It has been well-noted that the large-scale structure of our Universe -- enormous clusters of galaxies connected by strings of other galaxies, free-floating stars, and immensely long whisps of nebulae -- strikingly resembles the microscopic arrangement of the neurons in the human brain (and, naturally, in animal brains generally). This can be seen in comparative images, like this one and this one. This has inevitably raised the question of whether it possible to map the forces and functions of our Universe to those going on within the neurons of the brain. After all, who knows? Perhaps the same mechanisms which allow our brains to "think" are going on as well at a Universal scale -- but instead of signals carried by short-range nuclear forces across molecules, they are being carried by light or gravity. Simply put, perhaps our Universe is a great thinking machine.

The human brain has about 86 billion neurons -- the neuron being, so far as we can discern, the fundamental unit of what allows cognitive processing and ultimately creative thought. If you lost a million neurons every day, you'd still have enough to last you over 235 years. Our Milky Way alone has, by comparison, over 200 billion stars; and there are estimated to be 200 billion galaxies in our known Universe (bearing in mind that there are many galaxies many times larger than ours). So if our Universe is mindlike, and individual stars are units of significance to its information processing activities, then it starts out at 500 billion times the processing units of our own. And this is without need (so far as we can conceive) of many leftover piscean and reptilian functions of our own brain, regulating breathing and hormone levels and such.

But getting back to that similarity in structures, if our Universe is indeed one enormous brain, it hardly seems that such a state would come about by chance -- it seems, instead, that a designer is in order, one who perhaps intended a multiplicity of purposes to come of all these galaxies and stars. And an "aware" Universe is a theory with some potential explanatory power, including the explanation of why we are "aware" beings within it. And, lastly, the very notion that our Universe may itself be a brain, within which we exist essentially insignificantly to its physical function (which would, after all, originate at least at the level of the stars themselves, if not whole galaxies), raises the prospects of what might exist at some unimaginably minute level within a neuron here and there of our own brains. Observed at the atomic level, these neurons themselves are composed of about 200 trillion atoms each. But the subatomic particles of these atoms are minuscule dots zipping about in what would appear from an electron-eye view as an extremely empty interatomic space. Some whole civilization may exist, with thinking beings having developed their own scale-appropriate technology, and using it at this very moment to wonder whether the exist within a thinking machine of a scope incalculable to them.

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