I’ll place an even-odds bet that there are multiple universes beyond ours. I don’t base this on any scientific study of the cosmos. Rather, it flows directly from the successive revelations that have “surprised” humans since the dawn of civilization and that we humans fight tooth and nail not to believe.
Take, as a middle innings example, Copernicus’ heliocentric theory (that is, that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around). It was so difficult for humans to accept, that contemporaneous astronomers like Tyco Brahe developed their own set of orbits and systems showing how wrong Copernicus was. Like this:
Remember that wrong ideas can look tidy too.
Sometime later, Galileo was placed under arrest and forced to stop teaching Copernicus’ ideas. Yup, people were pissed! Old beliefs die long and slow deaths (300 years in this case), especially when they make us feel unimportant. Copernicus and Galileo were basically saying “hey, we’re not so special”.
Another great example of “what you see is NOT all there is” – Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. Nobody could fathom the world beyond the Eurasian continent that they knew and had seen. Once again, what was out there was much bigger than what we could see.
Even at the very beginning of humanity, I would bet that early tribes of humans were shocked to discover that there existed a world and people outside of their tribe and local area. No proof here although there were a lot of broken skulls which may be the ancient version of placing someone under house arrest, with a lot less of a meal cost.
So it’s a known cognitive mistake that we base our judgements and theories according to the information we have available. Daniel Kahneman had a bestseller elucidating this (and other), important biases, and how it leads us to be far too confident that we are right.
So yes, notice this tendency in yourself to tell stories that fit with existing information, are coherent, and make you feel good. Unfortunately, that tendency is also why it’s very hard to change your mind.
I use this idea of how people explain things to themselves in work and parenting, and it’s one of the best lessons I learned from working with Ray Dalio. Our ego’s need to be right prevents us from getting to the truth, which prevents us from learning and improving ourselves. I give my kids only one question when there has been a fight “what would YOU do differently next time?”. Try it, and see how hard they work to try to pin the blame on the others. Then try it on yourself and see how hard you make it to learn a lesson.
Back to universes. Yes, we can only fathom and see one. But given humanity’s long tradition of underestimating the scope of what exists, I’m placing my bet that there’s more out there.