Modern creation myth: Sprinkled with stardust, composed of string
Modern creation myth: Sprinkled with stardust, composed of strings
By Denise Scammon
My modern creation myth is sprinkled with stardust and composed of strings. On a large scale, as the universe expanded after the big bang, the universe began to differentiate, change, clump into masses, form patterns, become complex. “The stars laid the foundations for even more complex entities, including living organisms, because in their fiery cores they practiced an alchemy that turned hydrogen and helium into all the other elements of the periodic table” (Christian p. 41). The differentiation, clumping and patterns found in the universe are comparable to the differentiation, clumping and patterns found among humans. On the tiniest of scales, everything in the universe is made from vibrating strands of string also known as energy, according to the film “Einstein’s Dream.” I am made of stardust – particles of matter – and energy, as is almost everything else in the universe.
On a large scale, humans inhabit the planet Earth. Living arrangements on Earth among humans can be broken down by continents, countries, states, cities, neighborhoods, streets and houses. “The patterns that emerged [in the universe] included the galaxies and stars, the chemical elements, the solar system, our earth, and all the living organisms …” including humans (Christian p. 26). The big picture reveals that humans inhabit Earth while stars exist in space. Zooming in and zooming out of the big picture, different patterns emerge. Groups of humans live together by land mass. In the heavens, stars gather into galaxies, and “galaxies gather into even larger communities … groups … and clusters … and superclusters” (Christian p. 39). As a human, I was born on Earth. Zooming in, I was born in New York. Zoom in closer, I was born on Long Island. Some of my family was born in New York, some in Maine, some in Canada. We – family, friends, neighbors, fellow citizens – were all born on Earth. Stars come into existence – are born – in space. Where the stars reside in the universe depends on gravity. Gravity also affects humans. “Gravity can warp energy as well as matter … and can give the universe shape and structure” (Christian p. 41-42).
My human ancestors had already undergone the transformation from living as hunter-gatherers to the “earliest agrarian societies … [and the] emergence and evolution of cities, of states, and of agrarian civilizations” had already occurred by the time I was born (Christian p. 7). Physically, I have developed in the expected manner of a human being. I experience human emotions and have the capacity to learn and share knowledge. I have married, given birth, raised my children and work to earn an income. Eventually, I will die. “How such things exist, how they are born, how they evolve, and how, eventually, they perish is the stuff of history” (Christian p. 7). On a large scale, my history is the same story told by every other human. Zooming in for a closer look at my personal history, I am one of seven children. I am the middle child. My parents are divorced. My father re-married. My older brother died when he was 18. I finished high school, married and had two children. I’ve worked as an executive secretary, restaurant manager, as a stitcher in a shoe shop, as a child care worker, a freelance writer / photographer and an editor. I work full-time and attend college part-time. In addition to the tragic death of my brother to Hodgkin’s Disease, which occurred in 1972, in the span of two years my nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident, a family member suffered a serious chemical imbalance, my mother-in-law and favorite aunt died, and my grandparents died within ten hours of each other. Likewise, “the universe was created at a particular time … it has a life story of its own, and … it may die in the distant future” (Christian p. 23). Unlike the universe, which was created about 13 billion years ago, I’m not that old.
Since the big bang, 13 billion years have gone by and in that time, while the universe has been expanding, the primordial soup has re-arranged itself into different flavors, or patterns. One of the major ingredients of that soup is hydrogen. “Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas which, given enough time, changes into people” (Christian p. 27). Hydrogen in the universe, hydrogen in people. People in the universe, people on Earth. “About 300,000 years after the big bang, all the ingredients of creation were present …. Since that time, nothing has really changed” (Christian p. 26). The ingredients – the building blocks of our world – remain the same, but they come together in different ways, forming new patterns. Gravity, energy, matter, electromagnetism – all forces that make up the universe.
The unification of two theories – Einstein’s theory of relativity and the theory of quantum mechanics – is a fundamental goal of physics. Can string theory blend the theory of the large scale and the theory of the small scale into one mathematical equation that explains the code of the universe? String theory states that everything in the universe is made from a single force – tiny, vibrating strands of energy, according to the film “Einstein’s Dream,” and also that there are actually 11 dimensions, not three, and that there are parallel universes. Studying the behavior of light helped Einstein solve the mystery of gravity for his theory of relativity. In quantum mechanics, microscopic atoms were found to consist of even smaller particles. In the film, “String’s the thing,” the theory of relativity is explained as a mathematical equation for how gravity works; large objects can warp and stretch; our planet is following the curves and contours of the sun. Quantum mechanics is explained as a mathematical equation for the smallest particles in the universe in which the “fabric becomes bumpy and turbulent, conventional ideas are distorted; there’s no left / right, up / down, before / after.” On a large scale, humans appear the same; they are born, live and die. Moving in closer, looking at geographic groups of humans, differences appear due to culture and climate. Moving in closer still, differences appear in sexes, physical appearances, health and mental capacity. We can continue to move in to see individual human beings as people with names, jobs, families and homes. We can look at how these individuals interact with their environment and each other, what types of societies they live in and their respect, or lack of respect, for society’s laws. How do their actions affect their close environments? How do their actions affect the planet? Do their actions have a universal effect? The answer is yes, all actions affect everything in the universe because “at the heart of every bit of matter is string. String unites the world of the large and the world of the small” (“String’s the thing”).
In the third film “Welcome to the eleventh dimension,” we learn that strings – strands of energy – are “versatile, they vibrate at different frequencies and patterns which create all the fundamental particles of the universe.” When my brother became sick in 1970, I made all kinds of silent deals with God, particularly this one: “If you let my brother live, I’ll be good.” After my brother died, I shut God out of my life for years. I figured God hadn’t listened to me, so why should I worship him? Rather than worship God, I came to believe, and talked myself into it, that there was a universal energy that created the world around me. String theory just seems to fit in with my belief. Coincidence? Serendipity? Science cannot disprove the theory of string, because it is not observable in a telescope nor can it be disproved in the laboratory. I am comfortable with string theory. I am made of stardust and string.
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