The discovery of the largest structure in the universe is challenging one of the most fundamental assumptions in cosmological thinking so it might just turn out that young Albert, (Einstein not Prince and no I don’t mean the ex-symbol formerly-known-as), didn’t get everything right after all.
It seems that those happy chaps who spend their twilight, (good films apparently according those of the female persuasion, eh Chloe?), hours gazing at stars or as is more usually the case these days, poring over detailed computer generated reports on multi-exposure extra-visual-wavelength observation analyses, have stumbled across yet another LQG, (as you are obviously familiar with, they’ve known about Large Quasar Groups since 1982 and quasar groups of course are powered at their centre by super-massive black holes, thus fulfilling the music reference requirement), but this particular one is more of an XXLQG. So XXL in fact that it’s 4 billion light years across at its longest point. That’s quite big. Too big.
To put this in perspective, sperm cells ‘swim’ at about 5 mm per minute, so in the same time it would take that well-endowed lady the Star Ship Enterprise to travel at warp factor one across the XXLQG, which those self-same sciency boys have named the Huge-LQG, your, your partner’s or indeed donor of choice’s sperm would have been able travel ten and a half billion kilometres. In other words, this magical sperm endowed with particularly massive longevity and oceans of internal reserves would have had the time to swim all the way to the edge of the solar system, impregnate Pluto, (well we are talking about a super sperm here), and then swim all the way back again. Impressive.
I guess that sort of boils down to saying that this largest-structure-in-the-universe thingy is pretty darn big, (I thought I’d go all American for that adjectivisationalism seeing as how I’ve had multiple views from over the pond of late). So big in fact that’s it’s putting pressure on the Cosmological Principle of large-scale universal sameness which Einstein had to come up with in order to allow his other theories to be usable. And as his theories are indeed usable, we don’t really want to just up sticks and walk away from the principle that allows them to work because, as Subir Sakar apparently said, it will make cosmology too bloody complicated if we do. I think I’d agree with him if I actually knew what he was talking about.
So other than the gratuitous reference to super sperm, what does this revelation have to do with this blog and my future career? Although of course that should read my current career especially as I have, you should be made aware, already dealt with my very first paying clients. Something of which I am truly proud.
So. Here we go. A fundamental principle of science is that it is made up of theories, not truths. And these theories only hold as long as sufficient evidence exists which continues to support them as being a usable working model. Now, obviously as Subir’s comments indicate, you don’t need to throw out a perfectly good working model just because something comes along which challenges it. After all, we still use Newton’s laws, even though we actually know that they’re wrong. They still work and are a damn sight simpler than chucking quantum at everything. They’re just not really real. They’re one of those things that our Mr Pratchett likes to call lies-to-children, may his daughter prove to be as imaginative as he.
All this throws me down two lanes. In a broad sense western medical science, thanks to Rene’s negotiations with the Vatican, doesn’t really recognise the mind-body connection as being a legitimate route through which to pursue health and healing, despite the fact that the placebo effect is a base line for every drug trial which licences medicine as efficacious, (good old Mary Poppins for bringing that word to our attention). So if enough good is done for health in a way which western medical science needs to acknowledge (and it’d have to be too good to ignore as well unless there’s a way for the pharmaceutical lobby to profit from it), then western science will indeed acknowledge it.
Indeed it would have to. That’s what science does, always assuming that the proof can be found and that it’s strong enough to resist the inevitable counter-proofs which will come along. That’s not anti mind-body, that’s just how science works. Come up with a controversial claim and the established science will try to disprove it. Think of it as Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest-theory theory. This is what scientific evolution is all about.
The other lane I’d trundle off down leads all the way to the Quest Institute. Cognitive Hypnotherapy is based on a number of fields of study and expertise. It amalgamates these into models, practices and techniques which every Cognitive Hypnotherapist is well versed in and uses in their daily practice. A key tenet of this field of hypnotherapy is that nothing it uses is the truth. It is simply the current best theory. As soon as there is something better which updates the model, it will be incorporated. If it can’t be incorporated, the existing model would be thrown out and replaced. This stops stagnation. It keeps us all on our toes. It really helps us. It really really helps our clients. My clients.
If something crops up which challenges the Cognitive Hypnotherapy school of thought in a Huge-LQG styley, we’ll have to rethink and regroup. Personally I think that’s fantastic. If you don’t look for and welcome new information to update your view of the world, you end up in a tunnel sealed off from reality. Cognitive Hypnotherapy would become an old and fusty institution, blindly carrying on as it always did. It would simply become unthinkable to change. It’d end up as an opinionated, bogus and disproved therapy living on the edge of quackery, selling snake oil to the tourists. But because of its thirst for knowledge and improvement, it will always be driving forward, staying fresh, even if that means throwing out some cherished models of the past. It’s one of the reason why I signed up to train there.
Unfortunately, believing what you’ve always believed is a survival trait that’s so ingrained in us we’ll do our best to completely ignore anything which doesn’t fit our personal model of the world. Your early years of internal modelling influence how you relate to the rest of the world for the rest of your life.
Your unconscious has kept you safe thus far. It knows this to be true because you’re still alive. And it’ll continue to run its internal programs as long as it believes the theories it laid down as you grew up remain true. It hijacks the mind-body connection and holds onto any stresses and anxieties it thinks are vital to your safety, which is way higher up its priority list than your well-being. Delicate hormone flows get disrupted, muscles and nerves stay on alert. Enter stage left my arch protagonists, fertility difficulties and chronic pain, along with others in the same chorus.
Unless you find a way to break the cycle, then despite the best efforts of your conscious mind, you’ll find yourself living your life always doing what you always did. This keeps you safe and secure, if not healthy and at peace. Of course, as the old saying has it, that means you’ll find yourself always getting what you always got. You might want to change but once you’re in the grip of your unconscious auto-programs you simply won’t be able to see how because you can’t see outside your own private reality tunnel. And no matter how hard the outside world tries to attract your attention, you won’t see it ‘cos your unconscious won’t let you look. So once the stresses, strains, phobias and pains take hold, they can be hard to shake off.
There are many Huge-LQG’s out there in your very own version of the universe. Sometimes you need a specialist to help you see them. And once you’ve seen them, you can decide whether what you always did really did get you what you always wanted. And if it did? Keep going. Your model works for you. But then you probably wouldn’t have sought any help in the first place. Nice one. Keep it up.
But then if your personal Huge-LQG shakes you up, you have a golden opportunity to re-evaluate the most fundamental theories on which you base your life. Learn new truths about old ideas. Start living in the world you really inhabit. Climb out of your reality tunnel and into the light of your universe as it really is. Welcome. To the real world. Good old Morpheus.
If all this theorising is correct, (but obviously not true, if you get my drift), this must then mean that in reality I’ve just spent a year getting a Diploma in Psychological Cosmology.
Maybe I should put my fees up.
- Largest structure challenges Einstein’s smooth cosmos (newscientist.com)