If there is anything certain in the world, it is death. Everything that breathes today would die someday.
But living things aren’t the only things that would cease to exist. The universe itself might one day suddenly disappear. The earth that we know- our only home, one day would surely end.
There are hundreds of different ways in which our world might end and even if we survive all of these, the sun would consume it in a few billions years. The end is so final yet there is a tomorrow for us, right? Wrong, maybe.
Here are 5 hypothetical reasons that today might be the last day of the world.
1. The universe might be in a false vacuum and can any time fall into a true vacuum
According to this theory, our universe, as we know it might or might not be in a stable state. For example, if there are a number of balls resting on the edges of a one legged table and they are static, the balls might think this is the lowest level they can ever be and they cannot fall any deeper. But since we are seeing the bigger picture, we know they can fall on the ground. We know that they are stable (false vacuum), yet have the potential to go unstable and fall on the ground, which is the lowest they can be (true vacuum).
So, if any event one of the balls is pushed, potential energy of it would be converted into kinetic energy sending it rushing towards the ground, causing the ground to shake, triggering other balls to move from higher spaces to lower spaces.
If our universe is in a false vacuum and a lower stable state exists, and it for some reason collapses, it would create a burst of energy triggering every aspect of it to fall into the true vacuum propagating through infinite space at the speed of light, changing every law of physics we know and will destroy everything it its way.
It might have happened previously, it might never happen or it might be happening right now, inching closer to us and we won’t know it until it reaches us because the space is huge. When it hits us, we would cease to exist at a fraction of a second before we could understand anything.
2. The universe could be in an alien simulation and someone might just hit the reset button anytime.
If simulation hypothesis is anywhere near truth, our entire universe can just be a computer simulation or a programme and everything we see is actually codes. This, to much extent, solves the creation paradox as we can safely say from where all the matters and energy of the universe came from in the first place. There is no such thing as matter or energy and the God we are fighting over can just be the coder.
With computers getting greatly powerful as we are advancing as a ‘supposedly’ civilization, the chances of the hypothesis being a reality seems feasible and humans in the future can just do the same.
So what are some scenarios that indicate of it being a possibility? Déjà vu, a fine-tuned earth and everything seems to be represented into a mathematic formula are a few.
Déjà vu is the phenomenon when we feel like we have already seen or experienced a situation that we are currently seeing or experiencing. We all have had déjà vu at least once and this could be a result of some programming error or glitches.
Our earth seems to be exactly at the right place, having the right temperature and everything that facilitates the possibility of life here appears to be impossibly fine-tuned. There is no way all these were incredible coincidences.
Also, one of the surest evidence of it being a simulation is the fact that we are discovering that every occurrences in the universe and the physics that govern it can be represented in mathematical formulas.
But what if the coder one day decides to just press a ‘red button’ and terminate or erase the entire programme. It might be done out of boredom, out of limited computing powers or any other reason. It might happen thousands of years from now, 50 years from now or right now.
3. There could be hypervelocity stars heading our way and we haven’t detected them yet.
Well, unlike the other points in this list, this is not technically a hypothesis.
The so-called shooting stars that we see in the night sky and make wishes on are but mostly meteoroids that have entered our atmosphere. The terrifying thing is there are things like real shooting stars. Terrifying because the moment they approach near us, our earth would be gone.
These hypervelocity stars roam freely throughout the universe and because of their energy, they can easily escape the gravitational pull of the galaxies. They roam freely burning everything that comes in their way. The fastest yet discovered moves at about two million miles per hour. Till now we have been able to spot very few of these freewheeling balls of nuclear fire that stretch millions of miles across and it is estimated that the Milky Way alone can have 1,000 of these.
Mind you, these can escape the gravitational pull of other galaxies and can anytime enter Milky Way from other galaxies.
Fortunately, our earth is just a speck in the enormous universe and the possibility of one of these coming at our way is fairly low for now, or even if one is coming right at us, we haven’t been able to discover it just yet and might just hit us today out of nowhere.
4. The entire world might be my projection or yours but only one of us is real.
According to this philosophical theory, everything that I can see and everything that I am experiencing right now is but just an illusion that my mind is creating and nothing in reality does exist. All the people that I am seeing are but projections of my mind and as soon as my mind stops to work, all these will cease to exist.
Coupling it with another theory known as ‘brain in a vat’ or ‘brain in a jar’, everything just starts to make sense. According to this particular theory, I might just be a brain in a jar which is being supplied with continuous electric impulses causing it to make the illusion of the life that I am living and something or someone might be observing my life for the sheer reason of entertainment or some experiment.
According to Solipsism, my mind is the only reality and everyone else is but representations of my thinking and they don’t have any independent existence.
There could be an argument that if I was born only in the year 1990 and with me everything came into existence, why there is a history. Five-minute hypothesis somehow solves this problem to some extent.
According to this hypothesis, everything that I see and know might have come into existence five minutes ago along with all my false memory and evidences of history. So, you are not you but a fraction of me, or I might just be a fraction of you and everything you know, including this article is your imagination.
5. We might be heading towards an invisible ancient Great Filter of civilizations.
The sheer size of the universe and the knowledge that humans are here, alive and present in the universe is an easy proof that the universe with trillions of stars and many trillions of planets might have enough potential that there definitely could be life somewhere. Now, since we came only recently, and the universe is billions of years old according to present estimates, there could be life way before humans came into existence and if those lives survived, by this time they would be intelligent enough to reach out to us. But no extraterrestrial life still has reached us.
The concept of the Great Filter explains that the reason humans haven’t encountered any extraterrestrial life is because a Great Filter is in work in the universe which prevents intelligent lives from evolving after a certain extent and failing to cross that filter might led to their extinction.
Since humans are still here, there can be two possible reasons for it.
First, humans have passed the filter and might be the first civilization to have done it.
Second, humans haven’t hit the filter yet and it is ahead of us.
If by any possibility the second scenario is correct, we have no clue what the filter would be like. It might be something slow like the global warming which humans need to survive to pass the test or might be a shower of asteroids out of nowhere which has the capacity to destroy the planet within a few hours.