Is cyclical cosmology, the idea that everything repeats over and over again, the simplest cosmology? If not, what are some simpler cosmologies?

1 Answer 1


How is a cycle simpler than a straight line?

One-shot cosmologies are naturally simpler logically in several ways:

  • They are robust relative to perturbance and chaotic attraction since they do not require things to line up perfectly at the start and end of a cycle
  • They do not produce a large number of entities (everything in the whole next cycle) that cannot be accessed or tested for in our current universe
  • They can exist with or without conservation laws
  • They allow for the things we currently observe going in a single direction (like spatial expansion and entropy increase) to really just continue forever, without somehow 'correcting' for going 'too far'.

The simpler solutions just feel bad because of Kant's antinomy on the start and end of time. We have a conceptual problem with the start and end of time, and we transfer this difficulty onto the start and end of human consciousness, finding it difficult or insulting to imagine consciousness first arising, or 'the soul' ending. But those could just be our problems, and not the universe's.

A single point that escapes our intuition and bothers us in a vague way is not additional complexity in the same way rigid conservation laws or multiplication of entities is.

  • But wouldn't the information content decline to zero via entropy?
    – D J Sims
    Oct 30, 2016 at 4:51
  • How is that significant cosmologically? Yes, it is annoying, and we dislike the notion, but letting the world fade away still involves less extraneous concepts and combinations than having it cycle. There is a difference between outright simplicity and intuitive appeal.
    – user9166
    Oct 30, 2016 at 5:03
  • Also, entropy falls under the last enumerated criterion, where not cycling lets laws not change (I have added it for clarity). If you want the thing to cycle, you need a 'Boltzmann Bounce" moment where entropy starts decreasing, a maximum entropy state away from which organization naturally falls, or a compression that takes the denominator (the number of possible microstates) to zero, so the computation becomes temporarily undefined. Otherwise, you cannot get back to the lower level of entropy the thing had earlier, so it can never again be in that state.
    – user9166
    Oct 30, 2016 at 5:11
  • So it sounds like everything ends, and goes back to the beginning, based on your answer
    – D J Sims
    Oct 30, 2016 at 6:50
  • No, entropy prevents it from ever going 'back to the beginning' unless the rules change. (Did you read it or are you just fixated on proving yourself right?) There are possible ways the rules might change, but we are not sure any of them are possible, and none of them are likely.
    – user9166
    Oct 31, 2016 at 14:23

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