A dispatch from The Fool
I’ve been thinking about this excerpt of “Why We Need to Study Nothing,” by Paul M. Sutter since I read it earlier this month (emphasis my own):
Because voids don’t change much through their lives, they retain a memory of the young universe. If you want to know what our universe was like billions of years ago, you can’t look into a galaxy or cluster—too much has changed. But a void? A void today is pretty much the same as a void billions of years ago. Voids are the largest and most ancient time capsules known to science.
When I say that voids are empty, I mean specifically that they are empty of matter. But that emptiness makes them full of something else: dark energy. Cosmologists aren’t sure what dark energy is; all we know is that it’s been causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate for the past 5 billion years.
… Indeed, the cosmic voids are the places in our universe where the expansion is accelerating. It’s not happening in galaxies or clusters, but in the emptiness between them.
The lesson is clear: If you want to understand how dark energy works, you have to dive into the darkness.
Our universe is mostly void. Matter— like us, our planet, the stars and galaxies and all the living things we can observe— is just a tiny percentage of the vastness of space. The rest is dark energy and dark matter, which looks like nothing to us… But like Paul Sutter notes above, looks can be deceiving.
The emptiness between the stuff of our universe seems to be causing its expansion, which means that the expansion of space happens in the absence of matter.
Something about this feels hopeful to me. What looks like nothing, what feels empty or absent can actually drive our expansion, give us shape.
I do think it’s interesting, however, that Sutter asserts that the voids themselves don’t change. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around the science, but if something that appears empty to us is causing the expansion of everything else… is it not the actual force of change itself? Can we say that a void is unchanged if it is constantly changing the landscape of the universe?
Things I’m thinking about:
What might it mean for you, for me, for our our collective existence if the action of expansion and growth happens in the space between what is perceived with our human senses?
If we can see the voids in our own lives as the force/impetus of change itself, how might that change the way we react to emptiness when we encounter it?
How might this concept of nothing deepen how we understand archetype 0, traditionally called The Fool?
Until next time,