Think of nothing.
I know, hard to do.
But the question is, what exists when there is nothing?
Picture a box in outer space. This is a special box with special shielding. No waves or forces of any kind can get into this box. And inside the box there exists no matter, not one particle of any kind. No atoms, no protons, no photons, nothing.
What is inside the box? Nothing?
Actually, there is something in the box. We call it: Space. There is space in the box. Space is a noun, a tangible thing, defined as an area or expanse which is unoccupied.
So there is “space” in the box. What is it made of?
Let’s start with a thought experiment, a riddle.
Johnny is holding an average ball. Say a baseball. He tosses it up into the air. It goes up a ways, stops, and comes back down, at which point he catches it. Simple enough concept.
But here is the question: When he tosses the ball up into the air, gravity works on it so that it slows to a stop and then begins falling back down. What is the slowest rate of movement that the ball will achieve before coming to a complete stop?
A foot per hour? A foot per month? Per year? Per century? Per millennium? A foot per googol years? What is the limit?
And that is the point. There must be a limit. If it could go infinitely slow, it would never come to a stop, it would just continue going slower and slower.
But it doesn’t. At some instant, it is going at the slowest rate possible in our space-time universe and the next instant it is at a complete stop. The following instant is begins dropping back to the ground at that slowest rate possible again.
What does this mean?
The only conclusion we can come to is that there must be a smallest divisible unit of space. It follows that there must be a smallest divisible unit of time, that is one instant.
This can be illustrated another way. I remember being taught in grade school that you can continue dividing the space between two objects indefinitely. Whenever you halve the distance, you can always halve it gain. On and on.
But this would mean there was an infinity of space between two objects. I have heard the argument that there is, that you can keep going infinitely small.
But I ask, if there is an infinity of space between to objects, how could two objects ever meet? The one object would have to cover an infinity of space to meet that other object. Which obviously is not possible. Infinity means no end, so the objects would just get closer and closer forever without ever meeting.
Again, the conclusion must be that there is a smallest divisible unit of space. At some point the two objects are separated by that smallest divisible unit, the next instant they are touching.
This smallest unit of space is what I am referring to as a micro-cell (some may use the term virtual particle, but I think that is misleading inferring it has some sort of solid substance, like a marble).
This smallest divisible unit of space, or micro-cell, has actually had its length calculated. It is called a Planck length and is roughly equal to 1.6 x 10-35 meters (that is it has 34 zeros after the decimal place followed by 16) or about 1020 times smaller than the size of a proton.
The smallest divisible unit of time, or what I referred to as an instant, is also calculated. It is called Planck time and is equal to 10-43 seconds. It is the time a photon travailing at the speed of light would cross the distance equal to the Planck length. But this definition is ambiguous because crossing the distance of a Planck length has no meaning. A Planck length is the smallest possible distance.
So, what is in the empty box? What is that space made up of?
I propose that it is made up of a matrix of micro-cells with each cell being a Planck length in size. That is the fabric of space.
Hey, everything else in our observable universe is made up of particles or cells. Our bodies are made of around 37 trillion cells. The Earth is made up of roughly 1.33 X 1050 individual atoms. Atoms are made up of smaller particles, protons, neutrons and electrons. Why not space itself?
These micro-cells can take on many different properties and configurations and as such make up everything in our universe, space and matter alike. Different forms of matter are simply micro-cells with different properties and configurations.
This matrix of micro-cells making up our space-time universe is actually fixed. These cells do not move, just like the stitching on fabric is set. It is also possible that the size of these cells and their density in a particular region of space is not totally consistent. The density of these cells may be affected by gravity.
At any one instant, all of these cells have a specific set of properties or configuration. In the next instant, the cells take on a new set of properties, if there was movement. If there was no movement in the vicinity of certain cells, they would remain the same.
Time itself is the progression of these instances where the state of the matrix of micro-cells updates to a new configuration.
This would be the refresh rate of the universe. When we look at our computer monitor or tv, what we see seems solid or set. But, in reality, the picture is drawn on the screen repeatedly at a certain refresh rate. Generally, for a TV this would be 60 times per second. It would seem then that the universe has a refresh rate of 1043 times per second, roughly.
This refresh rate is what we experience as the movement of time.
Now, if these micro-cells in the matrix are fixed and do not move, how do we experience movement in our reality?
Let us take for example a person taking a step forward. In one instant of time, the micro-cells are configured in such a way that our body has substance at a certain point in space (or at least the combination of all the points, or cells that make up our body at a given time). Now you move forward. In the next instant the micro-cell matrix reconfigures so that now your substance is made up of a new set of micro-cells configured to give us substance in this new space.
It is like movement on a computer monitor. The monitor is made up of a certain number of pixels (cells?) in a two-dimensional matrix. An HD 1080p resolution monitor would have a grid or matrix of pixels at 1,920 pixels in width by 1,080 pixels in height, making a total of 2,073,600 pixels on the screen. These pixels are of course fixed.
So how do we see movement on the monitor?
Based on the refresh rate, in one instant, or screen refresh, all the pixels on the screen have a certain state, either off or on. When the next refresh comes, and there is movement to be projected on the screen, some pixels turn off while others turn on. This gives the perception of movement. However, the pixels themselves do not actually move.
Thus, when we take a step forward, we cease to exist in one space and now exist in another. The micro-cells don’t move. The just ‘turn off or on’ at each universal refresh or instant based on what their state was in the past instant and subject to the laws of physics to create the next instant.
So what controls this whole thing?
In any one instant, all micro-cells have a certain state. In the next instant the micro-cells have a new state. What tells one cell to turn off and the adjacent cell to turn on (over simplifying)?
Some mystical force that communicates between them? “Hey buddy, next refresh I am going to turn off and you are going to turn on, ok?”
Does not seem likely. And such a force would really be just that: mystical.
Let’s return to the example of the computer monitor.
When we watch a moving picture on our computer monitor, those pixels are being controlled, turned off and on with each refresh, by the microprocessor running a piece of software. There was intelligence involved in creating the software that tells the pixels to turn off or on at the correct time and in the correct order. The state of all pixels at any one time is fully contained in memory. The database would also have the history of what each of those pixels states have been over the past given number of refreshes.
Therefore, it seems we must live in an intelligent universe.
There must be some massive (and I mean massive) otherworldly database that exists outside our space-time the controls the state of each micro-cell for each refresh instant. This database would have the exact state, configuration, set of properties of each and every cell in the universe for any given instant.
Additionally, the state, configuration, set of properties of each and every cell for all instants from the begin of time would be recorded in the mega-database. A complete history of every particle in the universe.
The software running the universe would also have as part of its programming the complete, exact laws of physics that would determine what the state of each cell would be in the next instant or frame based on the current state and the cumulative history of all states.
Therefore, if you had access to that database and the software program that runs reality, giving it rules, laws of physics, you could extrapolate a virtual reality in which you could run all of our subject reality backwards to any point and forwards to any point and know the state of each cell, the state of reality in that instant you are interested in observing.
This is sounding a bit like the theory that we live in a simulation. We don’t. What we experience is real and tangible, but it has some similarities to the idea of living in a simulation. We may run simulation software programs on our computer, virtual reality games, Flight Sim, so forth. But, in the end, they are translated into real pixels turning on and off on a real, tangible monitor. The electronic transistor grid making up the array of pixels is real, but we experience a simulation.
This would all seem to point to a fully deterministic universe, where everything is by cause and effect, nothing is random. It is true that much of current quantum theory is based on randomness. However, just because a pattern is so complex that we are not able to project an outcome does not mean it is 100% random. Quantum theory has some issues. We cannot see behind the scenes to determine what causes particles to act the way they do. And, we cannot observe the particle phenomena without in itself affecting the behavior of that phenomena.
So, does this all boil down to predestination? What is going to happen is already set to happen and cannot be changed?
We must differentiate between being able to foretell the future and everything being predestined.
For example, you have a brother-in-law that gets drunk and loses his job. You say, “wow, I totally saw that coming! I knew that would happen!” Does the fact that you were able to accurately determine the outcome beforehand mean your brother-in-law had no choice in the matter? No. He still had a choice. Just because you knew what he would do based on the pattern of choices he has made in the past, his history, did not take away his ability to choose what he would do.
And there is the fly in the ointment for stating we live in a 100% deterministic universe: Free Will.
There must be free will in all sentient/sapient beings. Otherwise, what is the point? You cannot express true love without having free will. If you perform a kind deed, but you had no choice but to do it, is that really being motivated by love? A robot could be programmed to perform a kind deed, but a robot is not capable of expressing love.
And without love, there is no point in our existence.
Remember, to run the virtual prediction machine into the future, you only need to predict the next instant, the next frame. And with full knowledge of the state of all micro-cells, their history and the laws of physics that govern them, you can always predict the next instant with 100% accuracy.
But, somehow, somewhere, there is an unexplainable spark that can happen in which an individual exercises free will and makes a choice. In my opinion, the existence of free will is the most remarkable and unexplainable phenomena in our space-time universe.
Perhaps there is a place for the uncertainty principle after all.
Constructive comments, criticisms and discussions are welcome. If you see a whole in the logic, please point it out.