Einstein’s Fundamental Error


by  John Roland Stahl
March, 2010


     I couldn’t resist the title – I have recently seen an old Sherlock Holmes movie (The Creeping Man) in which some blowhard was just telling his secretary to announce the title of his talk at the next meeting of the Royal Society – “Darwin’s Fundamental Error.”

     Einstein’s fundamental error was to assume that the speed of light were constant, among all the other measurements of time and space, motion and gravity.  

     “If time could change depending on your velocity, Einstein realized, then other quantities, such as length, matter, and energy, should also change. He found that the faster you moved, the more distances contracted (which is sometimes called the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction).  Similarly, the faster you moved, the heavier you became. (In fact, as you approached the speed of light, time would slow down to a stop, distances would contract to nothing, and your mass would become infinite, which are all absurd.  This is the reason why you cannot break the light barrier, which is the ultimate speed limit in the universe.) . . . he also showed that matter and energy are unified and hence can change into each other.”   (from Parallel Worlds : a journey through creation, higher dimensions, and the future of the cosmos, by Michio Kaku)

     “Einstein realized that matter and energy are just names for different descriptions of the same phenomena.” (my edit)

     I am thinking that the universe is filled with descriptions of phenomena all of which are relative to everything else.  So why should the speed of light arbitrarily be determined to be constant? To be sure, any one concept can be considered to be constant, and everything else described around it, but that is like the Ptolemaic theory that the earth is stationary and the sun and planets revolve around it.  I always thought it were arbitrary, and the earth could just as well be considered stationary as anything else – the Sun, for example.  But we finally learn that all parts move within relative aspect of everything else, and that the speed of light is no more exempt from this “free float of currency” than anything else.  You may peg all other currencies against the dollar, but, ultimately, the dollar, too, will be seen to hold a position towards all the other currencies which is, in fact, relative to them.  

     And, like Copernicus’s alternative description of the movements of the heavenly bodies, of which the earth is just one more, led to simpler and more obvious descriptions of those movements, so, also, it may be found that there may be more illuminating ways of describing the events of our cosmos without adhering to the concept that the speed of light must always be assumed to be constant.  

     In fact, it seems to me, on the face of it, that Newton may have been more correct after all!  I have always thought that “time” were not an observed phenomenon in the way that motion or even gravity may be – time is an arbitrarily applied yardstick by which other phenomena may be described relatively.  It seems like a more intuitive way of looking at the movements of the heavenly bodies.  Thus, instead of all the bending of time and space and motion and mass, you might have, in some descriptions of phenomena, situations in which it is the speed of light which goes “faster” or “slower” than other movement.  Of course it is all relative, but that is not to say that Ptolemaic cosmology were equally valid as Copernican cosmology – the use of Occam’s razor to follow the simplest interpretation of events will lead us to the most efficient and beautiful explanations, which are rightly assumed to be the most useful indications (sidestepping altogether, as having essentially no particular meaning, the question of which description is “actually” the correct one).  

     Thus, reinterpreting all the most recent data from this perspective, allowing the speed of light to fluctuate just as much as any other measurement, depending upon which description appears to be the most useful, or the simplest, may yield a whole new metaphysics, or may simply re-instate Newtonian physics as it used to be before Einstein’s interesting speculations.  This is not to suggest discarding all of Einstein’s work – it may be that his mathematical description of the relationship between matter and energy be perfectly correct, but that it is just the assumption that the speed of light be constant that is the applied hand-brake to the wheels when trying to understand the flow of events in the cosmos.  

§

     I may as well tackle gravity, too, while I am about it.  I think that “gravity” does not describe some funny force that pulls objects together; but rather it is the other way around: the “Natural” state of the universe is Zero, pure nothingness.  “Time is the measure of error.” (from one of my earliest books, Jokes ).  Some force must be applied in order to create the Mother of all Distinctions which cause the undifferentiated universe to spring into being.  This outwardly directed energy is the Yang aspect of God which created the cosmos at the Big Bang.  So, when all of that energy which maintains the cosmos in a state of error, or manifestation (“All manifestation is error,” from the same book of Jokes) be finally dissipated, then the apparently discreet elements of which our universe be composed will finally come together once again in the “final” (one more of a series, which may not necessarily be infinite in either direction) Singularity (the total Yin point opposed to the initial Yang).  The fading of this energy is observed as “gravity.”

     As described in earlier articles (e.g., Speculations on Cosmology), I imagine a series of “universes” blinking on and off as they pass through that Singularity.  This sequence makes more sense to me than one enormous Big Bang which brought forth our Universe, fully formed, all at once, like Athena from the head of Zeus.  

     


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