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A Destiny for Cosmic Life

by Kenneth W. Behrendt

One of the "big" questions that has always preoccupied mankind is the matter of why life exists at all. Of course, this is merely a subset of the wondering done about why a universe of matter and energy should exist at all. While we now have some fairly probable explanations to justify the existence and perpetual nature of the cosmos (for these the reader is referred to the author's article titled "An Ultimate Structure for the Multiverse"), the matter of explaining the abundance of lifeforms on Earth and their ultimate "purpose" still remains somewhat slippery. It is the goal of this article to, hopefully, shed some light on this subject and to extend this illumination out to cover all lifeforms throughout the cosmos.

Of course, the most immediate and simplest explanation for cosmic life is that it is just another subset of chemical reactions occurring in the various universes. Or, as the late Carl Sagan noted in an episode of his excellent television series titled Cosmos, "Life is just a chemical reaction of sufficient complexity to grow, reproduce, and evolve." We are then led to the conclusion that if the chemistry was correct to engender life on our planet Earth and there are, most probably, many Earth-like planets in our and all other galaxies, then life, AS WE KNOW IT, must be rather COMMON throughout the infinite cosmos.

From studying modern scientific theories about the genesis of life on our planet, one learns that it was merely the result of the primitive Earth's atmospheric molecules being acted upon by such things as ultraviolet radiation, lightning bolts, and hot rock surfaces. These provided the energy needed to synthesize such things as amino acids, proteins, and nuclei acids which, over the course of hundreds of millions of years, eventually assembled themselves into living cells. First there were only single cell organisms, then multicellular organisms, then even larger multicellular organisms, and, so on, until we arrive at the present complex array of lifeforms in Earth's oceans and on its land surfaces. At the capstone of this huge pyramidal array is this planet's most "dominant" creature...the human being.

So far, so good. The explanations of the biological evolutionists seem to be rational in light of the geological and paleontological evidence of the past several centuries. While their theorizing probably accurately accounts for how life came to be in the cosmos, it can only hint at WHY it came to be and where it is headed. To realize that we are nothing more than condensed atmospheric gases whose atoms were created via nuclear fusion in our Sun billions of years ago is, indeed, most interesting. The idea that this natural process is being repeated everyday throughout the infinite number of universes that compose the multiverse does tend to reduce one's sense of isolation from the cosmic scene. However, if this is the beginning and end of the matter, then there would, ultimately, seem to be little purpose to life than to fulfil the various laws of thermodynamics. Life would become no more then a perpetually solar powered chemical reaction that has no more significance than any other naturally occurring chemical or physical process. Happily, there are unique characteristics about the chemical reaction we call "human life" that make it vastly different from the other chemical and physical processes we see around us.

Human beings have the ability to study their surroundings and become aware of the cause and effect relationships they notice in those surroundings. We can then symbolically describe these cause and effect relationships and record their descriptions so that they will be available for other humans to study who did not make the original observations. Humans can then, in their minds, go on to manipulate the symbolic descriptions they have externally recorded so as to make accurate short term PREDICTIONS about what effects will be created for a given set of causes. These effects usually will be ones that humans believe will somehow be of benefit to them individually or as a group. It is this basic process which, over the course of millions of years, eventually allowed Earth's humanity to develop all of its current science and technology.

Whether studying human beings, in particular, or life, in general, one immediately notices that in all circumstances life has a tendency to continue to expand itself until it is fully utilizing the sources of matter and energy availble to it from its environment. Sentient beings, whether on Earth or some other planet, will use their unique mental abilities to elaborate upon this basic process and always attempt to increase the quantities of matter and energy available to themselves. Thus, they will explore new lands or worlds whose matter will become available to them and they will attempt to unravel the secrets of the universes in order to extract more energy from them. All the resulting increases in matter and energy eventually translate into new beings and an expanding population.

As individual universes that compose the infinite multiverse continue to age through their life cycles, the percentage of their matter that is incorporated into various lifeforms will increase. Where local sources of matter and energy are limited, there will be fierce competition for these by those lifeforms in that region who choose to remain there. Whether it be insects fighting over a bit of candy dropped by a child or spacefaring civilizations struggling with each other for possession of the mineral resources of an asteroid belt, natural selection favors the physically or technologically superior lifeform. In the real world, "might makes right" and the strong tend to dominate and proliferate. This basic process underlies the mechanism of all evolutionary processes that eventually lead to a planet's dominant humanoid lifeform. The evolution of the miracle of sentience would not be possible without this constant struggle.

In contrast to life's constant competition is the opposite tendency of its SIMILAR lifeforms to COOPERATE with each other. Thus, while the strong may dominate the weak for limited resources of matter and energy, once this process has defined who the strong actually are, these superior individuals may then "join forces" so as to better dominate weaker lifeforms and thereby secure more matter and energy from the environment for their newly formed alliance than they could for themselves individually. Human beings may group together to form bands, villages, towns, cities, nations, or alliances. A smaller group may form a relationship, partnership, or club. In each case the individual members consider themselves to be more or less equal in status. They may be the same gender, age range, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic level, educational level, etc. In all cases the grouping gives individual members access to more matter and energy than they would have indivually (which may also occur effectively because the grouping saves each member matter and energy). Such groupings allow for the expansion of life either directly or indirectly via the propagation of ideas or values that the group peceives as important to the security and expansion of its own sentient life.

So, we see from the above that life, composed of collections of lifeforms, whether sentient or non-sentient, is a chemical reaction that constantly expands its size and range and will either compete OR cooperate so as to make the expansion occur as rapidly as possible. One can believe that this is all a mere side effect of an aging universe or one can believe that it is the ultimate stage that a lifeless universe progresses toward. I choose to believe the latter.

If the time span between the Big Bang and Big Crunch of an individual universe of the multiverse has a duration of about 100 billion years, then the number of sentient lifeforms thoughout its TRILLIONS of galaxies must, indeed, be enormous. During this time span countless wars will be fought and countless empires will arise and perish. Technologies we can only fantasize about will be an everyday reality that will allow the best of these lifeforms to expand and dominate. Most likely the winners in this universal process of natural selection will be humanoid, highly intelligent, and come to embrace a superior morality. They will, eventually, be so envied by the less dominant humanoids, that the latter will seek to emulate them. The ultimate emulation will occur when all of the less dominant humanoid species are actually converted, genetically, into the dominant lifeforms either through interspecies mating or via artificial genetic modification.

We can imagine that at some point in humanity's distant future, there may be only a single sentient humanoid lifeform throughout our particular universe. It will have technological powers at its disposal that would to us today seem almost like magic. All of their material needs will be fully and immediately supplied. They will know no hunger, poverty, disease, or even death! Individuals will be able to travel, virtually instantly, to any portion of our universe or neighboring universes. They will also be able to travel forward in time utilizing a process that can suspend all motion in the most fundamental subatomic particles that compose a being's body (the reader interested in learning more about time travel is referred to the author's article titled "Time Machines and Time Theory").

At some point in the expansion of this ultimate humanoid lifeform throughout our universe, they will become aware of a looming problem of catastrophic proportions. They will realize that they inhabit a cosmos of infinite size that is, in reality, an infinite collection of universes of finite size. Each universe starts out as a Cosmic Egg which detonates in a unimagineably huge explosion or Big Bang that releases the cloud of subatomic particles from which all of that particular universe's galaxies will form. After a period of, perhaps, 100 billion years or so of expansion, that universe's galaxies will exhaust the supplies of nuclear fuel in their stars and slowly dim out. As these dying galaxies drift outward from the original location of their Cosmic Egg, they will encounter the neighboring dying galaxies that are expanding TOWARD them and away from their own Cosmic Egg locations in ADJACENT universes. All of this cold, dead matter will then be drawn together by mutual gravitational forces to form solar system sized black holes as a Big Crunch process occurs. At the conclusion of this process, all that will remain is an infinite number of fresh, new Cosmic Eggs that are, more or less, evenly distributed throughout the infinite space of the cosmos.

Thus, in the relatively short time of a few tens of billions of years, a multiverse filled with galaxies, stars, planets, and LIFE, will be crushed down to form an infinite array of super black hole Cosmic Eggs. Over time, as these continue to grow by drawing in the last dead remnants of the local universes that surround them, they will continue to grow, become unstable, and, eventually, at about the SAME time, ALL will detonate to again create a multiverse consisting of an infinite collection of simultaneously expanding Big Bang universes. We can only reason that this process is eternal in nature. It has ALWAYS been in operation from the infinite past and will continue so into the infinite future! (The reader interested in more details on the structure of the multiverse is referred to the author's article titled "An Ultimate Structure for the Multiverse".)

With the destruction of the ENTIRE cosmos awaiting them, one wonders exactly how the ultimate humanoids hypothesized about above will prepare for the event. Of course, they can do nothing and then suffer the same fate as the rest of the matter in their universe. Or, they can attempt to survive the process and continue to live on in the next Big Bang universe that occurs in their region of space. One thing is for certain...they cannot merely travel over to an adjacent universe to sit out the destruction of their home universe because that neighboring universe AND the ultimate humanoids in it will have the exact same problem on their hands!

At this point the reader may think that our universe's ultimate humanoid lifeforms would probably not be able to do much about avoiding their fate. One is tempted to think that there are just too many hundreds of billions of galaxies involved in a particular universe's "sunset" and that the destruction takes place over such a long stretch of billions of years that no effective plan of survival could be possible even for ultimate humanoids in possession of incredible technology. One might even think that the sheer scope of the looming disaster would make it lose the immediacy necessary for any plans to be implemented. I, however, am of the belief that the exact opposite will be the case.

We must remember that our ultimate humanoids will be able to travel to all points within our aging local universe as easily as we people of Earth travel about our planet by airplane. Unifying the galaxies and the billions of inhabited star systems within them is a process that can readily be done with the super computers that they will have at their disposal. As far as the multi-billion year time interval that must pass before the Big Crunch of our local universe really gets started, this is a period which, quite surprisingly, may SUBJECTIVELY pass very quickly for our hypothetical ultimate humanoids!

For we must remember that they will be actively engaging of forward only time travel on a regular and widespread basis. With an infinite lifespan, these humanoids will find that the only effective way to avoid the boredom of day to day existence is to time travel hundreds or thousands of years into the future. These temporal "jumps" will allow them to emerge in a universe wherein science and technology have progressed enough to create a new look and feel to their surroundings. With each jump through time, they will meet new beings, experience new adventures, and have new devices and technologies to utilize in their lives. With each jump they can look forward to artificially enchancing their individual mental and physical abilities. Unfortunately, their addiction to this method of escape from boredom will bring them closer to that dreaded day of universal destruction at an accelerated rate. What might seem like tens of billions of years to a being not capable of engaging in forward time travel will, to one who can, seem like only a few millenia!

So, we see from this that the Big Crunch phase of our universe IS a problem that will be on the minds of All of the ultimate humanoids that will inhabit our expanding and aging universe. Like all lifeforms now on Earth, their primary concern will be to SURVIVE at all costs. But, sadly, it may not be possible for all of the ultimate humanoids to escape the coming universal destruction. During a period of, perhaps, tens of billions of years, MOST of the matter and energy of each of the infinite number of local universe will literally disappear into the infinite number of swelling Cosmic Eggs. Any being or group of beings attempting to survive this will have to have their own carefully preserved supply of matter and energy that must remain stable and usable for tens of BILLIONS of years. Furthermore, they will be dependent on machinery that, should it fail and be unrepairable, will, most likely, result in their deaths.

One method our hypothetical ultimate humanoids might employ to survive our universe's coming Big Crunch catastrophe would be to construct huge planetoid sized spacecraft. Each vessel would be capabile of housing the humanoids of several inhabited star systems and would be able to travel a hyper-light veocity to any place in our local universe. Thus, to rescue the ultimate humanoids of an average galaxy, MILLIONS of these vast vessels would be required. Each would be a world onto itself. They would utilize some extremely sophisticated form of fusion power and would contain a complete biosphere so that they humanoid inhabitants would have all of the fresh air, water, and food needed for a prolonged stay in space.

Just before the final phase of the Big Crunches takes place throughout the multiverse, each local universe's galaxies would dispatch their millions of such planetoid ships and they would all begin traveling at hyper-light velocity toward the birth place of that local universe...the region of space where its original Cosmic Egg hatched about a hundred billion years prior. As this incredibly huge armada arrives at that region of space, each ship will have a precise location at which it must position itself. Perhaps each ship will be a few hundred thousand miles from its nearest neigboring ship and the converging assembly of vessels will form a three dimensional matrix that will literally grow in space like a giant crystal until it has dimensions on the order of light years!

At this point each ship must have an additional MUST be able to function as a giant TIME machine. We can imagine that installed within its very walls and floors are the equipment needed to cause all of the motions of the most fundamental subatomic particles of which it is composed to slow down their rates of motion. When this happens, all other "higher" physical processes in the affected areas within the planetoid ship will also slow down by a similar rate. As a result, all of the bodily chemical reactions of the the ultimate humanoids and any other affected lifeforms in the ship will slow. However, the humanoids will not SUBJECIVELY be aware of this slowdown. All will seem normal to them...until they scan the dying universe outside their array of planetoid ships!

Outside their armada's array, they will see the processes of the dying universe greatly sped up since the rates of motion of the most fundamental subatomic particles that compose the matter of the external universe are proceeding at their normal rate which might be millions of times faster than the greatly slowed rate of the fundamental subatomic particles that compose the atoms of the materials aboard the ultimate humanoids' ships. Thus, each plantoid ship's crew EFFECTIVELY travels forward though time by detaching themselves from the normal "flow" of time outside their craft.

If our hypothetical ultimate humanoids can slow the motion of the most fundamental subatomic praticles of themselves and their ship's environment to a hundredth millionth of their normal rates, then the physical processes that take place outside of their ship will appear to speed up by a factor of one hundred million! ANY outside their ship that normally takes a billion years to transpire, will subjectively appear to the vessel's inhabitants to take place in only ten years time!

If we imagine that the final Big Crunch phase of our local universe, the formation of our next Cosmic Egg, and its hatching to form the next expanding Big Bang universe in our vicinity of space takes place over a temporal interval of, say, 20 billion years, then this time duration would only seem like a mere 200 YEARS to the ultimate humanoids aboard their planetoid ships. Perhaps as they went about the business of their immortal lives, they would note that for a period of about 80 years the distant galaxies that surround them and which were once their home galaxies are growing progressively dimmer. Then this might be followed by a period of total darkeness outside that, as far as the ultimate humanoids are concerned, lasts for decades. It is during this time that there is no light anywhere in the multiverse, for it is all trapped inside of the powerful gravity fields of the infinite number of growing black holes that will compose the infinite array of Cosmic Eggs of the newly forming multiverse.

And then, finally, electromagnetic radiation appears again as the first flashes of visible light reach the huge array of planetoid ships from the recently hatched Cosmic Eggs and their expanding clouds of hydrogen and helium gases that are just beginning to form protogalaxies. These will, in a few more decades of subjective planetoid ship time begin to spawn stars. After a few more decades of subjective time aboard the ultimate humanoid ships, their crews will behold distant galaxies with second generation stars that possess planetary systems some of whose worlds are starting to evolve life! The long wait will be over and the vast array of planetoid ships can dissemble itself and begin moving off toward the distant galaxies to claim some of their new worlds. After spending hundreds of subjective years and tens of billions of ACTUAL years within the comfortable, although limited, confines of their planetoid ships, our hypothetical ultimate humanoids can, once again, breath the fresh air and feel the natural gravity of a planetary surface.

How many of the original vessels that formed the array will be able to partake in this happy destiny? Sadly, it will probably only be a small percentage of the huge number of craft that originally formed the array. Although the crew of each ship and their living environments only age and deteriorate at a hundred millionth of their normal rates, there will be other parts of each ship's structure that will have to age at their normal rates because they are NOT affected by the equipment that is used to slow the rates of motion of the most fundamental subatomic particles that compose the crew and their environments. Thus, most of each craft's hull and superstructure will experience 20 BILLION years of various stresses and vibrations that will weaken the metals used. Rust and corrosion of metals and electronics will proceed at their normal rates. Welded seams will crack and bolts will loosen. The ships precious and limited air supply may leak off into space through microscopic cracks in metal surfaces.

Then there is always the possiblity that actual warfare could break out aboard any ship packed with billions of beings over the course of 200 subjective years regardless of the level of their ethics and morality. Or, perhaps, some highly lethal viral mutation might cause a plague aboard many of the the ships. Even an uncontrolled fire could guarantee that any particular ship's crew would not be alive to partake in the reward that they were hoping their efforts would deliver.

We see from this that only the best designed of the planetoid vessels that are manned by the most highly trained and disiplined of crews will manage to make it into a dawning universe of the next multiverse. But those ultimate humanoids who do will truly become the gods of that universe...

(Note: this article completed June 18th, 2004)