An Introduction to A Crackpot Physicspost by ACrackedPot · 2021-04-05T23:59:12.888Z · LW · GW · None comments
I imagine the first two questions a reader might ask, upon coming across the basic ideas I'm going to be writing here, are, respectively, "Why would I want to read this?" and "Why are you bothering to write this?" So I will begin by answering those questions.
For the question of why someone would want to read this - well, personally, I enjoy reading other people's crackpot ideas, and trying to understand them. My hope is that I am not alone in this, and that other people enjoy the experience. If you don't want to read a crackpot's physics, then none of this is really for you, and that's fine.
For the question of why I am writing it, well, first, I enjoy other people's crackpot ideas, so I write it for the same reason anybody writes anything at all. But also, I really do, legitimately, think all of this is correct. I'm a self-aware crackpot, but I am really a crackpot. (And if I happen to be correct, I'm still a crackpot.)
The next question, I expect, is "Okay, so what's your crackpot physics idea?" And this question is a lot harder to answer, because, to a significant extent, I'm going to be spending a lot of time describing an idea that isn't actually the crackpot idea I have. I don't know how to explain the crackpot idea that I have. "The universe is a fractal" is an accurate description of the idea, but not actually -the- idea.
It's a boring idea, when you get right down to it, which makes it very frustrating how difficult the idea is to express. A lot of the difficulty comes down to the fact that the most natural representation for the ideas use different abstractions than the common ones in physics, so I have to justify those abstractions before I can even start on the ideas themselves.
So let's get started.
Acceleration as Rotation
Start with two lengths of distance from a planet's surface, such that in a flat space-time, A and B are of equal length. Suppose instead we are viewing these two lengths from a great distance away, such that the effect of the planet's gravity on us is negligible; from our observations, the two lengths are equal, by which I mean that light moves across A in the same time, from our perspective, that it takes for that light to move across B.
In General Relativity, A is, from a more local perspective, longer than B. We can think of this in a number of ways, but for now, just accept this notion as-is. Now, by necessity, an observer in the middle of A, timing the light crossing A, would measure a longer time than an observer in the middle of B who happened to be timing the light crossing B; if A is longer than B, then, in a sense, time is also "longer" in A; a clock at the middle of A ticks slower than an identical clock in the middle of B.
Now, usually, when considering questions of gravity in GR, we think in terms of curvature - but this is not, in fact, the only way of conceptualizing general relativity. We can also think in terms of rotation.
To illustrate this idea, we will begin by thinking in terms of a Newtonian force operating on an object - but we're going to keep in mind the modified distances. Note: This is an incorrect way of thinking about it, and is only used to demonstrate a way of thinking about General Relativity.
Think about the distance from the planet in terms of meters. And also, think about the distance from the planet in terms of seconds. For the distance from the planet in terms of meters, it should be obvious that the near (to the planet) side of the object experiences slightly greater gravity than the far side of the object. For our object, this is a tidal force; the only interesting thing to notice is that, for oblong objects, this can generate a very slight torque, causing the object to spin (but not very far).
Now, consider the distance in time - and observe that there is, in fact, a kind of torque there, as well. But what does it mean for an object to rotate in time?
Well, one potential answer might be found in Penrose-Terrell rotation - what is generally considered a purely visual phenomenon in which objects moving close to the speed of light appear to be rotated in particular ways. This is, I submit, not merely a visual phenomenon, but rather a fairly straightforward way of understanding velocity itself. Which is not to say it is the correct way of understanding things, but I will argue that it is -a- correct way of understanding things. We'll set this idea aside for now to investigate in more depth later - for now, let's just take a note that velocity kind of looks like rotation.
Now, the force, as described, isn't real. But suppose, for a moment, that the force, as described, doesn't need to be real. We can imagine the object, rotated in space-time by this imaginary Newtonian force. Can we extend our imaginations to imagining spacetime itself, rotated by this imaginary Newtonian force?
We don't really need to; that's curvature. Remember our two lengths? A is longer than B. Now, an observation: A is longer than B. A second in A is "longer" than a second in B. So far so good, right? But if we measure a length of distance in A, compared to B, we get more meters. If we measure a length of time in A, compared to B, we get -fewer- seconds. The idea of length is misleading in a particular way.
We could ask, where the meters came from, and where the seconds went to - but once we formulate this question, the answer becomes a bit obvious, particularly in the context of thinking about space-time itself being rotated. The seconds became meters; part of time "rotated in" to become part of space, and part of space "rotated out" to become part of time, and because the speed of light is the conversion factor and heavily favors space over time, we gained meters, and lost seconds.
This rotation is all relative; A doesn't think A is rotated, A thinks B is rotated. B doesn't think B is rotated, B thinks A is rotated. And some sufficiently distant observer thinks both of them are rotated (and they, obviously, think the distant observer is rotated).
This is all viewing these things from a static perspective; as soon as you let time start passing, objects in A and B start falling. Notice that, as they fall, they rotate. Notice, moreover, that if something stops them from falling - they still try to rotate.
We can actually describe falling entirely in terms of rotation, but that's somewhat more complex a topic. For now, instead, just notice that, if we take motion through time as a given - that is, if we start with an assumption that time passes - then the rotation of space-time gives rise to rotation of objects - noticing that the length of a second is greater on one side of an object than the other, there is torque expressed on the object itself, generated by the fact that one side of the object is trying to travel at a different speed than the other.
None of this is, to my mind, particularly interesting - it's just a different way of thinking about how General Relativity operates.
Velocity as Rotation
How, exactly, does rotation in space-time cause motion? Also, what exactly do I mean by rotation in space-time?
So, what do I mean by rotation in space-time? If we consider "motion" as rotation, then it would be rotation along the pair of axes formed by the vector of motion in three dimensions, and time. This forms a two-dimensional plane; if we consider a set of structures in spacetime (be they particles, or just another geometry in space-time), a rotation of these structures along such a pair of axes, relative to an observer, creates motion.
How does it create motion? By the passage of time itself. The structure is moving along a dimension of time which is, from the observer's perspective, rotated into space; some of the time-motion of the structure is, from the observer's perspective, actually taking place in space itself. That is, from the structure's perspective, it isn't moving in space at all; it is purely moving in time. (And from its perspective, it is the rest of the universe that is rotated, and thus moving.)
Or, to consider that explanation from another perspective, objects don't agree on the precise vector of time, and each travels along a line which, from its own perspective, correctly represents time.
Now, this is largely just moving the question from "What is motion" to "Why do objects move forward in time". I have a number of suspicions and potential answers here, but ultimately the answer doesn't matter for our purposes. Let's take it as an assumption.
Motion, like rotation, is relative. Indeed, once we think of motion as rotation, it becomes very difficult to see it as anything but relative. And one problem we immediately run into is the fairly straightforward question - if this is rotation, why can't we just rotate 90 degrees, and hit light-speed?
One answer is that, when we consider motion as rotation, we need to consider it as hyperbolic; if this statement doesn't make any sense to you, go ahead and skip this paragraph. The idea that motion-as-rotation is hyperbolic is both right and wrong; it is right, in the sense that motion, considered from a particular perspective, must be a hyperbolic rotation; you can't, after all, ever actually reach C. Also, we can usefully model all this behavior mathematically, and it's clearly hyperbolic. It's also, in an important sense, wrong, because it's only true in a particular set of coordinate systems. I won't get into this much more than that, because this isn't an approach to thinking about the problem I find interesting.
Another answer is that, well, we can; this answer is also both right and wrong. Right, because that's kind of what happens when we fall into a black hole, after all. The reason it is difficult is entirely to do with our perspective, and the nature of time; accelerate hard enough, for long enough, and you'll pass that ninety degree mark, at least from the perspective of everyone else; from your own perspective, you can't rotate at all. What everyone else will see, of course, is a mass accelerating until it accumulates enough inertial energy to turn into a very fast-moving singularity. Wrong, because the event horizon of a black hole is not, in fact, ninety degrees away from flat space - I hesitate here, because I am not actually certain about the angle here, but I don't think it's too incorrect to describe the event horizon as a forty five degree rotation of space-time, relative to a sufficiently distant observer. The ninety degree rotation is an entirely different singularity, an entirely different horizon, a topic I'll try to cover later.
If you stop and think about it, this implies something very interesting about the curvature of fast-moving objects, which is both straightforwardly obvious, from the mass-energy tensor, and also strangely divorced from the way we usually actually think about fast-moving objects. If velocity is rotation, a fast-moving object is rotated; if the gravity well of a fast-moving object is rotated, it is increased. Gravity and velocity are, basically, the same phenomenon; rotation of space-time. The only real question is what is rotated, and how much, relative to what else.
Energy, both potential and realized, dissolve into rotation. That's not too interesting. The interesting thing is that, once you start conceptualizing gravity and velocity as rotation, you can conceptualize something else as rotation: Mass (and energy) itself.
Mass as Rotation
There's a settled question in physics, which basically boils down to the question, "Do gravitational forces experience gravitation", to which the standard answer is "No".
I am going to argue here that the standard answer is necessarily wrong. Gravity definitely gravitates. Negative mass binding is a thing. Take a balloon. A really big balloon, large enough to hold our solar system with extra room. Consider its volume when empty. Consider its volume when we put a solar system in it - remembering that the length of A is greater than the length of B. The volume is larger than the volume when empty. Consider that the mass-energy tensor is describing, effectively, the density of mass and energy in a volumetric space. Increase the space, decrease the density. Consider the gravitational effect of an object outside the solar system, outside the balloon. The density is lower than you might expect. Double the mass of an object, and you don't double the gravitational pull, because some of that gravity is lost to the extra volume involved.
Remembering furthermore that all you need, to create gravity, is the difference in distances - and it should be clear that gravity gravitates. We just have a particular idea of what it means for something to gravitate which doesn't apply to certain geometries; we think of gravitation as the particular effect of the gravitational geometry, on a particular other kind of geometry. But once we realize that the geometry involved effects all geometries, it should be clear that light gravitates - it's the same geometric transformation, applied to a different geometry. We can think of distances, or of rotation - rotate the light in space and time, and voila.
However, the interesting thing here is, if we consider mass and energy in terms of their distribution across a volume, and if we consider the curvature, the rotation, as proportional to the mass and energy thus distributed, it should be apparent that we don't actually need either mass or energy; acceleration is rotation, velocity is rotation. Potential energy is rotation, kinetic energy is rotation. What, now, is mass?
Well, insofar as we consider gravitic mass alone, we can clearly just call it "rotation". But consider for a second inertial mass. There's a question, whether inertial mass and gravitic mass are the same, or just happen to have the same value; well, once you start thinking of gravitic mass as rotation, I think it becomes clear that they are the same concept entirely. If mass is a rotated volume of space-time, and motion is a rotation of mass, then motion is a rotation-of-rotation, and the total rotation involved (the combined mass-energy value) is dependent upon both values equally.
Which is to say, if we quantize rotation, then the total rotation will be something like mass-rotation multiplied by velocity-rotation (with some important special relativity caveats - we'll return to that subject later). Double the mass, and you double the total rotation.
There is a problem here: What exactly is rotating? I suspect the answer "space-time itself" is going to be rather unsatisfactory, but that is the answer I must give. There are some geometries involved here which might offer some assistance to thinking about it, but they're not going to help much; I can accurately describe them as a type of geon, but the geometries I expect them to take do not seem to match what others expect.
The Basic Crackpot Unified Field Theory
What happens if you rotate other geometries? Say, the geometry of rotation itself?
I have an idea for what the grand unified field theory will look like; I typically express this idea as sin(ln(x))/x. I have no particular attachment to this equation - I've found others that exhibit the behavior I'm looking for - except that it is the most parsimonious equation I've yet found with the behaviors I am looking for.
You can arrive at it in other fashions, say, by solving a recursive function of the integral of f(x)=1+sin(f(x))/f(x)^2; my approximation of the solution appeared to converge on a function with characteristics similar to sin(ln(x))/x, based on an assumption that any distances we measured would already take the equation itself into account, and only the rate of change of the equation itself would matter. This was an early attempt at attempting to rotate the geometry of rotation itself, but I was unable to solve the equation, and I seriously doubt the recursive function was the correct way to model the behavior I have in mind in the first place.
I don't know the correct way to derive the equation; however, it seems clear to me that, once you think about the act of rotating rotation, you should be on your way to the description of a force that looks like this, moving from the small to the large, with conventional physics explanations as appropriate:
At the gluon/quark level, we have Strong Gravity. I don't honestly know that much about this approach, and happened upon the fact of its existence by happy accident, but it fits.
Above that, we have a repulsive force keeping quarks apart. Then an attractive force holding collections of quarks together to form a proton. Then a repulsive force holding protons apart. Then an attractive force holding protons together in the nucleus. Then a repulsive force keeping nucleii apart. Then an attractive force - gravity. Then the cosmological constant, a repulsive force.
Looks kind of like a sin wave. A rotation of our rotation. As for where the natural log comes from, that's a hard concept to explain; it's what I think the rotation looks like if you go from large to small, and pass through the event horizon of whatever geon you're examining. My original metaphor was a set of matryoshka dolls; an infinite recursion of an object as it turned inside out repeatedly on an ever-larger scale. Now I'm more likely to try to describe it in terms of time being a complex-dimensioned spiral and distance being the arclength of that spiral. I don't really have an explanation here which I think likely to actually convey the idea, only insist that, no, it actually makes perfect sense.
Note the conspicuous absence of electrical forces. I am pretty sure we just plain don't need them. But that's a topic of its own.
There are some other notes; for instance, I think it is notable that the nuclear forces actually do have the characteristic shape of sin(ln(x))/x, which I bring up in part to note that the behavior here works at least on one scale. Whether or not it works at all scales is another question entirely; here, I can only note that the distances, from the perspective of the particles involved, look fundamentally different from the distances we ourselves measure. A is longer than B; if all forces are rotation in this sense, if all forces are curvature, A becomes incredibly long in the case of nuclear forces, such that a hydrogen atom might be a meter across in diameter, if you were to measure from inside it.
These are the basics of the ideas. Again, none of this should be taken too seriously; I'm a self-described crackpot, and while I legitimately think all of this is true, I'm also aware that that is exactly how I would feel about these ideas regardless of their veracity. I'll try to write up another short series describing some of the important things the relatively straightforward explanations here fail to consider; electrical fields being perhaps the most relevant and glaring item, but other topics include the nature of time, special relativity, and the nature of a subset of specific fundamental particles. Much of the problem here is just trying to convey the ideas.
Rotation is one abstraction, one way of representing these ideas; it is perhaps the easiest way to explain the ideas here, but that abstraction was not my first, nor do I think it possesses any exclusive explanatory power. It's just the most useful abstraction I've found, in terms of explaining the basic ideas here; the challenge of expressing these ideas has been quite surprising to me, and good ways of explaining everything still elude me in places. In particular, I mentioned at the start of this little essay that the idea here is a fractal model of reality, something which, by the end, probably seems irrelevant.
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