As a student of archaeology, this may be a strange place to write an article about cosmology, but archaeologists and cosmologists do the same thing -look into the past- just on different scales. I have always been interested in the structure and mysteries behind our universe. Archaeo-astronomy crosses both boundaries studying the cosmology of ancient civilisations, asking similar questions as cosmologists: how old are artefacts/stars? How did civilisations/galaxies form or societies/black holes collapse? What are our origins? The trowel is our telescope! So just think of the ancient Egyptians, Mali or Inca empires as galaxies and work from there with all your questions.
I wondered if there was a simpler way, a different way, to look at the universe. There is a tendency now to look at Big History and emergence theories and I tend to also view the big picture, because nothing exists without interactions on different levels. I imagine that theories like this have been suggested before and the way I would see the universe is as a series of interacting dimensions along the so-called branes. The universe would have its well-known dimensions and the lesser known ones to make up the suspected eleven dimensions: Length, breadth, depth, time (entropic field), mass (Higgs boson field), gravity (gravitons), strong force, weak force, electromagnetic force, dark matter (solitons/axions/neutralinos) and dark energy.
These eleven dimensions mesh together tightly to form an interweaving fabric that is the universal plane or brane. We know of the first four dimensions (length, breadth, depth, and time). The fifth would be an extra large dimension, which I would assume to be a hyper-field of Higgs bosons which gives everything its mass. Dimensions six to eleven are the tightly curled Kaluza-Klein spaces. Their spaces are so tightly curled that they would become almost fluidic in nature and leak' through the other larger dimensions in varying concentrations. On passing through the fifth dimension, they would gain their mass or loop quantum/string qualities before appearing in dimensions one to three. This could suggest a hierarchy among dimensions in that the particles' pass from one dimension to another in such an order as to give rise to the universe we see.
This further suggests a preferred direction in time, the fourth dimension (time) seen as an entropic field through which the other forces flow, causing a scalar flow across branes, manifested as cause and effect. There is not so much a time particle, but the way in which the other dimensional particles and forces flow creates mass and space leading to gravity, which in turn creates a preferred direction through the dimensions and our universe. So we are locked in a clockwork quantum universe', where even quantum effects are non-random, because they have to traverse the dimensions in a certain order and at a certain intensity for our universe to exist and work. Maybe this explains the superposition aspects of quantum particles as they are coming from over-lapping dimensions and thus appear to be in different states at once, because they exist simultaneously in other dimensions. Apart from our own three large dimensions, we do not have the technology yet to be able to view the other dimensions, thus superposition may be evidence of other-dimensional effects upon the particles.
The intensity of particle flow across the dimensions could explain the weakness of gravity relative to the other forces (strong, weak and electromagnetic) in our universe. While gravitons are yet to be detected, if ever, there may be some sort of filtering mechanism from one of the other branes or dimensions, which affects the graviton's movement. Either the Higgs boson field drags back gravitons, stealing' their energy or they are attracted somewhere else, like another universe where gravity is stronger.
Lastly, the issue of origins is also a commonality between archaeologists and cosmologists: Are we alone? Is this the only universe? My natural inclination is to say no, because everything in this universe comes in multiples, whether it be galaxy clusters, galaxies, stars and planets. The only singular things found so far in the universe are our habitable world and the universe itself. Now apart from the wastage of unused real estate, the universe has gone through a lot of trouble to create one singular habitable world in all its vastness. Is our world really just some toy wrapped in a ridiculous amount of packaging? If the conditions are right for us in our peripheral position within the galaxy, then surely somewhere out there is another form of life. What would happen if the human race disappeared in such a singular universe? Would another life form appear to take our place to fill the vacuum, as it were? Is this why we are finding so many new worlds and proto star systems, so that the universe is primed in the event of our premature or maybe even timely demise?
That could make sense, because nature abhors a vacuum and demonstrates this by seemingly filling up our universe with more energy, seemingly from nowhere -another brane or leaking' universe? Even that idea could lead to the theory of the ultimate recycling machine. If energy cannot be created or destroyed, just transformed, then our universe could be the recipient of or medium for recycled energy from other universes. This constant flow of energy through the dimensions replenishes each universe, topping it up with the right amount and kind of energy, maybe even to the point where life could begin.
I am not an advocate of the anthropic principle, but there may be a relationship between that energy flow and humankind. Just as we need oxygen, nitrogen, argon, etc., and the trace elements in our atmosphere to live, the universe could need its essential nutrients' to breed galaxies, stars, planet and life; after all, these dimensional particles and forces form the basics of all the elements. So we are here because the universe gets the right diet' of energy and is at an age to allow life to form. So whether we are alone or not, I do think that we are here at a privileged time of the universe, just as we are on the earth; we could not be here at any other point in time due to the prevailing conditions. As above, so below; there is symmetry between us and the universe, but we just have to know the scale and the right way to look at it.