When I was four or five years old, I had the old idea in my mind that the universe was mostly stable. The stars and the Sun stayed in their place, the Earth rotated to make the Sun looks like it moves, and the other planets orbit the Sun.
Then I found out that everything was moving, and thought that was frightening… how could the objects avoid colliding! I didn’t learn that they were in stable orbits and so very far apart until later.
1) The sun “blowing up” and expanding past the earth’s orbit, thus sautéing us.
2) It’s more than just likely that there’s no “point” to all of this, that we are simply emergent phenomena of chemistries that made copies of themselves.
Perhaps the thing that terrified (terrifies) me the most about the universe is the theory, which I read about just a few months ago, that the whole universe is actually a 2-dimensional construct, and what
we experience is just one vast hologram. Disturbing, deeply disturbing.
I had a weird ‘thought connection’ earlier, that may have started here…
Since I totally reject the above notion ~ and personally relate most of our (suicidal) current world problems to people’s inherent confinement to their limited 2-dimensional perspective of the world around them.
I sort of agree with Some Guy. I didn’t get frightened when I first learned about entropy, but I certainly got P.O.ed. I didn’t believe it at first and thought very hard to try to come up with some way of disproving the 2nd law (OK, so as a kid I wasn’t a wise ass. Rather, I was a smart ass.). It took a while, but it really helped me restructure my concept of the universe and reality.
Entropy didn’t/doesn’t scare me, nor does the fact that before it dies, our sun will swallow the earth. It is just the shear space that goes on and on while physicists debate the size and shape of the universe!
I can’t really say that anything that I’ve ever learned about universe scares me. If I ever felt fear, it was probably because I didn’t understand something. I thought it was very scary, for example, that we are on a collision path with Andromeda, until I learned from Philip Plait that we are actually merging with another galaxy at this moment and that doesn’t seem to be going too bad, does it? I learned that spaces between stars are too great to cause stars to collide with each other when galaxies are merging. Ignorance is not bliss, at least not to me.