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Ask The Cloud: What is life like in a shrinking universe?

I'm contemplating some ideas for a story at the moment, one of the topics that comes up, is what life would be like in a shrinking (rather than expanding) universe.

Would entropy be always decreasing? What would that mean? What would it be like to live in such a universe? What sort of things would be different? Would life arise? Would it be more or less the same?

I'd love to hear your ideas

Things would tend towards orderliness

Is this a universe that had previously expanded and then gravity has taken over and it starts to re-collapse again? In which case did some intrepid lifeforms survive the turnaround and are now living in the collapsing universe? They would certainly live in a strange place where entropy runs in reverse. You would need to protect the survivors from it in their own positive-running enropy field to witness it. This would take some energy but don't worry, there would be plenty of sources of this energy spontaneously 'organising' themselves all around you.

Or are you thinking of a universe that starts from the eqivalent of the turnaround point in the previous scenario and begins to collapse down to the big bang moment? It is hard to see how life could begin in a universe like this. This is probably just a failure of my imagination since, in such a universe, things would spontaneously organise themselves into ordered systems without the need for some general dis-order being dispersed to 'pay-for' it. Maybe in such a place orderly life would develop extra-rapidly.

Perhaps 'life' would take the form of islands of relative disorder in a rapidly crystallising universe and the fight for survival would be a fight to maintain this disorder in the face of encroaching orderliness.

Have fun.

KarnuVap - but you can call me Mr. Vap.

"Perhaps 'life' would take

"Perhaps 'life' would take the form of islands of relative disorder in a rapidly crystallising universe and the fight for survival would be a fight to maintain this disorder in the face of encroaching orderliness."

That's really cool, and it's clarified some of the things I was thinking, thanks. I do want to tease out the fact that information in it's purest sense is the enemy of knowledge (pure information has no structure, knowledge is all about structure), and also, thinking of our existence in this universe as primarily being about expending energy to maintain structure against the ravages of information I suppose at the moment, we use energy to maintain structure, perhaps in a collapsing universe, we would have to constantly produce energy to maintain information. Maybe the same kind of processes we go through to survive, but imagined operating backwards in time.

We would eat high entropy food, and take in high entropy energy and excrete very ordered waste so as to keep our internal entropy high.

Does anyone have any ideas about whether or not a shrinking universe actually would cause the second law to run backwards?

Black hole...

Might not the universe concentrate its matter, releases all its energy, and become a universal black hole? But what would happen to all that escaped energy?

The energy would fall into

The energy would fall into the black hole, and perhaps, would eventually explode (for the cosmologically cycling universe) (or perhaps just explode internally, firing off a bubble universe inside the black hole). At least, that's the theory I'd go with

Entropy wins...

The first thought I had was that entropy would be accelerated in a shrinking universe. All that dark matter crowding into the works...