I shot some interviews this week for a National Geographic show called “Evacuate Earth”, which is about what would happen if the human race suddenly had to abandon the planet because of an impending meteor impact or a collapsing star. All seemed to agree that evacuation in the future was inevitable, but the last interviewee of the day added something else that I found particularly interesting.
“If I were to theorize on what the purpose of the universe is,” he said, “its purpose is to produce light.”
When asked if he thought the human race was worth saving, he said yes because we are part of the fabric of the universe. “If I were to theorize on what the purpose of the univerise is,” he said, “its purpose is to produce light.” The big bang, he added, produced a billion particles of light for every proton. And every event since has produced light. “When you look out into the sky, what do you see?”, he asked. “You see balls of matter putting out light — the stars.” Humans, he thinks, are part of this process.
We evolved to develop intelligence that allows us to free light from matter that otherwise would not have been freed on its own. Ensuring our continued existence, then, is important for maintaing the purpose of the universe. To borrow a word from Mr. Spock, “fascinating.”