Since the dawn of time, humans have tried to figure out what exactly our purpose is here on Earth. Why are we here? Are we alone in the universe? Who created us? What is the purpose of life? These are just some of the many questions that philosophers, scientists and theorists have spent centuries trying to find the answers to. Was this universe just an accident, or was our existence engineered on purpose?
After a few nights of research and after being completely numbed-out on a mental level, I’ve compiled the 10 most bizarre theories about our existence here in this universe. Some are theories on the very meaning of life, while others are about phenomena related to our existence and the forces around us. Unfortunately, all these theories only introduce new questions, and I wasn’t willing to travel down that rabbit hole just yet.
A word of warning though… try not to read this if you’re already on the verge of an existential crisis. If you’re asking yourself questions like “What is my purpose here?” and “Who created God?” I suggest you find your bearings and come back to this article, because these are some seriously frightening theories about who you may be in this vast, lonely universe.
Deeply rooted in philosophy, solipsism is a theory which states that nothing in this world is real, or can be verified as real, except the existence of one’s own mind. Basically what they’re saying is, everything you know and everything around you is nothing but a figment of your own intricate imagination.
It’s easy to shrug this off as nonsense especially when you’re able to verify objects and people just by touching them, but then again, those high on LSD have had the experience of “touching” and interacting with their hallucinations too. In a nutshell, if this theory is to be believed, there’s just no way you’d be able to prove it wrong, because all of this only exists within the context of your own mind. Good luck keeping that out of your head tonight!
9. Brain in The Vat
This thought experiment is closely related to solipsism with a few simple modifications. For one, it brings external beings into the scenario. Basically, the fact that we have no way of looking at things through the existence of other beings makes verifying anything outside of our own reality fairly impossible. The only things we can perceive exist within our own consciousness. Hence the scenario of being a “brain in a vat” i.e. what if our brains are sitting in a jar right now and being experimented on by scientists or aliens or weird creatures from the future? Would we ever know? What if the reality you have right now is just a vivid dream working inside your consciousness? The truth is, there would be no way of knowing for sure.
If this sounds exactly like the Matrix, well, that’s because the Matrix movies were actually based on the “brain in the vat” theory, as in we’re all just dreaming this life away in glass tubes.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound? If it were up to phenomenalism, the answer would be no, it absolutely does not. Let’s take a step further in this trilogy of not being able to verify our own realities. Phenomenalism basically states that anything and everything only exists if you can see it, perceive it, or know of it. Think about it this way… you’re the driver in this reality and everything in this universe is a reflection of your own imagination. Until you can physically go to Paris or Rome or anywhere else in the world, those places don’t really exist… because you’ve never physically perceived them yet.
Simply put, nothing is happening beyond the scope of your own personal view. No one is sitting at a Starbucks now because you aren’t sitting at a Starbucks and, if you are, then no one’s sitting anywhere else unless you go there. Here’s another analogy for you fans of StarCraft. Notice how everything is dark until you move your characters on the map to light that spot? That’s phenomenalism. Everything outside the scope of your vision right now, isn’t real.
7. Our DNA Is Coded With Alien Signature
According to Vladimir I. shCherbak of al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan and Maxim A. Makukov of the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, we’ve been looking in all the wrong places for alien life. In fact, we’re the aliens, and all proof of a higher species is within our own DNA. Does that sound like a science fiction movie? Well, it gets weirder, so brace yourselves. These scientists claim that they have discovered an intelligent signal within human DNA known as “biological SETI”. What it means is that our DNA is made up of “arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language”.
Hence, our DNA isn’t organic and cannot be due to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Instead, our entire makeup was possibly engineered by another species who then encoded our most basic building blocks with their signature using intricate code. This possibly implies that a) humans didn’t originate on Earth or b) we were created here by a more dominant, advanced species who for some reason didn’t stick around to see us evolve.
6. Our Reality Is a Computer Simulation
In one of his more controversial studies, theoretical physicist S. James Gate claims to have discovered computer code deep inside the equations that we use to describe our known universe. And not just any computer code, but strange self-dual linear binary error-correcting block code. Basically, he seems to have proven that deep in the universe’s core are “smart” lines of 1s and 0s.
All this further supports the frightening theory that our entire reality might just be an advanced computer simulation… and there are actual scientists working right now to prove it. Scientists have long believed that a technological singularity is inevitable or has already happened either in or beyond our universe. Since singularities form simulations, possibly in the billions, the notion of our entire reality being nothing but a computer simulation by an advanced technological species or perhaps, even future versions of us, becomes highly likely. The fact that we have our own computer simulations, like in video games, makes the theory all the more plausible. So how do we prove this? Scientists are working to create a mini-simulation that require physical constraints to function. They’ll then compare that mini-simulation to our universe to see if we’re encountering similar constraints, and voila!
5. The Multiverse, Parallel Universe, and Bubble-verse Theory
We’ve all heard the word “multiverse” in sci-fi movies, but what is it really? There’s a theory that states our universe is just one of many that exist inside one giant, primary universe. This is where the notion of many universes with different lifeforms comes from. The bubble-verse is where each universe is born and destroyed within a certain amount of time. Meaning, our Big Bang basically happened when the “bubble” formed and our entire universe will collapse on itself when the bubble pops.
The parallel universe, however, is arguably the most interesting of the lot. It states that there is an infinite number of universes running side by side on a flat plane, and each of them carries a version of you, me, and everyone we know, with either minor or major differences. In fact, every possibility to ever exist has taken place in at least one of those universes. Just imagine, you could be a billionaire in one of them. Or better still, you could make this the universe in which you become a billionaire.
The notion of time-travel also hinges on parallel universes. Albert Einstein, who claims that time is linear and cannot be reversed, points towards the possibility of “jumping” to a universe that’s exactly like ours, only slightly further or backwards in time. It isn’t really time-travel, but more like the illusion of time-travel, and it’s truly fascinating to think about.
4. The Future Has Already Happened
We know the past affects the present and the future, but can the future also affect the present? In 2011, Dr. Daryl J. Bem of Cornell University released a controversial study titled “Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect”. Bem tested 1000 college students for their ability to categorize random information according to something that they would only memorize after the experiment. He conducted a reverse memory test, making his subjects put random words into selected categories based purely on intuition. Once the test was done, Dr. Daryl made the students memorize those same words and their respective categories. He found that the students were more likely to match the proper words with their categories if they memorized it in the future.
This experiment was done to prove precognition. Dr. Daryl believes that there is a stream of information that is being transmitted from future events that we cannot physically or biologically prove just yet. It also means that time is beyond linear; it’s something that has already happened, and we have the ability to tap into that information. The theory probably explains why instincts exist, and how we’re aware of danger when it hasn’t happened yet.
3. We Share This Reality with Higher Beings
Imagine if you placed your cat in front of the computer and showed the cat an e-book. Would your cat be able to comprehend the e-book, the words, the imagery, or even understand what a computer is? Is your cat aware of the internet and how the world we live in works?
Now, imagine if we shared this world with beings from other dimensions. Or better still, imagine if the world is wired in such a way that we’re only able to comprehend 3D structures, while other beings exist in a 4D reality and are able to see us from their advantageous angle. Are they studying us, watching us, or simply coexisting beside us? What if our reality is far more complex than we realize, but just like the cat, we’re unable to fully process what we’re seeing because we simply aren’t evolved enough to exist in those dimensions yet?
2. The Logos, According to Plato
There’s no one better at philosophy than Plato, so let’s see what he has to say about our life and existence. Plato claims that our world, our reality, and everything in this universe is just a shadow of a bigger, perfect reality. He suggests we’re living in the muddled reflection of that perfect world, and studying philosophy will help us better understand it.
Sound familiar? Plato’s philosophy is very much like the Hindu belief of “maya”; a teaching that suggests this life is basically an illusion and that our true reality lies beyond what we perceive here. So how do we head to this perfect reality? Are Hindus and Plato referring to death as the gateway to our true realities, and if so, does it mean that the belief of Heaven is actually the belief of a pure, perfect universe? These theories seem to lend a lot to each other, and they’re all spectacular in their own right.
1. Maybe We’re Inside a Black Hole
Black holes are quite literally one of the biggest mysteries of our universe – in the sense that no one has the slightest clue what’s in one. While scientists have advocated wormholes as our best shot at travelling to the far reaches of the galaxy, they can’t say for sure what’s inside a black hole – although they’re pretty certain going into one would spell our doom due to the way matter stretches on its way in.
Dr. Nikodem Poplawski from Indiana University believes that all matter that gets sucked into a black hole could actually form a new universe when it comes out through the other end. Since the theoretical opposite of a black hole is called a “white hole” – a time-reversed version of a black hole – it only makes sense that whatever a black hole sucks in should in turn be spewed out on the other side.
What this means is that black holes are gateways to other universes, and what happens in between a black hole is what we call the “Big Bang”. Each universe has its black hole, which inevitably carries other smaller holes that create more and more universes. In short, our very existence could be attributed to the process of being transformed and created in a black hole.