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Conversations with Einstein – David Martsolf – 1981 and 2014
“What appears to me (Einstein), however, is that, in the foundations of any consistent field theory, there shall not be, in addition to the concept of the field, any concept concerning particles. The whole theory must be based solely on partial differential equations and their singularity-free solutions (1936).”
Einstein states in the summary of this article (Physics and Reality – 1936), “Physics constitutes a logical system of thought which is in a state of evolution, and whose basis cannot be obtained through distillation by any inductive method from the experience lived through, but which can only be attained by free invention.”
Martsolf – This seems a contradiction in the history of the evolution of physics in that to me, physics has always progressed through the creation of theoretical models that attempted to integrate problems which eventually surfaced through experiences attempting to verify or support the prior hypothetical model.
Einstein – The justification (truth content) of the system rests in the proof of usefulness of the resulting theorems on the basis of sense experiences, where the relations of the latter to the former can only be comprehended intuitively. Evolution is going on in the direction of increasing simplicity of the logical basis. In order further to approach this goal, we must make up our mind to accept the fact that the logical basis departs more and more from the facts of experience, and that the path of our thought from the fundamental basis to these resulting theorems, which correlate with sense experiences, becomes continually harder and longer.
Martsolf – In this sense Euclidean geometry as a purely mental construction diverges from sensory experience in the larger scale of the universe. However, the power of the Euclidean geometry and classical mechanics continues to bear weight as we use it with confidence in the micro world of our day to day existence. Even Einstein’s relativity, which is based on the knowledge that our sense experiences do not conform to a Euclidean field, in fact uses that Euclidian (or perfect) field as a basis of description, in that the theories emphasize how sensed reality deviates from the perfect field. When proofs turn to the bending of light in a gravitational field, the bending we are referring to is the bending from the absolute Cartesian coordinates. When we speak of spacial contraction or time dilation we are speaking of them as deviations from our day to day common sense of absolute space and absolute time. Even Einstein admits that the theories of relativity are less precise when stating that as a consequence, “there is no absolute motion”.
Even so, relativity is the purest statement yet of a singularly sense-oriented physical construction. But, as the integration of quantum and field theories becomes ever more complex, and as physicists delve deeper and deeper into the realm of subatomic particles with what appears to be their own set of physical rules, the quest for simplicity begs for the reimplementation of a classical, call it now a neo-classical model, where space-time can exist hidden beneath the paper-thin skin of the observable universe, and in which simultaneity can reign once again. From there it is only a half-turn to the leavening agent of the real concept of nothing to experience the nexus of reality.
Einstein - In classical mechanics the concepts of space and time become independent. The concept of the bodily object is replaced in the foundations by the concept of the material point, by which means mechanics becomes fundamentally atomistic. Light and electricity produce insurmountable difficulties when one attempts to make mechanics the basis of all physics. We are thus led to the field theory of electricity and, later on to the attempt to base physics entirely upon the concept of the field (after an attempted compromise with classical mechanics). This attempt leads to the theory of relativity (evolution of the notion of space and time into that of the continuum with metric structure).
I try to demonstrate, furthermore, why in my opinion the quantum theory does not seem likely to be able to produce a usable foundation for physics: one becomes involved in contradictions if one tries to consider the theoretical quantum as a ‘complete’ description of the individual physical system or happening.
On the other hand, up to the present time, the field theory is unable to give an explanation of the molecular structure of matter and of quantum phenomena. It is shown, however, that the conviction to the effect that the field theory is unable to give by its methods a solution of these problems rests upon prejudice.
Martsolf – The theory of relativity is the epitome of the sense oriented physical description. So is the quantum theory. In respect to the boundaries of gravitation it should be noted that there exists a mental concept of infinity that defines over its summation a gravitational sum of forces that equals zero. This concept also requires negation of the basic postulate of thermodynamics, i.e., that there is perpetual motion. The only answer to date as to the cause of this motion is the response that “motion is its own cause”, “self-perpetuating”, “reflexive motion”, or the like. Physics, which deals with the finite fact by definition, may always be at odds with any concept of the infinite. This is known contemporaneously as the unresolvable problem of singularities.
From Einstein’s “The Fundamentals of Theoretical Physics”, 1940 – For the time being we have to admit that we do not possess any general theoretical basis for physics which can be regarded as its logical foundation. The field theory, so far, has failed in the molecular sphere. It is agreed on all hands that the only principle which could serve as the basis of the quantum theory would be one that constituted a translation of the field theory into the scheme of quantum statistics. Whether this will actually come about in a satisfactory manner nobody can venture to say.
Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality in space and time, or that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance.
Martsolf – I do not believe in chance, but in the laws of probability, which can also be called the laws of necessity, and are hardly conditioned by a chance event. In opposition to Einstein I take philosophical and logical positions that Erwin Schrodinger and Max Born are not describing chance, but are rather opening up an entirely new concept of the particle, in that it exists only as an ascertainable condition of the overlapping of existing waves of required frequencies. The problem of the equal probability of the anti-particle’s existence may be thought of as a system of particle and anti-particle separated by the time and position of the waves involved. In this manner the universe and anti-universe exist in the same field, held apart by the very wave functions that add to create both particle appearances. Matter may ‘vibrate’ between matter and anti-matter states than cannot be distinguished except in special experiments where the anti-state is being sought.
The relationship between matter and anti-matter ties to another fundamental truth. Consider how the existence of one object is tied to another. To describe the world in a physical way we immediately are required to assume a duality. The must be the observer to validate the observed event. Every theory, no matter how abstruse, is grounded in the need to bring home to an absolute world the actual phenomenon observed. The complexity of today’s physical concepts relate directly to the fact that we now realize that what we are observing directly is only the leading edge of reality.
Reality per se is completely hidden from direct observation so that what we actually study is the past. The validity of our studies lies in the knowledge that the future and present have always coherently become the past at the moment we receive information regarding that point in time. We never truly can examine the present, and therein lies its mystery and also its powerful underpinning that can be thought of perhaps as an elusive fifth dimension.
Turning our attention to the supposedness of the Big Bang, let us briefly analyze the problem in strictly Euclidean terms. The idea as it is often stated involves a beginning at t=0 of a singularity with all the matter in the universe at one point.
Points are particularly sticky objects in the Euclidean and Cartesian fields since by definition they have no dimensions. In this sense a point is a primal abstract concept. To consider all the matter in the universe at a single point is also a very sticky problem. I am sure that most scientists would hope that all the wave functions at this point would not cancel each other out. But, how could the matter attain singularity without such a case? They could however simply pass through each other and recreate a new universe, in which case the problem would seem to be solved.
However, we still have a problem. The difference between the pulsating Big Bang scenarios and one where matter expands indefinitely hinge largely on how much mass there is in the universe. To state that there is a finite amount of mass in the universe instantaneously makes the universe finite.
Close inspection of our collection of concepts uncovers two seemingly mutually exclusive sets; the set of the finite and the set of the infinite. One must opt for a universe governed by one or the other, but not by both, unless you wish to accept ignorance as part of your zeitgeist (I believe the universe is finite when actually it is infinite). I personally believe the universe to be infinite in all directions, inwardly as well as outwardly.
Some theories of the Big Bang revolve around the concept of a finite universe. While it is true topologically that a finite Mobius-style universe could still have no end in the dimension of time and space this would place this type of universe outside the realm of infinity, such that it must be abandoned as a completion concept in the description of the total universe, even if some parts of that universe are considered unobservable. This type of universe would instead be forced to be just one example of a multiplicity of similar universes linked in some way outside the typical constructions theorized to date by physicists. Once again we are faced by the problems inherent in theorizing about realities that are outside our ability to observe. However, I think we must do this, and extend logic into such imaginings as much as possible.
Back to the Big Bang, then. What is a Big Bang? And, what is space? While the theory of relativity predicted the expansion of space, this view point was once again concocted from the position of the observer as the center of a localized Newtonian universe where a defined observer remains absolutely defined for eternity. Current cosmological theories surmise that space is itself ever more rapidly expanding, never to fall back in on itself. Concurrently, the clusters of matter than reside within this space are not expanding, meaning the size of the atoms, or any of the atomistic particles within the space are not expanding, nor is the space between them. Whole galaxies are not expanding in the space that is expanding around them. If particles are contained within space, then why wouldn’t their volume also expand in tandem? There must be an overriding force that prevents their expansion. The only one we know of is gravity. Space apparently expands where gravity has no sway, in deep intergalactic space. But, how could space expand in regions where there are no active forces? Do we need to imagine some additional unobservable expansive force to explain this? This can be explained, but not easily with classical mechanics. There is another way.
With no absolute reference point it would be just as proper to state that the galaxies are shrinking into their own gravitational wells within an overall steady state spacial construction. In this edifice, space becomes fairly close to a steady state commodity in deep space, although we must remember that for we, thinking in terms of being four-dimensional observers, relativity still holds true throughout these one-step-removed reality constructions. In the regions of galaxies are the gravity pools that pull all matter inward as though into a cosmic drain. The future of this house is rather dark with all matter ultimately swallowed into black holes that become increasingly smaller, and smaller, unless ultimately coming into balance with the other repulsive forces of nature that exist at the atomic and subatomic levels. What happens inside these black holes is the subject of another talk. And, even though current data suggests the universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, there are still models that would permit subsequent contraction and perhaps even a Big Bang Bounce administered by quantum loop gravitation theory.
However, since the commonly held view of the universe predicates itself on the expansion of space rather than the contraction of space in gravity wells, let’s talk in terms of that model and expand our view as far as we can. There is an interesting conclusion based on the evidence first observed by Edwin Hubble carried out to the moment in time when the Big Bang occurred. Diagrams are commonplace that show us at the center of a circle filled with galaxies. As you work your way outward from the center you find younger and younger galaxies since their light has taken longer and longer to get here. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field images collected in 2003-2004 show galaxies in what are inferred to be very young states. The evidence supports once again that we are looking backward in time reaching a time estimated to be only 500 million years after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago (2014). The two-dimensional diagrams continue outward showing the as yet unresolved first galaxies, first stars, to the dark period before radiation was free to travel in space after the so-called Radiation Era when atoms first came into existence. The outer edge of all such diagrams is simply labeled “Big Bang”.
The paradox bears consideration. Here, at the point where the diameter of the diagram (our relativistically observed understood universe) is the largest, is the point of singularity. If we could resolve this distance with some instrument, what would we observing? How is it that what is clearly the inner surface of an immensely large spherical or nearly spherical shape is in fact the physical reality of a singularity?
The question is an interesting one from a topological point of view. As a topological two-dimensional manifold, the either side of the surface of the sphere is essentially the same thing. Therefore, from the topological point of view the surface of the singularity is a sphere. While mathematics can work the details of singularity and infinity from the general theory of relativity, there are those such as Hawking who doubt a true singularity ever really happened. Doubting it could happen helps maintain our belief in our four-dimensional world, but we should also be able to accept that the event of the Big Bang could be a place located at the boundaries of time and space where singularity (an acceptable description of ‘nothing’) and infinity can be equal. This, I believe, is the true nature of things and nothing coexisting in the true universe.
This true nature could be described as an infinity bubble (if one is still thinking in terms of spheres) or an infinity bloom that arises from nothing. The interesting corollary of this equation is that the energy potential of every point in the universe is infinite. The math should certainly be able to prove this just as easily as it answers the equation 1 divided by 0 as equaling infinity in certain well-behaved models such as the Riemann sphere. Read that equation word by word in the context of the knowledge that zero in this case is equivalent to nothing, and that the concept of nothing can be held to be an operative example of being. One divided by nothing is infinity. This is the essence of all reality.
Let’s take one last look at “our relativistically observed understood universe”. Let’s apply the general theory of relativity to our view’s outermost regions, which unfortunately we cannot interpret since light could not escape the region in universe’s earliest years, that is, about 377,000 years after the Big Bang. General Relativity, which takes over as an operative expression of the observable universe only after photons come into existence, is the only way we are able to view the universe today. From the point of view of the observer it specifies that as we look at objects traveling closer and closer to the speed of light we will see them to become infinitely massive and be governed by the rule of time dilation such that time will appear to slow to the point where time freezes.
Cosmologists know today by studying the empirical results of Hubble’s discovery of an expanding universe in 1929 that there are already regions of the universe that are moving away from us at greater than the speed of light. Remember that the speed of light is the limiting factor for speeds in your local space-time. If two separate regions of space-time are moving away from each other due to the expansion of the total amount of space between them, then that is an entirely different matter. So, our game of imagination can proceed unhindered by reality.
If we now consider the effect of looking outward toward the receding edge of our known universe we will come to that point in distance where objects’ visible light reach the speed of light and freeze-up, so to speak. Beyond this point the universe becomes black (no radiation can reach us) the imaginary surface of that sphere becomes infinitely dense, and the apparent time dilation increases to infinity, meaning time stops. We note that we have just described the surface of a black hole, one that we are in the center of. In a universe where information transfer is controlled by the speed of light we all live in the center of large black holes.
I offer one other thought diagram for Life in Our Observable Universe. We have all seen movies where people stand at the end of a train and look out at the world receding into the distance. Now, go out into the night sky and imagine this same scene happening all around you in every direction you look. Imagine the truth that all the deep space objects beyond our Local Group of Galaxies are receding from us at ever incredible speed. Even more striking, objects that might be moving toward us still have a delay in reporting that movement due to the speed of light. Since light as the informational messenger is limited in its speed to return that information to us, we are effectively staring into the past no matter what we look at. With sound and chemical reactions in our body traveling at even slower speeds, our immediate experience of family, friends, and our even own person is an impression that comes from the past.
Yet, we do have a sense of the present. I believe there are two such senses, one false and one true. The false sense is the one our body builds up over the years as our learned ‘present’, the daily world we interact with. Our body needs this sense in order to work effectively in our relativistic world. We also use it as a predictor of future action, such as knowing when to throw a spear in advance of a moving prey so that the two objects meet in some near future time with good results for our survival.
The other ‘present’ is our sense of ‘now’ that comes from what some might term a spiritual level. This sense is of the true now that does exist in reality, but for us exists primarily in our imagination. It goes beyond the veil of our outer experience and cannot be described well since it is apart from any understanding of the world of observers and the observed. In this ‘now’ you reach planes that while they might sound religious, such as in the 1971 book “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass, also have a very true physical reality that should not be ignored by science. It is this ‘now’ that some believe is the wellspring of all being, underlying all of the required realities of now’s child, infinity in the dualistic world of the observer and the observed, or as Martin Buber’s “Ich und Du” (I-Thou) as written in his philosophical paper of 1923.
Our Dualistic World
We live in the world of infinity. And infinity is the child of the One Force, which I will simply call the Present. The relationship between the Present and Infinity (and all its components) has not been explored sufficiently by science. The problem Einstein presents is a world where only one world will exist at any one moment and that this world is the only one possible at this moment, for one observer. For other observers, even if we define an absolute time plane and have both observers record their universe at the same absolute moment, due to the realities of relativity, their two worlds will be different, both in spatial and temporal construction.
To compound this difference there are in reality infinite observers and therefore infinite worlds, or world views, that exist at any moment that are as slices of the same world summed over all the dimensional distances involved for all observers, essentially all of space-time.
Therefore, in order to consider any connection between Infinity and the Present, the entire body of the Present (all of space-time) must be summed. At this point Infinity = Present.
Here is a definition and a few postulates to end this discussion.
Infinity – its definition. Infinity demands that all things exist, that all things happen, and that all things continue to happen forever.
Infinity = the Present
The Present = Nothing
Nothing = Infinity
Eternity is a temporal component (dimension) of the Present, of Nothing, and of Infinity
Rather than try to stump you or make you incredulous, I invite serious thought on these equivalences as they relate to the future investigations of physics and science in general.