Relativity Beyond Einstein

Clark M. Thomas
Copyright 1996

Determinism vs. Indeterminism

At the beginning of the 19th century the French scientist Marquis de Laplace postulated, in the spirit of Leibniz, that the universe is completely determined. He suggested that there was an as yet undiscovered set of natural laws that would allow us to predict everything that would follow in the universe. The problem was finding such a key. He also assumed that such laws would also predict human behavior. This mechanistic view held sway for almost a century, despite many criticisms. Even Einstein in the 20th century remarked that God does not roll dice.

Originally, people objected to the doctrine of scientific determinism because it infringed on God's freedom to intervene at will in the world. Also, many were uncomfortable with the very idea of loss of ultimate freedom. It was only in 1900 that Max Planck suggested that waves could not be emitted at an arbitrary rate, but only in certain packets he called quanta. The higher the frequency, the higher the energy. In 1926 Werner Heisenberg took Planck's ideas beyond the area of emission of radiation from hot bodies. Heisenberg's indeterminacy principle became a cornerstone of all modern science, and seemingly a major refutation of Laplace's world view.

Basically, Heisenberg said that we need to know both the velocity and the position of any particle to predict its future path. That seems simple enough, except that the very act of examining very small particles interferes with their behavior. It was found that the more accurately you measure the position of a particle, the less accurately you measure its speed. Conversely, the more accurately you measure its speed, the less accurately you measure its position. This led Heisenberg to develop his principle of indeterminacy. We can only guess about the future based on statistical probabilities, not clear and direct conclusions from individual observations.

There are two attitudes we can take toward Heisenberg's principle. We can accept the thesis whole cloth, or we can say this so-called principle illustrates the results of meddling within a limited perspective. I tend to agree with the second viewpoint. Generalities about nature and the universe should not require an observer, even though special relativity uses an "observer" to explain its effects. Relativity's observer, however, is just a frame of reference, not an active scientist shooting high energy beams at particles to measure them.

Even though no scientist can achieve the perspective of the Unmoved Mover who can view all of creation from outside creation--and thereby not interfere with either velocity or position--we need not cast out the omniscient perspective from our theory. If Heisenberg's principle is to become a cornerstone of quantum philosophy, then his principle should not depend on any observer of any type. If the universe is fundamentally random according to quantum theory, then the universe is paradoxically ordered by disorder.

It is apparent that individually observable phenomena in very small dimensions obey for us the principle of indeterminacy. It is an entirely different matter to elevate uncertainty to a universal law of indeterminacy which equally embraces macro-phenomena.

No computer will ever be able to crunch enough numbers to prove or disprove Laplace or Heisenberg. This means the quantum camp cannot kill the old theory, and further that apparently random phenomena which we describe by quantum mechanics may in fact ultimately be predetermined as Laplace suggested.

At the level of individual consciousness there appears to be a dialectical transformation whereby individuals can freely choose among different paths of action based on factors that are outside a deterministic billiard-ball universe. In brief, mind emerges from the historical brain and can seek its path through freedom of choice. Mind transcends both determinism and indeterminism.

It could thus be analogously said that original thought is an undetermined quantum surprise within a shared, determined world view. Whether or not free thought itself is ultimately determined is unknown and unknowable to us.


Time is a deep mystery cloaked by its familiarity. We live with "time" on our wrists. We read Time magazine. We talk in trendy terms such as spacetime. And we all have time to die. Yet all the time we think of time as being somewhere "out there," when in fact it is an emergent of life itself.

Time has three experiential dimensions: The first is cyclical time. Cyclical time is the life of the seasons, even the life of the day. We see the moon on its twenty-eight-day cycle. Some of us understand that birth-reproduction-death is also a cycle. Traditional societies live in cyclical time.

The second dimension of time is linear time. Most of us think of time as being linear, even when we are watching analog clocks. We mark our calendars in numbers of years linearly removed from the birth of Christ. History is seen as linear; whereas pre-history is imagined to be cyclical. Individuals are seen as being a certain number of years removed from birth, the calendar alive.

It is the third dimension of time which is most exciting. Point time is an existential concept which is an event field in the present tense. Point time is experienced by animals who always live in the present, since that is how they survive. Their generational lives may be cyclical, but their individual consciousness is very here-and-now. If they were to spend much time dreaming of past or future they might as well dream of being another animal's meal.

An entire universe of consciousness can appear from the flash of a moment's insight. An entire lifetime of values can emerge from a peak experience which defines who we really are. We don't need to have accumulated much linear time to have lived a life. If objective linear time were the only ticket to authentic existence, then rocks would be the ultimate.

Zeno's Paradox

Zeno of Elea, the most famous disciple of Parmenides of Elea, presented philosophy with a set of paradoxes about time which have not even today been totally reconciled. In opposition to the philosophy of "becoming" which was developed by the pre-Socratic, Heraclitus of Ephesus, the philosophy of Heraclitus' contemporary, Parmenides of Elea, was one of "being." Parmenides held that ordinary notions of motion, change, time, difference, and reality are illusions of the senses. He denied motion, because motion implies empty space, or non-being, which was a logical contradiction to the omnipresence of being.

Zeno of Elea spent his life (c 490 - c 430 B.C.) brilliantly defending his master's philosophy. Zeno's arguments were based on formal logic, not experience, which helped give them a timeless power. Zeno's most interesting paradox was that of the arrow in flight:

At any given moment an arrow flying past an observer must be at rest, he said. What is in motion is really at rest. This is because each moment has zero time, and an infinity of zero times is still zero; meaning no motion. Thus motion must be an illusion of judgment.

I suggest that an arrow moves in the spacetime of relativity, and is measured in an inertial frame of reference. The key to making sense of the non-sense of Zeno's arrow paradox is twofold: the measuring process, and the frame of reference.

Time is not an abstract mathematical concept, but is an aspect of motion. Motion does not need to be observed by conscious entities who experience motion relative to their own inertial frame of reference. Motion however must be "observed" in the sense that the "moving" object must have at least one other object or frame of reference in the universe toward or from which to move.

Zeno asserted that at any instant there is no motion. His assertion was correct for any zero point in time--but time is not a series of zero points. Time is an organic emergent of being which is defined by its durational becoming. Literally, there is no absolute point in time.

From the perspective of the arrow toward itself, it is always at rest. From the perspective of any observer who is in a different inertial frame of reference, the arrow is in motion. Motion of oneself can only be observed when one steps out of one's own frame of reference. Therefore, the bottom line is that a flying arrow is both at rest and in motion "at the same time". The trick here is that time is relative to a given frame of reference, so that the same arrow simultaneously lives in a near infinity of possible frames of time references.

Zeno was right in observing that at any time there is no motion within each inertial frame of reference. He was wrong in assuming that motion is an illusion of perception. His mistake was in not separating different inertial frames of reference, a relatively simple procedure. Thus is Zeno's paradox resolved.

It is interesting to note that the observer unconsciously assumes that his frame of reference relative to the arrow is the proper one. Seen from the arrow's perspective, it is always at rest--and everything in the observer's frame of reference is traveling backwards. In truth, there is no absolutely preferred frame of reference.

Let us now imagine that the arrow is closely flying from one side to the other of the visual field of an observer with powers of instantaneous vision. As the arrow is passing just in front of his face the observer first notices the tip--but quickly notices to his horror that the tip is in the past, the middle is in the present, and the tail is in the future! Past, present and future are hereby simultaneously experienced in different sections of the same arrow.

Despite this special observer's confusion, the arrow "feels itself" to still be in the eternal present, and at rest--because the arrow "experiences itself" as a whole, rather than as a collection of parts or linear segments, or even molecules and atoms.

Humans are somewhat like arrows in motion. The human situation is of course more complex, since we are dealing with consciousness, not just physical motion. What the arrow essentially "experiences," the existential human existentially experiences.

In the mind of humans at any moment consciousness can be in the past, present, or future. We can even slip into a feeling of time beyond time, which some call cosmic consciousness. Yes, each moment of our brain's thinking is within the present, which does not contradict Zeno--but thoughts of the past and future within the present moment transcend the paradox of the arrow, bringing us into the realm of existential phenomenology.

If we think of motion as a defining characteristic of any thing, then the thing will "change" as its position changes relative to any observer, even though the thing will not change relative to itself. If we agree with Heraclitus that change is the essence of the world, then without change there is no being, because there would be no becoming.

Heraclitus, by pointing out that we cannot step twice into the same river, explained how a thing can both be and not be, depending on our relative frame of reference. Remember that both the river and the person stepping into the river have changed. The variable is time, or duration, as measured by what has phenomenologically transpired between different times that we step into the river.

A still photograph is something like a river. The photographer is like the person stepping into the river. No two photographs can ever record the same subject, even a still life. (Of course, change magnifies over time, and an argument could be launched that infinitesimal time change for a still life is meaningless.) There is no such thing as a photo taken in zero time. Even if such a camera mechanism were possible to construct, no light would reach the film, since light needs time to travel and interact with the film. Therefore, with an imaginary zero-time camera the object would remain frozen, but the camera could never prove that such an object exists.

We choose to measure time with light. Light has a finite speed, which means it takes time for light to convey any message. What applies to light's movements also applies to any body's movements. Velocity and acceleration both require movement over time. Without time there is no velocity or movement.

It is possible to break down time into units of any choice. We can thereby measure the flow of time, quantifying our measurements. Still, this is an arbitrary structure placed on the flow of time. Just as we cannot stop and start a river, so too we cannot stop and start an arrow, or a space ship accelerating through the void.

It is important to avoid confusing our measuring tools with the primary process of time. Motion and change are integral aspects of being; but specific times are fictions we humans impose on the flow for our understanding and convenience.

Einstein's "Special" Mistake

Kinetic energy (KE) is energy in motion. Potential energy (PE) is energy at rest, with potential for motion. These are expressed by two classical formulas:

KE = 1/2 mv2, where KE represents kinetic energy, m represents the mass of a moving object, and v represents velocity.

PE = mgh, where PE represents potential energy, m represents the mass of an object, g represents the pull of gravity, and h represents the distance to be traveled by m.

Because mass and energy are equivalent and interchangeable, which relationship is expressed by E = mc2, it follows that as KE increases, so too will "kinetic mass." This Einsteinian concept is actually latent in Newton's formulas.

According to Newton's second law, F = ma, where F represents force, m represents mass of the object, and a represents the accelerated movement.

Acceleration itself is expressed by this formula: a = (vf - vo)/t, where a is acceleration, vf is final velocity, vo is initial velocity, and t is time.

In a linear accelerator it is impossible to generate enough energy to accelerate instantaneously particles to the speed of light or, for that matter, any speed at all above zero velocity. As acceleration's time approaches zero, the force of acceleration approaches infinity on any mass. In other words: An infinite force would be required to instantaneously accelerate any mass to any non-rest speed.

It has been claimed that photons have zero mass; but this is a contradiction of the equivalency of energy and matter. If there is no matter there must be no energy. Photons have energy, so they must have mass, however hard to detect. Having mass, photons must therefore accelerate at less than instantaneous rates from their nuclear alpha points, because of the law of inertia. Their terminal speed is a function of the available force acting on their mass over the necessary time, yielding light speed. Light speed may be the fastest speed detectable by our instruments, but it cannot by itself be an absolute limit for every possible scenario.

There are two other ways to "see" the mass of photons. The first is within the phenomenon of radioactivity. Whereas alpha rays, composed of neutrons and protons, can only penetrate a few inches of air, since their kinetic energy is minimal; and whereas beta rays, electrons moving at nearly the speed of light, can only penetrate a millimeter of lead--gamma rays (flows of very short-wave photon radiation) can punch through seven inches of lead.

What is significant here is not that powerful gamma rays can penetrate seven inches of lead, but that they cannot penetrate farther. If photons had zero mass they could penetrate anything--except that they would have zero energy to penetrate anything!

A second way to envision the mass of light's photons is to refer to the classic "confirmation" of Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1919. In that year England's Royal Society sent an expedition to the South Pacific to view a total solar eclipse. At that time they confirmed with the observation of a star near the sun that light bends when it passes near the sun. This observation was thought to confirm that spacetime is curved. It could alternatively confirm that light's mass is influenced by the sun's gravity. The law of parsimony would tend to support the more elegant mass hypothesis.

In linear accelerators much energy is used to accelerate chunks of matter to near-light speeds. In effect, the mass/energy of a moving body does increase as that body's speed increases, simply because kinetic energy also is increased in relation to the original inertial frame of reference. However, always keeping within the moving mass' inertial frame of reference, that mass has zero kinetic energy, and nothing but potential energy (where acceleration replaces the rate of acceleration in Newton's gravity-based formula).

It can be said that objects have both kinetic and potential energies, depending on what inertial frame of reference is used. Relative masses and relative energies thus depend on their relative inertial frame of reference.

Let us look at what could be called Einstein's "absolute relativity": Einstein's mistake, when he formulated both his special theory of relativity (1905) and his general theory (1915), was simple--he wasn't sufficiently relativistic. In other words, he inserted an absolute motion of light into his formulas, and confused it with what light measures for us.

Einstein's cultural mystique is largely based on his thesis that it is impossible to travel faster than light speed, approximately 186,300 miles per second. The truth is that the nearly instantaneous propagation of light is just one limit. It has nothing to do with the potential top speed of a pulsed nuclear space ship, given enough time.

Light speed is a measure of the inertial resistance of a photon to the quantum force of acceleration which propels the photon from its alpha point. Light speed is a function both of photon mass and of the "little bang" quantum energy involved in the emission of a photon from its atomic orbit.

If the mass of a photon were zero, then there would be no limit to the speed of light, simply because it would take zero energy to propel photons to infinite speed. Not only do photons have mass, all other atomic and subatomic particles have mass, which elegantly explains why nothing else has ever been accelerated to faster than light speed in one pop.

Remember that linear or racetrack accelerators (the so-called "atom smashers") are at rest relative to the Earth, so that their pulses of energy must catch up to already accelerated particles. Partially offsetting effects of this basic law of physics requires incredibly powerful machinery such as the ill-fated Superconducting Supercollider in Texas. Even an SSC would only move us marginally closer to the one-pop light limit, never exceeding it.

It has been said that a space craft would have great difficulty achieving speeds near that of light. It was also said that an aircraft could never break the speed of sound. So-called "warp speed" is possible, though not nearly as quickly as cinema space epics would lead us to believe. Because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton again), a rapid acceleration would generate multiple gravity forces on any crew and ship. Only if acceleration took place gradually (i.e., with many "pops")--ideally at a one-g rate ( 32 ft per sec. 2 ), so that human travelers would feel an Earth-like "gravity"--could the travelers comfortably journey to the stars.

In the real world the key is not absolute speed, but rates of acceleration. This principle applies both to space craft and to atomic particles. Let us now correct Einstein's basic formula to explain how things really work, since acceleration is not instantaneous: The original formula, E = mc 2 is not an expression of instantaneous acceleration, for reasons already explained. Thus, our correction is in the form of a clarification, not a total refutation.

The revised formula should read: (E = mc 2 )/T. Here, T is the time for terminal velocity to be achieved from the energy used. When T = 1, the old light speed formula stands. This "1" is the unit of time that a photon takes to reach its terminal velocity as quantum force accelerates it from the atom. As T approaches zero, the energy required to accelerate to any given speed, or decelerate from any speed, approaches infinity. Only when mass equals zero could T = 0, because E = 0.

Let us look now at much slower rates of acceleration. It is here we can most clearly see how Einstein's "relativity" failed to be sufficiently relativistic. If we were propelled through space by a pulsed nuclear rocket, each addition of speed would be fairly modest, ideally maintaining a one-g rate of acceleration. What is most interesting is that each new pulse would start with a rocket "at rest" within its own inertial frame of reference. The rocket becomes its own point of reference, and the Earth's inertial frame of reference is irrelevant.

Here is what would eventually happen: Because those small increments of speed would continue to accumulate, relative to the Earth's inertial frame of reference, eventually the space craft would exceed the speed of light photons which are launched with one-time impulses from Earth. The space craft would simply slip beyond Earth's view, since its speed from Earth would recede faster than any communication could return to Earth from the craft. All this happens while the space craft is both exceeding the speed of Earth-launched light and is at rest within its own inertial system.

It goes without saying that any journey involves both an acceleration phase and a deceleration phase. At approximately the half-way point in any journey the hyperluminal space ship would do a 180 degrees turn and decelerate at one g , so that by the time it reached the destination there would be a merging of inertial frames of reference. This half-way formula applies especially to stars near ours, since they are roughly in the same inertial frame as our own star's. The farther away such a ship would travel, the higher percentage would be the acceleration phase relative to the deceleration phase, due to the red shift of celestial bodies.

Even in the apparent emptiness of space there are energy flows, all relative to each other's source of origin. The primary energy source appears to be the current big bang, which generates electromagnetic waves which are now red-shifted. We measure the formerly super hot energy at a mere 3 degrees K. If a space craft were to accelerate toward the expanding envelope of the big bang that red shift would become a blue shift, so that eventually wavelengths would radically shorten, reaching 10-15 or less, which is gamma radiation.

If the imaginary space ship were to continue its journey beyond the edge of the big-bang universe, then pure space might be encountered. Beyond that point there would be no limit, short of available fuel supply, on the final velocity vis-a-vis Earth. This scenario of course myopically assumes that there is nothing out beyond the limits of our current big-bang universe.

Such a journey is just a "thought experiment," since the span of human existence would limit even hyperluminal trips to the near areas of our own galaxy. A more practical problem for the hypothetical traveler would be space dust and other matter within our universe. From a practical perspective, I suggest there is enough adventure for everybody within the nearby realms of our galaxy.

Cosmic Speculation

"We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world. ... Except for children (who don't know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is; where the cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know." -- Carl Sagan, "Introduction" to Stephen W. Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

Light Bodies

There are two paradoxes about light: The first paradox is that light is both describable as a wave phenomenon and as a quantum particulate phenomenon. The second puzzle is that, according to the Michelson-Morley experiment, light speed from a source is constant in any direction, as measured by Michelson's interferometer. Their experiment indicated that there is no "luminous ether" within which light waves can travel. I speculate that an answer to both paradoxes might be found in the phenomenon of the apparently empty object.

Humans are examples of primarily empty spaces defined by organized molecular structures and their energy fields. If all "empty space" in a human body were removed, the result would be a solid object of microscopic size--which still weighed just as much as the full-sized human. The Earth itself, despite being mostly dense rock, could be compressed into a sphere the size of a golf ball, still retaining all its original mass.

I would go one step further and assert that light emitted from a source is also an "empty object," though far more ethereal than anything previously imagined. This "object" is defined by the boundary of the light as it races away from its source. There is almost no limit to such an object's size as it expands toward its ultimate ethereal state. Such ethereal bodies freely interpenetrate each other, making them impossible to describe in ordinary terms. As strange as this concept seems, we should remember that we think of our expanding universe in object-like terms.

From the perspective of an observer some distance from the light source the light "wave" appears to be like an undulating string seen from one end. Once the flow of light particles/waves reaches the observer there is perceived continuity between the observer and the "string" source. For this reason light appears to be the same "speed" from any direction. Only the wave length changes. Therefore, what remains constant is the contact we have with the light source's "body" while we are within its expanding borders. Its wavelike expression is our Doppler-effect measurement of our movement within this perceived body of light.

In science fiction people develop the power to walk through walls. This may be ultimately possible from the virtual emptiness of walls and humans--but both humans and walls have passed the threshold where localized, organized matter and energy fight to retain their boundary integrities. In contrast, clouds and especially light bodies represent ethereal forms without the ability to maintain their integrity from penetration.

We are living within a myriad of such light bodies. To each one we are joined by the illusion of a string, which does not exist apart from the light source and our perspective. These light bodies do not send out light "strings" as such--but are instead whole, ethereal expressions of matter and energy, with the emphasis on energy. We will shortly see how gravitons are like photons, and how they can also be said to be expressions of ethereal gravity bodies.

It is important not to confuse the adjective "ethereal" with the discredited concept of the ether. Waves traveling through air or water do not exist as independent bodies, but rather as energy expressions of the body through which they travel. In contrast, waves of light and gravity do not travel as waves in the discredited ether. They exist freely in the vacuum of outer space, because they are primary phenomena, not expressions of other phenomena.

Order and Chaos

The second law of thermodynamics has been given semi-religious status by some science popularizers. Briefly, this "law" states that in a closed system order tends toward disorder. In other words, chaos will be the ultimate victor. From this mechanistic theory whole pseudo-philosophies have been constructed.

However, what has almost been forgotten is that the Earth is itself an open system receiving new energy from the sun to offset energy radiated toward space. Living creatures in the biosphere feast on that solar energy, which is negentropy, to offset the tendency of all things to dissolve into disorder, entropy. Still, the second law does have much heuristic value, since it keeps us on guard against assuming that inertia will take care of all concerns.

Within open systems the "second law of thermodynamics" can be opposed by negentropic manifestations of the "second law of dialectics," which states that a change in quantity yields a change in quality. When energy is reorganized into higher frequencies order grows. Novelty is nature's best defense against entropy.

Looking at thermodynamics from a universal perspective -- from outside the perspective of all possible systems--is enlightening. Some have assumed the universe was organized by the divinity and given a big bang for a start, and that we only have so many more billion years before the whole mess winds down into chaos. An infinitely negentropic God with omniscience and omnipotence would have to start things off--for theological elegance, creating something from nothing. Such a God would have to be above and beyond the universe, yet still energetically connected, which is quite a dualistic feat.

Some who would proceed backwards from conclusions to evidence crow that science now does not oppose their supernatural picture of the creation of our universe from out of "nothing." They feel this lack of opposition supports the supernatural thesis of the book of Genesis. We shall shortly see that the present universe appears to have come from nothing--at least nothing we have ever seen before. But this is not to say that a universe at zero dimensions is equivalent to nothing, or that nothing natural could precede such a singularity.

I suggest that such a one-way, one-time approach to the big picture trivializes the possibilities. It would be more elegant to hypothesize that the "law of entropy" is merely an observation of a great number of phenomena, out of which we have induced a "law" of science. It is just as likely that an equal number of different observations elsewhere in the universe could lead to another "law" which posits ultimate movement toward order, not chaos. I suggest that both so-called laws are better seen as aspects of one phenomenon, wherein cosmic wholes oscillate between order and disorder.

The force of gravity appears to be a negentropic power. The galaxies and stars were brought into existence following the big bang by gravitational eddies, and the heavy metals which comprise key aspects of life on Earth are the end result of massive stars collapsing and then exploding as supernovas billions of years ago. In brief, gravity was primarily responsible for the order behind our present order.

Gravity and the Big Bang

Black holes can be formed when a massive object, such as a giant star, collapses in on itself. Because the mass is the same, but the surface distance from the center is radically less, the forces of gravity increase at the surface such that not even light can escape the event field. As incredible as black holes are, they may not be very unusual in a cosmic sense. It's simply an example of specific gravitational acceleration toward the "black" body being faster than the opposite rate of photon acceleration away from the black body.

There should be many sizes of black holes. It is hypothesized that there are tiny ones zooming about the great spaces of the universe. It is further hypothesized that black holes energize the tremendous energies of quasars. The black hole that seeded the new universe was categorically higher than even the black hole underlying a quasar, such as Quasar 3C 273, which is about three billion light years away from our planet.

A report in the Scientific American, June 1991, described this best-known quasar as being more luminous than 1,000 galaxies, each containing 100 billion stars. That is 1014 times the brilliance of our sun. It is hypothesized that the only source which could supply such levels of concentrated energy is gravitational energy associated with massive black holes. The evidence is indirect, but good data comes from studies of X-ray "bursters" in our galaxy, which are neutron stars. As material falls onto the surface of such a star gravitational energy is released. This material then undergoes a nuclear-burning process that produces bursts of X-rays. Such energy is one thousand times greater than nuclear forces, according to the article.

There is a limit to emission from any compact object. Radiation exerts a pressure outward, such that when a luminous object gains energy there comes a point when the luminosity pushes away matter which is attracted to the mass. This is called the Eddington limit. At that point the brilliance levels off. This is how a distant object's mass can be calculated.

But what happens when mass accelerates not from falling gases, but from falling black holes and other dense matter? When black holes cannibalize other black holes there can be "no limit" to the Eddington limit, so to speak. This sets the massive preconditions for a primordial big bang.

If any black hole were able to attract enough energy/matter, then that black hole would also qualify for the seed of a new "universe." Indeed, our universe could be just the product of a monstrously massive black hole, or several such black holes, reaching supercritical mass. Things get very interesting when enough matter is attracted to reach a supercritical mass so that the so-called four basic forces--gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force--become unified into the one basic expression of force at the point of maximum compression, which is known as the singularity. I shall call this unified force the Universal Yin-Yang.

It has been hypothesized that our universe's big bang was the first and only big bang. I don't think the case for such a scenario has been conclusively made. There is no way to logically disprove the possibility that our own detectable universe is just one of many such universes, all part of the cosmic whole, which is the true Universe. There is no way to say that just because we cannot detect other universes they don't therefore exist. It is most likely that "our universe" is part of a community of universes, all of which interact with and define the others.

We stretch to imagine the current age of our universe, which may exceed fifteen billion years. But what stops us from thinking in much longer terms, where fifteen billion Earth years is just a tick of time within eternity?

Is it possible for us to detect other universes beyond our own? It is likely that some portion of the cosmic radiation we experience is from regions beyond the expanding envelope of our most recent big bang. Similarly, unexplained irregularities within our own universe point to structures which may predate the current big bang. Not all of the matter and energy within our universe needed to make it back to the exact spot of the last big bang simultaneously. Much of it probably lagged behind at the moment of singularity. All that was needed was enough matter/energy to launch another "universe."

Elementary Big Bang theory assumes that everything preceding our universe came together at the moment and point of singularity. This compression was followed by the explosion that has yielded what we now call THE Universe. This too-elegant model misses two points:

First, it is indeed possible to introduce the Deus-ex-machina force, with God acting on the universe from outside the universe. The problem here is that if we introduce indefinable, metaphysical forces, then we have left the world of science for that of pure speculation. Pure speculation has no limits, and thus there are an infinite number of potential speculative variations on the Big Bang story. The law of parsimony leads our inquiry elsewhere.

Second, it is hardly credible to assume that the Big Bang "held off" until exactly everything was compressed into the primordial point of singularity. It is much more credible to hypothesize that there is a critical mass where enough matter and energy could produce a big bang. That critical point could easily be just a portion of the known universe. To assume that this point is EXACTLY equal to our known universe is mathematically possible, but in probability absurd.

Gravitons are photons (energy/mass quanta) which appear to be traveling to a source or destination. We cannot see gravitons or gravity waves with our bodily senses, because our senses are attuned to higher frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. We must, however, beware of the temptation to visualize gravitons from a teleological perspective.

Even though it is possible, first, that gravitation expresses a mutual exchange of gravitons between and among bodies, it is also possible that gravitons are not usually exchanged between bodies, except when they are close to each other. Instead, the cosmic flow of gravitons could be expressed in differential attractiveness, which is a direct function of differential masses. Briefly, in this second model a small body accelerates to a large, massive body more rapidly than the massive body accelerates to the small body because the stream of gravitons is greater toward the larger body.

Even though both models could explain the flow of gravitons, the second model more elegantly describes what mysteriously appears to be "action at a distance." In other words, what appears to be the effect of one small body on another, however distant, may actually be an incidental effect of different flows of gravitons.

An established scientific model for this effect would be that of Brownian motion, where tiny particles in a fluid medium can be seen to move randomly in response to greater numbers of atoms hitting their different sides at different times. Gravitons likewise hit us from all sides, and objects move away from the greater graviton flow, just as do Brownian particles from their localized flow of atoms.

The total energy everywhere of light and gravity are equal in the long run, as universes oscillate from expansion to contraction. Gravity and light are, respectively, the Yin and Yang of all universes. Light is the force which blasts forth in the cyclical big bangs--and gravity is the force which restores enough order to a universe to repeat the contraction preceding another big bang. Thus are light and gravity aspects of one force, the Universal Yin-Yang.

I appreciate that describing the flow of gravitons to objects does not explain why they flow in this direction. Other than invoking a mysterious divinity, it is possible to say that the Universal Yin-Yang retains its elastic integrity even while it expresses itself as four different forces. It is logically possible that localized gravitation is a product both of randomly distributed universal graviton flows and of relatively localized "magnetic fields"--whereby larger bodies attract greater numbers of gravitons by interactions between their flowing fields of magnetic monopoles and gravitons randomly intersecting such fields.

We could be receiving gravitons from other universes which are really "spent" and transformed photons from other big bangs. Our own universe may also donate to surrounding universes photon/gravitons, which are energy quanta. Thus, we don't really need to invoke a mystical action at a distance to describe such action from a distance.

The big bang's final secret within our universe has remained hidden to physicists because humans find it almost impossible to even perform such a thought experiment. It has been suggested that all laws of physics briefly vanished at that ultimate moment of singularity approximately 15 billion years ago, and that space time was created at the alpha moment of such a primordial fireball.

Poetry aside, I think that the situation may have been much more elegant. Furthermore, we may already have the key to understanding the alpha moment of our universe. Remembering that all the successful equations of physics are symmetrical in time, and paying attention to the "simple" mathematics of zero and infinity, this mystery yields to the lock pick of our minds:

The closest our universe now has to pre-big-bang conditions are the scattered black holes. They are not yet massive enough, nor small enough, to explode into localized big bangs. What it took was the merging of a sufficient number of black holes in the universe preceding our current universe. Such a pre-bang condition was preceded by a multi-billion-year process of energy coming together in many black holes, which then gravitated toward each other. At the last instant enough black-hole matter and energy therein was compressed into a singularity of zero space-- yes, a zero space.

If not all of the black holes came together the remaining matter must have been lurking far away from the central event. This means our present universe may have many black hole survivors from previous universes. However, we don't have any way to determine the age of such remnant black holes, since energy/information flows only into such phenomena.

The key to understanding what happens at the alpha moment is to return to our friend, the classical formula for gravity. It tells us that gravitational force is weak when the centers of masses are distant, but that its force will grow radically stronger as the centers of black hole masses closely approach each other.

Because energy and mass are equivalent--according to the law of conservation of energy and matter--the formula tells us that gravity is equivalent to the energy/mass divided by the distance squared.

As energy and matter cascades into the primordial "super black hole" preceding the big bang, gravity's force radically increases. Matter is accumulating, and the accumulated matter is increasingly squeezed together, leading to shrinkage of the black hole core's diameter at the very time its matter is increasing.

Up until the actual moment of singularity--when gravity is so strong that the size of the universe (or that part which is inside the super black hole) becomes zero--the force of gravity moves toward infinite strength.

However--and this is dialectics at its most powerful--when the diameter actually shrinks to zero, gravity also becomes zero!

In other words, at the moment of maximum compression, when the singularity achieves zero diameter, the "Yin" is negated, and the "Yang" replaces it. Everything that gravitation had been, photon energy now becomes--in reverse direction.

When the "lock" of increasingly powerful gravity vanishes the trapped energy immediately escapes in a burst of brilliance beyond our imagination. These high-energy photons will have such high frequencies and temperature that their negentropic (ordered) powers will be sufficient to seed the new universe we know. It has taken many billions of years for such energy to disperse ("cool") to the point where it is registered as background radiation hardly above absolute zero.

Are Gravitation and the Strong Force Related?

It may be possible to mathematically link the "strong force" of nuclear attraction to what is known as gravitation:

The radius of a typical atom is about one angstrom, or 10-8 centimeters. The radii of nuclei are a little less than 10-12 centimeters, meaning that only 1/10,000 of the radius of an atom is occupied by the nucleus. Whereas the volumes of atoms are close, despite their different atomic masses, the volume of a nucleus is directly proportional to its mass, leading to a constant density of so-called nuclear matter.

The binding energy of nucleons (protons and neutrons) is not the same with every atom. Even though a heavy nucleus with many nucleons has more total binding energy than a light nucleus, the range of internal energy is closely proportional to the number of nucleons over a wide range of elements. This means the binding energy per nucleon is nearly constant. However, per-nucleon binding energy rises sharply for light nuclei with fewer than ten nucleons.

The same binding principle would hold for the three quarks comprising each neutron and proton. We would expect to see a much stronger force holding quarks together inside each proton or neutron, simply because these particles are closer to their center of mass, with less space among them.

Even if the mathematics do not support this suggested model of the close relationship of gravity to the strong force, that negative correlation need not negate our separate model of the big bang's singularity. If the nuclear mathematics do work out, then we may have established a correlation between what appears to be the strongest and weakest forces in the known universe.

It has already been established that electromagnetism shares a common ancestry with the weak nuclear force, which operates as atomic nuclei decay. Physicists call this the electroweak force, and have hypothesized that this force shares a common ancestry with the strong force. In our analysis it is suggested that gravity and electromagnetism, as expressed by the interaction between magnetic monopoles and gravitons, becomes unified. Once it is fully demonstrated that gravity and the strong force are also related, then by default a grand unification theory will have emerged.

What Does All This Mean to Us As Humans?

It has been said that the big bang which created our known universe was the beginning of time as we know it. It may be futile to speculate about what was around before our present universe, since we can hardly understand what is immediately before our eyes. On the other hand, if the big bang proceeded as suggested in the previous section, then the laws of physics did not "disappear" even at the alpha point, but instead were unified and justified as Universal Yin-Yang.

We can think of the big bang as either a divine act of creation--wherein something was created out of nothing other than the divine will--or we can speculate that our big-bang universe was something created from something else. Logically, it is easier to defend (by the law of parsimony) the something-from-something thesis than it is to defend the more esoteric something-from-nothing thesis.

If other big bangs preceded our own, it is possible that we are inside not one but many "universes"! The one most recent is the one we observe with our telescopes, but energy can be around from the others either in the form of black holes or as cosmic energy. Thus does the past seed the future.

If "time" is the observed flow of energy/mass quanta, then perhaps we should think of our relativistic time as being an aspect of the greater cosmic time, which is the harmony of all possible time perspectives. Our time is something we can measure and understand, while cosmic time is an attribute of the total universe, which includes many big-bang universes such as ours. From this strange perspective Einstein's view rules our own universe--while an omniscient, post-Newtonian perspective may be better to describe cosmic time.

What existential and essential significance does all this cosmic play have for us humans? We could take a cynical, positivistic stance and say that because such questions are beyond our senses and beyond our life spans, they are therefore meaningless to humans. We could also adopt such a cynical attitude about many other interesting things--logically even about every thing.

I feel that humans are best when they act as if they were created in the image of God, which is pure thought. Pure thought revels in such cosmic speculation, even though such thoughts apparently have little immediate value within our everyday world of meaning.

I am arguing for an attitude of openness, even though we know we can never achieve absolute certainty from our data. The quest for something great beyond our noses led the Europeans to rediscover America some 15,000 years after their Asiatic ancestors walked across the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska during the last great ice age. Before Columbus many European people thought the world was flat. They had no idea of the riches to be found in North and South America.

Questions about life on other planets far removed from our solar system are "meaningless" from the everyday perspective, even from an experimental perspective--yet such questions are among the most ethically meaningful we could ever ask if we are to best define what it means for us to be "in the image of God." As we move to maximize our membership within the kingdom of consciousness we humans will better appreciate our creative role inside this magnificent universe.

Newton envisioned himself as if he were a child standing on the shore of a great and unfathomed ocean, playing with pebbles. We can use all of our modern science and ancient history to build a vessel for discoveries on that ocean of eternity. Our reward will be scientific wisdom as yet undreamed of by even the most enlightened prophets.

That wisdom will never make us "the" God--but it will bring us as close as finite life can come to the god essence, which is our hidden and glorious human heritage.

If you have found this essay of value, please send me email; or you may send snail mail to Clark M. Thomas, 740 Arbutus Ave., Roanoke, VA 24014.