In my more unfettered descents into metaphysical reverie I like to think that the universe (including life) exists only conceptually.
If you insist on a nuts-and-bolts kind of physicality to the universe, its end (or beginning, for that matter) is a mind-blower, not unlike trying to download a 1 terabyte email. It leaves only two possible outcomes:
1. The Optimistic Outcome.
The universe, which is at this apparent time apparently expanding, contains enough as-yet undetected dark matter to provide the gravitas necessary to eventually reverse the outward inertia and ultimately collapse the physical universe into the mother of all black holes. This allows for the possibility
that a second (or ten-millionth) Big Bang will result from the mix, and eventually physical life may have a chance to re-emerge in the universe.
2. The Pessimistic Outcome.
The universe continues to expand, enthalpy dissipates and the physical universe ultimately freezes at absolute zero for infinity. Bummer.
You see it really does not matter what shape
the physical universe is. I prefer a double-helix chain of interlocking Moebius donuts with the "ends" connected rotating past my perspective like a merry-go-round. But that's just me.
It gets much more interesting to consider the possibilities of a conceptual universe. It need not be my conception, of course, which devolves the line of thought into theology. Not necessarily religion
, which as it now exists is to theology what popcorn is to sustenance, but a larger consideration of Man's Purpose.
Curiosity killed the cat, and Man is curious by the nature of his intelligence. We look for Answers, and as the answer to any question invariably leads to other questions, the process seems not only endless but self-defeating. But what can be the end-game, the goal of this research? It must be Complete Knowledge, a.k.a. omnipotence. At which point Man becomes not only immortal but all-powerful, with the ability to... Create! In other words, Man becomes God.
Now, if you could create your own universe, what would you do with it? Jim Carrey's flik Bruce Almighty sort of touched on this theme peripherally. I maintain that it would be horribly boring. Knowing everything would be a total drag. Nothing unexpected would EVER happen. Humor would be impossible. All lines of thought would have already been covered. You would be Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, watching Woodstock over and over and over and over... and the only way out would be suicide (Deicide) -- destruction of the universe.
Unless you (You?) create a unverse in which you do not directly participate, where events could take place randomly and thus give you something to watch. Sentient beings in this universe would have to have free will, would have to be outside your control, or the whole exercise would be pointless and you might as well swallow the barrel. The irony is that these sentient beings would of course eventually seek and achieve Complete Knowledge themselves, completing the double helix Moebius merry-go-round donut chain. But you would have something to do. Would be "alive," On, 1 base 2, That which Is compared to That which Could Not Be.
In a way, this fits so well with nearly every religion's contention that all mankind are the children of God as to be frightening. As father begets son who becomes a father, "we" as God's children ultimately become God. Either that, or wormfood.
One last aside: how many conceptual universes are out there "now"? Is what I call green what you call red? Water Music