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After we've saved our planet from the effects of climate change, extended the human lifespan exponentially, and created the means for quick interstellar travel, humanity will set its sights on the ultimate goal: saving our universe from certain destruction. In his new book, The Beginning and the End, the young French philosopher Clément Vidal places age-old questions of value in the context of our present scientific and cosmological knowledge. "Are Good and Evil relevant notions on the cosmological scale? What is the meaning of our lives if all trace of our civilization is destined to disappear with the Universe?"

What's the Big Idea?

For Vidal, the ultimate goal of science must be to prevent the death of universe, which is scheduled to fizzle out in an event called the Big Chill about a googol years from now (that's 1 followed by 100 zeros). The best way to nullify the effects of our own dying universe would be to create a new one through the use of artificial cosmogony, meaning that once we understand more fully how this universe came into existence, we develop the technology to start another of our own. This probably entails, according to Vidal, existing as a disembodied collective consciousness--achieving a concept called the noosphere.

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