Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A deep and amusing conversation

Part of a conversation in my 6th form common room many years ago. (I've changed the names of those involved to Harry, Barry and Larry.)

H: What I wanted to tell you was that I’ve figured out the expansion of the universe. Outside the universe there is nothing, apparently, and it keeps on expanding into nothing. We were thinking about why, and Mr Smith says that that’s impossible because nothing makes nothing. So, if nothing makes nothing then nothing must constantly be multiplying, cause nothing makes nothing. There’s growing more and more nothing.
B: That’s just play of words.
H: It’s not.
B: Yes it is. (laughs)
H: Nothing makes nothing. Means nothing makes nothing.
L: A equals B. B equals C. Therefore C equals A. But Jane loves Pete. Pete loves Mary. Therefore Mary loves Jane, doesn't work.
B: That’s the same as, you have a table and a saw. Cut the table in half, two halves make a whole and you jump through it.
H: The only reason nothing makes nothing works, in a general sense, is because we don’t have nothing. As soon as you start saying there’s nothing outside the universe, nothing makes nothing doesn’t work anymore.
B: The universe is mainly made up of nothing.
H: Is a vacuum something?
B: No, a vacuum is absence of something.
H: But it is still something.
L: Not tangible.
H: What happens when you take away the vacuum?
B: Well you can’t take away the vacuum; the only way you can remove the vacuum is by adding.
H: Just because there’s a blank piece of paper there, with nothing on it, it’s still a piece of paper. There’s nothing in a vacuum but it’s still a vacuum.
B: A vacuum is just a description.
H: Of something.
B: No a vacuum is a description of the absence of something.
H: But anyway my theory was really good, and it was that if nothing makes nothing then nothing must be multiplying.
B: That is good.
H: Which means the something inside the universe must be spreading out into the nothing by diffusion.
L: Why is the universe spreading?
H: Because it’s being drawn into the multiplying nothingness down a concentration gradient.
B: You can’t be drawn into nothing.
L: If there’s nothing there, how can that draw you?
H: Because it’s diffusion (laughs) by concentration of stuff, or no concentration of stuff.
B: (laughs) Oh dear.
H: And my other thought was, if the universe is expanding and time and space are linked and we’re getting more space, what’s happening to time? Maybe we just don’t know, maybe time is constantly warping.
L: Time is only in the universe, though, time is not in nothing.
H: That’s why it’s growing.
L: Why are time and space linked?
H: Because Einstein said so.
L: What's the theory behind that?
B: Yes time and space aren’t supposed to be linked.
H: The space-time continuum.
L: I thought that was something out of/
H:                                                          Star trek/
L:                                                                        Back to the Future or Star Trek, or one of them.
H: But it is real, he did write a lot about it.
B: You’ve got it in the wrong context-
H: - I don’t have it in any wrong context!
(General laughter)
H: The reason the universe is expanding is because time is happening and it’s affecting things. If you stop time you can stop the universe, or if we stop the universe we will stop time.
L: At the end of the universe time will end and there will be no time.
H: Why wouldn’t there be any time. Just cause there’s no clocks?
L: There’ll be no night or day.
H: Well that’s just a measurement, there’s nothing to compare it against.
B: Therefore you can only really gauge time by your aging.
H: Does the justification of time warrant that time exists?
B: I’m sure you can’t deny that time exists.
H: Can’t you?!
B: Try.
H: I can deny the future exists, I can deny the past exists.
B: The future hasn’t happened yet. The past is just a record of events.
H: The future doesn’t exist-
B: -No it doesn’t exist yet.
H: If the future doesn’t exist that means we’re creating something somehow. Something’s being created all the time.
B: No, something’s progressing.
H: That means it’s already there to progress to. If it’s not there and then it happens, then it’s created somehow.
B: It’s not there to progress to.
H: Well you’re saying the future doesn’t exist but somehow we’re gonna get there.
B: Because everything around is changing. It’s not being destroyed and then created, it’s just altering.
H: You know when we say, ‘Now’.
B: Yes.
H: The present, how long is the present?
B: Now that just comes from your own opinion, it could be present day, a year, a month.
H: Yeah but when we say, ‘Now’. Me saying, ‘now’.
L: Is then past.
H: The ‘N’ and the ‘W’ are in different times.
B: That’s just your opinion.
H: But when does it happen? Like now, when I’m experiencing now? I’m not experiencing one time at all. It’s just going past like a motorbike.
B: Maybe you’re thinking too much
H: The present is just not; it’s just a happy interruption of the past.
B: What before we get onto the future?
H: Yeah. All there is, is a past and a future, and our interpretation of what we call the present.
L: But then if you say, “in a minute I’m going to say, ‘now’, then you know the future.
H: Yeah, you know the future.
B: Look. It depends. I will do something, I am in the process of doing something, I have done something. It all depends how it fits the situation.
H: Maybe none of it exists
B: (to someone else who’s just arrived) You don’t want to come here.
H: None of it exists.
L: Deep conversation.
B: And my head hurts.
H: You’re holding up quite well.

No comments:

Post a Comment