spirituality will be diminished by mundane explanations, but rather that science will be expanded into the mystical. The discovery of what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" is tending towards this - in spite of the fact that Einstein denied that there could possibly be such a phenomenon.

          It's easy to appeal to questions supposedly being answerable by science "in principal" when there is no way to ever demonstrate that they can be, in fact. Somehow this reminds me of the saying: "In theory, there should be no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is."

          As for love experience by non-human life forms, we do seem to be finding evidence that some animals have experiences similar to ours. I think that the more we learn and come to understand from these few examples, we will begin to better understand how to see the same in many "lower" forms of animal life.

          Even plants - trees in particular, but others, too, such as tobacco - have been found to take care of each other in ways not very dissimilar to the way we do it. They join together in unified action against common threats, the healthy ones will together nurture one that has been attacked by some outside agent. I contend that these are demonstrations of what is reasonable to classify as love. It's very anthropocentric to believe that only humans can and do experience love.

          How do you /know/ that a "dead body can't experience love?" Have you ever been dead and found yourself unable to experience love? Dead bodies certainly evoke loving responses from the living, at least for humans and elephants.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2014: Yes, electrical stimulation of certain areas of the brain produces experiences similar to spiritual experiences. That doesn't mean all spiritual experiences are just experiences of electrochemical activity in the brain. There is plenty of evidence that physical experiences produce specific brain activity AND inducing that same specific brain activity produces a physical sensation of the same thing even if it isn't actually happening. That does not negate the reality of actual physical experience.

          We do not "know the feeling is a product of our organism." What we know about is what happens in our organism in response to a feeling, the feeling being a response to something we experience, some stimulus, either inside or outside our organism. It's well known in "inner work" and spiritual circles that inner events result in outward expression and outer practice can produce inner events. This is the very basis for doing various "practices" - to change the electrochemical and physiological processes and states in our bodies. Doing outer practices can produce and develop new neural pathways while diminishing others, and can change genetic expression.

          If love is "genetically programmed into us," who is the Programmer? The spiritual/religious would say God/Allah/YHVH/Spirit or whomever. The mechanistic materialist would say a confluence of chance evolutionary events. How does this latter view stand up against the great law of entropy which is supposed to inevitably discombobulate everything into chaos?

          "Without love, empathy, etc." we would not survive, whereas, without "our technical capabilities" we might actually stand a better chance of surviving, considering that many of our technological capabilities are currently threatening our very existence because we are incapable of applying them wisely. Spiritually derived wisdom would help us avoid self-extermination.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: If you say that love (and I suppose that applies also for other feelings because thee is no reason to just pick love) is something different than an electro chemical process then the question arises as to what is it ?
        I think love is not one thing but is the something we perceive (feel) as a result of a combination of several electro chemical processes.
        Love is simply a term that was coined to express a particular state of mind.
        The moment science can tackle a particular issue it can't be called "spiritual" anymore. The term spiritual has no real tangible meaning beside being a fill in for something that we can't express with scientific language.
        "It's easy to appeal to questions supposedly being answerable by science "in principal" ....."
        Yes, I know, but it happens. Let's assume that super string theory turns out to be right. In such case we would, at least for now, not be able to actually measure or observe those strings because there is no method to do so. Reality doesn't care whether or not we are able to observe or measure something.
        Yes, animals and to some degree plants, exhibit something like "love", although I think there is a fundamental difference between humans and other life forms and that is consciousness (at least the level of consciousness that we possess is unique to humans).
        "How do you /know/ that a "dead body can't experience love?"
        I have no reason to believe anything different. Being dead, means that vital functions, including brain activity, came to a halt. However love is defined, it origins in our brains (although some might say it's the heart). So if the brain is dead, no feeling of love can be produced. For the same reason a dead body can't be happy or afraid or experience any other feeling.
        Yes, dead bodies EVOKE feelings from the LIVING, but that's something different.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: "We do not "know the feeling is a product of our organism."
        Again, there is no reason to assume otherwise. If so, please point me to any scientific material that supports your view.
        "If love is "genetically programmed into us," who is the Programmer? "
        If there is a love gene or a combination of genes that allow us to experience something we call love it would have come into existence the same way other genes came into existence.
        "Spiritually derived wisdom would help us avoid self-extermination."
        I don't know what spiritually derived wisdom is, but what would help us to avoid self extinction is common sense.
        The problem are not our technological capabilities but people who find ways to misuse or abuse those capabilities.
    • thumb
      Apr 20 2014: There are questions which have no answers (as far as science is concerned). Religion and spirituality fill in those gaps. Humans struggle with the concept of not knowing-therefore, we are easily sold on beliefs which cannot be proven.
      The definition of nothing is "empty space". The mere fact that the universe is made of matter answers the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Speaking parsimoniously, no further explanation is necessary.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: There always have to be something because if there was nothing then we would be nothing
  • Apr 26 2014: The main issue is "not something rather than nothing", but something (world & planets) existing in nothing (space).
    I always wondered this question and finally came to an answer that The something itself is nothing and does not exist.

    For example:
    We exist on this world, We and the world can be proved to exist.,
    The world exist on what?, This "what" can never be proved to exist. Technically, Since something cant exist on nothing, there is nothing called as something
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2014: Hi Harald,
    You can just imagine the first electron advertising for a proton and somebody to give it a push into orbit. Then asking how it can reproduce & perform the trillions of miracles necessary to build an environment for you & I. On the one hand we are told that we are just any old planet & that life etc is inevitable, and on the other that if CO2 gets much over 0.04% then we are doomed..
    Everything that exists has an obvious design that complements all the other beautiful designs which constitutes the "whole". Not only that, but it spawned beings which can, to a degree, understand the systems. Someone once said "It is almost as if the universe knew we were coming". I agree, I think the logic is inescapable.

    :-)
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2014: Hey Pete,
      it seems life is a bit scarce in the universe, otherwise we would have found something by now (at least a bacteria, that would already be nice).
      So, we have a lot of rocks, some hot others cold floating around the universe without any particular or obvious purpose and then there is this little spec earth with life.
      What the heck did a creator think when he did it ? Why building the whole universe if intelligent life is limited to earth. Would have made more sense to just create 1 planet and dedicate all the energy in making this planet really great.
      Looks to me, that whoever is the creator is lacking focus. Btw, the universe already exists for some 14 billion years and humans only a tiny fraction of that time. What did the creator do all that time ?
      • thumb
        Apr 20 2014: Hi Harald,
        Seems you're losing focus, the question has nothing to do with creators, or humans for that matter.
        You ask why anything exists. From our perspective there are only two real possibilities . 1) It happened spontaneously, or, 2) it was orchestrated.
        My question is this. Take a look at a hydrogen atom: now, could that have happened spontaneously (from nothing), or was it orchestrated?
        The answer will very much determine the next question.

        :-)
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2014: Peter, you say:
          "1) It happened spontaneously, or, 2) it was orchestrated."
          There is a 3. option. It happened, but doesn't necessarily have to be spontaneous, but could have happened over eons.
          In the case of the universe, this process of creation started 14 billion years ago, hardly something I'd call spontaneous, neither appears it to be orchestrated.
          "Take a look at a hydrogen atom: now, could that have happened spontaneously (from nothing), or was it orchestrated?"
          Scientists, based on evidence and data have a pretty good idea how our universe and everything there is in it, came into existence. However, what nobody knows is what happened before the so called big bang.
          Regardless of what we know and do not know, there is no reason, nor evidence to believe in any kind of orchestration. If it was orchestrated, by whom and why ? Who orchestrated the orchestrator ( and his orchestrator ad infinitum).
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2014: Hi Harald,
        Certainly it could have evolved over eons. I would call the beginning spontaneous, but no matter. When we look at time it is relevant to consider location. With our present understanding, time runs as dictated by local conditions like speed and gravitational force. To assert that the universe is ?Billion years old means nothing. It may be true (or not) from planet earth 2014 , but at most other locations it is meaningless.
        The BB is our latest theory (spontaneous) , but is by no means cast in stone, and will likely die a death when a more informed theory comes along.
        Scientists know how to make a hydrogen atom from nothing ? I think you are mistaken, but even if they did, then no doubt they would use their intelligence to orchestrate it; yes? We can certainly destroy an atom, and what a fuss that makes, but make one, I don't think so.
        What we need is an infinite orchestrator. Infinite existence, infinite power, infinite intelligence, with no beginning and no end. The easiest way would be to be a spirit, as time has no effect on the non material. Didn't I read that in a big book recently?

        :-)
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2014: "To assert that the universe is ?Billion years old means nothing. It may be true (or not) from planet earth 2014"
          No sure what you mean with that. Can you elaborate ?
          The BB is the best theory we have for now explaining the beginning of the universe.
          Can this theory change ? Sure it can, that's part of science. Things are always in flow. As we add more and more information, our understanding of any given topic becomes better and better.
          We can't make anything from nothing because there is no real nothing anywhere around us. Apparently even totally empty space is still filled with something called the quantum foam or higgs field.
          As to making atoms, yes we can make atoms, but not out of nothing.
          What is infinite ? Nobody can imagine infinity, therefore it's difficult, if not impossible to talk about something like "infinite power" for example.
          As to time, time only started to exist when our universe came into existence. There was no time before that.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2014: Hi Harald.
        You have partially answered your first question in your last verse. You are correct in asserting that time came into existence with the universe, time requires matter to function. According to Einstein it can be slowed down by gravitational force, and by speed. You probably heard of the clocks, one at the ground floor & the other at the top floor of a skyscraper. The clock at the top ran slower as it was travelling faster due to it's increased distance from the centre of the spinning earth. Many say that time stops altogether at the event horizon, due to gravitational forces. All I am saying is that the age of the universe will depend greatly on where one is observing from.
        I heard empty space is filled with dark matter. This is necessary to validate the theory that gravity is the force holding the universe together. This material is imaginary at the moment. It may exist, or it may be that the gravity theory is wrong.
        Infinity is impossible to imagine, but that could be just a lack of imagination on our part. BB is hard to get your head around as well.
        I believe the universe creator came to earth in human form to help us understand. He explained a lot of it. Waiting for the science books to catch up will probably take more time than you & I have left. Or maybe we could build a condo on an event horizon.

        :-)
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2014: @Chris: "That depends on what you're looking for, and how you define 'life'."
      Yes, indeed. For the purpose of this discussion I go with the commonly accepted definition of life, which is an organism that is capable of reproduction, growth, change, etc.
      So, going with this definition, not everything around us is life. There are organisms that are right at the borders between living and not living (E.g. virus).
      As to your definition of life, this is your individual belief but has no scientific foundation. If you call everything "life" then we wouldn't even need the term life, because there wouldn't be any difference between one and another object.
      Not sure what you mean with energy being intelligent. If you put your finger in a power outlet you get zapped, not much intelligent behavior from the electricity's side to be observed.
      "The physical body is a filter for the body....."
      The physical body is the most amazing organic factory we are aware of.It is estimated, and I don't know how accurate this number is, that a human body produces about 2 million proteins and some 47000 enzymes, let alone a vast number of other chemicals.
      There is no chemical plant I'm aware of that produces this number of chemicals, let alone a plant that only weights about 160 lbs.
      As amazing as a human body is, there is nothing more to it than that. Everything that makes us humans is the harmonious interaction of all those ingredients that make us up.
      Anything beyond that is speculation or just unfounded belief.
      As to life somewhere else: I don't say there is no life anywhere else, but the fact is we didn't find any so far, which brings us to the conclusion that at least, life is not widely distributed.
      Until we find evidence for ET life we have to remain agnostic on this issue. We can neither say there is nor there is not.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2014: "For the purpose of this discussion I go with the commonly accepted definition of life, which is an organism that is capable of reproduction, growth, change, etc."

        NASA struggles with defining "life" for the purpose of trying to find evidence for life beyond Earth. What is it that they really are looking for? You might be interested in reading this NASA presentation of their considerations:

        http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/life%27s_working_definition.html
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2014: Not only NASA struggles with a definition of life. The problem is that what we consider life is based on what we know about life, and that is not that much because it's limited to life on earth.
          So when we talk about life it's always a good idea to define what we mean with that, in order to be on the same page.
          Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
  • Apr 16 2014: In an infinity of nothing, the universe is the only thing that can and must occur because that is the nature of an infinity of nothing. This is my Theory of Nothing. It explains Nothing.
  • Apr 28 2014: Science suggests the "big bang" theory to explain "how" nothing has become something. As to why, I'm not sure we can know the answer, if there is one. "Why" as a question tends to lean toward motivation. I could, on the other hand, suggest why you ask the question...
    • thumb
      Apr 28 2014: "I could, on the other hand, suggest why you ask the question..."
      My answer: simple curiosity ;-)
      • Apr 29 2014: And that, is perhaps why humans are at the top of the food chain. have civilization and spaceflight.
  • Apr 28 2014: 1

    Must be nice to have the perks of being a TED "Associate". In our last conversation you managed to have all of my comments removed. Now in this conversation, you've managed to have my entire account blocked.

    Desperate, much?

    Clearly you take umbrage with having your paradigm challenged. Well fasten your seatbelt, Harald ... because even though you are able to have my TED comments removed and my account blocked, you cannot resist but to read them and once you've read something, it's in your mind and cannot be removed from it, despite having them erased from the hallowed pages of TED.


    ***


    " For the purpose of this discussion I go with the commonly accepted definition of life, which is an organism that is capable of reproduction, growth, change, etc.


    Of course *you'd* go with "the commonly accepted definition of life" - it suits your paradigm to do so. But if you're going to ask the big questions, you need enough flexibility of mind to accept the answers which might actually have the potential to evolve your paradigm.

    Such as accepting the science(s) of quantum activity.

    Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed, thus, everything is energy, in the perpetual motion of transformation. Everything seen, as well as everything unseen.

    Reference the 'observer effect' in The Copenhagen Interpretation. We are the observer and the observed, the wave and the point. The energy and its manifestation.

    In humans, this energy is subtle, as in refined, powerful. It is also known by another word: spirit. No need to cringe, Harald, acknowledging spirit doesn't mean you have to be religious.

    Serious scientists postulate that the universe is conscious, "self-aware" and all-pervasive. In a quantum world, for "consciousness" to create matter, we need an "observer" to "collapse the wave function"; whatever might become "matter" is just a "possibility" until an "observer" sees it and makes it "real". ~Peter Higgs
    • Apr 28 2014: "Why is there something rather than nothing ?"
      • Apr 28 2014: According to Higgs, there must be an observer for a wave to collapse into a point; for energy to create matter ... in the lexicon of ancient doctrine, the creator creates to become that which he will be. It was explained in one of my original responses which was so rudely deleted.

        The question itself is incorrect, as there is no such thing as 'nothing', as anything that is not manifest is in a state of potential - 'life' is the never ending cycle of transformation and evolution.
        • Apr 28 2014: ".. there is no such thing as 'nothing'.. " 7 words, a beautiful answer to a beautiful, 7 word, question.
    • Apr 28 2014: Chris

      I am not quite sure of your point. As you say, " we are the observer and---"Who are we being observed by? And if you would please define 'spirit.'
      You mention that it takes observation to collapse the wave function; would this be human observation or would we have the same effect by a lower animal?
      Would you agree that serious thinkers of the day also believed the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe? Serious is not always synonymous with truth. I think, at best, it can only, the serious thought, be referred to as a process in the quest for greater knowledge.
      You categorically state that there is no such thing as nothing. I too, believe that to be true, but I do not know that to be true. If I categorically stated that there was a god, would you think I was foolish?
      • Apr 28 2014: Charles,

        Thanks for your response.

        You ask "Who are we being observed by?"

        I would suggest it's not "who", but "what" ... consciousness itself. It is the pervading factor in all life.



        "And if you would please define 'spirit.'"

        As I understand it, spirit is the animating life force which allows our soul (mind) to incarnate.


        "You mention that it takes observation to collapse the wave function; would this be human observation or would we have the same effect by a lower animal?"

        Since this principle would have to apply to all manifestation of matter from the beginning of time, it would be illogical to presume "observance" to require physical eyes, particularly as the physical body acts as a filter for the body of consciousness. Consciousness is that which observes ... and is observed. We tend to think of 'consciousness' as what we are when we are physically awake, but I am referring to the consciousness we experience when we are spiritually awake.


        "Would you agree that serious thinkers of the day also believed the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe? Serious is not always synonymous with truth. I think, at best, it can only, the serious thought, be referred to as a process in the quest for greater knowledge."

        That was a quote by Steve Higgs himself. The quotation mark is missing from the beginning of the comment, but it references Steve Higgs. If you still want my answer to the inquiry let me know.


        "You categorically state that there is no such thing as nothing. I too, believe that to be true, but I do not know that to be true. If I categorically stated that there was a god, would you think I was foolish?"

        No, given that this is TED and the majority of TED participants are agnostic, atheist or militant atheist, I would think you very brave.
        • Apr 29 2014: Chris

          You have an interesting mix of rational, metaphysical and empiricist thinking and, for me,
          metaphysical, is to much of a stretch. Leaving the box, in such a manner, does have some advantages however.
          You seem to focus on 'consciousness'. I do not see this in the same light as you do.Being self-aware, is of course critical. As all animals are conscious, to one degree or another, not all animals are self aware and limiting still, fewer demonstrate degrees of problem solving and only one demonstrates the capacity to ask and answer self imposed questions; who, what, when, where and why. Would you place our capacity to reason in a bag called consciousness or is it something different?
          "That was a quote---" Yes,
          With reference to, "No, given---" I believe you missed the point. Although my philosophical bent is Atheistic and has been for almost 60 years, I prefer to identify myself as a Sapien, as in a Sapient Being. I don't think one can do better than that. Are we not all Sapient beings. That is how we identify ourselves.
          Not possessing a universal understanding or knowledge, would I then be foolish to, categorically, state that a god does or does not exist. Would it more more reasonable to say that, based on what is reasonably demonstrated, there is no evidence to conclude that a god exists.
      • Apr 29 2014: "You have an interesting mix of rational, metaphysical and empiricist thinking and, ..."

        lol @ "interesting mix" indeed ... I'm good with that.

        ***

        "... for me, metaphysical, is to much of a stretch."

        Yet that is what the quantum sciences study - the metaphysical - they just don't realize it. Even if they did realize it, they could hardly recognize it as such, yes?

        Consider this - once a wave is 'observed' it is considered to 'exist' - as a 'point'; as 'matter', yet this 'existence' is the product of that which 'existed' in a state of potentiality prior to being 'observed'.

        The point didn't come from nothing, because there is no such thing as nothing as proven by the wave. The wave is the potential from which the point came into 'existence'. Does that mean the wave did not exist, or that we could not define it as such before it was made manifest?

        "As above, so below" ... the 'wave" is the 'potential' for the 'point'; following the dictates of logic applied to the laws of nature, there must then also be a state of 'potential' for the wave, and so on, ad infinitum.


        ***

        "Leaving the box, in such a manner, does have some advantages however. ..."

        It allows for a broader perspective.

        ***
        "You seem to focus on 'consciousness'."

        Yes, because there are so many levels of consciousness, it requires a constant focus to delve into the deeper/higher realms of it.

        For all its knowledge, science is not the expert when it comes to consciousness. It's very complex and to understand it, one must strengthen the brain to prepare for the complexity, lest they be confounded or worse - go mad.

        ***

        " I do not see this in the same light as you ..."

        Understood - I've yet to come across anyone on TED who does, and I'm OK with that.


        ***
        • Apr 29 2014: Chris

          I think that we have exhausted all reasonable possibilities here.
      • Apr 29 2014: 2

        "Would you place our capacity to reason in a bag called consciousness or is it something different?"

        It's my understanding that the capacity to reason is (1.) not limited to humans and (2.) a result of the intellectual mind, which is a development of the expansion of consciousness.

        As consciousness progresses through each earthly kingdoms, it evolves ... becomes more complex. ["As above, so below" ... follow the path of the atom.] We identify this as the 'intelligence' of an organism. Plants have intelligence, but not intellect; they do not reason. Animals exhibit intelligence and intellect, (in direct proportion to their level of complexity; i.e., a whale is more complex than a shrimp] thus the more complex animals can reason, but it is not the same as the reasoning capacity of the human, as the human organism is more complex due, in my estimation, to the addition of 'spirit', which animals do not have.


        ***

        "... as in a Sapient Being. I don't think one can do better than that."

        It depends; sagacity is useless if it ends with us; what is the benefit of wisdom if it fails to evolve our soul beyond the ego?



        "Are we not all Sapient beings. That is how we identify ourselves."

        Often how we identifying ourselves is a product of the ego, which is often in opposition to the truth. One who identifies themselves as sagacious would obviously lack the humility required for true wisdom.

        ***

        "Would it more reasonable to say that, based on what is reasonably demonstrated, there is no evidence to conclude that a god exists."

        It is my understanding that the Tower of Babel is in evidence whenever man uses language (or reason, for that matter) to discuss God.

        "Reason" is a product of the intellectual mind; the intellect is entangled with the ego; the ego rejects anything that isn't centric to itself, thus it is 'reasonable' [for the intellect/ego] to reject that a god exists.
      • Apr 29 2014: 3

        Intelligence supercedes intellect. Intelligence is entangled with consciousness; which is entangled with spirit, which is as close as we can come to defining that which is without definition.

        It is why, when one seeks to become more 'consciously aware' or 'awakened' or 'spiritual', it is imperative to silence the ego in order to listen to the silence, so to speak.

        Consider the word "exist" ... to humans, it is identified by our reality, (the observable 'point') however, our reality is limited by the very things we use to define it ... our physical properties. We say we exist because we have all these senses which inundate us with the 'experience' of physical existence.

        Yet, both Quantum Mechanics and holy doctrine tell us we are not (just) our physical being ... our physical being is "99.9999% 'empty space'", yet there is really no such thing as "nothing" (i.e., 'emptiness') ... as the wave demonstrates; the wave is the potential of the point. Yet the wave, according to our language, our science, does not 'exist' unless and until it 'becomes' the point, but of course it is no longer 'just' a wave; the best science will state is that it is a wave AND a point.

        Science has yet to determine that which is the potential of the wave.

        Since our physical being is actually LESS than "99.9999%" physical, would you rather accept that the 'empty space' is nothing, or is it more logical, based on your extensive life experience, to accept that this 'empty space' is, at the very least, "potential"?
      • Apr 29 2014: Charles,

        Thank you for being respectful despite the difference in our paradigms and for being man enough to let my comments stand.

        Peace.
  • Apr 28 2014: 2

    Ergo, SCIENCE states ***consciousness creates matter*** ... not the other way around. Hence, consciousness exists both within and without matter. Thus, the material portion of the human body, which quantum mechanics tells us is "99.99% empty space", is actually "99.99% consciousness" as there is no such thing as 'empty space', as this 'space' is 'consciousness'.


    A thing needn't have a biological nervous system or be required to 'reproduce' in order to exhibit life. Plenty of people are alive, yet lack the capacity to reproduce. Alternately, every planet is 'born' into its solar system without the biological nervous system, yet planets are living beings.

    And before you dismiss my comment as nothing but my "belief without science", as is your predisposition to do, it's science that tells us that planets communicate, science that tells us planets are intelligent, living beings.

    Thus, your so-called "common" definition of what life is, is woefully deficient and antiquated and not keeping up to par with the scientific facts of the day.

    Flexibility of mind allows for ones paradigm to keep up with science.

    **

    "As to your definition of life, this is your individual belief but has no scientific foundation."

    First, it has nothing to do with my "individual belief", of which you know nothing.

    Second, the 'scientific foundation' is set in Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics. Perhaps if you familiarized yourself with these sciences you'd refrain from making such glaring mistakes in your responses.

    **

    "If you call everything "life" then we wouldn't even need the term life, because there wouldn't be any difference between one and another object."

    We will always be able to differentiate between various life forms, Harald, as everything is made up of the same stuff in different proportion. The "difference between one and another object" follows the mathematical formulation of F=ma.
  • Apr 28 2014: 3


    Everything is real, but everything does not share the same reality.

    ***
    "Not sure what you mean with energy being intelligent."

    It is scientifically proven that plants, animals and amazingly, even some human beings, exhibit intelligence in varying degrees. If all things are made up of the same stuff, then it follows that, on an atomic level, this 'stuff' includes intelligence.

    Suggestion: Do not confuse intelligence with intellect.

    The human body is filled with cells containing energy. Each cell is made up of molecules and these molecules are made up of atoms with protons, neutrons and electrons. What are the atoms made of? Sub-atomic particles. And these sub-atomic particles are pure energy. Hence our body is energy and so is everything else in the universe. Energy is consciousness; consciousness is intelligence. There is consciousness in every atom ... consciousness is the driving force of evolution.

    ***

    "If you put your finger in a power outlet you get zapped, not much intelligent behavior from the electricity's side to be observed."

    Are you sure about that? Seems to me it's the human side that's not showing much intelligence in this scenario.

    You cannot say whether or not there is "intelligent behavior from the electricity's side to be observed" as long as you're limiting 'intelligence' to your own paradigm.
    You do not know if the electricity sent a shock to protect itself, or to protect the human or both ... or neither. You do not know, because your paradigm is inflexible and therefore cannot imagine electricity as anything more than how it was defined a hundred years ago.
  • Apr 28 2014: 4

    CK"The physical body is a filter for the body of consciousness."
    HJ: The physical body [...] there is nothing more to it than that."

    Actually there is more to it, but the limitations of your paradigm only give credence to the material aspect - the physical body itself - to which you attribute every sensation.

    You discount anything that you cannot sense, yet lack the realization that your very senses are from your conscious body, and you are experiencing them via the physical body. The senses are not generated by the physical being; they are filtered through it.

    Denying the truth doesn't make it go away, any more than deleting my comments or my account makes ME go away.

    We are 99.9999% bodies of consciousness, of which most of us are less than 5% 'aware' ... not unlike the image of the iceburg, the majority of it is beneath the surface.

    ***
    "Everything that makes us humans is [...] just unfounded belief."

    How can you possibly claim to know "EVERYTHING that makes us human", particularly as you completely discount the very animating factor of that which allows us to have the physical experience?

    And who are you to say what is "unfounded belief"? What do you even know about the foundation of belief?

    Did you know the word "human" is a compound word? It is derived from the Sanskrit "Hu", meaning "breath of God" and "Manu", meaning "mind", "to think".

    The "breath of God" is our spirit ... it is an actual 'thing' ... a subtle (refined, pure) energy; aka consciousness. It is the animating factor which allows the body to exist. IT is what makes us HU-man. For you to discount this aspect of being human as "unfounded belief" is your prerogative, your opinion, your fear, your denial. Nothing more.
  • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

  • Apr 25 2014: How do we know there is something? How do you know I exist and you're just not the only being in existence, driven mad by actually being the only thing that exists, nothing else around you, so your insane mind has fantasized an entire universe that you delude yourself into thinking is real?
    • Apr 25 2014: Actually, you sound like you think you exist but you don't. No, you really don't. There is no "z" in "fantasised." Oh, listen to me! - being pedantic with a figment of my imagination.
    • thumb
      Apr 26 2014: Bryan, I can't be sure you exist. Perhaps you are just a bot, who knows.
      However, I know that a solid brick wall exists because when I hit my head against one it damn hurts.
      Don't believe me ? Just try it on your own ;-)
  • Apr 24 2014: I thought they were two sides of the same coin. There is no something with no nothing. There is no nothing with no something.
    • thumb
      Apr 24 2014: Just because we have terms that specify opposite concepts doesn't mean those opposites actually exist.
      As I just pointed out in another post, assuming theories are correct, everything in our universe is permeated by the higgs field. With that, there really isn't any "nothing"......at least not in our universe.
  • Apr 24 2014: Really, really interesting question.. I have given a lot of thought on this question and I don't have a clear answer. But I just wanted to throw something out there.

    Is there anything such as nothing? Or does the concept of "nothing" disappear as soon as we define emptyness or non-existence as nothing? If nothing exists, how would we define nothing?

    For example. vacuum is a one concept that people will think of when you ask them a question: What is nothing?(I tried this in school) But I believe vacuum can be split in to matter and anti-matter.(Lawrence Krauss says this). It is nothing certain, haven't been performed before but it is still a possibility. Then what is actually nothing?
    • thumb
      Apr 24 2014: In our universe apparently "nothing" doesn't exist because even what appears as nothing such as absolute vacuum is permeated by the higgs field and/or quantum foam. Especially the higgs field theory got a boost with the discovery of the Higgs Bosom.
      • Apr 24 2014: Yeah that's where I was getting to. So how does one define the concept of "nothing"? I think that is the most fundamental knowledge we need to acquire or define in order to have an answer to this question.
        • thumb
          Apr 24 2014: In principal "nothing" isn't so difficult to imagine. Real nothing would be identical to not existing, hence pointless to even consider.
          If we say for example "this space is empty" (meaning there is nothing in this space.....let's assume not even the higgs field or anything else), it's not really "Nothing" because, although the space is empty, the space itself and time are still there.
  • thumb
    Apr 23 2014: This is why ...

    "A Mathematical Proof That The Universe Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing"

    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/ed7ed0f304a3

    "Spontaneous creation of the universe from nothing"
    "The problem of singularity can be avoided naturally as the universe can be spontaneously created from nothing"

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.1207

    So there, it's all settled!
    • thumb
      Apr 24 2014: Yes, I'm aware of the idea that the universe came into existence out of quantum fluctuations.
      If so, that doesn't mean it came out of nothing. Quantum fluctuations are something.
      Assuming that the big bang was a quantum event, the question remains where did all the stuff come from that floats around in our universe ?
      As to the mathematical proof. I'm not an expert on that so I have no idea how solid this proof is.
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2014: Harald,
        You see, as far as we’ve been able to produce reactions between fundamental particles in laboratory-and-observatory conditions here on Earth, the only way to "create" matter is by taking twice the amount of energy that E=mc2 would require, and creating equal amount of both matter and antimatter. And conversely, the only way we’ve ever found to "destroy" matter is by colliding it with its antimatter counterpart, producing pure energy as a result. All the laws of physics — all the reactions and interaction ever discovered — indicate that this is the case at all energies and at all time.
        The early universe was very hot, and in those early "days", there was plenty of energy to go around, and particle-antiparticle pairs of all sorts got constantly created. But the universe cooled, eventually to the point where new pairs couldn't be created anymore. For instance, when the universe was about 5 seconds old, it was about 6 billion degrees Kelvin, just slightly too cool to make electrons and positrons anymore (but still a lot hotter than the interior of our sun now). Unable to make any new material, all of the particles and antiparticles should have eventually found one another and annihilated. -So- If matter and antimatter are always created and destroyed in equal quantity, then there shouldn't be any of either around today, flaunting your matter, apparently in direct contradiction to everything we've seen in the lab. Sure, we get a few antiparticles, here and there from cosmic rays or in labs, but for the most part, we're all matter.
        The riddle is that our Universe has a bias an asymmetry for matter rather than anti-matter via a process called baryogenesis.A baryon means a proton or neutron (or various excited states of these), basically 3 quarks.)
        3 minutes in to the BB you have protons & neutrons combining to form nuclei(H,HE,LI,Be), but to hot to attract electrons,no atoms, the story goes on for the other natural 88 elements via fusion.
        Cosmos Kitchen recipe!
  • thumb
    Apr 23 2014: "Extrapolation of the expansion of the universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past. This singularity signals the breakdown of general relativity. How closely we can extrapolate towards the singularity is debated—certainly no closer than the end of the Planck epoch. This singularity is sometimes called "the Big Bang", but the term can also refer to the early hot, dense phase itself, which can be considered the "BIRTH" of our universe. Based on measurements of the expansion using Type Ia supernovae, measurements of temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, and measurements of the correlation function of galaxies, the universe has a calculated age of 13.772 ± 0.059 billion years. The agreement of these three independent measurements strongly supports the ΛCDM model that describes in detail the contents of the universe. In 2013 new Planck data corrected this age to 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

    WHAT OR WHO GAVE BIRTH TO OUR UNIVERSE? WHY?

    WHAT EXISTED BEFORE THE BIG BANG?

    "Fifty-one percent of Americans have trouble believing the Big Bang created the universe, according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll." http://www.bing.com/search?FORM=SOLTDF&PC=SUN1&q=big+bang+theory+poll&src=IE-SearchBox
  • Apr 21 2014: The universe is a spherical wave in an infinity of nothing to impede it's eternal expansion.
  • thumb
    Apr 20 2014: Harald,
    imo "nothing" is like a mathematical or philosophical tool, a concept to denote an empty set. No-one has a jar of "nothingness" to study or take apart.Existence is all there- is in its various forms thus no need for anything to be "created" via a "consciousness" or otherwise.
    The BBT is the best explanation for this parcel of the cosmos thus far, I have no answer as to the "why" ( you make your own) or purpose(you make your own as well) . The cosmos seems mechanical in nature, boiling points, gravitational laws , electrical laws etc, all help us makes sense of the reality around us. These "laws" are not written in stone they are all falsifiable- all crows are black until...
    There is also uncertainty-we don't have all the pieces to the puzzle ,nor all the rules yet we are playing the game; but we have more pieces and rules to the game than let's say the folks of the iron age... and we can ask these question from this starting point.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2014: You are right. Understanding our universe is already a pretty heavy task and we still have a long way to go.
      However, all the laws we discover and apply to our universe are such that: laws of OUR universe.
      There is a pretty good chance that there is something beyond our universe (otherwise where would all the content of our own universe have come from.......unless it just keeps recycling itself).
      If that is the case, then there is no reason to assume that any knowledge we gathered for this universe applies to anything beyond it.
      But yes, in the end we are much better off than folks from the iron age. Or perhaps not ? It seems the more we know the more we ask and the more questions pop up ;-)
  • Apr 20 2014: "Why we or anything that surrounds us actually exist."- Harald Jezek
    What if it does not exist? What if it is our own minds imagination?
    What if we are creating are own reality as we go?
    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one"- Einstein
    "Nothing exists outside the mind for it is the mind that makes it so"- Keith W Henline

    Which brings us back to my earlier statement "there is something because I said so" much like paradox of Schrödinger's cat that is their until you observe it.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2014: Oh, we know for sure that what we perceive as reality isn't exactly the way it is but a product of our brain's interpretation of those perceptions.
      However, something must be, because otherwise we couldn't even contemplate this question.
      • Apr 21 2014: Is this why your parents bundled you up and left you at the bus station?:)
      • Apr 24 2014: Harald

        Your comment reminds me of a Samuel Johnson, "I refute it thus."
  • Apr 20 2014: Great and open-minded approach!! Thanks Harald.

    If it was all an accident then how come we still have no idea? Are we really that stupid LOL

    Some very basics, just to share my thoughts. Because that' all I know.
    Religion, to me, is interpretation of Revelation. As no interpretation is perfect, neither is any religion but at least it is looking upward for the cause.

    From my perspective, God is infinite. To me that means He's in every particle of this (and that?) universe. Can we see or understand infinity? No more than we can see every particle of sand around us.
    Just look at our body. We're still finding out how it works, and why.

    The universe is an expression of love, and it all stays together because love attracts. But just like the universe and our body, the reason of its existence is spiritual.
    We were created for the reason that God, being a God of love, 'needed' to love others outside of Himself. Otherwise He'd be loving Himself.

    However, as in every single relationship, for love to exist there needs to be freedom. Any force or control prevents love to exist and grow. Only our use of freedom and common sense can make us decide to love what is there.

    Mankind has evolved through numerous stages and so has Revelation. We are not here for the temporary body, we are here for the eternal spirit.
    We are here in the 'womb' of heaven, which can sometimes stink and be very uncomfortable, but it is all for a reason. To love and to be loved.
    Happy Easter everyone!
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2014: Hi Adriaan, I think our trouble begins the moment we try to answer a question such as this using human language.
      For example, you talk about "accident". I don't think that from the universe's point of view such thing as accident exists.
      I think we talked about that some time in the past, but I think that the term "God" is a terribly awful term because a) it is so emotionally loaded and b) it is not defined. God means many different things to different people.
      As to religion is interpretation of revelation:
      1) what revelations ? Where are the coming from ?
      2) Who are the interpreters ? Aren't that humans as you and I withe exactly the same problems of perception, bias, etc ?
      "The universe is an expression of love,"
      What exactly does that mean ? Where do you see this expression of love ? In the violent process of a supernova ? In an all absorbing black hole or maybe in a sun that although necessary for life on earth also destroys ?
      "But just like the universe and our body, the reason of its existence is spiritual. "
      What is a spiritual reason for this existence ? Isn't spirituality something that only humans can conceptualize ?
      Why did God create a whole universe and then populate only a tiny spec, called earth, with humans ? If God is behind everything, why did he create the universe some 14 billion years ago, but humans only exist for about 200.000 years ? Why this huge gap ? To whom was his love dedicated before humans showed up ?
      • Apr 22 2014: But since human language is all we have.. :) When we communicate with each of our kids we adjust our language to theirs. God has, and is doing the same thing. Even using science and giving us NDE's. All I'm writing also is just my personal interpretation of what happened and why.
        Sorry about the long wait, busy weekend
        .
        Indeed, the term "God' is 'emotionally loaded' and He saw it coming, again. As I said, every time an update was needed, we got a new testament. This happened again, I believe, through Emanuel Swedenborg around 1750.
        The main reason being that Christianity went off track, as early as 325 with the Council of Nicaea. Which now is only getting worse because there is a 'war' between the Bible and Science. It is now clear that the literal text of the Bible with all its inconsistencies and contradictions, is not what makes it God's Word (just as it is not our body that makes us human). It is the spiritual meaning, or level, of every word and story which makes it the Word of God. The Bible is one long parable, starting with the parable of Creation.

        --"God means many different things to different people."-- Perfect. He couldn't care less which religion we belong to, if any. He only cares about our idea of what is good and what is truth, and how we put that to use. Good being many times more important than truth. Good being the 'substance,' and truth its form.

        Very, very important: we are His image and likeness. We do on our level what He does not His.
        'The universe as expression of love,' is the same on His level as everything we build, paint, marry, point at, write, etc is based on our love here. Either our love of use, love of expression, love of money, survival, whatever.
        'The spiritual reason for this existence?' is to create a heaven from the human race. The more and different people (pixels :) enter heaven, the more perfect that 'picture' becomes.
        From how many earths or universes? I have no idea.
        I'll email some links to books. Questions? Great!
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2014: Adriaan, you know what is interesting ? People apply characteristics, features, etc to God as he were a human.
          Obviously, from what the faithful seem to believe God is anything BUT human (eternal, super powers, not material, etc.) therefore those characteristics applied to such an entity make no sense. God has no brain, because he is not physical. So what does he use to think ? The thinking process is located in the brain.
          The differentiation between right and wrong also is located in the brain. Again, how is God managing that ?
          If god is so above and beyond any living creature, how could anybody even presume to know what god's will and intentions are ?
          Being, presumably a very different entity compared to a human, how could one reasonably assume that his "reasoning" is similar to ours ?
          I still don't understand what you mean when you say the universe is an expression of love.
          In what sense is the universe an expression of love ? Love of who ? Humans ? Not likely, since we can't even access the vast majority of the universe, hence we neither need it nor can benefit from it.
          What was going on in God's "mind" when he created the universe and 14 billion years later humans ? What did he create all this universe for when he then only made such mediocre creatures such as us that barely can explore the solar system ?
      • Apr 22 2014: Sorry Harald I tried to send you an email but it didn't work. So I'll list the books here. This is all about why there is always something, not nothing. Wether in our basement, fridge or airplane :)

        This is all about God, and us being that image and likeness.
        http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DLW_port-web.pdf

        After that, here is our spiritual environment and obviously these two books are very interconnected
        http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DP_port-web.pdf

        We have a mind, and should use it correctly, in freedom with rationality. Based on that use WE!! decide our eternity, nobody else. We are what we love, and no one is going to change that.
        http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/H+H_port-web.pdf

        This is the first volume of 12 about Genesis and Exodus, word for word. Starting, obviously, with the Creation Story. In fact that story could be regarded as the 'index' of the whole 'Bible Parable'.
        http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SofH1_port-web.pdf

        Wishing you all the best!
      • Apr 23 2014: Well Harald, the interesting part is that we do think God indeed is Human. It does mean something that we've been created in His image and likeness.
        Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying He lives in a physical body, sitting on a throne. He was and is Spirit and made Himself a body in Mary. After Jesus' birth God was the soul of Jesus. This will make a lot of sense when you read about what He said and did. We believe the Trinity exists of three aspects, NOT three persons.
        Jesus was the body with God as the soul and His influence on the world, and universe, as the Holy Spirit. We have that same trinity (with a very small "t" :) We connect and are alive because of the connection of our soul with Him. Obviously we have a body, and we also have an influence on the world around us.
        Again we are His image and likeness. Not when we rob a bank or do evil stuff. But when we have enough humility to accept the existence of a higher power and express that acknowledgement in love to the neighbour, then we are in His image (when spiritual) and in His likeness (when we are celestial). There are three levels of heaven, natural, spiritual and celestial. The book Heaven and Hell is all about that.
        One thing I hope to make clear and that is, we are a spirit in a body. When the body dies, we 'move on.' That means we are not human because of our brain. The brain is no more than the 'receiver' of the body. Everything we do, and I mean everything, we do on the spiritual level. That's where we think, love, meditate, reason etc. One recent 'explosion' in our human development is the Near Death Experience. Those millions of events are hard to ignore, their consistent similarities in different circumstances, is proof to me that we are more than our body.
        We can change our mind, force ourselves to do, or not do, something to make ourselves a better person. Are those changes made by our neurons? :)
        Yes, I think the creation of the universe(es?) is for us humans to go to His heaven.
  • Apr 20 2014: Harald

    A nice diversion from the political and social chaos.
    To answer your first question, Stuff came out of the Big Bang. All stuff came out of the BB, as it is the only coherent theory on the table. Would it be here if we, as reasoning beings were not here to perceive it and to define it, as stuff?
    Why is it here? It is here because the Big Bang happened.
    Is there any purpose to it? Only to follow those laws of physics that created it.
    What other laws are there to follow? Certainly our understanding of the universe is at toddler stage. We have no idea of the laws previous to the Big Bang or how and why all matter was contained within an atom sized object--matter that we now call the universe, that is. What of the laws inside of a black hole?
    What is the purpose for life, especially a sapient or sagacious, a reasoning form of life? To my thinking, which is somewhat bias; the purpose for life is my decision. As a reasoning being capable of reasoning freedom, the purpose for ones life must be by his design. Otherwise, I am afraid, one simply exists, for the benefit of another, as a human resource, as an addition to a local herd of cattle.
    A larger question, What is the essence of human life? All things have an essence; that which makes that what it is. Perhaps, if we understood that essence we may have a better idea of who we are and how vitally important the human is to existence. But than there is only 1.2% difference between us and the Chimpanzee, generally speaking.
    It has been said that Man violates the natural order, simply by his existence. I believe that to be true. We are the only natural organism that asks a question and than we have the audacity to answer ourselves. We define all things, give purpose to all things and we learn. We build a foundation of knowledge, a better mouse trap.
    The ancients were right in their observation of a Man centered universe. It is just a whole lot bigger.
    Fun Stuff--right from the Big Bang.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2014: Hi Charles, I see thing more or less the same way.
      Yes, all the stuff in our universe came out of the big bang. This in itself is already mind boggling imagining how the whole universe somehow could have been contained in a tiny spec, called singularity.
      But the question also arises where did the content of this singularity come from ? And asking that we enter an endless circle that can't end unless we assume creation ex nihilo.
      As to purpose, I think the term "purpose" is something that only matters for humans. I don't think that animals, let alone plants contemplate purpose.
      Personally I tend to believe that there is no general underlying purpose to anything. I also believe the purpose of ones life is the purpose one gives it. This might be a different purpose for you and me.
      As to the essence of human life, I think it's the product of our brain's complexity that gave rise to a level of consciousness no other life form attained.
      I'm not sure about man violation the natural order, because in the end we are a product of nature. However, we are the best equipped life form to meddle with the natural order, whether that is for the better or the worse.
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2014: "We are the only natural organism that asks a question and than we have the audacity to answer ourselves."

      We may be the only natural organism /we know of/ that asks and answers our questions, but there's so much we do not know, that making the statement you did and using it as support or evidence in any discussion or argument is extremely anthropocentric and self-limiting.

      We are continually learning more about other life forms and their capabilities, and much of what we are learning continues to erode the distinctions and differences that we seem to like to cling to in order to define ourselves as different from and higher/better than any other life forms. So, for one example, we've learned that dolphins have names that they give to themselves; names that they use to identify themselves, and that others use to call to them and to talk about them. They remember the names of their friends even after decades of separation.

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060508_dolphins.html

      http://www.npr.org/2013/08/07/209462717/dolphins-recognize-the-calls-of-long-lost-friends

      How many of the other "lower" animals do this? We do not know. How many "lower" animals define name and things and consider questions of purpose? We do not know. How many "lower" animals have philosophical discussions? We do not know. We just like to think/believe we alone can do these things because it makes us feel so special. It's a very self-aggrandizing and at the same time self-limiting belief as well as potentially embarrassing...

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dolphin-divide/201305/matching-wits-dolphin-vs-primate
      • Apr 23 2014: Carl

        I have stated many times that humanity is in a 'toddler' stage of development and evolution. In that, it would be absurd to assert an omnipotent and all-knowing status.
        To your response. When you find another organism that has evolved to the point that we have, please let me know.
        You can rest comfortably with the notion that i have never claimed that humans were the only intelligent life form on earth or for that matter any place else. All animals possess some degree of intelligence. The Magpie for example, although having bird brain, exhibits exceptional traits of intelligence to include, as most primates, a sense of self awareness. If I were you I would drop the dolphin and concentrate on the magpie and the chimpanzee.
        It seems to be that although it is, indeed, a worthy study to find intelligence within other life forms, please feel free to advise when you find one that studies us.
        You accuse of being anthropocentric. You are absolutely right. You might even say that I am of the opinion that the ancients had it right in their Man-centered universe. It was just a bit bigger then they thought.
        I find it demeaning of a human to assert that he is less than and no greater than the lower forms of animals. It demonstrates a gross lack of understanding of the human mind and its capabilities.
        If you care to respond do not bother with reference links. I am of the opinion that if one needs such numerous links; he has no argument.
  • Apr 18 2014: Well Harald, I would love to tell you, but of course then I would have to kill you because "the company" can't have that kind of information in the wrong hands:)
    Trust me on this one... there is something because I said so. In the beginning was the word.
  • Apr 18 2014: There is something rather than nothing because the state of "nothing" is UNSTABLE. Google and download “The Origin of the Universe – Case Closed” for more.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: The question is not whether or not there is something, because that there is something is self evident.
    The question is WHY there is something at all.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: that's a good question. If there wasn't anything what would life be like??
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: So far life is exclusive to our planet, so, from all we know life rather seems to be an anomaly than the rule.
        Our only purpose (ok, maybe there are a few more) is to ask annoying questions such as the one why there is something out there at all.
        If we weren't here nobody would ask such questions and all there is would simply exist...no justification or explanation needed ;-)
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: :'(
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: If there was nothing, you would not have asked.

    Somewhat like the time before we were born. Only in retrospect we can marvel how anything fell nicely in place just for us. At that time though, well, nobody to talk to ...
  • Apr 17 2014: The Universe is Nothing doing Something. That explains everything to everybody's satisfaction.
  • Apr 17 2014: Harald:

    These questions are daily answered. In last couple of years we found what is gravity. We found Universe has no empty space but whole space is filled with something. We also found there are billions or trillions of Universe that we cannot access.

    We are just expression of the intrinsic nature of the Universe. As more discoveries are made we will know more. Just imagine it tool 14 Billion years for us to be here in which matter has gone through several stars that is made into your body and mind.
  • Apr 16 2014: Maybe we all live in a virtual reality simulation but are only just beginning to see the cracks through quantum mechanic's experiments, a bit like in the Matrix or the Truman show. Once we have a unified theory we will break free of the terrible experiment and destroy our giant extra-universal creators.
  • Apr 16 2014: Why shouldn't there be something rather than nothing?
  • Apr 16 2014: "... given such an hypothetical state of nothingness existing around a state of energy/universe; the power of such a state of limitless nothingness, would as with the power/pull of a vacuum (nature can't tolerate a void), exert such a power of attraction around the universe, it would expand at a phenomenal and unimaginable rate and disseminate into the surrounding limitless void of nothing.Whereas given infinite energy coexistent with eternal nothingness pervading through its existence; energy has the eternal space to allow its coalescence and interactions, throughout a limitless and boundless universe." - Carl Dalton http://www.ted.com/conversations/23284/what_is_energy.html?c=829501
  • thumb
    Apr 16 2014: Why not! If there was nothing then we would not be, nor could we ask the question. Existence is what it is and no more or less.

    “A man said to the universe: 'Sir, I exist!'
    'However,' replied the universe.
    'The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation.”
    ― Stephen Crane, War Is Kind and Other Poems
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: "Existence is what it is and no more or less. "
      I tend to agree with that. For the universe and anything that might exist beyond it our existence is pretty much irrelevant.