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‘Why Does the World Exist?’ by Jim Holt -

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The ancients started with matter, not the void; perhaps nothingness is stranger than being.

Perhaps being is just a temporary state between nothing.

The question isn't a question, it's an expression of wow:

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” sounds so fundamental a question that it should have perplexed humanity since the dawn of philosophy. Strangely, it hasn’t, or at least it has left no trace on early written literature. Aristotle said that philosophy begins with wonder, and earlier Greek philosophers did wonder what the world was made of. Thales thought its primal substance was water, Anaximenes air, Heraclitus fire. But they didn’t ask why anything was there at all. We find no one haunted by the specter of non-being until Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who wrote in 1714, “The first question which we have a right to ask will be, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ ”

For some, the question is not really a question. It is more an expression of philosophical amazement — a way of saying “wow” in the face of existence.

Martin Amis once said in a television interview: “We’re at least five Einsteins away from answering that question.”

If you think about nothingness, you must also think about a nothingness without physical laws. A nothingness where anything and everything are possible, because there are no rules to say otherwise. An explosion of possibility where something is inevitable. Like chaos resolving into order.

This sounds suspiciously familiar to the probabalistic fields of quantum physics.

Physicists have it backwards. The universe is not decaying into entropy, but into order. As the universe cools it becomes a homogenized soup as things separate and undifferentiate. It is us who are chaotic and rambling. The expression of the universe trying to understand itself.

The universe is the domain of the poets.

Scientists will never understand that, but you do.

I do believe that some scientists, poets, and philosophers all understand the universe "correctly." Some.

The worthiest professor of physics would be one who could show the inadequacy of his text and diagrams in comparison to nature and the higher demands of the mind. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The Scientist and The Poet" is excellent.

Humans specialize but the universe needs all types to understand itself.

Perhaps some kind of collective conscious -- a "hive mind" -- is where we're going from here.

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