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When we figure it all out, then what?

  1. Feb 16, 2012 #1
    A question, please. When mankind, through science, has answered all the questions about our universe and we fully understand everything about our universe and answers no longer create more questions, then where do we go from there? What's next?

    Also, what new technologies might also arise from such a full understanding?

    I would like to apologize in advance if I place this under the wrong heading.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2012 #2
    This is a fairly arbitrary question, and it almost enters the realm of a philosophical debate. Its impossible to know if we have enough time in existence as a species to understand "everything", and as for how advanced we would be only imagination can answer that. Interesting question. Wrong forum probably though.
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3
    We already know everything.
    The multivax answered the last question,
  5. Feb 16, 2012 #4
    To paraphrase Douglas Adams: "it will instantly be replaced with something even more bizarre."
  6. Feb 16, 2012 #5


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    Joking aside, we have no evidence that we could ever reach such a point. Our past experience is that explanations always have some basis that one can then try to explain.
    When one has found out laws that govern something then one asks "why these laws and not others."

    When one has found out the initial conditions that began some process, then one asks how they came about and why so and not some other way?

    This is how it has always been, we have no hint that there could ever be a "full understanding".

    So your question assumes something that we have no reason to suppose would ever occur (a "final" or "full" scientific explanation.) I cannot imagine what such an ultimate explanation would be formulated, in what language, how would one test its validity?
    I think you are talking about something that is meaningless. Words can be used to express a vacuous notion. "The theory that explains everything" is a bit like saying "the present King of France". Questions involving an empty formula cannot be answered.

    What is the proper way to address the present King of France? What bounty of gifts will the King of France bestow on us to show his royal pleasure?

    Or maybe you meant the question as a joke in the first place?
  7. Feb 16, 2012 #6
    To paraphrase Douglas Adams: "it will instantly be replaced with something even more bizarre."

    Another good point. Also as far as "where we would be" as a civilization it is hard to imagine. I can' remember who said this but i think it help put it in perspective. "All technology 100 prior to its invention would seem like magic to those seeing it 100 years ago." So as far as when we reach the point of advancement your talking about, we would most likely surpass even our imagination long before we reached the "end"
  8. Feb 16, 2012 #7


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    Here is where Godel's incompleteness theorem has us cornered. There is no logical construct [i.e., mathematics] that is internally consistent and will enable us to understand first principles.
  9. Feb 17, 2012 #8
    No, no joke. None at all, marcus. I see that science is trying to figure out how everything works. I visualized a time in the future where we succeed and know all the answers, and after reaching such a point we then ask ourselves what to do next. Perhaps I have too much hope for mankind to achieve such greatness.
  10. Feb 17, 2012 #9
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
    This may be the qoute you are after :eek:)
  11. Feb 17, 2012 #10


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    We will never know everything. The more we learn, the more we learn that we have more to learn. Sciences are a progression, not a race to an end-point.
  12. Feb 17, 2012 #11
    In the process of learning EVERYTHING, where we would we store this information?

    If the Universe is infinite wouldn't we need a Hilberts library?
  13. Feb 17, 2012 #12
    I think that physics could get to this point of knowing "everything" and maybe math. Maybe. However in chemistry, biology and history (just to name few) it is not possible to get to this point, because unlike in physics you do not look for basic laws that govern the universe, but their actual outputs.
  14. Feb 17, 2012 #13
  15. Feb 17, 2012 #14
    Even when we know everything, it will not fit into my brain.
    Even what we know now doesn't fit into my brain.

    People wonder what future knowledge will come out of mathematics and particle physics and quantum mechanics,
    but they don't even know the current knowledge of mathematics and particle physics and quantum mechanics.

    Like my friend who has 9000 VHS and DVD, of which he has watched at most 500, because he's too busy working and searching and looking for more DVDs.

    Is my friend stupid? Maybe, but no more than anybody else.
  16. Feb 17, 2012 #15
    Considering the very nature of life is fractal-like, no matter how far you look, or how close you look at something it gathers more detail as you look at it, and considering the fact that we are very limited at this time in even viewing remote bits of our universe close enough to understand it as a whole, it hardly seems possible that we will ever know all there is to know.

    Considering how many generations it would take merely to travel to the next star, (still a drop in an ocean as far as time goes), and the sheer effort it would take will keep us busy for a long, long time.
  17. Feb 17, 2012 #16
    I checked out the link marcus provided and read "The Self-Organizing Quatum Universe" and that is one of the most interesting papers I've ever read. Now I really understand that there will always be questions to ask and answers to seek.
  18. Feb 17, 2012 #17
    YES thank you cosmo :)
  19. Feb 17, 2012 #18
    http://www.signallake.com/innovation/SelfOrganizingQuantumJul08.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  20. Feb 18, 2012 #19
    I presume that 'when we figure it all out', we find a way to more easily store and retrieve information in the brain (and external devices).
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