human being, inner cosmos, the big questions, Uncategorized

The Very Big and the Very Small

Note to the reader: this is very much work in progress. These are all new thoughts. Please tell me where I might be mistaken and what you think is missing

 I am writing a book about the “inner cosmos”. It explores the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm, in line with the idea of “as above, so below”. It specifically looks at how this relationship affects us. Recently, I have begun to wonder whether science has its own version of “as above, so below”. I have done a lot of reading about this, and note that science has difficulty in connecting the very big with the very small. What do I mean by this? Scientists believe that the behaviour of the very big – galaxies, stars and planets – can be explained in terms of relativity. And they believe that the behaviour of the very small – atoms and particles – can be explained in terms of quantum physics. Despite many attempts over the last 100 years, scientists have been unable to connect relativity with quantum physics. For example, they cannot integrate gravity with the strong and weak nuclear forces. This remains one of the great quests in science.

I believe that scientists have been unsuccessful in this endeavour for one reason. They have not included us. They have focused their attention exclusively on the “outer, objective world”, and not taken account of the “inner subjective world”. They have not recognised that what seems to be “objective” can only ever be subjective. This is because the world “out there” is ultimately a product of the world “in here”. It is ultimately the world as seen through our eyes, from our human viewpoint.

Arguably, the defining characteristic of the very big is distance. The big things are distant from each other. Therefore, it takes time for things to happen. Time is clearly an important component of the very big. As you may know, relativity is all about the interplay of space and time. One form of this interplay is the bending of space-time in the presence of mass (such as planets and stars). Scientists have a name for this “warping” of space-time. They call it “gravity.” One of Einstein’s main contributions was to connect gravity with space and time.

In contrast, the defining characteristic of the very small is no distance! So, it takes no time for things to happen. This apparent absence of time is one of the central features of quantum physics, and it is one of the reasons why the behaviour of the very small seems weird.

Since it takes time for things to happen at the level of the very big, things appear to be disconnected, separate from each other. Conversely, since it takes no time for things to happen at the level of the very small, because distance is negligible, things happen instantaneously. Thus, things seem to be totally connected to each other. This “strange connectedness” is another important feature of quantum physics.

What I have just described implies “human relativity”. This probably needs a little explanation. Everything, from the very big to the very small, is relative to us. It is the world as perceived by us, as seen through human organs of perception, and from our human standpoint. It can be no other way. The big things are big and separate, only relative to us. The small things are small and connected, only relative to us. What the big and small things appear to be relative to themselves is quite another matter. Let us now explore this.

From its own viewpoint, the very large will seem to itself to have little distance between its parts, therefore little time. From its own perspective, the very large will appear to itself to be totally interconnected, just as, from our own perspective, our bodies seem to be totally interconnected. Separateness may be a uniquely human illusion. In any event, this suggests that, when seen from its own perspective, quantum physics may apply to the very big. This is because quantum physics is relevant to situations where time and separateness are not factors.

Similarly, from its own viewpoint the very small will seem to itself to be full of distance – atoms will be the equivalent of solar systems – therefore full of time. This suggests, does it not, that seen from its own perspective, relativity can be applied to the very small. This is because relativity is relevant to situations where space and time are present.

These are very early days in this exploration, so anything I say is very tentative. That said, one of the possible implications of “the theory of human relativity” is that, at the level of the very small, the nuclear forces within the atom my be the microcosmic equivalent of gravity. I say this because it was Einstein’s genius to make the connection between gravity and space-time. Now, if space and time are actually present at the level of the very small, albeit on a scale well below our normal perception, then there are likely to forces related to this microcosmic space-time. What we currently call the “nuclear forces” could equally well be called “micro-gravity”.

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