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Large Numbers say it all...
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7/10/2014 3:06:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I love huge numbers. A googol is probably about the amount of distinct "things" in the known universe (i.e., particles of stuff [estimated at between 80-120 orders of magnitude based on different perspectives, last I checked]). A googolplex is much larger. Let's imagine that the volume of the known universe was packed tight with (small) dust particles... just one giant chunk of what you took out of your vacuum cleaner recently. If you counted those particles and put a ! after the number (X!), then you'd have a googolplex. Putting a ! after a number treats the number like a deck of cards, telling you how many arrangements of that number there are. A set of 2 things has two arrangements, 3 things have 6, and ten things would have 3.6 million arrangements (10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1=3.6x10^6). A deck of 52 cards has a number with 67 orders of magnitude, guaranteeing that every time you shuffle a deck of cards, there's nearly zero chance of that arrangement having ever existed at any point in history.
Suffice to say a googolplex is beyond our ability to comprehend. A googolplex planck-lengths (the smallest meaningful unit of measure) wouldn't be any different than a googolplex light years. A googolplex atoms wouldn't be any different than a googolplex universes. Michio Kaku mentioned (without much fear of being proven wrong any time in the future) that if one walked a googolplex (insert unit of distance, he used "yards"), you would have passed through so many different arrangements of stuff, that you would necessarily come back in time to the moment you left, simply because of the probability of finding a random arrangement of atoms that's precisely the same (similarly, if you waited a googolplex you'd end up back where you started eventually).
Big numbers have really helped shape my metaphysical beliefs. I've always expected to find an explanation for the lack of understanding regarding beginning and end, life and death. How could there be a linear timeline, always with infinite points before and after it? Where's the start? What happens when obvious finishes occur (i.e., death)?
These numbers demonstrate that all these questions are meaningless. Some day, somewhere, it will be July 4th, 1776 again. There's no meaning of that being history or future, it's simply something that existed once, and therefore is allowed by the universe to exist - it will exist many more times. This does not mean that any and all scenarios exist. If you imagine a scenario that is essentially infinitely unlikely, then a googolplex years wouldn't bring it about.
Perhaps free will is denied in the strictest of senses, based on my theory, but the amount of possibilities is so great that I don't believe it matters.
Time until another big bang occurs: 10^50^50 years
Time until another big bang occurs, exactly like the universe we have now: 10^50^56 years.
Like Roland Deschain (the Gunslinger) in Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, we are likely going to be doing a lot of this again. And a WHOLE lot of other stuff along the way!