Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   General Questions (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=3)
-   -   If there are parallel universes and other dimensions, what is the term for reality as a whole (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=785948)

Wesley Clark 03-03-2016 09:24 PM

If there are parallel universes and other dimensions, what is the term for reality as a whole
 
So the term the Universe is used to describe reality in its largest form, as far as I know. Everything that is real is a part of the Universe and nothing that exists is outside of it. If it turns out that we live in a multiverse full of parallel realities, that there are other dimensions, that universes existed before the big bang, etc. then our Universe just becomes one of many realities.

So is there a term for reality on that higher level? The term multiverse describes a reality that has all the universes, but if reality existed before the big bang or in other dimensions is there a term to encompass those?

Johanna 03-03-2016 09:34 PM

Everything?
Multiverse?
The whole shebang?
Eš?

I propose Eš.

rogerbox 03-03-2016 09:46 PM

The multiverse is the totality of all universe and dimensions.

Czarcasm 03-03-2016 10:38 PM

Omniverse.

outlierrn 03-03-2016 10:44 PM

The whole sort of general mishmash.


And any way you slice it, you'll come up with something that someone will call home.

4d3fect 03-03-2016 11:05 PM

The whole enchilada.

TATG 03-03-2016 11:16 PM

The world.

Enola Straight 03-03-2016 11:16 PM

The Multiverse
The Omniverse
The COSMOS

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1784...or-was-or-ever

Leo Bloom 03-03-2016 11:54 PM

Chronos once used a great term that he and his buds in the GR field toss around, and I noted it appreciatingly, and for the life of me can't remember. I hope he checks in.

commasense 03-04-2016 01:42 AM

42?

Oops. Sorry, that's the answer to a different big question.

Willcross 03-04-2016 02:21 AM

"The bulk" from Brane Theory might work

UY Scuti 03-04-2016 04:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 19151779)
So the term the Universe is used to describe reality in its largest form, as far as I know. Everything that is real is a part of the Universe and nothing that exists is outside of it. If it turns out that we live in a multiverse full of parallel realities, that there are other dimensions, that universes existed before the big bang, etc. then our Universe just becomes one of many realities.

So is there a term for reality on that higher level? The term multiverse describes a reality that has all the universes, but if reality existed before the big bang or in other dimensions is there a term to encompass those?

In my opinion, the universe encompasses all physical existence. If its structure resembles a foam-like inflorescence, then it is each bubble that should get a new name, not the universe itself.

Peremensoe 03-04-2016 05:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 19151779)
So the term the Universe is used to describe reality in its largest form, as far as I know. Everything that is real is a part of the Universe and nothing that exists is outside of it.

I would say you're on the wrong foot to start here.

"The universe," or our universe, comprises everything that we can point to in our space and time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 19151779)
So is there a term for reality on that higher level? The term multiverse describes a reality that has all the universes, but if reality existed before the big bang or in other dimensions is there a term to encompass those?

"Multiverse" is the term.

There is no "before" the Big Bang.

Wesley Clark 03-04-2016 08:11 AM

There are theories that our big bang came from something else. Branes hitting each other, distortions in a previous universe, black holes in another universe, etc.

Peremensoe 03-04-2016 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 19152502)
There are theories that our big bang came from something else. Branes hitting each other, distortions in a previous universe, black holes in another universe, etc.

But not "before" us. Not a "previous" universe. Those are relative positions in time, which for us is bounded at the BB. It is as meaningless for us to speak of a universe "before" us as to speak of one "north" of us.

Chronos 03-04-2016 09:19 AM

Quote:

Quoth Leo Bloom:

Chronos once used a great term that he and his buds in the GR field toss around, and I noted it appreciatingly, and for the life of me can't remember. I hope he checks in.
Wow, I hope I check in, too, because I can't currently remember any such term.

If I had need to use such a term, I'd probably say "multiverse", but that comes from speculative fiction much more than from science.

OffByOne 03-04-2016 09:54 AM

Metaverse?

Wesley Clark 03-04-2016 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peremensoe (Post 19152602)
But not "before" us. Not a "previous" universe. Those are relative positions in time, which for us is bounded at the BB. It is as meaningless for us to speak of a universe "before" us as to speak of one "north" of us.

But within the confines of a higher reality, wouldn't both our universe and whatever universe we were born from both exist?

Czarcasm 03-04-2016 11:39 AM

I'm sticking with "omniverse", because while "multi" means "more than one", "Omni" means "all".

Lemur866 03-04-2016 11:40 AM

Right, but they'd exist in some other relation to us than "up" or "forward" or "back" or "before" or "after". Time is a feature of our universe that came into existence with the big bang. Whatever existed before the big bang couldn't have actually been before the big bang, any more than it was left of the big bang, because time and space as we know it didn't exist until after the big bang.

What it would be like to have a universe without time and space is left as an exercise for the reader.

LSLGuy 03-04-2016 11:48 AM

ETA: Just a little late to the party ...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 19152502)
There are theories that our big bang came from something else. Branes hitting each other, distortions in a previous universe, black holes in another universe, etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peremensoe (Post 19152602)
But not "before" us. Not a "previous" universe. Those are relative positions in time, which for us is bounded at the BB. It is as meaningless for us to speak of a universe "before" us as to speak of one "north" of us.

True. But ...

If we (in this post) use "universe" to mean the one instance we're in, and "multiverse" to mean all of them collectively, then yes, words like "before", "after", and "north" are all local to our universe. You're spot-on there.

But that immediately raises the issue that once we can prove the existence of the multiverse, and we can identify at least one member of it other than ourselves, we will need broadly analogous terms to describe the relationship(s) between the Us and the Other(s).

There may be direction-like or time-like (speaking informally, not in the GR sense of "timelike") or polarity-like or chirality-like or dimension-like differences and similarities between Us & the Other(s). And between the various Other(s). Whatever the differences are, we'll have to coin a term for the axis of them and terms for the directionality of them.

Irishman 03-04-2016 01:19 PM

The term "Cosmos" has some cachet.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peremensoe (Post 19152369)
I would say you're on the wrong foot to start here.

"The universe," or our universe, comprises everything that we can point to in our space and time.

[snip]

There is no "before" the Big Bang.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 19152976)
Right, but they'd exist in some other relation to us than "up" or "forward" or "back" or "before" or "after". Time is a feature of our universe that came into existence with the big bang. Whatever existed before the big bang couldn't have actually been before the big bang, any more than it was left of the big bang, because time and space as we know it didn't exist until after the big bang.

What it would be like to have a universe without time and space is left as an exercise for the reader.

But if our universe is just one bubble, and there are other bubbles out there that we are not in direct contact with, what is the framework for the larger whole that encompasses all those bubbles? It apparently isn't "length, width, and height" because those are limited to our universe as well. Right?

And if the bubbles weren't all get spawned in the same event, then it is very likely there were bubbles spawned before our bubble just like after our bubble, in whatever context of "before" and "after" you wish to define. Just because it is in a different coordinate system doesn't mean there isn't a framework of before and after within that system.

Call it "time prime" or something.

Chronos 03-04-2016 03:17 PM

It depends on the framework in which the bubbles are defined. In an eternal inflation multiverse, for instance (which actually has some fairly strong circumstantial evidence in its favor), our concepts of "dimension" (whether space or time) map over relatively well to the surrounding plenum.

Asympotically fat 03-04-2016 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peremensoe (Post 19152602)
But not "before" us. Not a "previous" universe. Those are relative positions in time, which for us is bounded at the BB. It is as meaningless for us to speak of a universe "before" us as to speak of one "north" of us.

The cosmological singularity in big bang theory is an example of geodesic incompleteness, which is a pathology in the structure of spacetime. Now one way to interpret this is that the pathology in spacetime is a direct representation of reality, but it seems pretty natural to interpret the pathology as a breakdown of the theory too, in which case it seems fairly natural to assume we can extend time back beyond the big bang.

Lemur866 03-04-2016 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 19153226)
The term "Cosmos" has some cachet.





But if our universe is just one bubble, and there are other bubbles out there that we are not in direct contact with, what is the framework for the larger whole that encompasses all those bubbles? It apparently isn't "length, width, and height" because those are limited to our universe as well. Right?

And if the bubbles weren't all get spawned in the same event, then it is very likely there were bubbles spawned before our bubble just like after our bubble, in whatever context of "before" and "after" you wish to define. Just because it is in a different coordinate system doesn't mean there isn't a framework of before and after within that system.

Call it "time prime" or something.

Sure, so if we define our universe with 4 dimensions--x, y and z for space and t for time, then mathematically it's easy to just keep on adding new axes that are orthogonal to x, y, z and t. So we could call the distances between our Universe and some other Universes q, r, and m or whatever.

The problem with defining these relations is that we have no evidence for the physical existence of other universes, let alone some method of investigating the differences between them. But in any case, another universe wouldn't be north of our universe, or left of our universe, or before our universe. But you're right that it might help us to envision some relations as analogous in certain ways to time or spatial coordinates. Or maybe some other analogy would be more helpful, like our universe is cinnamon and theirs is chocolate and another is strawberry.

griffin1977 03-04-2016 05:22 PM

The multiverse has come to mean that but it's actually a misnomer. By definition "the universe" should encompass everything (i.e. all possible realities), and each individual reality should be referred to as a multiverse. But generally the terms are flipped and we talk about a universe within the multiverse.

JessicaHoyt 03-04-2016 06:05 PM

Multiverse I think

Irishman 03-04-2016 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by griffin1977 (Post 19153934)
The multiverse has come to mean that but it's actually a misnomer. By definition "the universe" should encompass everything (i.e. all possible realities), and each individual reality should be referred to as a multiverse. But generally the terms are flipped and we talk about a universe within the multiverse.

The universe came first, and it meant everything. And then we described things like universal laws, laws that describe the behavior of the universe.

Then we posited other things like our universe that had different laws. They are not within our universe, but are analogous to it. Thus, they are other universes. Therefore, the collective set of universes is the multiverse.

We could have extended the word "universe" and tried to create a new word for the local bubble in which we live versus the other bubbles that might have different laws. Call it the sub-verse or something. But that's not what happened.

griffin1977 03-04-2016 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 19154194)
The universe came first, and it meant everything. And then we described things like universal laws, laws that describe the behavior of the universe.

Then we posited other things like our universe that had different laws. They are not within our universe, but are analogous to it. Thus, they are other universes. Therefore, the collective set of universes is the multiverse.

We could have extended the word "universe" and tried to create a new word for the local bubble in which we live versus the other bubbles that might have different laws. Call it the sub-verse or something. But that's not what happened.

But the universe means literally the thing there is only one of. So by definition if there is more than one of it, it's not a universe. That's why the term multiverse originally coined, to describe these other things that look like universes, but aren't (as there are more than one of them, that collectively make up the universe). But over time the term was use incorrectly (to describe the collective thing, not the individual facets) and that incorrect use stuck.

Can't find a cite, or remember who the scientist was who coined the term, but I believe it's covered in one of the popular books on the subject (Maybe In Search of the Multiverse ?)

griffin1977 03-04-2016 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by griffin1977 (Post 19154239)
Can't find a cite, or remember who the scientist was who coined the term, but I believe it's covered in one of the popular books on the subject (Maybe In Search of the Multiverse ?)

Thinking about it. It may have been Hugh Everett, who first proposed the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics. Incidentally he's also the father of Mark Everett the lead singer of the Eels (and may have also invented the term Mutually Assured Destruction while working at RAND, but that work is still classified).

JohnClay 03-04-2016 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 19154194)
The universe came first, and it meant everything.....

Everything physical that is.... theists would normally also believe in God and Heaven, etc, outside of the universe.

LSLGuy 03-04-2016 09:57 PM

And they would be wrong. And their thoughts irrelevant as fundamentally being about something unrelated to the actual factual Universe.

Lucas Jackson 03-04-2016 10:00 PM

Kit and kaboodle?

Chronos 03-04-2016 10:52 PM

No, God is part of the Universe. But he's not part of Creation.

JohnClay 03-04-2016 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19154441)
No, God is part of the Universe. But he's not part of Creation.

What about "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"? I thought the heavens is the universe... are you saying that there was an eternal universe and then God put galaxies, etc, in it? (if theism is true)

Chronos 03-05-2016 09:37 AM

Originally, the Universe consisted entirely of God, and then he created various other things. Or at least, that's the idea.

Leo Bloom 03-05-2016 09:41 AM

Thread drift sighted...

Senegoid 03-05-2016 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo Bloom (Post 19154926)
Thread drift sighted...

And, on a related subject, does anyone have any great beef stroganoff recipes to share?

LSLGuy 03-05-2016 06:49 PM

Start with 1 universe of mushrooms & 2 universes of diced beef. Dredge the beef in 160,000 galaxies of flour ... :)

Irishman 03-05-2016 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnClay (Post 19154317)
Everything physical that is.... theists would normally also believe in God and Heaven, etc, outside of the universe.

I would prefer to not get into a religious debate in a thread about physics.

drad dog 03-05-2016 07:51 PM

Everything but the kitchen sink + the kitchen sink, every which way but loose and loose also.

Irishman 03-05-2016 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by griffin1977 (Post 19154239)
But the universe means literally the thing there is only one of. So by definition if there is more than one of it, it's not a universe. That's why the term multiverse originally coined, to describe these other things that look like universes, but aren't (as there are more than one of them, that collectively make up the universe). But over time the term was use incorrectly (to describe the collective thing, not the individual facets) and that incorrect use stuck.

Can't find a cite, or remember who the scientist was who coined the term, but I believe it's covered in one of the popular books on the subject (Maybe In Search of the Multiverse ?)

I was going to ask for a cite, but then I realized I don't have a cite for my description, either.

Yes, universe originally meant "the whole".

The term "multiverse" was actually coined in 1895 by William James. However, he was using it in a different context.

Anyway, I agree that it seems odd to use the term for "everything" and then say that that is really only a part of stuff, and there are multiple everythings. But that's the nature of language. We create a term that means something, then we change our understanding, but keep the term even though the new usage isn't quite "right".

For instance, that pocket computer/camera/texting device that everyone carries around is called a "phone", even though talking on it is often one of it's lowest use features.

Willcross 03-05-2016 08:36 PM

Actually, I think it would be better to start calling the surrounding framework of all the "universes" the "universe" and come up with a new name for our local bubble (if the theories are ever proven true). Basically have "universe" always mean the biggest thing and rework the smaller components as needed.

JohnClay 03-05-2016 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willcross (Post 19156099)
Actually, I think it would be better to start calling the surrounding framework of all the "universes" the "universe" and come up with a new name for our local bubble (if the theories are ever proven true). Basically have "universe" always mean the biggest thing and rework the smaller components as needed.

What then did the big bang create if not "our universe"?

Chronos 03-05-2016 08:43 PM

That's what we need the new word for.

It seems to me the situation is pretty closely analogous to "atom" on the other end of the scale: The indivisible things which it turned out were divisible after all.

JohnClay 03-05-2016 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19156116)
That's what we need the new word for.

It seems to me the situation is pretty closely analogous to "atom" on the other end of the scale: The indivisible things which it turned out were divisible after all.

If a new term for "atom" isn't needed then I don't think a new term for our universe is "needed" either.

LSLGuy 03-05-2016 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willcross (Post 19156099)
Actually, I think it would be better to start calling the surrounding framework of all the "universes" the "universe" and come up with a new name for our local bubble (if the theories are ever proven true). Basically have "universe" always mean the biggest thing and rework the smaller components as needed.

Historically it's real difficult in science to simply say "effective Jan 1 2017, this word now means that, and this other word now means what this used to mean. So whenever you read something published before this date and not edited since, use the old meanings. But if you read anything published or edited after this date use the new meanings." Not gonna happen.

What happens is what Chronos just said while I was typing. The deeper etymological basis of the word gets invalidated and the word continues to mean just what it did before. "Atom"'s etymology means "indivisible". But we now know they're not. But we still call them "atoms".

The word "universe" is no longer the all-encompassing One. It just means the same thing it used to: our local bubble that we mistakenly once thought was everything.

When the word "world" was first used it meant both the planet and the universe. Because they thought this planet was the only solid object in the universe and that those spots in the sky were something else altogether. Turns out they were wrong. Or at least underinformed about reality. But we're still OK using "world" to refer to the Earth.

Lumpy 03-05-2016 11:19 PM

I've heard "multiverse" used to refer to all possible variations of history (i.e., the Many Worlds Interpretation), while the collection of all realities- including ones that no alternate history of our universe could have produced- are referred to as the Omniverse.

Leo Bloom 03-05-2016 11:32 PM

Chronos's word, it's something with an "...um" at the end damnit. It's at the tip of my tongue. I tried to do a Boolean on GQ but the wildcard syntax wasn't taking on the little Java scriptlet I use.

Perhaps that should be the Word, which Chronos spake.

It'll come to me.

Senegoid 03-05-2016 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo Bloom (Post 19156435)
Chronos's word, it's something with an "...um" at the end damnit. It's at the tip of my tongue. I tried to do a Boolean on GQ but the wildcard syntax wasn't taking on the little Java scriptlet I use.

Perhaps that should be the Word, which Chronos spake.

It'll come to me.

The chronosynclastic infundibulum?

The endoplasmic reticulum?


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:30 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.