This One Is For Me

Truly – this post is just a way of gathering my thoughts on a topic i find fascinating but which usually has everyone else’s eyes glazing over within seconds. If, by some miracle you find them interesting also – so be it. Read on at your peril.

Absolutism Vs Relativity and a guide to some kind of Perspective.

Can anything ( such as that intangible word ‘Truth’) ever be Absolute ( final and unable to be modified – Fixed for all cases)? Or is everything merely relative to some or all other things ( a reference frame); is there such a thing as an absolute frame of reference which stays constant as compared to ‘lesser’, variable frames of reference.

Simple case: is a kilometer always and exactly the same thing – 1000 metres with a metre never being able to be of two differing distances in space-time. Initial answer is: Yes. However , as velocity is simply distance ( in km’s say) divided by time ( seconds) and as far as most of us know a second is likewise unchangeable then velocity ( km’s per second) must also be absolute – right?

Wrong! If you are standing by a train track and you see a bird traveling parallel to the track at say 5 km/s it’s velocity is 5 km/s (relative to you). But if you were on board a train on that track that was also travelling at 5km/s in the same direction as the bird the bird would appear to be stationary ( 5 – 5 =0 km/s).

You could well say that actually both of you are travelling relative to the ground ( a stationary ‘absolute’ frame of reference to you and the bird) at 5km/s but of course even the ground is not actually ‘stationary’ relative to say, the moon or to a star.

So while in this case both time in seconds and distance in km’s are both ‘absolutes’ velocity can be, and is, a ‘relative’ thing.

That is of course ‘in this case’, because as Einstein showed with the help of his predecessor Lorentz, both time and distance (and indeed even mass) is a relative thing…. a metre does not measure exactly the same thing in all possible cases. As things approach a velocity close to the speed of light (c) time appears to lengthen and distance shorten ( in the direction of travel) relative to a ‘stationary’ observer. This has the somewhat curious property of making the resultant calculated velocity be the same for both the traveller ( at almost c speed) and the observer ( speed = 0) to be exactly the same!?

In case you missed it …  to the observer dist x ( where the traveller now appears to be)  may appear to be a fraction, lets say 10%, of what it was when it was standing still or X ( X = 1 metre; x = 0.1m) while at the same time ‘time’, say 10 of our seconds, now appears to be only One second on board the travellers vessel.. so we see the traveller moving at Xm in 10 seconds or 0.1X m/s while the traveller moving close to the speed of light we calculate as travelling at x/s or 1/10thX m/s which is the same as 0.1X m/s

Sounds weird but as far back as the 1960’s scientists proved Einstein had it right when a clock on board the Apollo space flight was shown to have run more slowly while travelling at a mere 24,000mph than an identical ‘stationary’ clock on earth ( albeit not by very much as 24000 mph is nothing compared to relativistic, near light speed velocities ( ~700 million mph))

According to Einstein the speed of light was an Absolute – in all reference frames, no matter what the relative speed of any observer.

Unlike in the bird and train case where the moving bird can appear to be standing still or even going backwards to one observer, the speed of light is the SAME to all observers so if someone travelling at near light speed shines a torch he sees the light beam ‘move’ at speed c while a stationary observer sees the same beam also travel at speed c even though the two observers are separating from each other at about the speed of light ( c). This seemingly defies logic – or better put ‘common sense’ – but the maths and experimentation have both proven it to be true ( absolutely true in fact 😉 )

So – it seems there can be some(one?) thing that IS absolute – for everyone, anywhere, anytime. ( As for absolute Truth – that’s a future post)

Most things – especially in this – our common everyday world – are relative and usually most relative to us personally, whatever our particular frame of reference ( state of mind) is at the time. We may, from time to time, find a common ( Absolute) frame of reference with another like-minded individual but these moments are usually somewhat transitory in nature and so are not ( however appealing they may seem) truly Absolute. Most of the time things are not the way they are – they are just the way we happen to be looking at them from the point in space-time we are looking at them from. This can does will and must change with time. – Anything that does not is simply a form of stagnation.

OK… a few simple facts to help achieve some proper sense of perspective.

These days we measure distance with standards that have some meaning relative to our ‘common’ or shared relatable scale ( eg. metre’s or feet) and time pretty much universally in seconds or fixed multiples thereof.

A foot, metre or second which copes quite well for earthbound measuring soon becomes unmanagable when we look at our wider universe. They are difficult enough for simple travel around our own local solar system, the Sun and planets, but if we begin to think further away, still constrained by only our own galaxy ( out of the billions upon billions that co-exist with ours) we find we need something far greater in scale to be able to quantify things like distance or speed.

Nothing we currently have control of can travel faster than the speed of light, c. Yet scientists have a standard measure in space for  distance which is a light year ( time itself becomes a part of distance) A light year is how far a particle of light travels uninterrupted in space over one entire year or roughly 10 trillion (10,000,000,000,000) km or 6 trillion miles.

On earth our closest neighbour in a city is generally only 20 metres (0.020km) away, in the country maybe as much as a couple of hundred kms away. In Space our nearest neighbour is more than 40 trillion kms away – an eight year round trip if you could travel at the speed of light itself! To even leave our own galaxy we would need ( via the SHORTEST route) to travel over 10,000 light years (100,000,000,000,000,000 kms) to reach our nearest galactic neighbour (Andromeda) would take a 2,000,000 light year journey (or 200 times longer than human civilisation or 10 times as long as our species has lived on earth, if we could even reach the speed of light to make the journey).

Ballpoint tip

 

Every single one of you reading this is but one of 7 000 000 000 other nearly identical ”you’s” you share this solitary planet with. Our Entire planet is but one of the 100, 000,000,000 plus planets in our galaxy. Every one of those blobs above is a different galaxy to ours of which ours is but an average one and that entire picture would be blotted out from your line of vision if you held a ball-point pen at arms length, just by the ball alone – and the entire rest of the sky ( which we can only ever see less than half of at one time) holds a similar number of galaxies in the same miniscule area. So just how big are your problems really?

Getting some kind of perspective here?

So the latest science tells us our particular species of humanity first walked the earth around 200,000 years ago and that our planet first began to cool and orbit the Sun around 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) yrs ago. Our Sun is a relatively young ‘New’ second or third generation star and that our local galaxy – the Milky Way – likely formed within the first billion years of the Universe’s current incarnation, which they believe began about 13.8 billion years prior to today. Makes our own little 100 year life span seem somewhat negligible huh?

So in the immensity of space and the enormity of time our little part of the Universe is practically insignificantly small and unremarkable… so why does everything we do or attempt or become take on such seemingly gigantic and hard to overcome proportions??

Simple really, because we are conditioned to view EVERYTHING from our own perspective as being ‘the centre’ of the universe and originator of all thought and hence everything we see or experience. ( Yes folks, we are all just a bunch of little GODS).

This is such a tremendously horrifying, and even paralysing, thought (some may even call it a blasphemy and you just know that’s gotta be a bad thing!) that the vast majority of us run screaming and waving our metaphorical hands in the air looking for a safe place to escape from the enormous responsibility of it all. We do everything possible to give our Godliness away and let someone else take all the weight and burden of responsibility. We look (often with the assistance of our parents, teachers, friends, enemies, workmates, bosses, politicians and anyone else who we look up to orwho feels the need to grab a little of our power to feed their own hungry ego’s) for ways of ridding ourselves of our true nature – of the wondrous ability we are all potentially capable of – of living a truly Inspired Life. Of giving of ourselves instead of taking from others and of proving to ourselves just how much power we have been given by being born with a brain, a heart, a mind and a body – in whatever shape they might currently have been bashed.

How’s THAT for a Unique Absolute Perspective?

Could you possibly consider your life from that particular vantage point? ( Then proceed to actually Live for the rest of your powerful, God-like, life with it intact?)

well…. you could always give it a shot; see where it might lead – no?

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