Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poll 76 - No Space, No Time, No Mass

Poll 76:"From a photon's point of view there is no space, no time, no mass. Light does not exist within the world of spacetime and matter."
Poll ended January 8, 2011. 70.2% agreed, and 29.8% disagreed.

As you can probably tell as we look at this current crop of poll questions, I became quite fascinated with the ramifications of my Light Has No Speed entry, and each of these poll questions are looking at the same idea from a number of different perspectives. Where am I heading with this? In 2011, I've been repeatedly showing the following diagram, which is a way of thinking about how gravity and light interact to create our constantly evolving "now" within the fifth dimension. And as I keep returning to, Einstein himself eventually agreed with the proposition that the field equations of gravity and light for our reality are resolved when they're calculated in the fifth dimension. Coincidence? I think not.

One of the most important ideas that spring from this diagram might be that it's more accurate to think of light and our universe's duration as residing within the fifth dimension. Does that mean time is a direction in the fifth dimension? In a way it does, but since we're already calling the first four dimensions spacetime, does that make any sense?

My answer to that conundrum is that words like "time" are the same as words like "up" or "forward". They represent directions, not specific dimensions. Time is a way of describing change from state to state, and those changes make just as much sense whether they're viewed from the direction of "time" or "anti-time". Is "up" a direction in the 3rd dimension, or is it "forward"? Either could be true, it depends upon your frame of reference. And can the direction of "up" point at only one thing? Likewise, can the direction of "time" point at only one thing? Again, what these directions are pointing at depends upon your frame of reference.

But as we discussed with the above poll question, the photon's ability to travel at the speed of light puts it within a specific space where there appears to be only one possible set of states from the beginning to the end of the universe, which would be at "right angles" to our spacetime, where the star ten light years away emitting a photon and that photon hitting your eye are, from the photon's point of view, simultaneous.

This takes us back to the hard determinist viewpoint that there is really only one world line for our universe, and our free will is only a useful illusion, nothing more. In the past I've said that's the difference between the "one world line" that seems to be the fourth dimension, and the "fifth dimension probability space" that we are really navigating within.

So. Is "time" a direction in the 5th dimension, or is time in the 4th? Either can be true, it all depends upon your frame of reference.

Next week, we'll continue this discussion as we look at a new video - The Quantum Observer. Coming up next - Are We Each in Our Own Filter Bubble?

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton