Although we can conjecture, we are never likely to find out what caused the Big Bang; that is, what created our universe in the first place. The reason this is so is to be found in at least two places: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, and General Systems theory. These are not too hard to understand in outline, as the brief summary given in the next two paragraphs aims to show. (A little more information is provided in two postscripts to this chapter .)
In his Incompleteness Theorem, Kurt Gödel proved that no system can contain all of the information needed to answer every question that can be posed from within that system. No matter how much we understand about the system we are examining from within, logical paradoxes will always exist. Asking what started our universe is posing just such a logical paradox.
General Systems theory states that all systems are either open or closed. Open systems interact with (and obtain what they need to continue their existence from) their supersystem. Closed systems are cut-off from the outside, and no energy of any form (e.g., radiation, matter, or information) can enter or leave such a system. All our current theories suggest that our universe is a closed system, and, if this is so, we will never be able to obtain information from outside.
As humans, we try and find the root of every happening. We can almost propose a theory and explanation as to what started most things that exist on our planet and also to visible objects within our system. It is logical throughout history and the start of time, that every occurrence was the result of chain reaction event. The big question is, what started the big bang. Nothing can create itself or other entities without something else existing before it to start that chain reaction.
- A “purpose” of sorts can also be determined within open systems by examining the “feedback” received from their significant supersystem. Outputs that are accepted imply that the supersystem “wants” more of the same, thus providing a “purpose” or reason to continue their production. Outputs that are rejected by the supersystem cannot be exchanged for needed supplies so production must eventually cease. Thus, production of acceptable outputs (i.e., fulfilling the “purpose” of meeting the supersystem’s requirements) is a necessity for continued existence. (However, we should note that large supersystems, such as our biosphere, can tolerate lengthy periods of non-productivity [and even negative contributions] from a portion of their subsystems, just as organizations can from a few of their employees. This buffering capacity can disguise the true state of affairs and “false purposes” may be followed for long periods of time before becoming apparent.)
See Gödel’s Theorem, General Systems Theory, and The Conservation Laws for further elaboration of these concepts.