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Rated: E · Essay · Philosophy · #2048922
Thinking about Space and Time
Left and right; forwards and backwards; up and down; before and after.

What we choose as an origin is arbitrary. That said, one logical spacial origin is Here. It makes sense to us to use our own viewpoint as an origin. Similarly, a logical temporal origin is Now. We find it convenient to use this moment in time as an origin. I am of course aware that Now is from our point of view moving through time from moment to moment. However, temporally, now is the only constant since we cannot ordinarily travel forwards or back from it, only project or remember.

All spacial directions require more than an origin. They also require further definition. For example have to decide what is up and what down. Here on Earth of course we find this easy. The ground provides a convenient down and the sky an up reference point. However suppose we move to a point in outer space, beyond our solar system, beyond any solar system. What reference point do we have?

Ourselves you might answer. Okay so our own bodies conveniently have a left and a right and a front and back and a top and bottom. We can easily use these as references. But what if there are two of us facing one another – is it my right and your left, or your right and my left? On Earth we can use the North and South poles as references and infer East and West from Sunrise and Sunset. But back in outer space, how to define spacial directions then?

Probably we would use stars as a reference point. My point however is that all these spacial directions are arbitrarily defined. Since the stars are all moving in relation to one another their use would only apply locally, whatever that actually means in outer space.

Mathematically we can describe the spacial and temporal dimensions as a set of numbers, their distance from whichever origin we have selected as most effective. We can state the origin as being (0,0,0,0) – here and now. The dimensions spacial and temporal are stated as (x,y,z,t). We can define x as being left or right or East and West. It is only convention that assigns it as such, or t as time and only convention that has the coordinates in this particular order, as there is no logical reason why any of these letters could not refer to any of the spacial or temporal coordinates. We could use (y,t,z,x), but that would confuse those we tried to communicate to who weren't used to our ordering.

Okay so I am labouring this point – lets cut to the chase – we live in a consensually agreed reality.

Is anything fixed? Is for example Now the same from all points of view? Einstein's thought experiment in which one twin takes a near light speed journey and on his return finds his twin has aged greatly though both were always in the Now, suggests that Now is also inconstant.

The units that we use to measure dimensions are also arbitrary and tend to be selected according to the scale of what we want to measure. Even the base we use for our figures is a choice, whether it be binary, decimal, hexadecimal or whatever. Its arbitrary.

There is a point to all this. Most of us are so used to thinking in terms of spacial dimensions and the temporal dimension in the terms at the head of this section that we forget they are arbitrary. I think it fair to say that most people will not even consider that there could be other ways to perceive our surroundings. We have encountered Now and Here before. We have seen how within Eternity every Where is Here and every When is Now.

I have further stated that I am, inclined to believe we live in a consensually agreed reality. The conventions of Up/Down; Left/Right etc. are an example of the sort of consensus that we habitually subscribe to.

From the supposition that reality is consensual we can hypothesise that by changing our consensus, we can change our reality. Arguably humanity has done this many times.

Those who change their perceptions first often have trouble persuading others, there is a natural resistance to change that I have discussed elsewhere. Such a person might even be called insane, before they are called innovator.

One idea that I have had whilst writing this is that maybe it is possible to collapse the personal now into the eternal now. This possibly looks like a considerable jump, but meditation is an acknowledged means of changing ones perceptions.

In the Orrityga story I have the protagonist explain how it is able to travel through dimensions. It answers that it restores potentials and then collapses to a target potential. This is what I envision as being possible by entering Eternity and choosing an alternative reality.


Taking up the use of (0,0,0,0) to describe here and now as the origin. Because time is always passing, that is change is constant, the final 0 must always be incrementing, but as I have said, it is always now, it must also always be zero (0).

Having been taught that the Earth is always moving, not only rotating, but also orbiting the sun, which is itself moving through space as the galaxy turns, and moving away from other galaxies. It follows that the three spacial dimensions are also always changing, that is they are ordinarily anything other than zero. However, we are always here, so they are also always zero.

We could say that:

(0,0,0,0) = (< >0,< >0,< > 0, < > 0) = (≠ 0, ≠ 0, ≠0, ≠ 0)

This reminds me of Alice's encounter with the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass where they have to run very fast just to stay in the same place.

'Now, HERE, you see, it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'

Carroll, Lewis; C&C Web Press (2008-10-31). Through the Looking-Glass (Illustrated Edition) (optimized for Kindle) (Kindle Locations 248-250). C&C Web Press. Kindle Edition.

Suppose we left the confines of the galaxy and positioned ourselves in outer space. Galaxies would be still be moving away from each other and possibly towards or away from us. Would it be possible in any meaningful sense to stay still? I am not sure what the answer to that question is. If we were able to stop the movement that it involved to reach such a position, perhaps by teleporting there, then I am inclined to think that we would stay still. This would be according to Newton's First Law of Motion, which states:

When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

I found myself whilst considering the question, (Would it be possible in any meaningful sense to stay still?), remembering the idea of link density warping space/time around a node.

What if we project the origin to a suitable point in space. I think unless space itself is moving, this origin could remain motionless. It would also be meaningless. Without any reference to any other point it would be meaningless. Without links it would be meaningless. We could equally have projected to any similar positions, all would serve equally well and be equally meaningless. They would not be distinguishable from any other such choice. This is important.
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