Modern cosmology and the theory of eternal recurrence, by Paul Steinhardt

“If you go back to the different theories of cosmic evolution in the early 1990s, the data we’ve gathered in the last decade has eliminated all of them save one, a model that you might think of today as the consensus model. This model involves a combination of the Big Bang model as developed in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s; the inflationary theory, which Alan Guth proposed in the 1980s; and a recent amendment that I will discuss shortly. This consensus theory matches the observations we have of the universe today in exquisite detail. For this reason, many cosmologists conclude that we have finally determined the basic cosmic history of the universe.But I have a rather different point of view, a view that has been stimulated by two events.”

Cosmological Conjecture as Thought Experiment

Cosmophilosophical conjectures can function as thought experiments intended — not to scientifically demonstrate this of that — but to allow us to consider and feel our reality differently, at least for a few seconds, at least intuitively.

Consider the following example:

What if the very small (smaller than particles) and the very big (bigger than our observable universe) were domains of pure thought, while anything in between would be (a least partly) material? Then, matter would the tension or the difference between the infinitesimally small and the cosmologically immense, a fold between the two infinites already described by Pascal and Leibniz.

But if the two infinites are pure thought, they are in fact one and the same entity: the infinitesimally small = the cosmologically enormous = pure thought.

How can there be a tension or a difference in identity? Perhaps if there is a polarity in Thought or Spirit, which is what Hegel proposed with his dialectics.