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A Lesson On Singularity

By Dr. Dick Wieder


     For nearly two centuries, science has predicted the existence of what has been called a black hole. Most people who watch the television news or read a newspaper every day have some notion as to what is a black hole: it is a star whose gravitational attraction is so intense that even its light cannot escape. There is a brief but incomplete description of the processes at work in such stars. How do they come to be? And perhaps more important is there a lesson man can learn from the black hole?

     For a black hole to form, the parent star must be several masses larger than the sun. The forces at work for any given star to maintain itself are very precariously balanced. First the sheer weight of the star is constantly striving to crush the star by means of the gravity of its matter. All particles in this universe display gravity--an attraction for each other. To keep the star upheld, the heat radiation from its interior (ignited to begin with by the tremendous pressure of gravity) pushes outward against its own gravity. Thus a balance is set: the forces pushing in (gravity) equal the internal forces pushing out (heat radiation). Thus the star survives. But over the billions of years that the star is burning, its source of fuel (the matter contained) is slowly consumed as it gives off this fuel as heat energy and light. The star slowly cools. This cooling results in a lower temperature which reduces the internal pressure pushing outward. Gravity then gains the upper hand and the star collapses somewhat. As it collapses the internal furnace is reheated (for it is a known fact that compression of matter will produce heat). The compression of the material fuses atoms into heavier and heavier elements. As the cycle of collapse-reheat-collapse-reheat continues, heavier and heavier elements are formed. Higher temperatures are required to burn these heavier elements as fuel. And the temperature elevation is produced by the collapse. For most stars this process runs its course when the element of iron is formed. For the every-day-average-star there is not sufficient mass to burn the iron forming at its core. So, the star drifts down a different pathway to its death and may form a white dwarf or a red giant. But for a star, say ten times the mass of the sun, the story is a much different one.

     In these massive stars gravity continues to crush the star under its own weight. Thus the "body" of the star becomes smaller and smaller. The gravitational collapse continues to tug on the involved matter until a point is reached that even the star's light cannot escape the force of the compression. For any body to escape a larger body in this universe it must do so against the gravity gradient of the larger body. In other words, if man wishes to leave the earth entirely it requires a force of somewhere around eleven miles a second. This is called the escape velocity. The greater the gravitational field of a body, the greater must be the escape velocity to exit from the surface of the body. In the case of the black hole the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light (186,320 mps). Thus not even light can escape. The star is still there; one is merely unable to see it. Thus the name: black hole. If an object approaches a black hole the gravity of the hole increases its effect on the object. At a certain point or area the gravitational pull becomes so intense that the object cannot turn away and escape. This point of no return that surrounds the black hole is called its event horizon.

     Man can never be able to observe the "innards" of a black hole and return to tell others about it once he crosses the event horizon. But mathematics has attempted to describe what is going on inside the event horizon. Inside the matter continues to collapse. Eventually the star-that-once-was may be compacted into an ever decreasing area until the entire mass of the star may be shrunk to the size of an elementary particle! This is called a singularity. The entire clump of matter that was once a star ten times the size of the sun literally disappears from the universe. And the event horizon prohibits the process from being viewed. It is a logical question to ask of science: where does all this matter go? The answer is unknown. For at the level of singularity science ends. Time ends. Space ends. Natural law ends there also for natural law as mankind knows it is no longer in control at singularity. Other laws must be at work there. And as yet mankind has not deciphered them.

     It is believed by some that this process of gravitational collapse eventually reaches the level where the underlying fabric of space and time are found. Since all known laws of physics cannot be at play here, the situation is described as total chaos. But it is chaotic only because man cannot decipher it.

     Some scientists believe that all this crushed matter is merely being pushed through the singularity and is existing into another universe beyond the known space-time. That presents an interesting hypothesis: is the present universe merely the regurgitation of a black hole in another universe spewing its contents into this known universe? Based on the present understanding of an expanding universe, it is believed that the known universe was once a singularity. However, the primordial singularity that gave rise to the known universe exploded! It is a type of singularity that is described as a naked singularity for it had no event horizon. Why would a singularity formed from a black hole explode? Is not a black hole an implosion of matter? The universe appears to be a black hole in reverse! Out of nothing came the universe. The primordial Big Bang singularity had no event horizon because the event horizon for the Big Bang must exist in another universe--another reality apart from the known one. That event horizon now forms the boundary of this universe and all the contents of this universe are within that boundary. This may explain why the initial singularity of the Big Bang can be seen as "naked."

     Gravity it turns out by this view is still the key to understanding the universe. One of the major problems facing theoretical physics today is the quantum definition of gravity. Of the four forces believed to be at work in all of nature, man has theoretically linked three together. This is done by extrapolating backwards in time to the era of the Big Bang. Under the ever increasing temperature and density as the Big Bang is approached the strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and electromagnetic forces appear to merge into one super force. Gravity however remains an enigma. It does not seem to fit into the scheme of things. It is believed that at the instant of the Big Bang, gravity merges with the others into one gigantic force. Perhaps the mathematics and technology of this age are not sufficiently elegant (or even capable) of defining gravity. A new view may be required--a view perhaps beyond quantum theory.

     Consider this: gravity compresses matter into oblivion at singularity. It is believed that no information can pass through a singularity into another universe because all information is crushed away along with space and time. At singularity there is no order, no space, no time. It is the epitome of chaos. Thus a singularity may be in effect a cusp--a window--between two opposing realities. And out of this total chaos of the primordial singularity came the known universe. Is it possible for anything from either reality to pass back and forth through this cusp? If gravitational collapse caused the compression of another reality thus forcing that reality's contents through the cusp, then something most certainly survived the chaos! It was gravity! In fact the gravity that came through this singularity, this cusp, would undoubtedly be viewed as expansion as the material of the new universe formed from the chaos and moved "outward" under the impetus of that gravity. Expansion is gravity turned inside-out! Therefore when all of the "contents" of the previous-to-the-Big Bang-reality has passed through the cusp, the impetus to expansion will falter. Expansion momentum will be halted. The universe will slow down and eventually halt. The combined gravities of the new "known" universe particles will come into play and the contraction phase will occur again from this side of singularity. Gravity is not only a force of nature it is a quality of every particle within nature. And under the infinite temperature and density of creation (of Big Bang singularity) the quality is imparted to the particles. It is as if gravity gives an elasticity to creation. Einstein in his theory of relativity describes gravitation and acceleration as the same. This is obviously true in the picture of an oscillating universe. Therefore the enigma of gravitational collapse is not a crisis (as thought by some physicists) but a solution to explain how things are.

     Is there a lesson for man in all of this? Certainly not all stars form black holes. If they did, the universe that exists now could not exist at all. The black hole has finally brought man face-to-face with what may truly be..unknowable. It is a process that in the end defies all of man's logic and reason. Science cannot decipher it for it appears that at singularity matter is not matter; there is no time; there is no space; and, there is no natural law as man understands natural law to be. This is chaos. And chaos is indefinable. Yet science proclaims that in a chaotic--totally chaotic--situation anything that occurs is accidental. Merely chance. Chaos is governed by the laws of the lottery. No rhyme or reason. There is a view in physics today that involves symmetry as a clue to understanding the process that formed the universe. In short it states that in this chaos is symmetry. All of the forces of nature are as one. All the particles of nature are as one. As the universe expanded out from the Big Bang singularity, the temperature of the soup-of-stuff-that-was fell. This caused the symmetry to break. The one force became four. The "elementary particles" formed into structures called neutrons and protons with many remaining as elementary particles called electrons, photons, neutrinos, etc. Once the symmetry was broken some kind of order could be established. It is called natural law. From this view point it is difficult to see a purposeful and benevolent creator. For in the primal chaos of the Big Bang era and in the hidden singularities of black holes there may not exist the cause and effect relationships that are evident in the macroscopic world. There seems to be no direction. No goal. No predetermined end that can be described. The journey of science that began on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in a bygone time ends here in the hearts of black holes and naked singularities. And physics becomes metaphysics. It is as if all of the doors that science has opened have been slammed shut in science's face. The order so fervently hoped for and seen so clearly at first was only superficial. Reality turns out to be only a thin veil marking total chaos.

     But there is another view. If the universe is oscillating back and forth through time and thus passing back and forth through the cusp of Big Bang singularity then chaos is merely a reshuffling of the rules. A restructuring of the energy field. Gravity may then be defined as the quality of elasticity that creation possesses and thus the constraint to creation. Under infinite heat and infinite density this quality of elasticity is imported to every particle formed at the cusp. Thus the four forces of nature and its point particles are as one. And with the event horizon occurring only on the imploding side of the primordial singularity, the "far side" is free to expand under the impetus (gravity reversed). The point when the event horizon from the imploding side reaches the singularity, the impetus to expend ceases. The matter thus formed begins at last to drift back toward that initial singularity compelled by the elasticity imparted to it at the creation cusp. The one overriding point to this entire process is its orderliness. Chaos is merely the connection between the two oscillating realities of order. Chaos can then be defined as perfect symmetry. But because of the reshuffling at time zero with all its infinite possibilities, "nature" as man knows it will probably never occur again. There does seem to be a theorem underlying universe formation, though. And that is that if any reality is to survive, it must be ordered. Thus, any reality emanating from the primordial singularity must have order to continue to exist. Order rules the universe. Out of the perfect order that was chaotic singularity (or creation) evolved atoms (hydrogen and helium). The gravity of the atoms formed stars and galaxies. And these are merely orderly clumps of stuff housed within and comprising reality. Around some stars planets have formed that circle the stars in an orderly manner. And on this planet its orderly orbit (and wobble) has given rise to changes in temperature on the surface that produces an orderly change of seasons. In one way or another the life forms of the earth order their existence around and with the seasons. There are a myriad of variations but the theme remains. Order is the rule.

     Man is no exception. He like the other life forms seeks safety and thus survival through order. The system by which man seeks order is referred to as social order. To live (or attempt to live) in an ordered existence was not in any form or fashion a conscious decision of mankind. It was commanded by and an outgrowth of the order that arose in the first of Big Bang singularity. Order once set in motion by any event must continue in that motion until it is impeded by some other action or event. And order once set in motion by any event or series of events is continually nurtured by and must remain balanced with (in harmony with) the event(s) that gave it birth and the direction by which the impetus of those initial event(s) compels it to move. Thus order moves until it is impeded by other events or the fuel feeding it is spent. The universe once set in motion in the initial chaos will run a predetermined course dictated to it by the conditions of that initial chaos. A predetermined course? It is exactly that! This should not be confused with nor aligned with the specific theological view known as predestination. For once man learns to read the code that is imbedded into every point-particle and wave function throughout creation, he will find both the beginning and the ultimate fate of this universe are written there. For to know one is to know both. And gravity is man's last hurdle. Once that quantum leap is made what will it tell man of himself? Of what good will this information be to a world order bent on destroying itself? What is in it for the homeless waif? The starving masses? Or for anyone at all? So mankind figures it all out; so what? The answer is this (and it has always been this)...

     The first of the Big Bang have given to mankind very special characteristics. So special when compared to all other life forms that these characteristics have very much the aura of...gifts. Something beyond the initial singularity it would appear has favored man as it has favored other life forms before man's emergence. These special characteristics or qualities are called reason, will, humor, curiosity and perhaps the greatest among these is the one called compassion. Therefore when mankind finally learns in detail the coming horror of an entire universe crushing itself into oblivion with no return fares, no rain-checks, no escape he must ask himself this: in view of the coming holocaust which characteristic (which attribute) will serve him best? Intellect will fail him for he can find no route of escape. His will also will fail him for his wish is of no concern to the inevitable. Humor fails because laughing off the inevitable as ridiculous will not make it so. If man must have meaning and if man must have purpose to this on-going creative process of which he is a part then only one attribute will serve him best. And that is compassion. It could also be called love. For now he has no enemies save himself. If all this reality, if all this creation must come to an end at some future point in time then mankind is the only known entity within it that can give it meaning. And he can do that only through the exercise of compassion.

     Surely man knows that world-wide he is of one species. That every individual of his species is of one blood. Only compassion can make this reality worthwhile. Only compassion gives it purpose. Only compassion can soothe the yearning of despair in the face of total annihilation. For in compassion for his kind, man enhances the quality of life for all. He can never avert nor halt the coming singularity but compassion can give a meaning and purpose to his cosmic journey. Through compassion he can maintain his species perhaps to the point of being witness to the marvelous spectacle of a universe coming to its end. With compassion he can stop slaughtering his kind in any form or fashion. Through compassion he can maintain his environment. And if he chooses not to do so, then the lesson of the singularity will be lost on man. And creation will wither away without meaning.




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