As I was watching my favorite show “Breaking Bad” the other day, a commercial came on featuring Cindy Crawford. What came to mind was the whole controversy back in the 1990s of whether or not she should remove that “imperfection” on her face, as some people called it (the mole above her lip), to make her face “perfect.”
Setting aside that beauty is in the eye of the beholder for a minute, this got me thinking: What is perfection? I know what the dictionary says, but how would we know something is perfect without a frame of reference that tells us what isn’t — sort of, how would we know what darkness is without light or cold without hot.
The very early universe went through this state of “imperfection” when it came to the symmetry breaking of matter and antimatter. Out of every 100 million particles of antimatter were 100 million plus one particles of matter. One of the symmetry laws of particle physics is that light becomes two particles (matter and antimatter) when light is energetic enough and, when they come together, they become light again.
So why did an imbalance create all the matter we see today (from galaxies to stars to planets to you and me)? Perhaps it’s simply a labeling problem. Just like trying to define something in relation to nothing, if we close our eyes and try to visualize nothing, what pops up is darkness, an empty void in our head. The only reason we consider that nothing is because of a frame of reference that tells us what nothing isn’t.
If this notion of a multiverse continues to gain traction among theoretical physicists we may not need to dwell upon such things anymore. A possible reason our universe has matter is because universes exist that have anti-matter instead of matter, so in the larger picture, everything balances out. In other words, why there is something rather than nothing may just be semantics.
Depending on how you look at it, the universe is something — because it has some things in it made up of matter — but it is also nothing because the total energy content of the universe is zero (when you take into account the negative energy from gravity).
Back to Cindy Crawford. Even if we could agree on what is perfect, would perfection include knowing you are perfect? Imagine everyone you know telling you how perfect you are, would you even want to believe it? Even worse, imagine if you knew it was true. No need to improve because there is nothing to improve upon, no need to change in any way because you can’t — remember you are perfect — and no need to need anything because there is no sense of yearning needing to be filled. Ughhh.
You think I was cocky now with all my imperfections now imagine me knowing I was perfect, I would be a bigger jerk than Donald Trump.
Oh, by the way, I am trying to nail down an interview with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions you would like me to ask him, please e-mail me and I will try to include them in my next column.
Category: Science and Reality Today