When it comes to reality and our universe there are few things as simple as they may appear. There are many things we accept as fact when they are anything but. Over the years many philosophers and scientists who have tried to explain how everything fits together and in the process they have created some rather awesome theories about our reality and universe.
1 – The Big Freeze
We have all heard the many theories about the end of the world but we seldom hear of theories that spell disaster for the entire universe. The Big Freeze is a scientific theory which does actually spell disaster for the entire universe.
The universe, like everything in life, has a set and fixed amount of energy which is constantly being used. Although no one has the faintest idea how quickly this energy will run out we do know that sooner or later it will come to an end and the universe will slow down as a result. As the universe slows down there will be a slow but dramatic loss of heat, because heat is produced by the movement of energy particles.
Sooner or later the universe will slow down to a complete halt and no heat will be produced at all causing a big freeze way beyond biblical proportions. Nothing anywhere in the world, space or universe would survive.
This may well sound like science fiction but it is indeed believed to be a scientific fact.
2 – Solipsism
Solipsism is a somewhat strange philosophical theory which states that nothing can be verified apart from the existence of your own mind. This really may sound strange and difficult to get your head around at first. After all who would want to deny that the world around them actually exists? The problem here is that it really is impossible to verify anything except your own consciousness.
If you are still struggling to grasp this theory take a moment to recall all of the plausible dreams that you have ever had. Could it not be possible that the very reality you are experiencing right this second is nothing more than a very vivid and very elaborate dream?
You may well argue that the idea that this is nothing more than an elaborate dream on the grounds that you have friends and family who can verify your existence but this proves nothing. There have been many experiments involving LSD who have reported seeing and even touching the most convincing hallucinations but no one jumps to the idea that their illusions are real. Perhaps your friends and family are nothing more than hallucinations that honestly believe you can touch.
If this is all a dream what can we actually verify then? The simple answer here is nothing can be verified not even the screen you are reading this on or the fingers on your hand. Of course what can be verified as real is your own thoughts which prove you exist. Mind boggling isn’t it?
3 – Presentism
Time is something that we are all guilty of taking for granted. We seldom make the most of it and, if you think about it, we over simplify it by classing it as either past, present or the future.
Philosophers who follow presentism claim that there is no such thing as the past or the future. Only the present exists. What this theory is saying is everything that you have ever done in your life does not exist nor does anything you are reading here – until you look at the words and start reading that is. This theory also states that the future does not exist due to the simple fact that time cannot be both behind and ahead.
The great scholar of Buddhism, Fyodor Scherbatskoy once said: “Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental . . . is unreal. . . . Ultimately real is only the present moment of physical efficiency.”
Externalism is at the completely other end of the scale to presentism. Unlike presentism externalism suggests that time is made up of many layers all of which exist at the same time. This means the past, the present and the future all exist simultaneously.
The obvious question here is that if this theory is in anyway true then why can you only see the present time and not the past or the future. Like all good theories externalism has that covered by suggesting that each layer, or point in time, is only visible depending where an observer happens to be standing. This means everything from cavemen, world war two, Jennifer Aniston and the birth of Christ are all existence right this very second but are only visible from a certain point in space.
5 – Brain in the Vat
The brain in the vat theory is the very theory which formed the basis for the movie The Matrix. The brain in the vat thought experiment is a problem often encountered by philosophers and scientists who propose the external world I independently verifiable.
This may seem as though it is not huge problem but consider for a second the possibility that we are nothing more than a brain in a jar with our perceptions being manipulated by robots or evil aliens. We would never know this was happening and we would struggle to prove or disprove the very possibility of this situation actually being true for us right this second.
The idea that we can neither prove nor disprove the idea we are all brains in a jar somewhere is a modern day twist on solipsism based philosophy.
6 – Multiverse Theory
Anyone who has watched an episode of Star Trek will be well aware of the multiverse theory. It is also known as parallel universe theory or the parallel world’s theory.
It is suggested that there is an infinite number of parallel universes each one created when anyone makes a choice. What happens is the universe is thought to divide itself and live out every possible outcome of every single event that ever takes place.
What this means is that somewhere there is a universe where Hilter won world war two. It also means there is a universe where you happen to be a billionaire with a beautiful spouse who feeds you grapes at a click of your fingers. Of course this also means there is a world where you are homeless for a year before you get ate by dinosaurs. This theory puts a very real possibility on that old statement of nothing being impossible.
7 -Fictional Realism
Sticking with the subject of parallel universes and multiverses let us look at fictional realism. This s a growing avenue of thought were people really believe in the existence of Superman or Godzilla. If there really is an infinite number of parallel universes out there with every single scenario being lived out then Superman really does exist. As does E.T., the Lone Ranger, Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
If you can imagine it then it is out there somewhere.