Theosophy

The Big Bang or The Big Bounce?

Jacques Mahnich - France

Theosophy JM 2 

Jacques Mahnich is an aeronautics engineer, author, lecturer and excellent violinist

Every morning the sun appears on the horizon in its natural amazing splendor. Even though we know that it is the movement of the earth around the sun which causes this regular appearance, this contact with the light is still enchanting. Every evening, we see it disappear without any worry because our experience, since birth, shows us that it will come back to enlighten and warm us the next day. It is the engine of life on this Earth.

 

Back In the fifteenth century, Catholic monks preached that God, each evening, moved mountains to hide the sun during the night, and moved them again the next morning, causing it to reappear. Since the ancient Greek Milesians (from the island of Miletus), occult scientists called ‘hylozoists’, knew full well that the earth revolves around the sun, generating the cycles of day and night. In The Secret Doctrine, Madame Blavatsky informs us: ‘The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically ‘the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing" (1) .

What does contemporary science tell us about this?

Using instruments capable of detecting all forms of electromagnetic waves from radio waves to gamma rays coming from the space around us, we can observe thousands of billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And we can detect billions of galaxies without really knowing where the visible limit of our material universe is. This is enough to make us dizzy – especially since within the existing laws of physics, we are only able to perceive around four per cent of the physical matter that constitutes our universe.

And as for the rest? No modern scientist can say for sure what this actually is. We invent terms such as dark matter or dark energy to maintain consistency with these main physical laws such as General Relativity and Quantum Field Physics. For more than fifty years, research to detect these types of non-physical matter has been unsuccessful. So, we know that we don’t know.

But we know that the elementary components - quarks, electrons and neutrinos – which constitute the physical universe are eternal – at least during the 13.7 billion years since the origin of the cosmos. This beginning, this birth of the observable universe was called ‘The Big Bang’ by the famous British physicist Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001).

Hoyle coined this as a sarcastic term to mock the theory initiated by another famous physicist, Georges Gamov (1904- 1968). Hoyle was a great advocate of the so-called ‘steady state’ theory, in which physical matter is constantly being created to compensate for the expansion of the universe. The discovery, in 1965, of signals coming from all parts of space, known as ‘cosmic microwave background’, tended to confirm The Big Bang theory as the most plausible.

The second characteristic of the manifestation of the universe is its cyclical nature. This aspect is omnipresent and observable in the life around us. Birthgrowth-maturity-decay and death govern all forms of life in our universe. Stars are born by gravitational gathering of cosmic dust clouds. They ‘ignite’, transforming their main fuel, hydrogen, into more complex chemical elements, and when they have exhausted their fuel, they ‘die’ either by extinction, leaving a stellar corpse – a white or grey dwarf – or by a gigantic explosion called a supernova. During this explosive end-of-life process, the great stars expel into the universe all the elements that they have synthesized during their lifetime, which will allow future worlds and kingdoms to develop.

These materials, these worlds are the material basis of the appearance of the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms which surround us and within which we make our own cyclical pilgrimage.

These kingdoms are also subject to cyclical manifestation, with very different orders of magnitude, from 13.7 billion years for our universe, to a few days for certain insects on earth. The traditions of ancient India which have come down to us through such writings as The Book of Manu, The Narada Purana and above all The Surya Siddhanta, give us a similar cyclical model showing active and hidden phases of manifestation of the universe but which continue forever.

So, here we have a fundamental disagreement between these age-old traditions and contemporary science. One speaks of eternal cycles without beginning or end. The other speaks of a beginning of the universe – The Big Bang – as well as the probable extinction of all life due to the expansion and ultimate entropy of the cosmos. According to the Ageless Wisdom tradition, reality is eternal and infinite in duration: ‘The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing, "called "the manifesting stars.’ (2) Of course, modern science, based on a materialist paradigm, refuses to integrate anything that is not physically observable. Therefore, it has no way so far of perceiving or designing models of universe which integrate all other unseen dimensions – especially that of the mind. However, science’s basic methodology requires it to consider and not to discard any observation which contradicts its models.

Since the 1930s observation has shown that General Relativity is contradicted by the abnormally high speed of peripheral stars in galaxies and distant clusters. And since the late 1990s, we have observed an acceleration in the expansion of the universe which current theories also do not predict. So, the basic cosmological model – called lambda-CDM – which includes The Big Bang along with dark matter and dark energy – is disputed by many cosmologists as too ‘artificial’ since it requires a whole host of unverified or unverifiable assumptions.

The Big Bang is increasingly questioned because it has a major flaw at its starting point. None of the current laws of physics make it possible to model, understand or validate the initial moment when physical matter appears out of the void – or put another way, being arises from non-being. Science refers to this as a ‘singularity’ (which cannot be explained). Science is also not concerned about the possible causes of creation. It says this is not its concern.

‘The first move, or the beginning of the universe, has always been regarded as exceeding the bounds of Physics, for it seems impossible in principle to determine the first move by physical means… and because the beginning of the universe implies that nothing exists before.’ (3)

Over the past fifteen years we have seen the appearance of new models of cosmogenesis, including one particularly worthy of interest, that of ‘the universe in rebound’ or ‘The Big Bounce’. This is based on the cyclical appearance and disappearance of the universe. One of the pioneers of this new idea is the German physicist Martin Bojowald.(4) According to this theory, the universe is cyclical involving a continuous round of expansion and contraction of space and everything in it.

Beyond the cosmology of ancient India which we have already mentioned, this idea also incorporates a lot of what is found in the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and especially that of Kalachakra: ‘In the external universe, at the end of 4,320,000 years, all the planets will enter the vacuity, completing a great cycle of the four eras. [The ‘yugas’ or great ages – editor.] Then, beginning with the specific transits, the era of completeness again arises, and so on. The cycle of the four eras thus repeats itself again and again.” (5)  

According to this tradition these cycles govern the evolution of all the kingdoms of nature. Knowledge of these cycles and their characteristics provides a spatio-temporal map of this progression. This makes it possible to give a time-scale to human evolution. So, the visible universe appeared 13.7 billion years ago and life on earth about 2.5 billion years ago. The ancestors of current humanity appeared between four and five million years ago and the Anthropocene era only a few tens of thousands of years ago.

So, in conclusion:

‘We are visitors on this planet We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, The true meaning of life.’ (6)

References

1. H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, 1888, Vol. I p. 16.

2. H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, T.U.P, 1977 (Facsimile of Original Edition), p.16.

3. Fang Li Zhi & Li Shu Xian, Creation of the Universe, p. 146 (World Scientific, 1989).

4. Martin Bojowald – Zurück vor den Urknall, (S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Francfort, 2009).

5. Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Tayé, Myriad Worlds, p.165, (Snow Lion Publications, 1995).

6. His Holiness The fourteenth Dalai Lama, The True Meaning of Life.

This article also appeared in the Winter 2022 edition of Esoterica, the Journal of the Theosophical Society in England and Wales.  For all issues of this journal click HERE

 

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