Friday, March 9, 2012

"The Planck length is derived from Newton’s gravitational constant, the speed of light and Planck’s own constant from quantum theory. It is unfathomably small: Comparing its size to a bacterium is like comparing the size of a bacterium to the visible universe."

The above quote brings us to Zeno's Paradox. Zeno pointed out that you get from point A to point B you first had to go halfway from point A to point B. Then, of course, you had to go half of the remaining distance and so on, ad infinitum.  His conclusion? That no one ever could actually get anywhere. To actually obtain any goal in terms of covering the distance is simply impossible!

Nevertheless, it is very clear that things do manage to reach their goals. That's why it was considered a paradox. If the universe is atomic, that is to say composed of units which cannot be reduced any further than their smallest limit, the supposed paradox disappears. In other words, yes, you must cover half the distance, then half of the remaining distance, and half of the remaining distance, but at a certain point there is no we remaining distance.  There is only this tiny little leap from one frame to the next.

Of course, this means that the world down at the tiny quantum level, is incredibly strange. It means that at that vanishingly small level we move forward like frames of a motion picture. At a certain point, things have gotten a small as they can get. This includes distance itself! Down at that level there is no smaller distance. There is no halfway to anything. There is only here and there with nothing in between. And that nothing includes no distance.  It's not a vacuum.  It's an absence of anything. It's a space that simply does not exist!

What's my point? I'm not sure I really have one. I suppose I just feel like saying that paradoxes, if I may repeat myself, are things that exist only in the mind of man. Reality does not allow for them. Paradoxes are language misused, sloppy thinking, or just human misunderstanding.

And that's all to say for today.

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