Sunday, July 27, 2008

AETHER - The Physicalists' God


Aether is the empty space on which the Universe sits.

Empty space is real but does not exist as matter. Einstein was right, the Universe is background free. The Aether does not exist, yet, it is the physical but immaterial substance from which the Universe emerged.

How big is a point? Size does not apply, points are dimensionless. Same with empty space, it is dimensionless... yet, it contains the Universe. In this realm, we need to think in terms of state, not in terms of process. Process occurs as spacetime. Trying to mathematically describe a realm where there is no need for classical physics' laws is not acceptable. Terms like velocity or infinity, which imply motion, quantity, extension or duration, can't be used to describe empty space, they are non-descriptive and inappropriate. At the Aether scale there are no distances to cover, it is all pervading... the Aether is one.

This notion of a primordial substance is a very old one, also known as Akasha or Brahman, and many times described as pure energy or spiritual fire. It has been anthropomorphized by man since the times of Plato and Aristotle, the Chaldeans and the Akkadians. Called by names like Zeus, Jupiter, Brahma and other. Always seen as immaterial until 1964, when the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR, CBR or CMB) was discovered. Since then, there have emerged completely contradictory notions which now compete for acceptance. The reductionists are becoming restless in countless desperate attempts to quantify the unmeasurable. Now there are new claims of an absolute frame of reference showing up everywhere. They claim - We finally have a fixed frame! - as if we needed one.

If the Aether is physical but non-material, with no possible landmarks, how could it represent a fixed frame? Einstein, Minkowski and Mach described a different aether. This twentieth century aether differs from earlier aethers in that, in it, objects are relative to other objects, not to empty space, therefore avoiding a Principle of Relativity (POR) violation.

As Einstein said, there is no absolute space, space is an extension of matter. Space and empty space are not the same thing. Space is neither primary, nor fundamental, it does not exist by itself, it is a product, just as matter and time are products. Space is dynamic, it tells matter where to go and matter tells it how to curve. Empty space, on the other hand, is primary, non-derivable. There is flat empty space, then there is curved spacetime, or what is known as the observable Universe. Einstein's gravitational aether is the seat to an all relating process which he called spacetime.

Contemporary physics is increasingly turning into a cross between General Relativity and material space Quantum Mechanics. After we realized there was a CMB, we have slowly integrated particulate space into GR, while starting to take a serious look at emerging space flow theories combining QED (quantum electrodynamics) and Relativity.

Here, I use the aether concept in an attempt to solve the Hard Problem, to answer: What is that which is?

In most aether views, whether material or immaterial, the Aether is seen as an all knowing creative force, but not in this view. I compare the Aether to God in the sense that it is one, omnipresent and eternal but, at the same time, I argue that it is not all knowing. That it is a thing which can neither think nor see without a brain. That it sees, thinks and exists through matter, and that in that sense we truly are God's servants.

Aether is but does not exist as matter, it is before spacetime, before the Big Bang, Inflation, a CMB... etc. It is not matter, therefore, notions like motion, size or duration are not applicable, time does not apply. It is outside the rules of spacetime. Aether becomes through matter. But, as you probably know, energy is finite, this is the reason why nothing with mass can reach the speed of light. For a single proton to reach the speed of light the whole Universe would need to turn into that one proton. Because energy is finite and the speed of light needs to be kept constant for fields to work in the allowable speed range (0 to 300,000 km/s), there is time dilation and space contraction for material systems moving at relativistic speeds. As a proton reaches the speed limit, its waves are flattened, it loses its wavelength (energy) and goes back into being Aether. Slow down the system and it reappears... as required by local spacetime conditions.

"This shows us two things: you cannot have parts of the infinite and the infinite is indivisible. But indeed, even if the One is more like a Principle, and the one is undivided, then the whole Universe will be undivided either in quantity or in form." (Aristotle, 340BC)

"A substance cannot be produced from anything else: it will therefore be its own cause, that is, its essence necessarily involves existence, or existence appertains to the nature of it." (Spinoza, 1673)

"It need hardly be pointed out that with things that do not change there is no illusion with respect to time, given the assumption of their unchangeability." (Aristotle, 340BC)

Reduce yourself to the size of the smallest particle and what do you get? You get an empty space. Matter is made of fields and fields are little more than apparitions. Fields are shapes in empty space, lines of force. Matter is an illusion, but that is reality. Matter in spacetime is the one drawing the shapes, not some creator or designer. The Universe designs itself. Particle creation occurs according to local spacetime's energetic or thermodynamical requirements. Reality is process and process happens as spacetime.

Basil Hiley is correct, being remains constant during the process of becoming. Matter is only temporary, it has a beginning and an ending, it is subject to time (change). Things are because of the Aether, it is what gives them their temporary being status. The Real, as Hegel called it, that which is, is the Aether. Reality, on the other hand, simply refers to the process of becoming.

Whether there is an aether or not is finally answered; the Aether is but does not exist until it turns into matter.

This isn't a new theory but a new insight into already existing theories. A freshly synthesized interpretation consistent with already known and well accepted scientific facts. A fresh perspective in which the aether concept is reintroduced in an attempt to reconcile a centuries old notion of wholeness in space and time with actually established scientific paradigms. In addition to arguing for a common substrate to all matter, in a purely dialectical way, without math or complicated formulas, I relate self-awareness and perception to non-living, self-organized systems, thereby suggesting that consciousness is not a supernatural entity that precedes matter but an intrinsic property of Nature.

We need to take a better look at the cold hard facts. We have made huge technological advances, but spiritually and therefore politically, we have been stuck in time for the last two thousand years. For Humanity to solve its political and spiritual problems it needs to conclusively figure out the relationship between being, matter and space. Before we can move forward we need to make up our minds between fantasy and reality, we have to choose between superstition and reason.

This book represents, in a short and informal style, what I have realized after a lifelong quest for proof of wholeness in space and time as a fundamental property of the Universe. It is aimed at a general audience, going from the specialist to the layman, with the hope of further popularizing these deeply philosophical topics.