Life

The meaning of life.

A part of me wants to write 42 and leave it at that but I know that would be silly and at this point, very over done.

It’s a big question. A huge question.

Why are we here?

Random chance?

The hand of some almighty being?

Who the fuck knows.

The funny thing is until recently, I would have argued for random chance until my dying breath. It has always seemed inconceivable to me that there was something more, some higher power that bestowed life upon us and us upon the Earth.

Though, now that I’ve said that, what being would be cruel enough to punish the poor Earth with humanity.

Regardless, I thought it was dumb. Why did there have to be something more? Isn’t the point of life to enjoy it, make yourself and other people happy and hopefully contribute in some meaningful way to the world?

Mostly, I still believe that as I pointed to in my ‘Death’ post.

But I read a book, The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by Dr Katie Mack, and since then I have found myself wondering; is it all random chance?

There’s a theory of the end of the universe that Dr Mack touches in her fantastic exploration of the ultimate death of everything. It’s called Vacuum Decay and because I’m not a cosmologist or astrophysicist I’ll do my best to explain it but at the end of the post I’ll throw in some links that will do a far better job.

Vacuum Decay is based on the Higgs Field which was confirmed in 2013 with the discovery of the Higgs Boson in the Large Hadron Collider. Essentially, the Higgs Field is the energy field that gives particles their mass. Just after the start of the Universe the Higgs Field rested in what physicist thought was a stable true vacuum state; thus particles acquired their mass and this wouldn’t change, the Universe would have to find another way to destroy itself.

However, the discovery of the Higgs Boson allowed physicsits to put number to the Higgs Field and they found that it may well be metastable; basically meaning that it might not be at it’s lowest energy state.

Imagine a rollercoaster that has just gone down a huge drop; you think it’s done, that it’s finally over and the ride will end. And then you start going up again and realise there is another drop beneath you.

Essentially, physicists thought that the Higgs Field had finished it’s first long drop at the start of the Universe. With the new measurements from the LHC this has been called into question and it seems likely that the Higgs Field may just be waiting for something to push it up and over the next hump.

If this happens at any point in the Universe, an area of true vacuum will be created as the particles suddenly alter in mass. This true vacuum will spread out at the speed of light and essentially destroy anything it touches.

Incredibly cool.

Also unlikely.

But let’s consider that this theory is true and won’t be disproven, in fact, let’s say it is completely proven to be correct at some point.

Isn’t it beautiful?

The fact that the Higgs Field stopped and rested where it did; the fact that a single high-energy even or random tunneling moment could kick it out of it’s resting spot and end the Universe.

Is that random chance? That the Universe and all of it’s myriad particles and energy fields and forces stopped exactly where they are and that was exactly the right conditions for life; life on Earth at least, to flourish?

I don’t know.

It could be random. It most likely is.

But there is a small part of me that can’t help but wonder.

Additional reading:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/vacuum-decay-ultimate-catastrophe/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a23487/false-vacuum-apocalypse/

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