Thursday, 22 September 2011

Speed of Light Broken - Inter-dimensional Travel

CERN scientists have allegedly broken the speed of light by sixty nanoseconds.  It might not sound much, but if these claims are verified by further tests then this discovery could herald the final nail in the coffin of classical physics - much of which has been disproved already by quantum physics.

News article:

The long-held theory is that if things can move faster than the speed of light, then time travel and inter-dimensional travel ought to be possible.

Ideas about time travel and inter-dimensional travel were around long before the commercial success of Dr Who.  Actually, Dr Who was around long before the current commercial success of Dr Who... UFOlogists have been debating the possibility of UFOs being inter-dimensional rather than interplanetary craft for decades, and HG Wells published The Time Machine back in 1895.  But tales of side-stepping into other dimensions can be found in The Mabinogion and similar collections of folktales dating back centuries.  

Ok, so those old stories were couched in different jargon.  Phrases such as Tir na nOg, the Summerlands, the faerie realms and similar, have been elbowed aside in favour of parallel dimensions, (no, not the annual Wirral F/SF/H fest which I've yet to sort out), but pasting a new label on an old bottle won't alter the wine.

Maybe science has been looking in the wrong direction.  While all the telescopes have been pointing outwards, away from Earth - which is not to imply that there isn't a possibly infinite heap of fascinating stuff waiting to be discovered beyond our little galaxy - maybe now more attention will be devoted to alternative theories of reality.

So what is real and what isn't?  As quantum physics demonstrates, it all depends on the observer's point of view - such as with light, which can be a beam or a wave depending on, quite literally, how it's looked at.  It also depends on democratic agreement to settle upon and believe in a dominant version of reality.

How, then, do people decide upon their way of looking at life?  Beliefs and expectations, learned since early childhood, form most of our reactions.   Some of these will be useful, some won't.  Some people go to great lengths to learn how to look at life without beliefs and expectations which have hampered their lives - and find that their experience of the world changes as a consequence.  They've passed from what might be called a grey world to a sunnier world.  They've passed from one dimension to another - but because they still live at No.3 Same Street, Same Town, this way of looking at internal change tends to be ignored by themselves and the other people around them.

The change has been internal, mental.  Now, what if that change was so great that not only did the world seem a sunnier place but previously unnoticed aspects of reality began to unfold?  This is the journey of the shaman, the ritual magician,  the seeker of hidden knowledge - or the people in lab coats, creating tests to challenge theories of reality.

It is with these largely unnoticed aspects of reality, these other dimensions, and the people who pursue them, that much of my fiction is inspired by.

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