A mind-blowing contradiction
The galaxies are moving apart at breakneck speed, swallowing up – and probably creating – inconceivable distances; black holes are engulfing visible light; explosions of the stars are disgorging invisible light. Is it possible to understand the universe? I’m afraid that things are a lot worse. As was discovered recently, the universe we see is only a small part of the real thing. The rest, since it does not emit light or other rays, is invisible. Yet it constitutes 95 percent of the entirety. We suspect that it is composed of dark energy and dark matter, of whose nature we are ignorant. To Goethe’s meaningful saying, «Light, let there be more light,» modern cosmology replies «unfortunately darkness, more darkness.» Human quest And what about humans in this infinite darkness? The insignificance of Earth and humankind in the cosmic universe is evident. And yet man is to be admired, for he has been banished by God from the center of the universe, but he persists in posing questions concerning his existence and the existence of the world. He produces great works of art or poetry, falls in love, suffers for the sins of the world and in his good moments extends a hand to his neighbor. He rises from his insignificance to a tragic and indisputable grandeur. This contradiction for me is exciting and inexplicable. Giorgos Grammatikakis, a human, a tenant of planet Earth in a corner of some common galaxy, is a successful professor at the University of Crete and president of Ionian University, writes articles on education and the environment, makes TV programs and also studies the birth of the universe. How can the everyday world be reconciled with its rejection? Scientific knowledge contributes, it does not retract, from everyday life. It might take away the deceptions, but it elevates you to a world that is almost magical, beyond sensation and experience. It is beautiful, let’s say, to know that spatial time is the main fabric of the universe and its curvature from the presence of a mass causes gravity, or that two photons influence each other instantaneously even though they are a million light years away, that for every particle of matter there is an anti-particle – in other words anti-matter, or that neutrons can overtake with incredible speed many planets in a row. I don’t know whether scientific knowledge aggravates man’s anxiety. It gives it another dimension.