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Pondering the universe

Science & technology

The basic building block of matter

Basic physics deals with the nature of matter, and how it builds the world around us. Much of the research is looking for the ultimate building block of matter, just so we can then make whatever we want out of such 'magic' Lego blocks. But are we looking at it all from the wrong angle?

The atom was meant to be indivisible and the basic building block of matter, but once it was realised that it could be broken down, a concerted effort at torturing nature was on to find out how far the process could be taken. Unfortunately, in some sort of cosmic joke, the more energy put into the splitting process, the more complex it became, with a seemingly unending stream of new particles or forms being found. A lot of the push came when Einstein proposed his E=mc² formula, with many latching onto the prospect of getting vast amounts of energy from tiny amounts of matter.

But has this obsession distracted us from what really could be going on? If we rearrange the formula, we get m=E/c², which states that a lot of energy is required to make matter. However, the much more significant implication is that matter is derived from energy, and is a form of some of it.

So, out of the pool of formless energy, matter is manifested, which is far more aligned to the creation stories of many religions, like Hinduism, particularly in the concept of going from pralaya (hidden and unmanifested) to manvantara (manifested). Now, if we add consciousness and will to that energy, we have what many might call God, the universal intelligence from which all is manifested.

When looked from this perspective of going from the whole to seeing its parts as just a limited form of it, it seems logical that trying to find an ultimate particle is a never-ending endeavour. Sometimes us humans look for complexity when we really need to find the simplicity that holds that complexity within it. Also, perhaps we shouldn't be distracted by excessively focussing on what we can get out of things.

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