Alright, so there's a kid out with his dad one day in the forest,
and the kid says: "Why are the leaves green?"
And his dad, who's a botanist or a tree-surgeon or something, says:
"Well, because of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is green, and the leaves have chlorophyll in them."
And the kid says: "uh-huh".
And they walk a little more, and the kid says:
"But why is chlorophyll green?"
And the father says: "Uhh, well, light bounces off of things differently sometimes,
and if chlorophyll is a certain density, blah blah blah or something...
...so it's green."
The kid says: "Okay..."
And they walk a bit more, and the kid says: "But why does light work like that, then?"
And the dad says, "Jesus Christ, uh... Because that's how physics works."
And the kid says: "But why does physics work like that?"
And the dad says...
"Because that's how the universe was set up thirteen billion years ago
when time and space began, alright, Aristotle?!
Leave it alone already – here, have a sandwich, shut up."
And the kid eats his sandwich, and he looks about a bit.
And they walk a bit more, and the sun's going down.
And they're heading back for the car, and the kid says:
"Then why did time and space begin?"
And that is a pretty good question.
Everything has a beginning, however weird or wonderful.
There weren't always planets, or stars, or galaxies, everything had to come from something...
Well, sure it did.
13 billion years ago, we're told, the universe just appeared, and it was very simple –
just atoms, and then molecules, and chemistry and stars,
and then planets, and then ecosystems,
and then curious sons and irritated fathers quite a bit later, but...
How did it all start?
There's two answers here, aren't there.
See, everything either came out of nothing, for no reason at all,
Or everything has always been around, well... forever.
And both options are absolutely mental,
and one of them has to be true.
Other options that will not win the cash prize include:
1. "God did it."
Yeah, well, then what did God?
2. "I don't care."
Yes you do, the stuff you're made of is 13 billions years old too – you should give a damn; or,
3. "Maybe we're just too stupid to work it out."
Which is what everyone says shortly before someone works something out.
So, everything came from nothing, or everything has always been around.
Well, which one makes more sense?
Okay then... Let's say everything came from nothing.
So, there's nothing, and for no reason at all, the universe just...
Well, weird stuff happens in the world all the time, for apparently no reason –
why can't the universe have just come around like that, too?
Well, it's different – see,
when you get a free tax rebate or someone crashes into you at a junction, it might SEEM random, but there IS a cause.
It's just so complicated that you can't fathom it.
One thing follows another –
and another, and another, and another, and another – and then whatever happens, happens.
So, what does that have to do with everything coming from nothing?
Well, if there's nothing... there's nothing.
Nothing can't cause anything.
Everything in the world that happens is because of atoms bumping into other atoms –
well, actually, they never touch, but that's a story for another time –
and fields interacting with other fields.
Nothing doesn't have atoms or fields.
So what then?
There's black, and more black – not even black, actually – just... nothing,
and then, for no reason at all, there's something.
No cause, no anything, no rhyme or reason – just pop, and out comes the universe.
But that's mad. NOTHING can be without a cause.
Well... here are some fun ideas, then.
1) Time is drunk.
What if time can double back on itself?
What if the universe was caused... from its own future?
There's still a cause, there's still an effect – it's just that the Bang came first,
and then the cause caused it much later – maybe at the end of time.
But that's mental – nothing can go backwards in time...
If you could kill your own grandfather – paradoxes, etc, etc, etc...
Maybe. Modern physics might allow for it.
Universe might not care about time going backwards, as long as everything matches up.
If someone leaves a winning lottery ticket on your doorstep, and you win the lottery, go back in time,
and leave it on your own doorstep to do it again...
What's wrong with that?
As long as you don't change anything – everything is conserved, all the i's are dotted, t's are crossed.
No paradoxes, no problem.
2) Nature likes stuff.
What if a property of nothing is that it makes... some things?
What if, just like the way gas expands to fill a room, or goldfish grow relative to the size of the tank,
nature fills nothing with stuff?
Because that's a quality that nothingness has – that's its character.
Now, this is an interesting one – we'll talk about it in another video.
But this has some insane consequences for the rest of the universe as well.
3) Everything has been around forever.
And ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever-
Let's put us here, and the Big Bang in here, and whatever came before it – here,
and before that – here... and here, and here, and here, and here,
and you just keep going forever – backwards, forwards, whatever –
time never ends, and it never began.
Is that even possible?
Mathematics allows for infinities, but we don't see infinities in nature.
But equally well, nature has turned out to be completely insane before, so why not again?
What if something has always been here?
Is it possible even to wrap your mind around that, without dosing yourself with high-grade LSD first?
How can something not have a beginning?
Well, what if it's a loop?
What if time just bends back on itself again, and again, and again,
and everything has already happened – this video, waking up this morning, your birth, marriage, death –
all of it in exactly the same fashion –
and not just a few thousand times, not just a few million, but infinitely –
already, and will carry on infinitely?
Well, moral of the story there is "don't screw anything up", because if you do,
you'll be screwing it up literally for the rest of time.
Forever, over and over.
Well, reasonable question, though rather rudely put.
This isn't meaning of life stuff, this is meaning of EVERYTHING stuff –
of you, of the Earth, of everyone on it, of everything outside of it. This is how we got here.
If it turns out nothingness can make universes – well, that completely destroys our underlying understanding of the world.
If it turns out that the Universe is an infinite loop – creating itself, dying, creating itself again –
well, that means we don't understand time yet.
And that, in a way, we're all kind of infinite, living forever over and over.
And, if it turns out that the universe made itself from its own future,
well then, that's absolutely mental, and time can screw up just like you can,
so you shouldn't feel bad about your mistakes, because even the universe is drunk on the job.
Isn't this the most profound question we could ask?
Not "why are we here", or "is there a God", or "what is consciousness", but "how did ANYTHING get here?"
Why is it this shape? And why is there so much of it? And why is it set up like this?
Has it happened before?
Will it happen again?
Is everything we know wrong?
Because right now we don't have a clue.
Not scientists, not philosophers, not theologians.
We don't even know where to start.
And that... seems like the perfect place to begin.