I want you to play along with me today. Read and imagine. Follow me down this rabbit hole. Don’t be afraid.
Imagine, if you can, and you know you can if you try really hard, three universes. Each is completely self contained and has no connection to the others what so ever. In order to do this you must split yourself in three, but don’t worry: it won’t hurt a bit. Now, in order for this story to have any point at all, you must follow the rules. (I know rules can seem oppressive and even arbitrary, but you must trust me that they exist for a reason and must be obeyed.)
Now, let us consider each universe singularly. The first universe is exactly like our own, so this should require very little effort to image, although anyone who has ever actually tried to imagine the universe (even just “as it is”) can tell you it is actually not easy at all to conceive the entire universe in it’s possible infinity. But nonetheless, this is our first universe: it is just like ours; you could even use ours as a substitute for the process of creating a duplicate universe (that is a lot of work for very little reward I suspect!).
Now, on to our second universe. There is a very special rule pertaining to our second universe, a rule which absolutely must be obeyed no matter what. The primary rule of this second universe is that there is no consciousness allowed anywhere in this universe. Maybe it had a beginning. Maybe it has an end. Maybe there are stars and planets, maybe not. Maybe there are hills and mountains and rivers and trees… Maybe not. Regardless, no one and no thing has ever or will ever have any awareness of anything ever in this second universe whatsoever. That is a rule and you must obey it.
Sharp minded readers are already objecting on the basis that to conceive of this second universe is to entertain a certain level of awareness of it de facto, thereby making strict observation of the primary rule of this second universe untenable. Bear with this paradox, for refreshing fruit grows on this tree.
Now, our third universe is not really a universe at all. Scientists and philosophers the world over and throughout history have debated the greatest question ever: “To Be, or Not To Be”. We will explore a leg of this maze with our third universe, for it is an anti-universe: It is To Be NOT. Instead of something, in our third universe there is nothing. No time, no space. Never was, never will be. Nothing to be aware of, no one to be aware of it. [Can anyone else hear Rod Serling at this point?]
Now, stop reading for a moment and ensure that you have a clear and precise grasp of all three universes in your mind, paradox be damned. Take a moment to study each of them in minute detail. Meditate on each universe and familiarize yourself with the particulars of each one. Next I’m going to ask a question of comparison and contrast. Do your best to answer thoughtfully. Don’t rush. There is no prize nor any penalty for any answer given (at least not from or by me – you may consider yourself rewarded or punished based on your self honesty as you answer the question).
Tell me, in all truthfulness, what is the difference between our second universe and our third?