Putting the life back in science fiction

The hole-y multiverse theory

Hi, I’m avoiding writing yet another response to yet another badly conceived development.  So I’m wasting time writing a blog post.  This here dubious speculation is something I cooked up over on Antipope a little while ago, and just to make it easier to find the idea and mock it (or whatever), I figured I’d write it up here.  This is my two-bit, I’m-not-even-good-at-physics-let-alone-a-cosmologist take on multiverse formation.  Read it in that spirit.

As background, I’ve come to the conclusion that a rational society, especially an interstellar society, could do worse than to revere black holes.  After all, without SgrA*, the giant black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way wouldn’t exist and neither would we, so that’s our creator, at least in the local sense.  Since it appears that our ruling demon sultan SgrA* may be surrounded by a swarm of lesser black holes, I sometimes wonder if we should rename SgrA* “Azathoth.”  Especially if it turns out that those lesser black holes are emitting either drum-like beats of gravitational waves and/or monotonous, radio-frequency fluting whines.  Unfortunately, calling our creator and ultimate doom “Azathoth” would enshrine a rather nasty bit of islamophobia that Lovecraft emitted.  But none of that’s the point here.

The point instead is a play on the idea that our universe is inside a black hole, which I think came from (or has been popularized by) Nikodem Poplawski.  Admittedly, I just found that out by googling to give credit where it’s due.  As a further aside, I understand that what I’m about to propose looks a lot like Lee Smolin’s cosmological natural selection hypothesis.  I haven’t read the work of either of these esteemed physicists, but if they had similar ideas before me, they deserve credit.

So anyway, if we’re in a black hole, here’s how I think it works: matter falls into a black hole.  On the other “side” of the black hole, it “puffs” into another daughter universe.  That part’s not new.  The impetus for my “model” came from digesting the problematic observation of massive black holes in the early universe, the problem being that they’re apparently too big to have formed normally from the first generation of stars.  These monsters formed the hearts of the first galaxies, and therefore ultimately us, so their paradoxical existence is a non-trivial problem.

So far as my layman’s knowledge goes, if you’re looking at a black hole from the outside (remember that in relativity, point of view is everything), inside a black hole is dimensionless.  Due to the huge amount of mass inside the black hole, it has collapsed into a whatever that has an immense accumulation of mass-energy, but no spatial dimensionality (everything’s zeroed out) and in which no time passes (due to the warping of space-time around all that mass-energy).  As stuff falls into the black hole, it merely adds to the warped whatever.

What happens when black holes merge? As I understand it, the current hypothesis is they merge into one bigger black hole, with the sum of mass, gravity, angular momentum, charge, etc.  As an outsider, that sounds right.  Outside the event horizon, that’s all we’d perceive: merged everything.  What’s going on inside the event horizon, though, where no one can see it?

Here’s my hole-y multiverse notion of what happens inside a black hole.  Inside a black hole is a space full of  “whatever,” basically mass-energy with all the links erased.  By that I mean that all spatial and temporal information got left behind at the event horizon, so that information would be conserved in the parent universe.  The whatever inside a black hole may be highly warped though,  due to conservation of information, it took a lot of effort to strip all the information out of what used to be matter and energy (and dark matter) and turn it into “whatever,”  and I’m calling the lingering effects of that effort “warp.”  Perhaps potential is a better term?  I’m not a physicist, so I don’t understand the linguistic subtleties relevant to manufacturing terminology ad hoc.

So we’ve got a ball of totally undefined whatever with huge potential inside a black hole.  If this sounds like the singularity that gave rise to the big bang, I’d speculate you’re right.  However, I suspect that, if the insides of black holes do undergo rapid inflation, they do it in spatiotemporal dimensions that are perpendicular to those of their mother universe, which suggests that the underlying multiverse is of much higher dimensionality than our universe is.  Otherwise, the daugher universes would interact with their mother universes (note that this may be a way to test this idea: if some daughter universes do interact with their parent systems, there would be weird space warps near some black holes).

From the mother universe’s perspective, time doesn’t pass inside a daughter black hole.  While from inside the daughter black hole/baby universe’s perspective, where time runs perpendicular to that of the mother universe, the mass of the black hole accumulates, a big bang happens, and then the daughter universe expands into dimensions that are orthogonal to those of its mother and sibs.  From the mother universe’s perspective, the daughter stays a singularity frozen in time, while from the daughter’s perspective, it emerged from a singularity of enormous mass energy that accumulated instantaneously.

There are various things that could constrain the way baby universes develop from whatever into stuff. Perhaps expansion is in a random set of dimensions, and the daughter universes may interact in some dimensions with their parents.  That would be visible in the parent universe, and hence testable.  Perhaps there’s the equivalent of a dimensional priority principle, and the daughter universes are only be able to expand in dimensions where there isn’t another universe already squatting on that space or time. This might be consistent with the notion that we’re in an 11 (or more) dimensional universe, but that most of the dimensions are infinitesimally small–they couldn’t expand, because there are other universes in the way, already occupying the infinitesimal dimensions.

Another constraint might be the black holes that the black hole swallowed in the parent universe.  While I think all their “serial numbers” (dimensions, spin, charge, etc.) get filed off  by the process of passing through the singularity, I think the basic singularity–effectively a kink in space time where the rules break down–may stay intact.  If that happens, these naked singularities would do two things inside the black holes that swallowed them.  First, they might help “crystallize” the dimensions and physical laws of the daughter universe, as the whatever in the black hole inflates into stuff.  By crystallize, I’d simply note that if a black hole is present in a universe, then that’s universe’s physical laws have to allow for the presence of black holes.  That eliminates a lot of possible systems of physical laws.   Second, these swallowed black holes might appear as anomalously large, anomalously old black holes in the daughter universe.  They might form the nuclei for galaxy formation in the daughter, and even help trigger the process of black hole formation through matter accretion in the daughter as well.

How do the black holes in the centers of galaxies get so big?  Perhaps some of them have been swallowed multiple times, and they keep getting larger each time.  Maybe there’s some number of times a black hole has to be swallowed by another black hole before it becomes big enough to start swallowing its own black holes and spawning universes.  Who knows?

There’s a lot that’s not covered by this model.  For example what happens to universes and the ends of their existences?  They start off as infinite potential and no structure except for containing singularities.  Structure emerges (semi?)randomly as the whatever in the black hole twists and warps itself to do something with all that potential, and the warps and twists interact to form particles and so forth as the universe that contains them expands.  In an inflationary universe like our own, eventually stuff will have flown so far apart that interactions between the universe’s constituent particles are no longer possible, at which point the laws governing how particles interact may break down.  The absence of a local universe might allow black hole-universes to expand and take over that empty spacetime.  either from inside the decaying confines of the mother universe, or from adjacent spaces where their expansion had previously been blocked.  Perhaps the shredded remnants of dead universes are our dark matter?  Nah, I’ll save that speculation for later.  Back to our story.

The model seems to imply that mass-energy is not conserved at a multiversal or even universal level, although it might be conserved at the local level, because mass-energy flows into and out of universes through black holes, although the effects of that mass-energy linger in the effects the daughter black holes have on the local fabric of their maternal systems.

There’s also the problem of Hawking radiation and black hole decay.  If black holes form daughter universes, does that mean that universes formed by small black holes also decay back into their mothers?  If time passes “perpendicularly” between universes, it’s messy to figure out what that would look like.

Finally, there’s the “All You Zombies” version of this model.  The scenario I’m spinning here only works if there are effectively infinite possible temporal dimensions.  Each time a daughter universe expands out of a black hole in a mother universe, it does so in a temporal direction perpendicular to that of its parent universe, and possibly, those of its sibling black black holes (and remember, our universe has billions and billions of black holes by itself).  If there are infinite possible temporal dimensions, causality gets to be…highly abstract at best.  One could easily imagine closed causal loops.  Universe A gives rise to universe B, gives rise to universe C, gives rise to universe A.  With billions of other black holes shed off in the process.  There’s no multiversal timeline to line everything up on, so there’s no causality in the multiverse, just within universes that have one asymmetric temporal dimension.

In this silly speculation, the multiverse is not just black holes all the way down, it’s black holes inside each other in infinite regress, to the point where they give birth to each other in some ouroboros fashion.  Since there’s billions and billions of galaxies in our universe, and millions of black holes in each galaxy, if they all feed into each other and spawn out of each other, that’s one cantorian infinity of a knot of fractalizing Ouroboros-chains of black hole/universes in a multiverse of infinite dimensions.  If this is what the multiverse looks like (hah!) try getting your head around it.

Oh well, back to doing something useful and writing comments on land use documents.






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