SPACE AS AN OCEAN:
IS TRAVEL AND COMMUNICATION ACROSS TIME POSSIBLE
Greetings Bipeds! I read with interest the recent post on FUZZY ALGORITHMS AND THE SEARCH FOR WARP SPEED." Benefiting from 3,000 years of close observation of scientific progress as I do I wanted to elaborate a bit on the subject that underlies that blog post, namely complexity theory, and to comment on a subject that is related to both interplanetary travel and the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity, formerly "chaos". That subject is time travel and across time communications. If time space is not malleable then the much desired "warp drive" can't happen. The emerging understanding of "Complexity Theory" and the slow development of complexity calculus and geometries presents strong evidence supported by existing physics and math that the "fabric" of space time is indeed at least somewhat "plastic" and "malleable".
EDITOR's NOTE: Fasten your seatbelts, the Great Catfish is about to take you on a fast trip to edge of the unknown. Honestly, we don't know where he gets this stuff.
When we compare interplanetary space exploration with the early European voyages of global exploration we note the common element of long duration of voyages, often years. In space, unless we can finally travel faster than light ("Warp Speed"), simple voyages within our own local spiral arm of our own galaxy could take centuries. So questions of space travel involve questions of time and that in turn always brings up the question of time travel and communications. As we live our lives strapped to our watches and schedules, with work and play events both scheduled at specific times, and our nations divided into synchronized time zones we experience time as "marching on". Late for work or school, that's usually personally costly. Trains, planes and ships rarely wait on anyone. "Time and tide wait on no man". But before it became a priority to run the railroads on time, time seemed much more localized and malleable to our ancestors as recently as the 18th century. Time is indeed more malleable than we commonly think. Let's take a detailed look at what is presently understood about the malleability of time.
Is time travel and communication possible? As it turns out if you ask modern physicists that question it has to be broken down into component parts because the answer is not the same for each part. In a nut shell the component questions are: (1) Is communication across time possible? The short answer to that one is yes and in fact it happens quite a lot. (2) Is time travel into the past possible? While there is some theory that supports the possibility as a very rare occurrence, these are just theories and almost impossible to prove. Until the calculus of complexity is fully evolved the most probable answer is a simple no. (3) Is time travel into the future possible? This one gets a qualified "probably" from modern physics.
Is communication across time possible? The epiphany of the Iroquois: When the Iroquois first met the Jesuits writing and clocks were the most impressive "magic" that the Jesuits seemed to possess. The Iroquois being possessed of an advanced orally transmitted culture soon observed that the Jesuits could communicate in conversational detail across great distances and time by sending letters and other correspondence. The Iroquois immediately realized that writing , real writing of a live spoken language allowed people who possessed it the ability to send messages to the future and receive messages from the past. The Jesuits wanted the Iroquois to learn to read and write so that they could study the bible and the catechism. The Iroquois wanted to read and write for their own purposes so they valued this particular "gift" of the Jesuits. The Iroquois had learned to measure the passage of time in moon phases and other celestial observations. Their measurements were highly useful in terms of seasons down to about roughly a month. They could of course count days and had computed the approximate length of a year. They were known after contact with the Jesuits to sit for hours watching a clock. The Iroquois were quite aware that the clock measured with precision, more exacting than they had ever known, the passage of time. European and Asian cultures may have advanced far beyond American cultures in the development of writing and measurement of time but it was the Iroquois who excelled at the appreciation that these developments are demonstrations of the malleability of time.
Have you ever seen a star in the night sky, written a letter , or read a book? Then you have communicated across time. The light we see from the stars was emitted years, often centuries, even eons before we perceive it. While the star we see today might not even continue to exist the information it transmits is still valuable and available. We use these stars for celestial navigation, and now we study them in our search for planets. We can tell much through spectral analysis about their composition at the time the light was emitted. When we see the stars we are looking at the past. When they emitted the light and its inherent data the stars were projecting into the future. Every time you read an article, paper or book you receive a message from the past. Every time you write a letter, term paper, book, article for publication, post card, recipe, etc. you send a message into the future.
In American and Italian labs light and micro waves have already been accelerated beyond light speed. Micro waves have been accelerated to 30 times the speed of light and light itself has been accelerated to 200 times the speed of light. Our work with the Helios Ruehls projects has put us in close contact with optical physicists who inform us that light is a packet and so called light speed is now understood to be simply an average of the speed of the packet, with some parts of the packet moving faster than others. Modern physics news flash; there have always been things in the universe, of note presently; elements within the light packet itself that move faster than "light speed" which in fact is an average. Now just because we can move subatomic particles faster than light doesn't mean we can move machines and people, we again have to await the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity to know if we can ever practically do that. But we are probably very close to the ability to carry communications including the telemetry for robotic probes at speeds that will virtually eliminate the present time lags between Earth and Mars. Indeed, this future capability will allow us to operate within our spiral arm of the galaxy with telemetry time lags now observable in our control of our robotic probes on Mars and the outer planets of our solar system. Time is indeed very malleable in terms of communication and becoming more so. Determining the ultimate extent awaits the evolution of the Calculus and Geometries of Complexity.
So if communications with the past are possible, is time travel into the past possible? Possible perhaps, but not probable. The major roadblock based on present physical knowledge is the second law of thermodynamics, specifically the the rule for entropy. The so called "disorder" in the universe which increasingly is being seen not as "disorder" but "complexity" is not describable in terms of Newtonian physics, the Theory of Relativity, or what is known so far of Quantum Mechanics; is presently termed "entropy". As the universe matures "entropy" is ever increasing. This is so observable on so many levels that it is presently expressed as a law of physics. However increasingly we are perceiving the spread of "entropy" as the growth of "complexity" over time. We have little in the way of non Euclidean geometries and complexity calculus to describe, predict, and articulate laws for this complexity. But the rule as presently perceived is that entropy increases. The problem with traveling backwards in time is that it would require entropy to decrease which violates the second law of thermodynamics, a "dogma" of present math/physics.
However even today using only our humble already available calculus we can perceive, but not prove possible exceptions. There is the possibility made famous through the Star Trek series of the "worm hole". Worm Hole Theory arises out of the Theory of General Relativity. General Relativity describes gravity not as a force but a manifestation of the curvature of space time. Under this theory matter bends space time around it sort of like a fabric. Theoretically, a very massive star which dies could warp space time around it creating a sort of matter ,light sucking whirl pool that we call a "black hole". In theory, the black hole could be a connector between two regions of space time. The fact that we can mathematically predict such a possibility in no way means that its exists. For the foreseeable future we know no way of testing the theory. Based on the best scientific reasoning to date we have to rate travel back in time as a very low probability that would require some very rare, and undiscovered, and with one exception as yet unimagined exceptions to the second law of thermodynamics. This is probably a good thing in that it is mostly with travel into the past that the nightmares of science fiction relative to time travel are focused. What if you traveled into the past and accidentally killed your own grand father? Travel into the past is no doubt much more potentially problematic and dangerous for us, if we could do it, than travel into the future.
Is time travel into the future possible? This one gets a qualified "probably" from modern physics. Traveling into the future is possible in theory. When a subatomic particle goes really fast ( especially faster that the average of the light packet aka "light speed") time slows down for it. Consequently for a subatomic particle traveling near light speed ( and we now know that can be exceeded) what was one second for something traveling at even the best rocket speeds today could be minutes for the particle. This has been well observed in the case of a subatomic particle called the "Muon". In the lab the Muon has been observed lasting beyond its normal "life expectancy" (time to decay) consistently when accelerated to near light speed. In a very real way a high speed Muon lives longer and travels into the future. Time travel into the future doesn't require violation of any of the present laws of thermodynamics. Presently we'd have to rate it within the realm of possibility, Any practical utility seems a long a way off. There is also the question of the wisdom of traveling into the future. Based on the second law of thermodynamics it looks like a one way trip into the unknown.
The bottom line my biped friends, is that time is clearly malleable which is good news for distant space travel in the future. There is growing evidence that the "fabric of space" is malleable also. But the "warp drive" you seek awaits the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity. So those of you who dream of being real space pioneers ...get thee into theoretical mathematics. The first toe in the door of complexity is Fractal Geometry as created by Benoit B. Mandelbrot. Don't just study his math, study his life. Fractal Geometry, the first crack in the door of complexity is the product of a maverick who did not fit the mould of the academic professional mathematician of his day. To push mankind forward into the distant universe you have to think outside the box of mathematics and physics as they presently exist. But when you get outside that box Mandelbrot indicates that you find your self in simply a far larger box that we call "complexity" and not long ago called "chaos". As big and complex as it is there are discernable rules becoming visible already. We only know at the moment a few of them. We must get into the "outer box'. However be forewarned, when we reach the sides of the bigger box that is "complexity" we might find it rests in an even bigger box that we may as well name now..."WONDER".
TRAVEL BOOK SHELF