An Essay involving Alan Watts

The universe is just there: it neither has nor needs an explanation.

The argument for the explanation of the universe being so vital to our culture is human curiosity. We need to know because we are biologically driven to know the cause of things, so we can better understand their effect. Take venom for example. Venom can function as a specialized cell toxin that very specifically targets the prey’s red blood cells and destroys blood vessels, only because we know the cause of these can we reverse its effects. Humans are interested in control and power, knowledge is power, understanding the universe may provide more ways to control parts of it.

Harmony; however, cannot be found under the discord of curiosity, and as such an argument could be that we should simply accept the universe for what it is, and exist within in.

Alan Watts, a philosopher from the early 20th century, describe the universe as everything. Not us being in it but with us being part of it: ‘You are a function of this whole universe, as that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.’ His philosophy is that we are still the universe, the big bang as it rolls on, not a cause of it. We cannot find the cause of the universe, because that is like trying to define yourself, and as Alan Watts himself puts it: “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” I may be extrapolating bits and pieces of his philosophy relating to other subjects, but together his philosophy serves to aid this argument of the universe just ‘being’. Not that there isn’t a cause, or that one can never be found, but to find one is insignificant in the greater scheme of existence. “What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.” The universe needs no explanation when it is the consistently moving and evolving form of existence, that we will all understand when we’re not that. He explains why the fear of death is pointless, as it’s not some great ‘off’, the ‘darkness’ hasn’t won against the light, instead you are simply that. He doesn’t name it, but describes it as being that that isn’t solid or space, but the not being. You are nothing, and no one knows what that is like, you’re simply not going to be this fabric of existence anymore, and that’s fine. We need to stop separating ourselves from the universe as too separate entities, and in doing such, there is no need to define what we are.

Of course, philosophers have been trying to think up the cause of the universe for centuries, like Aristotle and his cosmological argument, that led him to the conclusion that God must exist as a necessary being. Nowadays; however, it is scientists who push us towards an eventual cause, scientists such as the late Stephen Hawking. Hawking dedicated his life to the study of black holes, cosmic radiation and the big bang. The biggest problem, with which all philosophers and scientists can agree, is the absolute nature of time. Time is the only measurable, true thing in the universe, it can be warped, it can be bent, but it is forever moving forward, and stretching out behind us. Space and time are interweaved, but oddly, time existed before space, which always begs the question, if the universe does have a beginning then what happened before the beginning? The current theory is that there existed a space without space in which a multiverse exist, a space for big bangs to expand and retract, causing universe after universe to exist, freeze burn, and die. This is called eternal inflation. This then begs the question where did the multiverse come from? To that we have no answer, as this multiverse could exist for an infinite amount of time, too large for the human mind to comprehend. But this does prove that the universe isn’t just here, it is caused by energy that exists within the multiverse being used in such a way as to create a big bang. This could leads us on to incredible scientific discoveries of other universes, parallel or otherwise, and therefore gives us reason to try and discover more. After all it is in our nature.

There is an explanation out there, and there are reasons to go and get it. But I believe it is more on human curiosity and desire that fuels the fire for an explanation, more so than it is necessary.

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