PREFACE: This is almost all hypothetical.
Scott linked me to a very interesting article: Boltzman's Anthropic Brain. Yes, Becca, it's the same thing I spent four hours explaining to you over the phone. Ever since Joe bought me "A Brief History of Time," I've been thinking about the asymmetricality of time and memory (Time's Arrow). Why do we remember the past and not the future? Time is always moving forward, and entropy is always increasing (globally). To record a memory, it requires an entropic expenditure of energy. You 'start' with a brain or memory chip at 0 (tabula rasa) because that is the situation of least entropy. From there, information is encoded, raising the entropy of the system. Think of an abacus at zero, then do a whole bunch of operations on it without zeroing it in between. At the end, it will be more disordered, but will also retain the 'information' of all the calculations you did on it. However, if you start at the result and work back to zero, you end up with no information (hence the 0). The example may not be watertight (you'd need an operation that also stores information about the next operation to be performed, I think, unlike addition); but like I said, information is stored by 'disordering' the system.
The offshoot of this is that in a universe that 'starts' with a big bang, expands to a maximum size, 'then' collapses to a big crunch, an observer on either side of the maximum wouldn't perceive a difference. They'd both perceive time as proceeding towards the maximum size. Maximum size is maximum disorder, if I didn't make that clear. Think of a balloon filled partway with air, then tied off. Now stick that balloon in a vacuum chamber so it expands. The air inside will spread out in accordance with entropy (you may have seen this done with marshmellows). If it shrinks down when you pump air back into the chamber, reducing the disorder thanks to something from outside the closed system (the air you let back in). But what's outside the system of the universe? It's turtles, turtles all the way down.
One analogy for the expansion of the nascent universe I was fed as a student in high school was to picture the surface of a balloon when the question was asked: "Where is the center of the universe?" Take a marker and draw cute little spiral galaxies on the surface. Then blow it up. Which galaxy is at the center of this 2-D universe? And so, where is the center of our 3-D universe? Now I'm thinking about the 'force' blowing up our universe. If a balloon's inflated by a pressure differential between the inner and the outer, what if a higher dimensional fluctuation made our hyperspatial area larger, and our universe was 'sucked' into it? Dimensions can have size; anyone who's played an Asteroids clone can tell you that; the same 640 x 480 pixels (let's say) go on infinitely in all directions. So it's a whole dimension (two of them!) of finite size. You can roll it up into a donut (or torus); travelling "North-South" takes you from the outside of the donut to the inside; East-West takes you around the ring of the donut. Go far enough any which way around a donut and you'll end up where you started. Which is why whenever I have a donut (rarely, these days), I shout, "I AM EATING YOUR PUNY DIMENSION!"
If you unroll our friend the torus back to a flat 640 x 480, you can't put a an image in that space that is 1024 on a side. Or a cube of that size. Imagine having a cube 210 on a side (1,024 of whatever unit you want) resting on top of a 640 x 480 hole. Then stretch that hole to be 1600 x 1200. Cube falls in, right? Do the same thing in space, now, where there's neither air nor gravity to do any pulling or pushing. And make our cube a sphere, for reasons I'll make apparent. Put it into a chamber of n-dimensions with an unknown amount of objects of various dimensionalities bouncing around. Now have our sphere bounce into this 2-dimensional 'hole'. If the hole is not stretched, the sphere won't pass through. But if one bounce or another causes the hole to stretch, the sphere may pass through the next time the two meet. Or if the room is just packed with objects like an overflowing closet, the sphere pressing against the hole may stretch the hole as the sphere tries to 'escape' to a lower pressure. Now, I made our cube a sphere because it's easier (and traditional) to imagine what a sphere passing through a 2-D plane looks like. It's a series of cross-sections, starting from a point, expanding to an ever-larger circle until the plane passes through the diameter (or equator) and then it shrinks back to a point. So our 'universe' may be the ever-expanding four-or-more dimensional cross-section of a larger hyperspatial body. But what's causing this, other than to say "space is acting on itself"? What's the tension between being and unbeing, void and space (and not the void OF space, the stuff that is Not-Space). Is there a pressure that is created by the existence of space itself? And in what space or hyperspace does this pressure act? Because if it's acting in space itself, then we have to redefine this 'pressure' and recharacterize it as a tendency. Then we get to puzzle what causes this tendency. And so on, turtles all the way down.
Fuck, I think I may be ruined for psych, and now I'm hankering for a double Ph.D in philosophy and cosmology. There is just so much STUFF to learn. Can I be a non-fiction writer, if I learn to clean up these brain dribblings that I call livejournal entries? It seems like the only alternative to becoming a vastly multidisciplinary academic over the course of the next 40 years and 8-10 degree programs.
Because I really need to spin this into a paper for my philosophical fictions class, or all is lost.