Friday, July 24, 2009

The Acorn Universe

“Believe those who are seeking the truth.
Doubt those who find it.”
Andre Gide

I was watching this time lapse photography on youtube.
It was a vine climbing up a wall, and this young sprout acted like an arm or tentacle probing and searching the wall.
When it found a nail in the wall, something amazing happened.
The vine sprouted a curly ending and grabbed the nail!
That time lapse camera showed not only that the vine was moving but that it was doing something intelligent too!

I had a moment of epiphany.
I realized that instance how narrow and prejudiced we see the reality around us.

Out of the infinite spectrum of electromagnetic radiations we see a extremely narrow band.
Out of the sound spectrum, again we can only hear a tiny portion.
Our senses of smell and taste are even worse, we are nothing compared with dogs or sharks.
Not to mention that we lack some senses totally – like the shark’s ability to sense electrical fields.

But the biggest problem is our prejudiced way in which we look at reality.
We look at reality according to our frame reference of time, size, form or function.
For example we only see things moving at close to human speed, therefore we do not see plants moving.
We see the things the way we are not the way they truly are.

Imagine that you could see 50 years of evolution of an oak tree in a second.
It would look like the oak acorn explodes into an oak tree!
…Imagine that you could look at the universe without the human subjectivity.
Would the universe still look like exploding or would it look like an acorn growing up, evolving not expanding, budding into galaxies and solar systems in an organic way rather than a random blast?

I always had an ambivalent feeling about the big bang theory.
You see, if you would take a can of paint and a stick of dynamite and exploded the paint into an empty white room, you would expect to get just a random splash of paint on the walls. You wouldn’t expect to get anything like repeated shapes or organized patterns.
So to me this explanation that the universe exploded into being the way it is just by accident sounds totally bogus.

I am not a scientist and I can’t prove my theory, but for me the idea of an “Acorn Universe” growing and evolving, sounds more sensible than the "Big Bang" theory.
What do you think?


Quantum_Flux said...

Some people view the Universe as being a plucked superstring, course those jerks don't believe in gravitation. Other people believe the electric cosmos model, ditto, jerks!

Ted Bagley said...

An acorn universe? Sounds like violence to me.

Talon said...

Interesting theories.

What always fascinates me is that everything has a life span. The vine will not continue to grow indefinitely...the planet will not continue indefinitely...

YogaforCynics said...

It's an interesting idea--though can't say I see it as any less subjective or prejudiced, since we are ourselves organic creatures, than the big bang--the randomness of which might be problematic, but less, I think, than the thought of a super-intelligence creating itself out of nothing and then planning things out...

Buddha said...

@ Quantum – No name calling :)
We accept all points of view with the same open mind.
How else would we have a debate if only one opinion would be acceptable?
BTW – you did not mention what your view of the universe was.
PS: Great video – Visualizing the human thought – I put it in my favorites.

@ Ted – Welcome back prodigious son!
Yup, those pesky violent acorns are at it again :)

@ Talon – But is death really the end or just another beginning?

@ Yoga – Does an acorn plan the oak tree out?
Is the creator apart from the universe or is both creator and creation?

Quantum_Flux said...

I've got my bets, no solid beliefs however. My bets are on (1) an Eternal universe, (2) that the Universe plays dice, (3) that the Universe temperary reduces it's entropy value via an improbable winning streak, and (4) that we live in a 4 dimensional spacetime continuum as opposed to 11 dimensions.

"I'd rather live not knowing than to have an answer that might be wrong" Richard Feynman

Ted Bagley said...


Brooks Hall said...

Hi Buddha,
I thought of an episode of Star Trek I saw when I was a kid where one of the crew members had to speed up in order to accomplish something. It was freaky because in that different time-space, everyone else appeared to be still like statues or plants. I think they also played with this idea on The Twilight Zone. I do think that we would ascribe the plants with more consciousness if they moved at the same rate that we do. And I like the acorn analogy. Thanks!

Aggie said...

I agree with your theory. Much more likely than a random act which would resuly in chaos ... not the order or intelligence we see in the natural world.

Flight said...

The closer you look and all the things around you the more you will notice that nothing take place at random , even the exploding can of spray paint has a repeat pattern . Everything must fallow the laws of nature , these laws can never be broken.

Quantum_Flux said...

The laws of nature are dictated by the probability amplitudes of collisions and momentum-energy uncertainty values of the smallest wave-particles that exist. What is the outcome of an elastic collision of 3 particles or more? Infinitely many possibilities, that's what. Yet, nature selects one of those outcomes. How does one model the trajectories of 3 bodies under mutual gravitation? By holding one of those bodies in one position and watching the chaotic trajectories that the other two follow over millions of years, in reality there are many gravitational bodies all acting on each other, perhaps by interation of gravitons which are hypothesized to break energy conservation laws (by acting as an inverse square law yet not radiating significant energy in the form of waves unless acting on another mass, somewhat like other virtual particles).

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Yes, but if you took the paint and charged it with electricty then exploded it and left it...

Thing is it depends on how close you look - to the eye there might not be repeated patterns, but there would be at quantum level and everything that happened would be determined by the forces acting on the paint and so forth - so i'm afraid the big bang theory still holds water

The other theory is that the universe is designed to be unsolvable and if anyone ever finds the answers it will cease to be exist and be replaced by something even more complex!

Diego said...

It is odd how many times similar material has come into my path during the last week or so.

Anyway, all of the energies and forces of an exploding can of paint are known. The unpredictability comes because there are variables inside of variables, but given that one knew all those variables, one could predict exactly where each paint drop would go...but what would be the fun in that?

Mariana Soffer said...

I liked a lot your blog, is very intersting

You say: "We see the things the way we are not the way they truly are"
I wrote: "We, the human beings have the tendency to interpret what we see, and experience through the emotions that are invoked by these different mediums. We are meaning making machines! The interpretations are based on out values, emotional states and in reality, As a result, there is an assumption that what we see is the way things are. Never do we question the accuracy of this information, we simply take it as fact .So, the way we perceive things has the power to shape how we think and act in the world. "

You say:"Imagine that you could look at the universe without the human subjectivity"
I say: very intersting sentece, I do not know what you think, maybe there is always a beeing that is the one that sees and that being can not see impartically, it can see and interpret things the way its own being lets it.

About the big bang, I don't know, I could never even imagine or understood.But since you are buddhist I am going to tell you this:
If we can agree that our conception of time as a one-way “arrow” is an illusion created by our unique point of view, then ultimately we can come to the viewpoint that the big bang is also an illusion.

Hope you found what I said interesting

Quantum_Flux said...

Nobody can know the position and the momentum of all of the particles within a paintcan with absolute certainty, in fact the amount of uncertainty will always be greater than the heisenburg constant h < dP*dX....that is a fact of reality. As a result, the future is non-determinable.

Furthermore, nobody can predict the exact trajectories of 4-way+ collisions (this occurs in the ringing internal energy of every molecule with >4 atoms), the energy, momentum, and angular momentum balance equations will yield infinite many possible results. This shows that the future is non-deterministic too.

A further issue is the butterfly effect whereby the slightest deviation in initial conditions, perhaps less than heisenburg uncertainty will allow, will yield a completely different outcome for the exploding can of paint.

Buddha said...

@ Quantum – Very classical views.
You must be my age :)

@ Ted – Where are the arrows?

@ Brooks Hall – I love the old Star Trek and the Twilight Zone!
Intelligence is so much better than special effects.
Thank you for dropping by and the wonderful comment!

@ Aggie – Yup! The world is just too beautiful to be an accident.
It looks more like a work of art to me.

@ Flight – Very interesting POV!
I would have never thought of it on my own.
I have to spend some time thinking about it :)

@ Quantum – You guys are on a roll!
Great comment. I would have to think about that too.

@ Pixie – You guys are just ganging up on me :(
(I am just kidding!)
I really, really love your comment.
I just don’t want to say “great comment bs, bs… thank you very much”
I want to put some thought in it before I answer. OK?

@ Diego – Same as Pixie.
I think I’ll have to write a post to deal with all of this!
Pls give me some time :)

@ Maria – I never get this many powerful and challenging comments in one post.
I am in a brain overload right now. LOL!
But I love all the comments. I think I got the best friends I could ask for.
As a Buddhist I believe in yin and yang, I believe that if there is an illusion, a relative then it ought to be a concrete an absolute as well.
Other wise it wouldn’t make any sense. An illusion of what?

@ Quantum – Finally some help :)
Thank you Quantum I was feeling overwhelmed!

Ted Bagley said...

You still have an Either/or discussion going on.
That's my arrow.

Talon said...

Definitely death in one form leads to life in the plant material feeding the earth...

Quantum_Flux said...

Molecular Collisions and Heat shows how elastic/inelastic collisions relate to classical thermodynamics, for you see that the randomness all cancels out on average and then gasseous or fluid systems tend to act a predictable way on a large scale.

Here are some more of my notes, although perhaps more appropriate for you next post on knowledge and truth which I generally try to spread because I think of that as being the moral thing to do.

Lydia said...

Perhaps to the acorn-become-tree it was a bang. Kinda like for me now looking back at my life, going Where the hell did the years go? I don't know, what I do know is that your theory is inventive, unique, thoughtful and it provoked some amazing comments as well. (I'd missed this one and came to read it from the link you provided in your most recent post. Sorry to be a bit behind...)

mysticdave said...

interesting concept......makes more sense to me than a random big bang occurance......everything evolves to a certain degree...i have always thought of the earth, and the universe as a whole, to be a living,and growing thing... :)

Mary said...

I agree with you for sure. And there are some other great comments here as well. It's great that you realize, unlike so many people, that we are so limited in our perceptive nature. What if it were natural for us to actually feel the connection we have with everything around us? We would be so much better adapted for taking care of our environment and all the creatures we share it with. Everything is made of the same stuff, just as the universe is. We are all part of a bigger one and that fact works in parallel with what you're speaking about here. If we were able to perceive the world as it is, how it grows and the cycles in which it moves all would understand that this is indeed a pattern. Your analogy with the can of spray paint and the pattern of splatters it would create is spot on. Just check out fractals! We are part of the pattern.

Jadikavi said...

The concept of MAYA is just an "Illusion" too!
Ha ha !
A spider can spin a web in some of the most amazing ways and places. But it cannot guarantee that dinner will come before it has to spin another. Intelligent design or just gambling?
Build it and it "may" come.

Buddha said...

@ Ted _ OK – I see!

@ Talon – Ditto!

@ Quantum – If I could understand modern thermodynamics I would have come up with a better thing than the “Acorn” theory :)

@ Lydia – I know, the response was overwhelming!
And do not worry; you are never too late for me :)

@ Mysticdave – Ditto! I find the idea of random things ugly and unnerving!

@ Anonymous – Like somebody commented on SU:
“Then we are the flowers on the tree!”

@ Mary – I know very little about fractals, but they are amazing – at list visually.
I wouldn’t be surprise that they are part of the foundation of life.

@ Jadikavi – Yup! It is an illusion!
The question is whose illusion is it?
Are we the spider or the fly?

Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl said...

This is what I always think! We are just seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, knowing... just a small fraction of what is possible. How can we, as humanity, be so arrogant as to think that we are the only ones present?

laughingyogini said...

I DO think about TIME a lot, especially I've been ruminating lately on the idea of all time. Can't say my thoughts are particularly logical; I more or less FEEL my way through the concept that the present contains the past and the future. That's what we see in the Acorn, isn't it?
It's such a beautiful thought that we just want to kneel down in front of that might oak.

I'm late getting into this discussion, but thought I'd ask the resident physicist whom I tend to trust on these subjects and here's what he says (his theory is unique..he has published it and called it the Crystal Universe):

The universe began as a sort of primordial sea..undifferentiated fluid. At some point there was a fluctuation (called nucleation in physics' terms...the process is driven by dropping temps) and a phase transition occurred whereby the liquid formed a seed crystal which then grew and organized further.

Our present time is us living on the expanding surface of the crystal...the inside of the crystal is the past...we are moving from the past to the future. (In yogic terms, we'd say "evolving" - that's my 2 cents).

Anyway, there's Mike's theory. If you don't like this, you may wish to try his dal recipe on my blog. He's a great cook!

Buddha said...

@ Amy – Well, we thought the earth was the center of the universe.
Now we think we are the center of creation.
I can’t wait until we find proof of extraterrestrial life.
Then the shit will hit the proverbial fan :)

@ Laughingyogini – Thank you for your wonderful comment.
I love the curious minds that look behind the dogma and see the universe with their own eyes and minds rather than somebody else’s eyes and mind.
I don’t believe there are right or wrong theories :)

JosephKnight said...

"... if you would take a can of paint and a stick of dynamite and exploded the paint into an empty white room, you would expect to get just a random splash of paint on the walls."

Perhaps if you saw what dynamite exploded paint on walls looked like you'd begin to see more than "just random".

"You wouldn’t expect to get anything like repeated shapes or organized patterns."

On the contrary I'd certainly expect repeated shapes and organized patterns. Yes, at first there would be splotches and random clusters of flattened paint in beautiful chaos but after time the base rules of the system that the paint is in (gravity, molecular cohesion, evaporation) would begin to shape the paint. (Just as the rules of universal nature shapes atoms into stars, stars into galaxies, and so on). Paint would begin to streak and drip in vertical patterns, not just in one place but across the entire room. What was random splotches would now be random thin vertical stripes everywhere. Each stripe would have a spherical ball at the bottom. The ceiling would begin to form stalactites. The floor would develop spots in the blank areas from the dripping ceiling. A pattern would >emerge< from the chaos because of the system of rules in place around the subject.

"So to me this explanation that the universe exploded into being the way it is just by accident sounds totally bogus."

Just because something takes on an order doesn't mean that an intelligence conceived this order first and then brought it into being. This is how you and your brain works, and you're very familiar with this practice, you use it everyday. Therefore you wish to apply this concept upon the universe and rule out "accident". I think you're very smart and ponder appropriate philosophical questions, but give it some more thought before settling on an answer too soon or eliminating accidental organization before it's disproved.