How much do we really know about the universe we live in?
Science has given some answers, but it’s also opened up many new and exciting questions.
The possibilities are almost endless.
Here are the top 10 mind-blowing theories about our universe and the true structure of reality.
10 wild theories about the universe that will blow your mind
1) Human beings are descended from extraterrestrials
You may have heard this theory before, but if not let me acquaint you.
The basic idea is that alien races contacted earth in ancient times and seeded people in various places.
The theory is called panspermia and says that human beings may be descended from interstellar civilizations.
Jamie Carter at Science puts it this way:
“It’s an untested, unproven and rather wild theory regarding the interplanetary transfer of life.
“It theorizes that microscopic life-forms, such as bacteria, can be transported through space and land on another planet. Thus sparking life elsewhere.”
Could panspermia be true?
Honestly, it’s a little far out (literally) but at the same time, there is just so much we still don’t know about where we came from and the progress of ancient civilizations.
Anything is possible.
2) We’re living in a giant simulation
You may be familiar with this concept from movies like the Matrix, but it’s also been advanced in a far more detailed and analytical way by scientists and theorists.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom is one of the leading advocates for this idea.
According to him, it’s quite likely that our entire universe and existence is within a computer program that was made by an advanced civilization.
Bostrom claims that things like dark matter and apparent contradictions in quantum physics and science are easily explained as “patches” that update or try to cover over glitches in the simulation.
As Bostrom says in his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies:
“We know that blind evolutionary processes can produce human-level general intelligence, since they have already done so at least once.
“Evolutionary processes with foresight—that is, genetic programs designed and guided by an intelligent human programmer—should be able to achieve a similar outcome with far greater efficiency.”
Simulation theory has also been advanced by prominent figures like tech mogul Elon Musk.
Is it true? Maybe, maybe not.
Bostrom is far from some crank: he teaches at Yale.
There could definitely be something to it.
3) The world already ended in 2012
If you think QAnon or Scientology are crazy, wait until you hear this (surprisingly popular) theory.
The world already ended. You’re already dead.
And a bunch of Swiss people and nerds are to blame.
As Daisy Hernandez writes, this theory posits that:
“The world ended in 2012 when CERN discovered the Higgs Boson (aka the God particle) and accidentally created a black hole that sucked Earth into it, and we just haven’t really noticed yet.”
So are we living in some upside-down black hole vortex?
Honestly, the way things have been going in the world it’s probably worth considering.
But all jokes aside, this theory is extremely far-fetched.
Yes, CERN does some borderline-bizarre work, but I highly doubt they have smashed our particles into an alternate universe yet.
Then again, I could be wrong.
4) The earth is hollow and full of other civilizations
This is one of those super wild theories about the universe that will blow your mind: the earth is hollow and populated by advanced civilizations.
I was introduced to it by a very talkative man at a gym in San Cristobal.
In between bench presses and explaining to me how Bill Gates is hiding out in a club in Sochi with Vladimir Putin and Osama bin Laden, this unique man also told me about hollow earth.
It’s something I write about in my upcoming book Cultworld which should be out later this year.
The basic theory was developed by a man called Edmond Halley back in the 1600s.
There has been some unique evidence that points to possible hollow pockets under the earth, but the idea that there are giants or advanced species living down there is questionable.
Those who’ve tried to prove it get turned around by armed New World Order soldiers guarding the North and South Pole entrances, according to my gym friend.
My rating on hollow earth would have to be: probably not true.
However, if there is some truth to advanced civilizations populating underground cities may I humbly request that they pop up and lend us a hand?
Between COVID, Afghanistan, climate change, poverty and social breakdown we could use some help!
5) We’re living in the Goldilocks universe
For those who believe in a divine being who created our universe, the facts of life make sense.
God created gravity, biology, planetary orbits, breathable oxygen, and so forth.
However, for those who are skeptical about any divine plan behind the universe, there is another theory called the Goldilocks theory.
This theory basically says there are many universes out there with all sorts of conditions that don’t support life.
Ours is the Goldilocks, or “just right” universe that allows life.
Proof? The fact that I’m even here to discuss it in the first place.
Could the Goldilocks theory be true? Honestly, it sounds quite plausible, especially if one considers something like evolution on a cosmic scale.
6) Our thoughts can shape and change outer reality
This theory is increasingly popular in many Western countries today.
Some call in the Law of Attraction and it’s a leading feature of New Age gurus and teachers.
The basic idea is that you can “manifest” or create your own reality.
The idea you can create a positive life by thinking positive is very suspect, but this theory goes even a step beyond that into saying that we can shape reality itself.
As such, it’s sort of a spin-off of the idea we’re living in a simulation, although in this case it would be considered more of a spiritual simulation or mental prison we “break free” from by realizing reality is an illusion.
“Rather than simply choosing from an already existing form in your vision you wish to engage with, you can instead create new photon-forms that never existed before and inject them into reality.”
Is this true? While I fully believe in confirmation bias that we tend to notice and filter things by what we pay most attention to and our beliefs, I do not believe we “create” reality.
In fact, one of the biggest parts of growing up is realizing that reality, nature, and life exist and are not all about us or our mind.
I’ve heard New Age conspiracy theorists like David Icke also advance this theory, claiming – for example – that if you jump off a cliff and truly completely understand you’re just living in a hologram and can’t die then you won’t physically die.
I think it’s bullshit.
But if anyone wants to test it, be my guest (please don’t).
7) There are millions of multiple universes
Related to the Goldilocks theory but somewhat different, is the idea of multiple- or quantum – universes.
This theory basically speculates that there are many different realities and “versions” of our world which split off each moment of time.
We exist – or believe we do – in one of these realities, but in actuality, we are creating and recombining many versions of ourselves across different timelines.
As Robert Crease notes in his review of Sean Carroll’s 2019 book Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime:
“Originated by US physicist Hugh Everett in the late 1950s, this envisions our Universe as just one of numerous parallel worlds that branch off from each other, nanosecond by nanosecond, without intersecting or communicating. (The many-worlds theory differs from the concept of the multiverse, which pictures many self-contained universes in different regions of space-time.)”
Is it true? Quite possibly.
It would help explain Erwin Schrödinger’s cat experiment, for one.
8) We are living in a divinely-created illusion
This is another of the wild theories about the universe that will blow your mind.
It’s basically the Godly version of simulation theory.
You can find it in many religions, from gnostic Christianity and mystical Judaism to Islam and eastern faiths like Hinduism and Buddhism.
The basic idea is that a divine being – or beings – made the world as an illusion or test in order for humanity to purify its heart and progress on a spiritual evolution.
In Islam, the temporary world of desires and mortality is called the dunya. It is not fully an illusion, true, but it is illusory in the sense that it only lasts a short time and can lead us into hell if we fall for all its temptations and sins.
In Hinduism this illusory world of the senses is called Maya.
“In Hinduism, Maya is the natural illusion that the material world is the only reality…
“Maya, which has its roots in the Upanishads, denotes the power of God to make human beings believe in an illusion.
“The material world is the manifestation of Brahman, the infinite and immortal reality that is responsible for matter, energy, space, time and every being.”
9) There are thousands of different versions of you in different universes
Related to point 7, is the idea that there are millions of versions of you.
Not only might these individuals have different haircuts (sorry about that mullet, man…), jobs and partners, they also have made many different choices in life.
“Ever wonder what would have happened if you’d taken up the ‘Hey, let’s get coffee’ offer from that cool classmate you once had?
“If you believe some of today’s top physicists, such questions are more than idle what-ifs.
“Maybe a version of you in another world did go on that date, and is now celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary.”
If so, let me first wish you a happy anniversary!
Mazel tov and mabrouk!
But whether this could be really true seems to me like a way to slowly descend into a real-life version of Black Mirror.
Yes, it could be, but how could you truly start to look into it without potentially driving yourself insane?
10) The universe has no beginning or end
You can read all about different theories of how the universe began:
God, the Big Bang, some kind of mysterious evolution, and so on…
But one theory that will blow your mind is the idea that the universe never did begin in the first place.
It’s not idiots saying this either: it’s been said by some of the smartest individuals who’ve ever lived such as the late and great Stephen Hawking.
“Hawking and Hartle were thus led to ponder the possibility that the universe began as pure space, rather than dynamical space-time.”
Without getting too technical, this basically means that there was no “time” at which the universe started.
It just exists.
It’s pure space itself, not a phenomenon which exists in time, in other words.
This theory has been called into account, but has been used to explain away the question of where the initial potential energy for the Big Bang came from.
It came from nowhere. Because there was no Big Bang or “time” at which the universe began.
As Hawking said:
“Asking what came before the Big Bang is meaningless, according to the no-boundary proposal, because there is no notion of time available to refer to,” adding:
“It would be like asking what lies south of the South Pole.”
Separating truth from fiction
What’s true and what’s bunk?
I’m not here to tell you.
But I will say that having your mind blown every now and then is a good way to stay sane.
Admitting just how much we don’t know is a good start to learning new things and considering new ideas.
There’s a lot out there still left to discover, that’s for sure!