Learning: the unobservable universe

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The concept of the observable universe is a concept in astrophysics encircling all of the matter that we can “see” in space from Earth. It’s not all there is to see, but it’s what has travelled to us in the time we’ve been looking and measuring. It’s bigger than the visible universe, because it includes being able to measure the very footprints and traces left by whatever the big bang was. It’s full of trillions of galaxies.

The observable universe is a visualisation of the limitations of our own technology. We learn a lot from those limitations. The observable universe is vast and fascinating and as rich as our own data can afford us.

However, there’s something that for me is even more fascinating to think about.

Beyond the cosmic horizon, the vast unknowable – the unobservable universe. There is information that will just never reach us.

The more I delve into astrophysics, the more I realise that so many of the concepts relate to learning.

The way our earth-bound thinking and theories tries so desperately to capture, evaluate and measure learning. To bind it to the measurable.

Learning, when thought about as an unobservable universe, has no lens from which to gaze through. It is only recognising that our view is bounded, and by attempting to ensure that from time to time we call our limitations into our actions and think and play unbounded.

How do we unlearn?

“…our understanding of the actual universe is bounded by the edge of the observable universe. We cannot know for sure what lies beyond the enclave our instruments can detect.”

Paul Halpern  The Nature of Reality


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