Jul 04, 2012 - 3:03 pm
From a young age, even before learning of existentialism and a whole lot of other isms, I had a simple theory about the 'cause' of religion and its maintenance over the years. I called it the Aloneness Factor, to differentiate it from loneliness. It was the idea that most of us could not tolerate the notion that we are Alone, that there is not something greater than us or at least beyond us.
Just today, I found this in the online mag, Slate, and it resonated, particularly the last paragraph:
But I find it particularly exciting for two reasons—one scientific, the other more personal. First, the standard model, as remarkably successful as it has been, leaves open more questions than it answers. What causes the Higgs field to exist throughout space today? Are there other forces that dynamically determine its configuration? Why doesn’t the same phenomenon that causes the Higgs particle to exist at the mass it does cause gravity and the other forces in nature to behave similarly? Over the past 40 years or so, a host of theoretical speculations have been developed to answer these questions. But like those who are sensorially deprived, we may just be hallucinating. The cold water of experiment may now wash away many of our wrong ideas and, perhaps more importantly, could point us in the right direction. In the process I expect what we will discover about the universe may currently be beyond our wildest dreams.
More than this, however, the Higgs field implies that otherwise seemingly empty space is much richer and weirder than we could have imagined even a century ago, and in fact that we cannot understand our own existence without understanding “emptiness” better. Readers of mine will know that as a physicist, I have been particularly interested in “nothing” in all of its forms and its relation to something—namely us. The discovery of the Higgs says that “nothing” is getting ever more interesting.
This demystifies nothing. In fact, it magnifies the mystery. But it sort of brushes up to my child-like notion of Aloneness, something I have since called 'a hole in my soul'.
Interesting to me, this.