T.H.O.E Chapter 1: The Beginning

Beginning (bɪˈgɪnɪŋ/) (noun): The point in time or space at which something begins…

see also

Begin (bɪˈgɪn/) (verb): To perform or undergo the first part of an action or activity…

Since the dawn of consciousness (consciousness as the majority of humanity know it as today), mankind has struggled with the concept of infinity, the everlasting. Endlessness and activities that fall outside the arrow of time or the observable universe have always served to confuse the majority of thinkers. Our own journey as most of us perceive it, starts at the beginning with birth and finishes at the end with death. We can get that. We can grasp that quite easily. A football match, a Formula 1 race, a tank of petrol, a ripening and decaying banana, anything that can be perceived and has a finite timescale or lifespan can be understood and goes without question. Anything that follows the arrow of time, anything that has fixed points of start and end does not seem to trouble the human mind. Things seem to come into existence that are observed by man, they stay around for a while and then cease to exist, fading into memory for a while, until such time as the more mundane memories eventually disappear like tears in rain. In the main, we (‘we’ used as a generalisation for the masses) are fine with that.

Our understanding of the perceived reality we all think that we live in today has increased exponentially over recent times, mainly due to the advances of technology and scientific theorems (much to the chagrin of some religious folks).

Within the last millennia, we have discovered that the world is round. We have dug down through the earth to discover our own arrow of time and developed theories of evolution and the most logical origin of our species. We have postulated that the observable universe is 13.7 billion years old via the discovery of CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) radiation which draws an pitted line at the edge of the universe. We have now reached a time where we are looking beyond materialism (materialism being that our reality consists entirely of physical matter that is the sole cause of every possible occurrence, including human thought, feeling, and action) to determine what exactly is going on at the invisible / quantum level to see if there are answers to questions which have confused and bewildered post-modern man for many centuries.

However, for those who believe in the Creator, The Grand Designer, The One and more specifically for those religious doctrines that hold the everlasting or reincarnation dearly, the question of infinity holds no fear for them. They need not concern themselves either with science or quantum mechanics, as to some God simply exists. Just as there are so many different facets of science and philosophy, religion too has its complexities, ranging from the logical and plausible to the far-fetched and illogical (Christian followers of the literal bible – why would any grape swilling Roman Emperor surround by Baccus masks choose to kill a man who can turn water into wine)…

The Scientific View

Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe. Scientific cosmology uses the scientific method, which means forming theories or hypotheses which make specific predictions that can be tested with observations and depending on the outcome of the observations, the theories will be abandoned, revised or extended to accommodate the results.

The scientific model of the origin and evolution of our universe is the Big Bang. The Big Bang was not like a conventional explosion, in which fragments of a bomb are thrown outwards, but rather was an explosion of space within itself, all the matter and energy of the universe had been contained in a single point, and at the Big Bang all such particles of the embryonic universe began rushing away from each other. The ‘bang’ occurred approximately 13.7 billion years ago, which is thus the age of the universe.

So what of the beginning. The real beginning. Not the Big Bang, but anything and everything that pre-dates it. The scientists have a real disadvantage here. Everything relating to science is meant/said to be empirical. The OED definition of the word empirical means to rely on, derive from or be verifiable/provable by means an observation or experiment. Empiricism is also guided by practical experience and not theory. Religion of course suggests that it need not be empirical due to the very secretive and ethereal nature of the man upstairs.

For a long time it was thought that the universe although expanding, never changed its appearance or its boundaries. I remember back as a child, I was told that the universe was infinite. There was no beginning. There was no end. It was just there, forever and for always, which is difficult to take in as a kid. This concept I later found out was known as the steady state theory and has at its core what is called the Perfect Cosmological Principal, in that the universe is homogenous (of the same or similar nature) and isotropic (having a physical property which has the same value when measured in different directions) in both space and time.

Even further back was poor old Giordano Bruno, who theorised that the universe was static, both spatially and temporally infinite. Space was stationary and neither expanded nor contracted. Like the early misconceptions of man’s view of the earth, Bruno’s universe too was also flat and did not possess curvature. Sadly for him, he was tried as a heretic as his theories extended to suggest that on the basis that as the universe was infinite then it would therefore contain an infinite number of worlds populated by intelligent beings. This clearly contrasted against the beliefs of the Catholic church and in the year 1600 he was burned at the steak (thankfully in a time that predated marshmallows which would have added insult to fatal injury). If it was any consolation to Bruno, he was seen as one of the first martyrs of science and gained quite some posthumous notoriety for his efforts amongst 19th and 20th century contemporaries.

Interestingly, Bruno’s contribution to the birth of modern science is seen as key, if not controversial. Some scholars stress the importance of Bruno’s ideas about the universe being infinite and lacking geocentric structure (geocentricity being an Aristoltelian concept that it was the earth that was at the centre of the universe and that everything revolved around it), and it was his notions that divided the old theories from new ones. Others see in Bruno’s idea of multiple worlds instantiating the infinite possibilities of a pristine, indivisible One, and a forerunner of Everett’s MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) and of quantum mechanics.

In contrast to the theories of steady state and static universes, a wild-eyed wild-haired man by the name of Albert Einstein proposed within his General Theory of Relativity that whilst concurring that the universe was indeed temporally infinite, it was in fact spatially finite. In other words, time is infinite (perhaps not in the same sense as the common man perceives what time is or the way in which Stephen Hawking would describe it) but the space in which ‘our observable universe’ exists is not infinite.

There is no doubt that Professor Stephen Hawking is a clever lad, so naturally when one thinks of events leading up to the Big Bang, many would turn to him for words of wisdom. Several years ago he gave a lecture in Japan entitled ‘The Beginning of Time’. The lecture itself contains a great many things about a great many things, but my quest for this chapter was to look for specifics on ‘pre-time’. It is commonly known that Hawking is one of the founding fathers (the other being Roger Penrose) of the singularity principle, in that just over 13.7 billion years ago the entire universe was condensed down to a single point in space and of infinite density. In a statement of resignation almost, there are 3 key points:

1. Anything that happened or existed before the Big Bang are not and cannot ever be observed, defined or measured and it is for this reason that true cosmology begins at Year Zero…
2. The Laws of Physics breakdown at the point of the singularity, hence science cannot predict or empirically prove how the universe began…
3. Until such time as science can empirically prove how the Laws of Physics works at the point of singularity, according to Hawking ‘one would have to appeal to an agency outside the universe. This may be why many religious leaders, were ready to accept the Big Bang, and the singularity theorems’…

Hawking also suggests that the universe is infinitely finite, that there was no ‘time’ before the Big Bang because ‘time’ did not exist before the formation of the space-time associated with the Big Bang and subsequent expansion of the universe in space and time.

He suggests that if we could travel backward in time toward the beginning of the universe (dust off the Delorian Doc), we would note that quite near what might have otherwise been the beginning, time gives way to space such that at first there is only space and no time. Beginnings are events that have to do with time, because time did not exist before the Big Bang, the concept of a beginning of the universe is meaningless. According to Hawking, the universe has no origin as we would understand it, and the universe was a singularity in both space and time, pre-Big Bang, thus, the universe has no beginning (nor is it a steady state universe), it simply has no initial boundaries in time nor space.

He has also developed two key concepts to give context to his theories on time. Real Time and Imaginary Time, both of which are worthy of inclusion here:

Real Time: Real time is a horizontal line. It has a past to the left. It has a future to the right. It has a point somewhere between the start and end which is the present. The universe is measured in real time.

Imaginary Time: Imaginary time is a vertical line. Imaginary time can be difficult to visualize, but it is a way of looking at time as if it were a dimension of space, one can move forward and backward along imaginary time, just like you can move right and left in space.

“In short, there wouldn’t be any boundaries to imaginary time. If one knows the state of the universe in imaginary time, one can calculate the state of the universe in real time. One would still expect some sort of Big Bang singularity in real time. So real time would still have a beginning, but one wouldn’t have to appeal to something outside the universe, to determine how the universe began. Instead, the way the universe started out at the Big Bang would be determined by the state of the universe in imaginary time. Thus, the universe would be a completely self-contained system. It would not be determined by anything outside the physical universe, that we observe”.

So it seems that ‘we’ occupy a specific point in space, operating within a self-contained universe which runs in real time, whilst Dr Who can occupy any point in space and time (both real time and imaginary time), and in any universe (should there be more than one under MWI principles). I want his job!

Hawking concludes that the universe has not existed forever. Rather that the universe, and time itself had a beginning in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn’t have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation. The no boundary hypothesis also predicts that the universe will eventually collapse again. However, the contracting phase, will not have the opposite arrow of time to the expanding phase (so we won’t be womb diving any time soon).

He also concludes that my ‘The History Of Everything’ blog should actually start at Chapter 2…

The Religious View

Creationist cosmologies are explanations of the origins and form of the universe in terms of the Genesis creation narrative, according to which God created the cosmos in eight creative acts over the six days of the ‘creation week’ (obviously in the days before outsourcing to suppliers / PRINCE2 methodology):

Day 1: Creation of light, separation of light from darkness.
Day 2: Creation of the firmament, separation of waters above the earth from waters below.
Day 3: Separation of waters below the firmament from the dry land; the earth is commanded to produce vegetation.
Day 4: Creation of ‘lights’ (Sun, Moon and stars) in the firmament.
Day 5: Creation of fish and birds to populate the sea and sky.
Day 6: Creation of animals (followed by) creation of mankind.

Young Earth Creationists interpret the six days as six 24-hour periods. Old Earth Creationists allow for millions or even billions of years within the ‘creation week’. Both regard the Genesis story as history, and that the earth and the universe are equally old and were created at the same time.

Creationism is premised on belief in the inerrancy of the bible. According to Creationists, the Book of Genesis cannot be questioned, else the entire bible is compromised. Genesis is the book that provides an account of the origins of all the basic entities of life and the universe: the origin of life, of man, of death and of the solar system. Thus the first chapter of Genesis describes God creating the world through divine command over six days.

Young Earth Cosmology Beliefs:
Young Earth Creationists hold that the world is no older than about 10,000 years. This is based on the comprehensive chronology built into the Old Testament, rather than on the six days of creation (the belief that creation took place over six days does not automatically lead to a 10,000 year old earth). They hold an outline of world history from an Old Testament perspective in which the period from Abraham to Jesus is listed as approximately 2000 years, plus the 2,000 years from Christ to the modern day is not in question, and the debate focuses on the centuries-long life spans of figures from the book of Genesis.

Prior to the mid-18th century, the age of the earth was calculated partly or wholly on the basis of the bible and religious theory. Using these methods, the conclusion was that the earth was created in 4004 BC, exactly four thousand years before the birth of Christ, giving the universe an age of some six thousand years.

Young Earth Creationists dismiss the Big Bang as a work of fiction, and that the theory is nothing more than an attempt by men to try and explain how they think we might have been created without a Creator.

One of the largest problems facing Young Earth Creationists is the starlight problem, which runs as follows:

1. There are galaxies billions of light-years from earth, meaning it would take light from their stars billions of years to reach us.
2. We can see these galaxies, so their starlight has already arrived;
3. Therefore the universe must be billions of years old.

As an old earth (and universe) is not acceptable (it conflicts with the Bible-based age of the earth), so alternative explanations are offered up to include that God created starlight when he created the universe six thousand years ago and the age of distant starlight is skewed because the Bible refers to God stretching the universe. Those who do not accept the biblical explanation of God stretching the universe consider the age of distant starlight as deceptive and the explanation is not entirely satisfactory, as the first implies a God who deceives.

A second notion, is that the speed of light was faster in the past than it is now (the theory is called C-decay, from the cosmological symbol C representing the speed of light).

A third idea, sets this aside and proposes that the Earth is located near the centre of a finite and bounded (spherical) universe. Time dilation would allow events at the edge to appear to have happened billions of years in the past as seen from earth.

Young Earth Creationists typically reject standard accounts of stellar evolution, and observational evidence of recent star formation. In particular, creationists dispute the widely accepted nebular hypothesis for star formation.

Old Earth Cosmology Beliefs:
A 6,000 year old universe contradicts the evidence from a range of sciences that the earth is four and a half billion years old. Old Earth Creationists accept that the earth is old, while (mostly) still holding the events of Genesis to be the historical truth. In the late 19th century, Old Earth Cosmologies dominated, and few Christian apologists did not accommodate scientific geology and paleontology (the study of fossils) by interpreting vast ages for earth history within the biblical ‘days’ or else separating Genesis into two creations, one ‘in the beginning’ billions of years ago and a second Eden-type creation in six days much later on.

Creationist cosmology holds that the ‘First Cause’ of the universe does lie outside time and space, and indeed ‘creation science’ is described as the principle that the universe, energy and life were the result of sudden creation from nothing. The idea that God created the world ‘out of nothing’ has been a fundamental tenet of Christian theology since the 2nd century, but scholars agree that the idea is not actually in Genesis, nor in the entire Hebrew Bible, and is found no earlier than later Judaism.

Creationist cosmologists credit the biblical authors with cosmological knowledge well in advance of their contemporaries in the ancient world. They believe that the universe is curved rather than flat, bounded rather than unbounded, and finite rather than infinite. Most strikingly, there seems to be a common hypothesis that the universe has a centre and the earth is at or near it (Galacto-centrism). A creationist cosmology requires a finite universe that is most likely spherically symmetric about our galaxy. For the authors of the bible, and for centuries afterwards, the earth was believed to be the centre of the universe. Only in the last few hundred years has this been challenged, first by proof that the Earth is not the centre of the solar system, followed, early in the 20th century, by the discovery that the Solar System is far from the centre of the Milky Way.

Some Creationists describe God as the uncreated creator of the universe. The existence of the universe thereby serves as proof of the existence of God, given that whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence, concluding that the universe itself has a cause of its existence, and this cause would have to be uncaused, eternal, changeless, timeless, and immaterial. More to the point, it would have to be a personal agent who freely elects to create an effect in time. The conclusion is that it is rational to believe that God exists. The demonstrated existence of God in turn leads into God’s purpose in creating the cosmos, which is mankind. The observations that place the earth near the centre of the universe are consistent with God’s focus on mankind.

One of the most common creationist criticisms of the Big Bang concerns the horizon problem and supposed problems with the inflationary theory of the early universe. Creationists have claimed that dark matter and dark energy are doubtful concepts invented by Big Bang theorists in order to uphold their theory.

The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause (or Uncaused cause) to the universe, and is often used as an argument for the existence of a Grand Designer, usually identified as God. It is traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, the causal argument or the argument from existence.

The basic premise of all of these is that something caused or continuously causes the universe to exist, and this First Cause is what is called God. It has been used by various theologians and philosophers over the centuries. It is also applied by the Spiritist doctrine as the main argument for the existence of God.

A version of the cosmological argument could be stated as follows:

1. Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
2. Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

According to the argument, the existence of the Universe requires an explanation, and the creation of the Universe by a First Cause, generally assumed to be God, is that explanation.

In light of the Big Bang theory, a stylized version of argument has emerged:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

Some cosmologists and physicists argue that a challenge to the cosmological argument is the nature of time itself, in that it is the Big Bang that is the point at which all dimensions came into existence, the start of both space and time. Then, the question “What was there before the universe?” makes no sense as Hawking would vehemently agree. The concept of “before” becomes meaningless when considering a situation without time.

The Islamic philosopher Avicenna inquired into the question of being, in which he distinguished between essence (In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity) and existence (In common usage, it is the world one is aware or conscious of through one’s senses, and that persists independently in one’s absence). He argued that the fact of existence could not be inferred from or accounted for by the essence of existing things, and that form and matter by themselves could not originate and interact with the movement of the universe or the progressive actualisation of existing things. Thus, he reasoned that existence must be due to an agent cause that necessitates, imparts, gives, or adds existence to an essence. To do so, the cause must coexist with its effect and be an existing thing.

Thomas Aquinas, a theologian in Medieval Europe, adapted the argument he found in his reading of Aristotle to form one of the most influential versions of the cosmological argument. His conception of First Cause was the idea that the universe must have been caused by something that was itself uncaused, which he asserted was God. This cosmological argument is one of which many Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and other theists all around the world believe gives proof that their version of God does exist as he is the only logical cause of all effects in the universe.

Aquinas claimed that there must be something to explain why the universe exists. Since the universe could, under different circumstances, conceivably not exist (contingency), its existence must have a cause, not merely another contingent thing, but something that exists by necessity (something that must exist in order for anything else to exist). In other words, even if the universe has always existed, it still owes its existence to an Uncaused Cause, which is understood to be God. The argument from contingency allows for the possibility of a universe that has no beginning in time. It is a form of argument from universal causation. Aquinas observed that, in nature, there were things with contingent existences. Since it is possible for such things not to exist, there must be some time at which these things did not in fact exist. Thus, according to Aquinas, there must have been a time when nothing existed. If this is so, there would exist nothing that could bring anything into existence. Contingent beings, therefore, are insufficient to account for the existence of contingent beings, there must exist a necessary being whose non-existence is an impossibility, and from which the existence of all contingent beings is derived.

What caused the First Cause?
One objection to the argument is that it leaves open the question of why the First Cause is unique in that it does not require any causes. Some argue that the First Cause is exempt from having a cause, while opponents argue that this is special pleading or otherwise untrue. The problem with arguing for the First Cause’s exemption is that it raises the question of why the First Cause is indeed exempt. Even though causality applies to the known world, it may not necessarily apply to the universe at large. In other words, it is unwise to draw conclusions from an extrapolation of causality beyond experience.

Identity of a First Cause
Even if one accepts the cosmological argument as a proof of a First Cause, an objection against the theist implication of the proposition is that it does not necessarily identify that First Cause with God. Just because the First Cause does not itself have a cause, it does not necessarily mean that it must be a god.

Another objection is that the argument concludes that a god exists, but if so, this god must have a cause (according to the same argument). This leads to an infinite regress of causes (and gods) unacceptable to the theist, so most believers make an exception for their god, asserting that it doesn’t need a cause, but there is no obvious reason why this exception cannot be applied to the universe, too. If a god just is, why can’t the universe just be.

Furthermore, even if one chooses to accept God as the First Cause, there is an argument that God’s continued interaction with the universe is not required. This is the foundation for beliefs such as deism that accept that a god created the universe, but then ceased to have any further interaction with it, and even pandeism, which proposes that the creator of the universe actually became the universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.

The cosmological argument is simply that a First Cause (the Big Bang singularity, God, or an unarticulated First Cause) must exist.

Conclusion

So here we are at the end of the beginning as it where. If I am to draw a logical conclusion, I would conclude that what existed before the Big Bang is greyer that a troupe of elephants in 1996 England away kits, watched through a monochrome TV.

It is clear from the musings of Hawking et al that science today can offer no evidence or substance to what occurred before Year Zero nor do they appear over concerned, and will not be able to until such time as the god particle is confirmed and the laws of physics at the singularity/quantum level are understood. That said, it logically follows that universal time, real time as we know it, started at the Big Bang and not 4004 BC, and certainly not in 6 action packed days.

However, in contrast to the Hawking belief that real time only starts at the Big Bang, I disagree, if there is a before state (albeit before the arrow of time in ‘our universe’), then real-time also existed and possibly always has just under different conditions and perhaps different measures, remember the abstract concept of time is a human creation.

It is also clear that one cannot discount the notion of a Grand Designer. If science cannot offer an explanation and Hawking himself would state that one would have to appeal to an agency outside the universe to understand how this whole thing started, then it would be folly to think otherwise.

Whilst I don’t buy in to the premise that the existence of the universe thereby serves as proof of the existence of God, what has to be asked is what is the actual purpose of the universe and why do we exist. It is almost impossible to think that I have a connection to an event that occurred 13.7 billion years ago, that I actually exist in the first place given the probability that everything has to align perfectly and with ridiculous odds to make this all possible, but in a universe of a hundred billion galaxies, each with a hundred billion stars, there is every possibility that eventually the conditions will be right. Even more so if one believes that there is more than one universe, multiverses, infinite universes even, then this was bound to have happened. Surely…

Zipbung’s Sliding Scale of Probability:

a. God exists (Rating 4. Impartiality)
b. The universe was created by a Grand Designer (Rating 4. Impartiality)
c. The universe and everything in it was created in 6 days (6. Strong Doubt)
d. The universe started as a single point in space and is 14 billion years old (2. Strong Belief)

T.H.O.E: Prelude

Prelude (/ˈprɛljuːd/) (noun): An action or event serving as an introduction to something more important…

By the time I finish “The History of Everything” blog, I will be a different person. Older, for sure. Wiser, time will tell. I am not claiming that this blog will influence anyone or have any effects (profound or otherwise) on anybody other than its creator. Nor am I claiming that what I will find out over the course of the next few months will influence my current priorities in life, they will not change. The fact that next to nobody will probably read this is likely testament to that. In fact, if no one other than me actually observes this blog does it even exist? I guess from a Copenhagen interpretation, it exists and it does not exist until I get a “Like”…

The goal of this blog is to fill many gaps. In my case, there are many gaps in what I currently believe in terms of existence and the way we as humans and reality operates. I will be drawing upon many references from various sources and media, from philosophy to physics, from the biblical to the biological, from theories of relativity to theories of relative insanity (and there is plenty of that in my family).

I will attempt to give a linear view of things (but will also loop-in the loop theory), from before the beginning of measureable time, on through the last 13.7 billion years of development projects to infinity and beyond (whatever that may be). I will not attempt to pillory theorists and intellectuals (perhaps with the exception of Richard Dawkins who is neither), nor will I praise them, I will simply present to myself (and anyone else who cares to read this) the thoughts and ideas that have developed over time from a great many people (not many great people) so that the reader can draw their own conclusions to my conclusions.

I am a very simple person who has to have things dumbed-down a lot of the time so my pea-sized brain can take things in, so this blog should not be in any way inaccessible to others (but perhaps paradoxically it will be to me).

If there are things which are factually incorrect within these insane scribblings, they are simply errors of ignorance and I am more than happy to be corrected by the more learned folks of Planet Earth (and in turn will update this blog accordingly).

I have thought long and hard about the key questions I hope to answer during this blogathon. At the time of writing this prelude, I would like to formulate my own logical and most probable answers to the following. If These really are questions without answers, but one can form a diagnosis based on the facts presented, and then weight that with a probability factor :

1. Does God exist and is there such thing as a Grand Design (not including Kevin McCloud)?
2. What was there before the Big Bang?
3. What started the Big Bang?
4. Is there really a missing link?
5. What is reality?
6. What is consciousness?
7. Why are we here?
8. What happens when we die?
9. How will it all end?
10. Is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything really 42?

We live in an age where science is trying to prove everything beyond reasonable doubt, which is not probable because mankind will find it rather difficult to prove the existence or non-existence of God, consciousness and reality. We live in an age where religion and economics is so fractured and fragmented, that we will kill each other over our beliefs or for things we do not possess but want to possess. We live in an age where politics, rules and regulations are adhered to by the docile masses, with those that declare democracy doing so in such a way to make people believe they are free, but they do their upmost to covertly remove true liberty.

All of that said, I believe that there is a shift in human consciousness. There are a growing number of people out there who are looking for unfathomable questions to be answered, how are starting to ask the why are we here type questions. The advent of quantum mechanics (and my little knowledge of it) has proven to me at least as I sit here, that as So-Crates Johnson once said in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure “All that we know, is that we know nothing”. Science may be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt how the universe that we know started, how we as homo sapiens physically evolved over time, but at this point it cannot determine what consciousness and conscious thought is. I don’t think a mathematical formula will ever be able to prove why we are here…

I am at this point reminded that I will not be berating science, nature or religion throughout this piece, mere drawing all of the facts I have in my possession and coming to the most logical conclusion.

To that end I will attempt for each theory/concept I come across to bear the following in mind. I call it the ZSSP (Zipbung’s Sliding Scale of Probability) and each theory/concept will be rated 1 – 7. It goes something like this (adapted from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion):

1. Fact: 100 per cent probability the theory/concept is true. “I know that it is true.”

2. Strong Belief: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe the theory/concept and assume it to be true.”

3. Leaning Belief: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe the theory/concept and assume it to be true.”

4. Impartiality: Exactly 50 per cent. “The theory/concept is exactly equiprobable.”

5. Leaning Doubt: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to disbelieve the theory/concept and assume it to be false.”

6. Strong Doubt: Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly disbelieve the theory/concept and assume it to be false.”

7. Fiction: 100 per cent probability the theory/concept is false. “I know that it is not true.”

My journey should be an interesting one that’s for sure. As a parting shot to this the prelude, precursor and preface, I leave you with a Bill Hicks quote to ponder now and as a reference point throughout my journey through The History of Everything:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace”…

Breadcrumb Diary: Week 4

22/01/14
None recorded…

23/01/14
#1 Evidence of precognition
I have never experienced either retrocognition (retrocognition being the art of sensing the historic events of others) or precognition (the art of sensing future events of oneself or others), not even remotely. Thinking about it, I’ve never really had a sense that something good or something bad was about to happen, I aimlessly and innocently wander into things and deal with them as they happen (sometimes to my downfall). The same cannot be said for my significant other, she has always had a sixth sense of sorts. Today was one of those days.

Last night we went to bed around the usual time, watched an episode of The Good Wife (US lawyer drama on Netflix not the UK sitcom with the ‘ravishable’ [as Jerry would say] Felicity Kendall), switched off the light and drifted off into the realm of the unconscious.

Unbeknownst to me, my wife woke at 4am with a real sense of foreboding. She had dreamt something awful, which sadly she was not able to recall. Her overall feeling of dread was severe, so much so that she could not get back to sleep until 7am. When I finally woke at 7.20am oblivious to all this, she looked awful. She told me that she couldn’t get to sleep after 4am and that she felt that something really bad was going to happen.

So she rested a while as I got the kids ready for school. I then hobbled my way up the hill and dropped my daughter off, and when I got back I made her some breakfast, although it was clear that she still had this dark presence hanging over her (or maybe it was the lack of sleep). As the time approached 11am, she put her coat, hat and scarf on in preparation for her daily trip to look after her step-dad who has had a series of mini-strokes and suffers from dementia. Almost a week on and I can vividly recall the conversation we had at the front door. Why is it that I can remember every word of the conversation so clearly, and looking back why did real-time slow down so much. We talked a while in the hall, and she was totally and utterly convinced that she was going over to the house, and upon opening the front door that she would see him lying dead on the floor. With a sigh, she turned to go and I turned to go into the kitchen, as we did so the phone she still held in her hand rang. It was the school. It was bad news. Really bad news…

Quite why the school did not phone an ambulance is beyond me (and will be the subject of future enquiries with the head teacher), but my daughter had had a freak accident in the schoolyard and suffered a double fracture of the tibia. In an instant we were both in the car and tearing up the hill. It was a sickening sound hearing her scream before seeing her. I recall how I floated through seas of ghostly faces to find her, to focus on her, and to get her to the hospital immediately. Everything that surrounded me was a blur, people were talking at me (although in their universe it was to me not at me). Although it appeared in slow motion I didn’t take any of it in. I cannot remember a single word that was uttered in that brief yet oddly elongated moment in real-time.

After the chaos had subsided later in the day, and my daughter had settled as much as she could be in her temporary cast, my wife and I sat down in the kitchen and looked back on her moment of precognition, albeit with a different subject matter, our daughter and not her step-dad.

In an instant it reminded me of the Aberfan disaster in Wales in which many children and some adults died when a coal slurry engulfed the school. There was a specific example of precognition there too, much more accurate. A 10 year old girl by the name of Eryl Mai Jones girl had dreamt of the tragedy before it had happened. She awoke two days prior to the disaster and told her mother, “Mummy, I’m not afraid of dying.” Her mother tried to reassure her that everything was alright but her daughter continued, “I’m not afraid of dying because I shall be with Peter and June.” Eryl went on to describe a dream she had, “Mummy, it was so strange. I dreamed I went to school and there was no school there. Something black had come down all over it.” Forty-eight hours later she was dead, crushed along with her classmates beneath tons of pitch black coal debris. Eryl’s name is sadly listed on Aberfan memorials…

24/01/14
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25/01/14
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26/01/14
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27/01/14
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28/01/14
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Breadcrumb Diary: Week 3

15/01/14
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16/01/14
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17/01/14
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18/01/14
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19/01/14
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20/01/14
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21/01/14
#1 The mother of all breadcrumbs
I guess I was feeling really sorry for myself. I had to go back to the aptly named ‘Walk-In Centre’ on Sunday to get some more anti-biotics from the doctor as the hard cellulitic mass (aka my third knee), was not getting any better. Off I trundled and sat with the rest of the docile masses, waiting in line for a slip of green paper and the request for another £7.85 of my hard earned cash. Cabin fever had well and truly set in at this point, and it was whilst sitting in the never-ending waiting room that I looked at my breadcrumb diary on my phone and found that there were no entries. Not one in a week. I then got to thinking, was it because I was resigned to sitting on the same chair day-in day-out and thus removing myself from a lot of potential coincidencai (plural of coincidence) or opportunities for synchronicity that my diary was bereft of content? Maybe it was, and just maybe I deduced that the more varied and interesting ones day is, the more chance one has of experiencing synchronicities.

As I have had a lot of sofa time, I have managed to watch the long overdue BBC TV series Sherlock, and damned fine it is too. So on this day, the 21st January 2014, I watched in my opinion the best episode by far of the first 2 series, ‘The Reichenbach Fall’. Imagine my delight then when literally an hour after pondering why it was I was not getting any synchronicities through, the scene on TV cut to a close up of Martin Freeman who plays Dr John H Watson, who picks up a wax-sealed letter on the doorstep, which contained nothing but breadcrumbs. Interesting. Further on in the episode, a second wax-sealed letter addressed to Sherlock contained a compendium of tales from The Brothers Grimm, a vintage edition left as a clue by Jim Moriarty, upon which Watson revealed the contents of the previous letter and Sherlock deduces the key to the case lies in the story of Hansel & Gretel.

Capture

Hurrah! I’m back in the room…

Breadcrumb Diary: Week 2

08/01/14
#1 Is there life on Mars
Luke and I sat down to watch a movie on the Raspberry Pi. He asked me if I had a preference and I said no, and of all of the 77,000 movies he chose Memento, a Christopher Nolan film starring Guy Pearce about a guy (no pun intended) who cannot form new memories due to a traumatic event in his life and has to leave himself ‘breadcrumbs’ in the form of tattoos and, notes and Polaroid’s. The film was also mentioned in a podcast I had listened to recently from Anthony Peake, which he cites as one of those films that questions the order of things (time mostly). Rather coincidentally, the ‘outro’ song (called ‘Something in the air’) was written and performed by David Bowie. Literally just before the film started, I had sent a Facebook birthday message to an ex-colleague of mine who had turned 40, advising him that he shared his birthday with amongst others, a famous pop/rock star. David Bowie…

09/01/14
#1 Lucidity
Out walking the dog again today, so the next podcast on my download list was again Anthony Peake (only a few more left to listen to). The podcast itself was on an independent channel called The Astral Channel. It has to be said that some of Anthony’s comments and concepts are really far out. In this episode, he recalled how he used what is called a lucid light device which strobes lights to closed eyelids and allegedly triggers the endogenous creation of dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Dr Rick Strassman ran lab experiments using DMT back in the 80’s, with DMT being a cousin of other psychotropic drugs like LSD, produces hallucinations and visions. During Anthony’s 15-minute session, he alleged that he had travelled to the astral plain, and saw himself floating over a planet whose surface was made up of black and white squares. Far out man. What was rather coincidental was about 5 minutes later as I was nearing home with the dog now in toe and not in front, I turned to go up Victoria Road in New Brighton, only to pass a parked van which had a logo on the side which read Astral Electrical Services…

10/01/14
#1 The bells, the bells
For no apparent reason, I woke up with the notion of having the theme tune to The Exorcist on my iPhone. Ever since getting the 4S, my ring tone had been the same boring default ring. So off I went to the iTunes store and purchased Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells – Introduction’ track and installed it. Over the last few years my musical tastes have diversified radically, moving away from metal into more ambient quarters. My outlook on life and longevity has also changed, last year being a good example of that with me taking up yoga, meditation and reiki. Sadly I have missed yoga since giving it up, but looking back, it was the meditation part I missed the most rather than the posture work. So I set about googling for meditation circles on the Wirral. As I was doing that, I also decided as background music, I would look to create all of Mike Oldfield’s playlists in Spotify. One that caught my ear was ‘Music of the Spheres’, quite esoterically named. On the playlist went, and as I reconvened my search for Mikey’s Mystic Meditators from Moreton, a track called Shabda came on, the same name as my favourite yoga album by Indian composer Russill Paul…

11/01/14
#1 Atomic
My son and I decided to go out on a run, to try and remove some festive cheer from around both of our mid-rifts. Both of us had agreed that we had put on a little too much weight of late and that eating habits and physical activities (or lack of them) must improve. So off we went around my usual ‘just short of 5km’ track. Whilst out on the run, I asked him about the subjects in school, which one he liked / disliked and what he was currently doing in each one. He got on to Chemistry and was saying they were currently on the atomic module, and he went on to describe how atoms were constructed (not at the quantum level of course). I went on to say that I also was looking at my own version of the atomic module by watching the Wonders of the Universe and Ascent of Man box sets, as well as other offerings served up from wiki, to determine what had currently been determined and what was still work in progress (in the main quantum mechanics). After we got back to the house, we sat down with a bottle of water in the living room recovering, and had a chat with the wife about how her holistic therapy course was going. To our joint amusement, she went on to say everything was going ok with the exception of the science theory part, and in particular she found it difficult to understand how atoms and energy were made…

12/01/14
None recorded…

13/01/14
#1 I’m barking mad
Yesterday I contracted cellulitis, which has inflamed and bloated the space between my tibia and my kneecap. It came on yesterday as I was preparing the Sunday roast. Last night I had a god damn awful fever and was shivering and quite delirious by all accounts. When I woke up this morning, I could have swore I heard the werewolf scream from the black comedy ‘An American Werewolf in London’ coming from downstairs, the exact scream heard just before the character Jack gets ripped apart on the moors. I’m not sure if I was awake or still asleep when I heard that. The wife subsequently came upstairs and advised (told me actually) to get up and hobble downstairs to get some breakfast, which she nursingly provided. As we ate, she put on the next episode of The Good Wife (an American drama about a lawyer and her cheating politician of a husband). Each episode is pretty much self-contained, but there is an underlying story that carries on throughout the series. So picture the scene of a loaded courtroom if you will, then picture the scene in my living room as I spit some coffee over myself when the judge of the day walks in and is none other than Griffin Dunne, who played Jack in An American Werewolf in London…

14/01/14
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Breadcrumb Diary: Week 1

01/01/14
#1 The Busted Roller-Blind
My wife and I had been debating over a number of years about replacing the roller blinds at the front of our house with either wooden panels or wooden Venetian blinds. The debate was always closed on cost, for two bay windows and two single pane windows would cost in the region of £500. A short while before Yule, we went up to Ikea to get our daughter a new wardrobe, and saw that the price of wooden blinds had been drastically reduced to something almost affordable. We thought nothing of it, until I had read that there had been a spate of burglaries on the Wirral, in fact that evening as I was closing the roller blind, I saw a group of “North End North Faces” outside our house looking rather dodgy. That night I said to the wife that first thing in the morning I intended to go to Ikea to get the replacement blinds, as security was now a factor as anyone can see into the front of our house. So that day I did exactly that. As I went into the dining room the next morning, I went to open the first roller blind to the ceiling so I could take it down, but as I raised it they whole thing crashed down around me, completely busted. As the Oracle once said in The Matrix “Oh, what’s really going to bake your noodle is would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?”…

#2 Lost Control
So part of my New Years Day annual ritual is to eradicate the house of all things festive, and to box up and things that jingle and relocate them to the attic. Whilst in the attic, I came across my stored blu-ray DVD player and decided to reintroduce it to the living space (it being temporarily relocated due to the advent of the Raspberry Pi). So after setting it up in the morning, we settled down to watch a DVD later is the day to find that there was no remote control, which was annoying as the blu-ray player is bereft of buttons so reliance is high on the remote. I went back up into the attic to have a look but to no avail. Feeling frustrated with me having to get up and down to player and back, I thrust the SMART TV remote on to the sofa another time to get up once again, and as if by magic, the DVD paused, as it appears that the blu-ray player had automatically synced up with the TV remote (as the Raspberry Pi had done month earlier)…

#3 News just in
Later that day, I was listening on my bed to an Anthony Peake (new age “woo-woo” apparently) podcast in which he refers to a famous Bill Hicks quote “News just in. Today a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively. There is no such things as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather”. That quote has always made me think as well as chuckle. I posted the quote as my Facebook status update, and went back into the loft to put the final post-Yule items away. On peering to the left of the attic opening, I shone the torch around to see that the first book in my view (not on the shelf but on the attic floor was a biography of Bill Hick (Bill Hicks Evolution). All within the space of five minutes. Spooky…

4# A clue
Still reeling slightly from my Bill Hicks vision in the attic, my eyes panned around and the next thing to come into my vista was the game Cluedo which sat dusty on the bookshelf…

5# Late Latte
Upon retiring, I made myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen, and staring down into a particularly frothy cup, I noticed that the spiralling swirling vortex in the mug resembled the header on Infinity Beckons (picture of the Andromeda nebula). It was at that point that I decided to construct a breadcrumb diary and post it to the site…

02/01/14
#1 Wonders of the Universe
After my early morning jog on the sea front and with all inhabitants of the house still well and truly in the Land of Nod, I dusted off my Wonders of the Universe box set and hit the play button on the now one device fits all Samsung remote. The opening scene of Episode 1 (Destiny) is set on the plains of Chile. Prof Cox explains that one of the earliest astrological calendars was created thousands of years ago by ancient Chileans who built 13 mounds on a hill, and at various times of the year the sun rose directly in the valley between each mound. The day the episode was filmed was September 15th, a gentle of the birthday of a certain person who remains on my negative vibe merchant list, and something I have no control over and will continue to exist within my consciousness. Thanks for the reminder Brian…

03/01/14
#1 Ascent of Man
I used to be a big, big fan of Eddie Izzard (I guess I still am and I have just forgotten), and I recall that in one of his earlier performances he expressed his love of Sunday afternoons watching Dr Jacob Bronowski’s Ascent of Man with his dad. Around the time I started to research into the evolution of consciousness (and man in general) I recalled this and over the Yuletide period, managed to find some grainy episodes of the 1973 BBC series on YouTube. The two I watched in full were fascinating (to me anyways, much to the polar opposite views of the wife) and so I popped in to eBay and found the full series on DVD for £15 which I duly purchased. Last evening I took a long bath and listened to Dr Bronowski’s Desert Island Discs from the BBC archives. Instead of the usual 3 songs, he was for some reason allowed to choose and being of German descent, it was proliferated with the likes of Marlene Dietrich and German classical composers. For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I thought that Adagio for Strings was going to be one of his selections, maybe because it was heavy on the classical and it’s my favourite piece, but it did not appear. Today I sat down to watch the first episode of AOM, and the very first music track played was Adagio for Strings by Barber…

04/01/14
#1 To Infinity and Beyond
A while back my neighbours sadly broke up and for the last two months, the neighbour who stayed in the house has been “borrowing” my Broadband. Lately the network speeds have been pretty bad so I was talking to the wife about changing the password to kick her off as her borrowing was likely having an effect. Literally ten minutes later the postman dropped a single letter through the post from British Telecom, advising that fibre optic broadband is now available in our area. So I set about getting it there and then…

05/01/14
#1 I predict a Riot Van
Flicking through my Spotify playlists, I decided to pick on a personalised Arctic Monkeys playlist I pulled together recently, and instead of playing them in the order of the playlist, I hit the shuffle button (and predicted the first track to be play was Riot Van). The odds of getting it right were 14/1, but yes the first song was Riot Van…

06/01/14
#1 Love and Marriage
A colleague in work has had a rotten time in work recently, compounded by the fact that her and her long distance boyfriend broke up. I have been sharing my yoga/meditation/reiki experiences with her recently (as well as some books) and I could see that she was operating more in the positive space, which in turn gave her the kick to get back in touch with her ex to see how he was doing. For the last few months I have had a feeling that everything was going to go right for her and when she advised that she was going over to Seattle to stay with him over Christmas I was pretty certain that she would come back from the US with a ring on her finger. I pinged her this morning and the first three words back were not “Happy New Year” but “I am engaged!”…

#2 Reiki recall
Another soak in the bath was in order as a pretty bad headache had materialised. Whilst in the bath, I put on the Kundalini Yoga playlist I got from Laura last year and picked up my Reiki Bible book I bought from Brighton. Recalling the conversation I had with Ruddo at the Nick Harper gig about the pineal gland and “3rd Eye”, I flicked through the book to find the 6th chakra which is represented by a two petal lotus with an inner triangle with an eye dead centre. For some reason my vision was instantly drawn to my very first tattoo which is a Poisoned Electrick Head album cover (The Big Eye Am) which is a circle made of tribal thorns (lotus leaves?) offset in the middle is a triangle with a solitary eye…

3# And stop calling me Woo-Woo
Taking the dog for a long walk in the cold winter night is a pain, but usually it’s the time I can listen to podcasts so I don’t mind so much (until it is picking up poo time). Last night I listened to a 2008 Anthony Peake podcast (on Alchemy Radio with interviewer John Gibbons) in which he talks about his book “Is there Life After Death”. A funny thing that stuck out was his reference to woo-woo’s, which is a phrase I had not heard before. A woo woo is a term used by sceptics; a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to beliefs one considers nonsense or to a person who holds such beliefs. When I got back, I was casually flicking through my Facebook News Feed to see that Anthony (who is now my “friend” on Facebook) mentioned the term specifically in his update literally minutes before, the first time he has done so since connecting with me…

07/01/14
None recorded…

So what is a breadcrumb diary?

First I shall define the origins of the term breadcrumb, and more specifically what a “new age breadcrumb trail” is.

The original term breadcrumb is quite literally a small fragment of bread. In the digital age, this term has taken on a new meaning. Breadcrumbs or a breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid used in user interfaces, which allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term breadcrumb trail comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.

If one looks deeper into the meaning of that story, the act of leaving pieces of flint or breadcrumbs in order to find their way back home could also be a psychological connection of the brain wanting to remember something important. Since this tale is written in a dream-like way, that could be what the bread crumbs were referring to. Also, when the birds had eaten the bread crumbs in the night and therefore eliminating their trail to home, this could be some sort of forgetfulness of the subconcious, like you had the memory in front of you and then it was lost.

In my personal quest to find out the most logical reason to why I am here, I have expanded my knowledge base to include alternative / non-mainstream theories, all of which I will refer to and cover in great detail on my “History of Everything” blog on this site.

To that end, I have decided to keep what I will call a breadcrumb diary. From a new age perspective, such breadcrumbs are markers, identifiers that reality may not be as it seems, synchronicities (fortuitous or otherwise), pointers which possibly suggest that the mainstream theists and athiests have it all wrong. Each entry will detail a daily count of coincidence, deja vu and other odd experiences that happen to me over the coming months, until such time as the “History of Everything” is complete.

Of course breadcrumbs can also be categorised as coincidence (from the mundane likelies to the utterly unbelievable improbables), but as the Jehovah’s Witnesses would have us question, what is the actual probability of extreme examples of coincidence occurring, and can such coincidences be proven scientifically?

My wife already thinks I’ve lost the plot, her question being “What are you writing this for?”. Not what am I writing, but what am I writing it for. As a true Bill Hicks fan would respond “I’m writing it so I don’t become a waffle waitress”…