Trying to Make Sense out of Space-Time in the Here and Now

Sunset as She Goes Away

Increase your speed away from here,
Your time to me would disappear.
Your beauty stays a mystery
While I grow old so rapidly.
Although you’ve left me we still find
Our memories do not unwind.
Eventually it seems we die.
We won’t need space or time to fly.
Mass unwound takes us back there
Where love moves here and everywhere.


Linked to dVerse Open Link Night hosted by
Linked to imaginary garden with real toads hosted by Björn Rudberg with the theme of space-time.
Linked to NatPoWriMo2017 Day Six.
Photo by the author.

Author: frankhubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

64 thoughts on “Trying to Make Sense out of Space-Time in the Here and Now”

    1. As I understand it the photon goes at the speed of light because it is without mass. From its perspective it is not moving and so I interpret that as being outside space-time. Our minds and memories would be without mass as well but we manifest as bodies inside space-time. Death would take us out again and our perspective on reality would change. However, I’m no physicist, but that is sort of how I see it at the moment.

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    1. In a Euclidean universe without a maximum speed, I don’t know of any way out of the universe. With relativity, light (or what is without mass) could be coming from a perspective that is outside space-time. These are just speculations, obviously. Thanks!

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    1. I wish I knew more about the physics, but I think relativity pushes science closer to a humanistic experience of space and time which we measure by our personal experience differently from clocks and rulers. The clocks and rules aren’t absolute measuring devices and neither are our experiences. It was a small, but suggestive shift in perspective on clocks and rulers.

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      1. Oh, indeed it does, Frank! I think that’s a large part of what makes those words so meaningful to me. That, and the fact that by using the imagery of relativity, you made the whole “someone leaving us” fresh and new.

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  1. When I was very young, sometimes I could feel the me I knew hanging onto a body by a thin line–even back then I understood something about the reality we see vs the reality we don’t and how we re different in each–your poem made me remember–hope this makes sense to you

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    1. Yes, it makes sense. What we experience is a perspective and at the moment it is strongly filtered through our bodies. As that changes we experience reality differently as you mentioned. Relativity wants to find some measurements that it can count on to stay the same that do not depend on our specific perspectives or experiences. I like the fact that it cannot depend on clocks and rulers by themselves to get these objective measurements. It makes me wonder what actually is objective in the universe that doesn’t depend on our conscious perspectives. Thank you!

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  2. What a heartfelt poem about love and space, Frank. I especially like the movement of time and space in the lines:
    ‘Although you’ve left me we still find
    Our memories do not unwind

    Mass unwound takes us back there
    Where love moves here and everywhere’.

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    1. I have been wondering about memory. Although our bodies become faulty and we forget things I wonder where are those things we forget. Are they still out there should we remember them again? I don’t think they are in our brains or when we forget them we couldn’t remember again later. Our brains just give us access to them and they would not have “mass” as such and so not be subject to relativity. But I don’t know. Just trying to think my way through the prompt. Thanks, Kim!

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    1. Thanks for the link. I started reading it and I agree with what she has to say. She also says it well. In the first page she mentioned the difficulty of putting experiences into words. This is probably as it should be. There shouldn’t be any way to download our subjectivity into something like words or a computer that is without subjectivity. Words don’t contain any subjectivity until they are read again by a person with subjectivity. However, words can map or model some of the terrain to guide the rest of us.

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  3. Hey Frank,

    I imagine a high speed space traveler, who ages little but returns to a world where all loved ones died. While alive, those loved ones remembers the traveler and he them — love binds them in a way, even those memories are inaccurate, though comforting and they too will fade, as do all things.

    But love is what binds over time, for sure! A wonderful thing.

    BTW, it is controversial if a photon has mass, but it does have momentum which is odd when you consider momentum(m) = mass(v) * velocity(n). But that is all Newtonian stuff. Relativity is exactly what causes trouble because mass is relative, and since we can’t measure photons at rest, we suppose their resting mass to be zero, or so damn close that it doesn’t matter. Still something open to discovery, I think.

    But either way, none of this put a photon outside of space-time (this Universes physical limits) per se. As for the metaphysical speculations, well, most such speculators reach for physics to support them.

    here is a bit on Quantum Jesus I did, and Using Science to Market Buddhism. It is bad enough that we are all desperate for meaning, yet alone so desperate for rationalizations, no?

    As for where memories and such live, they are a phenomena like others, transient or temporarily stored. We are desperate for these too, yet we fool ourselves. Memory is a tool, not a thing. Yet we all fear the self disappearing, and we all associate self with memory. If you understand the unsubstantial nature of self, then you loose those fear but then perhaps gain existential angst in exchange. 🙂

    [hope you don’t mind substantial comments]

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    1. I am not a physicist, but I agree that the photon has something called “relativistic mass”. Since it is energy and there is a formula connecting energy and mass, the energy in the photon can be measured in terms of mass.

      I also agree with you that religious or spiritual groups try to use scientific results to justify beliefs. Many times they get this wrong and they need to be criticized when they do. Materialists (or “physicalists”) do this as well. They also get things wrong and they need to be approached with comparable skepticism. By the way, it is all rationalization, desperate or not, even when skeptics do it. However, we are alive now and we have to make sense out of it. There is no reason not to use science to help.

      My own religious/spiritual position could be described as “generic panentheism”. I am sympathetic to most of the theistic religions without being exclusive to just one. I am a philosophical “idealist”, that is, I maintain that mind is all there is. Matter is an epiphenomenon of mind. For example, I agree with you that the self is “unsubstantial” because there exists no unconscious substance out of which one could create the self.

      Recently, I read a book by Deepak Chopra and Menos Kafatos, “You are the universe”. There are parts of this book that I don’t agree with, specifically, their comments on the anthropic principle and Einstein’s theory of gravity. I don’t think it makes sense to pursue the randomness associated with the anthropic principle and given the fact that researchers cannot find dark matter or dark energy and can’t validate the existence of black holes another relativistic theory of gravity, perhaps John Moffat’s nonsymmetric gravitational theory (see “Reinventing Gravity”), should replace it. Otherwise, this book seems like a good presentation of my own views of reality.

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      1. “However, we are alive now and we have to make sense of it.”

        Sorry, sense of what?
        Thanx for declaring your philosophical position.
        I am sympathetic to many non-theistic religions, in that I can’t imagine a superpower who gives a shit about humans any more than any other animal or plant — and if there were such a thing, it is then definitively evil. IMHO.

        Well, unless somehow we get evidence clearly the other way, but for now, the evidence points to that.

        The Idealism you speak of seems to make a god out of the human trait of “consciousness” or classification of such. I’m more of a Pragmatist but the whole taxonomy basis seems mistaken at root for me. And I am blatantly allergic to the likes of Chopra.

        But my guess, we far more agree than disagree — intellectually. And emotionally and in terms of weight on these things , we are probably pretty close.

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      2. Let’s not kid each other. We don’t agree, but it doesn’t matter. I am only trying to understand the reality we live in. I have no position for you to accept or not accept. You may do as you please.

        For myself, since I also may do as I please, I am not sympathetic to non-theistic positions. They appear to me to be dehumanistic. In denying Mind they deny the human mind. They attempt to reduce it to unconscious matter. When I see that coming as a consequence of some belief system I reject that belief system whether it is some new age spirituality or some old age physicalist delusion.

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      3. Of all the theisms, pantheism and panentheism make the most sense to me, especially panentheism. I’m not a theist — at least not yet — but if I were going to be one, I’m sure I’d be a panentheist.

        Most days of the week, I’m an agnostic atheist mystic. Agnostic in knowledge, atheist in belief, and mystic in experiences. But that’s just most days. I hold those positions only tentatively. As the Japanese monk Kenko once wrote, “The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty”.

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      4. Thanks for commenting, Paul. I am grateful for your reference to Mercier and Sperber’s “argumentative theory” and it still keeps coming to mind: https://cafephilos.blog/2017/04/02/my-high-school-math-teacher-was-a-space-alien/

        Panentheism seems to me to be as inclusive a term as I could find that asserts the reality of Mind or Cosmic Consciousness or God or whatever, but does not reject anyone else’s spiritual practice just because I don’t practice it. There are many ways to approach the same reality. We can’t follow all of them.

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      5. @ Paul,
        Hey dude, funny seeing you here. Long time now type.

        @ Frank,
        Beliefs are funny things — just because we have a word for them, doesn’t make them any more real than self. I’ve written a lot about the word, but I am a novice. Beliefs are fuzzy and contrary tools in our head, so our overlap of these clouds and the ways we apply them may be more similar than you imagine — my meaning on that.
        Meanwhile, I am surprised that you find Buddhism, Daoism, Jainism and some forms of Liberal Christianity as “dehumanistic” just because they are nontheistic. Actually, I am pretty sure you don’t believe that. You see, there may be a terms issue and buttons being pushed.
        See these wiki articles for more (though I wager you know all this): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontheism
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontheistic_religion

        And, believe it or not, I am like Paul when he said, “Most days of the week, I’m an agnostic atheist mystic. Agnostic in knowledge, atheist in belief, and mystic in experiences. But that’s just most days. I hold those positions only tentatively.”

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      6. @Frank, thanks for linking to my post! Mercier’s and Sperber’s theory fascinates me too!

        I agree with there being many different approaches to the same reality. Lots of ways to draw a map of the same terrain.

        @Sabio, good to see you. Yeah, it’s been a long time. I put the blog in hiatus for six years while I mulled things over. I’m a slow thinker.

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      7. I find it difficult to say whether a position is theistic or non-theistic until I meet someone with that position and see where that position leads. I can’t even trust what they label themselves. We are unaware of many of our own beliefs. We all accept to some degree our various culture’s common sense and follow social mood. So, I am not going to place a label on large groups of people one way or the other nor do I trust other people’s labels of them.

        The problem is to avoid dehumanization. When I hear non-theistic positions being stated, I prepare for dehumanistic positions to follow. Here are some examples of dehumanistic positions: (1) The belief that we do not have any free will whatsoever. (2) The belief that our minds are epiphenomena of our brains. (3) The belief that our subjectivity can be so objectified that it could be downloaded into a computer. If someone promotes positions like these, I would label them a “non-theist” no matter what they might label themselves.

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  4. Reading your poem, my mind was flying beyond space and time, and – I don’t know surely why – brought to me this thought (from Thornton Wilder’s novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey): “Even memory is not necessary for love.” 🙂

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    1. I remember Wilder’s novel although I read it long ago. I don’t think memory is necessary for love either. Sometimes we forget details even a lot of details, but we can still love the person. Probably nothing is necessary for love. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Kim! Originally I wasn’t planning on rhyming this, but making a prose poem out of the prompt. I struggle with rhyme (and meter) also. Although I can easily write rhyming jingles that is not what readers (or I as a reader later on) want to hear. I am glad you liked it.

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    1. The photo was taken on one of our vacations on the eastern shore of Green Bay going up toward Door County, Wisconsin. This is an old picture. We often went to Door County in the past. I have a lot of photos of the Niagara Escarpment from that area. Thanks, Bekkie!

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      1. Wow! I have relatives in Shawano, WI and was there last Sept. for a wedding. I love that state and used to live in Madison which I love! Door County is beautiful! I’m originally from Michigan City, IN and we used to drive to see my relatives in WI every summer where I got to grow up on their farms. I miss them!

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      2. I checked map. I was never as far north and west in Wisconsin as Shawano. We have been to Madison a few times and then there is House on the Rock, which the children didn’t like, but they did like Wisconsin Dells.

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    1. Thanks, Sean! The anguish of someone leaving is only compounded by those stories of relativity where the loved one can leave in time as well as space if one of them accelerates enough.

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