28 November 2016

Question of being in relativistic space-time

If Einsteinian relativity physics is to be taken seriously -- and it is within the scientific community-establishment taken unquestionably so, because science's only criterion of truth is experimental verification -- then this physics confronts us with weird consequences.

I've already addressed one of them in my recent post on mental acts.

What about the question of being posed within relativistic space-time? For simplicity, I'll consider here only the flat Minkowskian space-time of special relativity, but similar thoughts apply
mutatis mutandis to general relativity with its curved Riemannian space-time. Note that each observer-subject in relativity physics has its own reference frame, that is, its own space-time manifold.

In relativity physics there is no longer any 3D-Euclidean space (Where specified as (x,y,z)) with an add-on 1D-temporal line (When specified as t) to count/measure time absolutely within the 3D-space. This was the situation in Newtonian mechanics, for time was its own dimension and hence absolute, a single clock for the entire universe. In relativity, time becomes relative to the absolute movement of light (or, more, generally, electromagnetic radiation) as received by an observer-subject, thus spatialized and tied to the three spatial dimensions, so that the relativistic physicist now speaks only of 4D-events in space-time (x,y,z,t). The 'distance' between space-time events is now neither purely spatial as measured Euclideanly as
d^2 = x^2+y^2+z^2,

the square of the distance is the 'Pythagorean' sum of the squares of the 3 dimensionals,
nor is it purely temporal as measured by
d^2=t^2,
i.e. a time-interval given by the formula, the square of the temporal distance is the square of t.

How, then, is 'distance' between events measured in flat relativistic space-time? It is measured by the so-called 'metric' on the Minkowskian space-time manifold as defined by the space-time distance formula:
s^2=(
x^2+y^2+z^2) - t^2 = d^2 - t^2,
that is in words, the
squared space-time distance between events is the difference between squared spatial distance and the squared temporal interval ('distance'). This is weird enough, but it's the way mathematical relativity physics proceeds. In general relativity, the metric on the space-time manifold just gets (much) more complicated and harder to handle in the (tensor-differential) equations.

What are some consequences of this conception of distance between space-time events? One is that there is zero
space-time distance between events if and only if the square of their spatial distance is equal to the square of their temporal distance, that is:

0=(x^2+y^2+z^2) - t^2 = d^2 - t^2,
which implies
d^2 = t^2,
so that
d = +/- t,
or in words: the spatial distance is equal to plus or minus the temporal interval-distance.

Let's take a simple example, the Sun in our Earth's solar system. The Sun's distance from Earth is approx. 150 million km, and it takes light approx. 8 minutes to reach the Earth over this spatial distance.

What does it mean for an observer-subject on Earth for the Sun to 'be'? For science it is axiomatic that only that 'is' which can be registered as a signal received sensuously in the here-and-now. Only that which is here-and-now 'is', i.e. exists, for modern science. How does the Sun exist in the observer-subject's here-and-now? Answer: Only if the space-time distance between sun-events and observer-events is zero.
What does that mean?
Events always have the form
(x,y,z,t), i.e. (where,when) in space-time.
The Sun's
(where,when) has zero space-time distance from the observer's (where,when) if and only if the metric gives zero, that is, the square of the spatial distance
150^2 km^2 = 8^2 sec.^2.
But this means that for you as observer the Sun only exists in your here-now at either plus eight minutes in your future or at minus eight minutes in your past within your very own Minkowskian reference frame! For you, the Sun only ever will be or was, but never 'is' at your present moment. The eight minutes represent the time it takes for you to receive a light-signal from the Sun, or for you to send a light-signal to the Sun.

If you take the Moon rather than the Sun, the former has an average spatial distance of approx. 384,000 km. from the Earth Since light travels at approx. 300,000 km/s, the Moon is a bit more than one light-second away spatially. Relativistically speaking, the Moon only exists for you observing it on Earth at plus one second in your future or minus one second in your past.

And the Sun and the Moon exist 'simultaneously' for you, the observant receiver of light signals, only separated by roughly plus or minus eight minutes!

You can only ever observe those events whose space-time distance from you is zero or negative:

(x^2+y^2+z^2) - t^2 = d^2 - t^2 <= 0

All those events with positive
space-time distance from you:

(x^2+y^2+z^2) - t^2 = d^2 - t^2 > 0

are outside your Minkowskian light-cone, hence cannot reach you, nor you reach them, in your space-time and therefore do not exist for you, never have and never will.

For you as observer-subject, your space-time, here-and-now 'event simultaneity' is an infinite superposition of spatial spheres whose ever-increasing squared spatial distances match your ever-increasing squared times of time future and time past.

Hence relativistic space-time 'simultaneity' is weirder than physicists care to think.
Since in relativity theory, the subject is cast exclusively AS a receiver (or sender) of e-m (or gravitational) signal-information, how can an active mental act by the observer be conceived at all? Only as sending a signal?

Apropos: Today's smug & arrogant mathematico-scientific elite is hell-bent, for instance, on furthering the reach of both relativity theory and quantum mechanics into the human mind (a unified theory of quantum gravity is still sadly lacking). Hence, for example, the famous Sir Roger Penrose is working on a theory of consciousness with a quantum-mechanical core (cf. my recent link to The Life Scientific on BBC4). When you think you're actively thinking, in physical 'reality' you're only surfing on underlying quantum-mechanical 'processes'. You're deluded.

One could pose the question as to whether the flat or curved relativistic space-time of modern mathematical physics is at all existentially liveable for us human beings. Or does it represent a brutal, unliveable truncation of the existential world solely for the sake of gaining mathematically calculable access to it with the aim of mastering and controlling all physical movement/change?

It goes without saying that today's scientists dismiss such questioning out of hand as 'unscientific', 'poetic', mere 'philosophical speculation', 'ridiculous', &c. I have plenty of hard empirical evidence of this evasion. Instead of a genuine, open-minded 'search for truth', I experience savage defence of the status quo.

27 November 2016

Mental acts in relativity theory

Let's do a genuine thought experiment to ponder mental acts in relativity theory a little more closely, throwing some doubt upon the relativistic axiom (experimentally evidenced) that nothing physical can travel faster than the speed of light.:Is the mind physical? Is time itself physical, as physics unquestioningly postulates? :

Think of the sun. How long did it take you to do so? If this mental act were, scientifically speaking, in reality a physical act, then it should take at least 16 minutes to do so. Why? Because your mental act requires first sending a mental signal to the sun, which takes 8 minutes at the speed of light, and then another 8 minutes for your mind to receive a signal back from the sun confirming that it is really there.

Ah, you say, that's a fallacy, because when you think of the sun, you only have to think as far as the little representation of the sun
stored in your brain. So the signal only has to speed a little way via the ganglions of your nerves at around 1 to 100 m/s to retrieve your very own little memory-stored representation of the sun.

The next question is obvious and remains unanswered: What is the relationship between the representation of the sun purportedly in your brain and the sun out there in space at the centre of our solar system?

It must get terribly cluttered up there in the attic that is your brain. If you think of the sun you saw yesterday, how do you manage to go back in time to retrieve its representation? Or does your mental-physical act retrieve the same old multi-purpose representation of the sun that merely has been given a time-stamp?

And when you think of your brain, are you really thinking of your brain, or only of a little representation of your brain stored in your brain? According to modern-day science and its corresponding hegemonic subjectivist metaphysics (the tacit, suppressed foundation of analytic philosophy), you have only representations of the external world stored somehow inside consciousness which itself is conceived as located

Modern science perseveres today in trying to grapple with the problem of consciousness by presupposing that mental acts are 'basically' physical. To put it mildly, this is questionable.

26 November 2016

Relativistic cosmology

Further to my last post on relativistic signals/messages:

i) Interesting in connection with the cosmological theory of the expanding universe (based on empirical observations of the remote universe through radio telescopes) is that it is spherical only in the sense of expanding from any point concentrically at uniform (or uniformly accelerating or uniformly decelerating?) velocity and isotropically (without any preferred direction). Thus there is no limit to this 'sphere'; it is _apeiron_, open.

ii) This mathematico-empirical cosmology is ontogenetic through and through, thus conforming with the favourite mode of explanation, whether scientific, historiographical, geistesgeschichtlich, mythological or whatever, to wit, explaining what is today from what was before, temporally prior, from origins, Herkunft. For this mode of explanation the linear time-line is essential, no matter whether this time-line is straight or bent around into a circle (cyclical).  That other, philosophical mode of thinking according to which 'prior' is to be conceived not temporally, but according to the order of thinking through from the most elementary and abstract to the more and more concrete that thus has many more presuppositions, is forgotten or explicitly repudiated as 'unscientific'. This ontological way of thinking that respects the order of concepts from the most elementary with the least presuppositions is foreign not only to modern mathematico-empirical science, but to modern ways of thinking as a whole. People want to hear stories; narrative is easy to consume; it is the stuff of movies.

iii) The homology between Plato's Timaios and modern science is curious. You can drop Plato's creator god in Timaios without losing the basic cosmological conception whose elements crop up in modern scientific cosmology, e.g. that time (_chronos_) came about together with the sky (_ouranos_ synonymous with _pan_, the universe) with its moving celestial bodies from which time is counted. Or the elementary 'fair', symmetrical geometrical, triangularly constructed shapes of cube (Earth),
icosa-  (Water), octo- (Air), tetrahedron (Fire), which interestingly correlate with the four modern-scientific states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, respectively.

iv) Whereas Plato encapsulates his universe spherically in a psyche, i.e. in the principle of life, modern relativity cosmology encloses, or rather, sections, the ever-expanding universe into time-cones in 4D space-time emanating from each observer-subject. The relative future for each observer is cut by the cone of the photons that will be able to reach it at the speed of light at a later point in linear time.
The relative past for each observer is cut by the cone of the photons that can reach it at the absolute speed of light from an earlier point of time. Only within this (Minkowski) time-cone do space-time events 'exist' for each observer-subject in the sense that at some present point of time, photons (or gravitons) can be registered as 'information' by the observer's receiver-apparatus. Points in space-time outside the observer's time-cone can never reach it (they haven't enough time=light-metres to reach it). The limit to which the observer can look back into its time-cone is given by the sensitivity of its receiver-apparatus (radio telescope, gravitational interferometer); improvement in sensitivity of apparatuses is the key to uncovering the past by recovering the photons and gravitons it sent out long ago. Scientists are therefore keen on getting billions of funding to build more sensitive apparatus such as LISA.

v) Speculative cosmology in the philosophical sense is not ontogenetic. 'Speculatio' is the Latin rendering of Greek _theoria_, whose root in both Latin and Greek is 'to see'. Such speculative seeing is not reliant on the empirical receipt of photonic or gravitonic messages at the speed of light in the present, but on thinking backward, not in linear time, but to the most elementary conceivable presuppositions. Modern science with its absolute faith in empirical scientific method must be absolutely hostile to speculation in this sense. Nonetheless, _theoria_ in its philosophical sense is unconcerned with looking backward into the time-cone, constructing theoretical models of a Big Bang, a steady-state or a cyclically pulsating universe, or whatever, but is concerned with the simplest, most elementary preconditions for our 'seeing', understanding the world at all, without any superadded fanciful speculations. The work performed by philosophical thinking is therefore deconstructive in the sense of unearthing, disassembling, removing and disposing of the tacit presuppositions underpinning previous philosophies, including especially the subjectivist metaphysics upon which all modern (natural and social) scientific thinking is tacitly based. Thinking gets simpler and simpler, gaining a wider vista by stepping back from dogmatically held, unquestioned presuppositions.

25 November 2016

Relativistic messages, signals, information

Been reading Bernhard Schutz's A First Course in General Relativity.
Here a few thoughts stimulated by this book.

It is a (tacit or explicit) axiom of modern physics that only sensuous
data received in the present exist; "sensuous" here includes all that an observer-subject can sense with the aid of apparatuses such as microscopes, vibrating membranes in microphones, telescopes, radio-telescopes, gravitational interferometers, etc. etc.

For relativity physics, all observations are relative to the observer-subject in its respective reference frame receiving signals in the form of electromagnetic (including, in particular, the visible colour spectrum) or gravitational waves, which all move at the absolute speed of light, c = 300,000 km/s, either in a straight line (special relativity) or on a curved line (general relativity). The motion of such waves is the absolute motion. All scientific observation is relative to and solely dependent upon receiving such e-m and gravitational waves. The angels of modern physics are photons and gravitons which, at their specific, differentiated frequencies, carry information. Gravitation itself is equivalent to the curvature of four-dimensional space-time in co-ordinates (x. y, z, t). The specific way in which these four co-ordinates are related to each other in the metric of the Riemann tensor, R, determines whether the space-time in question is either flat or curved. If R=0 everywhere, the space-time is flat.

For modern physics, it is solely by virtue of the e-m and gravitational signals an observer-subject receives that the observer can 'see' or 'hear' the universe. Such signals bear energy, i.e. are pure potential and actual motion, that is registered by the recipient medium, such as the eye's retina, AS difference, i.e. information. Because these signals only reach an observer at the speed of light, looking out into the universe is looking back in linear time, t, which, in relativity theory, for convenience, is not measured in seconds, but in metres, that is, the metres travelled by light in a given time interval. By convention and for ease of mathematical manipulation, the speed of light c is set equal to 1. Hence modern physics both mathematizes and spatializes time entirely.

First it was optical telescopes, starting with Galileo's, that enabled scientists to see further out into the universe than the naked eye is capable of. The light signals carried the information necessary to see better. Optical telescopes got better and better, with larger and larger lenses and ever improved resolutions allowing ever finer differentiation to be seen in the light-messages. Starting after WWII, telescopes receiving radio, gamma rays, x-rays, etc. entered the fray, enabling e-m radiation also outside the visible, optical spectrum to be received and hence 'seen'. These radiation signals (spectrometry) allowed completely new phenomena in the sky to be observed for the first time, which in turn greatly modified the theoretical models (i.e. equations) developed to understand the information-signals received. Phenomena such as black holes, quasars, pulsars,  neutron stars were now 'visible' for the scientific observer-subject via the signal data received and their often very laborious analysis, which has become a major branch of modern physics.

E-m radiation received from the sky is itself subject to disturbance by other e-m radiation from other sources. The further the e-m radiation has travelled to the observer, the more it has been corrupted by this noise from having to pass through and by other matter with its own e-m radiation. It cannot get through so-called 'decoupled' plasma-matter at all, which supposedly predominated in the young universe. By using multiple observers and analyzing very large amounts of data ('messages'), the noise can be filtered out to get to the underlying 'core' message. Everything depends, of course, on the sensitivity of the receiver-apparatuses. The signals received carry energy which activates the sensors in the receiver apparatus with a certain amplitude. The more sensitive the apparatus (e.g. radio telescope), the further the observer can 'see' or 'hear' into the universe.

Gravitational waves were detected directly for the very first time in 2015 by the LIGO interferometers in the U.S. These waves are extremely hard to detect, for their energy is low, which means low amplitude which has to be sorted out from the various sources of noise (extraneous information), principally seismic noise from vibrations at low frequencies, thermal noise from heat sources
at middle frequencies, shot noise from quantum effects at higher frequencies. On the other hand, gravitational waves are not affected by the intervening matter like e-m radiation is, enabling better 'hearing' further back in linear time. With the advance from the Earth-based LIGO interferometers to the space-based LISA interferometers within the next couple of years, cosmologists hope the improved sensitivity to be able to detect the less-noisy gravitational signals coming from further back in the universe's linear time. Thus they hope to 'hear' the young universe, to 'see' its highly energetic state with its relativistic velocities close to the speed of light. Such relativistic velocities cannot be achieved on Earth even with the most powerful particle accelerators (the Large Hadron Collider at CERN). Do the equations worked out by physicists to capture the motion of matter continue to hold up for the very young, compact universe with its highly energetic (high-temperature) matter moving close to the absolute speed of light? The cosmologists are still waiting from the differentiating message from long ago.

Cosmology itself rests on the observation that on the very, very large scale, beyond that of galaxies and even clusters of galaxies, the universe is homogeneous in every direction and also isotropic, i.e. it is moving  outward in all directions from any given observation-point at all, either accelearting or decelerating. These observations have led modern cosmology to postulate the expanding universe. From this postulation and the observation of the expansion velocity, assumed uniform, it's easy to calculate backwards to the time zero when the universe was just a dot.
This is the event of the Big Bang at around 14 billion years ago. As a dot, however, ultimately-small Planck dimensions are attained and quantum dynamics with quantum indeterminacy come into play. To date there is no unified theory of gravity (curved space-time) and quantum dynamics, not for want of trying. Einstein spent the later part of life in vain trying to formulate mathematically a unified quantum-gravity theory. What a bummer! Undaunted,  cosmologists aim nevertheless to get closer and closer to the Big Bang event by receiving especially relatively noiseless gravitational signals from further and further out, i.e. back in time.

Astoundingly, the universe for the modern cosmologist is an evenly expanding sphere from ANY observation point at all in the universe. This conception, remarkably enough, corresponds to Greek cosmological conceptions with their emphasis on circles and spheres when accounting for the observed motions in the sky and the structure of the cosmos.

But there is at least one major difference. In Timaios, Plato casts a cosmos consisting not merely of matter in motion, as modern physics does, but of "bodies" (_somaton_ Tim. 34b2) "encapsulated" (_periekalypsen_ 34b4) by the psyche (_psychae_). The psyche for the Greeks is the principle of life, i.e. of self-movement. All that is living is capable of, has the power of self-movement. The cosmic psyche embraces the bodies of the cosmos, endowing them with self-movement in the sky. The cosmic movement of bodies is governed by the psyche as its "despot and ruler" (_despotin kai arxousan_ 34c6).  Plato then differentiates this psychically encapsulated and governed cosmos by mixing unchangeable being and changeable becoming to form indivisible sameness (_tau'ton_35a4) and
divisible difference (_heteron_35a4). The realm of difference is then differentiated further into seven according to arithmetic proportions. The realm of the same is forced into a "circuit of the same and similar" (_tautou kai homoiou periphorai_ 36d1), the realm of difference is split into "seven unequal circles" (_hepta kuklous anisous_ 36d2).

The thoughtful part of the all-encapsulating psyche, _nous_ or mind, ensures that the cosmos is ordered according to arithmetically rational proportions. One does not have to wonder, then, that Werner Heisenberg, the famous German mathematical physicist who first developed the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics, along with the unsettling quantum indeterminacy for the movement of dynamic states, took a strong orientation in his work precisely from Plato's Timaios (cf. his autobiography, Der Teil und das Ganze).  In his mathematical quantum theory, Heisenberg followed above all principles of symmetry and simplicity, the main 'aesthetic' criteria in mathematics. And if you delve into Einsteinian general relativity theory, you'll also find that the challenging mathematical language he especially developed for it (tensor mathematics), which aims at maximizing compact brevity through symmetries built into the notation, reduces in the end to wondrously simple-looking equations.

In contrast to modern relativity physics, the cosmic psyche and its mind is not reliant on receiving messages from the absolute motion of electro-magnetic and gravitational radiation. Its _nous_ (reason) is all-encompassing, enabling it to 'see' the entire cosmos in its
arithmetic structure, as furthered developed in Timaios. Thus does the cosmos presence rationally for the mind.

From

The End of Science and the Beginning of Wisdom

:
This time-clearing is not a space, for it is prespatial, it has no where; just as it must be kept firmly in mind that not all movement, such as the movement of the thinking mind, is spatial. Movement as movement of that which can move and that which can move itself is always already implicitly seen as embedded in this temporal three-dimensionality, whereby the before and after must be understood as kinds of absence, and the present itself as presence. Movement itself thus becomes a richly diverse play of presencing and absencing in the three-dimensional time-clearing which, in turn, can also be seen, that is, understood, by the temporally three-eyed, three-dimensional vision of the human mind. In this precise sense, the mind can be identified with time, that is, with the three-dimensional time-clearing; they are the same. This insight justifies giving the German word 'Zeitgeist', long since adopted in English, a new meaning as the belonging-together of Zeit (time) and Geist (mind)As human beings we inhabit the openness of timemind. Without this temporally three-eyed, three-dimensional mental vision, human beings would not be able to see movement and change as such at all. This 'primal state' is fundamentally overlooked and skipped over today everywhere.

Auf Deutsch aus

Das Ende der Wissenschaft und der Anfang der Weisheit

:
Diese Zeitlichtung ist kein Raum, denn sie ist vorräumlich, genauso wie festzuhalten ist, daß nicht alle Bewegung — wie z.B. die Bewegung des denkenden Geists — räumlich ist. Die Bewegung als Bewegung von Bewegtem und Sichbewegendem wird immer schon implizit als in die zeitliche Dreidimensionalität eingebettet gesehen, wobei das Vorher und Nachher als Arten der Abwesenheit verstanden werden müssen und die Gegenwart als Anwesenheit. Die Bewegung selbst wird so zu einem vielfältigen Spiel der An- und Abwesung in der dreidimensionalen Zeitlichtung, die wiederum durch den zeitlich dreiäugigen, dreidimensionalen Blick vom Menschengeist auch gesehen, d.h. verstanden werden kann. In diesem Sinn kann der Geist mit der Zeit, d.h. mit der dreidimensionalen Zeitlichtung, identifiziert werden, sie sind das Selbe. Diese Einsicht rechtfertigt, dem Wort 'Zeitgeist' eine neue Bedeutung zu geben, und zwar als Zusammengehörigkeit von Zeit und Geist. Ohne dieses zeitlich dreiäugig-dreidimensionale geistige Sehvermögen könnte der Mensch die Bewegung/Veränderung als solche gar nicht sehen. Dieser 'Urzustand' wird heute überall grundsätzlich übersehen und übersprungen.

Further reading: Click on one of the two links (English or Deutsch) above.