ABOUT A MORE APPROPRIATE MIND-MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE.
I hope you find this stimulating. Out of respect for your expertise in these matters, I skip nearly all of the painstaking justification and careful development of each sub-conclusion. I have learned that while I am developing my theories in painstaking detail, I generally lose the interest of my audience! If I am fortunate enough to have raised enough interest on your part to warrant a more detailed development of any aspect of my proposed model, I would be happy to do so.
Because we somewhat arogantly view our “selves” as independent observers of the physical world around us, we are excessively prone to misinterpret what we “see”. Our minds are, in fact, specialized features developed for specific purposes, just as are all other features of our bodies.
Our brains create models of everything we contemplate - models which are optimized to enable us to navigate and survive within the physical world in which we ’live’. For example, our mind model of a table is as a hard flat surface mounted on a leg structure of sufficient strength to support the hard smooth surface in place with acceptible strain, and having attributes of colour, weight, and so forth. Using our mind model for the table we are able to move it, navigate around it, and use it. But for a physicist, this model is of no use. For his purposes the table is an organization of molecules, with empty spaces between them which are huge relative to their own size, and which by means not easily perceived, manage somehow to resist the intrusion of our finger tips (also organizations of molecules) into the vast empty spaces between the molecules. Our mind models are specific to their intended applications.
When we contemplate the moon orbiting the earth, we picture a still shot of the moon at some point in its orbit. Because it is moving, we consider that a moment later a similar ‘freeze frame’ will show the moon at a different spot in its orbit. We view the physical world as consisting of material objects, each having a velocity and a direction of motion associated with it. Our mind models of the environment are as a complexity of material things in motion. Hence we must invent the concept of time, to regulate the rate at which the freeze frames each replace their predecessor.
Perhaps a more realistic way to view the universe would be as a complexity of velocities. Then we would perhaps not need the ‘time’ concept, to rationalize our mind models. Of course we can’t easily do that with the mind structure with which we are equipped.
I would like to set forth a thought experiment as illustration. Consider a baseball pitcher standing on the mound and accelerating a baseball of mass m to velocity v toward the catcher’s mitt. We model this process with a series of ‘freeze frames’, each showing the ball frozen in space, enroute to the catcher’s mitt. We assign a velocity vector to our image of the baseball ’frozen’ in space, along with other attributes, mass, colour, etc. Then we invoke our mathematical knowledge to compute its kinetic (and, sometimes, potential) energy. Intrinsic to this mind model of a baseball in flight, is time. Time is inherent in velocity (distance covered divided by time). Time is a necessary construct, to permit the application of a series of freeze frames to the physical world around us. It may be that if our mind model of the universe were not so limiting, we might not need the construct of time.
Time is thus a mental construct. It resides in our heads! We cannot see it, or feel it, or measure it in the world outside. It is simply not there. We “measure” the passage of time by relating it to distance moved by some measurable object. - water rising in a container, the height of sand in the lower reservoir of an hour glass, the position of clock pointers, etc.
We think that if the mass, velocity and direction of every particle of material in the universe were known, then also would the state of the universe at some defined time in the future would be defined. Our universe, as we model it, is characterised by the ‘flow of time’. Without concept of time there could be no concept of velocity, no concept of motion, no change, just an eternal ‘now’.
Returning to our thought experiment, the pitcher imparts energy ½ m v^2 to the baseball, and a equal amount of energy to the rest of the universe by reaction forces via his foothold on the earth. It ‘costs’ the pitcher mv^2 energy to accelerate the baseball to velocity v. I will return to this thought experiment again, but for now I would like only to bring out the relationship between mass, velocity, and energy (E), as E=mv^2 (energy = mass times the square of the velocity.). If then, at the catcher’s mitt, the ball is stopped, the energy is released as heat. If the energy released at the catcher’s mitt could be determined, and knowing the mass of the baseball, the velocity of the baseball could be determined, i.e., all one needs to do to determine the velocity of a moving known mass is to stop the motion and measure the energy released.
Since conventional wisdom implies that the elimination of mass m causes the release of mc^2 of energy, one is led to conclude that mass in our region of the universe, is moving at the velocity of ight, c. The question is then, in what direction is all of the mass in our region of the universe moving?
In whatever direction one looks into the cosmos, one sees distant stars apparently moving away from us. We appear to thus be located at the centre of expansion of the universe - an unlikely coincidence. Since there is no preferred direction to conclude mass to be moving in, one has to conclude that the universe is expanding or contracting uniformly (without a centre of contraction or expansion), at the speed of light! Is it contracting or expanding?
If space and everything in it were expanding at the speed of lighgt, we would be unable to detect a candle flame at a distance, for the distance between the candle and our eye would be increasing at the speed of light. So we conclude a universe that is contracting uniformly at the speed of light (at least in our region of the cosmos.) That is to say that all points in our region of the universe are moving toward each other at the speed of light, but we do not detect it as a contraction because we and our yardsticks are contracting with it.
This also predicts the constant speed of light, since the light wave-front from the candle flame does not expand at all - it remains starionary and the observer and his instruments (eyes) contract into the space previously occupied by the candle wick. Regardless of the motion of the source of the light, we move into it at speed c.
At this point it is well to comment on the viability of this startling set of conclusions. Realize that we are not necessarily discussing reality here. We are, through some logic and basic physics mathematics, creating a mind model of the universe, which is more appropriate for our purpose of determining the behaviour of material in the universe. It does not conflict with established mind models. It is merely optimized to solve a different problem. It is no less reasonable than the established model. Neither of the mind models of the universe is reasonable beyond its intended purpose. Neither exists at all, except as a mental concept.
In summary, our new model is of a universe in which space and all that is in it, is uniformly contracting at the speed of light. In this model, whenever a bit of matter is converted to energy by stopping its contraction, any nearby observer and his paraphernalia contract into the space occupied by the then not-contracting light source, so that it seems to the observer that the light source is emitting an expanding wave front of light which is approaching him at velocity c. But according to the new model, the observer himself is contracting into the unmoving light source (stopped miniscule bit of matter).
As the light source continues, the observer finds himself intersecting with a series of concentric shells of electromagnetic charge. Could each of these shells be a photon? If so there may be a rational lurking here for the photon/radiation equivalence. Or is the observer actually moving in through the layers of an atom?
And before leaving this thought experiment, let us consider the subject of inertia. By throwing the baseball toward the catcher, the pitcher has imparted mc^2 of energy to the universe - half to the baseball itself and half to the rest of the universe. While the ball; was in motion, the rest of the universe would have had to shift its contents and velocities slightly in order to accommodate the extra energy. Simillarly when the ball was stopped at the catcher’s mitt, the universe again must have shifted its contents and velocities to accommodate the new energy (the same amount of energy as was invested into the universe by the pitcher’s act of throwing the ball, but of opposite sign). Clearly, in order to change the velocity of the baseball, either to accelerate it or to stop it, requires a universe wide adjustment of positions and velocities. Thus, the same universe mechanism that resisted the acceleration of the ball to its final velocity, acts to resist the deceleration of the ball. This is the nature of inertia.
As an aside - A corollary concept here is that if the universe were infinitely large, then it would be impossible for the pitcher to overcome the inertial forces acted on the ball by the rest of the universe. Everything would be immovable! Also, the amount of energy released when the ball was stopped would be much larger than it is now, implying that the speed of light is dependent on the size of the universe!
Lastly I would like to explore the implications that the new model extends toward gravitation. If we consider gravitation to be a symptom of acceleration (as the mathematics implies), then we would have to conclude that the velocity of contraction c is reduced in the presence of large material objects (stars and planets, and of course black holes). If matter is considered to be a high density of energy in space, then the more energy is packed in there, the more difficult it might be to pack more of it in. This is a simplistic explanation, but it is sufficiently compelling to warrant further consideration.
Gravitational lensing might be contemplated at this point. Consider an observer viewing a light source which is so located that a straight line drawn between observer and light source passes near a large mass (say a large planet or a star). As the observer contracts toward the light source his ‘path’ curves outward away from the nearby massive object (because the contraction of space and its contents is reduced near such objects). The light source then appears to the observer to be moving inward in the direction of the massive object.
This proposed model of the universe (which is for the express purpose of rationalizing the behaviour of mass and radiation that we observe in the universe) serves well to ’explain’ the energy/mass/velocity relationship e=mc^2, and that the speed of light is independent of the motion of the source, addresses inertia in an interesting way, and addresses gravitationin an interesting manner. That doesn’t ’prove’ the model, (models cannot be ’proved’).
This thread has simillarities to one that was discussed here a year or so ago, but this time is is more neatly packaged and somewhat further developed.