I refer to Space and Time over and over again as the fabric in which we live out our constrained physical lives. That is all very well, but aside from some pretty abstract mathematics, what is it that binds Space and Time together so inextricably that I consider them to be "one thing?"
The speed of light is a constant everywhere, and at any relative velocity, in the universe.
This little goody has mesmerized me for more years than I care to admit. What the hell does it mean? How can it be so? Why is it so?
Speed = Distance travelled / Time elapsed
The speed of light is a universal constant in the sense of a reversal of this definition - because the speed of light comes first. The speed of light is what makes Space and Time inseparable. Without one there is no possibility of the other.
In the beginning... yes, I know I tread close to sacred texts here - and in doing so I am certain that even without any of the mathematics or physics that others have before me confronted this fundamental nature of reality in their trances, their prayers.
The Light came first. Space and Time are properties of light, and in its existence it creates them... at exactly the speed of light. No"thing" can exceed the speed of light because there is no space and time there! Since to be a "thing" is to be extended in space and time, they must first be in place for existence to have meaning.
While normally we communicate this "constant" to each other as "299,792,458 meters per second," in some deeper reality it works the other way around. Light does not "travel" at 3 x 10^8 m/s - that is how much relative space and time is created by light. That many meters in one second. So many seconds for a given relative distance.
In my meaderings about this topic I am stuck with a lot of words that I would try to use to talk about what is "not light," none of which have any meaning without the light itself. This is because the words are all ones we have made up to cope with our lives here in space and time. There is no "before" the light - before is a time word. There is no "outside" the light - outside is a space word. (I hate using them even metaphorically but many times it is necessary if I am to use any understandable language at all)
While to say "not light" seems like a negation, it is the closest I can come to describing the state of the universe that has not been caused by light to have space and time. This is the "outside" and the "before," and, I suppose, the "inside" and "after." It is the state we enter into communion with when we pray, when we entrance ourselves, when we have our "experiences which are not things that happen."
I cannot call it darkness for two reasons, one trivial, one linguistic and important. The trivial one is the issue of connotation. Our language just does not leave the "darkness" pure enough to be the realm of all soulful experience. Although sometimes it works well, it is limiting. The other is akin to the problems of "pointing" with words to the "not light" - darkness is merely the temporary blockage or minimization of visible light radiation, not a description in human terms of what there is in a poets head, in a prophets eyes, or in a madmans soul.
This thing we call light is the fundamental cause of our universes existence - its extension in space and time.
Of course gravity, whatever that might be (it is probably what causes the apparent thing we call "matter," which is quite probably light that cooled off too much and needed a mechanism by which to slow down), makes a mess of the light by warping space and time, but I'll just have to figure that one out later! (Unless I just did...)
5/12/01 3 AM
© Huw Powell