On Dark Matter: Can We Eat It?
Spoiler alert: we can’t. :(
I don’t know what kind of thoughts must cross through the mind of an individual who bothers pondering upon these questions, but since I like to take pride in my lack of judgement towards people and their mental processes, I will offer my opinion (as a “serious physicist”) on the matter.
According to our current understanding, dark matter doesn’t care about us. In fact, it cares so little that it ignores us completely. Although we shouldn’t feel offended by this, because dark matter ignores everything. Even itself, given that it passes through other dark matter as if it wasn’t out there in the Universe.
Therefore, we are dealing here with a substance that acts as if there is nothing other than itself. A statement that we can be sure of, due to the small amount of interactions that dark matter has with anything outside itself. Especially at our scale, where there is nothing that our dark friend can do to affect us; going so far, in fact, as to make us believe that it is non-existent.
But it does exist, right?
To be honest, we don’t know. We don’t even know what the hell dark matter is. In turn, making us ignorant in regards to the size of its particles, its precise temperature and the ways in which it acts on our Universe.
All we know is that it seems to be pretty much everywhere and that it affects gravity somehow. In fact, we could be interacting with dark matter right now and we would have no way of knowing. At all.
And all this because we simply cannot feel such interactions. Not through touch. Not through smell. Not through hearing. Not through taste. Not through vision. It’s simply impossible.
Then, to answer the question teased in this essay’s title, I will offer another: How could we eat something that we are not able to experience sensitively?
I know that it is possible to try to perform this act in our brains. But this isn’t the same as actual eating, is it? After all, thoughts don’t always translate into tangible actions. We haven’t evolved to that point yet. So, taking into account our current limits, the best thing anyone can do is to mentally consume some dark matter, because physically this is not possible.
Now, the reasons why someone would decide to imagine such a thing don’t matter to me. Instead, what I would be interested to know is the kind of sensory information that an individual attempting this would attribute to something as abstract and dark as this substance is. At least I don’t think I’m creative enough to picture such a scenario in my head. I prefer to have real food (you know, the boring one, made out of matter), but to each their own.
Hence, with all humour, allow me to say:
To every dark matter consumer out there, may you have an appetising meal.
Thanks for the read. (: