Why are we here?
What is the meaning of Life? Why are we here? Are we here to suffer? Do we really have a purpose? What's the point of all of this, if one day you're here and the next you're gone? And not just us, what is the purpose of anything, if everything pass away at the end?
These are such powerful questions that, most likely, every human being that has ever existed pondered those interrogations at some point in their life... and died or continue living without an answer. The irrefutable true is that nobody really has a flipping idea of why are we here, what are we actually doing here. All we have are theories, ideas, believes and feelings, but there is not yet a real, concise and scientific explanation that satisfy everybody and answer the question of why are we here. That is one of the big mysteries in life: we have no idea of why we exist, no tangible proof that demonstrates our reason of existence, we only have theoretical concepts of vague purposes that change from person to person, and yet most people continue living as if there was no tomorrow
I am not pretending to answer in this article such metaphysical, psychological and in many ways deeply religious question, of why are we here, everybody for sure will have somehow their own personal answer, each one of them valid and with a fundamental weight. If you decide to believe that you are here to help others through life and find love, that's fine, but who created others? Who created the idea of helping one another? And why do we need helping? If you decide that you live for a special unique purpose, a "was-meant-to-be" force or reason that will always be right in your mind whichever course of action you take in this physical world, either left or right, that's fine, but what force is this? Where did it originate? And why do you find the need of having a purpose that guide your actions? The reality is that each person has an answer to the question of "what do you think you are doing in here?", but nobody really knows why are we here? Why we actually exist? Why can we ponder that question and why the sun is the way it is and not another? Nobody really knows, but what we can answer, however, is how we got here, and this is what I'll explore in this article. Stretching the latest discoveries of Science, we'll push forward until our knowledge touches the realm of Metaphysics, where I am hoping we should be able to extract tangible 'meta-scientific' explanations of why are we are based on how we got here
Neither do I support Nihilism or Existentialism (or Essentialism), doctrines that sustain that the Universe intrinsically has no meaning. Nobody really knows. A torch has a meaning for us, right? A battery with charge, a couple of wires and a bulb with a filament in the middle. You normally use a torch when there is no light, and you can easily explain the purpose of a torch and how it works to a child. Something that looks kind of simply for us, we humans, falls into the abyss of the absurd when we're trying to explain the same thing... to an ant. Ants are hierarchical insects who organise themselves in colonies, much like we do in cities, and we might argue that they don't have intelligence, but they do indeed possess a high degree of sophistication comparable to humans in many ways. Could it be that? Ants don't have the intelligence to understand how a torch works, while we lack the, let's called it intelligence version 2, intercosmos or uni-gnosis, to comprehend the meaning of the Universe? If ants in the future becomes intelligent beings, able to produce and understand how a torch works, could we in the future acquire that level of uni-gnosis to truly understand why we are here and the ultimate nature of the Universe? 65 million years ago, when the biggest mammal of the planet could fit in the palm of your hand, nobody bet that this small mammal will eventually develop into an intelligence species such as the human kind, able to create torches. Who is not to say that, 65 million years from now, that small ant that you can place on your hand today, will not develop into an intelligence species too?
Perhaps, by finding out how we got here we can determine why we are here, so in this article I strive to find out, first of all, how the hell did we get here. Let's go and navigate through this journey of exploration together. You are allowed to question everything that has ever been taught to you, and challenge every thought that your mind produces, no matter how wild or ridiculous at first it may be... after all, it turns out that not even your mind you can trust
I have divided this journey of exploration and fascinating reading into three sections, each one of them covering a different aspect but obviously all of them related. First we will explore the cause of existence of our Sun and the birth of the Universe, then of our Earth and its unique characteristic to support Life, and finally the flourish of the human race and the existence of the most enigmatic structure in the whole Universe: our brains
Section 1, our star the Sun, without it nothing will be possible
- The Primeval Atom
- The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level
- The inflation period
- Floating in the magic of hydrogen
- The Helios nebula
Section 2, the perfect position of planet Earth in the Universe, and the chain of random accidents that caused your existence
- The kiss of planet Theia
- Diving into the origins of Water
- The spark of Life
- Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
- In the wrong side of the Congo
Section 3, the abstract of your thoughts and the illusion of control
- Ancient Civilizations, our roots
- Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind
- Religion and believes, the intangible reality
- Our brains, the biggest mystery
1. The Primeval Atom - 13.7 billion years ago
Religion and Science, reason and faith, are not meant to be enemies, rather, they are two wonderful tools that, like fire and water, allow us to digest the wonders of this Universe. It was a man of God, father Georges Lemaitre, who first proposed the Big Bang Theory back in 1927, two years before Edwin Hubble, though all the credit for the expanding Universe discovery has always been assigned to Hubble, partially because Lemaitre published his article in French, and was not well circulated among the Scientific Community at that time. Both men were undoubtedly in search of the why are we here? question. Lemaitre called the beginning of the Universe the Primeval Atom, and I bet some of his calculations were based on the work of (also not thoroughly recognised by Science at that time, purely because she was a female), the Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt and her discovery of Cepheid variables, stars that as they died allow us to measure the distance from them. Absolutely everything that exist on the Universe was first compiled (that not compacted) into the size of an atom. Obviously, the Universe must have existed in a very different state, not matter or space, to be able to achieve such a small size, to condensate all the energy into a zero-size state, and just to be picky and go deeper into this matter, the "Primeval Atom" should be re-branded as the "Primeval Atom No-Size", because more and more we believe that it wasn't an atom what was there at the beginning, it was a particle, a speck with no size... that is a concept hard to grasp, that the Universe started with no size at all. What was around that speck of zero-space then? If we say nothing that actually implies something
The concept of the Primeval Atom means that absolutely everything is connected, all planets, stars , galaxies, and you and me, were once a form of energy coded in the algorithm of the Primeval Atom. Picture yourself laying in the grass, on a lovely summer afternoon, taking shade under a gigantic oak tree. On your hand you happen to have an acorn, the very same seed that fundamentally gives birth to the whole cathedral-like tree that is giving you shade. The oak tree cannot possibly be compacted into an acorn seed, it is purely codified on it. The same could be interpreted for the Primaeval Atom, it wasn't a compact/compressed state of the Universe, it was a codified version of it. This is utterly incomprehensible and impossible to fit on our imagination, just trying to conceive all this space, matter and energy into an atom with no space at all
This is fascinating, and personally to me it presents the following questions:
If the Primeval Atom was the beginning of everything, then everything must have an end, there is no concept of infinite. What happens is that we are too small to see the end, but there would be an end, just like there was a beginning. Everything dies, even stars and galaxies, the Principle of Entropy dictates that. So, how will the Universe die? And what would happen after it dies? This is a journey of a one-way ticket only, the Universe and everything within it is one-event, just like when you throw a glass of water into the air, and the droplets of H2O start going all over the place but only in the direction where you threw the water too, the arrow of time is unidirectional, the droplets cannot go back, as they subject to the primeval force you employed when you threw them from the glass. Why are we here is only a temporarily question and, quite frankly, a total waste of time sometimes to ask that, given the fact that, at some point in the future, nothing will be here. If there was a beginning, that implies that there must be an end or conclusion. We are not eternal, nothing is
How long was the Primeval Atom in that stage of codified information before it kicked the Big Bang reaction? Was it really energy what the Primeval Atom was composed of? We all know now that E=mc2 allows the matter to be exchanged with energy, and vice versa, therefore maybe this other formula is just as famous as Einstein one's in another plater on the other side of the galaxy: m =E/c2 This is why a tomato (matter) is nothing but the expression of the light of the Sun (energy). The tomato has the ability to transform energy into matter, thus to live. For this transformation to happens a medium needs to exists (rain and earth, in the case of the tomato). Analogically speaking, for the energy to be transformed into matter, a medium (space-time on this occasion) must exist. Therefore, could it have been the insufflation of space and time into the Universe the reason that causes its expansion/explosion from this single point of singularity?
What was around the Primeval Atom? Maybe more filaments of energy, all twisted together and somehow linked to the Primeval Atom. Science call the state of the Primeval Atom and its surrounds a "Singularity", basically a word to say that they have no idea of what is going on in there, no Laws being created, no Physics being defined, etc...but this is not quite correct: everything was already coded into the Primeval Atom, the Laws where there otherwise they would not have been created, just like everything single leaf and brunch of an oak is already coded inside the acorn seed
What caused the Primeval Atom to ignite? to expand? The only thing that seems to be missing on every singularity described by Science is the 1:1 composition of space-and-time that we perceive as our reality. Then again I ask, could that be the insufflation of space what caused the Big Bang? Expanding energy and allowing matter to be created as a consequence? And the time being a by-product of this insufflation? And another point to consider: if we argue that the matter is created from energy, and that the point of the Primeval Atom was pure energy.... when it exploded/expanded/de-coded, why all energy has not been converted into matter in that chain reaction? Why do we live in a Universe where THERE is energy and also THERE is matter? Could it has been the "singularity" of the Big Bang point something totally different from energy and matter, and those former two (together with space and time) the consequence of the initial explosion?
- When we think of a Black Hole we can reflect on that and imagine how the Big Band would have look like it: an unmensurable amount of matter with no space. Black Holes have the capability of remove energy from the atoms itself, the energy that exists on the empty space within the atoms, subtract it and convert it into the gravity force that powers the Black Hole. They are indeed atoms catalysers and also they have zero-size (or have don't have a size, whichever way you want to say it). The 'event horizon' is where the light stops working and its atoms (photons) fell apart subtracted by the gravity force of the Black Hole, but if you continue further into the Black Hole that energy gets compacted into zero-space. Yet, black holes do have a mass, and a measurable length, therefore could they indeed have a size inside them? Could the Primeval Atom have being nothing but a Black Hole going ballistics?
- We can detect black holes.....okay we cannot see them but we can indeed "feel" their presence with instruments, that means that something is escaping the black holes allowing us to detect them....gravity? could gravity actually be faster than light?
How can we measure time in million and billion of years when, during this time, the Earth wasn't around to compute in a measurable manner the pass of time? If time is bound by gravity, and the first second even was created during the Big Bang, which gravity must have been inconceivable, then could it be that time was really speeding up at first, and what we perceive now as an expansion of the Universe is nothing but the slowness of time?
- We know that Black Holes are form by the collapse of massive stars, which during their shiny lives were rotating, therefore black holes have inherited the momentum of theirs ancestors stars and they do indeed rotate too, creating a magnetic field which allow us to actually detect the Black Hole, because it is this field the one that we see interacting with matter. If the Primeval Atom could be interpret as a quasy-black-hole, was it rotating? If it was, where is the rotating-momentum of the initial expansion? Do all galaxies rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise? Is there a rotation momentum inherited in every particle of the Universe? Could it be that we perceive this rotation momentum as time, as the arrow of time?
Click here to continue reading "The Primeval Atom". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
2. The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level - 13.7 billion years ago minus 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 001 seconds
Apparently, this is as far as Science can go, before this time all goes into the unknown. The Plank Time (10 to the power of minus 43, in other words, 42 zeros and a one) is the moment at which Science encounters the so called Plank Wall, a circumstance/situation beyond which the laws of physics (as we know them) disintegrate and cannot pass the wall, therefore we are completely unable to explain what was going on beyond that point. Nothing make sense passing the frontier of the Plank Wall, just as nothing makes sense when we cross the Event Horizon of a black hole (at least, not in the sense lucubrated by the concepts of our mammal cortex). After the Plank Wall and beyond the Event Horizon we find the same thing: singularity, in other words, a situation where all of the major 4 forces in nature that we know (and obviously their formulas) are useless at explaining us what's happening. These powerful well-known 4 forces are:
Gravity, discovered by Newton, and yeah, fine-tuned by Einstein through Relativity, where he merges acceleration + gravity through his Field Equations. Nowadays scientists are beginning to believe more and more that Gravity is not a force, but instead is the effect of time-space wrapped by the presence of mass; I guess I don't know enough of physics to debate that argument, but surely when you are falling into a black hole, it is the mass of the object the one that is applying a force to you, maybe Gravity should be be labelled as a force, but the Force of Attraction by Mass (FAM) should be? Also, the tidal waves and the amphidromic points and explained due to the effect of gravity, so surely it is a force, right?
Electromagnetic Radiation, EMR for short, defined by Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell back in 1865 (built on the genius of Michael Faraday). The force of Electromagnetism holds the electrons around the atomic nucleolus, so if we extrapolate this force to the HUGE, this will be like gravity as the planets (electrons) are held against the nucleus (the sun) of an atom, a solar system
Strong Nuclear Force ;in the world (or shall we use universe by itself) of Quantum Mechanics this force is responsible of holding the nucleus of an atom together, representing 98% of the mass of an atom, as it is holding the protons and the neutrons together
Weak Nuclear Force ;wait a minute.... strong and weak nuclear forces? separated? why not strong and weak gravitational forces too? This weak nuclear force exist in the atom, and it seems it converts Neutrons and/or Protons into Positrons which are nothing but Electrons with a positive charge; this process is called radioactive decay, which to me sound similar to the matter-antimatter annihilation. Electro-weak force is another force that merges electromagnetism and the weak forces, cool ah?
Gravity is so weak in the sub-atomic world that is literally ignore by quantum physics, why is that? All scientist suspect and dream of unifying all these forces together and achieve in that way an harmonious and unified explanation of the Universe, a compelling Standard Model that will explain everything from all angles. Good luck with that guys and gals! They are indeed making progress when they detected the Bosson particle back in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider, as expected by the Standard Model predictions, but just remember to have patience guys and gals, our current human brains (at least the ordinary ones like me) can take up to nine bits of information at most, for example, if I was to tell you to look to this string of 12 characters only for 3 seconds and then try to memorise it: (FBIFTBBCUSSR), that will be very hard, but if I chop the info into 4 bits of information only (FBI - FT - BBC - USSR) you surely will memorise it much quicker. Hopefully, in a few centuries from now, when our cortex evolve even more (of course, as long as the human race still survives) we shall be able to embrace naturally complex mathematical formulas, more bits of information and adapt simple solutions to the Cosmos riddle that at present we can only digest using computational power (which is all well and good, but unfortunately lacks the meaning of interpretation of data, that we humans are so good at)
Click here to continue reading "The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
3. The inflation period - 13.7 billion years ago minus 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 001 seconds
This is it, this is the Universe into motion: whatever you thought in the past determines your future, we are the present reactions of our past, just like the future will be of our present. In the same way, how the Universe was "compacted" in its origins has determined the way it is expanding now, the filaments over which the galaxies have blossom into existence. Apparently the "inflation" period (dodecahedron expansion?) started 10 minus 32 seconds after the creation of the Universe, after the first injection of space into the Universe, if I'm allow to say that, otherwise (if space is not created at the time of inflation), was space always there? When does space actually come into existence? The inflation allowed for symmetry to exist
Do not confuse inflation vs expansion, they are very different things. We may argue that the semantic of "Big Bang" is a wrong, a very wrong concept, as it kind of implies by the linguistics of the word 'bang' that there was some sort of explosion with light and everything. In reality, what it could have happened is an "inflation", an uniform and unilateral expansion of space-time equally in all directions and in complete dark environment that was elastically created as the inflation developed. That explains why the CBM (Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation) is uniformly distributed no matter where you're in the Universe. This can also explains why the Higgs Boson causes the mass of your body to be exactly the same whether you are on Earth or on the other side of the Galaxy, this is because (apparently) the Higgs Boson is uniformly distributed and interacts with particles, hence given them mass, so your body weights the same here in planet Earth as well as when you are on planet GH6734 in the Andromeda Galaxy, as long as planet GH6734 has the same mass and therefore gravity that Earth applies over your body. This means that there is a common distribution of the same amount of Higgs Boson across the Universe, as it was a X-Y-Z canvas where each squares represents the same amount of the Boson. Where does this uniform flat-universe of particles originated? Yeah, you got it, from the inflation, that by definition "inflates" something in an harmonious, equilibrium and symmetry manner in all directions
But... wait a minute. Wasn't the Big Bang supposed to be violent? An ultra-dense expression of erratic particles that all of the sudden are free from the cooked pressure of a singularity? How is it possible that a smooth, uniform and flat ordered army of particles rose from that pandemonium? Obviously, there are a lot more of things that we don't understand about the Big Bang that we do understand. I love the You Tube Channel "Space Time", with Matt O'Dowd; many videos like this one are worth watching more than once:
Click here to continue reading "The inflation period". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
4. Floating in the magic of hydrogen - 3 minutes after big bang to 1 billion years
The great Professor Carl Sagan (his 1980s series "Cosmos" marked my childhood, thank you!) once said that "we are all made of star dust", and Professor Michio Kaku has said that "our destiny is tight to the destiny of the stars". This Universe is not ours, we humans don't have the starring role in this Cosmic theatre... they are! This is a Universe of stars, they're the real protagonist and we're just the spectators in the cosmic display of their birth, evolution and death. And what are stars made of? From the magic element of hydrogen
The first 3 minutes of the Universe, according to Science, was a roller-coaster of activity, with the temperature of the plasma/energetic cloud coming down dramatically and particles being formed and assembled together. These first 3 minutes are called Big Bang Nucleosynthesis -BBN- and this is when all the hydrogen in the Universe was formed (I guess it should have being named differently, to differentiate it from Stellar Nucleosynthesis -SN-). During these first 3 minutes some helium was formed too, so now we have hydrogen (very simple, just one proton) and helium (the second in the scale of complexity, with just 2 protons at its nucleus) plus gravity, and it just happens that hydrogen interacts with itself and with helium, and together with gravity they compact and form... you got it, a nuclear combustion, fusion hydrogen into helium: a star
It is really interesting to see and understand the evolution of any given star, as they are the ones who really rule the Universe, who formed galaxies, spirals, create light and give us all of the elements that form life and the reality as we perceive it. Why its life cycle is so precisely defined? Who design it? Those first 3 minutes of the Universe were absolutely critical. According to Science this is when matter and antimatter (or something similar between these two terms) annihilated, creating in the aftermath of the collisions the by-product of radiation and the particles of matter that we perceive today. In the diagram below, the Chandrasekhar limit, stating that all starts that have 1.4 time the mass of our Sun, is position within boundary of "Low Mass Star" and "Massive Star", basically, white dwarf stars with more than 1.4 the solar masses of our sun cannot exist, they will go supernova and ultimately collapse in either a black hole or a neutron star. Why is that? Why such specific amount of solar mass is needed for a star to go supernova? Is like somebody put a weight on a balance and you need and specific amount of hydrogen-weight on the side of the balance for the it to favour the hydrogen-weight side, causing this to light a light in the middle. The physics of the Universe are really in tuned and the maths are specific. If, let's say, the Chandrasekhar limit was 1.6 solar masses, there would be far less stellar black holes which eventually can collide and form galactic black holes, there probably would be no galaxies is the Chandrasekhar limar was 1.6
Click here to continue reading "Floating in the magic of hydrogen". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
5. The Helios nebula - 1 billion years to 9.1 billions years after the big bang
The semantic of the word 'nebula' can be used to describe both the death of a star as well as the birth of new others. Our Sun, according to Science, is a third generation star, meaning that the hydrogen it contains has already experience the interaction with at least two previous stars, now gone. All the hydrogen in the Sun must have suffered the blast and gamma rays flood of at least two previous supernovas or supernovae, causing it to compact and contract in the third generation star that is our Sun. The first generations stars were the first ones ever to have been formed, and all of them must have (being initially so massive) exploded into supernovas, leaving behind either black holes or neutron stars. Then the 2nd generations stars were formed from the leftovers of the first generation stars. They burn much slowly but eventually they too collapsed or interacted with one another, exploding into yet again more supernovas or transforming themselves into white dwarf stars from which detritus our Sun formed, a third generation star. It is estimated that 3 to 5 new stars form every year just in the Milky Way, all of them being 3rd generation stars or even beyond
Our Sun, roughly a 35 years old chap now if we compare it to our human existence, must have been part of a Nebula when it was young, which other stars where part of that nebula? At present our closest star is Proxima Centauri, at just 4.2 light years away, but it has been the closest for only the last 32,000 years, that is 0.032 of the 4.6 billions years of age of the Sun, absolutely nothing! The Gaia spacecraft seems to have found so far at least 2 other stars that have the same elements signature composition as our sun, meaning that they were form in the same nursery Nebula. One of them is called "HD 162826" and the other one "HD 186302", the former being 110 light years way while the other about 184 light years away.... pretty long distances for our closest related sun-family
During my research, I did not find a specific name for the nebula where our sun was born, so I'll call this nebula "Helios Nebula". I would love that Science could go back with its instruments 4.6 billions years ago, when this nebula was formed, and study it, to figure out how many stars where in this nebula, where the gas and dust came from, how many supernovas where needed, any black holes around, etc. What is left from this "Helios Nebula", the nebula where our Sun was created? Go and figure, the time scale is enormous. In these 4.6 billions years lots of stars, drifting in space, have passed through our Sun neighbourhood
This video, which expand 10 light years only, shows the current vicinity of stars around our Sun; notice the prominent position of the bright Sirius at just 8.6 light years away:
The Sun has only circle the Milky Way 22 times since its creation (technically, we can therefore say that the Sun is a 22 years-old-galactic-star). When our Sun ignited in the galaxy the milky way was 9.1 billion years old, and this is it: after the Sun ignited no more hydrogen will come to its rescue, once it burns it all that will be the end of it, the life of our Sun is determined by the amount of hydrogen used in its creation, and in that sense hydrogen equals time. That also means that there is no more creation of new materials that can be "broadcast" by the sun, unless from extraterrestrial source (which probably will be older) all of the atoms that you see around you and in planet Earth are at least 4.6 billions years old or older. So yes, technically you look pretty good for all of your atoms to be 4.6 billions years old, just imagine in how many "entities" have your atoms resided and animated before they chose to sustain your body and its thoughts.....do you hate spiders? Where your atoms perhaps part of a butterfly in the Pleistocene -2.5 millions years ago- that was eating by a spider? Could this refinements of atoms be an conductor to 'tune' the atoms and allows them to host abstracts thoughts, able to ponder about their own existence? Hummm, it makes you think
Click here to continue reading "The Helios nebula". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
Let's cover now in Section 2 the shaping of planet Earth and its peculiarities
1. The kiss of planet Theia - 4.5 billion years ago
9.2 billion years of time have passed, and as far as we know nobody was there to ever tell the story. At this point of the article we reach a stage where the Earth is finally formed... kind of...at this moment we should call our beloved planet "Earth minus 1" (also called Gaia by scientists, but I much prefer to use the name Gaia for our current planet). At this moment in time, our "planet-to-be" is about to face one of the most significant transformation that makes it the special home in the Cosmos that we know it today: the only planet where Life exist. It all started 4.5 billions years ago, when Earth -1 was hit by an object the size of planet Mars, to what would be (we hope) the last planetary collision that formed planet Earth, Gaia. It is thought that the inner solar system must have been a very crowded place, with about 20 protoplanets (planets-to-be) down to the 4 rocky planets that we know today (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and maybe the asteroids belt too), therefore collisions must have happened in the past to reduce that number from around 20 to 4 plus the asteroids belt. Only collisions with other big objects can explain why the Earth is spinning so fast, while Venus... rotate backwards, in retrograde mode; this sort of collisions can also explain why Earth is the biggest of the inner rocky planets while Mercury, who probably had very few collisions, is tiny is comparison to Earth. With every collision that Earth -1 was encountering, its surface and part of the mantle was smashed to pieces, and obviously from the early beginning when Earth was just the size of a continent in space, the heavy materials began to sunk to the center, like nickel but mostly iron (symbol fe), the last of the materials that a star can create just before going supernova. The iron inside Earth must all be very ancient, probably originated from the leftovers of the star father to our Sun, before it went supernova. Iron is a special material, the gateway mineral to other dimensions. It is interesting to know that Iron is both the death cause of a star (when a star starts producing iron, it just got days lo live) and the reason planets like ours are able to sustain Life, as it powers our magnetic field, not to mention the fundamental weight that iron and its subsequence alloys have at the time of empowering and sustaining the infrastructure of our civilisation
It is still very debatable the state of Earth -1 prior to Theia collision, and in fact whether the accretion disk theory is valid or not, but without any doubt (you can feel it under your feet) the Earth was indeed formed, and massive collisions with other planets, fighting all for an undisputed space to orbit around the Sun, must have happened in the past. The picture below is a theorised aspect of how the Solar System would have looked 4.5 billions years ago or so, with nearly 20 planets rotating an infant 1 billion years old sun. It is just pure chance that we ended up with 4 inner planets, had the collision of those hypothetical 20 bodies behave differently, we could have end up with 8 inner rocky planets, or even just one, like some of the gigantic exoplanets that we keep discovering nowadays in other solar systems, most of them too hostile to hold liquid water, and therefore unable to host Life as we know it (good to hear that Kepler-62e and 62f could be an exception!). Where did all the rocky material to from our planets came from anyway? Must have been orbiting around the nebula from which the sun's hydrogen collapsed and ignited. As mentioned before, Hydrogen is a gas that, for us here on Earth, takes a lots of effort to compact: it turns into liquid when under pressure. Maybe hydrogen in space behaves differently, perhaps it interacts with dark matter, and it can actually compact an ignite in the vacuum (it definitely ignites somehow, otherwise there would be no stars in the Universe!)
In any case, it is thought that, at the time of this last mayor collision of planet Earth, its surface was completely melted, as if it had already experience very recently other significant impacts, or perhaps it was under the extreme pressure of the imminent collision, getting hotter and hotter with every revolution Earth vs Theia were practising around the Sun, and the surface began to melt by the tidal gravitational waves of Theia. Definitely, right after the impact, the Earth surface was nothing but an immense ocean of liquefy rock, nothing was solid. Only this state of liquefied rock on the whole surface of Earth can explain why the Moon density and rocks composition are so close to those found in the surface of our planet. Literally all the mantle of liquefied rock that was covering the Earth was flown away after the impact. The planet that collided with Earth, as you already guessed, is called Theia, wisely named after the Greek mythology mother of the Moon. In this picture below you see at scale 1:1 a representation of Earth, Mars and the Moon, so you get the idea of how a planet the size of Mars hit our planet (which in the picture below -prior collision- must have been smaller), and that from that collision an object the size of the Moon formed out of the debris. No one is to say that there probably were two or three moons after the impact, but whichever objects were orbiting Earth, eventually they all gather together though the gravity-cannibalism process into our current Moon. The Moon moves away from Earth at a rate of 3.4 cm per year, still driven by the initial separation force of the impact
Click here to continue reading "The kiss of planet Theia". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
2. Diving into the origins of Water - from 4.5 billion years to 500 million years ago
Where did all the water of our planet comes from? If I believed that finding an answer to the question "Why are we here?" was a challenge, it turns out that discovering an explanation to the origin of the water is even a bigger endeavour. Okay, you might say, who cares about why we are here, anyway? After all, this is a kind of metaphysical question for which every person will has an answer, so trying to 'fix' an answer for such erratic bubbling question is pretty absurd and a complete waste of time. I take that, but... for the question of where all the water of our planet comes from... that is something really different. We need to know where all this water comes from, end of the question. Water is a tangible object, our bodies are made of it and therefore our civilisation depends of it, so we really need to understand how the liquid element came to manifest in such quantities into the surface of our planet. If we want to ensure the survival of both our bodies and our civilisation, we need to know the answer to the origin of water with absolute certainty
Water molecules are simple: H2O, two atoms of hydrogen (the most common element of the Universe, formed after the Big Bang) and one atom of Oxygen that glues them two, forming an angle of 104.5 degrees. Oxygen, the third most abundant element in the Universe after hydrogen and helium, was forged inside the first generation of stars, then spread across the galaxy by supernovas. Yet, it seems small organisms can release oxygen by breaking down the water molecules (and I always wondered, where does the Hydrogen goes when the Oxygen is released by the plants/organism?). Life behaves like a supernova at the time of generating by-products, like Oxygen in Nucleosynthesis or Oxygen in Photosynthesis. Obviously, the water on Earth was formed by the "oxygen" that was left over after supernovas and that interacted with Hydrogen in the space to form water molecules. I can't really understand how water molecules are form out of the nothing up there in space, do they just bump on one another and decide to form a molecule? The oxygen that you now breath was released by small organisms million of years ago, trees and plants too and mostly by the oceans of nowadays, that oxygen was not produced inside a star. It is just not possible that the oxygen on the water was created by organisms, as they need the water to be there in the first place in order to exist. And what are the circumstances by which an Oxygen atom can join to two Hydrogen counterparts to form water? Gravity bounding pressure? And... is the oxygen in the water (the one created by supernovas) exactly the same as the oxygen in the air (the one released by nature) that we breath? So, if I got it right, we can just pump hydrogen and oxygen into the vacuum of space... and eventually water molecules will form our of those two? hello?
Water is a very, very, very... VERY....very special thing, it has the properties of cohesion, adhesion, a high specific heat, surface tension and polarity. Have a look at this amazing video below, and the lovely lady doing the presentation (I love the orchids background!), she explains you all these properties in more detail. To all of these properties, I'd like to add reflection: water does reflect light and that is yet another key component that plays a role at the time of supporting Life. The thing that amaze me the most is how water behaves when it is on its solid form: ice. It floats above its liquid state. Yes, ice floats over water, though this only happens on Light Water, and not Heavy Water. This is a unique property of the electrically charged molecules, and the 104.5 degrees that joins then to others, making the ice less dense than liquid water. Normally any substance on its solid form will sink when presented to the same substance on its liquid state, but that's not the case with water. This property, among the many others it has, creates a shields of ice over the liquid water below that protects any chemical reactions that may occur underneath the ice, thus truly supporting Life not just from the inside as a dissolvent and transport of energy, but also from the outside as a protector
Click here to continue reading "Diving into the origins of Water". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
3. The spark of Life - 500 million years ago to 2 million years ago
In this chapter we'll try to understand how Life came about to materialise on our planet. We have now seen all the really bizarre (Theia's collision with all its variables?) and strange circumstances (a stable Sun, Jupiter to protect us, our planet position in the Habitable Zone?) that make our planet hospitable for Life.... let me just rephrase that: that make our planet "suitable" for Life, far away from hospitable as we'll see now: Life is indeed a chemical reaction with all the potential to annihilate itself
This chapter covers the span of our Earth from 500 million to 2 million years ago, but as we know Life emerged in our planet as far back as 3.5 billion years ago, fossilised bacteria found in Western Australia indicate that, though there is not yet a consensus by scientists in the specific times as to when Life really started, they all agree that it emerged pretty quickly after the formation of our planet. I want to explore in this chapter the jump needed for a chemical reaction to be alive, and then all the number of extinctions and ups and downs that Life has endured on this planet, in order to understand how come that we are here. So, yes, let's have another long cup of tea with this chapter!
We have already gone through the lots of variables, conditions and events that needed to have occurred in the past so that Life could even have a chance to exist. All of these variables do challenge the Laws of Probabilities. Are we a cosmic accident? What are the changes of all of these circumstances (Theia, the magnetic field, the Moon, the Late Heavy Bombardment, etc) happening on another planet? Would Life had evolved if one of these variables was altered? Of course not, all of these events are absolutely critical for the growth and flourish of Life on our planet. Let's say, if you remove the Magnetic Field (not enough nickel on the core could do it) then that's it: bye bye Life. Planet Earth will be flooded in deadly radiation from the Sun and break any DNA on the surface, no chance for complex bacteria to evolve into a forest for example. If you remove the LHB, then there won't be enough water and definitely not enough materials like Carbon or Zinc to kick start Life on the surface of planet Earth. Life indeed did emerge from non-living ingredients
We stick to the facts: the oldest fossils on Earth was found to be 3.5 billion years ago. Life must have started not long after Theia and the Late Heavy Bombardment, when the oceans must have just been formed and chemistry reactions had a chance to develop undisrupted. Life is nothing more than a chemical reaction involving Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon and Nitrogen, together with Sulphur and Phosphorus in what is called the 6 Building Blocks of Life or CNOHPS. Of all these elements (two of which we know compose water) Carbon is indeed the signature of Life and an absolutely essential ingredient of it. The presence of water does not necessary means Life, but for Life "as we know it" Carbon has to be there. That's right, when you hear the sentence "Life as we know it" that means Life carbon-based, which is the only type of Life that we know
Credit: Start of Life - abiogenesis hypothesis
As this wonderful video explains below, the key of Carbon life-based relies on its atomic structure. The fact is that, just like with the origins of water, nobody knows the root cause of the origins of Life: no one has a clue what caused Life to start, and how non-living materials became animated. Some people argue that absolutely everything is alive, and that the animated state is simple a transformation of the compounds, just like when water transforms from liquid to gas, in both stages it is water but only on one it can form clouds. Every living thing, after some time, become a non-living thing and so on, in a continuous regeneration of materials found on our beautiful planet Earth. Life is powered by normal chemical reactions, but how did all start?
Click here to continue reading "The spark of Life". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
I have finally removed this section and formed a separated article from it, it was growing at an inside rate so I thought it was best to treat this subject of Life versus Extinction on a totally separated link, to easy my logistic and research, and ultimately to facilitate the reading of this article:
Click here to read the section of "List of Extinction Events", such a great battle that is!
To be honest, it is important that you read this section, or at least have a look at it, in order to comprehend the scale of time that we are talking about and the incredibly huge number of creatures that have populated this planet, our Earth, home too to every single one of them. In our quest to find the answer of "Why are we here?" inevitable we also need to ask ourselves why were all these creatures here, and now all gone for good. Were they a temporarily bridge of evolution towards us? If so, it seems to me a very erratic and bumpy road to take! If for the contrary there were no other purpose in for example the existence of the dinosaurs, other than serve the cycle of the CO2 just like rocks also do, are we destined to have the same incongruence and futile fate?
Acid rain takes away carbon dioxide form the atmosphere and lock it in the ocean in the form of limestones, this process is called weathering. Open sea absorb sunlight, keeping the ocean warm, but when snowball happens ice start taking over the sea, and it was actually reflects sunlight thus cooling Earth even more. Single-cell bacteria were the only things that survived snowball Earth... how? Thermal-vents must have come to a rescue; extremophiles where also living inside glacial caves. Cyanobacteria are able to change their DNA structure under extreme conditions, you can for example dry them for hundred of years and then put water on them, after a few hours they're alive!
4. Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
Let's stop for a minute and take a look at where we are now. Yes, we are indeed here, but why are we here? Jupiter, the Great Benefactor, has got something to say about Life existence in our planet. Life has now taken a stronghold in our planet and it seems nothing can remove it, it has been really persistent and stubborn, certainly determined, surviving to all disasters that the random breathing of the Universe and its events has put on its path, from meteorites strikes from above to massive volcanic eruptions from below, and many other disasters in between. And yet, Life survives, on this planet, our planet, inside you. But what about the other goodies in the Solar System? Were any of the other planets or moons able to host Life at some point in their history? Are they maybe cherishing Life right now as we speak? In this chapter we'll explore what was happening to Jupiter and other planets in the Solar System while Life was playing cat & mouse with Extinction on the surface of our planet
Jupiter is consider in Astrology the Great Benefactor, and indeed it is for our planet... kind of... Jupiter, due to its immense gravity pull, shield the inner rocky planets from incoming asteroid and comets, acting literally as a defender and protector of Life. That fact was proved in 1994 when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter; that comet was approximately the same size of the comet that wiped the dinosaurs. Had Jupiter not been there to grab the comet into collision course with itself, Shoemaker-Levy 9 would have entered the inner Solar System and, who knows? It may as well smashed the Earth. But Jupiter also has the opposite effect, and it can potentially send lethal objects towards the inner solar system, and Science believed it was Jupiter gigantic magnetic influence the root cause of the Late Heavy Bombardment event....but I personally don’t think so. Let's investigate about that in a bit. If we were to compact the last 4.5 billion years of history of our planet into 24 hours, together with some of the events that were happening in the Solar System during those 4.5 billion years of time, the list will be more or less as below:
- 00:09 = Theias' impact creates the Moon, was Theia plunged to the Earth by Jupiter's gravity?
- 00:12 = LHB starts, was Jupiter the driving force of the Late Heavy Bombardment?
- 03:00 = LBH stops, was Jupiter also involved in the stop of this event?
- 04:30 = First building blocks of Life
- 05:36 = Oldest fossils of single organism
- 08:00 = Shallow seas with single bacteria
- 08:12 = Oxygen was present in the oceans
- 10:41 = Oxygen starts to build up in the atmosphere by the photosynthesis process created by bacteria
- 11:00 = Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) takes place, and the planet rusts
- 13:00 = Snowball Earth 1
- 14:10 = Single cell algae detected
- 18:08 = Sex invented as a means of reproduction instead of cloning, jolly good!
- 18:30 = Multi-cellular Life appeared
- 20:27 = Snowball Earth 2
- 20:30 = First sea plants
- 20:35 = After 25 million years, volcanos start melting Snowball Earth (Yellowstone in action?). The reversion, the warm up of the planet, took around 1 million years
- 21:00 = Excess of Oxygen creates the Ozone Layer, and the surface of the planet is protected against lethal radiation from the sun
- 21:09 = First multicellular organisms, Cambrian explosion
- 21:22 = First fish
- 21:30 = First plants in land
- 21:40 = First insets
- 22:20 = First reptiles
- 22:40 = Siberian traps, Permian extinction
- 22:50 = First dinosaurs
- 23:37 = First mammals
- 23:38 = Asteroid impact, did Jupiter contribute to send this asteroid towards Earth?
- 23:40 = First primates
- 23:56 = First species of hominids
- 23:58 = First humans
- 23:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:58 = First iPhone
As you can see, the above table is absolutely fascinating for two main reasons: 1) not only it gives you a time frame of events that we can understand and easily visualise, knowing for example that complex Life (multicellular organisms) developed only 3 hours before midnight, Life indeed took a long time to evolve, especially when you consider that it emerged at 3 am in the morning and it was only from 9 pm when it got really complex, what was it doing the whole day long? From 3 am till 9 pm is like 3.3 billion years of single cell Life presence only! But the reason 2) that makes this table so interesting is that it contains the hidden message of our limited comprehension in the time scales in which the Universe moves: we understand the length of a day, we are "design" to live it, but we cannot fit in our mind the time of one million or 100 million years, yet alone 4.5 billion years, it just doesn't make sense to us, nobody lives 1 million years or more, no matter how healthy your breakfast is. We comprehend and grasp in our mind the length of a day because our consciousness has experience it in the physical entity that we live on. To answer the question of why are we here, does our consciousness needs to expand into other entities able to experience the passing of such great amount of time such as 4.5 billion years that the Universe is "design" to experience? I'm getting ahead of myself, I guess these are questions for the "Conclusion" section of this article
Let's start and see if we can shed some light in the mystery of our Sun... why does our Sun has an 11 years cycle? Every 11 years, the Sun's magnetic field rotates and flip itself over, the North Pole becomes the South Pole and vice-versa. If you plot this into a chart it becomes a butterfly diagram. Why does it happen every 11 years and not 25? When the flips occurs the Sun reaches its maximum corona activity, what is called in Astronomy Solar Maximum; or perhaps is the opposite: because it has reached its maximum corona activity, the poles flip. In any case, prior to the flips the surface of the Sun is increasingly dotted with sunspots or solar spots, cause by alterations and twists of the magnetic field at the surface level of the sun. Astronomers have been counting the sunspots since 1749, to determine when the Solar Maximum occurs, and hence when the North-South pole flip, and have come out with this pattern of the 11-year Sun Cycle: https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/solar-activity/solar-cycle/historical-solar-cycles.html The formation of sun spots during solar maximum do have an impact on our climate, after all, life exist on our planet because of the sun, so any minor alternation in its radiation will affect us
Does the specific Sun's rotation has an influence on its 11 year cycle? Credit: Solar Rotation varies by Latitude
Astronomers have detected sunspots in other stars too, so this is not only a phenomenon that happens on our sun. When we consider that the Sun, our private stellar nuclear reactor, is a gigantic ball of gas that rotates at different speeds, with the equator rotating on itself every 25 days approximately (24.5) while nearer the poles the rotation happens every 35 days, we can come out with the following interesting calculations:
- The equator rotates 0.7142 times faster than the poles (25 days at the equator / 35 days at the poles = 0.7142)
- Every 160 times that the equator rotates, the magnetic poles flip (365 days / 25 days a rotation = 14.6 rotations a year, multiply that for 11 = 160.6 rotations)
- Every 114 times that the poles rotates, the magnetic poles flip (365 days / 35 days a rotation = 10.4 rotations a year, multiply that for 11 = 114.4 rotations)
- The relation between the number of rotations at the poles (114.4) and the equator (160.6) is 0.7123
Could the size of our sun be related to its 11 years cycle? During its lifetime, and before its nucleus run out of hydrogen to fusion into helium, and therefore collapsing, the sun will have lost only 0.05% of its mass, so it pretty must have had this 11 year cycle right from its birth time. Could this cycle be related to the fact that our sun supports Life in one if its solar system planets so well? Our Solar System seems to be intrinsically connected in a very harmonious way, and yet we know for sure that its beginning were very chaotic, a place full of collisions and destructions, so how it is possible that such harmonious order was rendered after the initial shambolic start?
Click here to continue reading "Jupiter, the Great Benefactor". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
5. In the wrong side of the Congo, 2 millions years ago
Hominids Horribilis... that probably would be the name a future civilization will give to our species whenever it is on the future that they find our fossilised remains. If all humans were to disappear today from the face of the Earth, 10 million years after that (literately the blink of an eye in geological times) the only things remaining of our glorious civilization would be some shapeless four faces figures in Mount Rushmore and a thin layer of putrefactus-plastic-morbidus materials about 10 meters below the soil at ground level. That would be it. That would be the legacy of our glorious civilization in the future (satellites and spacecrafts are another history). If there was a global nuclear war today (a disaster that unfortunately is always on the menu), with all the nukes in arsenals being detonated, very likely the human race (so called by himself Homo Sapiens Sapiens) will be extinct in about 50 years maximum after the nuclear blast, unable to survive the gigantic nuclear winter that that kind of war will generate. Most of the species that now populate our planet (under the extreme conditions that we are allowing them to live, or better said, to survive) will also perish in the aftermath of a nuclear war. But again, as our planet has proven since its beginning, Life itself is very resilience and persistence, and it will indeed survive and outlast our self-generated cataclysm... is just so happens that we won't be there to tell
Our species, the Homo Sapiens, evolved in East Africa, around Ethiopia, about 200,000 years ago; that's about the best statement that all anthropologies studying the human race will agree. Before the 200,000 years frontier, and in between there and 2 million years ago, there are quite a lot of species of homos with quite a few missing links that makes the road map to our ancestor quite a puzzle, and every new fossil specimen that is discover seems to be adding more complexity and confusion to the origin of our species rather than clarity. We are the only surviving species of Homininis.... all the other ones that had ever existed are extinct for unknown reasons. As you can see from the diagram below, of all the species of Hominids only us remain, while we have pushed to the edge of extinction the parallel species in the Gorillini branch. Just so you know, there is a difference between Hominid and Hominin, where Hominin are our gang (can walk up-right) and Hominid are the Apes from Africa only. A final distinction is that the Apes are... well, all Apes
Credit: Human Evolution [the above graph, though, misses the Asian Apes, Orangutan, from East Asia, it should be on a parallel branch to those two]
I always found fascinating that we and Chimpanzee/Bonobos share a 99.5% amount of DNA code. They are our closest relatives because all the other species or Hominini are gone, most of them were the bridge used by Mother Nature to evolve into us, but some of them who co-existed with us might have actually being exterminated by us, homo sapiens. It always torture me the possibility that we may be the "aggressive" species. Just like Chimpanzees and Bonobos, which develop very different social skills, behaviours and attitudes depending on which side or the river Congo they were born, it could be that, by analogy, we were also on the wrong side of the Congo, grew on an area of East Africa were resources were scarce, and we are genetically coded to be violent and selfish. Just having a 10 minutes lecture of World War 2 history will show you that we, as a species, are the most dangerous ever to have walked on the face of planet Earth... by far. Not only we kill other species, but we also kill each other, and even our ancestors, mothers, fathers, brothers and lovers: we can kill them all
Could we have caused the extermination of Homo Netherlanders and Cro-Magnon too? If so, if we happen to be inherently violent by nature and unable to control our emotions, like those cells that invented sex by devouring each other underneath the ice crust of the first snowball earth, perhaps we are not meant to understand the meaning of our existence. Perhaps the meaning of existence lays plainly in front of us, like a car in front of an ant, but we cannot see it or perceive it. Perhaps we are just a slightly more complex organism from others, with a keen attitude and a highly developed cortex tune specifically to kills and devours things. We are by far the most lethal species to have ever existed on the planet
Click here to continue reading "In the wrong side of the Congo". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
And finally, our last section of this article, where we'll study mostly our brain and its circumstances. This is where the magic begins
1. Ancient Civilizations, our roots
Last chapter we ended up with the explosion of the Toba Supervolcano, 75,000 years ago. In here, ancient civilizations, our roots, takes place. A particular species of Hominids called Homo sapiens (humans) survived that explosion in the East area of Africa, but other species of Hominids also survived that cataclysms in other parts of the world. Nevertheless, it was going to be the humans the one who expanded from that moment onwards all over the planet ready to absorb and/or conquer other fellow species of Hominids and creatures until only the Homo sapiens is left ruling the globe. The oldest civilization we got written records from are the Sumerians, 3,000 years BC, very recently if you consider that humans were potentially able to create civilization since 20,000 years ago or even older. In 2022 a scientific study was published regarding some bones dated 31,000 years ago that were found in a cave called Liang Tebo, in Kalimantan, the east of the island of Borneo. Those bones showed a successful amputation of an individual (a child) just above the ankle.....imagine that....31,000 years ago they had knowledge of medicine, antibiotics, nervous systems, muscles and tools to perform surgical operations to such a degree that they were able to clean cut and seal the tibia and fibula bones, the lower bones in the leg of a child who lived into adulthood. This discovery also implies that ancient civilizations, our roots, where so far ago in time a society where care of others is embedded, because this individual would not have been able to live and survive alone without attention and help from the community.
I highly recommend to have a watch to this excellent documentary of the Sumerian civilization, made by Paul Cooper. Love the analogy that he made when he compares the hydrogen that gravity pulls to form a star, and then shine as light, and the humans that accumulate together to form a city, a civilization, and then produce their own form of light: written language
Sumerians used a unique type of cuneiform writing language, one of the oldest writing languages on record, but the oldest of them all is to be found in India, the Sanskrit. Could there have been an older civilisation in India, older than anything we know and which records have disappeared? This beautiful and magnificent graph below shows the number of civilizations that we know of, and the time at which they flourished; as you can see there were many more civilizations before the Sumer civilization, but only from the Sumerians we got written records:
Click here to continue reading "Ancient Civilizations, our roots". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
2. Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind
Our desire to communicate is one of the key components that make us humans, that leads to the expression of our creativity, let it be in the arts, literature, music or architecture. There is a need deep within us to express ourselves individually as well as collectively, by the means of creating something on this planet (having children, giving birth of books, arts, songs, designs, etc) or by being part of a community (football team, clubs, an obscure association that makes you feel connected to other people even though you might never know them, etc). In this behaviour we are very much similar to the bacteria that colonized our planet (their planet too!) 3.8 billion years ago, when a sense of community and creation where developed, leading to the constructions of the first stromatolite structures. Bacteria, just like us it seems (no wonder we are their descendents), wanted to express in whichever way they could a higher level of themselves, to reach a higher frequency in their existence. They could only associated in colonies but we (a much more complex and sophisticated creature) associate ourselves in intricate communities called cities, countries and such. Is this tendency to associate in groups a force in Life? After all, particles join themselves too to become atoms, and atoms do likewise raise to molecules
And what are languages? There are over 7,000 languages in the world. All of them have been invented and all of them are different, but.....they all have in common one single thing, the objective to fulfil one single purpose: communication, in particular communication within a community. Language is a tool that allow us to understand and describe our reality, our perceived reality and the way we sense our Universe. The old popular saying of "What came first, the egg or the chicken?", takes a sinister meaning when we formulate the same question but about language versus thoughts, which one of those came first? Do we think because we have a language to formulate a thought? The answer seems to be that thoughts came first, as there are some thoughts which we cannot express through language. To express a thought you indeed new to have a language to formalise that thought, so we might argue that thoughts are there first, and that the invention of languages is what has enable us to create complex and elaborated thoughts. This magnificent TED Talk of the charming Professor Lera Boroditsky gives an insight about the critical influence and impact of the languages that we have mastered have on our minds. I love her ending of the video: what thoughts do you wish to create?
And indeed she is right: thoughts are the baseline of creations. Everything that you see around you, that have been made by the human race, the chair, a car, your computer screen, the window. All of it, all of our fabricated reality, had existed before on someone's mind. Absolutely everything is a product of the mind, for thoughts have to exist first before any creation is conceived. That bring us to the question: if all creations of men have existed before in the mind (as thoughts), do we also existed on someone's mind as thoughts? That of God or a Creator? Did mother nature thought of a tree before it actually created it? In order to create a human being the cells have to know where to place themselves, who is gonna be part of the heart and who will be part of an ear or a blood cell, etc. Therefore there must be some kind of understanding before, some sort of communication through a language (DNA) that we don't yet fully understand, else, how do the cells of your body have organised themselves to form what you are?
Click here to continue reading "Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
3. Religion and Believes, the intangible reality
After centuries of neglect, declining and abuse, when the last few remaining books of what used to be the gigantic, much admired and famous Library of Alexandria were burnt at around 640 AD by Moslem, the Caliph who instructed the order is quoted to have said: "These books either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, in which case they are superfluous. So burn them all". Exactly the same approach took Christians when in 1562 they burnt the precious Mayan books in the Yucatan peninsula, with the Bishop who instructed the order saying something like "The only book this people will ever need is the Bible". And we even don't have to travel that far back in time, to show the jealousy and danger that ANY extreme religious and ideology cast to the human race: when in May 1933 the Nazis burnt books all over Germany in bonfires, one of the many thousands of books that perished on the fires where those of poet Heinrich Heine, who is quote to have said more than 100 years before these events: "Where they burnt books, they will also ultimately burn people", and so it was
How many wars have there been based on purely different religion and ideologies? How many people have died because of that? All religions somehow claim to have an answer to the question of why are we here?, basing this claim in the idea that they held the true origin of God
In the long read of my article, our article if you have been reading with me all along, of why are we here, now we reach the darkest session, darker that when we had no light in the Universe, why darker than darkness? because darkness doesn't care, it just be, but darker wants to the brightens, the brighter, and this is exactly what religions and believe do the human race: they grow their darker side inside them with, without the shield of compassion or civilisation, they push their fellow members and try to crash their darker or brightness side, why so many innocent people died burn at the stake? killed by the silence sentence of a cross that was on itslef horrified of being force to be a judge for a crime that did no exist? Human, specially and specifically men, human men: they are evil
Click here to continue reading "Religion and Believes, the intangible reality". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
4. Our brains, the biggest mystery
The second law of thermodynamics states that all energy dissipate and that, following the unstoppable arrow of time, everything converts into chaos, into disorder, intro entropy. You leave alone a boat on a beach and, given enough time and without any energy input to repair it, the irreversible process of entropy will start and the boat will rust, fall apart and eventually convert into the sand of materials and compounds which were use for its creation. This second law of thermodynamics has always been fascinating to me: it creates the concept of entropy and, if you think carefully, it defines the very principle of Death. Yes, this is the law that identifies Death from the scientific point of view: everything falls apart if you give it enough time, everything dies, everything will die, you, me, the sun and even the Universe as a whole will inevitable perished too. If that is the case, if the second law of thermodynamics defines Death...then, which is the law that defines Life, you may ask? That would be the first law of thermodynamics, right? It seems logical. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. This maps with the principle of reincarnation, by which consciousness never dies and is purely transferred from living entity into living entity. Does this silly analogy means that Life has always existed? Anyway, my point of starting this article about our brains, the biggest mystery like this, boasting about the second law of thermodynamics, is that in theory its principle should not have allowed for the creation of the human brain. If this law states that everything falls apart with time, how is that possible that, precisely because of time, the Universe has allowed the creation of the brain? In theory this organ should not even exist, and yet each one of us posses to a certain degree the most complex structure of the Universe known man: the human brain
It turns out that the existence of the human cerebral cortex does NOT violate the second law of thermodynamics, because it exists in a "closed system", meaning that it needs constant input of energy from the exterior in order to survive, preserve its structure and prevent its disappearance into the realms of the nothingness. This continuous input of energy means that we are constantly creating entropy around us in order for the anatomy of the brain to exist, in other words, we need to decompose the ordered structure of a tomato (digest it) in order for its glucose to be absorbed and support the internal molecules assemblies of our brain. There is something there, intrinsically metaphysics, in this order-to-disorder process that have created our brains, something strange and mysterious that I am not entirely sure how to describe it or what it is but that attracts me a lot, it is like our brains are black holes of order that create disorder around them as they evolve
Metaphysical thoughts apart, let's dive now a bit into Neuroanatomy of the brain, and let's find out what are the most important parts of its complex structure....essentially, ALL of the brain is important. The human brain is made of such intricate connections that many books have been written since it was first explored anatomically speaking in 1909 by German neurologist Korbinian Brodmann, who mapped the brain's cerebral cortex into 52 separated parts (the so-called 52 Brodmann areas) based on regional variations structures of the cells; later on, each one of these areas have been associated to different cortical functions, like this general map shows:
Considering the above....each area of the brain is dedicated to a specific function. In spite of the complex connections of the brain, it has been proven again and again by neurologists that, if you damage one specific area of the brain, the neurological functions associated to that area are indeed affected, so basically we are nothing but parts of the brain attached together that by random connections make each person unique. On which part of our brain the consciousness resides? Neurology know that the hippocampus is the part of the brain where our memories are stored, but where, for example, is our soul? or our spirit? Rene Descartes, the famous French philosopher, published as far back as 1649, a book in which he believed the human soul resides in the pineal gland, could that be true? Certainly, our consciousness must resides somewhere on our body, and if all of our body will perish somebody, does our consciousness perish too? Is our consciousness, soul, spirit or whatever we want to call it, made of a material other than our flesh, able to survive our body? Are our brains, the biggest mystery, the final place where the spark of what we are dies, whenever it is that the brain also die?
Click here to continue reading "Our brains, the biggest mystery". It is now a separate article of the journey of exploration why are we here?
Before I present you with any conclusions based on the above info and our analysis, please have a look this video 2 or 3 times:
What is this? What are the odds of that from happening again, or from have ever had happened? That event indeed challenge the laws of probabilities, there are trillion of factors to consider for that hit on the ball to go into the hole so many meters away: consider the weight of the ball itself, the density of the air (a drier air would have made the ball to run faster across the space, thus potentially missing its target), every tip of grass the ball crossed, any undulations on any centimetre of the land the ball crossed, the fluctuations of the water, the spin and energy of the golfer, anyone of its muscles could have play differently at the time of hitting the ball, dooming the trajectory of the projectile on a different direction. But yet, in spite of the myriad of factors, as we can see, the ball goes into the hole, as if pushed by its own intelligence of knowing what to do. Is this Universe tune for that ball to go into the hole in the ground? Is this Universe also fine tuned to allow for intelligent Life to populate it? The most extraordinary conclusion about this event is that..... it has meaning. The Universe has confabulated its laws, actions and reactions, where every single atom in and around the ball follows the abstract thought of "put the ball on the hole", and it actually does it: there is meaning, the physical realm surrender itself to the will of the thought, peacefully and calmly, to allow for the thoughts to be materialised and to create a meaning around that event, and ultimately, well beyond the meaning: joy
Surely all of us can recall similar fortuitous event in our life experience. I recall for example finding my friend in the middle of a rush hour in one of the busiest station of London underground, or dropping a glass on the ground and not even it didn't break but it stood upright.
If Life began with water, could the Universe also has started as some kind of water? The 2nd law of thermodynamics state that complex things fall apart, yet the human brain was created, how is that possible? goes into the creation of the brain
What languages will humans speak in the distance future? Almost every generation that populated our planet have thought that the end of the world will occur during their generation or the next, but no further. Yet, the planet will continue rotating for millions of years to come. Will our minds finally be connected in the future, somehow, in order to generate a "global-bigger" mind able to grasps a comprehension of the Universe we live in? At present, we communicate through air waves, but can we possibly do it in the future by water molecules (micro-water molecules that bath all planet Earth) or radio waves, which passes all metals? or through a neural fluid able to transmit thoughts at lightning speed?
Astrobiology is a mixed Science discipline, combining Astronomy, Biology and also Geology to some extend, with the goal of determine how life arouse on planet Earth, and the possibilities of life existing in other planets or objects in the Universe
An ultimate satisfactory answer that will fill all boxes? No, we'll never find it: each new answer leads to a brand new question, and the process continues like that until the infinite. This is called the limitation of the human mind
Why are we here? I think our little brains are not ready yet to fully understand the dimensions of that question, why we and the Sun are here. More meditation and evolution is needed, but indeed we can answer that question to the best of our knowledge as know, and I could not have found a better answer of this sublime question that a statement formulated by the survivor a a WW2 battle
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, Carl Sagan
At first bacteria just duplicated and cloned themselves, but when their environment began to change, and specially during the Stuart-Varangian Glaciation (Snowball Earth, during the Cryogenian period 650 million years ago), bacteria began to eat one another in order to survive, they became aggressive, sex was invented and predator and prey were born. Not just the instinct of survival that renders the appearance of intelligent life in other planets really a miniscule possibility.
Work still in progress! Bear with me please, while I research and complete this section of the article :) Thank you!
I'd like to end up my long adventure of writing this article, of why are we here, with the engrave called "The Firmament", from an anonymous author, who to my point of view understood very well the "dilema absurdity" that we are facing
Work still in progress! Bear with me please, while I research and complete this section of the article :) Thank you!