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AETHER: The Physicalists' God - RSS feed - Add to Google

Sun, Aug 3rd - 4:33AM


Aether is the empty space in 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.

"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)

How big is a point? That is just like asking how big is empty space. Size does not apply, points are dimensionless. Same with empty space, it is dimensionless, yet it contains the universe. This is why it is said that we could fit the whole universe in a point. 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. Notions like size, age, velocity, or infinity, which imply motion, quantity, extension, or duration, should not be used to describe empty space. That is what Einstein meant when he said there was no time before the Big Bang. At the aether scale there are no distances to cover, it is all pervading... the aether is one. Instead of asking what happened before the Big Bang, it makes more sense to ask which was its state.

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 they finally have a fixed inertial frame, as if we ever needed one. But according to Relativity, objects in spacetime are relative to each other, not to empty space.

If the aether is physical but non-material, with no possible landmarks, how could it represent a fixed inertial 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 violation.

As Einstein said, space is an extension of matter. That is because 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. There is flat empty space, then there is curved spacetime, or what is known as the observable universe.

Therefore the universe is background free and there is no fixed, nor absolute frame of reference. There is absolute reality. From Einstein's General Theory of Relativity we get that objects are not relative to empty space, they are relative to other objects with mass. Respect to Relativity, what is absolute is not empty space, what is absolute is the objective universe, the world. This is what makes GTR (General Theory of Relativity) true, everything is related through and by the aether. Or, how could it be that when a body is accelerated to near the speed of light, time and length must change in relation to a stationary observer? Wasn't space supposed to be absolute, primary, independent, and not derivable from anything else? According to General Relativity, the universe is one single entity, one process. Space... objects... Mankind... all come from one thing, which by definition, we call aether.

Contemporary physics is increasingly turning into a cross between General Relativity and 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 QM (quantum mechanics) and Relativity.

Here, I use the aether concept in an attempt to solve what many call the Hard Problem, and 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.

"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)

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.

The aether is but does not exist as matter. It is before spacetime, 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.

The aether becomes through matter. As a proton reaches the speed limit, its waves are flattened, it loses its wavelength (energy) and goes back to being aether. Slow down the system and it reappears... as required by local spacetime conditions. Energy is finite, as you probably know, this is the reason why nothing with mass can reach the speed of light. For a single proton to reach the speed of light, it would require more than all the energy available in the universe. 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.

"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)

Matter is 99.9999% empty space. Reduce yourself to the size of the smallest particle and you will still see nothing more than empty space. Matter is made of fields and fields are little more than apparitions. Fields are shapes in empty space, lines of force. Matter seems like an illusion, but that is reality, and 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.

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

This is not 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 modern 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 an independent supernatural entity separate from matter, but an intrinsic property of all matter.

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 spiritual and political problems, it needs to conclusively figure out the relationships 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 issues.

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August 2008
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