It would seem that this space has played host recently to a number of musings on topics of a geometric nature: sacred geometry, tesseracts, multi-dimensional thought…so why not one more?
I was thinking about our places in the Universe, and what lies at the center of it all, and I happened upon a quote attributed to Blaise Pascal that sums up my own thoughts in outstanding fashion here:
“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.”
Pascal, as you may know, was a 17th Century French mathematician, scientist, and writer, and very interestingly, at the age of 31, he apparently experienced a brush with death and a very vivid religious vision in association with that. Pascal elsewhere summed up a human being in nature as “a central point between nothing and all, and infinitely far from understanding either.”
Gloomy as his sound bites may seem, I tend to view our place in nature in much the same way that Pascal did (although I don’t know that I’d express it with the same element of hopelessness that I feel kind of informs Pascal’s words).
But here’s the crux of this: the definition of the center of something in geometry might depend on the shape of the object in question before real specifics could be arrived at, but I believe it would generally boil down to something like “The center is that point most equidistant from the points on the surface of the object.” Definitions of “center” tend to rely on reference to concepts such as “edges” and “surface” and such. The implication is that if something can be said to have a center, it must therefore also have an outer boundary, one or more edges, a perimeter occurring in one or more dimensions. The shape or object in question must be finite.
Great…but so then what do you do when you’re talking about a space like our Universe, which is apparently infinite…? Where’s the center? How do you find a center if you have no edges, no surfaces, from which to measure inward??
That seems like a real puzzler at first glance…but maybe there’s actually no real need to measure anything in such a case. Any math/geometry experts out there can please feel invited to shout down what I’m about to say, and to offer more refined and informed thoughts on the topic, but for now, my own supposition here is that if our Universe can be said to be infinite — that is if, for all intents and purposes, it stretches on forever in any and every direction we might choose — then any and every point is the center. Or a center. Select any point at random, and then isn’t it true that the Universe stretches away from that point in exactly equal distance (said distance being “infinity”)…??
So if that’s the case — and until one of our space-probes hits a heretofore undiscovered giant wall out there in the cold, cold black, I’m staying with that presumption — then any point in space can be viewed as the center of the Universe.
And arriving at the point of this post: you are the Center of the Universe. So am I, and so is everyone else who’s ever lived, lives now, or ever will live. Everyone and everything is each, individually and equally, the Center of the Universe. I find that to be humbling and elevating at the same time. Each of us holds that sort of sacred honor, which can serve to pick us up on our tougher days, but then, everyone else can say the same, which should remind us that no one is inherently “better” than anyone else.
As Pascal said, we may indeed be a central point between nothing and all…but then I’m not so sure we’re infinitely far from understanding either. I actually feel that grasping this concept of every point possessing valid “center-hood” is a pretty keen little bit of understanding right there, and one that can be put to positive use in our approaches to everyday life. And with that said, the center in me wishes the center in you a Happy Friday, and a fine weekend!