Size Matters: the Cosmos, the Atom, the Soul
By Wayne Saalman
[Photo by Yash Raut]
IF, AS COSMOLOGISTS SAY, the entire universe once sprang forth from some point in the void that was essentially infinitesimally small in scope in comparison to the size of the universe we now experience, then surely it is not impossible to conceive that the “energetic essence” or “soul” within us is so microscopically small in size that is it virtually undetectable by any machine now in existence. After all, in comparison to the magnitude and scope of the gigantic, colossal, infinitely vast universe, we humans are so staggeringly tiny that it truly defies the intellect to even imagine such a scale.
The best that can be done in this regard, perhaps, is to go on the internet and seek out the amazing videos there which graphically display this contrast. When one does that and sees just how incredibly microscopic we humans are in comparison to the solar system, the galaxy and the entire observable universe, which is 46 billion light years in every direction, we are able to get a mind reeling sense of what is being said here, but only a sense of it.
The truly curious, of course, go out under a clear night sky on occasion and stand in silent awe. They will take in the phenomenal, spangling grandeur of the cosmos and make every mental effort to comprehend that what is seen are only the stars in our own immediate vicinity; that is within our own galaxy.
Beyond what we can see with the naked eye are millions of other stars also in our own galaxy and, beyond our galaxy, trillions of other galaxies all unseen.
Bear in mind that it is currently impossible for any scientific machine now in existence — including the world’s most sophisticated colliders — to “see”, let alone photograph, subatomic particles. Instead, what we photograph are the explosions which result from colliding two particles together at close to the speed of light.
The point is this: no true scientist should ever say that there is no such thing as a “soul” nor “spiritual essence” simply because the technological machinery currently in use has not detected such a thing. To make such a statement is not only audacious, it is deceptive and dishonest. To comment on the matter honestly, one needs to preface any such statement with the line, “As of this moment, in consideration of the state of our current technology, scientists can neither confirm nor disprove the existence of a super subtle ‘energetic essence’ or ‘soul’ within the human body.”
If we humans learned to frame our statements in more exacting terms, there would be far less conflict in the world.
In any case, like it or not, the “inconceivable” is a challenge we humans are forced to face again and again in our lives. How (just to hammer home the point once more) are we to conceive that all of the energy that makes up this vast universe of ours was once totally and completely crushed in together within a space no bigger than a game ball? The brain screams out, “No way! Impossible!” Yet, because scientists make this pronouncement, we accept it. We have no alternative theory, so we simply say, “Why not?”
Why not, indeed.
The “inconceivable” does us a favor, however. It keeps every possibility wide open and compels us to wonder.
Wonder is what keeps inspiration alive.
Take the announcement that a team of astrophysicists recently discovered a stellar object which is speeding around the perimeter of the black hole at the center of our galaxy at eighteen million miles per hour. Eighteen million miles per hour! The star is called S2. In terms of mass, it is roughly 15 times larger than our sun.
If that doesn’t stagger the imagination and make one wonder, I don’t know what will! Personally, I find that awesome.
And speaking of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, its mass is calculated to be the equivalent of four million of our suns.
Think about that.
Even better, try visualizing four million of our suns all crushed into the space at the center of our galaxy, but releasing no light! This sort of fact leaves me reeling.
It also quickly has me spinning off onto some pretty exciting trajectories of speculation such as the one advanced in the opening paragraph of this post concerning the infinitely small and undetectable forms of energy that apparently exist. Some of that energy clearly defies our technological machinery. For example, has anyone “seen” Dark Energy or Dark Matter? The answer is no. These exist solely as mathematical concepts derived from physicists who calculate mass in astronomical terms.
So it goes…
Size matters in more ways than one, then, which is actually quite a lucky thing. It means that there are countless wonderments still to be uncovered for centuries and millenniums to come.