What is the most fundamental unsolved problem of modern physics? Is it the problem of how the universe began, whether it is in a steady state or expanding or how it is constructed in terms of its basic elements? These are deep questions. But an even deeper question which needs to be answered before those others can be considered is that of whether, in the context of Special Relativity, there is a 'universe' at all in any meaningful sense of the word (that is, as a unified, holistically functioning system) or whether what we imagine to be 'the universe' is no more than a chaos of chance interactions between otherwise purely localised, time-separated elements.
The problem, in other words, is that of ACTION-AT-A-DISTANCE. Are distance-separated bodies connected or unconnected? According to Einstein, nothing can travel faster than light. But if so, then no physical connection between bodies can take place in a time less than it takes for light to travel between them at the finite speed c. If that were correct, then no pair of objects, at any distance apart, could be said to exist together. To speak of things forming spatially extended groups or systems - as pairs even, far less balanced pairs - would beggar language. In physics, however, things do form connected systems. For instance, orbiting bodies form systems of angular momentum, which is an overall conserved quantity. But how can the angular momentum of, say, a spiral galaxy be conserved, as it so plainly is, if the ends of the moment-arms on which its stars and so on balance are, in the Einsteinian way of thinking, thousands of years apart? This implies, absurdly, that when one of the bodies moves, the balancing influence on another body may arrive when the first is no longer there! Another absurd consequence of this same 'Einstein separation' is its splitting of the definitively unsplittable light quanta into widely space-time-separated beginnings and ends. This is in complete contradiction to quantum theory, where it is axiomatic that all interactions between bodies are immediately consummated in complete and irreducible (i.e., integral) units of Planck's action constant h. So how can the integrity of a quantum interaction possibly be maintained if its beginning and end are separated, in some cases, by perhaps billions of years?
Einstein thought of quantum light-interactions as 'photons'. To borrow a picturesque metaphor coined by Tom Phipps (Jr.), these are like little 'Dick Whittingtons' that pack their bags full of action at the emitter-end and then set out, to travel inscrutably at a constant speed c relative to the void to make their fortune at some distant, purely incidental absorber. Not surprisingly, this creates all sorts of problems and paradoxes, as, for instance, in the notorious THOMAS YOUNG TWO-SLIT EXPERIMENT (see below) in which, for light-quanta to behave in that way, those 'photons' would need to be telepathic. In modern versions of the two-slit experiment it is plain that in the conduction of light or particle-beams between source and screen, the source and screen remain existentially connected throughout. That is to say, between every point at the source and every point on the screen, the PATHS that are prepared for those energies, via the two slits (measured in positive and negative half-lengths of the unit h/mc for light or h/mv for particles) 'interfere' as complete and instantaneous geometrical wholes. This creates the underlying precondition for the typical fringe-pattern of quantum scintillations or particle-strikes on the screen when the energies are conducted along those paths. And, of course, when some alternative absorber (i.e., a detector) is placed at any point along one or the other of those paths, whether before or after the slits, that path's geometrical capacity for interference is stopped at that point, leaving all the source-screen interactions to take place via the one remaining path. This makes the experiment, in effect, a one-slit experiment in which, typically, there is no pattern of interference. The 'Great Mystery' of the two-slit phenomenon arises only when we think of the source and screen as Einstein-separated - that is, connected by nothing but 'photons' travelling in their purely prospective, Dick Whittington-like way. However, quantum integrity demands that every quantum transition is a complete and irreducible, consummate interaction which cannot, therefore, 'start out' without being assured of an 'arrival'. But if we assume, as so many physicists do, that that arrival is delayed due to the travelling-time of the photon', then in order to consummate that interaction, either those 'photons' have to be telepathic or there is some additional 'spooky superluminal' influence 'guiding' them to their destinations - as many physicists are prepared to believe.
However, in 1926, in an article in Nature [ G.N. Lewis, 'Light Waves and Corpuscles' 117 p.256] Gilbert Lewis reported an irrefutable mathematical consequence of Einstein's theory, of which Einstein was aware but the significance of which he seems never fully to have appreciated. This is that at the finite speed c a quantum of light-interaction registers, in itself, no time and no distance between the emitter and absorber. That is to say, its intrinsic or proper time is absolutely and invariantly zero, so that its intrinsic or proper distance, being c times that proper-time, is also zero. Lewis thus pointed out that in relativity, as in quantum theory, a light-quantum, like any other quantum, is an integrated and irreducible, proper-time-instantaneous physical 'touching' between the emitter and the absorber - i.e., a transfer of energy which is precisely in accordance with Newton's law of instantaneous, equal and opposite (i.e., reciprocal) action and reaction.
But, say some physicists, how can that possibly be? How can things apart be also together in this way? And how can the speed of light be finite while that of its component quanta is infinite? This is the basis of the paradox, called EPR (from a paper by Einstein, Podolski and Rosen) which physicists have, in vain, tried to solve by all sorts of speculative and experimental means. There is, however, a very simple logical solution. This is to reinterpret the facts of quantum light-interaction by switching from the Einsteinian conception of space-travelling 'photons' to the Lewisian conception of complete and integrated quantum contacts. We may then think of these quantum contacts as consisting of discrete, movie-like action-jumps between whole, instantly extended quantum angular momentum configurations, ultimately, atoms. The action is then a function of the difference between the two distance-separated atomic angular momentum states. This is illustrated by the following commonsense conceptual model.
As everyone knows, a movie film is made up of finite-speed sequences of still photographs, or 'stills'. In these stills nothing moves because in them there is, by definition, no motion, only extension - that is, the instantaneous separation and distribution of objects in the dimensions of those still photographs or frames. Any changes and/or motions of those objects, at whatever rates and speeds, take place only when the stills are sequenced; that is, when they are passed through the projector in quick succession. In this commonsense example there is obviously no logical contradiction in thinking of the distance-separated objects as they appear on the screen as both CONNECTED at every stage in the action (that is, in the pure-space dimensions of the frame or screen), and SEPARATED in the (albeit subliminal) time-interval between the appearance of the one frame and the next.
A physics paraphrase of this commonsense model is to picture an elemental 'still' as an atom consisting of a pair of elementary particles in a bolas-like angular momentum interrelation mvr = nh/2p. The distance between these particles is then the length r of the moment-arm of that irreducible amount of angular momentum. The period t (= nh/E) of that irreducible cycle may then be conceived as an element of time, analogous to the finite but imperceptible time that a movie-still remains in the gate of the projector between one presentation and the next. The sequences of these quantum stills (in statistical profusion, see below) are then easily envisaged as the basis of the physical phenomena of change and motion, in the same way that the action of a movie analyses out, like the old 'flicks' or 'flickers', to quantum-like jerks. For instance, when the hero punches the villain, throughout the action the hero, the villain, the fist and the setting are all interconnected in the pure-space dimensions of each successive photograph. In the same way, when an emitter 'punches' a light-signal at an absorber we may sensibly think of the absorber and emitter as interconnected at each stage in the action, in the pure-space dimensions of the quantum stills, yet separated in the distance-time dimensions of the action.. The only difference, of course, is that unlike the 'fist', in the movie scene a light-quantum whose action, is integral, has no bits of its energy to spare to enable it to appear 'on the screen' between the emitter and absorber. The distance and duration of its passage are precisely that of an invisible quantum jump from a place in the one still, or atom, to a place in the other.
Now it needs to be stressed that this cinematic model is not, as someone has described it, a picture of some 'Great Cinema in the Sky' with 'God as the Projectionist'. This is no METAPHYSICAL theory to compete with constructivist theories of how the universe began and so on. It is simply a commonsense model showing how, the PHYSICS paradox can be removed between the relativistic imposition of a finite speed-limit and the quantum requirement for infinite speed (the long-standing 'EPR' problem). The model is not to be extended into absurdity because, of course, there are differences. For instance, in a mechanical movie projector, the imperceptible periods in which the stills occupy the gate of the projector, between successive shutter operations, are all the same, whereas the similarly irreducible periods of the quanta differ according to their spectral energy (colour). Moreover, there is no overall continuous background of space and time in which these quantum occurrences take place, as there is in the hall of a cinema. The quantum jumps between the stills occur, not in any single regimented succession but in a statistical or stochastic profusion of discrete, one-to-one, proper-time-instantaneous atomic interconnections.
It would be a fallacy, then, to imagine all these quantum stills (angular momentum elements) forming, at any instant, a single and continuous, universal angular momentum system. Like action, which is quantised in units of Planck's constant h, angular momentum is ultimately quantised in units of h/2p. These angular momentum elements are the atoms, which it makes no sense to think of as consisting of sub-atomic particles orbiting one another continuously, like planets and satellites, interacting with the rest of the universe at every stage in their motion. This would mean that they would lose angular momentum and spiral in towards one another, emitting an infinite burst of energy with frequency in the far ultraviolet. The fact that this so-called 'ultraviolet catastrophe' does not occur means that the orbits of sub-atomic mass and countermass are physically (as opposed to metaphysically or theoretically) complete, discrete and irreducible.
A natural macrophysical example of such a balanced angular momentum system is the spectacular galaxy called the Great Spiral, M.31, in the constellation of Andromeda. In that system the motions of the stars and other masses are connected and balanced in the same way as those particles which make up the atoms. Those atoms, however, have no existence in themselves but only as terminal irreducibles of the angular momentum system as a whole. On that ultimate level of reduction, all angular momentum relations are paired, such that when one atom is angular-momentum-connected to another it is not, in that same instance, angular-momentum-connected with any - far less with all - of the other atoms. This is what is meant by saying that at the ultimate microphysical level, the angular momentum relation is discrete and intransitive.
Meanwhile, the bodies of which those interconnecting atoms are the parts are connected within the overall angular momentum system in the same way as the particles which make up their atoms. In accordance with the conservation law, a loss of angular momentum by any one of those bodies must be accompanied by a compensatory gain in angular momentum in some other body somewhere else. For that transfer of action to take place among atoms it has to be a resonant, one-to-one interaction, and the only place where that atomic action can be accommodated might possibly be somewhere at the opposite end of a galaxy - or, indeed, in another galaxy. In any case, this would be the cinematic jump between the two atomic stills, as already described, the proper time of whose transfer is zero and whose relative time is s/c according to the Pythagorean time-equation:
tR = [(s/c)2 + tP2]½
(see page: Special Relativity, the Cinematic Deduction).
Another fallacy, in view of the holistic nature of angular momentum, would be to assume that when shifts in angular momentum take place, the changes are prompted somehow by 'driving forces' within the 'emitting' atom. By definition, nothing changes within that atomic still. The only changes that can take place are between one such atomic still and another, and that is when in the one atom the paired mass and countermass lose a quantum of their angular momentum (their orbit jumps inwards) while the other atom immediately gains that quantum (its internal orbit jumps outwards). This is what constitutes a quantum of cinematic sequence from the one atomic still to the other. Thus, while the 'gate-time' of the complete angular momentum cycle is a quantum of STASIS, the similarly irreducible shift from the one static angular momentum configuration to the other is a quantum of ACTION.
But of course, there definitely is causality. However, there can be no causality in a single quantum jump between an emitter and absorber. Causality is a macroscopic phenomenon involving statistical principles like entropy, which applies to atomic events only in large numbers. So there can be no causality involved in a single 'transition' of quantum energy from one place to another, where the absorber is as much the 'cause' as the emitter. Given that there are massive amounts of that quantum energy at the one place (e.g., a hot body) and smaller amounts at another (a cooler body), the law of entropy directs that there will be a statistical flow (i.e, a thermodynamical redistribution) of quanta from the one to the other. All causality is of that statistical, entropic/negentropic sort. With this holistic concept of causality in mind, one would no more be prompted to look for the causes of things among quanta than seek to explain the timetables of steam trains in terms of the motions of the molecules in their boilers and cylinders.
We may picture the world, then, at its most microscopically fine-grained level, as an angular momentum 'discretum' consisting of statistical numbers of discrete cinematic events, each ultimate and further-irreducible event consisting of a complete and irreducible quantum jump from one instantly extended element of angular momentum (quantum still) to another. On the ordinary physical level, a body is a statistical ensemble of these microphysical interactions, so that the comparative permanence of these macrophysical bodies is like that of Heraclitus' candle-flame, which remains steady while its constituents are continually and rapidly changing according to statistical, thermodynamical laws. Moreover, the same principle applies to angular momentum relations on the macrophysical level as on the microphysical level, namely, that the bodies concerned (such as, e.g., the stars in a galaxy) are instantly paired and balanced as on opposite ends of the moment-arms of a weighing scale. Thus we have, on the macrophysical level, a statistical interpretation of the overall interconnectedness of masses that is conventionally called 'gravitational'. (As explained in RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS No. 21, the other 'forces' of 'magnetism' and 'electrostatics' can be interpreted as angular momentum relations of the same kind but whose length-parameters and so on include all sorts of involutions and convolutions such as, e.g., spin.) In this statistical sense, our concept of space answers to the 'inertial space' of Newton - except, of course, that being a discretum it is neither geometrically nor temporally continuous and the inertial motions of bodies are cyclic not rectilinear. (This follows from the fact that in finite amounts of angular momentum mvr, r cannot be infinite, so it follows that the motion is automatically closed, or cyclic. And because masses in angular momentum relations are automatically paired there is no need to think of Newton's 'gravitational' and other invisible 'forces of attraction' being responsible for the orbital motions of masses).
Since objects in this quantum discretum remain, throughout, statistically interconnected in that proper-time-instantaneous way, then it follows that when one body moves, that movement instantly and immediately affects all the others and is affected by them, reciprocally, all within that same action. On that same statistical level the microphysical intransitivity and randomness of the sequences of quantum angular momentum interrelations tends to disappear, becoming manifest instead as the Brownian motion of the constituent parts of bodies which are otherwise in a state of dynamic equilibrium, with comparatively well-defined positions and trajectories. This means that the freedom of a body to move is instantly and immediately (and, again statistically) inhibited by the presence of those other bodies in the way which, as Mach saw it, explains the phenomenon of inertia and/or momentum. (Modern exponents of this Machian view are, for example, Peter Graneau, Tom Phipps and Andre Assis.)
In response to critics and colleagues such as, e.g., Dr. Michael Manthey (ANPA conference, September 1996) it had to be conceded that to refer to this instantaneous inertial connection between bodies as 'quantum touching' may be somewhat confusing, since in their angular momentum extensions the component masses do not touch but remain separated by the length r of the 'moment-arm'. Lewis' term 'touching' is nevertheless appropriate to the extent that there is no more distance nor time-separation in any quantum interconnection than there is between ordinary bodies in direct contact. However, insofar as this so-called 'quantum touching' is between objects that are manifestly separated in macroscopic angular momentum terms, the phrase seems somewhat inept. Nevertheless, 'Quantum Touching' is what opponents and adherents alike* have dubbed this theory of what might, perhaps, have been better described as 'Quantum Immediacy'. 'Immediacy' can be taken to mean unmediated - that is to say, not mediated or conducted by any intervening agency called 'ether', 'field', 'photon' or whatever between distance-separated bodies. This, perhaps, fits the cinematic conception of frame-to-frame (still-to-still) transition, in some ways, better than 'touching'.
* See Apeiron, Vol. 3, no. 3-4, July-October 1996, pp 123-125
To return, then, to the Thomas Young two-slit experiment. The two-slit apparatus can be conceived, by the cinematic analogy (hence with no question of 'Einstein separation'), as a geometrical whole in which, as physical objects, the paths through the apparatus from source to screen via the two slits manifest themselves as whole instantaneous lengths which 'interfere' geometrically in terms of congruent or incongruent halves of the so-called 'wavelength' of the energies passing (cinematically) along them. The propagation of energy along those paths is thus the same as in standard quantum wave-dynamics, with all the usual effects of interference, dispersion, diffraction and so on but without the paradoxical 'EPR' implications of Einstein separation. This is because at the various stages in their motion these light-waves, particle-waves, etc., are no longer 'Dick Whittington-like' in seeking their destinations but are, as it were, guided along the 'rails' of those instantaneous angular momentum connections which have traditionally been conceived as 'gravitational'. These 'waves' are thus envisaged, not in the current mode, as waves in a vacuum or as collections of free-moving and speculatively travelling 'photons' which are somehow guided to their destinations by something akin to telepathy, both of which notions are alien to commonsense, but as wave-like direct-action disturbances of an angular momentum discretum without the underlying field-continua of classical electrodynamics. Moreover, with that same conceptual modification, the consequences of this cinematic theory are identical not only to those of quantum wave-theory but also to those of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, as may be demonstrated. (See section on 'SPECIAL RELATIVITY, THE CINEMATIC DEDUCTION'.)