Einstein’s General Relativity reveals that the physical cosmos is either contracting or expanding. In the 1920’s Hubble demonstrated that it is expanding. However the 1998 discovery that this expansion is actually accelerating casts a theoretical pall over the whole shebang of Modern cosmology.
On this account there are only two possibilities: the cosmos will expand forever; or it will in due course contract into a “Big Crunch.” The speculation now in vogue is a species of Alan Guth’s “inflationary universe”, updated by Albrecht at UC Davis, and Steinhardt at Princeton, wherein this singular primordial universe underwent a moment of hyper-expansion/inflation at about 10‑34 seconds into the putative Big Bang, which somehow flattened the large scale curvature of the universe resulting in a finite universe with a flat geometry that will expand forever. (Suggest a review of Fred Hoyle’s still viable “Steady State” universe.)
Herein lies the credibility problem. This prevailing inflationary scenario of a finite but forever expanding cosmic evolution, while attending to some of the many Big Bang absurdities (Cf. “Physics in Trouble: Revisioning the Standard Model”, www.davidpaulboaz.org), is riddled with mathematical inconsistencies which physicists have been unable to resolve. The really bad news? Inflation requires a universal density of physical matter far greater than the visible matter in stars and luminous gaseous structures. Thus arises the fantasque, ad hoc “scientific” theoretical patch we’ve come know and love as “dark matter”.
This current “Big Science” multi-trillion dollar exegesis of the origin and fate of our universe (forget funding in non-Standard Model physics) requires much, much more matter than that hypothesized, even given the gravitational influence of all the “dark matter” in all the galaxies of the physical cosmos. This “missing matter” and energy constitutes 95% of the observed universe! Yes, 95% of the physical cosmos (not to mention the unbounded whole, mahabindu, of the physical/mental/spirit kosmos in whom the mere material cosmos arises and plays) exists—if physical existence can be presumed—in a mysterious form or mode of matter/energy that is utterly unknown to Science, if it is conceptually knowable at all. Heady wine indeed.
One might well begin to speculate that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our conceptual materialist cosmologies. That is to say, we have not a clue! Perhaps there is a reality out there, and in here, that cannot be fathomed by the huge hubris of human conceptual cognition, or meditative/contemplative cognition for that matter. (This unbridled conjecture from an admitted neodualist nondual panpsychic Buddhist skeptic.)
As this current “scientific” metaphysics is woefully biased toward purely objective, physical explanation with little thought of the vast non-logocentric perfect subjectivity (dharmadhatu) that is the basal kosmic noetic (matter/mind/spirit) ground of ultimate consciousness-reality-being-itself (instantiated by relative human consciousness), we remain for now clueless.
Human conceptual knowing has an inherent dimensional limit. Difficult to accept, egoically. Somehow our human ego shall, some sunny day, grasp the very nature of mind, and every one of its mysteries. We’ve endured 2500 years of such human concept-mind effort to achieve the grail of ultimate, absolute knowledge. Perhaps we’re looking in the wrong places. Yes, we are inherently Christ-Buddhas. Yes, we carry that wisdom seed of liberation/enlightenment at our spiritual Heart. Yes, countless Buddhas have awakened to That.
Well then, who is it that shines through the mind and abides at the heart of all beings, always liberated and fully awake? Is this not the very question of being? Can such a “supreme identity” be known by mere concept and belief? The noetic cognitive reach of a trans-rational contemplative science (adhyatmavidya) is perhaps a worthy methodological augmentation. Yea, such a noetic science has been evolving in our species-consciousness for 10,000 years. Alas, it remains today cognitively taboo to the prevailing proto-religious Scientism of the Western thinking classes. Happily, this is changing with our rising East/West Science of Consciousness.
And the Eastern contemplative tradition? Well, with the notable exception of the Buddhist Prasangika Madhyamaka epistemic Middle Way (and its noble ontic counterpart Dzogchen Ati)—that exquisite cognitive balance between our two worlds, our paradigmatic “Two Truths” objective and subjective, Science and Spirit—Eastern Idealism insists on reducing everything to nothing. (Bad for the economy.) Indeed, a thin blue line exists between the metaphysical extremes of Western objective Scientific materialist/absolutist Substantialism, and Eastern subjective idealist Nihilism. There’s a bright, deeply ordinary centrist path in here somewhere. And I’ll bet the view of that path utilizes both expressions of our human nature, namely, an objective physical science, and a subjective contemplative science. These two are not incommensurable. East is East and West is West, and the ever the twain shall meet.
Perhaps then we might relax our obsessive dichotomous insistence on either objective Science, or subjective Spirit, and recognize the prior ontic unity of these primordial “two truths” that are subsumed in nondual one truth. Do we not limit ourselves most by our clinging to, and defense of our current concepts and beliefs? Might we yet learn to relax into the basal ground of all That? Ah, the knowledge/happiness desideratum devoutly to be wished.
With the emergence of the integral Noetic Revolution in science, culture and spirituality, the waning materialist metaphysic of Big Money Big Bang Science shall evolve into an integral noetic (body/mind/spirit) science that includes this requisite Science of Consciousness which explores both faces/voices of our being here—objective physical form, and subjective spiritual emptiness (Boaz 2013 “The Problem and Opportunity of Consciousness”, above site).
As Shakyamuni Buddha told in his Heart Sutra: “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” This great pragmatic nondual one truth, invariant through all our exoteric and esoteric cognition transcends yet includes these “Two Truths”—objective relative form, and its ultimate perfectly subjective emptiness ground. And yes, it takes a little contemplative practice.
One hundred years ago we had no notion as to the relativistic and quantum nature of our arising realities. We were entranced by Newton’s wondrous classical gravity and its cosmology. I suspect that one hundred years hence the marvelous mathematics, and contradictions of Relativistic Quantum Field Theory shall be subsumed—transcended yet embraced—in a human consciousness structure undreamt in our present merely materialist philosophies.