With matter there is a limit to how small we can divide something, for at some point we are left with individual atoms. Is the same true for space ? If we continue dividing, do we eventually come to a smallest unit of space, some smallest possible volume ? Or can we go on forever, dividing space into smaller and smaller bits, without ever having to stop ? [...] There are good reason to believe that the continuous appearance of space is as much an illusion as the smooth appearance of matter. When we look on a small enough scale, we see that space is made of things that we can count.
Perhaps it is hard to visualize space as something discrete. After all, why can something not be made to fit into half the volume of the smallest space ? The answer is that this is the wrong way to think, for to pose this question is to presume that space has some absolute existence into which things can fit. To understand what we mean when we say that space is discrete, we must put our minds completely into the relational way of thinking, and really try to see and feel the world around us as nothing but a network of evolving relationships. These relationships are not among the events that make up the history of the world. The relationships define the space, not the other way around.i
This is why the WoT works.ii
This is why nihil fit ex nihilo.
This is why we want to make $10k/yr in a world where all our neighbours make $5k/yr
instead of making $100k/yr in a world where all our neighbours make $95k/yr.
We hate watching our stocks flatline while everyone else’s rise.
We’re competitive like that.
And there’s no competition in a vacuum.
Not even in the vacuum of discrete space.
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- via “Three Roads to Quantum Gravity” by Lee Smolin, 2001. ↩
- Both offline and online. ↩
- Western countries are so hell bent on vilifying the word “change” that they’ll sack any dissenting voices to the contrary, even at my alma mater on the (relatively) right-leaning Prairies. ↩