On Getting Lost in an Expanding Universe

| October 4, 2013 | 3 Comments

The universe is expanding.

Meaning everything in the universe gets more distant from everything else in the universe at every instant.

This is a little bit mind-blowing.

It’s like this: the universe – that is, outer space and all the objects in it – is like a loaf of raisin bread baking. The bread is space and the raisins are things like planets and stars and comets. As the bread bakes, the raisins sprinkled throughout become more and more distant from each other in every direction, because they aren’t being pushed anywhere themselves; the space between them is just becoming more spherical.

photo credit: Skiwalker79 via photopin cc

photo credit: Skiwalker79 via photopin cc

Does that make sense? The universe is becoming more and more spherical. The universe is becoming more and more infinite.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve fallen in a crack in the expanding raisin-bread universe. Not that I’ve been forgotten, just that in the expansion I have failed to pay enough attention and lost my footing and slipped on the newly (more) spherical surface of things into the extra space that has made everything else more distant.

I am in love with the concept of infinity and I also hate it, a lot. I hate that it never means anything concrete. I love that it is ever-changeable and yet still completely unexplainable. I hate that it can sometimes practically mean zero.

When I’m afraid I’ve fallen in a crack in the universe, I think that maybe I have fallen into infinity – but maybe I’ve fallen into zero. Maybe I’m just a poet that has taken a few too many math courses and maybe the astronomy class I took for science credit affected me too much. Maybe I should go to sleep and see where I am standing tomorrow. It will probably be solid ground, not imaginary universe cracks. I realize how in-the-clouds I sound sometimes.

It doesn’t help.

What helps is realizing that while the universe keeps spreading and becoming more infinite and maybe more zero, so are the cracks that slip between the places I think I should be. And as the cracks expand, they become more spherical and become integral parts of the universe. They become new places, new spheres that I will slip on and fall through and worry about.  And eventually, I become part of that infinity. Or zero.

But I’m going to call it infinity.

 

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Category: featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Science and Technology

Cecilia Weddell

About the Author ()

Cecilia – or Ceci, but never Sassy – is a managing editor for Culture Shock and a junior majoring in Comparative Literature and minoring in math. She's from El Paso, Texas, which ensures that she occasionally speaks in Spanglish and is always fascinated by precipitation. Ceci likes spoken word poetry, basketball, and bad knock-knock jokes. Follow Ceci on Twitter: @CCWeddell

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  1. Life Beyond Earth | Culture Shock | November 26, 2013
  1. juan marbán says:

    Me gusta pensar y sentir que esa expansión, también agranda el espacio para la conciencia y la emoción, así que puedo estar más cómodo, menos comprimido.
    I am baking myself very well in the universe.

  2. Tino Bratbo says:

    I like when people have thoughtful discussions about infinity. Because it is so often a cliche, and trite, and people just get infinity tattoos ’cause they’re “cool.”

    Which is not to say anything bad about infinity tattoos.

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