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.)
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.
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 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.