A Philosophical Prospective on Space


Lucia Zettler

Lucia Zettler, Staff Reporter

Space. Humans have been writing about it for centuries, but none of the stories or movies fully express the monstrosity that is space. Filled with countless stars and galaxies, the cosmos is home to everything we know, and many, many things we don’t. It is so big that the stars we see at night could actually be dead by the time their light reaches us. It is so big that scientists predict that there are many other universes out there, but we will never know because their light won’t reach Earth for another 13 billion light-years. 

A multiverse is a collection of multiple universes. A new theory of the Big Bang is that instead of creating only one universe, it created trillions. According to an MIT technology review, due to something called the Bekenstein limit, humans can only imagine a fraction of the actual number of estimated universes. The limit of universes doesn’t really depend on the universe’s themselves, but on what the observer is capable of imaging. 

These universes could contain things far beyond what the human mind could possibly understand, including different laws of physics, laws of math, and an altered concept of time.  Different laws of physics would create an entirely unfamiliar universe, and nothing would work how it’s supposed to in our universe. If there are indeed multiple universes, the laws of physics in our universe would have no importance or power.

Assuming that there are other universes, it is clear that there is other life out there. Although, it’s difficult for me to imagine another planet with intelligent life because it’s impossible to see anything outside of our galaxy. Just in the Milky Way, scientists have discovered 300 million other habitable planets. These planets have the possibility of being home to creatures that we couldn’t even picture. They would have infinite ways to create a society, which makes me question how similar their societies might be to ours. Is religion a common theme among the different planets with intelligent life as it is with the different countries here? And if not, what is their way of explaining the universe?  

The possibility of many universes brings up many follow up questions, none of which can be answered. One question that intrigues me most is what happens if the universes are not infinite? And what happens after they end? This includes another concept that humans are incapable of grasping. The concept of nothing. Because in our minds, there always has to be something. When I think of nothing, I think of black, empty space, but how could it possibly be nothing? For example, in my mind, nothing can actually be anything. I think the reason that the idea of nothingness is so difficult to comprehend, is because it is impossible to conceptualize something that does not exist. 

Although, scientists predict that there is no end to space because of its unique flat shape. In that case, space is infinite with no beginning or end. This would create different universes with an infinite number of possibilities, which suggests that there could be countless universes parallel to ours. These alternative universes could contain infinite scenarios of how the world works. For example, in an alternative universe, it is possible that you don’t even exist, or that different choices you made are occurring in an alternative reality. 

The idea of alternative realities and an infinite amount of space makes me realize how small we really are. Our problems are minuscule and irrelevant when compared to the vast expanse of space. Next to space and the universe, humans have less significance than a grain of sand. Whenever I feel like I have a huge catastrophic problem, I realize that in comparison to all that could be out there, my problem doesn’t really matter. Humans live self-absorbed and think that we are the center of everything, when in reality we aren’t anything close to being the center of our universe.