Not only has my idea about size changed, my idea about reality itself has completely been morphed. Before I attended Andy Fletcher’s talk on ‘Life, the universe and everything’, my perception of size and space had been something I’d never properly put any thought into. My idea of space was that, well, it was big. To be honest, my ideas about most things bigger and more complex than me are very vague. Andrew Fletcher came and talked to my year, and questioned virtually everything I think to be true. An underlying question that he put forward was: how do we know what the truth actually is? It’s a question that I had never put any thought into before.
A sentence that stuck in my head after the lecture was: you are one million billion times more nothing than you are something. I, like many others, have vivid memories of when I thought I was on top of the world. I remember feeling like I was immense in size, I was huge. If I thought I was the biggest thing around, but it turns out there’s more nothing of me than there is something, imagine how big the nothingness would have seemed to me. Is it even possible to imagine the size of things we’ve never seen before? Ever since this lecture, I’ve tried to do so. I wonder if it’s possible for anyone to get an idea of just how huge space is, and actually imagine it.
I will admit that I found what Andy said at times more than just confusing. Various ideas, such as zero=infinity, I could not possibly grasp. But I did manage to draw something from what he was saying. Andy Fletcher showed us two magnificent scientists: Newton and Einstein. Both of them had completely different views on how the universe worked. This showed me that perception, no matter how brilliant the mind, will always be different to someone else’s. The way we perceive something could influence the things we do.
After having been to the lecture, all I felt I could do was think. If anything, the more you think, the less you know. Every time the concept of space came onto my mind, I felt like I knew less and less. I find it virtually impossible to get a real feel, to get a proper idea about how big the things around us really are. When I was younger, none of this ever occurred to me. But just being able to know that you now know that you know so little about things around you, is quite an amazing feeling.
Andrew Fletcher talked to us about the Big Bang, and came to the conclusion that something started from nothing. This concept just increased the level of confusion, and made me try to apply it to real life situations. I tried to do so because I feel as if it’s the only real way we can properly understand, or visualise something. If you can’t apply it to a real life situation, then it’s all the more hard to grasp. As I racked my brain, various examples came to mind, such as: a goal in football that started from absolutely nothing, or, feelings one develops for someone, feelings that just randomly come out of nowhere. In terms of the earth forming, I find something starting from nothing a difficult idea to comprehend. But when I apply it to small things, to everyday situations or events, it suddenly becomes so easy to see. I think this may be because of my understanding of size. The formation of the earth is something huge. It’s something that happens where space is absolutely infinite; everything is huge. But with smaller things, I am able to comprehend them, simply because of their small size. It’s less daunting, and it makes more sense. I think a bigger question can be asked: why do we fear what we do not know? Why not embrace it?
This talk has changed the way I see certain things. It has changed my perspective on things around me. You never know, my perspective on things could suddenly drastically change again in a few hours. But now that I can think about size, and try to understand it, I’m able to think about the bigger picture.