A Hundred Trillion Billion Billion Years

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years is a long time, but it’s not even scratching the surface of infinity.  No matter how long I spend holding down the zero key, there will never be a point where I begin to get close to representing infinity.

In this universe, time marches forward in one direction. Time has no future bounds that we can identify.  As far as we can tell, no matter what may happen within the universe, time keeps on ticking into the future.

Isn’t it a curious state of affairs that we find ourselves alive today?

Archaeologists and historians estimate that there may have been fewer than a million human beings on the planet, indeed as few as 10,000, just 100,000 years ago.  No matter how the ancient population is estimated, it always turns out to be a very small number not all that long ago.

Humans were primarily moving around by horseback just a hundred years ago, and this is still the case in many places around the world today.  The first mass produced Model T car came out in 1908, barely over a hundred years ago.

Given the nature of time and the duration of human existence on this planet, it causes me to ponder why I happen to be alive, living the life I am living, at this moment in time.  Wouldn’t the odds dictate that I be alive at some much – MUCH – later point in human evolution?  Why wasn’t I born a billion billion years from today?  Or a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years from today?  Why now?  The odds against this being the case are immeasurable if we assume I could be anyone at any time in the future or the past.

Yet here I am, and here you are, alive virtually at the dawn of mankind.  In terms of an infinite future, we are alive at the virtual beginning.  Some of the people who may be reading this post could have had grandparents who were alive before cars were invented.

It all just seems so bizarre to me.  Like some kind of conspiracy.  Some kind of act.  Like some kind of staged virtual reality created so that we could be alive while living under very difficult technological constraints.  It just doesn’t seem plausible to me by the odds.

All of life is an implausibility.  The odds that intelligent life should build itself up out of the physical constraints of the universe, to the point where I can create this web page and you can read it, is beyond comprehension.  Everything about this place just seems odd.

I was born at a time where I have total control over my living environment.  I have heat, cooling, plumbing, digital entertainment, lightweight yet protective clothing, all of the necessities to sustain myself.  Yet I’m not traveling the stars or able to create a force field around myself.  The technology to perfectly defend myself from others does not exist at the moment – but given a billion years time, perhaps it might.

Of course, perfect defense means it would be impossible for states to exist.  Too much technology would make the insane asylum we live in an impossibility.  We have just enough technology to keep us relatively comfortable and healthy, but not enough technology to prevent the mass insanity of states from forming.

It just strikes me all as being staged in some way.

  • Robert Lalonde

    seems to me that one chance in a billion or whatever zero’s you mai add is a sure bet in infinity

  • Robert Lalonde

    so if something happens every lets say billion years in infinity , means that it is virtually never ending….so the fact that we exist as a probability, mathematically, to me means that life is never ending and death is never ending also…

  • Luiz Henrique Carvalho

    If someone is interested, The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow is a pretty interesting and relatively easy book to read about probabilities and odds; explains a bit of their history and relate them to our lives.
    It’s interesting to note that we tend to think of the odds of stuff happening in our lives as if it’s something “designed”, but actually is just an impression, or better said, an egocentric point of view, like that Benjamin Button’s scene where the narrator goes all the way describing that chain of events ( people’s actions ) ending in the driver running over the ballerina and ruining her career.