PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY READERS AND WRITERS
T. E. Mark’s Blogs 30 Aug 2015
The Anthropic Universe
Now here’s a topic I’m certain you’ve bandied about with your colleagues, friends, and family on numerous occasions. In fact, I’m betting right now you’re already considering dispensing with my post. ‘Old news,’ you’re thinking, right?
Well, let’s cater then to the frivolous few, who have somehow missed, or intentionally avoided, this all-important, life changing topic. Let’s begin with the classical definition then, shall we?
The Anthropic Universe: The Universe is as we perceive it, because if it was any different, we wouldn’t be here to perceive it.
(Now, I’d like you to take a few minutes, days, or decades to absorb that – then we’ll move on.)
Okay, where to start? Ah! I have it! Let’s clarify something right off the bat. The word ‘Perceive’ is simply a polite, and very diplomatic, way of saying ‘know,’ as, it would be considered, at this point, flagrantly egotistical for anyone, anywhere, to claim that they ‘know’ the Universe.
With that out of the way, now we can concentrate on the decidedly ARCANE implications with this term, and its uniquely esoteric definition.
Time for a couple analogies, and a little thought experiment: If the universe was, say, a large block of limestone, I imagine few would argue the point that, we, in our carbon based containers, could scarcely be clinking along drinking fruit smoothies, arguing the pros and cons of having Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.
Analogy two: If the universe was perceived, (known) as a vast, deep, dark chocolate mousse, well, though a fascinating image, one needn’t stretch too much to see that we probably wouldn’t be milling about, comparing how many friends we have on Face Book, or the number of followers we have on Twitter.
So, how does this ARCANE concept provide fodder for the Science Fiction writer?
Let’s go back to the first analogy. The Universe is a large block of cream coloured limestone. Now, all but those with exceptionally expanded imaginations, ie Sci-Fi writers, would assume the universe to be lifeless, meaningless, and dead. But then, would it be? Add to that, why would we be so sure?
As far as I know, there is no law stating that life, even intelligent life, must comprise Carbon atoms, require water, and an extra shot soy latte in the morning to reach a sentient state. With that said, a universe comprised of Calcium Carbonate, (CaCO3), could as easily be teeming with sentient life, albeit probably at the atomic level, as our universe – you know, the one we perceive of as having stars, galaxies, solar systems, water, oxygen and iPhones.
This gives rise to a number of really ARCANE conclusions.
- We may not be the only intelligent life in our universe. (Perhaps not even on our own planet) That finely proportioned, limestone lintel above your front door, may be a universe in itself; teeming with intelligent life – its scientists, searching endlessly for similar, Calcium-based life forms, completely unaware of our existence, simply because we don’t fit their search criteria.
- Our search for extra-terrestrial life in the Cosmos, with that narrow criteria, that we first find liquid water, may be, well, limited and somewhat obtuse.
- (This sort of goes with No 1) Universes, different than the one we perceive as our own, may exist within other universes. This gives rise to No 4. The Chef salad of Hypotheses.
- With all of our Theoretical Physicists, Astrophysicists, and Astronomers, struggling to determine what existed before the Big-Bang, (essentially what was in existence around that sub-atomic particle, that purportedly exploded, went through various stages of expansion, and formed our Universe – you know, the one we perceive) could it have existed within a limestone Universe? Perhaps within a lintel above someone’s door? A door in another Universe?
To sum up: Except for a few very prescient Greeks, Pythagoras & Aristarchus come to mind, and later, Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Kepler and their ilk, people were quite convinced the Earth sat perfectly still at the centre of the Universe. They were not unintelligent – simply saddled with conceited, and severely compressed imaginations.
So the question arises: Are we any better?
Perhaps, just perhaps, we should consider expanding our search criteria, as we gnaw away at that Anthropic Universe, looking for that perfect habitat on another celestial body, replete with fresh water, oxygen, and all the other necessities for organic life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my newest post, and have extracted from it something useful for your next Sci-Fi story. I’m going to go now, to attempt communication with the desperate scientists, locked within my limestone fence. Hmm! I wonder if they communicate using electromagnetism. If not, what else could they use? (Perhaps this is a question Earth scientists may consider, as well.)
If my work pleases you, consider sharing this with your networking pals and maybe picking up one of my six recently published novels:
‘Love in the Time of Apocalypse’ (Published – June 2017)
‘Alina’ (Published – May 2017)
‘Never a Sun Rises’ (Published – April 2017)
‘Fractured Horizons: A Time Travel Odyssey’ (Published – Jan 2017)
‘…but then, why Mars really?’ (Published – Dec 2016)
‘AHNN’ (Published – Oct 2016)
T.E. Mark is a Science Writer, Author, Language Teacher and Violinist. He has written novels for Young and Adult Readers and continues to write science articles for national and international magazines.