The recycling universe?

Listened to a short, funny, disjointed but thought-provoking talk by John Dobson recently. Most encouraging (to me) was his adamant belief that the universe is not sliding toward an irreversible “heat death” but is instead recycling itself infinitely. I didn’t catch the details, and couldn’t possibly defend it scientifically, but it somehow feels right (or is it just my desperate attempt to avoid death?) (John was hard to follow, but this guy summarizes it a bit better.)

As opposed to Dobson’s theory, I sometimes wonder if the universe is perpetually expanding and contracting from and to a singularity, essentially destroying everything in it in order to start over. Even this seems better than heat death. Sort of like the breath of God or the dance of Shiva.

Still, after the talk, I couldn’t help but think of Whitman:

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

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