18. Infinite in All Directions
On p. 8 and p. 210 of The Mind of God, the idea is expressed that the universe may scale in both directions from the very small to the very large in ways that we can scarcely comprehend.
A Dayak man from Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia describes how, in meditation, he left his body and moved into the sky and beyond. When he looked back, he saw the earth as a small cell. Traveling further, he looked back at the solar system and saw it as the organ of a living being. Then, going just beyond the milky way, he looked back and saw it as a fish swimming in the sea. (Spirit of the Night Sky by Laksar Burra 2001 J.B. Books PTY Ltd. P.O. Box 118, Marlestan South Australia 5033)
In an interesting parallel, Scientific American reported that some physicists are seriously considering that the mysterious dark matter of the universe consists of huge particles of matter that are light years or more across. The author states: "Amid the jostling of these titanic particles, ordinary matter ekes out its existence like shrews scurrying about the feet of dinosaurs." (see "Scaled Up Darkness" by George Musser, Scientific American, Sept. 2004, p. 26)
In an article by John Barrow and John Webb, a related concept is discussed. They note that observations of distant quasars suggest that the constants of science may change over time. The implications are profound.
Modern science is based on the fact that certain values such as the speed of light, the charge of an electron, and Planck's constant (the energy and wavelength representing a "quanta"of light), are very specific values that never change. The ratio of these quantities and vacuum permittivity is called the "fine-structure constant." If this value were to change very much, reality as we know it would cease to exist. (Molecular bonds and all kinds of things depend on it.) The implication is that we might exist in one of many overlapping universes, each with its own specific set of constants. In fact, string theory, an attempt to unify all the laws of physics, allows for multiple dimensions and many different universes. Harvard Physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed states: "These ideas lead to a totally different sense of scale. The number of universes people talk about, just as a rough number, is 10 to the 500 power. That's vastly larger than the number of atoms in our universe." (Discover, Oct., 2005, p. 56; see also "Inconstant Constants," Scientific American June, 2005, p. 56-63)