nerd alert - (don't read this if you hate nerds)
listening to radiolab some more. they are discussing the universe, and i am slowly becoming obsessed with it. (can physics be a hobby? i think i'm headed that direction. without the math, if that is possible.)
the specific discussion that i'm fretting about today refers to the shape of the universe. (which is different from the center of the universe.) here's a little excerpt:
"we don't know that the universe is infinitely big. it could be that you go on for some distance and you walk and you walk and you wind up coming back from that direction, sort of like the surface of the earth. it has a certain size - it's not infinitely big. it doesn't have an edge, you can't fall off, but nevertheless, when you keep on going you return to your starting point. it could be that the universe has that kind of a shape. the data seems not to support that at all, at the moment. the best astronomical data supports a universe that is flat as opposed to curved."
i have to say, when i heard that, i was somewhat relieved. people tend to use the circle as a model of infinity, saying that it has no end. but when i think of something like, for example, eternal life, i can't reconcile those two things in my mind. if eternal life was like a circle, we would keep coming back to the same moments over and over again, right? i would relive this exact moment more times than i could count.
i've never felt like that is right. the way we are taught about our lives, the plan of salvation, seems to me to be linear. so when i heard this explanation, it just clicked in my brain. feel free to correct me if i'm wrong (it would not be the first time.)
(here's a link to the show, if anyone is interested in listening. WNYC - Radiolab - The (Multi) Universe(s). the part explaining about the universe being like swiss cheese is also very intriguing.)