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ETpro's avatar

If the only thing constant is change, when will that change?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) July 27th, 2013

François de la Rochefoucauld first gave us the oft repeated rule that, “The only thing constant in life is change.” Well, he certainly seems to have defined how things have worked throughout my brief lifetime. And as I read the writings of wise people of the past, their observations of change match perfectly with my own. So I guess things have been constantly changing for a good long time.

A study of evolutionary biology shows that change has been constant for 3.6 billion years. Geology shows us that change was going on for more than a billion years before any life was here to observe it. Cosmology paints a picture of change stretching back 13.72 billion years.

But if the Duc de La Rochefoucauld is right, hasn’t he set up a self canceling law? At some point, the law of constant change itself must change, no? What then? When will that come? Will the heat death of the Universe really end change, or will it trigger it on an even grander scale? Isn’t this an interesting paradox?

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16 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

It changes constantly. Today’s changes are different from yesterday’s changes.

This is similar to the quotation from Horace:

Moderation In All Things.

Does this mean that you should be moderate in your moderation?

ETpro's avatar

@elbanditoroso Ha! I always took at as license get into all things that I fine alluring or interesting. :-) Like is incest and murder OK so long as you don’t do those things very often?

ragingloli's avatar

After the heat death of the universe.

ragingloli's avatar

@ETpro
First of all, apart from the 2 headed offspring, there is nothing wrong with consensual incest, and second of all, as Zimmerman has proven, murder IS ok, at least in Florida.

ETpro's avatar

@ragingloli How do we know that the heat death of a former incarnation of the Universe isn’t exactly what initiates a Big Bang?

I agree with the jury that George Zimmerman was not guilty of murder. In fact, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law never came into play in the trial. He was found not guilty based on self defense, a defense that’s part of common law just about everywhere. But let’s substitute somebody that truly was clearly guilty and yet got away with murder. That still does not make murder OK or mean it’s something to embrace in moderation, does it?

ragingloli's avatar

@ETpro
Please explain how a universe with maximum entropy, at 0 kelvin, where even all the black holes have evaporated, can trigger a Big Bang?

ETpro's avatar

Big black holes take trillions of years to evaporate. The likelihood is that with dark energy gone and thus expansion of spacetime gone, they will coalesce into one singularity containing the total mass of the Universe. That, in my mind, seems to be the ideal conditions for a new Big Bang. But if they were all able to evaporate we would be left with a near infinity of nothing, and quantum physics shows us that nothing is inherently unstable and MUST explode into something.

ragingloli's avatar

Why do you assume that dark energy would be gone?

ETpro's avatar

If entropy rules, it rules. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. In point of fact, in dealing with the end of time, physics and cosmology today are making vague assumptions about our Universe far, far in the future. We do not actually know how the universe began, because we can’t see beyond the event horizon of it to witness its beginning. And we are observationally clueless about how universes end.

ETpro's avatar

Here’s a bunch of speculation on the possibilities at something like 10×10^76 year.

gailcalled's avatar

And Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

These little epigrams are fun but hard to translate into profundities.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Indeed.True. That one would be, “The more it changes, the more it is the same thing.” if translated literally. But it’s inspired the oft quoted analog in English, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

mattbrowne's avatar

When the Big Freeze universe reaches absolute zero.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne We’ll see. Maybe that is the exact set of initial conditions that trigger the next Big Bang. But the good news is we have billions of years to carry on before things get unacceptably cold. Well, maybe we won’t see. But the Universe will.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – Well, maybe there’s a Big Crunch after all, and we live in an oscillating universe with transhuman people surviving all this :-)

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne It’s a tough haul to get past Occam’s Razor, but I can’t disprove it.

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