What is a singularity?
Imagine you are standing in a white world. In this world there is nothing but white everywhere – an endless sea of white. The oneness of white extends away from you in every direction. You try to look out into the distance, but because there is just the one color you can’t tell if the space of this world extends out forever or if its edge remains just out of reach. As you reach out your hand, you realize that your physical body provides the only sense of distance here. Your body is all that exists in a giant field of nothingness. There is no length or width beyond your body. There is no distance to anywhere else, because there isn’t anything else to measure a distance to. So if your body happens also to turn white, then suddenly all sense of dimension is erased. The very meaning of place and distance is lost. Soon even the one color of white will disappear from your experience. You will soon become blind to white, because you don’t have any other color to judge the meaning of this one color against. Soon, for you, this endless white world becomes nothing at all.
If you were born into this one color dimension you wouldn’t ever be able to see it, you would not even know it was right there in front of you, since you would not have any other color or shade of gray to reference it by. Someone who is blind, for example, doesn’t see black or darkness, because even if they did temporarily upon initially going blind, the black quickly loses meaning for them because it is just one color, and without differentiation, the mind interprets such a world as a perceptual nothing. And in fact the mind is correct, because this is the real nothing that exists in physical reality. The real nothing is just singular form. A real nothing is a singularity, and a singularity is all a real nothing can ever be.
Within a singularity, all distances and locations lose meaning because once there is a perfect unity, a oneness, then every object, every distance, every place, is the same as any other. Singularities are commonplace. Any single color is a singularity. A perfect blue sky is a singularity. The most common everyday example of a singularity is the ordinary empty space we travel through, which is why we typically refer to it as nothing. Never the less, singularities can have content. Most everyone has heard the idea of a polar bear in a snow storm. Singularities can even be full instead of empty. Suppose we take everything from a household refrigerator, put it all in a big stove pot, add some water, and begin stirring. After we cook all this awhile all the distinct parts begin to break down and blend together evenly into a soup. If we keep heating and stirring this stew for five or six hours, or two or three days, eventually all the many ingredients will unify into a single paste-like substance. Many have become one. All the ingredients of the refrigerator are still in there, within the one, they have just transformed into a singularity.
There are extreme cosmological singularities in our distant past and our distant future. Singularities are an interesting novelty of reality because, in the same way all the fruits and vegetables, the condiments, the juices and milk in the refrigerator all vanish in creating the paste, all the physical properties of our universe suddenly vanish into thin air at the stage of becoming a singularity. If we imagine the infinity of all possible universes unified into a singularity, it would still have no size or properties. In fact if all possible worlds are at some ultimate level unified into a whole, the totality becomes something we perceive as nothing at all. The great unified whole is the white world. It can be imagined the size of a pin head small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, or an endless space stretching out forever. It can be said to exist in any point of space, as well as every place in space, here, there, and everywhere. Our universe, our existence, is a singularity.
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@blankey, Man…I fucking love Alan Watts’ speeches. The dude makes so much sense it’s absurd that his lectures aren’t shown in schools. Everyone should hear them.
Regarding the Big Bang though – I don’t think there ever was one.
People say that the universe had to come from something and that there had to be a beginning. If someone says, how did something come from nothing? what are they really asking about? Most of us think we know what somethingness is, but what exactly is nothing? Imagine you are transported all the way back to the beginning of time. Imagine standing at the very precipice of the birth of the whole multiverse. Imagine a cliff and out beyond the edge of the cliff there is nothing at all. So you put your hand out to the surface and touch the originating moment. Now push through it. Reach beyond. What is it like? Any words come to mind? Is it frightening, or menacing? Is it vibrant with all the potential of being? Is it thick or dark, warm or cold? Is it as simple as simple can be. Of course if you describe something, or feel anything, you haven’t gone enough beyond the origin of existing things. So try one more time. Let your mind drift beyond the edge of time, beyond all descriptions, beyond all senses. And yes there it isn’t, just beyond the edge of rational thought itself, hidden there in a blackness darker than black, a quiet beyond silence, a stillness beyond rest. Oh my, there “isn’t” the absolute void.
Are you still here! You didn’t disappear? And you didn’t get sucked in? But did you feel it? Did you at least sense it? “NO!” What do you mean “NO”! We were right there! How could that be? I wonder what went wrong. You must not have a very good imagination! No wait, maybe you do, maybe that is the problem. Maybe your imagination is getting in the way because what we are trying to imagine isn’t cold or dark, or a void or an abyss, it isn’t quiet or simple, and it’s hardly anything to be afraid of, because it doesn’t exist. Maybe this nothing is unimaginable because there is nothing to imagine. Indeed if you came up with any sense of what is beyond the cliff, then you sort of missed the point.
This thought exercise reveals a sort of anomaly in how we see the world. We cannot imagine nothingness, that is, if we are referring to a nothing prior to existence. We can describe the type of nothing that is common in our lives, the nothing that we encounter everyday. There is nothing here or there. There is nothing to talk about. There is nothing in the refrigerator. That type of nothing is something empty, something lacking substance, something uniform or plain or simple. But the other nothing that is prior to existence is a special case in terms of semantics and meaning. By definition, words simply can’t describe it, so it is different than everything else that we define with words and everything else imaginable.
In truth there are two very different nothings, and presently the two are entangled together when they don’t belong together. In other words, there is actually something wrong with the word nothing as we use it today. If we carefully study the definition of the word nothing we can discover two very different definitions of nothing. One definition of nothing is a physically real condition that has no discernable form or substance, such as a white canvas, or a uniform void in empty space. This type of nothing is real and exists, and is actually quite ordinary. An empty refrigerator has nothing in it. A white artist canvas has nothing painted on it. The real nothing is always a place or a space that is uniformly undefined, where there are no distinct things. There is just one thing, like one color, or just space alone, so we call it nothing. But the other definition of ‘nothing’, the one we were just a moment ago trying to touch and describe is nonexistence, which is a very difficult concept to understand when defined separately from the real nothing, which is the very reason we confuse the two. We confuse the two out of need, because one we can describe, the other we cannot.
When the dictionary defines nothing as ‘something that does not exist’, it is reasonably obvious that the syntax of the phrase makes no real sense. How can ‘nothing’ be a something which does not exist? In fact simply using any word in an attempt to mean non-existence creates a sort of riddle. How do we make a word refer to something that doesn’t exist? What word can represent a form that isn’t a form; a thing that isn’t a thing? What language can define a concept that has no reality or meaning?
Of course we cannot solve the great old riddle of how something came from nonexistence. It’s the ultimate oxymoron, and the ultimate contradiction in terms. We cannot even refer to a state of nonexistence when there is no such state, and no such form, to refer to. Any attempt to describe it isn’t describing it. Any word representing it, isn’t representing it. Non-existence can only really be defined as something that cannot be defined with a word. It can only refer to something that cannot be referred to. Obviously there is a vexing fundamental problem here. Any attempt to define a nonexistence using any meaningful idea or thought, by using the meaning that otherwise defines all language, that defines our reality, is predestined to fail.
Nonexistence cannot be. It cannot exist. It cannot even be meant. And that predicament, that total paradox, is very different from the real nothing that exists and can be talked about. And the fact that we confuse these two concepts is the very reason we don’t yet clearly understand why we exist. We exist because there is no alternative. There never was a non-existence in the past and there never will be a non-existence. Existence is the default setting of reality. Existence belongs here. It has always been.
@BrittanyRenee, you’re right!
Though, the choice and play of words in the discussion might trigger others in understanding where you are coming from & experiencing a moment of realisation thenselves.
Sometimes what we say might be complete truth to us, but to someone else, it is a lie as he does not get the transmission through the means of our words.
Artists use lies to tell the truth.
The moment of realisation comes when others see the trick for what it is & recognise that truth is all it is.
Be an artist :)
@chodebalm, I’ll add with a story I read:
On Earth everyone was happy.
Then the sound came, a shrieking C#.
People couldn’t handle it, and some went crazy.
Eventually new houses were built to block out most of the sound.
Everyone had ear plugs, but the sound was always there.
Eventually entire generations grew up with the sound.
People spoke about the sound as if it had disappeared, since they were so accustomed to it.
Soon nobody had ever experienced the day it started – they had all deceased.
Years went by.
Suddenly the sound stopped.
Everyone went into a panic and frenzy.
They all died within hours.
It was silent.
Nothing cannot be imagined, but you can be. In the sense that one has the possibility & could drop all the self-identification and be nothing. (Absolute stillness, emptiness & silent self-awareness.)
Here’s something I read recently from Sadhguru which I found to be quite interesting.
“In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. Shiva is considered the Adiyogi-the first yogi, and the first instructor of yoga. So in yogic culture, we honor and respect Shiva, not as a God but as the equivalent of what God may be perceived in religion, because he gave us this science and the possibilities that come with it.
The word Shiva literally means-that which is not and interestingly, that which is not is the basis of what is.
Today modern physics has gone many rounds and come to the conclusion that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. Interestingly we have always referred to Shiva as “the dark one” and today the modern physicists say that everything has evolved out of dark matter. So everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva. By that we are not referring to a person or a God. We are referring to that primordial possibility- except that we call it Shiva.”
I would love to delve deeper into the topic but for now I am late for work!
@BrittanyRenee, Well, it’s not really about the words that are being written but where you are coming from when it’s written.
It is like making a call. You are calling from a place within you of living/experiential truth. The means you use, in this case words, is the ringing tone on the receiving end. The choice & play of words is like a jamming session. It is spontaneous & you never really know what you are going to play/write until the moment you play/write it, there is a flow and you ride it. The play of words is to bring the person on the receiving end to the point of picking up the call.
Once the call is answered, he/she realises where you are coming from and the transmission is made. The ringing tone/words are just means to get the potential receiver to the place where they can get the transmission, the place where you are.
When they are in that place of truth & you are in that place of truth. It is just knowing.
@blankey, no eric, no bryan just Me.
@trek79, that is brilliant!
If I let a droplet of water fall into the ocean, at what point does the drop become the ocean itself? What seperates it?
“You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.” – Rumi
We are not just a human being in the universe, but the entire universe in our being.
If we recognise what seperates us and we be that which seperates. What seperates us from the rest of the cosmos is what unifies us with it.
In the universe, with an unimaginable number of things in it. Everything is contained, seperated & connected by the vast empty space/nothingness.
We are just a single number on the scale of infinity, but on a scale of infinty we are infinity itself.
Any one thing is just a single possibility out of infinite possibilities. As we come from that so shall we return to that, the infinte potential of Nothing.
In other words, any one thing is just one out of an infinte creative possibility. Nothing is the creator with the potential to be anything.
“Creation and all forces of creation
Just a complex number game
All of it having their play
Within the boundaries of the Zero”
@blankey, Haha reminds of something I saw recently.
“Meditation is tripping with balance”
“Meditation is not going somewhere. It is a homecoming.”
It should also be noted that, due to the definition of a singularity and what a singularity truly is, we could theoretically be inside of a black hole right now. Our universe, inside a black hole, inside of another universe. Since a singularity can be any size (in actuality, size and space are meaningless in a singularity), there’s no boundary, and therefore there’s no telling whether or not we’re inside of an infinitely small point inside a black hole, or if our universe is all that exists. Just thought this was a fascinating idea.
@chodebalm, High thought:
Back before the big bang it was now. At the occurrence of the big bang, it was still now. And now it is obviously still now, forever present for infinity. Time is not real. Right now it is before the big bang AND right now AND tomorrow. Even though there is no separate events. There is only ONE event, which is right now. Everything is compressed into this very moment and our biological device allows us to maneuver through it, glimpsing the whole from different perspectives, both on the micro, macro, and all scales that are available to us through technology and imagination. Everything consists in this moment. The beginning and the end. The alpha and the omega. You are “god”, I am “god”. All is all now.
Oh and can I feature you on my blog? :)
Interesting read, have you wrote it yourself?
By the way, on what are you standing? White, flat and plain something? How does that feel? Does it feel white?
I was thinking about the knowledge argument, but that is a little bit different. Man, mind boggling shit like you always post, interesting though.
@hollowinfinity, Definitely. Balance is key to life.
@chodebalm, Well when I say the big bang as the start to our universe, I presume what was before that was just another Universe. I believe this is called the Bounce Theory. So, just like the present moment, it is an infinite cycle between “death” and “birth”.
I just read this in The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. It’s a popular Japanese poem.
Such is life-
Seven times down,
Eight times up!
@filipek, The second part I wrote, but the original post is actually an excerpt from a book called “Everything Forever.” For all intents and purposes, you aren’t standing on anything, you’re basically just suspended in an infinite nothing, sort of like floating in space.
@hollowinfinity, I’m not sure what you mean by this. I don’t consider “time” to be a real thing, at least not in the same way most people think of it. Time is merely the illusory result of what happens when energy and space exist, and even “space” is illusory. Really the only thing that exists is energy (whatever “energy” is).
Really good post. Thank you for sharing this with the community, as @filipek said it is a mind boggling subject. An exert from what you said reminded me of the string theory
“If we imagine the infinity of all possible universes unified into a singularity, it would still have no size or properties. In fact if all possible worlds are at some ultimate level unified into a whole, the totality becomes something we perceive as nothing at all.”
You need all the strings and threads in a jacket to keep it held together. Whatever this singularity is, it’s a beautiful trip of strange happenings accompanied by blissful feelings. I’m just glad to be here, and glad your all here as well :)
@bryancie, Feel free to check out my latest post. Very similar to what we are talking about here.
Could the singularity be this moment now?
The moment it exist is the moment it doesn’t. Now, contains the past & future, it is the point where they meet; the point of paradox. Everything is within Now. Now is the space where everything will be, has been, is experienced. Even the experience of time happens Now.
Well fuck me my computer froze and I lost what i was typing!
lemme sum it up. ill be quick this time. need food. :P
@chodebalm, First off, very nice post. Continuous insights afterward.
Ok… so. The big bang, the start to our universe as we know it, was a singularity that grew from within itself until this very moment you are in now. Take a moment and let the moment move continuously from within itself. Where does it go? Nowhere. It stays forever in the present moment but forever escapes your grasp. It is forever fleeting and yet forever present, a singularity.
Even the egoic mind (the “I”) moves back into nothingness from which it came. Taoists are right when they say it all goes back into the Tao, the void, the singularity. It is an infinite cycle both in the “outer” and “inner” realms of experience. And what is the thing experiencing all of this happening and staying forever within the present moment? Consciousness… What. You. Are. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
And Now you know what to do. ;)
@bryancie, You just blew my mind. I wrote that^ after yours and his posts. :) So thank you.
I have a way of looking at things that is hard to explain, but I’ll try.
I believe in an infinite universe, it is both one infinite and infinite infinites.
There is the infinitely small, centre, and the infinitely large, entire, but in the nature of infinity there is no distinction between the two.
Everything exists between these two extremes but because there is no distinction between them, they are not only different but they are the same thing.
So everything both exists between them but also nothing can possibly exist between them, because not only are they the two extremes but there is no space separating them.
So you have one centre of the universe, but because the boundaries of the universe are infinite, you have infinite centres to the universe, while also the entire universe itself IS its own centre.
Now each of these infinite centres are both self contained, emanating from each their own unique source, but simultaneously they share a common source.
All energy, matter and any other phenomena, that makes up everything, is projected, on their fundamental unit basis, from both one of these centres, all of these centres and the one centre, they are both self contained and common.
(I also vaguely understand that any physical phenomena has form due to light but has substance due to sound. Both light and sound emanate that same “central/entire” way)