Space-Time / Space-Matter

Struck by a parallel, reading the Roger Anderton translation of the Dusan Nedelkovich (1922) work on Roger Boscovich (1763). A parallel with Alan Rayner.

Earliest piece on unified field theory (100? years before Mach and 150 before Einstein) already led to ideas of relativity in the world as we experience it being distinct from any objectively real world. One particular aspect that troubled Einstein – the later Einstein (where Einstein was right to be concerned) unlike the mid-period Eddington-created (*), post annus-mirabilis, post-WW1, (where Einstein the precocious superstar was too quickly interpreted in Copenhagen) – is how seriously weird time and causation are, if we take our common sense view of matter in space, with the time axis of space-time as merely an add-on to a pre-existing view of space.

In fact Boscovich had already suggested a space-time where our view of space (and matter) were already seriously distorted by our attempts to standardise (normalise / absolutise) time with time-keeping and clocks, whilst failing to notice that our human experience of time is already highly relativistic – (aside – see also Douglas Adams on errors of scale). We need to consider the geometry of space time very carefully first, before we subdivide into the now familiar common sense axes. Reality is less concrete than prevailing common sense suggests.

The parallel ? Well excusing my very rough summary of my 3rd-hand reading of Boscovich, this seems very close to Alan Rayner’s take on the dynamic, but non-exclusive nature of space and matter in his “Inclusionality” approach. It’s wrong to think in terms of objective matter “occupying” space, since it pre-supposes an existing “space”.

[Recent Inclusionality piece by Ted Lumley on the analogy of “PhotoShopping” experience into a convenient reality – only in email so far – need to put up a link. We get a perfectly self-consistent picture, but it’s not reality.]

[Also, struck in that PhotoShopping analogy with the image of the Greek seeing perfection in his reflection in the animation of Iain McGilchrist’s Divided Brain lecture.]

[PS – The Anderton translation is the product of much effort by Roger to get Boscovich’s work recognised and deserves much credit. The actual translation, from a mix of Latin and French, with Serbo-Croat and other reference sources en-route, means the English is seriously stilted, with strange word order, inconsistent use of he & it, explicit and implicit definite and indefinite articles, strings of complex Latin translated literally without selection of newer compound words or concepts, and new editorial notes on top of previous biographical and scholarly reference notes in both Boscovich’s work and in Nedelkovic’s paper. This is undoubtedly deliberate by Roger, in order not to obscure any possible subtleties from his sources with his own interpretation, but does mean the reading requires considerable patience to understand.]

[(*)PPS if anyone is in any doubt how much modern science (and hence modern scientistic culture) is distorted by a distorted view of Einstein’s work, the Foreword by Greg Volk is a must-read for the lay reader. After a post-Newton, post-Boscovich summary of science of field theories through Faraday, Maxwell, Euler, Leibnitz, Mach, Hertz, Heaviside, Kelvin and Michelson-Morley, Volk continues:

“… the real bombshell happened in 1905.

Albert Einstein’s 1905 (annus mirabilis) papers introduced yet another option, not Netwonian motion with respect to space, and not Boscovich’s relational motion with respect to matter, but motion with respect to the observer. Curiously, Einstein rejected the views of his mentor, Ernst Mach, and indirectly those of Boscovich (quoted earlier by Mach). Both scientists criticised Newtonian absolute space, but for significantly different reasons, which are (now) lost to modern science.

Encouraged by some approval of his 1905 Special Relativity, Einstein introduced General Relativity in 1916. Naturally, Einstein’s radical ideas weren’t accepted overnight, but ….

…. in 1919, Arthur Eddington’s media blitz exalted Einstein as the new Newton ….

[….] Ironically, for the rest of his life, Einstein sought to unify physics with a field theory. Despite his rise to Time Magazine’s “Person of the Century”, he himself doubted his ideas would stand the test of time.”


[PPPS – “Einstein was Right” is a meme for the idea that whilst much of what became accepted interpretations post-Relativity, post-Bohr, post-Copenhagen was right enough for science and technology exploitation, and despite the fact Einstein never fully resolved his doubts, he was right in so many aspects of what he actually believed and right to doubt what had by then become accepted as right. Einstein was right when he said he was wrong and where he’d previously been more right. He was quite right to go to his grave regretting that he had ever “fiddled” his own workings to be consistent with what had become popularly accepted, and no-one was actually listening by then to the quotable old man shouting “you’re all making a big mistake”.]

[Topical at New Scientist.]

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