Monday, December 06, 2004

A letter from Atlanta

The silence is enveloping me. Beethoven's fourth in the background does not perturb it and strangely becomes part of it.


Absolute clarity of mind.

As I walk up the road that leads to the hospital, I can almost hear myself, walking behind me, heavily breathing through the uphill sidewalk, steadily walking to where I am, faithfully through every step of the way. My past and my future, all of life, suddenly merge into one instant. All of creation, since its beginning untilits unforseen end becomes now.

The universe is expanding. And I am expanding with it. There has to be a unity of everything. If all originated from a singularity then THE law(s) governing that singularity should govern al things that emanate from it. Am I expanding with the universe? I have to be... but how am I expanding. I don't know yet.

On both sides of the road are trees, some large, some small, all beautiful, red and brown and green, some naked and frail. Fall is an artist. Color. Beauty. Life ending only to begin again and again and again.

What is it about life. What is the insatiable drive that started it and kept it going until now, despite fire and ice, acid, sulfur, wind. Despite life itself even.

Life. Life that feeds on the environment seems to have reached a dead end. There is so much a plant can do. It is a prisoner of its environment. It can adapt though, in rather amazing ways.
But it still is a plant. The most complex plant organisms are ones that feed on other life forms, meaning the carnivorous plants. These plants, if left to evolve in an environment where food has become scarce, would probably become ambulant. Roots will become accessory and appendages would allow them to move around in search for prey. They would even potentially turn into a human like creature, probably a hybrid one, relying both on food and on sun. Just imagine a world with walking carnivorous plants. That would make for a great 70s horror flick.

The universe is expanding. And so am I. But I am small in the universe and my expansion will not be noticeable to me. I am moving away from the Big Bang. The conservation of energy makes so much more sense now. You start with X you finish with X. The energy that was there at the Big Bang is still there now. Not a bit less not a bit more. Yet the universe is expanding.
What is the nature of its expansion? What we see are galaxies receding away from us with a wavelength shift of what we percieve of the radiation they emit. The Doppler effect. This can only mean that universe is spreading more and more. But what is spreading. Is it space-time or is it its contents? I believe it is both. In a practical analogy, one can envision an ink dot on a celophane paper. If you stretch the paper in one direction, the dot will move in the direction of the paper, but it will also expand in the same way. It does not seem that there is any evidence of galaxies expanding or changing in size at all. Does this mean that the contents of the universe are not a part of spacetime? Maybe they are just sitting in spacetime. The comparison that would go with such an image would be a particle of dust sitting on the same celophane paper I just described. The dust particle would move in the direction of expansion but would not change in size or shape.

I am now traveling very close to the speed of light. My watch has stopped ticking if observed by an individual standing in an inertial frame. But how do I percieve time myself. I should be able to percieve it like I am used to. The clock will still be ticking at the same rate. But I will be traveling very large distances and that is because the spatial component of spacetime has shrunk. In other words, each element of space to me would be extremely small.
If a photon were to be wearing a wristwatch and we stopped the photon to check the time every few kilometers, we would astonishingly realize that the photon's watch has not advanced a single instant since we last checked it. if I were sitting on the photon and checking my wristwatch, if I stopped after a second on the back of the photon and jumped back on the ground how much time will have passed on earth? It should be an infinite amount of time.


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