How Does Something Come Out of Nothing? A Cosmic Tale

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Prof. Pankaj S. Joshi

The question of where the universe came from isn’t solved by pointing to the big bang, because this begs the question of where it came from. In physics creation is often dubbed “something out of nothing,” meaning that the entire observable cosmos emerged from a pre-created state that is devoid of the familiar landmarks of reality: time, space, matter and energy. The boundary between this “something” all around us and that “nothing” that is also present but undetectable has fascinated physics in recent decades. It’s a fascination we should all share if we want to know where creation came from.

The trail leading to a scientific explanation of the universe has run into problems. In ancient Greek thought physis, usually translated as “nature,” meant the fundamental essence or guiding principle of creation. Today the motive to unravel nature’s secrets remains the same, but it’s been frustrating to find a single unifying theory underlying the universe. Modern physics has a formidable reputation for rigor, and its theories are supported by advanced mathematical equations and computations, but the key paradigms within physics have been constantly changing and evolving. The Holy Grail of physics, to unify all the forces of nature into a Theory of Everything (TOE), has remained out of reach because the two most successful areas of physics, quantum mechanics and general relativity, are incompatible.

The solution is generally accepted to be a theory of quantum gravity, but in the usual regimes of natural phenomena that we observe and experience in daily life, it is impossible to observe quantum phenomena and gravity working together. Interestingly, Nature herself comes to our aid in understanding the gravity and quantum phenomena together or in a combined way. A quantum gravity laboratory is possibly created when a massive star collapses under its own gravity towards the end of its life cycle. The fascinating opportunity thus presents itself for making progress towards understanding of quantum gravity and TOE. At the same time, the collapse of massive stars takes us to the edge of the greatest mystery in creation: how something came out of nothing, and in this case, returns to nothing when its life cycle is over.

Having exhausted the fuel that sustained them for millions of years, massive stars are no longer able to hold themselves up under their own weight; they begin to shrink and collapse catastrophically under their own gravity. Modest stars like the Sun also collapse at the end of their cycle, but they stabilize at a smaller dwarf size. By contrast, when a star is massive enough, orders of magnitude larger than the Sun, its gravity overwhelms all the forces that might possibly halt the collapse. From a diameter millions of kilometers across, the star crumples to an infinitesimal dimension much smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.

What is the eventual fate of such massive collapsing stars? This is one of the most exciting questions in astrophysics and modern cosmology today. To give some background, the story began some eight decades ago when Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar probed the question of the final fate of stars such as the Sun. He showed that such a star, on exhausting its internal nuclear fuel, would stabilize as a “White Dwarf,” about a thousand kilometers in size. Eminent scientists of the time, in particular Sir Arthur Eddington, refused to accept this, saying that a star could never become that small. Chandrasekhar left Cambridge to settle in the United States, and after many years his prediction was verified. Later it also became known that stars which are three to five times the Sun’s mass give rise to what are called neutron stars, about ten kilometers in diameter, after a supernova explosion.

But when a star has a mass more than these limits, the force of gravity is supreme and overwhelming. A star as massive as tens of solar masses burns much faster and lives only up to 10 to 20 million years, compared to a lifetime of some ten billion years for a smaller star like the Sun. When gravity is unopposed by countering forces, no stable configuration is possible, and amazingly the star’s catastrophic collapse happens within a matter of seconds. The outcome, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, is a space-time singularity: an infinitely dense and extreme physical state of matter, not encountered in any of our usual experiences of the physical world.

As one possibility, a so-called event horizon of gravity can develop. This is essentially a one-way membrane that allows entry but no exit. If the star entered the event horizon before it collapsed to a singularity, the result is a black hole that hides the final singularity. Black holes are a permanent graveyard for the collapsing star. According to our current understanding, it was one such singularity, namely the big bang, that created the expanding universe. But the big bang isn’t unique. Such singularities will be produced whenever massive stars die and collapse. And so we arrive at the mysterious boundary of the cosmos, a region of arbitrarily large densities billions of times the sun’s density.

An enormous creation and destruction of particles takes place in the vicinity of a singularity. One could imagine this as the cosmic interplay of the basic forces of nature coming together in a unified manner. These energies and all physical quantities in the vicinity of singularity reach their extreme values; quantum gravity effects dominate this region. This is how collapsing massive stars present a laboratory for quantum gravity, holding out the potential for a TOE, if visible naked singularities occur in astrophysical settings in faraway skies. The basic question then arises: Are such super-ultra-dense regions forming in the collapse of massive stars, visible to faraway observers, or would they always be hidden in a black hole?

A visible singularity is sometimes called a naked singularity or quantum star. The visibility or otherwise of such a super-ultra-dense fireball that the star has turned into is one of the most exciting and important questions in astrophysics and cosmology today. This is because the unification of fundamental forces taking place here becomes observable, at least in principle.

A crucial point arises: while gravitation theory implies that singularities must form in collapse, we have no proof that the event horizon must necessarily develop. It was only a working assumption that an event horizon always does form, hiding all singularities without fail. This is referred to as the cosmic censorship conjecture, the foundation of the current theory of black holes and their modern astrophysical applications. But if the event horizon did not form before the singularity, we would then observe the super-dense regions that form in collapsing massive stars, and the quantum gravity effects near the naked singularity would become observable. Thus we could actually see the extreme physics near such ultimate super-dense regions. As a step toward this possibility, in recent years a series of collapse models have been developed in which the event horizon fails to form in the collapse of a massive star.

In short, it turns out that the collapse of a massive star gives rise to either a black hole or naked singularity, depending on the internal conditions within the star, such as its densities and pressure profiles, and the velocities of the collapsing shells. When a naked singularity occurs, small inhomogeneities (i.e., lumpiness) in matter densities close to singularity could spread out and magnify enormously to create high-energy shock waves. These, in turn, have connections to extreme high-energy astrophysical phenomena such as cosmic gamma ray bursts, which we do not yet understand today.

Will we actually be able to see this cosmic dance, the finale of collapsing stars in the theatre of the galaxies? Or will the black hole curtain always hide and close the end game off forever, even before the ferment of creation has begun? Only future observations of massive collapsing stars can possibly tell us. Interestingly, the 2014 sci-fi adventure Interstellar refers to naked singularities in the script, suggesting that without them we’d never understand how interstellar leaps in space travel are possible—but real science isn’t there yet.

As it stands, the closer we get to the boundary between nothing and something, the more urgent the problem of creation becomes. It’s as if “nothing” and “something” are merely symbols for domains of creation and pre-creation that can’t be understood with objective measurement. In the next part of this series we’ll look into the possibility that scientific knowledge is about to converge with the problem of how the human mind is able to know anything at all. In the end, our thoughts and feelings are “something out of nothing” just as much as collapsing massive stars and the big bang.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor UCSD Medical School, researcher, Neurology and Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are You Are the Universe co-authored with Menas Kafatos, PhD, and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.

Professor Pankaj Joshi is a theoretical physicist and Senior Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai India. Professor Pankaj Joshi has published many (more than 170) research papers, and monographs on cosmology and gravitation. He has made fundamental contributions on gravitational collapse, black holes and naked singularities. The new analysis on collapsing stars from Joshi and his collaborators, as reported and reviewed in his Oxford (1993) and Cambridge (2007) monographs, showed that both black holes and visible naked singularities form when massive stars collapse at the end of their life-cycles. Recent results from Cambridge, Princeton, Perimeter and others, now corroborate these results.

His research was published as an International cover in “Scientific American.” He served as an adjunct Faculty with the New York University, and was awarded the A C Banerji Gold Medal and Lecture Award by the National Academy of Sciences, India, along with many other awards. He holds visiting faculty positions in many reputed universities and has won fellowships in various scientific academies. His research papers and monographs are widely cited internationally. His recent book, The Story of Collapsing Stars (Oxford University Press), explores the death of massive stars and the subsequent formation of black holes or naked singularities through gravitational collapse of stars.

Source: Community01 – Deepak

Ep #161: Money Beliefs

On this episode, I go through some of the biggest misconceptions about money and explain how changing that thinking can help you be successful in your life. We also take a look at how we can create money and how changing our language can help us with this process.

Get full show notes and more information here:

Source: LifeCoaching04 – Life School

Trump: Nato 'no longer obsolete'

NATO is the “bulwark of international peace and security” but its European members “must pay what they owe,” US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday alongside the political head of the military alliance.
Source: Heath01 – France 24

A Meditation to Restore Hope, Faith, and Trust

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Steve Israel

Everyone has been experiencing the ill effects of disruptive politics. Thinking of the present situation in terms of a partisan divide doesn’t go far enough–there has been a wholesale loss of trust. Hope for a better future is defeated on a daily basis. Faith in the democratic system is perhaps at an all-time low. This malaise isn’t about issues and parties. It’s about how we view bad events and react to them.

Society presses the argument that problems arise “out there,” usually caused by other people, and getting immersed in private emotion is a suitable response. The cycle of event-response never ends, and it rarely solves anything. But we are all addicted to it. Not only do outside events capture our attention, but also there is the rush of feeling angry or elated, victorious or defeated.

The world’s wisdom traditions say very little about politics, but they have much to say about getting entangled in the drama, beginning with the teaching that matters the most: the drama never ends. Once you get enmeshed in external events that trigger strong emotions, you have joined the drama either as participant or spectator. Therefore, reality “out there” is the level of the unending problems life brings our way. By becoming stuck in it, people sacrifice their only path to finding a solution, which is to base their sense of self “in here.” If you don’t want to be affected with malaise, stop ingesting the next dose of poison.

When you lose hope, trust, and faith, nobody did it to you. However much you are tempted to demonize somebody else, everything “out there” is aimed at one and only one thing: keeping the drama going at full boil. How you respond is your responsibility, and this turns out to be the opening that sets you free of the drama. Dramas are built out of plot lines, and when you start to look inward, it becomes clear that every plot line, down to the smallest detail, is self-created.

Instead of talking about how to change the narrative–a common topic now, after so many old plot lines have been disrupted and destroyed–it’s crucial to know where any story comes from. When you were a baby, there was no story. If a baby starts chewing when it’s teething, there is no concept of “shoe” (or baby). There are only sensations associated with the shoe: color, texture, shape, smell, and in this case, taste. In the process of development, babies move from feelings to organized perceptions, then on to language and thoughts. Each step adds a building block to the story of life, and by the time adulthood is reached, everyone’s story has taken on a life of its own.

Which is the whole problem. The tags in your story may be white, male, professional, Republican, which enables you to ease into someone else’s worldview if they share enough of the same tags. These tags are constructs. Nature doesn’t give birth to Democrats or conservatives, Catholics or Protestants, etc. But by identifying with all the labels that attach to us, we gain a sense of identity–and it’s a false identity, in every case. The story you’ve created has taken on a life of its own because you forgot that you are the creator, the author and not a character.

Babies are not blank slates that get imprinted like hammering a dent into a car fender. They are bundles of experience that is being processed in awareness. How the process turns baby A into Mozart and baby B into Kim Jong-Un remains a total mystery. But one thing is certain: the process occurs in awareness. Expose two children to the same upbringing, and each can turn out to be completely unlike the other. Expose any group of people to the same set of facts, and you will get as many interpretations as there are people.

At this stage of the argument, most of us will agree that all kinds of external influences went into our personal story, and that we interpreted these influences in a very personal way. But go back to the baby chewing a shoe. The experience of chewing the shoe is all the shoe is for the baby. Without a concept of “shoe” to organize the experience, it’s just an activity in awareness. This leads to a startling conclusion that takes time to absorb. Your body is experienced the same way a baby experiences a shoe. You take in a bundle of sensations through the five senses. There is no “body,” much less “my body,” until you construct a concept that organizes the actual reality, which is that your body is only an activity in your awareness.

You can prove this to yourself with a simple thought experiment. If you are experiencing your body and take away how it smells, what’s left? The other four senses. Take away how your body sounds, and what’s left? Three senses. Take all of those away and what’s left? In other words, imagine yourself paralyzed in a hospital bed, blind and deaf, receiving no sensations from your body at all. What remains is only a concept, the notion of “I have a body.” That notion is something to hold on to, which is fine. No one is saying you have to return to the state of a baby chewing on a shoe.

The point instead is to realize that your body is a construct in awareness. If you take away every label and tag that defines you, the same thing will always be left behind: the awareness that builds constructs, modifies and destroys them, gets bored with an old story and rearranges it into a new one. the only stable self is the awareness that participates in this creative process. Therefore, the world’s wisdom traditions teach that there is no “I” except awareness, and what it happens to be doing, which is knowing and experiencing.

How does this cure the current state of malaise? Diving into the drama leads eventually to exhaustion and misery. Staying above the drama is impossible–you may have no interest in politics, but the drama has a thousand other hooks. Wisdom consists in knowing that there is a third option. Take control of the constructs you have been immersed in. Realize that you can do and undo these constructs. This realization brings a sense of excitement and independence of real control and creative living. Isn’t that a lot better than suffering from the malaise?

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor UCSD Medical School, researcher, Neurology and Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are You Are the Universe co-authored with Menas Kafatos, PhD, and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.

Congressman Steve Israel is a Distinguished Writer-In-Residence at Long Island University in New York and was a Member of Congress for sixteen years. He served as House Democrats chief political strategist as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and President Bill Clinton called him “one of the most thoughtful Members of Congress.” He published a critically acclaimed satire of Washington entitled “The Global War on Morris” in 2015. Israel is a political commentator on CNN. His insights appear regularly in the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere.

HIs insights appear regurarly in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs and on 60 minutes, Jon Oliver, Fox News, MSNBC and elsewhere.

Source: Community01 – Deepak