Last updated: Oct, 2020
Prolific author and theorist, Alan R Graham, questions the logic behind an expanding universe and a "Big Bang" being the beginning of time.
Time's Paradigm: PART FIVE - Velocity
Is the universe expanding or contracting? After a century of considering Relativity and its wonderfully baffling realignment of physics, it is surprising that we don't immediately see the relative irony of an expanding universe. Could it not be that we observers are in contraction?
It would hardly be a bitter pill to swallow. After all, Albert Einstein himself commented that a contracting universe would be unequivocally the same as his theories of Relativity... although overly complicated, he mused.
Perhaps it is time we considered those puzzling complexities he avoided now that Relativity is a household name and we have all but mastered its mechanics. Time to move ahead, into a new century with greater challenges and thus greater rewards.
From our three dimensional perspective it would seem that the universe is expanding, systems receding, background radiation telling. And at colossal speed... accelerating, even. So how exactly can we verify that this expansion is indeed what it appears and is not the result of our measuring devices and physical platforms all materially contracting?
We can't! We can jostle and argue, but we can't be sure with our limited perspective. The universe is just as likely to be expanding as its contents is to be contracting.
Are they not the same thing? In motion we say that acceleration away from one star system could be seen as deceleration towards another. Everything is relative, including expansion and contraction.
Is it that we don't like the precarious notion that our solid foundation -- our 'centrist' philosophy -- could be in jeopardy, could be collapsing? Heaven forbid. No, the universe must be expanding, we couldn't possibly be contracting... what a miserable concept.
Yes, if the universe is actually contracting, it sounds a lot more drastic than an expanding universe.
General consensus will naturally lead towards an expanding universe because existence first began with a "Big Bang", which has been aptly illustrated by an explosion rather than an implosion. But we are still looking at this question with our 3d glasses on.
Who says there was only one Big Bang? We've only been looking through telescopes for a few hundred years, a pin-hole in the affairs of the 14 billion year old night sky we call our universe. There could have been a big bang last July and we wouldn't know it... There could be mini ones, blue ones, doughnut shaped ones or reverse ones. Like Black Holes, get ready to be surprised.
Answering, "Is the universe expanding or contracting?" is going to be as wonderfully baffling as when we first set eyes on Special Relativity back in college. Be prepared for lots of thought experiments and mind bending logic.
The Building Blocks of Modern Time.
Space-time is a cyclical expression, the Block Universe Model being its foundation, as the previous chapters have shown. The past and the future exist, and all at once, a giant, fractal iteration. The present moment we conjure with our minds, creates conscious awareness of time's flow in an otherwise static model.
This existential model is an extension of our three physical dimensions. In essence, all matter in the universe either in expansion or contraction, proportionally, through a fourth dimension -- giving us an objective view of the passage of time, had we the wherewithal to see it.
Over the last century the consensus among scientists has been that our universe is expanding. Edwin Hubble's Red Shift of light from distant galaxies cemented this view. However it is not without its conundrums, such nightmares as Dark Matter and a need for zero energy displacement arising out of its deficiencies. The battle for universal equilibrium rages on.
Universal expansion questions the energy constant, harks that space between things is being stretched, gravity weakening, so it goes. We might also assume that continued expansion evokes the prospect of infinite resolution and, for some matter in the future, perhaps even a loss of identity. What of the notion that expansion will eventually cease, leading to collapse? A possible scenario that would offer containment and continuity, although zero inertia at the cusps -– possibly even of time –- would be an extraordinary event.
The Big Bang brought existence into being like a giant firework, creating expansion. This explosion would have been at the speed of light, where time apparently stands still. So for the radiating particles of emr out there in the universe today, in essence, it never really happened. They are cavorting across the cosmos in a coma. But for those which collided and slowed down in the wake of that explosion, it did happen because light does actually take a certain length of time to traverse a distance -– it has velocity.
The Big Bang: The birth of a cosmos that came into being from some immense ejection or emergence of matter. An elegant theory. From where came this energy is beyond the scope of the theory. To look into such a problem might derail the entire concept, as alluded to earlier in Chapter 3. Infinity, where cycles and their elimination of barriers and limits like beginnings and ends was discussed.
Something from nothing is hard to justify. For now that problem page in the theory has been left blank, although in a cosmological cycle of time a big bang may simply be the moment when a collapsing universe reaches infinite compression and explodes outward anew, beginning the whole process again.
If space-time is a fully contained and independent, cyclical manifestation, then a forever expanding universe does not fit the bill. A block universe where all of time already exists does not have loose ends and faltering finalities.
Our existence -- our Universe -- is a contained entity. It has always existed, is the assertion of this work, Time's Paradigm. The need to suggest a beginning, so we can get to grips with this extraordinary world we live in, is helpful in facing present challenges but should not be classed as absolute; it will no doubt become a spring-board for future theories.
Matter In Contraction vs. A Universe Expanding
The Universe itself is neither expanding nor contracting, it has finite and stable energy; it is in perpetual "steady state", proposes Time's Paradigm. It is matter and the contents of the Universe which could be said to be evolving and changing entropically. Time binds matter together, it does not fling it apart.
Since the inception of Relativity, many scientists have had a problem with an expanding or contracting universe, including Albert Einstein who was hoping for something more constant.
Cyclical time evokes the notion of a universe either in expansion or collapse. Expansion seems unlikely, so let's consider that the universe is contracting, not its physical volume, which is constant, but a collapse of matter as velocities decrease.
Contraction, as conceptulaised here, is akin to entropy. Not a reduction of energy but a change in purpose. A re-arrangement of priorities in atomic functionality; a return to some smaller, less complex existence where everything first emerged. That 'singular state' mentioned in the last chapter, perhaps.
Contraction denotes a physical difference between one moment and the next. As we get smaller, therefore, it is natural to suggest we are witness to progress in time. The smaller we are the faster our clock ticks. It is indeed the case that smaller things progress or function at increased rates; the shorter a pendulum, the faster it swings to and fro. Most insects have very high metabolisms, they move with immense speed and their life span can be numbered in days, relative to our larger size.
And as we delve deeper into inner space, we find particles of matter with relativistic speeds and life spans of less than a second.
If matter in the universe is contracting, where did it start out? A contained, cyclical dynamic must present fluid progress with no beginning or end. How can that be? If bodies in the universe are contracting they will eventually be heading for extinction..?
Matter begins existence at the speed of light, a uni-dimensional state in pre-existence without time. From there it begins its decline in both velocity and mass. Upon reaching zero velocity all dimensions are exhausted and the flow of time has increased infinitely.
Let's give this theory some breathing space:
In simple terms, the Universe would be a tight squeeze. Matter constantly emerging at light speed, pressurizing the closed system, acting on all things; just as the pressure on objects submerged in water. Space would act equally from all sides on objects and they would be forced to contract. Gravity is such a universal force; in essence, both macro and subatomic orbits would be reducing, spiralling inwards under such pressure.
This universal contraction would not be so easily measured, neither in a lab nor in our living rooms. Unfortunately for us, all things would be contracting simultaneously (in our immediate vicinity). Our measuring devices would all be shrinking, and the distance between everything, too, and all relatively speaking at the same time. So nothing would appear to be in collapse.
This does not imply that we suddenly find ourselves with less atoms in our body. We could describe this process as saying, smaller atomic levels with less space between them. Not forgetting that size is relative, an atom is distinguished by the 'text book' circular path of its associated electrons. Under the influence of contraction we could describe this path as a spiral, descending ever inwards; therefore, no difference in size between moments could be measured (unfortunately for Minkowski proponents); an undetectable and unbroken passage through this dimension of time -- a continuous flow.
NB: contraction is through time; as a whole the past remains large relative to a shrinking future. Most scientists today are in agreement that the universe is expanding. So it would appear. It takes time for light to get to our telescopes, so we are really looking into the past as we peer into the cosmos. Light leaving a distant, “contracting galaxy” will have its frequencies lengthened, or red shifted (the Doppler effect), just as if it were receding from us.
As with all measurements, the equipment we use must take into consideration all parameters, or the conclusion will be flawed. This has been a recurring theme, beginning a millennium or so ago, with the revelation that we were not living on a flat world but that it was round, sort of 'three dimensional'. Today, we know that there is a shorter way to get from London to New York in a plane. It does not seem like a direct line if we look at a two dimensional map, but the curvature of the Earth does the magic, and we arrive -- on a geodesic.
Cosmologists have recently unearthed the possibility that our universe is actually accelerating in its expansion, and they have a need to explain this by resurrecting a Cosmological Constant, which they now refer to as Dark or Phantom energy. They need something to express this extra, invisible energy.
Universal Contraction (UC), the core postulate of this discourse, can be found at the foot of this chapter. It has an alternative explanation: Contraction of matter through time is exponential.
Everything shrinking? Surely too ludicrous an idea to have any bases in scientific fact!
Well, it's not as outrageous as you might think. At the turn of the 20th Century, working on similar problems as Einstein, two scientists (Fitzgerald and Lorentz) independently came up with a theory of contraction in explaining objects travelling through space. They tried to suggest that the failed Michaelson-Morley Aether experiments might be attributed to a discrepancy in the actual size of the measuring devices used as they changed through time. Einstein, a few years later, came up with his own, magnificent theory, and Lorentz contraction was incorporated.
How Special Relativity Describes Universal Contraction
Contraction is not off limits and may be quite relevant. UC, with its incorporation of a Cyclical Time Progression, is intrinsically a re-evaluation of SR and equally conveys that there is a change in our mass dependent on our speed through the Universe. Formulas equally apply.
Einstein, himself, also contemplated for a while the concept of a cosmological cycle for time, but ran up against the second law of Thermodynamics and dismissed it as inappropriate.
SR says in simple terms that energy equals mass; so the faster we go (more energy) the more massive we become (relativisticly) and the slower time flies (time dilation). To accelerate we need to pump more energy, rocket fuel, whatever, into our spaceship, so its mass will increase; until eventually we will need so much energy as we approach the speed of light that its mass would become infinite. Alternatively you could explain it this way: that an object gets harder and harder to push against its inertial mass, the faster it goes.
SR asks us to accept that while the speed of light remains constant for all inertial frames of reference, e.g all observers, the rest of the things we hold to be constants, like distances, mass and time, do in fact fluctuate for no discernible reason.
This poses a problem for those of us wishing to conceptualise motion and speed and how our world works. By considering that there is a tangible reason for changes in mass and rates of time, rather than just being told it has to be so in order for the speed of light to remain constant, we can grasp the reality of such an extraordinary set of circumstances...
That is what Universal Contraction gives us.
UC proposes this: The faster we go the slower we contract; so it appears to someone watching us go by that we are gaining mass in relation to them because they are shrinking in time faster than us; it also means our on board clock is ticking slower than theirs, because contraction is our clock speed. In essence it is saying the same thing as SR, using the same formulas, except from the opposite side of the mirror.
As an example, we have a vehicle of physical dimension being squeezed by the Universe. We add energy to make the vehicle accelerate in a particular direction. Now it has more energy with which to counter contraction; the vehicle shrinks slower. To outside observers on, say, Earth and travelling slower, this vehicle for visual purposes would appear to be increasing in size. As has been previously documented, everything we see, sense or measure are events from the past (as the BBC reporter verified in chapter 2. Time).
No one is actually getting bigger or gaining in mass, it simply appears so. Observations from the speeding vehicle would conclude that its surroundings were shrinking, in line with SR, by an amount equivalent to the Lorentz factor.
As Einstein theorized, a contracting universe would be the same as Special Relativity.
UC does not disagree with SR, it merely gives us an ability to visualize those inconsistencies of time, mass and distance. UC says they are real, and not just required variances so that (c) remains constant.
We can look at it like this: Energy is shared between the three spatial dimensions and thus the fourth dimension of time, and transferred across them as necessary. As forward motion in one direction is increased (acceleration), a reduction in the rate of time (or contraction) is experienced. On the flip side: Clocks speed up if we decelerate, our metabolism increases, because particle functionality gains energy from reduced forward motion; less interference from physical motion in the macro World means atomic particles have greater mobility.
An analogy of energy transfer would be this: A gyroscope spinning on its axis in one plane, when influenced to rotate through a second plane, responds by rotating through a third. Some energy was transferred from one to the others, the gyroscope being a contained ensemble.
This internal energy transformation is not entropic. The second law of Thermodynamics does not apply. The motion of atomic particles clearly includes forward motion, their spiralling paths being altered, elongated or twisted; they will be completely restricted at light speed and become uni-dimensional, whereas at slower speeds particles will spin in all dimensions and interact more freely.
When a body's forward motion practically ceases, particle functionality becomes supreme, and atomic perfection is reached. Zero Kelvin might be a good example of such a proposition taking place.
What of these extremes between a gigantic past and a minute future? UC asserts that at some time in the past, matter in the Universe probably emerged, clocks frozen, at the speed of light. That said, we are therefore heading towards a future where material objects will eventually all become very, very tiny and practically immobile, but for them time would be passing unimaginably fast -- all over at once -- in other words, contraction at the speed of light.
Hence a re-emergence, a re-birth of matter and a cycle of time. No energy lost, just a change in purpose...
Big Bangs -- with an "S".
One of the ways in which scientists like to explain entropy and its arrow of decline is that at its inception energy is in a perfect state, and from there can thus only drop down into levels of greater imperfection. UC agrees, but prompts that both ends are a state of equal and opposite perfection, adding that opposites attract and that if time is a cycle then 'light speed' and 'no speed' are attributes of the same event.
Matter is extinguished at light speed and re-emerges at light speed.
Existence exits and enters the Universe in the same instance. There is no beginning or end of time. Matter might be coming into existence all the time; yesterday, perhaps, five thousand light years away -- which means we will never be witness to such a phenomenon in our lifetime.
The Big Bang, we are examining today, estimated as having occurred 14 billion years ago, may be just one of many that continue to blossom as time goes on, round and round. Not the beginning of the entire universe but the continued development of a small fraction of it. Who is to say other eruptions of matter are not happening all the time?
Time and velocity, one great cosmological cycle! As we decrease in velocity, our rate of flow in time increases. And, as cyclical progression only occurs in one direction, the conclusion is: we are forever decelerating, from the speed of light (c) to zero velocity (z); our clocks forever ticking faster. A cycle, no less, with no ends, no beginning, nowhere to come from and nowhere to go to. Because, where we are heading, is where we came from.
We have been decelerating since inception, from emergence and the speed of light. As we and the atoms that make up our physical presence collapse we maintain our energy, its purpose transferring from inertial to particulate energy. So, when we reach zero velocity, we are as energetic as we were when we first emerged at the speed of light. Once again it is stated that (c) and (z) are identical, they are attributes of the same event or location -- two sides of the same coin.
This proposal takes such an alternative perspective, especially in the light of a whole century of new scientific engagement on this very subject. Indeed, later discussion within suggests that UC not only makes things simpler, it unifies many known peripheral theories and creates an altogether more understandable, less bizarre and no nonsense kind of place in which we live.
Calculating the Rate of Universal Contraction
An amusing question that just has to be asked:
At what rate are we therefore contracting today, at this very moment -- if time can be said to have a speed -- on our busy way through the Universe perched precariously here on Earth? The Kalahari Effect gives us an immediate answer, as it did before and always does: Neither too fast, nor too slow, just somewhere in the middle. Hmm! There could, however, be a mathematical answer to this question: Contraction by a factor of The Golden Ratio.
Einstein's text book 'light clock' illustration used to verify time dilation in rockets at relativistic speeds can be used. If we make a progressive reduction in time to all material objects in the speeding spacecraft (mirror to floor) and the space between them by a factor of the "Divine Proportion", (Fibonacci's Golden Ratio), dividing all by 1.61803399.., a photon projected up to the mirror on the ceiling is seen to travel the same distance by both an inside and outide observer. This counters the customary conclusion that an outside observer from a slower frame of reference, whose clock is ticking faster, sees the photon travel further.
See Diagram below. The green line up and down is the path of the photon as seen from within the spacecraft. The floor and the mirror lengths (black) are exactly twice the distance between them; their reduced positions in time (red) produce a trapezium in which the dotted blue line is the path of the photon as observed without the need for a time correction.
Time Dilation in SR is required to offset the occurrence of UC in four dimensions, simply because we are uaware of contraction through time. There is only one rate of reduction possible in which both the occupant and the outside observer concur. Such a coincidence is hard to ignore.
Clocks do indeed vary with relation to a local, three dimensional model of existence, they have to, but in the wider universe clocks may not be so relative to one another. The consequences of this revelation are discussed further in the following chapter.
UC also offers up a surprising alternative to that need for Dark Energy mentioned earlier: the very nature of contraction from light speed to no speed is that we must be shrinking exponentially faster with every moment. It would be perceived as an accelerating phenomenon. So observing the Universe from our shrinking platform would give rise to measurements of an accelerating expansion of the cosmos.
It is fair to suggest that we must need another dimension of time above the one we are discussing, in order for us to express the 'speed' of contraction. Speed is determined by distance and time, so if contraction is our time dimension and it has direction, then logically we must conclude that it can only be measured to have speed if another time is applied (akin to Calculus).
However, contraction is not a speed in any particular direction, so cannot have a velocity. To measure velocity one needs to factor in vectors in all dimensions of space. But contraction is simply the displacement of three dimensions, in a fourth. It is being described in this proposal as having speed for clarity when actually it does not go anywhere in a cosmic sense. Indeed, as a four dimensional fractal, existence would make no progress - perception is the only progress. Motion is the interpretation of apparent consecutive events by conscious life forms such as ourselves, in a three dimensional universe.
Tomorrow we are a bit smaller and our clocks are ticking a bit faster than yesterday.
Let's turn everything on its head for just a second. It is entirely possible that we may be contracting at the speed of light.
Just for fun, imagine this: we are sitting in a room lit by a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. One three hundred thousandths of a second earlier that light bulb was the size of the room and, we too were much bigger and further away. Now, in the present, we have shrunk rapidly and come face to face with the aftermath of that light bulb's aura. Did photons travel to us or we to the light bulb?
Back to reality ...
And on reflection, it has been presented here that: Velocity is the counter-balance of our material collapse. In the next section, Part 6. Travel, we investigate the two ultimate ends of velocity, zero and the speed of light, and conclude that they are one and the same; that the beginning and the end of time are also connected and, therefore, redundant -– making superluminal velocities and Time Travel a distinct possibility.
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