A Short Guide to the Scientific History of the Universe, by Paula Marvelly

A Short Guide to the Scientific History of the Universe


by Paula Marvelly

Part I of III

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered;
the point is to discover them
Galileo Galilei

In the beginning was the void. Emptiness. Nothing. And miraculously, about 14 billion years ago, out of this nothing came a something – the Big Bang – setting the whole universe into being.

For whatever reason, our planet Earth was formed and human existence appeared on its surface, albeit only in the last 150,000 or so years. At first, humans, like any other species, existed by their wits. The instinct to survive – to find food, shelter and a mate – was the only thing that mattered. But over time, humankind started to become more sophisticated, living in small communities, sharing skills, and forming meaningful relationships. Thus, their ability to understand and interact with other people and their surroundings evolved, for better or worse.

It’s very easy to get a romanticised view of the past. Indeed, it was a brutal existence in many ways – famine and disease, rape and war. And yet, people were more acutely in tune with the rhythms and seasons of the planet, the changing vistas of the cosmos. Everything was believed to be interconnected by an underlying field of energy – the universal life force if you will – which was experienced and worshipped as one holistic whole, this ‘something’ from which the universe had emerged.

And how did people communicate this understanding, generation to generation? By inventing myths, formulating poetry, composing songs, for all posterity.

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