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A Multiplicity of Centers
Part  #2

            When I picture the Cosmic birth as some kind of explosion that is taking place off in the distance, away from me, aware from where I am observing it, just where am I standing?  What provides the platform for my feet?  How is it that I can stand outside the Universe and watch its birth if I myself, from the beginning am woven into this birth?

            But this understanding of the Universe’s beginning is both false and utterly misleading. The birth of the Universe means not only the birth of all the elementary particles of the Universe and not only the birth of all light and energy of the Universe, it also means the birth of space and time of the Universe. There is no pre-existing Newtonian space into which the Universe explodes forth. There is no external Newtonian timepiece clicking away outside the Universe. Space and time erupt together with mass and energy in the primordial mystery of the Universe’s flaring forth.

            The central archetypal pattern for understanding the Universe’s birth and development is omnicentricity. For we have discovered an omnicentric evolutionary Universe, a developing reality which from the beginning is centered upon itself at each place of its existence. To be in existence is to be at the cosmic center of the complexifying whole.

            There is one image in the scientific literature that can give some assistance in the journey into an omnicentric Universe. My hope is to remove self from the false view as a fixed place and may awaken other images of the Universe that will become a regular part of our cosmological education in the future. Imagine, you are inside a loaf of raisin bread as it is being baked. We are inside a cosmic process; even our thoughts about this process are simply yet another interesting current of micro events taking place inside the great macro-event of the 15 billion year development. We need to focus our imaginations on being in the very midst of the baking raisin bread. In particular, imagine yourself on a raisin and just look around. You will see that all the other raisins are moving away from you as the bread bakes, so that in terms of the bread’s expansion you find yourself at the very center. And anyone else on any other raisin throughout the loaf would come to a similar conclusion – hence in this raisin loaf a model for an omnicentric reality.

            But there is more. Suppose you now try to determine whether or not you and your raisin are moving with respect to the bread itself. What you will find of course is that you’re frozen in place, for your raisin sits stationary with respect to the surrounding bread. And when you get to think about it a bit you realize that the very reason the raisins are moving away from you is because of the expansion of the bread. You and your raisin are not even moving; it’s the space in between the raisins that is growing larger.

            The cause of the expansion of the Universe is the space rushing into existence and flinging the clusters apart from each other. The size of each galaxy cluster stays the same but the space in between the clusters expands in each instant, which results in an ever larger Universe. A wild spirit breathes forth billowing chasms of space that explode the primal fireball into a great growing immensity at whose center we find ourselves.

            To be in the Universe is to be at its center … we are not moving, we are at the stable and unmoving center of this expansion. NOW – we are in a position to show the seeming paradox of being A) at the center – or - B) 15 billion light years from the center is a counter intuitive feature if existence within an expanding Universe.

            The photons of light that arrived here in 1965 that were detectedly Penzias and Wilson had been traveling toward us for fifteen billion years. So we can say that their place of origin now is 15 billion light years away from us. On the other hand, if we go back in time, we find that their place of origin back then is very close to where we are now.

            With news of our place as the origin of light from the beginning of time. We exit then at the very origin point of the Universe because every place in the Universe is that place where the Universe flared into existence.

The above has been adapted from
“The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos”
By Brian Swimme

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