Brian Greene on How To Make Your Own Universe

According to this radio broadcast, Stephen Hawking’s butt boy, Brian Greene, claims that humans are very close to being able to “create their own Universes.” Readers of this blog shouldn’t be surprised that Greene’s (probably Salvia-induced) hallucinations have reached this new low. But fans of Greene’s might be disheartened. At least now they can know the truth.

Greene’s idea has a couple of premises. One is his mythological view of history, that the beginning of the Universe happens “over and over and over again.”

He also talks about – get this – a “cosmic bubble bath.” If you listen carefully enough, you’ll notice that he admits his theories are a “mental exercise.” Indeed. So basically Brian Greene is doing Yoga, not physics. I ask you:


Interestingly, Brian Greene also justifies the Holocaust in this broadcast. He says, “I don’t think it’s a good guide to use our senses and our intuition to determine what we think is right or wrong.” Well Brian, that’s what Hitler said. Don’t worry, you just think genocide is wrong. Really the math works out quite nicely!

Without further ado, here are Brian Greene’s instructions for how to build a Universe:

If you want a manageable way of building a Universe, what you want to be able to do is build something pretty small. But a small thing is not a Universe, so it has to expand. For something to expand, there’s got to be some outward push, there’s got to be some repulsive push. And that’s where this repulsive side of gravity come into the story. There are conditions, which according to the Laws of  general Relativity, the laws Einstein wrote down a long time ago, well tested, those laws tell us that in this context of the right energy density carried by the right substance, you will have repulsive gravity, which means, if you can build this little seed, this little nugget, it will on its own start to expand, grow, faster and faster and faster, begin tiny and sprouting into a gigantic Universe. You can calculate that the nugget that we believe perhaps gave rise to our unvierse – maybe someone created it in their aprartment in some other universe – was about roughly, mmm, ten to the minus 26 cneitmeters across, weighed about ten pounds. That’s small! You wouldn’t really think intuitively you could build the whole universe from ten pounds of stuff. … But it turns out that that’s all you need, because the repulsive side of gravity is so powerful that it actually injects energy from gravity itself into the expanding space. So from that point of view all you need is the seed and the gravity takes over and does the rest of the work.

Now Mr. Greene thinks this “seed” needs a black hole. But how to get a black hole? As always, Greene has the answer.

It turns out that black holes don’t have to be big. You give me any object, and if I squeeze it sufficiently small … it will be a tiny black hole. There’s nothing that you could give me that I couldn’t turn into a black hole by squeezing it sufficiently small.

And if you’re worried that the Universe would expand and kill everyone, don’t be.

This Universe that you create would in essence create its own space. It wouldn’t encroach on your space by expanding into your domain, your house, into your region. It would expand by creating new space, space that hadn’t existed before. So it would be off on its own, if you will, creating its own bubble universe. What you’re creating on the other side is there, and in principle you could go there.

If you feel like after that primer, you’re still not quite able to make your own Universe, don’t feel bad. Greene’s instructions are border-line incoherent, and where they are coherent, they are impossible. For example, everyone knows that creating a black hole would cause Planet Earth to be sucked into itself. And so on.


17 thoughts on “Brian Greene on How To Make Your Own Universe

  1. Mw,

    No no no no. I wasn’t saying that I think we can build our own Universes, it’s Brian Greene who thinks that.

    Sorry if I didn’t make that more clear.


  2. Dear NS,

    Greene presents us, in effect, with a very bad recapitulation of Jacques Derrida, who, in conjunction with William P. “Charles” Shakespeare, have clearly declared the kerygma at the heart of the modern scientific enterprise. In short, Greene’s work is compelling in its threatened destruction of the principles of metaphysics of pure presence; what he fails to understand is the irreducibly linguistic construction of the universe insofar as it is knowable. Also, he uses puzzling measurements: cneitmeters–isn’t that the official unit of “What the Bleep Do We Know?” ?

    For the purposes of reimbuing science with the imagined dream of rigor that philosophy leant it until it decided to play Indian Giver, I will offer concise translations of what Greene *actually* meant:

    Without further ado, here are better instructions for how to build a Universe:

    Conduct a phenomenological reduction. Forget about expression, ie. that form of language that carries communicative content intended towards other humans in an actual world. Instead, retreat into the space where the living present presences itself to the internal consciousness. Remember that this is not actually speaking–here, the tyranny of the imagined word reigns, which means, if you can conduct this reduction, this little seed, this little nugget, it will start to grow and grow and grow until the metaphysics of pure presence is everywhere, and we will have forgotten its highly contigent constructed origins, hurrah! Other things that we will forget include: our deaths (which are occluded by our sudden preoccupation with the shiny totaliter aliter which is the promise of an objective transcendental which goes on and on without us), our shoes, political events in the year 1898, the bread in the oven. You can calculate that the little reduction that gave rise to our whole metaphysics (if you’re a good deconstructionist)–maybe someone (Plato?) gave rise to it in his apartment in some other universe–well, it was small. About 44 centimetres. You wouldn’t really think, intuitively, that you could build the entirely of metaphysics from the discontiguity of language at its origins! Only 44 centimetres! Check your bread in the oven, it’s burning! …But it turns out that’s all you need, because the Concealedness and persnicketing Lethe-like power of metaphysics is so powerful that it actually supplements its own origins. It gets bigger. Like, 67 centimetres and it’s only two years old! Like Robert Creeley said: speech is a mouth. So, from that point of view, all you need to do is render philosophically invisible the problem of absence and presence takes over and does all the work, for everybody. Presence, give back those jobs to the auto workers in Detroit!

    Now Mr. Greene *really* thinks this “seed” needs a différance. But how to get a différance? As always, Greene always already had the answer:

    “Everywhere, the dominance of beings is solicited by différance–in the sense that solicitare means in old Latin, to shake all over, to make the whole tremble.” So clearly we get différance from Kierkegaard, Edvard Munch, and Shake-speare.

    And if you’re worried that the metaphysics of presence would expand and kill everyone, don’t be:

    “There will be no unique name, not even the name of Being. It must be conceived without nostalgia; that is, it must be conceived outside the myth of the purely maternal or paternal language belonging to the lost fatherland of thought. We must affirm it… with a certain laughter and a certain dance. After this laughter and dance, after this affirmation that is foreign to any dialectic, the question arises as to the other side of nostalgia, which I will call Heideggerian hope…”

    Thus, we see that différance does not abhor its own Hoover. Nor was Herbert Hoover really at odds with the Rive Gauche.

    And more importantly, we can begin to hope (again).

    Yours in Scholarship,
    EF, M.Phil

  3. I’ve always hated the number 3. As long as we are creating our own universes, can I have one without the number 3? And ginger ale, I like that, it should have lots of ginger ale too. While I’m at it, make my new universe without cosmologists, statisticians, and other philosophers. Things would be so much simpler that way.

    Other than that, Greene is offering a re-simplified version of a current cosmological theory as it is described for the layman. The bit about 10 pounds of matter seems confusing though, as I think it is the energy density than matters, not the mass. But what to I know, I’ve just a statistician.

  4. Forgotten or Misplaced Citations

    ‘butt boy’: “Stephen Hawking’s butt boy[1], Brian Greene”

    1] Diva, Aging. “Tim Burton and the Cinema of Repeated Mediocrity,” 2009.

  5. The good thing about a black hole sucking Earth into itself is that in the final stages, time will be slowed down so much that we’ll hardly notice. Or something.

    I invent my own universes all the time. It’s called fiction. My universes are no less real than Greene’s! And my universes were legitimately created by a creator – me – complete with retroactive histories and patterns with deeper purposes. Too bad they’re peopled with characters who don’t believe in me. If I were a truly intelligent creator, I’d make my characters practice Stellaism. Maybe next time.

  6. wow, i mean, dont call him a nazi he was speaking the truth !!
    im currently writing my senior paper on this subject in relation to the novel frankenstein and i find the information very interesting

  7. You people are fucking idiots….. Both the publisher of this blog and ethel and well pretty much everyone wasting their time posting on this piece of shit. You would all be much more productive by standing in the corner of a room, shitting into your own hand and consuming it. Fuck you all. I wish upon a terrible and wretched death, hopefully something involving evisceration and removing your head from your ass.

  8. Oh my goodness 8^o Was it something we said?

    @NS: You might want to delete that one, as it really doesn’t contribute. You have been insulted by far better than that! 😉

  9. funny how a parapleegic iin wheel chair is picked as the absolute authority in science. somehow, it makes him more credible. lol. what a bunch of bullshit.

  10. None of this has been proven or is practical. Greene specializes in string theory wich has also not been proven, not only that but both string theory and the evolving universe theorys are both classified as unprovable and therefore should be ignored as they are nothing but a interesting construct, a model that looks nice but falls apart when you acually read the label. we arn’t going to be sucked into a mini-black hole. they collapse immediatly, we cant see any universes we might have created, creating a black hole invoves gravitational or kinetic energy density several times greater than the gravitation of the sun. The whole thing is idiotic, Greene is a man who has become engulfed in daydreams and wishy washy theorys that have no bearing on reality, it happens to the best of us. I think that the only universes we are creating any time soon whould be of the type stella described, fictional, besides we are all gods in our own heads what do we need to start messing with black holes for.

  11. Author, your interpretation is completely out of context and self-made (by yourself).

    If I said that a organism is a design, would you jump right to the anthropogenic context of “someone must have designed it” or would you take the correct scientific approach and tell yourself that a design is nothing more than a blueprint – how it is designed, how it comes to be, is completely irrelevant.

    This is analogous to this situation; while the sensible people in the world would appreciate Greene’s explanations based on how he manufactures them to be relevant and understood by the common person (because they do not have the correct language or understanding of concepts to understand his real way of explaining it), you take most of it for literal! What are you a Muslim? Maybe a Vulcan -> you can’t tell the difference between when one is explaining something rigidly accurate or via an analogy! The whole reason scientists do this is so the common people can understand, if he was not talking to a stupid audience he could refer back to the completely sensible context of using perfect mathematical relationships, but when he has to explain something complicated to someone with limited cognitive ability, he dumbs down his explanation – to clear up why his quote is so easily understood while also being a scholar. You think everyone would be talking about his ideas if they were not legible by the unintelligent population?

    Haha mental exercise = yoga? What are you a leftist or an arts student? Any thought experiment is a mental exercise. AKA how Einstein came up with his theories. Yeah maybe for the useless commoner yoga is the pinnacle of mental exercise (i.e. not thinking at all), haha you stupid dumbass can’t even see through that??

    And while you try to mock his ideas, you provide absolutely no tangible argument towards his attacks. All you do is attack the semantics of how he explains his idea in an easy manner so the stupid can understand, looks like he couldn’t account for you! If he explained it any more complicated you would be stumped! Why are you not appreciating his analogy (of right, you didn’t know he was using them, you thought he was being completely serious)?

    I am so sorry that you were butt hurt and disappointed that you can’t make your own universe (that seems to be the vibe given off). I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you that his explanation was a collection of analogies and referable situations for the common person, to provide correspondence to their understanding and thus teach them hard concepts using things they already know. I’m so sorry you can’t make your universe.

    You should also know that your an animal, and will never actually be able to understand everything, the next in line in intelligence are dolphins and chimps; I don’t think one more step in intelligence from them implies a creature that can effectively conceptualize the workings of the universe! So freaking obvious and trivial and yet there are people like you about, in the “bottom 1%” of the IQ bellcurve.

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