Monday, July 4, 2011

The Universe has no size.

This might seem like a blatant contradiction to my previous post “The Universe is really, really big,” and it is actually. My previous post should have been called “The Universe is really, really big compared to us.”
In reality, nothing can have a size until it is compared to something else. An ant is small next to my shoe, my shoe is small next to me, I’m small next to an elephant, an elephant is small next to a jumbo jet, a jumbo jet is small next to a space shuttle, etc. Are all these items small then? The elephant is huge next to the ant, the jumbo jet is huge next to the elephant, and so on.
I know this sounds incredibly basic, and it is. What’s not basic though, is when we start thinking about the entire universe. How big is the universe? What are we supposed to measure it next to? There is nothing we can measure it next to because we have no perception of anything outside of it. And even if there is a space in which the universe is held, what would you measure the size of that space next to?
The fact is, no matter what exists, nothing has any definite size, ever. If the universe is in a space that stretches in all directions forever, then that’s not a size either. Forever is both everything and nothing. Forever is actually something the human mind can’t fully grasp, but in theory we can see that an endless universe would be both the smallest thing that can possibly exist, and the largest thing that can possibly exist, at the same time. It has no size. It just is.
Another possibility is that the observable universe is all the “space” that exists right now, and that “outside” of it there is just energy, not manifested as anything. No space, no time, no forms, etc. So our universe in that case would be kind of floating in nothing, and therefore still have no size, because there’s nothing to measure it against.
And if nothing has an actual size, it doesn’t really exist in the way we usually think of things existing. Our concepts of objects existing is very rooted in a notion that they “are” whatever size they are relative to us. 
What are the things in your life, if they don’t have a size? What are you? What is this?
The whole universe is right here, in your awareness, as it moves over these words.

1 comment:

  1. i concur, further if everything within the universe where to expand or contract a billion % or whatever you choose everything in it would stay exactly the same size comparative to everything else. Size is a comparative measurement only. If it where the case that the universe could shrink to the size of todays atom then todays atom could become as large as todays perceived universe, therefore it seems to me that there are universes within universes within universes ad infinitum.