Sunday, December 6, 2009

More on Special Relativity

There is a famous quote by Albert Einstein on Relativity.

"Put you hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. THAT'S Relativity."

I have always found this an interesting quote - not so much for its instantly accessible message that can be readily appreciated by anyone - but rather for the hidden problem that it raises (which Einstein does not deal with in his work).

Put briefly, this is a statement about Relativity - indeed about Special Relativity - which relates specifically however to its (qualitative) psychological rather than its (quantitative) physical meaning.

And as Einstein's Theory solely relates to the physical meaning, his clever quickfire illustration here in fact relates to a much deeper issue (which he does not address).

In other words Relativity - in this context Special Relativity - can be given both a (quantitative) physical and (qualitative) psychological interpretation.

However, crucially, whereas the former can be seemingly be explained through Conventional Science, the latter requires a quite distinct holistic (integral) appreciation.

As we have seen the basis of Integral Science is that it incorporates both linear and circular notions (corresponding to partial and true holistic meaning respectively). The fundamental limitation with Conventional Science is - because it is based on purely linear use of logic - that it necessarily reduces in any context true holistic to a reduced partial understanding.

Einstein's illustration can in fact be used to highlight the very limitations of the scientific approach that he pursued so resolutely.

Meaning in a psychological context largely entails the relationship of specific phenomenal events to an overall holistic perspective.

In this context we will explain briefly why in fact time passes so quickly in a psychological context when - as Einstein implies - a man sits with a pretty girl.

What is to the fore here is the holistic (archetypal) aspect of meaning that corresponds directly with the nature of spiritual light. In other words in such an encounter a man however briefly may feel in some measure that his holistic desire for fulfilment is being realised. Indeed one might truthfully say as a consequence that he - literally - will light up inside.

And just as time does not pass for spiritual light (which exists in the continual present moment) likewise with such an encounter it will approximate to a continual present moment (where time does not seem to pass). In the other case, where one places one's hand on a hot stove it is quite the opposite. Here the actual phenomenal event - far from mediating the holistic light of meaning - comes sharply into conflict with it. So the focus of attention switches dramatically from holistic appreciation to the narrowly restricted attention of the immediate phenomenal event. Now with so little light in evidence, experience of time will slow down considerably. Thus in the extreme (of excruciating pain) a single moment will feel like an eternity.

So actual psychological experience of time is based on the relationship of specific events (linear) to an overall (circular) holistic notion of meaning.

Thus we cannot properly interpret this psychological notion of relativity without incorporating both linear (analytic) and circular (holistic) aspects.

What Einstein failed to realise is that - strictly speaking - we cannot likewise properly interpret physical relativity without again incorporating both linear and circular notions.

Once again the explanation that Einstein provides of Special Relativity is but the default linear (1-dimensional) interpretation (where holistic notions are inevitably reduced). Thus Einstein never provides a true holistic explanation of light (the nature of which is utterly mysterious). As we have seen without such an explanation (which ultimately requires an 8-dimensional approach), understanding of fundamental issues such as the origin of the Universe and the unification of the four forces remains very limited.

Generally speaking when one is en-joy-ing an event time will tend to pass quickly. However such an experience may be be very superficial and short-lived. True (and lasting) joy is associated directly with a more permanent grounding in the pure light of Spirit which depends less and less on specific phenomenal events (to act as a catalyst) as it deepens.

My interest in Relativity initially arose out of a desire to understand how the stages of contemplative development alter one's psychological experience of space and time.

And because physical and psychological understanding are in dynamic terms complementary, this led me in turn to a deep interest in the nature of physical relativity.

Ultimately a comprehensive scientific interpretation of Relativity (and indeed any phenomenal behaviour) must be radial (incorporating both quantitative and qualitative aspects of understanding).

However because the qualitative (i.e. integral) aspect is at present almost entirely missing from present scientific understanding, I am especially concentrating on this issue in my contributions.

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