“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, June 20, 2021


 ...I have these thoughts about gravity and time and so on. 

Doesn't the fact that things move at all weird you out, at all? The thing we just take for granted? I mean we explain things in terms of subatomic particles, such as electrons. But we never explain simple mechanical motion. I'm not talking about strange quantum vibrations. I'm talking about, how come there can even be the illusion of mechanical motion, if it is indeed an illusion? And so on. 

We even explain mass using the Higgs boson, but not this. I'm talking about things moving in space and the feeling of time passing, yeah that feeling. There's a physicist at Imperial College, I don't recall her name, she's also obsessed with that. She thinks that we shouldn't just explain away the regular every day taken for granted feel of time passing. 

I like that because it's really Heideggerian. Examine the most incredibly obvious seeming thing in the room, the elephant. 

So let's talk about a basic basic fact of movement called inertia, the fact that things keep on moving

In short, when something is moving through outer space and it just keeps moving until it's stopped. What is that, actually. What the fuck is it. 

So I'm crowdsourcing this idea because I think it's quite strange. There are lots of parts of it, but here's one. 

In a supercooled fluid, the electrons are all over the place, and it's a superconductor. 

If there are gravitons then spacetime is a supercooled fluid, mostly ("the vacuum of space"--it isn't one really). The gravitons are all over the place. So things can slip and slide easily until something stops them. 

Movement in a vacuum is pretty much because spacetime near to its ground state is superconductive.


(There's a whole bunch of these speculations, all related, and I'm going to start sharing them here, because I don't know how else to talk to physicists.) 


Roger said...

Like many things, I think that questions about "what is energy and why is it there" and the related "why things move and keep moving" can best be answered by trying to figure out why the universe exists at all. Once this is figured out and we know what the nature of existence is, then we can have some ideas about why anything that exists might move. In regard to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?", my thinking is that if we ever want to get a satisfactory answer to this question, we have to start with the idea that there could have been "nothing" but then there was "something". Another way to say this is that if you start with a 0 (e.g., "nothing") and end up with a 1 (e.g., "something"), you can't do this unless somehow the 0 isn't really a 0 but is actually a 1 in disguise, even though it looks like 0 on the surface.  That is, in one way of thinking "nothing" just looks like "nothing".  But, if we think about "nothing" in a different way, we can see through its disguise and see that it's a "something". I can provide a slightly longer summary of how this might be but didn't want to make too long a comment.

What this means is that what we usually consider to be "nothing" (the lack of all matter, energy, space/volume, time, abstract concepts, laws of physics/math/logic, possible worlds/possibilities, and the lack of all minds to think about this supposed lack of all) is, if thought of in a new way, a "something", or an existent entity.

As an existent entity, I think this entity has certain properties. One is being spherical and another is the ability to create replicas of itself (as an existent entity, it exists. Existent things have a boundary. Boundaries create next-to-the-boundary's. What's next to it? "Nothing". Thus more entities are formed next to the first one.). This process continues in a big bang-like manner. You can't fit an integral number of spheres around a central sphere of the same size, so at least two of these entities overlap. When these two entities try to assume their spherical shape, they exert pressure on one another. This pressure is energy and causes the entities to move apart. What's there to stop them? "Nothing", so they keep moving.

I know this sounds like the ravings of an amateur, which I am, but in regards to these topics, who isn't? Also, the logic seems pretty reasonable to me. I can provide a longer summary or post my website with more details but didn't want to write too long a comment.

Thank you for reading.

drgergwe said...

I immediately thought of this:

If spacetime is quantised, then the particle cannot move continuously. It must jump. To do this, it must be deleted from where it is, and re-instated somewhere else. Or annihilated and re-created. Such processes are at the heart of quantum mechanics, so there is no difficulty in describing them in current models.


(don't take this too seriously,... I will try and write a longer reply later that might clear up the mysterious fact of inertia.)

Roger said...

drgergwe: Hi. I looked at the link you provided. I'm just an amateur, but from my thinking, I also think space is quantized but also fluid-like. But, I differ from Rob Wilson in that I think that particles of matter are just different vibrations of the particles of space. When they vibrate, they exert pressure on their immediately adjacent neighbor particles of space (which is energy), causing them to move and flow. As they move, new particles get filled in in between. So, space is fluid-like and the vibrations and motions of these particles of space are what matter is. But, who knows? One idea is as good as the other!

Walter L said...

Maybe it’s like ripples on a river surface asking why is there a river surface and why do “things” (wave patterns made of water droplets) keep moving? Are the water droplets on the surface in a “special” state? Does the surface on which individual propagating wave objects form even “exist”?

Oakland fogbaby said...

A poem on this topic:

"All that is,

This poem came to me while thinking about the connection between large astronomical objects, all in motion (thanks Big Bang) and vibrating atoms (unless at theoretical absolute zero C, but not sure who/what to thank, this knowledge is beyond my ken).

Thank you Timothy Morton. I'm now reading "Dark Ecology," my second encounter with your thinking and writing. The first was reading the June 8, 2021 New Yorker article, "Timothy Morton’s Hyper-Pandemic".

Oakland fogbaby said...

A poem on this topic:

"All that is,


Timothy: My first encounter with your writing/thinking was the June 8, 2021 New Yorker article, "Timothy Morton's Hyper-Pandemic". The second is happening now as I read/work my way through "Dark Ecology." Thanks for the mind-blow.

hilary said...

Carlo Rovelli is very good on all this stuff - my go-to physicist who does seem possible to talk to.