A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Flight of the Turtle

A turtle of truly gargantuan proportion carries the “world” on its back, swimming in an endless sea.

Smart people believed this; or at least found it sufficiently explanatory to not disbelieve it.  The world, in this case would be a flat plane or a decurved surface -- but a “flat surface” none-the-less with edges beyond which there be monsters and, of course, the turtle.

Then our world was seen to be a ball, molten metal and magma covered with a thin skin of cooled rock, flying in great, almost, circular ellipses around a star of gargantuan proportion, flying among other balls of molten rock and liquid ‘gases.’  This star around which “our” planet flies with its planetary brethren is but a minor one in the midst of many -- billions -- flying itself in no special place or way among them.  And this bit of empty space dotted by billions of stars, billions upon billions of miles apart, makes an apparent collection of stars that we call a galaxy -- but is really almost all empty space, only a little less empty than the emptiness beyond.  And these galaxies, of which there are billions, are spread almost at random throughout the universe of empty space.

It once ended here.  And so, I presumed that this universe must be on the back of an even larger turtle swimming in an even larger, more endless and more imponderable sea.

Today we now have a speculation that “our” Universe is but one bubble in a foam of universes, each one with no necessary commonality with any other: billions beyond billons of universes; a “place” where a billion to the billionth power is like the number one.  Time is part of “our” universe and need not be part of another, but if  we  use  an  analogy  with  time, we  might  say  that  in this  foam  Planck  time, 10-43 sec., and the suggested age of the universe, 13.73 billion years, would be the same moment.

And I presume that this foam is on the back of a still larger turtle, now flying, having grown beyond the endless sea and containing the endless sea in hollows on its back in which swim the other billion to the billionth power turtles and is still only a point singularity; the number one contained in a durationless moment.

2 comments:

quinn said...

the movements of even the largest idea turtles are represented in the movements in even the smallest pieces of near nothingness. It is some luck that emptiness carries pond ripples so well. there is no movement with out energy displacement, no amount of wave-less swimming. this soft curling and curving (seen so well in the study of thermodynamics) working its way all the way down to the smallest possible tide pool. whatever energy is, it is part of all of us and the product of whatever current started it, be it big or infinitely small.

James said...

Well said new reader.