Big Brain theory

 

An interesting article on one of the more eccentric cosmological theories: Big Brain Theory: Have Cosmologists Lost Theirs?

The basic problem is that across the eons of time, the standard theories suggest, the universe can recur over and over again in an endless cycle of big bangs, but it’s hard for nature to make a whole universe. It’s much easier to make fragments of one, like planets, yourself maybe in a spacesuit or even — in the most absurd and troubling example — a naked brain floating in space. Nature tends to do what is easiest, from the standpoint of energy and probability. And so these fragments — in particular the brains — would appear far more frequently than real full-fledged universes, or than us. Or they might be us.

Stories reflect what is alive for us here now, and cosmological stories such as this one are no different.

They are a projection of a story happening here now, making the content of the story appear out there, in the world, as substantial and real.

And they are (often? always?) a projection of something alive here now, outside of the story itself.

As I explored the sense fields today (visual, sound, taste, smell, sensation, thought) and how thoughts mimic the visual field, I realized that the Big Brain theory is a close reflection of how our visual imagination recreate the world.

If I close my eyes, I find that my visual imagination (thoughts) can create images of my body, of specific body parts, of my immediate surroundings, the room, the building, the town, the region, the country, the earth as a whole, and so on. And in each case, my imagination only creates the bare minimum. It creates fragments, which is all that is needed.

Say I have my eyes closed, or it is dark, and there is a sharp sensation. My visual imagination will then map this onto an image of the body, telling me that it must be my big toe that is hurt. Or there is a sound, and my visual imagination tells me it is a car passing on the street down the hill from the house. Or somebody talks about the moon, and I have a visual image of the moon.

In each case, the universe – as it is created in my imagination – happens in fragments, using as little energy as possible.

So whatever merits the Big Brain theory has, for instance in terms of generating new cosmological insights or models, it also mirrors what is going on here now. It mirrors how our visual imagination works.

This is maybe an obvious example of how our stories reflect what is alive here now, but the simplest examples are often the clearest and best ones, and invite us to explore it further on our own. How is this true for other cosmological stories, either from science or mythology? How is it true for any story?

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