A Theory of Connection #1000speak

A Theory of Connection

I couldn’t write about connection without reminding y’all about this summer’s first EVER Bloggers Bash in London. If you have made friends with bloggers why not get them to shimmy along so you can meet them – ‘connect’ – with them (see what I did there!… Ok I’ll stop.)

Connection

Saying ‘everything’s connected’ is one of those phrases that lots of people blurt out. It’s banded around without much thought to what it really means.  So, what does it mean, and what IS behind it?

I know the surface meaning – some odd coincidence happened:

  • You had your hand on the phone thinking someone was going to ring, and then they do.
  • You fell in love with someone, you got separated and then seemingly from nowhere they rock up back into your life, just at the right time.
  • You met someone in a toilet in an airport on holiday and they live two streets away, or were married to your cousins ex’s sister who happened to be dating your best friend that your now engaged to. Or whatever.

It’s a small world, and weird shit happens. But why?

I’m not going to claim to have an explanation. I mean, really I’d have to be God, Ghandi or Einstein to be able to tell you why the world is the way it is. But someone told me they thought I was philosophical this week, and actually maybe they have a point. Once upon a time, a decade or so ago I stood on top of the world –almost, I trekked up to Mt Everest base camp – and then summited a mountain called Kala Patthar, which has the best views of Everest. So it was very nearly the top of the world.

View from Kala Patthar - Everest is the black peak in the top right of the photo

View from Kala Patthar – Everest is the black peak in the top right of the photo

I stood above the clouds, in a serene silence, crisp air kissing my cheeks. I stared at the top of the world feeling so small and humbled I thought there couldn’t be anything more beautiful than this. Only gods should stand above the clouds. But there I was looking at something ancient and enormous. I felt alive, it was one of those life-changing moments when in one instant you feel everything. A moment of intensity for a second you are connected to the world, and everything in it.

Everest was magical but it’s not really a theory of connection… Bear with me. Numbers hurt my head. I am a words girl, but I also have a secret obsession with physics. I love Stephen Hawking – I even met him once! I am fascinated by quantum physics and all things theoretical that might possibly one day give us a theory of everything. If you want to learn more, then I love nothing better than a Hawking lecture, this one on The Beginning of Time is spectacularly interesting.

I could discuss the Fermi Paradox – the question of why we seem to be alone in the universe, and where the hell is everyone. Or Maybe Panspermia – a Greek word meaning seeds everywhere – a theory that postulates seeds of life travel across the universe through various mechanisms like extremophilemicrobes on asteroids or space dust landing on Earth and other planets giving rise to life. Or even Torsion physics (I nearly chose this) a controversial theory much derided by the scientific community, that discusses non electromagnetic fields that might be the source of free energy and an explanation for telepathy amongst other things.

But, instead I’ve chosen the No Boundary theory and Imaginary Time. For anyone who is an expert in any of these areas, and happens to read this post – be kind, this is not my area of expertise, just someone with a passing interest trying to understand something extremely complex.

The first question is whether the universe is open or closed. If closed, as science originally thought, then it will expand to its maximum point and then collapse back in on itself – a bit like a balloon blowing up and then exploding – this relates to the inflation theory  posited by Hawking. But, some measurements suggest there isn’t enough matter in the universe to create sufficient gravity to cause the collapse, suggesting instead it will continue to just expand… forever.

The second point is to understand time. Time is intricately linked to the beginning (if there was such a thing) of the universe.  Marianne Spoon gives a wonderful analogy:

“Hawking and Hartle said the universe doesn’t have a boundary, much like the Earth‘s rounded surface lacks an edge. Hawking likens his no-boundary proposal (aka Hawking-Hartle state) for the universe to, traveling southward until you reach the South Pole. When you reach the South Pole, the term “south” loses its meaning. The same idea is applied to time before the big bang — once you trace back the universe to its beginning, the concept of time (as we define it, at least) becomes obsolete.”

At the beginning of the universe space and time become separated, the laws of physics break down and ‘time’ as the construct we know it, no longer exists. But space does. It continues to exist without time. Hawking has said that the universe under the no boundary condition, would be entirely self contained and unaffected by anything outside itself, not being created or destroyed.

What I try to think of is space and time as two separate entities intricately woven together in ourcurrent universe. Whilst our concept of universe, measured in time, could have begun and may still end; space, as an entity will not, it has and will always be, irrespective of time. This blows my mind a little. I don’t think I can quite understand what would ‘be’ if there were no time, and a vacuous entity seems childishly simple.

If I haven’t confused you yet then Imaginary time, (another head fuck of a theory) might just do the trick.

Imaginary Time

Imaginary time runs at right angles to our concept of ‘real’ time. It is measured using imaginary numbers, like the square roots of negatives – yeah I know, you cant square root a negative, but imaginary numbers are a scientific concept, so stick with me.

Now, if the universe is open, and will therefore always exist, it is without beginning or end, then our concept of ‘real’ time ceases to exist too. Our time reference is irrelevant, because ‘time’ is just a direction in space, a road we can walk on to another place in existence. With imaginary time at right angles to our time, then past, present and future should, theoretically exist simultaneously… think about that for a minute.

Although Imaginary Time is finite in extent, it has no boundary or edge – it is wrapped around on itself. Einstein himself said he thought he existed simultaneously in his past and future, he thought our concept of ‘present’ was an illusion.

In reading about this, I came upon an analogy from EverythingForever.com

“Using the no boundary proposal, it is fun to imagine the universe of time from within a globe. Looking up one sees the north pole from the inside. Looking up is looking into the past, not as if it no longer exists, but instead one can reach up and touch the surface of time as it exists permanently in imaginary time. The north pole is just a single position upon the rounded surface. So one can reach up and touch the first moment, or reach down into the past to touch time in the future.”

This is where I will leave you. Quite frankly that analogy blew my mind, and I have spent an obscene amount of time pondering on it.

Time although finite, exists permanently in imaginary time. So then, whilst space and time are woven together in our universe I am both in my past and future simultaneously and continually. I have already met you, and you already know how this post ends, because you have already read it.

We are connected because we are already connected. We have always been connected and we will always be connected.

 #1000speak

35 comments

  1. The physics stuff just blows my mind…. I really struggle to understand it. But the imaginary time makes sense to me. I have my own theory that past present and future are parallel strands of time. Whichever one we are currently on is our present, but we can move between them via death and birth. Some may even be able to be present in mkre than one strand at a time. So I was very excited to read your theory of imaginary time, which goes along with this thought. Yaaay! Maybe I’m not crazy… on the other hand, maybe we all are lol!

    Lucky you for achieving Everest base camp! Stunning photo! I always assumed I would do that kne day too. Since Carys came along, I’ve accepted that probably wont be possible, but I’ve been to the top of Toubkal and trecked the high Andes, for which I’m very grateful. You’re right… those experiences are life changing moments when you hover on the very edge of understanding something wbich is just beyond your comprehension. It is definitely connecting. I actually get this feeling a lot when I visit the ancient places. Great great post, Sacha!

    1. Thanks Ali. Ooh that’s an interesting thought that we can hop on an off. Most religions or philosophers have some elements of reincarnation built into their ideologies I think there is Too much too many similarities across them all for it not to have any shred of truth. Whether imaginary time is right I don’t know but it’s fascinating all the same.

      I could not agree more – it’s like moments of clarity when you are in those places – sometimes an ancient ruin sometimes atop a hill or mountain or in a log cabin or maybe just thAt piece of music that touches you. Those moments I think are moments of truth a clarity of soul. So hard to explain them but so magical at the same time. 😊

  2. Yep, I get it. I always had a problem with the creation bit so the idea that there isn’t a beginning just anther phase has its attractions. Like being on a humongous travellator. The travellator keep going for ever and we just hop on and off for our time as living breathing beings; behind us are those experiencing the first part of the travellator, like we did – the past, and in front those who’ve been on for longer and who we will be in due course – the future. We know and understand our past but can’t go back there and we can imagine our future but have to wait to get there. But it is all happening together. Happy days!

    1. Ok, thats an interesting way to think of it…. not quite as I had been picturing it. But I like the travellator 🙂 I think – the hawking theory was suggesting that should we know how to do it – time travel (if imaginary time were real) would be possible…. but maybe I am just making that up in my head full of fantasy!

  3. Oh yeah and Everest – man, am I jealous. I just don’t do altitude. The ultimate flat earth man, that’s me. But I adore the mountains and go as high as I can with turning into a walking spittoon and vomitorium

    1. God it was amazing. I have to admit I didn’t do altitude very well – got a bit sick part way through but made it in the end – how can you not do altitude yet happily chuck yourself off a plank with only a rope attached to you… that makes sense… not! :p

  4. I love to ask those big questions too – the meaning of life and the universe, where did it all begin and end. I am a big fan of Hawking. Love his series about the universe and have read “A brief history” and “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” which he wrote with his daughter. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but am looking forward to sometime soon.
    I always love Einstein’s quote that says the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. I understand that completely when thinking about the past or future. Unless a date label is put upon an event/memory/whatever, it is almost impossible to separate them out in sequence. Some things from long ago seem recent, and some recent things seem long ago. Go figure! Expectations of future events always seem a long way off, until they are here.
    And Everest Base Camp – awesome. Just as well you weren’t there recently! 🙂

    1. I know I am still in contact with the guide who took us to base camp I was really worried but thankfully he is fine although one of his houses was destroyed.

      I love nothing better than a big question 😊 – haven’t heard of that book (George) will look it up, thank you.

      The movie is fantastic. Hope u enjoy it as much as I did.

      Interesting thought that, old memories seem recent, new ones old…. Like when you meet some new people – after minutes you feel like you’ve know them for years. Thanks for the wonderful thoughts Norah 😊

      1. You are welcome, Sacha. I always enjoy our conversations, and you had made some good starting points here.
        I’m pleased your guide is okay. Sorry about his house though.
        I hadn’t thought of the connection you make between memories and meeting people; but it’s true. Sometimes you meet someone and you just ‘click’, like you’ve known each other for ever. Some say it’s because you knew each other in a past life, but I’m not one of those. 🙂

  5. Hi Sacha, deep thoughts. 🙂 Enjoyed them. I’ve turned this all over in my mind too and am a big time believer that everything is connected…I often wonder if the mysteries of the world inspire technology…the internet for example is a tangible system for how our consciousness can exist outside our bodies and connect with others.

    1. Now that is an interesting thought, Shelah – u ever heard of distributed cognition? That is what would bring the reality of consciousness through machines to life. Fascinating. I loved your 1000speak post too – think your blog is wonderful 😊.

      1. No, I’ve never heard of distributed cognition….now I have to go look that up! Sounds fascinating. Thanks for the kind words and happy to have made the connection! 🙂

  6. I enjoyed reading this post. Wow! You gave a lot to think about – so deep. I love the last two paragraphs. I know I will be reflecting on them quite a bit.

  7. Ooh, so much food for thought here, what a great post 🙂 I am big on the idea that everything’s connected, that there is a much larger pattern that we cannot see. I wonder if those moments of clarity you refer to are glimpses, a moment where we can step outside time and space and feel it for ourselves – maybe that’s why these moments are fleeting, too intense to be sustained for long. And I love the idea of imaginary time – I do think it a more fluid entity than it is given credit for – sometimes it speeds up, other times goes so slowly – it is only our comparatively recent reliance on watches and time-keeping that give it a false semblance of structure. Interesting indeed xx

    1. Hi Helen thanks for such interesting thoughts. What an interesting idea – that those moments of clarity are views outside time – and you are right they are intense moments. I definitely think they are moments of something… Something big- I just don’t know what yet…. Thanks for reading 😊

    1. Awww thanks Ula. 😊😊 I wrote a post a little while back about the books that made me write – in an inspired kind of way – would a more focused version of that maybe on one or two books be any good for your Monday inspirations series?

  8. Oh, I love this, especially the globe analogy. When I read it, I visualized the scene in Christopher Nolan’s Inception showing the road rolling up overhead as if a wave. If we imagine time as that road and our starting point on the road as that place now directly overhead then yes, the past and present are co-existing as we can see both, but we as individuals are not co-existing in both places because we have modified our dimension in time. We look at the past and think, I want to go back there, but then we look at the road and how it flips upside down and think, we can’t because the road back takes too much energy to travel. But in reality, even if we were to find a way to travel that road, the bigger force to overcome would not be linear time, but instead, would be gravity. We don’t want to do back down that road, we want to go up.

    So then it is a matter of manipulating mass. To travel through time you have to somehow figure out a way to make the pull of the past’s gravity stronger than that of the present.

    Space-time aside, I do believe that there is a not yet quantified force interacting with us all. How else can you explain why there is an uneven distribution of matter to anti-matter in the universe. So it is easy for me to accept that there might be more connecting us than pure coincidence.

    1. HI Allie, sorry it took me a while to come back. That’s a great way of describing it, maybe thats why I liked it so much cause I LOVED that film. Now that’s a FAB thought provoking comment about gravity. I hadn’t ever considered that. The anti matter though – I know right, and isn’t anti matter much more of our composition than our matter? or is that dark matter? I get confused.

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