In yesterday’s New York Times (June 5, 2007) there is an article about the latest findings on the nature of the universe (The Universe, Expanding Beyond All Understanding).
Now i don't understand physics. Not even the basics. But i found the article interesting because it points out some fundamental defects of human nature. And scientists, like the rest of us, are human. So i will paraphrase the essay’s main points. You can find the original article online at nytimes.com.
In a paper to be published in The Journal of Relativity and Gravitation, two physicists write that in the far future (100 billion years or so) “observers in our (universe) will be fundamentally incapable of determining the true nature of the universe.” In other words, the universe will change in ways that will not lend itself to an accurate observation of itself. One of the authors told the NY Times, “You can have right physics, but the evidence at hand could lead to the wrong conclusion. The same thing could be happening today.”
The culprit, according to the physicists, is something called ‘dark energy.’ This mysterious force was discovered in 1998 and is thought to be accelerating cosmic expansion, causing galaxies to rush away from each other, like married couples getting divorced, or Prabhupada disciples leaving Iskcon.
The current view of the universe is that it is now around 14 billion years old and composed of a trace of ordinary matter and a lot of dark matter. This matter is being pushed by dark energy, throwing galaxies away from each other until they reach a sort of horizon and simply vanish from view, as if slipping into a black hole. Not a very bright prospect. Eventually this runaway dark energy will suck all the life out of the universe. One prominent scientist called this kind of universe, “not very appealing.” Another one said it was simply “the worst possible universe.”
Einstein, whose theories are still intrinsic to how physicists see the universe, once said, “The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not.”
So subtle is God’s energy that even the greatest minds don’t know what they don’t know, and never will. The problem, according to cosmologist Max Tegmark is not divine malice, but human arrogance. “We have a tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe,” he said. “We assume all we see is all there is.”
Big Bang theorists think that basic aspects of the universe are already out of sight. One of their theories is called inflation, which says that just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, an extremely violent form of dark energy exploded, pushing away chaos and debris and perhaps even sending other universes out of our visible sky. So, they say, we live in a messy universe that just looks smooth and orderly.
Is the universe a mess or is it tidy? It could be both. But how it really acts will always remain a mystery, because it's supramundane and mystical. daivi hy esa gunamayi (BG 7.14) Nature's actions are so wonderful, so subtle, both in creating and in destroying itself, because it's God's energy. Nature is divine because it's controlled by divine will.
mayam tu prakrtim vidyan mayinam tu mahesvaram (Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.10)
“Although maya or illusion is false and temporary, in the background is the supreme magician, the Lord, who is its controller.”
The dark energy that physicists have recently discovered can never be brought under their influence. It is super arrogant to think that cosmic intelligence can be brought under the control of beings who are themselves subject to the control of cosmic intelligence. And dark energy will never lead us to enlightenment. Pursuing it in various forms will only lead to frustration because our approach is arrogant.
Arrogance, it turns out, is our real enemy, not nature. False pride is the dark energy of human beings. It leads us to separate ourselves from our natural love for God, to remain averse to God, and to experience ignorance and fear in "the worst possible universe." But for one who can become humble, everything becomes friendly.
As Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciple, Krishna das, in 1968: “A Krishna Consciousness person thinks always about himself as the lowest creature in the world, and the more one thinks like that he becomes elevated more and more.
"A Krishna Conscious person is never falsely puffed-up; he is satisfied with his humble position as the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna.”
How much different would our world be if even 1% of the population would think and act like this? How different our society would be? How different our experiences in Iskcon would have been, if those in responsible positions had thought of themselves as servants rather than masters?
No, God is not malicious, as Einstein correctly wrote. But man is arrogant. That’s the problem.