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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 5: What Comes After The End of the Universe?

The concept of “eternity” is a pretty fantastical one. Within our eyes, we can think ahead a few days, weeks, or months. Get to the realm of thinking ahead a year or two and it feels like forever—at least in my eyes. Granted, as you grow older, we all tend to think ahead in the long term, but for anyone who’s on the younger side: thinking ahead to a year like 2025 probably feels like an impossibility—or at least inconceivable.

Though what if we’re to think ahead, say, 1,000 years. That’s unfathomable; none of us will be around to bear witness to the turn of the millennium. I mean, who even knows what awaits us when that time comes. Could Earth have plunged into chaos? Will we be on Mars? The possibilities are endless and they’re equal parts exciting and terrifying to think about.

That, however, is small in scale when it comes to thinking ahead. With this write-up, we’re going to have to think in the longest sense of “long term”. For where we’re going, we need to head to the point when time runs out—forever. Lights out, baby! Time’s up. Pun goes here.

You see, on this delightful day, we’re going to accelerate this introduction by a lot—billions of years—from what would be a beginning to the end. You see, when I was putting this Decemystery together, I wanted a write-up that would stick out in a way that would make it shine like the last star as the Universe ends. Coincidentally, the idea that came to me was asking—and trying to answer—the question: what comes after the Universe ends? A scary thought for sure, but could we possibly answer it? Well, let’s try just that.

The Story

The first thing to mention is that, well, there isn’t really a “story” here—at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, this is more of a straightforward question, but one that has two levels to it. Before we get to the main level—the main floor if you will—we must first go break in and sneak through the basement. Committing crime the Vertigo way, we’ve got seven security systems to bypass. Or, in less cringey terms: there are seven possible ways the Universe will end. So let’s go through them!

#1: The Big Rip

With a name that would likely make any child giggle, we have an event that’s equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying. The Big Rip would be triggered if there is more Dark Energy than Dark Matter; the former increases the rate at which the Universe expands while the latter slows it down (remember that as it’ll be important after this theory). Should this be the case, in at least 16 billion years, the Universe’s expansion will be accelerating so rapidly that it will rip itself apart.


Should anyone be unlucky enough to be alive, they would bear witness to what I could only describe as a Michael Bay film on super-ultra-mega-giga-supreme steroids. Stars, planets, ions, atoms, literally everything would be torn apart and destroyed. Whoever is unlucky enough to bear witness to this event would be burned alive as the Universe is destroyed in a fiery cataclysm of Biblical proportions.

Interestingly, this end is one of the more popular ones from what I’ve seen. There are scientists out there who are pretty certain there’s more Dark Energy than Dark Matter, but whether or not that’s the case is up for debate.

#2: The Big Crunch

This is the second most popular theory and is basically the reverse of the Big Rip. Instead of there being more Dark Energy, there’s more Dark Matter. As such, the Universe slows down and then reverses; it begins to collapse in on itself into a little ball of happiness and nothingness.

In essence, we achieve singularity. Everything is just… condensed into nothingness. So then what? Well, nothing. We’ve achieved singularity. Woopty-doo, everything is gone…

Or is it?

Indeed, there is a possibility that the Big Crunch isn’t all it seems to be. However, for us to answer that, we need to get to the next possible way the Universe ends. So… uh, let’s do that.

#3: The Big Bounce

This theory is like the previous one, but it has a positive outcome. Instead of the Universe achieving singularity and ending up being a condensed ball of nothingness (okay, I know that isn’t how it works, but let me be), it ends up bouncing. Or, in simpler terms, the Big Bang happens again.

This is a fascinating theory since it basically means that the Universe is cyclical; there is no end ever. Instead, all is created, ends, and is recreated. It’s like my phoenix allegory earlier, but the phoenix is crushed and then thrown and it spreads its wings over billions of years. Guess it’s winging it on a universal scale.

I’ll show myself out.

#4: The Big Freeze

Also known as the “Heat Death of the Universe”, this could be considered a contender for the second most popular theory for how the Universe will end—perhaps even the most popular. It’s very simple: Dark Energy and Dark Matter are equal—at least I believe that’s how it goes (don’t judge, I’m seriously rusty on my physics and stuff). Either way: the Universe won’t implode or explode. Rather, it’ll just expand and do so at a rate where we won’t go kaboom or get crushed.

On the downside, there will come a point when the stars will all die and heat will be non-existent. Black Holes will reign supreme and, well, the Universe will be a dark, dim, cold place. It’s a strangely depressing theory, though it’s also one where it’s possible that life could still exist. More on that later though; let’s continue onward since we’re at the half-way mark for ways the Universe will end up as dead as my hopes and dreams.

#5: Vacuum Metastability Event

Oh my. It’s this one again.

If any of you read my write-up on WR-104, you likely remember how much I struggled to explain the “False Vacuum” theory. Well, this is the “proper” term for that event. The Vacuum Metastability Event is… well, it basically posits that if we live in a False Vacuum, we could, at any second, all be obliterated by the vacuum basically breaking. Again, if you’re a quantum or particle physicist, I beg you to comment and explain this better than I can because it’s something that my brain cannot comprehend. Alas, leaving it out feels like a crime.

#6: The Bigly Simulation Goeth Bye-bye

Ah yes, this theory. You’ve all likely heard the claim that the Universe is a simulation. Well, some posit that our overlords will flick the simulation off one day and we’re all dead. There’s little more to it than that. Perhaps they’ll one day turn it back on, perhaps they’ll add mods or something. Maybe they’ll restart it. Either way, it’s a real theory, but most scientists reject it.

#7: It Won’t

This theory is one I had never heard in spite of it seeming like one almost everyone would’ve thought at one point in their life. It simply posits that the Universe will never end—ever. Instead, it’s infinite and will expand, expand, expand, and all will go on. However, unlike in the Big Freeze/Heat Death, the Universe will march on and all will basically be as normal as can be.

This is certainly an optimistic outlook if I’ve ever seen one, but could such a thing be possible? I honestly don’t know, but it’s a real theory and it’s one that I may read more on since it piqued my curiosity a great deal. So maybe in the near future, I’ll do an independent write-up on it.

I digress though. With that, we now know of seven ways that the Universe could end. So is there anything that one could add to it? Well, truth be told, the answer is no. Given that everything relies on hypotheticals, I believe that most of it is best suited for the theories section—a very short theories section at that. Oh well, nobody ever said that I had to do actual work to write-up theories. Ah-hah, I’m a sad soul.


1. The Universe resets

The first theory is that time truly is infinite and the Universe is in an endless loop of sorts. When it ends, it begins anew. The end is the beginning; from life comes death and from death comes life.

The idea here mostly relates to the Big Bounce. The Universe ends up collapsing in on itself and then bang! A new Big Bang happens and it begins once more. Simple as that—albeit, it’d take billions of years and we’d all be long dead (unless, of course, humanity thrives billions of years into the future).

Now, whether or not everything happens as it did the last time is up for debate. Whether humanity pops up can be discussed for as long as Wolf Blitzer has been reading from a teleprompter. Presumably, the Universe isn’t a perfect cycle, but given it's vastness, I would hazard a guess and say that life pops up somewhere—unless this Universe’s resets are like an endless loop and I’m the third, tenth, or six-hundredth incarnation of Vertigo22. I digress though, that’s a topic for when I get to the “My Take” section. For now, let’s continue onward.

2. Nothing

The second theory and most depressing is that nothing happens afterwards; the Universe remains either torn apart or in a state of absolute nothingness. You, your family, your friends, myself, and that creepy guy down the street are nothingness too. Everything is nothingness; we’re  eternally trapped in an empty void. However, like every other theory, nothing can prove this. It’s mere speculation, so don’t dwell on it too much. Unless, of course, you want everything to just disappear. In which case, you’re a nihilist (don’t take that seriously, it’s a joke).

This theory ties heavily into the Big Rip and the Big Crunch, though the Vacuum Metastability Event/Big Slurp/Big Whatever Else is Like This can be duct taped to it. Whether or not you buy into it is seriously on you; in my eyes, it’s one that hinges heavily on your worldview (though some sciency folks may criticize me for that).

3. Light sputters out, but life continues on

One of the most unique theories, this one posits that the Universe will succumb to the Big Freeze/Heat Death, but life will evolve to endure the lightless, empty void that will encompass the Universe. The life forms will be slower, but nonetheless could survive in the harsh, frigid environment. Of course, it’s merely hypothetical, so make of it what you will.

4. Simulation Status - Concluded

The fourth theory is that the simulation will be shut off. This theory is seriously reliant on whether you believe that reality is like the Matrix and that our creators decide that they’ve had enough and delete us all. No more, no less. Though who knows, maybe they’ll do some hotfixes and make the simulation a better place. Or maybe they’ll add paywalls to it and we’re all going to be gypped out of good content.

5. Kablooey

This theory is quite open-ended and peculiar as it’s both the most open-ended and easy to cast aside as being open-and-shut. It posits that the Big Rip is the way the Universe will end. Okay, fair enough, so our plane of existence goes out in a blaze of glory. So what happens afterwards?

Well, there are a few ways you look at it. The first is that everything remains gone. A sorrowful outlook, but then what? Well, if you were to ask some folks: they’d say that there’s nothing after. Everything is just gone. Poof, done. Existence is over.

Certainly a peculiar outlook in my eyes, but fair enough. Though one can argue that the Universe, in tearing itself apart, also rebirths itself. Think of it like a Phoenix dying. It turns into ashes and then, at some point, it’s reborn in flames—or in the case of the Universe, an explosion that takes a long freaking time to be habitable. What an explosive timetable.

6. Slurpee Time

I have no idea exactly how on Earth particle physics works and I cannot make heads, tails, body parts, or really anything when it comes to the Vacuum Metastability Event. In spite of that, leaving it out would be criminal since it’s still one of my favorite “What If?” scenarios. Like, think about it: all life just goes “poof!” faster than you can blink. Pretty spooky, but also fascinating. As such, some out there suspect that maybe God will take his Godly Slurpee straw and spitball the Higgs Boson so we all end up going poof. Or maybe I’m being a really bad Catholic by making a joke like that. Either way, yeah, that’s a thing.

7. It ends, but we’re one of gazillions

As I mentioned in the fifth theory, this one posits that while everything is gone, we’re but one of an infinite number of Universes that has come and gone. So life goes on, but our Universe is done for. Yay…? Yeah, yay!

8. God remakes the Universe

The religious variant to the eighth theory—and the final one one overall; the idea here is that a higher power simply remakes the Universe in His (or Her) image. There’s very little I’m willing to add beyond that as this theory relies heavily on you being a religious person and I don’t desire to feed into beliefs (even if I myself am highly religious). As such, I’m leaving it at this. For real. Okay, we’re moving on. Let’s go.

My Take

I honestly believe that the Universe is cyclical; I firmly believe in the Big Bounce theory. Heck, I think that this isn’t even the first Universe. I think that time truly is eternal and that it will never end—so I’m willing to put stock in the Universe being eternal. However, I believe more in the Big Bounce since I’m firmly an optimist when it comes to this. I don’t think it can ever truly end.

You see, I’m someone who thinks that life and the Universe as whole are much bigger, grander, and more mysterious than we can ever hope to comprehend. I’m someone who thinks that ghosts, spirits, curses, magic, and other things exist. I think that psychic mediums are real, I think Fleshgaits are real, I think a lot of things are real that would get me ridiculed for saying. Heck, it’s why I picked the name “Limitless Possibilities”. I think that the possibilities in this world of ours are, well, limitless.

As such, I think that the Universe holds a great many secrets from incarnations long since gone. We’ve yet to discover them and perhaps, when we do, we’ll learn what the meaning of life truly is. Who knows though. Perhaps we’ll find secrets that would drive any mortal man to the brink of insanity.


I cannot say for certain what will happen when the Universe ultimately ends—or when light goes out for good. Though I remain optimistic that life will continue on; I believe that all will be fine. Alas, that’s just me. Tell me what you think will happen, dear reader. Do you think that all will reset, or will slower lifeforms will grow from the lightless Universe? Let me know and stuff. So until tomorrow, take care and stay happy, healthy, safe, and away from anything related to being around when the Universe ends.

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