In 2011 the Nobel Prize in physics was shared by Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.” Prior to their research we knew that the universe was expanding but we did not know that the expansion rate was accelerating. This came as a shock to the scientific community.
Before the discovery of the “acceleration” cosmologists were discussing whether some day the universe may start contracting. Universe started from a singularity and it was going to end up in a singularity and then a new universe would begin. This was a logical argument because if the universe contained mostly matter the gravitational pull of the matter would eventually stop the expansion and the cosmic contraction would start.
After the discovery of the “acceleration” nobody is talking about “contraction” anymore. In the mean time cosmologists discovered the so-called “dark matter.” Would the gravitational pull of the dark matter be enough to stop the expansion of the universe? If it cannot stop the expansion, can it at least slow down the acceleration? We don’t have answers to these questions yet. The overwhelming majority of cosmologists are thinking that the “acceleration” will continue. This is very depressing! If the expansion keeps accelerating then someday no organic life will exist in the universe.
Even in the absence of expansion physicists were saying that the universe would end up dead after a long time anyway. Their argument was based on the second law of thermodynamics which states that entropy never decreases in closed systems. Please take a look at my article titled “Confusion about Entropy” for the definition of entropy. Some physicists argued that the universe is a closed system therefore the law of entropy (second law of thermodynamics) must apply to the universe in general. If so then the universe would evolve in such a way that the disorder, uncertainty, and randomness would continually increase. This would mean that eventually the universe would reach a thermal equilibrium. You cannot extract any useful work from systems in thermal equilibrium. Useful work can only be extracted when there is an energy differential. This means no more new galaxies, no more new stars, no more new planets and therefore no organic life. Depressing indeed! The fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate enhances these arguments.
The cause of the acceleration of the expansion rate of the universe is attributed to a mysterious force called “dark energy.” Nobody knows what “dark energy” is but we know that it opposes the pull of the gravitational force in the universe. It is very likely that the “dark energy” is not really a force but a phenomenon that stretches the primordial fabric of the universe.
Dark energy is also known as “vacuum energy.” Vacuum is the empty space but quantum physics proved that empty space is not really empty. There are quantum fluctuations in empty space. This means there is energy in emptiness. In fact, according to the calculations of the latest quantum field theory the energy of empty space is almost infinite. So, it is not surprising that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating. According to the quantum theory of the vacuum the universe should fly apart instantly. Luckily the expansion is not that dramatic. This is just to note that there is a discrepancy between the quantum theory and the actual expansion rate. This is also to note that theories have limitations.
I will argue that universe will never reach thermal equilibrium. There is no thermal death for the universe. I can provide many philosophical and metaphysical arguments why there is no thermal death for the universe and I think those arguments are very important but here I will restrict my arguments to physics ideas. Yes, these are very speculative ideas but they are also very plausible.
My intuition tells me that each particle in this universe has a dual nature. Each particle has a space-time-matter dimension and a mind-dimension. In the case of elementary particles the mind-dimension is known to physicists as intrinsic properties such as the electric charge and quantum mechanical spin. The space-time-matter is only one polarity of the “totality” of the particle. We can extrapolate this to the entire universe. Think of the universe as a particle. If we accept this view point and observe that the space-time-matter is expanding then we must accept the possibility that the mind-dimension of the universe is expanding too. “Mind grows in magnitude” as Shrii Shrii Anandamurti said.
I think that the primordial fabric of the universe has a fundamental invariance (symmetry). This fundamental invariance can be symbolically represented by the golden equation g – 1/g = 1. The golden equation is telling us that if the primordial fabric is distorted it will be distorted in such a way that the physical manifestation and its inverse will maintain unity. Any distortion in the primordial fabric has to have a dual distortion as to leave the unity unchanged.
The “g” in the golden equation can symbolically represent the space-time-matter. The inverse of “g” (1/g) represents the mind-dimension. If “g” is growing in magnitude then the “g” of the inverse (1/g) is growing in magnitude too. The growth occurs in such a way that g-1/g = 1. The “1” here symbolically represents the “totality.”
If the “totality” of the universe which contains both the mind and the space-time-matter polarities is conserved then we must adjust our “conservation of the energy” principle. The conservation of the “totality” implies that the space-time-matter may not be conserved at the cosmological scale. There is an exchange or adjustment between the polarities. This “exchange” is related to “energy.” The space-time-matter is not a closed system. Therefore the statement that the entropy of the universe will always increase may not be correct in the strictest sense. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy always increases in isolated systems) does not apply to space-time-matter at the cosmological scale.
Now, let’s get back to dark energy. Most physicists think that the “dark energy” is the same as the vacuum energy. I call vacuum the internal space and refer to the space-time as external space. The expansion of the external space was a necessary condition for the creation of matter.
In my first article titled “A Fundamental Principle” I claimed that the reaction to the growth of the external space is the growth of the internal space. Vacuum fluctuations start as soon as the external space emerges. Vacuum fluctuations are the basis of the quantum mechanical nature. Force and particle fields emerge from the vacuum fluctuations. I think that the force and particle fields encapsulate the internal space dimensions.
Acceleration of the expansion rate of the external space implies that the internal space (vacuum) is becoming more active. There is an action/reaction relationship between the “external” and the “internal” space. The internal space (vacuum) is becoming more active.
There will be no thermal death for the universe precisely for this reason. When the activity level (dark energy) of the internal space (vacuum) increases more particles and fields emerge from the vacuum. This means new matter will be created. New galaxies and star systems will form in the rapidly expanding external space. It is quite possible that when the expansion rate of the external space reaches a certain level new baby universes will be born due to the increased activity in the internal space.
In my opinion “dark energy” is a measure of the activity level in the internal space. Vacuum activity develops as a reaction to the expansion of the external space in the first place. Afterwards, a feedback loop is established causing amplification of both the expansion and the vacuum energy. This looks like instability. This sounds scary! In my opinion the instability is avoided by the birth of baby universes.
Physical universes are born and die in the body of Cosmos. It is important to mention that Cosmos is much more than the physical universes because Cosmos has spiritual, mental, and physical realms.
In my view the entire Cosmos is a living entity. I also believe that the life of Cosmos is never-ending. A particular physical universe may die of course but new universes are born from dying universes.
Physical universes are similar to the cells in our body. Cells die but new cells come into being continually while the human life and identity continues.
Human beings eventually die. Will the Cosmos die some day? I am not merely replacing one question with another question here. I am not replacing the question “Will our physical universe die someday?” with the question “Will the Cosmos die someday?” These questions are very different. Science can answer the first question some day but science will never be able to answer the second question because science has no jurisdiction in the spiritual realm. Then what to do? I listen to the masters who know about the spiritual realm. According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti the life of Cosmos will never end. You can read his arguments on this in his article titled “What is this world?”