Does the early universe exist because we are able to see it?

I've always wondered how the early universe would have looked if no one was around to see it. I thought that because of how quantum mechanics depends on the observer and whatnot. But while driving and thinking I just realized that the early universe does in fact have observers. Us. We can look back and see the early universe and therefore give it a definite form. That's crazy to me and then made me really appreciate how time is relative. I then thought about how there might not only be alien civilizations looking at us through space but even from further ahead of us in time. I don't know it just sounds like an interesting discussion to me.

5 Answers

  • 1 month ago


  • 1 month ago

    The term "observer" is misleading because people associate it with life, consciousness and umpteen flavours of woo.  "Measurement" is a better one, and, as explained by @Jeffrey K, it doesn't need anything more than an environment to happen in.

  • 1 month ago

    You misunderstood quantum mechanics. The wavefunction collapses to a definite state when a measurement is made. But that doesn't require a living observer. Any interaction with the environment is a measurement. A single atom or photon interacting with the quantum system is a measurement, which collapses the wavefunction. 

  • 1 month ago


    it exists for unknown reasons. We humans happen to be a totally insignificant part of the universe, being a mere metre or so tall in a universe dozens of billions of light years across. We do not have the power to create a universe.

    I any case there is nothing magical about seeing (except on a personal level). Light strikes molecules in the retina and causes a chemical change. Light strikes molecules all the time throughout the universe. It makes no difference to the universe if a little primate on a tiny planet happens to receive a minute sample of it.

    Some folks, a few of which are unfortunately authors, have an unhealthy anthropocentric view of the universe, and don't seem to have caught on that the universe does not revolve around planet Earth. Their ramblings will confuse you if you promote them to being more than light entertainment. The quantum mechanics upon which some of their more nutty ideas depend mentions "observers" in various thought experiments, and unfortunately it has entered the popular narrative that an "observer" has to be something more than a subatomic particle. Not so. an observer is anything that interacts with the universe around it. It need not be human, canine, equine, avian, protozoan, bacterial, or even alive. Basically, the universe exists because it does.

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  • 1 month ago

    The early Universe would have existed regardless if there was an entity to observe it or not. The early Universe did not become transparent to light until after the reionization period AFTER the Big Bang, 260,000 to 340,000 years after. 

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