CHAPTER 11: ON THE ROAD TO REALITY
Confucius said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
My first step was to get noticed by an expert. I did not care if he or she was like me or not. I just wanted validation that I was worthy.
DeWitt Henry noticed me.
. . . .
If you observe the world, especially people in their natural habitat, and consider neural networks, you will come to a very happy conclusion. There is no stupid, only inexperience.
An antelope is born with the leg muscles needed to run with the herd, but must train his neural networks before he can use them. He can do this in a few hours. A baby doesn't have the muscles for walking for months. The baby's walking neural networks are not developed or trained until later. The baby, however, is learning other important things. At birth, neither the antelope nor the baby is stupid. Both are inexperienced.
Time is significant whether we are discussing business, science, or almost anything else. We all have limited time. We feel it is passing slowly or quickly, as we go through our personal or business lives. We learn that when we are devoting time to one important task, we are neglecting another important task.
If we know two tasks are important and we have money, we can do one task while hiring others to undertake the other.
When we turn to science, Einstein tells us that time is relative. But, even if it is relative, it is always there.
As long as time exists, we have cause and effect problems. We have a cause, time passes, then we see an effect - we see a chicken, time passes, we see an egg.
As long as time exists, we can always ask "what caused the cause?".
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" only makes sense if time exists. At some point in the past, a creature had to lay an egg. The parent or parents of this creature reproduced without laying eggs. If this first creature to lay an egg is similar enough to a present day chicken for us to brand it a chicken, then the chicken came first. If not, then the egg came first.
Up until now, I have been trying to relate how what I am calling Never Never Land might interact with strings to solve mysteries of reality. To do this, you would think that string theory would have to be valid and strings would actually have to exist.
To tell you the truth, I have never been married to the idea that when we detect an elementary particle we are seeing some kind of filament vibrating in multiple dimensions. I am convinced, however, that there is a connection between particles on one side of our universe to particles on the other side of our universe. Quantum entanglement, which is accepted by our science, implies this. Whether or not this connection is by filaments or strings is unimportant, but strings are a good way to visualize the connection. Once the connection is accepted, it is reasonable to consider that there may be connections across universes and maybe even to the core of reality.
In Never Never Land, our math does not work and our speculations about what is going on can be just as valid as the most renowned scientist - maybe more so (most renowned scientists automatically consult their mathematical models which assume that time exists). The concept of strings, however, can still be very useful in tying the realm of strings to the quantum world and to the classical physics we see in our universe.
The most dangerous thing to a theory is a newer theory. To the experts in the old field, the new theory may mean they lose prestige, funding, and attention. By the same token, experts in the new field gain prestige, funding, and attention. In addition, students, who represent the future, suddenly turn their devotion to the new theory.
Two things: New theories are always popping up. New theories appear to address apparent weaknesses in old theories.
How do these two things affect what I have been saying about strings? First, if new theories are always appearing at random times, I cannot be constantly going back and rewriting everything I say in terms of the newest theory. Even if I did this, I would want the reader to accept that I could do the same for the next new theory - something that I am sure all readers would not do.
The best that I can do is state, unequivocally, that I will not address unknown theories when they pop up in the future, but I will talk about one, just one, of the most popular new theories.
The Theory of Loop Quantum Gravity has become popular because it is trying to explain something that string theory has apparently failed to explain: gravity.
I am not going to rewrite everything I have said about strings taking in what I can learn about Loop Quantum Gravity. Instead, since Loop Quantum Gravity was invented because of string theory's difficulty with gravity, I will try to speculate on how a trip to Never Never Land could help string theory explain gravity.
Let us first describe some more details about string theory. From multiple Google Snippets:
Snippet #1 - "In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other.";
Snippet #2 - " By replacing those point-like subatomic particles with little vibrating strings of energy, we open up a window to the universe that relativity and quantum mechanics can not; a window which may offer us insight into gravity at the quantum scale, black holes or even the birth of our universe itself.";
Snippet #3 - "Superstring theory is an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modeling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings.";
Snippet #4 – "M-theory is a theory in physics that unifies all consistent versions of superstringtheory. The existence of such a theory was first conjectured by Edward Witten at a string theory conference at the University of Southern California in the spring of 1995.";
Snippet #5 - "Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is a theory that attempts to describe the quantum properties of the universe and gravity. It is also a theory of quantum space time because, according to general relativity, gravity is a manifestation of the geometry of space time.".
Also, let us use Wikipedia to define a graviton - "In theoretical physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton is expected to be massless (because the gravitational force appears to have unlimited range) and must be a spin-2 boson.".
Much of the discussions we have had so far has involved strings as described in Snippet #1 and Snippet #2. Snippet #3 and Snippet #4 were modifications made to string theory to address serious problems scientists were having.
Strings are much too small (at least in most dimensions) to be observed, but particle physicists could, with their particle accelerators, detect different elementary particles and try to tie them to strings vibrating different ways in different dimensions.
The serious problems scientists were having involved two particles - the Higgs boson and the graviton.
The Higgs boson, also called the God Particle, was predicted by string theory, or, at least, Superstring theory. In a nutshell, the God particle was needed to explain why matter had mass. Similarly, scientists were trying to understand how gravity worked at quantum distances. They needed a particle called the graviton.
When we go back to Snippet #3, we have to ask what are supersymmetric strings and how are they different from regular strings.
Supersymmetric string theory was an attempt to account for the existence of matter (fermions). Until now we have been discussing bosonic string theory which has lots of interesting features, but seems to deny that we, being made of fermions, exist. Supersymmetric strings tie fermions and bosons together. Under supersymmetric string theory, there is not just one simple string whose vibrations defines a particle, for example a bosonic particle like an electron, but also always another particle that defines a corresponding fermion (matter particle). For every electron there is another particle - in this case, a selectron. Quantum physicists loved to calculate the properties of these new, proposed particles. And, of course, since the devil is in the details, there were several proposed versions of Supersymmetric string theory.
When we look at Snippet #4, we are introduced to M-Theory. Although I will now attempt to briefly describe what I think M-Theory is, this is not what I think is significant about this Snippet.
M-Theory is an attempt to look more closely at Supersymmetric String Theories and combine them to get a better view of our reality - that is, describe the bosons and fermions we see around us. It introduces us to branes which are, what I call, strings with width, flowing through dimensions. Of course, all of this is described by mathematical models that no one except a few string theorists can understand, leaving the optimists applauding and the cynics saying "gibberish".
Since I do not understand the math, I do not know what a consistent version of superstring theory is. I only know from Snippet #4 that M-Theory unifies consistent versions while it apparently does not unify inconsistent versions. From Snippet #4, I know that M-Theory was proposed in 1995. Since I do understand simple math, I know a lot of time has passed since this last major advance in string theory. What has been going on?
String theorists wanted their work to predict certain elementary particles with specific quantum properties as well as their mass and energy. They could then look for these particles with the particle accelerators they had available or they could wait for the Large Hadron Collider - the LHC (which came online in 2008).
As work continued in 1995 and for a few years forward, string theory ran into a number of problems that encouraged scientists to look for new theories.
One problem with M-Theory was that, although it unified superstring theories, no examples of supersymmetric particles could be found. Electrons are everywhere, but selectrons could not be found then and twenty years later they still have not been found.
String theory believed that specific elementary particles could be defined by small strings vibrating in a particular way. How one string vibrated and thus the properties of a particular particle was determined by the shape of both visible and invisible dimensions. As string theory advanced, scientists realized that a particle could be the results of many different strings - each being affected by the underlying shape of one or more dimensions. When String Theorists could not tie a particle back to a particular string and they had no idea how to determine the shape of super-microscopic dimensions, these scientist saw their beloved string theory begin to unravel.
By 1995, string theory had predicted the Higgs boson (God Particle). It also predicted that this particle and its associated properties could not be detected by existing particle accelerators. Scientists would have to wait for more than a decade for the LHC to start the search. Scientists, being people, found it hard to be patient - that is, to basically do nothing. New theories moved in to fill the void.
Twenty years later, the God Particle has finally been found and confirmed. The graviton is still elusive, although gravity waves have finally been detected. To my mind, if you detect gravity waves and say that gravity waves are made up of gravitons, you have detected gravitons. A particle physicist, however, as his name implies, wants to see a particle in one of his particle accelerators. The intelligent ant story related earlier illustrates why this kind of confirmation may not happen for a long time.
The real crisis that is facing scientists today, or at least scientist that specialize in string theory, is not gravitons. It is the complete failure to find any evidence of supersymmetry. With no supersymmetry, there is no string theory.
Some physicists, of course, do not give up - falling back on an old plea, "All we need is more money to build a more powerful accelerator". Since we have a history of each new accelerator costing drastically more than the last, this plea is likely to fall on deaf ears. The only hopes of these physicists are unknown major breakthroughs that reduce construction costs or very unlikely political changes.
While quantum scientists waited for a couple of decades to get meaningful results from the Large Hadron Collider, they dreamed of new theories. One of the most popular was loop quantum gravity (see Snippet #5).
Being quantum scientists, they wanted to turn everything into quanta (to the non-Latin speaking, quanta is the same as quantums). They also knew that gravity was hard to understand and to fit into their mathematical models, so they thought it must be important. I can't fault them for this logic. I have done the same when discussing time.
I can fault them for doing what their string theory brethren and earlier scientists had been doing. Except when they were in a philosophical mode and their speculations were no more valid than yours or mine, their definition of quanta and their exotic math assumed a minimum size and distance based on the speed of light.
The problem with this assumption is not the quanta it implies. It is the scientists' belief that these quanta reflect gravity itself, not just a remote connection to this mysterious force. It is their belief that nothing can be happening at any “smaller” scale. It is their acceptance that mathematics can never point to this world. It is their refusal to look for clues in our universe from this Never Never Land.
Loop quantum gravity (LQG) does not view reality as strings vibrating in multiple, mostly very small, dimensions. LQG views reality as based on very small loops of quantum gravity. These particles of gravity give somewhat of a sandpaper consistency to space.
Under LQG, spacetime may still be multidimensional (more than four), but each particle of gravity (graviton) cannot be smaller than, or probably longer than, one Planck's length. A graviton is a loop of one Planck's length.
This theory brings up a lot of questions. I am not sure how LQG scientists address these questions or if there is any consensus. I will, therefore, just bring up a few questions.
A graviton is very small, but not as small as the string that describes it. The LQG scientists, since they may be trying to escape string theory, may be saying that there is no string "underneath" describing it. It just sprang into existence at first Planck's time - when the Big Bang happened. At that point, by earlier arguments I have made, a graviton could only exist in some dimensions - maybe having length, but no height and width. Did a graviton later develop in other dimensions so it could be a nice sphere with a diameter of one Planck's length?
Maybe a graviton is non-dimensional, that is, it has no dimensions. Some LQG scientists seem to think it has no mass which would go with it having infinite influence (with no mass, it could travel at the speed of light and have some very small effect on matter on the other side of the universe. To a layman like me, this scenario brings up lots of questions. I will mention one: If we believe energy is equivalent to mass, how can a graviton have energy, but no mass. If a graviton has neither, then what is it and how can it affect anything, either close up or far away?
I have just asked a rhetorical question. I have found that sometimes thinking longer and harder about a rhetorical question can be useful.
From a Google Snippet: A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious answer but you have asked the question to make a point, to persuade or for literary effect.
I asked, rhetorically, if a graviton has neither energy or mass, then what is it and how can it affect anything. Maybe we are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe an energy-less, mass-less graviton can affect other things, but other things cannot affect a graviton. If we were talking classical physics, I would say a graviton is something that violates Newton's Third Law of Motion "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".
When we look at the recent detection of gravity waves, we can see that there might be something to this. Gravity waves are said to be made up of large numbers of gravitons. When cataclysmic, cosmic events occur, such as the collision of massive black holes, gravity waves are radiated into space and may eventually pass by the earth.
Gravity waves (and thus gravitons) travel at the speed of light in a vacuum.
Nothing else, not even light, can travel at the speed of light in a vacuum - simply because there is no such thing as a vacuum. Even in the remotest parts of space, an occasional atom floats by. Light strikes these rare atoms and is slowed slightly - gravitons are not affected.
Since LQG is short for Loop Quantum Gravity, let us return to the idea that gravity is caused by gravitons which are small loops of energy or something. These loops are probably one dimensional and may vibrate in multiple dimensions. Very small but larger than the strings of string theory. These gravitons are very hard to detect with various descriptions of needed detectors - maybe linear detectors as large as Jupiter or a larger Large Hadron Collider with a diameter equal to the diameter of the solar system.
LQG scientists are desperately trying to explain gravity - and, gravity is extremely weird.
One of the weirdest properties of gravity is its strength, or lack thereof. Consider the strength of magnetism versus the strength of gravity. We can easily construct a magnet that can be used to lift a steel bar tied to a 200 pound man. Each of the magnetized molecules in the magnet attract the steel bar and together the billions of molecules can lift the man. On the other hand, every atom below the man, all the atoms in the earth, are pulling the man down with a total force of 200 pounds. This is gravity in action. Although the billions (or trillions) of molecules in the magnet are a lot, the number of atoms in the earth makes this number negligible. We must conclude that gravity is very weak.
On the other hand, a powerful magnet on the sun (assuming it didn't melt) would have no affect on a steel bar on one of the planets, while gravity keeps all of the planets in orbit.
Some scientists have speculated that gravity is weak because it is not stopped by dimensions. Something very strong is not as strong if it has to affect things in ten dimensions - it is only one-tenth as strong in any particular dimension. If, as I have done, you confuse dimensions with universes, and you speculate that there may be a gazillion universes, it is easy to see why gravity is so weak in our universe.
Some interesting questions, at least to me: Could our scientists and mathematicians assume that gravity is as powerful as other forces, measure the true power of gravity (how precise can we measure this value?), and calculate the number of universes that must exist to get the value we observe? If PI is in any math involved, how many significant digits are needed? Do Planck values or quantum uncertainty interfere with our ability to do this? Maybe this is an area where Super PI is not accurate enough?
The exciting thing about LQG scientists talking about gravity and dimensions is they are considering that both other dimensions exist and something (gravitons) can cross the boundaries between dimensions.
There have been thousands of science fiction stories written about time travel, all of which could be viewed as going to another point in time in our universe or to a point in an alternate universe. Now I can visualize a time machine powered by gravitons. Now I can visualize the invention, also powered by gravitons, of a Universal Universe Selector, that lets us chose a point in one of a gazillion universes. What I cannot visualize is how a gazillion choices could be communicated to the time traveler so he could rationally chose one (perhaps using a quintillion inch TV?).
For a long time, science has been trying to tie the reality we see around us to an unseen, more basic, hopefully simpler, reality. String theory is an attempt to accomplish this noble goal with unseen strings. LQG is an attempt to connect using quantum loops of gravity. Other theories are trying to do the same, that is, find connections. Even if string theory falls by the wayside, I can continue to use strings to describe these unseen connections.
Calculus was discovered or developed in the mid-seventeenth century by Isaac Newton and/or Gottfried Liebniz (Each claimed his work was stolen by the other). Calculus was revolutionary. It, for example, allowed scientists to accurately forecast the motions of objects undergoing changes in velocity (acceleration). When gravity was better understood (because of Isaac Newton), calculus allowed the present and future positions of planets and other heavenly bodies to be determined with great accuracy.
Einstein and his mathematical associates changed the classical based results of calculus, getting results that better reflected reality, especially under conditions not normally experienced. In most circumstances, calculus could continue to be used without modification.
Quantum physicists and their mathematicians introduced a radical new math based on probability and more traditional mathematics. No one could tell how this hodgepodge of formulas related to reality, but they allowed the building of mathematical models that solved many problems and supported modern science as we know it. I can't believe, however, that if you don't know why something works, you can use it as a reliable tool to probe the true secrets of reality.
We desperately need a new genius, a new Isaac Newton, to invent a new calculus. From this new math, mathematical models could be constructed and used to probe reality. Although these models might not be obvious, many would be able to see their logic. Faith in a handful of geniuses would no longer be required.
We once said that science trying to understand reality was like a little boy trying to dig to China. He could pick up a few facts as he dug a small hole. But a few shovelfuls of knowledge was insignificant when one realized that the boy still needed to dig many miles. Even with the help of his father's powerful earth moving equipment, there was no hope of his reaching his ultimate goal.
Today's foremost scientists are in worse shape. Entangled in their conventional views of time and, perhaps gravity, they each hop around on a vast landscape, occasionally shouting to each other, as they try, with a pick in one hand and a spade in the other, to loosen and shovel up the first inch of knowledge on their journey to China.
Now we need to, as we promised, tie Loop Quantum Gravity to string theory. We first have to view a graviton, which no one has ever detected, as an expression of a much more remote vibrating string. In the world of this string, time has no meaning. Or maybe time does have a meaning, but the shortest length of time is not a Planck's time, but the shortest duration is a gazillionth of a Planck's time. In this case, small granules of time float through dimensions. Or, is time a dimension? Similarly, since we are discussing gravitons, do granules of gravity float through dimensions?
Some have asked if gravity is a dimension. The consensus seems to be - No. Since, however, a famous person once said "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is", maybe we should say "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'dimension' is".
A part of a Google Snippet says a Dimension is
"a measurable extent of some kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height.'the final dimensions of the pond were 14 ft. x 8 ft'
synonyms: size; measurements; proportions; extent; length; width; breath; depth; area; volume; capacity; footage; acreage; 'the dimensions of the room'".
Note that there is no mention of time in this snippet - even though it is commonly accepted that time can be viewed as the fourth dimension.
We have speculated a lot about time. We have talked about how a particle of time might behave in the world of the string, that is, where time had no meaning. We said, maybe, time was made up of one dimensional particles that basically had influence in only one direction - a direction that went through one of a gazillion space dimensions.
Now that we want to talk about gravitons, let us try to relate them to our one dimensional particles of time. In this case, a graviton would also be the expression of a one dimensional particle, a particle of gravity. Following this analogy, however, makes me want to change both the definitions of "particle of time" and "particle of gravity" slightly. Since neither are space dimensions, let us now say that a particle of time is a "particle" with zero dimensions that only acts in one direction - a direction that goes through one of a gazillion space dimensions. By the same token, we can now define a particle of gravity as a "particle" that acts in all directions and passes through a gazillion space dimensions.
It now seems possible that the direction in which our particles of time and particles of gravity act is more important than their magnitude, if they have any. Therefore, I might suggest that any "new" calculus developed for working in what I have called Never Never Land or just the land of strings might concentrate on scalar and vector math - a scalar being a quantity that has only magnitude, but no direction; while a vector has both magnitude and direction.
If we assume that this quirk of nature continues as we journey through Never Never Land, we can view time particles and gravity particles slightly differently. A time particle is a loop or some kind of connection that, in one direction only and through one dimension only, extends out to the end of reality and back, where it almost connects to its starting point. Due to something like quantum effects, however, it misses the starting point and again travels out and back, through a different dimension. After a gazillion journeys, the loop is finally closed. Two results of this view of a time particle: All time particles that we visualize are the same time particle; and, since, the time particle is not subject to time, we cannot say how long these multiple journeys take – they could take all times between zero and forever.
Of course, we could just as easily have a gazillion separate time particles.
When we look at gravity particles at the string level, some of the same logic applies. A gravity loop could extend through a particular space dimension and, since there is no time, exert influence throughout, no matter how "long" that dimension is. The loop would loop back to its starting point or near its starting point. And, with the same logic we used for time, we could have one gravity particle with many loops or many particles with one loop each.
If there is one time loop passing through many dimensions, then time should also be weak. But what do we mean by weak time? Maybe there are many time particles, each one tied to a particular dimension. Perhaps the fact that our mathematical models become shaky when we approach extreme conditions, or dimension or universe boundaries, indicate that this is true.
On the other hand, maybe gravity really is weak because there is only one gravity particle with its single loop passing through all dimensions - or many gravity particles whose loops stretch all the way to the boundary of reality, to the edge of what we have described as kind of a super God particle. Maybe gravity is the glue that holds this God particle together as it rotates in an area that is an everywhere and everywhen - an area that rotates forever because it has no idea what forever means.
There is some logical support to the idea that time is confined to one dimension or universe while gravity is spread out among many dimensions or universes. At boundaries such as Planck's time after the Big Bang, time exists but, using our mathematical models, gives both reasonable and weird results. Gravity, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found and our mathematical models fall apart - trying to say, for example, that at this scale the force of gravity should be infinite.
If we view gravity at the quantum level as spread out and weak and subject to quantum uncertainty, or at the string level as spread out and weak and subject to something like quantum uncertainty, the results we see may make sense. This feeble force of gravity is swamped by uncertainty. At both quantum and string levels, we cannot detect gravity and our math does not work.
I like things to be definitive, not built on random chance. Maybe, however, I have to recognize that reality doesn't feel the same way as I do. Based on this fact, I have to say, albeit, with disgust - maybe any "new calculus" developed should include a statistical component so that the probability of a particular value of the force of gravity could be calculated at either quantum or string levels.
Let us move on now to all existence.
When we are moving around in Never Never Land, I believe we can glimpse all existence. What components can we see? What properties of these components can we assume that would support the reality we observe in our universe?
In Never Never Land, everything is exceedingly small, much smaller that quantum dimensions. Except in certain directions, through specific dimensions. When these exceptions apply, things can be as large of universes.
We can also view Never Never Land as one super God Particle. Anything we can imagine including time, gravity, space, dimensions, universes, energy, and matter all exist within this super God Particle. There is no outside of this particle.
Within the super particle are many dimensions - one time particle is contained in each dimension - a vibrating loop of time. Or there is only one vibrating loop of time passing through many dimensions. In either case, once time touches a dimension, size and velocity appear - size and velocity that is unique to that universe and is not recognized by other dimensions or the super particle itself - at least for the most part.
Gravity loops are similar, but different. Again, the vibrating loops make up one particle, or many. We may want to picture the gravity loops as longer, passing not just through dimensions, but reaching from one end of the super particle to the other.
A time loop is not subject to itself. A gravity loop is outside of time. So, in both cases, a vibration in the loop can travel around the loop in no time at all. Now we have to ask "What is vibrating?".
One possible answer is the slight change in the force of gravity as the dimensions change positions, possibly due to the uncertainty of their exact positions. In this case, gravity would be acting like the strong nuclear force that holds quarks together. In this analogy, the force would increase as the dimensions moved apart and decrease as they moved together.
Maybe the force of gravity at one end of the gravity loop has always been and always will be slightly different than the force at the other end. This difference, and even the concept of one end or the other, does not exist outside of time. This difference may only exist within a dimension in the presence of time, matter, energy, or something else.
A better answer, in my opinion, is that gravity is being affected by time, other components within dimensions, or unknown components outside dimensions. The recent confirmation of the existence of gravity waves support this view.
If you remember, a graviton is a theoretical particle that has not yet been detected. It is suppose to have zero mass which allows it to travel at the speed of light in a vacuum. Even when traveling in a near vacuum and it encounters a rare atom, it flies on with no reduction in its breakneck speed. It seems as if nothing can affect it and it can affect nothing. All of this would be fine if we hadn't detected gravity waves.
Gravity waves are the results of a gazillion gravitons being created and flying off into space. A gazillion gravitons are created only when something unusual happens - for example, two massive black holes collide. And to be clear, a gazillion is a fictious number. It does not exist, but commonly means a very large number.
When we detected gravity waves, we were also detecting gravitons. Gravity waves are, after all, just gazillions of gravitons moving through space.
If we have detected gravitons, we have to question whether or not they really have zero mass. To understand why, we have to first realize that the graviton had to affect something within our detector for us to notice it. Perhaps it collided head on with an atom, causing the atom to emit a photon which we detected. The question is how can a zero mass particle have an effect on an atom.
Conventional wisdom says the answer has to do with the difference between rest mass and kinetic energy. Or, since energy is equivalent to mass, we can refer to kinetic energy as kinetic mass. The idea, in classical physics, is that an object has a certain intrinsic mass when it is not moving, but it gains mass as its velocity approaches light speed. This extra mass is kinetic mass. If we add just a little energy, the mass does not increase much, but we can tell the difference - an example being me tossing you a baseball versus a major league pitcher throwing the ball at you at 100 miles per hour.
The important point, and this is only a feeling on my part, is that you must have some, non-zero, rest mass, before you can have any kinetic mass.
Considering what we have said about time and mass, let us look again at all reality - a very weird place that we can't even call a place. Although there could be more, let us assume that all reality contains only two kinds of particles: one related to time; the other to mass.
Any mathematical models that attempt to describe these, or any other particles, at the string level must include a statistical or probability aspect. This is analogous to equations used in quantum physics. Since I desire an ordered reality, I don't believe this reflects an underlying uncertainty to quantum or string level processes. It just means that the particles we are discussing have a loop-like nature - with the loops intertwined and affecting each other in a gazillion different ways. With this level of complexity, we can only calculate results as probabilities.
And so we have a gazillion particles of time, each of minute duration with a loop stretching across a dimension and back. Or maybe across Never Never Land and back. Or maybe we just have one particle of time with a gazillion loops. But we have particles of time - one or more very small particles of time.
Likewise, we have a gazillion particles of mass, gravitons, each quantum specs of mass, or at least the potential to be mass, with a loop helping to define Never Never Land. Or maybe one particle with a gazillion loops reaching everywhere that is anywhere, or again what we are calling Never Never Land.
Where are these particles? That is not a valid question - Never Never Land does not recognize where. But maybe we can say that a particle of mass is somewhere on a mass loop and a particle of time is somewhere on a time loop.
Maybe, just as electrons repel each other, like particles repel each other. Gravitons never collide. Time particles always avoid each other. Their respective loops rotate in Never Never Land for what we call forever. How fast do they rotate? Again, an invalid question. Here, speed has no meaning (for that matter, neither does "Here").
In this string level world, we cannot use words like rarely, occasionally, often, travel, time, distance, small, and large; but I am going to anyway. Our respective loops rarely intersect. The particles that make them up are too small and the loops rarely meet. We can view gravitons as traveling for a long time without getting close to a time particle. But there are places where the loops cross and the particles meet.
In the string level world, these points of interception are not special. They exist "somewhere", but time does not exist and nothing happens. At each of these points, however, a quantum of mass and a quantum of time are “close enough to each other”.
When or where they are close enough, a minuscule amount of mass is converted to energy and time begins. It may well be that at this point a new universe is born. To this universe, the small fleck of energy could be a Big Bang.
Can we take this explanation of "a Big Bang", relate it to our Big Bang, and then use this to give reasonable explanations for what we see in our universe?
. . . .
We struggle our entire lives to see ourselves as successful. If we can truly believe that we love to struggle, that our struggles open up all the possibilities that life has to offer, perhaps we can be happy.
It is not your fault if you find this difficult to believe – to feel. Your worldview, your neural networks, that rebel against “struggling makes me happy”, were formed not when you were stupid, you were never stupid, but when you were inexperienced. Continue to struggle.
As I have struggled to see myself as successful, I have noticed that success does make me happy – at least for awhile. Failure makes me unhappy, but it does more. Enough failure will make me change what I consider important, how I define success, what I need to be happy. The beauty of life is we can always fail enough to be happy.
Now I want to describe Never Never Land, not pursue old, unimportant things. Now as I read what I wrote above, I have new ideas about how to do this, how to make progress, how to be successful, how to be happy.
From before you can remember, you were beset by apparently conflicting advice. Reading Shakespeare, you learned “To thy own self be true”, but soon your father said “face reality”. Your young, inexperienced, not stupid, neural networks struggled to produce happiness. They must continue to build your worldview, a worldview where you feel you are facing reality, yet are true to yourself.
I believe our neural networks are doing a pretty good job – most of us are happy (granted – as with much of life, if you agree or disagree, you can find numerous studies and statistics that support your view).
Success makes us happy. We are proud of our accomplishments. Being happy doesn't make a creature more likely to survive, but being successful does. The beauty is success itself is so nebulous that we can define it for ourselves in our own worldview.
Life is a strange art. What is important now can become unimportant. What is meaningless now can become paramount later.
If you are good at something (like making money), you have fine-tuned your neural networks to automatically reflect the attributes that support this ability. Until what is important to you changes, you will be successful. You will be happy.
If you are not good at something, you will not be happy. Sooner or later, the stress of being unhappy will tear down the inappropriate neural networks. Something else will be labeled important and new networks built. You will be successful. You will be happy.
. . . .
It is unfair that no one knows who invented the wheel. It is unfair that no one knows who was inspired by the wheel to build the first chariot. With modern technology and the internet, original thinkers can now receive credit.
If I am an original thinker, I demand credit. It is only fair.
I hope this obsession doesn't make me a bad person.
That wouldn't be fair.