Leading on to a proper description of space-time, gravity, infinity and beyond...
JANUARY 31st 2011
The time has come to end, once and for all, the seemingly endless, repetitive and boring discussion of the pseudo-puzzle known as Schrödinger's Cat. I feel bound to do this in the name of the great scientist who devised the puzzle and was restrained from proposing the obvious solution through deference to the attitudes and conventions of orthodox authorities of the time, principally religious. The same obvious solution is similarly taboo in our time because of a new set of attitudes and the authority of our current thought police (or as they call themselves, some mathematicians).

I am profoundly grateful to contributors to Wikipedia for making an almost complete and devastating strike on this problem atödinger's cat - so all I have to do is tidy up.

Let me say right away I am in no way wishing to denigrate or deny the importance of either religion or mathematics, merely those among its practitioners whose pretensions exceed their abilities to the extent that they find problems where none exist and, to retain their authority, demand we all accept them as real . First of all, read the Wikipedia page linked above.

I shall now go through the INTERPRETATIONS that have been so well listed and described in that article.  We must distinguish between interpretations of the 1930s and later and the reason for these being held then and now, why some are seen as resolving a 'problem', why some reveal there is no problem. At the end, I hope to leave the reader with some guidance on how to use the words REALITY, OBSERVATION, and DESCRIPTION in this and similar contexts.

At the time (the 1930s), the works of great European philosophers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries were all, along with the Bible, ancient Greek and Islamic scholars and practical scientists, a part of the educational foundation of the international scientific community, as was Charles Darwin with a surprisingly late appearance on the scene with Origin of Species in 1859. In all these outpourings of human thought and analysis it has to be said there was a  lack of  even the smallest suggestion, let alone conclusive proof, that a human life was not of significant importance or that our observations and actions were not, even if we had evolved from more basic animal ancestry, of consequence for ourselves and the world. Certainly our opinions on the nature of reality, of truth, beauty, justice and duty, were without doubt in the minds of all, from simple peasant to high-court judge, more valid than those of, for example, a cat. So we should understand why Schrödinger did not suggest putting a man in the box, rather than a cat, from two different points of view. In using a cat his reductio-ad-absurdum Schrödinger challenged his readers to think about the meaning of observation and of life and death and reality. Why a cat? Well it would be murder if we killed a man to prove a point, wouldn't it? If we put a man in the box, would he know if he was alive or dead? If the box had glass sides, would this invalidate the randomness, or the indeterminacy, or the observation, or prevent the radioactive decay? What about the observers then outside the box, are they in an indeterminate state if the box is transparent? Or does their view of the cat feed back all the way to the flask and the small piece of radioactive material....Very quickly we start to be moved by the collective nudging of probable answers to a position that will, I am confident, satisfy most people; but we are not there yet.

The Copenhagen Interpretation (seeödinger's cat again if you have forgotten it)
None of the mathematician-physicists around then (1935) were as confused as some mathematicians seem to be today. Neither Bohr, Einstein or Schrödinger himself had any doubt that the cat would be either alive or dead, not both or neither. It must be remembered that there were linguistic problems involved here between scientists with different mother-tongues. Schrödinger was challenging not so much the Copenhagen Interpretation but an understanding of the Copenhagen Interpretation not held by Bohr, its founder, at all, but by those who thought the observer had to be a conscious human. As far as Bohr was concerned, an observation could be made by a machine and recorded and time-date stamped, to be perused later. Nowadays most people consider the self-observation of nature to be a continual process that resolves quantum uncertainty locally as time passes. Though this linguistic confusion persisted in some discussions however between Bohr and Einstein, but it should not be confused with different interpretations of Quantum Entanglement and wave/particle duality, also a matter of discussion between Bohr, Einstein and others, which go deeper into real problems in physics. These will be the subject of another page on this web site in due course. They are not unrelated to our discussion here but their solution does demand a breakthrough in our perception, and first I just need to get rid of this blasted imaginary, unreal, utterly impossible dead-and-alive-at the-same-time cat so that we get to the real McCoy.

The Copenhagen Interpretation as intended by Bohr is quite acceptable and does not give rise to quantum uncertainty in THINGS. At this point I would draw your attention to the origin and meaning of the word THING which is a good Old Norse, Old Frisian and Old English word meaning ASSEMBLY. (see An assembly, whether it be of human beings, monkeys or molecules, arrives at a level of objectivity great than that of its smallest parts by virtue of a dialogue or dialectic. That is the exchange of information. In its simplest form information is the minimum amount of energy that can be measured, detected, registered or simply impact another information-bearing entity. The most complex example we know of is the exchange of information within a human brain, encoded in human language and exchanged between conscious human minds. But in all things animate or inanimate it is this exchange of information through energy that ensures that all THINGS that are at a temperature exceeding absolute zero are not subject to quantum uncertainty. Now when we get to dealing later with quantum entanglement and some much more interesting paradoxes (which we shall resolve) we shall look at experiments that attempt to make observations without affecting the property they are detecting, At that point we may have to consider information and energy separately, temporarily, for the sake of argument, but for now we can ignore that.

I am now going to pause here for a day, maybe a few days before talking about the other interpretations because many of them are compatible with a proper understanding of the Copenhagen Interpretation. As in so many human affairs, people are talking at cross purposes and should probably do more listening before re-inventing the wheel. As a parting shot for today I invite you to marvel at, and respect, the wisdom of our ancestors and their conception and use of the word THING in its original and evolved uses. They really knew a thing or two. A sub-atomic particle such as an electron is not a thing.Things can only be in one place - that is often where you left them but probably forgot. Their condition in not uncertain even if you are unaware of it. Trees in the forest fell, noisily, long before there were people to remark on it.

FEBRUARY 1st 2011
It would be nice to be able to say at this stage: game over, on the grounds that there is no actual experiments with cat's in closed containers, linked to random event generators. that cannot be tweaked, to show that whatever follows from of that random event at the level of THINGS is definite and singular. The cat does not have to be killed, for example, it can be anaesthetized by the gas released; the moment of the event can be recorded; the box can be transparent; but there will never be any evidence that quantum uncertainty is transferred to THINGS, animate or inanimate, alive or dead, purely on the basis that this uncertainty prevents any measurement or calculation, other than a statistical probability, of the radioactive decay that triggers the consequential event.

Unfortunately, some mathematicians who cannot accept facts that they cannot model mathematically as being beyond debate, have a problem with this. They claim that 'quantum decoherence' [which is the name given to what I have described above as the exchange of information with the environment, leading to realisation] is only apparent; that there is no actual collapse of the wave-function that they can explain in a way that is compatible with the mathematics of the conservation of energy/momentum/mass/information etc.

At this point you might read this: but you might have to read it more than once to get the point so I will extract the vital sentence:

"...within the framework of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, decoherence cannot explain this crucial step from an apparent mixture to the existence and/or perception of single outcomes."

So there we have it. Because these self-styled geniuses cannot yet explain something, they have to postulate alternative interpretations, however unlikely, in order to retain their intellectual authority. In the same way that religious authorities had to finally adopt the Immaculate Conception as dogma because they ran out of other theological theories, these days we have had the high court of physics including such luminaries as Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman resorting to approval of Hugh Everett's 'Many Worlds' thesis. The name of this thesis attempts to disguise its absurdity by pretending some modesty with the word 'many', but I am not at this moment going to engage in destroying it, as it self-destructs anyway. The question I wish to comment on here is why we are plagued by such theories from anyone claiming intellectual authority, be they physicists or theologians, and why it matters.

The short answer is because we turn to physicists and mathematicians, or theologians, and demand answers. They did not put themselves on pedestals, we put them there.  We send them to University and the politicians we elect ensure they are funded. In return they are expected come up with the solutions to human problems which, once they have managed to get into what they mistakenly thought was a position of 'power', politicians discover are completely beyond their comprehension. Behind all practical science there has to be theory in order to retain an appearance of authority. The most important science we are engaged in these days concerns climate change, food production and the security of our communications systems of goods, systems and information. Our planet's scientists are doing remarkably well, though if Hugh Everett's thesis had an atom of truth their efforts to encourage humanity to pay heed are a waste of time, there being an infinite number of future universes in which all variations of our success and failure (yes, and not or) will be played out, even if these were to converge over time on occasions due to the containment.of probability/possibility by a number of factors outside the scope of this discussion.

But I digress, we must get back to interring this cat. It is vital to understand at this point that Everett's 'Many Worlds' thesis does not arise out of seeking a solution to the question of Schrödinger's Cat. It arose out of the inability to mathematically and graphically model the results of the EPR paradox and all the subsequent experiments with photons and elementary particles. Schrödinger's Cat now stands on the other side of the argument. Once it was a thought experiment. But it can be done for real and unlike the experiments that examine only the quantum state (which as I have said need further explanation), it stands as a monument to the validity of the realisation of THINGS.

There is no need for me to go into the other interpretations on the pageödinger's cat as you will see they are mostly just different ways of looking at the interpretation I have already favoured. They are intelligent and reasonable comments and variants. On the other hand the perpetual generation of new worlds, each inertially and volumetrically disconnected from each other purely on the basis of unpredictable events, is made yet more unlikely by computing the results now that we know the exponential effects of accepting Everett's thesis. Whenever we end up with zero or an infinite number it is a sure indication there is an error in our fundamental assumption if we are dealing with more than abstractions. That is why it is Schrödinger's Cat that, far from leading to the Many Worlds interpretation actually defeats and buries Everett's thesis. Having done its job, it can now rest in peace.

Now we can move on to what I called The Real McCoy. Since that involves the simultaneous resolution of the paradoxes that currently puzzle us in many fields, I am going to struggle here with the choice of which one to start with, as the explanations can only make sense when taken together. So there will now be a considerable hiatus until some supposedly random event will give me a clue how to start.

OK, the supposedly random event I was waiting for occurred and, as is usual, it resonated with other supposedly random events. Because of the interconnectedness and complexity of our multidimensional world the randomness is in this way removed from the process of realization or if you prefer realisation [more later on two meanings of the word for which I have arbitrarily used two spellings]. That does not mean determinacy. There are many ways of skinning Schrodinger's Cat. But in attempting to move on to what I have referred to as The Real McCoy I am going perhaps to surprise you by saying that the the paradoxes in Quantum Mechanics that have led to some conclusions on which I have heaped derision are real and do have to be dealt with. It is not sufficient to put the problem of quantum uncertainty to rest in 'things' and leave it there when at the subatomic level the evidence is that what has been described as a particle can indeed exhibit non-locality, and the evidence for quantum entanglement is confirmed by experiment.

I want to take an example from an area of activity with which I am very familiar, aviation, and show how all explanations of reality beyond the purely mathematical are of necessity inadequate and 'flawed'. That is not to say that the mathematical explanation is adequate. The mathematical description of a process enables it to be calculated, measured and planned but that is not the same as explaining how a process works to the satisfaction of a human being for whom seeing is believing, along with feeling and hearing and comparing with other processes on which our rational actions depend. When a conjurer produces a rabbit out of a hat we assume that the rabbit was around somewhere and slipped into the hat, or another hat we mistook for the same hat, and we were deceived.

When as a trainee aviator I was given an explanation of how an aircraft's wing produces lift I didn't buy it, because it was clearly a description of a special case of a particular wing. But it was a very useful explanation of the sort of wings I was about to experience and how their design was the most efficient and stable way of enabling the aircraft to proceed forward and gain and maintain its desired altitude. To get closer to the reality, however, you should read these brilliant pages . The two lessons I wish to be drawn here are (1) that a simple but flawed explanation is all that we can expect unless we want 'the long answer' [which goes on for ever, the authors of the above have been sparing] and (2) that the reason the long answer goes on for ever can be demonstrated by a flaw in the explanation of the flaw in one of the explanations on those pages that I hope you have enjoyed reading!

In discussing the vizualised description of the Bernouilli or 'Longer Path' theory of how a conventional subsonic wing produces lift, the writers say:

There are several flaws in this theory, although this is a very common explanation found in high school textbooks and even encyclopaedias:

  1. The assumption that the two air particles described above rejoin each other at the trailing edge of the wing is groundless. In fact, these two air particles have no "knowledge" of each other's presence at all, and there is no logical reason why these particles should end up at the rear of the wing at the same moment in time.
There is indeed no logical reason that they should, and this visualisation of Bernoulli's theorem is flawed. However, although for the purpose of the issue at hand it is correct to say that the two hypothetical air particles have no knowledge of each other, that statement could come back to bite us if we are taking our search for reality and collective causality to a further stage. Two air particles in proximity have knowledge of each through thermodynamic exchange at two levels, one at the speed of light and the other at the speed of sound (pressure). At the level of quantum entanglement there is also the possibility of  knowledge through resonance (not relevant here to aerodynamics and to be discussed here later). I am not here picking a hole in the excellent article cited, but grappling with a way to feed the reader of my discussion on quantum reality into accepting  touch of Ockham's Razor to the multiworld interpretation of quantum mechanics, and to a solution of the problem of non-locality that solves other 'mysteries' at the same time. To cut to the chase, our misunderstandings are complementary and cancel themselves out in a rearrangement.

Using reasonable and considered speculation based on what has already been discovered in may areas of science it is extremely unlikely that there are fundamental subatomic particles existing as localised 'things' other than in a localisation defined by their mutual, collective 'knowledge'. However, the patterns of energy in our multidimensional world exhibit their remarkable consistency and physical attributes with which we are familiar precisely because energy and momentum is indeed conserved within the limits of observation we can experience, but 'matter' is not composed of 'bits of matter'.The search for 'teleportation' of matter as imagined in science fiction is what reveals the biggest flaw in our popular interpretation of reality because what we call matter is already in a continual state of teleportation. Any attempt to adjust its teleportation velocity in the three dimension we call space requires an input (exchange) of energy.

The energy required to change the velocity of teleportation, measurable as 1/2 mv2, decides the force we need to apply over time to achieve the acceleration. To teleport a 'thing' from its mutually observed locality at the velocity of light requires energy of mc squared, (the time for acceleration is discarded) so the that is the sort of energy required to be applied sequentially to each molecule of Starship Enterprises crew, not to mention the problem of error-correction and reassembly the other end, so we should be well satisfied with the teleportation we enjoy any time we walk down the street or fly to Australia. That way the parallel processing enables us to look and feel almost the same when we get there! The property of inertia, which so puzzles conventional physics, is no longer a mystery that requires a Higgs Boson or special field to intereact with it once itis understood that all matter is in a continual state of teleportation even when we consider it to be stationary.

This misunderstanding of the cause of inertial mass is associated with the paradox of the two-slit experiment which reveals light as a wave but also as a particle which does not make sense as a single particle appears to take two trajectories at once unless 'caught in the act', in which case the wave 'disappears' as if it were never there. All this is caused by a failure to understand the nature of space and the mistaken urge to insist that light IS a wave or a particle. There are wave phenomena, and energetic effects can appear as localised phenomena when an action produces a locall observable quantum effect, but the moment a sentence starts 'light is' a fatal error has been made if you intend to follow it by anything other than 'an effect of elecromagnetic radiation under certain circumstances'.

The next thing I want to discuss is the actual nature of quantum entanglement and what it might actually enable and add to our understanding of reality and the future. I used two spellings of the word 'realisation' in one of the preceding paragraphs: Realization and Realisation, I am going to use them to distinguish between the objective and subjective meanings.

For the objective, see . This is what I hold to be the process by which the multi-world theory of quantum mechanics is continually disproved, disproved in the very real sense of proofs, puddings and eatings. This word describes objective reality.

I use the other spelling, with an 's' for the subjective experience which can occur first only in the individual mind though it can then be shared and become the other, or a simulation of the other, as in 'Perception becomes Reality'. The dictionary definition is: "coming to understand something clearly and distinctly ; e.g. "a growing realization of the risk involved"; "a sudden recognition of the problem he faced"; "increasing recognition that diabetes frequently coexists with other chronic diseases"

Asww powerful demonstration is the following:
We now know that the planet Earth was formed over 4 billion years ago from material orbiting the Sun and has been in the shape of a globe (an oblate spheroid to be more precise) since then. That was a process of realization. Relatively few people realised that the Earth was a globe as this realisation could not be shared as a public perception. It appeared to contradict personal, local experience. Now, most people don't have a problem thinking that 'up' is actually 'out' and 'down' is 'in' if you are an interplanetary astronaut, but we keep to the old fashioned terms for everyday experience on the surface.

At the root of every aspect of life, particularly human life, is the simultaneous parallel process of Realization1 and Realisation2. Interaction, and often confusion, between the two lie at the heart of every motive, opinion, theory, achievement, quarrel, friendship, discovery, disaster and triumph. There have been as I have shown, and still are, those hold that objective reality depends on subjective reality in a physical sense. I hold that this is true but not in the way that these theorists suppose. Bringing some measure of synchronization in shared perception is, as far as accepted scientific theory has reached, dependent on the communication of culture through the environmental input from family, schools, media, literature and now the enhancement to these brought by modern telecommunications, the Internet and Web. The hope is that these enhancements can overcome the risk of local perceptions and survival imperatives putting at risk a successful global emergence of a planetary society capable of managing the global environment and resources.

Conventional means of communication demand the serial ingestion of information, taking time to produce and effort on behalf of the recipient; so to achieve any result that influences public perception there is a tendency amongst those who aspire to lead public opinion to favour the sound bite on the one hand, and the mood setter on the other. The phenomenon of resonance is a critical player in many forms of communication. In the physical world it is the key to extracting the required signal from the mass of noise that swamps the space in which we live. This noise is broadcast from every transmitting source on this planet and the rest of the universe. Its extent is not appreciated. As humans, we are unaware of it unless we have a receiver we can tune to resonate with the carrier. In a multidimensional world of quantum entanglement, is it possible that resonance can enable, without our conscious knowledge, the sharing of perceptions based not only on conventional communication but also on a subconscious structural substrata?

I do not know the answer to that. All I do know is that this proposal was the culminating paragraphs of the PHYSICS chapter of The State Of The Art which I wrote in 1986 and today, when I was searching for an item on climate change, I found this:
It was written a year ago but I did not discover it till now. It is one of the random events that enable me to conclude this file.

The interesting thing is that Ervin Laszlo comes to the proposal from a completely different starting point from me. I did not discuss the biology of the brain, or indeed the development and workings of the brain, in my chapter on physics. I did not ever get into any proposal at all of the reality of telepathy, a phenomenon I believe we are thankfully spared! And yet the logic of a multidimensional universe that contains in dynamic rationality the elements that in other models lead to meaningless extremes in both science and philosophy, suggested over the years, has led me to conclude there is a universal presence of which we are a part. In the 1980s I was predicting Alain Aspect would prove quantum entanglement, based not on any assumptions other than the multidimensionality of the universe. I proposed that quantum entanglement allowed for the independent realization of phenomena while at the same time geometric logic enabled multidimensional holistic existence. The evidence for this was rooted, via a complex derivation, in the inertial property of matter which was otherwise inexplicable.

I am going to stop there for a bit. If you don't understand it read it again once a year.

I can now [MARCH 21st 2011] continue, thanks to the brave if sometimes unintentional exposure of their confusion by physicists both young and old on the airwaves of our broadcasting media as they rise to the occasion. Young Brian Cox had a go on BBC 2 at explaining gravity and got very close but yes, sorry for the cigar. He mixed his metaphors valiantly and piled on the superlatives and got some things rightish, eventually. In a brilliant analogy that reduced 4D space-time to a 3-D surface with mountain ranges, peaks and valleys, he failed at a level approaching the tragic to spot that his analogy could be taken further to explain the paradox he then landed his listeners with. "Gravity reaches out across the Universe" he intoned, explaining that it pulled galaxies together, mystifying viewers who are frequently told that most galaxies, with local exceptions, are rushing away from us at velocities that increase with their distance. But no, Brian, gravity does not 'reach out', even if very large, abrupt disturbances of spacetime by dense masses can create waves we call gravitational waves.

The truth is this: just as the hills and valleys on the 2-dimensional (though curved) surface of our planet are forced into existence by the emergence from the third dimension beneath out feet of material just faster than it can be submerged as the edges of tectonic plates slide back beneath the mean, causing the earthquakes were are only too familiar with, so the emergence of energy from dimensions beyond the 3 of space force the assembly of bland energy in the 3 dimensions of space into what we call matter, with a property we call 'mass'. The emergence is what we call 'The Big Bang' though it is actually continuous. It took (takes) only the whisper of a modulation of the emerging energy to start the process which goes through very violent excesses before the more sustainable defines the possible. The fundamental repulsive (in 3-D terms) process from what some have called 'dark energy' is therefore what gives rise to the local (apparent) attraction of one 'thing' to another. Einstein's elegant equations of General Relativity do indeed describe the value relationships and their dynamics within the exposed (observable) levels of reality, but equations are not explantions. It is just as correct to envisage the presence of a mass (any mass) as defining or influencing the inertial frame of reference as it is use analogies of hills and valleys.

Brian Cox's failure to properly explain or describe gravity mirrors the failure of Cox's hero Feynman to explain magentism, as the latter hides behind his superior knowledge of maths and mechanics to stand aloof from lesser mortals, insisting that he can't explain magnetism in terms of something that his non-mathematical listeners are familiar with. It is true. He can't, and the failure is his. because he can't explain it to himslef in those terms either. That does not mean it is not explainable as it is, but that is for another day when I have explained what Brian Green calls 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' and which he is very confused about himself.

In order to enhance the explanation of gravity above I shall now answer the question "IS THERE AN EDGE TO THE UNIVERSE, A BOUNDARY TO SPACE-TIME?".

It is significant that physicists of all ages are now starting to repeat the same mantra, which goes like this: "Some people think that if you were to travel in reality or imagination out into space it would be never-ending; others that there is a vague boundary to the universe but that is dissipating in a thermodynamic heat-death; yet others say you would eventually come back to your starting point due to the curvature of space-time". Then we have the theorists who claim that this question is complicated by the mathematical possibility that there parallel universes, multiverses, breeding unibverses etc.

I promised you the Real McCoy, so you are going to get it. The answer is none of the above although they get close. We only have to modify a word or two - but that modification, or reinterpretation, makes a dramatic difference. For some it will be frightening, at least initially. For others a revelation and I believe for some a simple feeling of "I knew it all along, just couldn't get my head round it". There will be some who will grudgingly say "Oh, all right then, yes, I suppose so.." but I hope that on reflection they will, in turn, rise to the challenge. Because it does pose one.

So, dear reader, here is the deal. I am going to take you to the very edge of space-time. Before we go though, you need some preparation. I am going to provide you with a telescope more powerful than any in existence so you can see out into space without limit and without obstructions so that before we go, you know what it looks like. The telescope has two little tuning-knobs which can focus it on the furthest reaches, back beyond the furthest galaxies we have yet seen, and select the range of electrodynamic frequencies you wish you use for observation. Now, have a look. Not with your eyes to an eyepiece but looking at this screen where the images are projected.

I see that you have a question.

Reader: Yes. Where do I point the telescope?

Anywhere you like but best in an arc of the sky in Ursa Major where there is a relatively unbstructed view. ..........................OK, I see now you have another question

Reader:  I have focussed it beyond the farthest galaxies, past the violent formation and the explosion and disappearance of some giant phenomena, and then fewer pehnomena and now it is dark, why?.

If you tune the focus to further away, beyond the point where the energy reaching ordinary telescopes is so low due to distance and the absorption by gas and stella/planetary matter, that they are thankfully protected. Tune the frequency selection and you will see the next luminous phenomenon in the centre of the screen.

Reader: How do you know it will be in the centre of the screen?

Because it will be the same wherever you point the telescope. You can tune the frequencies. We are protected from this violent energy because most of it has been 'used' in the creation of the material universe.

Reader: So we have reached the edge of space-time and that's all there is? The edge is the beginning and its the same everywhere? That makes no sense! You told me that in the begiining the universe was very small and hot! Now you say it is everywhere! Also you promised to take me there, not just to look at what we pick up through a telescope!

It seems to be everywhere now because in the past, which you are looking at, where-we-are-now was in the same place as what you are looking at. That is why it is (admittedly misleadingly) called 'the Echo of the Big Bang. In our bit of now-expanded space-time the radiation intensity is now so cool our sun seems warm, the cosmic background thermally inconsequential and we took a long time to realise the noise when we had a radio tune to nothing special was what remained in the electromagemtic spectrum (above the inertial grid itself) .But hold on. We haven't finished. This was just your preparation. I said that before we went to the edge of spacetime you might want to look, to see what was in store.

Reader: Well we can't go to that edge anyway, as we could not survive there. We could not exist. We could not fit in it! There is no space, anywhere!

Remember you are looking back in time 15 billion years. You are confusing space with space-time. We have looked at one extreme and observed it from a safe distance. You don't want to go there and I don't blame you. Would you care to look at the other extreme before deciding if you want to go there?

Reader: Are you serious?

Never more so. You will have to trust me. If you do not, I advise you to close this file. Are you willing to go on?

Reader: Yes. But do you really mean it is the edge of space-time NOW that I am going to see? It must be immense!

It is, and it is moving, and we are very small, but that does not matter. Do you accept the risk even of looking?

Reader: It cannot be that frightening.

That depends.

Reader: On what?

On who you are and where you are.

Reader: I am ready

Then close your eyes. Count to 20, and then open them

Reader: They are closed. One, two............ 19, 20.

Reader: ?

Reader: I thought you.....  I don't get it....

Reader: Oh my.....

Yes. The edge of space-time has a name. It's name is NOW. And it is also everywhere, just as is the origin of spacetime. For you, an individual human being, it is called HERE AND NOW. It can be very frightening if you are not ready for it and, for some, even if you are. You could be seconds away from hitting the ground due to a parachute that did not open. However, if you have understood it, you have now got an absolute physical, spiritual truth in your head and in your hands, and you can go somewhere with it. HERE AND NOW is accessible to all examples and instances of what we call life, anywhere in space-time. But as individuals living here we can only experience other places, removed from us but observable, as THERE-AND-THEN.  In spite of that, holistically, there could be a universal experience due to what we call Quantum Entanglement, but as individuals we can normally only contribute to that, not share it, other than in a limited way. Take your time on that.

Once, humans, in their generally shared perception, thought the Earth was the centre of all existence, with all observed phenomena such as the sun, moon and stars dancing in attendance. Later, astronomers discovered we were part of a solar system of planets in orbit round our life-maintaining sun. Then we found this sun was one of hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. Then we found the galaxy was one of hundreds of billions of galaxies. Some people have concluded from this that our planet is NOT the centre of space-time or the frontier of existence. But they are wrong.

We are absolutely and inevitably at the centre and the frontier, as is any planet, civilization nation and even individual human who has achieved the status of awareness that renders this perception possible, whether there is one or many. The centre is not defined in three dimensions of geometry, even though geometry decides the possible in material development. The centre is defined by awareness, in a world of many dimensions. We are no more or less expendable or unique, important or trivial, by dint of or due to any extent of arithmetic, than other phenomena or autonomous life forms. We are as as significant and responsible as our awareness permits. And within that which it permits, Nature also expects and makes demands of us, if it (and we) is/are to maintain existence and achieve fulfilment.

So in a very real sense, from once thinking we were the centre of everything we have been shown progressively that we are less than nothing, peripheral and transient, before we can return to re-discover the previous status on different terms and with a new humility and responsibility. T S Eliot wrote "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time". This is what he meant.

So you will appreciate that the mix of confused answers that are given by astrophysicists today are all nearly simultaneously right, but also misleading. Disregard the mathematical possibilities of parallel universes because, as we have seen, they are not necessary and would destroy reason of the kind we have used to get this far. The boundary of space-time, which we sought by looking out into the distance, is in actuality right here, wherever we are, NOW!

We thought we were looking OUT, but in spacetime, looking out is not travelling out, it is harvesting data from the past. It is true that space-time is curved, but 3-D space is not curved in its 3 dimensions as some would have you believe. Because light appears to be bent as it passes a massive star, we might think three-D space is curved so that regardless of the speed of light (imagine it slowed to half speed) it would follow the same path in a bent space. Not so. It would follow a tighter curve if its speed was slower. We are dealing with space-time, and even dear Jim Al-Khalili will have to give way on that.  It is curved in a 4th dimension. Einstein did not depart from Riemann's maths. The speed of light is finite and related to the passage of time. We have a word for the boundary of space-time which we see as EVERYTHING, as an IMMENSE PLURALITY of 3-dimensional objects in motion. The word is NOW, and locally it is called HERE & NOW.

So what is consciousness? It would seem that it is the state of awareness of being in the Here-and-Now described above, but how does that work ?

Individual consciousness is a conversational exchange within a brain-body on the surface of space-time. Human consciousness has developed self-consciousness, helped by having two temporal lobes that can interrogate each other and create vocabularies and logic to analyse spatial and temporal awareness (see  and a Prefrontal Cortex which acts as moderator/controller/rapporteur/judge - and which when we are awake is what we sense as our 'self'' that takes responsibility for decisions. Behavioural evolution and epigenetics have accelerated the development process.

What about this theory going around that our world is a holographic projection from data at the edge of space-time?

As an idea it is so close, but misleading. This hologram is as real as it gets. Now is as real as it gets in 3 dimensions. There is no complex reality of which this is a projection. But in another way is both a hologram and a projection because Now is a dynamic reality. The greater reality is one that is built by the ways and means of Now. Consider your own brain or, if you prefer, your mind or your self. With any luck you will be around tomorrow, but you will be made out of quite few different parts and you will have new as well as old thoughts. Now is a projection through space-time based on the only way to square a circle, which decides the value of Pi from which all else follows. The projection through time is therefore not an image of abstract truth but its consequence.

What's the difference between real universe and hologram universe when a hologram is real and perception defines reality?

The property of matter that we call mass, and the properties of that mass we call inertia and momentum. However, and here comes the final twist: that very property of mass/energy is projected by the fabric of space-time from the singularity to the surface - in other words to Now. Without that, Nature could not contimuously build the complex reality, over time, on the surface we call Now. That process is Realization.  And that also requires that 'perception' as used in the last question only defines a personal interpretation of reality, be it spontaneous or considered. The closer that perception gets to the reality defined by a collective, objective perception, the more it will relate comfortably to what happens next in the familiar procedure we call cause and effect. There is no evidence that a perceived or holographic hammer can knock what we call a real nail into a real plank unless it has mass, independent existence (i.e. dependence only on the space-time we share and weigh matter in) and can be wielded at will.

In due course, we can continue from here to arrive at theories of not only HOW Nature exists but WHY. But the purpose of this file is not to give full or even adequate answers so much as to gently correct the incorrect ones.

If you have grasped the reality described in the preceding paragraphs you will understand that even if the universe had millions or even billions of planets with intelligent life, there is no reason and probably no possibility that the evidence would reach us. The earlier/further stages of universal evolution were likely to have been such as to regularly extinguish any life before it reached the required maturity. That leaves only relatively nearby stella systems from which we might expect to receive electromagnetic evidence, thereby immensely reducing the probabilty on a statistical basis. But again, if you have grasped the reality od space-time, you will understand it does not mean we are alone. We are spared the impossible cocktail-party that would result if we were to be able to communicated in the laborious way we do locally, but we are holistically linked at another dimensional level.

More on that later; next it is time to consider if we can look into the future. We cannot travel into the fuuture. The surface of our 4-D world, the HERE/NOW moves to what we call the future at C, the constant related to the speed of light, providing we do not try to move through space as well. If we move through space [to be more precise through an effective frame of inertial reference], time passes more slowly for us. Because were are dealing with several dimensions, the energy attributed to a straight-line velocity in space is not directly subtracted from the total shared by space and time for the phenomenon involved. It is therefore not until we approach very high (for us) velocities that we find disproportionate resistance to further acceleration.and obvious time-dilation. Nevertheless this does mean that if we were to travel at velocites anywhere approaching that of light, time would pass more slowly.

It has been said by some that this means we can travel in this way to the future if we were to return to the same place after a high-velocity trip. This is a serious misunderstanding. The travelling individual would have experienced less passage of time, and also experienced apparent changes in the rate of passage of time at the place left behind and returned to, but they would no more have travelled into the future than if they had been frozen for a period and then succesfully thawed out. They would not have aged normally, and would think they had travelled into the future, but the truth is they would just have been 'out of it' for a period when those staying around had not.

So we can forget travel to the future, but what about LOOKING forward?

We have seen that by LOOKING OUT, we see into the PAST. That past also forms our present as the information reaches us.
By LOOKING AROUND, locally we see the moving PRESENT as fast as the thermodynamic information is shared.
Logically we should be able, by LOOKING IN, to see the FUTURE.

On first examination it would appear that we cannot do this with any certainty. Foresight is such a subjective experience that it is difficult to focus and then to share. Those who claim to see the future through visions were in past eras sometimes respected in hindsight, and it has to be noted that the ones who remain in the history books are the prophets of doom.

In our time vision must be framed in a plan or shown in a proof of concept to correspond to a workable anmd desirable reality. Any economist or politician who claimed that their vision for the future came to them in a dream had better be talking to the converted, like Martin Luther King. And yet there is no doubt that a well-informed and developed human brain has a computing capability of such incredible power that it is by 'looking in', that is to say using our IMAGINATION, that we can see POSSIBLE FUTURES and PROBABLE FUTURES for CERTAIN AREAS of realization.

Yet it was not so long ago when we had a Prime Minister who gave the world his vision which was neither doom nor dream. Winston Churchill's personal vision in 1940 was of a hellish future which would be blood, toil, tears and sweat, but which could, IF we believed in it, lead on to a better future. Churchill's vision of the future was conditional. He imagined it and he believed it could be reached.

When we look out into the past we have techniques we have developed to get agreement on what we see, and also to focus our vision. If we are to do on a global scale what Winston did on a national and empire scale with 'the vision thing', and if we are to share the vision and frame the conditions, we need to look at the ways and means.

When looking out and back through telescopes, we can use very large array assemblies, linked by networks, to focus on what would be either fuzzy or disputable viewed fron a single, narrow perspective. When looking into the future, we can focus better now we have the Internet and Web to connect human minds, building a clearer picture over time that shows the possibilities and the options for humanity, for the planet, depending on the part we play collectively. From that we can better judge the role we can play as individuals. The recursive function is the key, if it is mastered, as well as being the ground-hog-day trap if it is not, just as persistence is mere obstinacy of there is no feedback to alter the approach to obstacles. 

It is worth while contemplating some of the hits and misses of futurologists and the writers of science fiction. Some are right on the button, others look very wide ofthe mark after the passage of only a decade or two. Technology forges ahead but its application depends on complex financial and monetary forces and unforeseen consequences, limits in resources or growth in demand not backed by purchasing power.Yet others are based on a serious misnderstanding of physics. I do not believe Star Trek has any resemblance to any large-scale future reality. Studying the universe has not led me to believe it requires humans doing that sort of stuff, even were it to be possible..That may not stop us trying though and we may learn a lot in the process. Because the nearer other star systems are, the more likely the data we receive will be of planets that have had a similar time to evolve, any future Star Trek may well be to a planet less than 50 light-years away where there is not yet intelligent life capable of transmitting electromagnetically, but with a gravitational and temperature value that makes it colonisable by earth humans. This is the mathematical probablity, also consistent with the fact that so far we have not detected any incoming evidence of technically advanced beings.

In order to understand how the future develops, and how it can be seen, we must return to Quantum Physics in its full, apparently paradoxical, presentation; but this time we are going to help in the understand of it it. Here are the vital truths:
I suggest going back to here now and reading through again to this point.