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  • Writer's pictureRussell Cornhill

The 'Everything' Conumdrum


Space, Time and Stuff 3




Stephen Hawkings supposedly said that soon we will know the answer to everything, or something like that. I have the utmost respect for Stephen as one of our greatest ever scientists, but my immediate response on hearing, or seeing, those words was to ask, ‘How can we ever know the answer to everything before we know what everything is?’


Now, there are lots of interpretations of the meaning of ‘everything’ simply depending on what we’re talking about—belongings, feelings, etc. But if we’re talking about the universe and how ‘everything’ works, then I think the basic spatial interpretation is fine.


I believe there’s a conundrum about a ‘spatial everything’.


Everything, by definition, has a boundary. If, after a few more years, we think we’ve discovered everything in space, then outside that ‘everything’ must be nothing, and the nothing must be infinite, because if it isn’t then our everything isn’t everything and we would have to redefine it. So, we redefine ‘everything’. Now, outside that everything must be nothing, and that nothing must be infinite, because … etc, etc, etc.


Thinking about that conundrum has led me to believe that infinity isn’t such a ridiculous idea, though the idea of an infinite ‘nothing’ does tend to give me a headache.


Of course, if infinity exists, then learning the answer to everything depends on infinity being consistent throughout, which surely is something we can’t really assume.



Yep, Just my thoughts. Nope, not much research.




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