On the border of space-time.
The quantum mechanics theory is setting a nothing-everything vacuum at the beginning of what we know today as life on Earth. A vacuum, possibly everything, yet nothing explicitly, rests in total harmony absent of concepts of space and time. A sudden vacuum fluctuation causes the first symmetry break and the rest is history.
Such a border is obviously not space- nor time-dependent and can, therefore, not be put in a relationship with nouns such as above/below and before/after. We rather use these terms to denote the hierarchy of the discussed concepts.
A vacuum is a space devoid of any matter. Yet it should rightfully be expected to be just as intriguing subject of research as the material part of our universe.
Let us first move slightly beneath the vacuum - into space-time - to distinguish other matter-free concepts from the vacuum.
In space-time, we can see our universe consisting of two, not entirely separable parts: Material and virtual*. The material part further consists of matter and antimatter. Each particle has its pair - antiparticle. Antimatter is a matter which consists of antiparticles and therefore possesses a particle-like structure. As such, it frames the material part of the universe. Virtual on the other hand, surpasses any type of a particle-structured world composed of either particles or anti-particles and is hence not physically existent, yet it requires the particle-like structure for its existence. It is a higher organizational form arising from material components (particles). One example of such could be a state, a virtual structure arising from its inhabitants. Although the virtual form is hierarchically higher, meaning that it surpasses the particles and is free of any form of matter, a particle world is a pre-requirement for a virtual one.
As we can see, antimatter and virtual structures are both devoid of any ordinary matter, yet both require particles for their manifestation. Vacuum is in contrast not only devoid of any matter but devoid of any particle-like structure and consequently absent of any virtual structure, one can even say absent of any structure there is, so it appears empty to any direct observation and cognition. As such, instead of dealing with the vacuum per se, let us focus on its role as a border.
*Virtual part is in this context not to be misunderstood for virtual particles. Virtual particles in physics are a transient phenomenon possessing some characteristics of an ordinary particle (hence in our context virtual particles represent a material part of the universe). Virtual particles are not visible to the outside and have their existence limited by the uncertainty principle.
VACUUM AS A BORDER
1. IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT
2. UNITY AND PARTICLES
3. ONTOLOGICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL
1. IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT
Vacuum as the space-time border is often referred to as a nothing-everything vacuum. The word nothing connotes no explicit presence and the word everything implies that everything is possible to come into explicit existence. Vacuum is a space, where everything is implicitly present everywhere, but nothing nowhere explicitly. The particles are in the state of potentially occupying any state. To be even more precise, on a subquantum level, there are not even any particles. It is to be seen as completely holistic. On the implicit level, there is absolutely no room for any reductionistic thoughts or explanations.
It is the explicit presence that requires a certain sequence. That sequence is then manifested through particles. Like the numbers at lotto before one is chosen to occupy a curtain place in the final number. I visualise each space-time sequence as a vertical outgrowth of a plane where all possible sequences have a certain probability to develop. Each sequence, t.i. each parallel outgrowth, therefore, represents one space-time sequence and therewith another explicit universe. All explicit universes have the same one implicit plane - vacuum.
2. SYSTEM UNITY AND PARTICLE-LIKE STRUCTURE OF THE SYSTEM
Let us now observe the vacuum with the best known magnifying glass there is; concepts in physics and quantum mechanics. They help us come as close as possible to the background of a system process (behaviour) of a vacuum. Vacuum is to be observed on a subquantum level, where the upper discussed principle all-one is to be taken literally.
Again, the vacuum is an irreducible subquantum whole beyond space-time. It cannot be reduced to particles, since it has no particle-like structure! The system as a whole is a carrier of information and in that way, the particle cannot be localized (Bohm).
Even though a vacuum is the simplest of materials, there is no reason to believe its structure to be uniform. Vacuum`s decay is one of the biggest questions in contemporary sciences and the answer is probably hidden in their interdisciplinarity. What we know is that the vacuum decays from the subquantum whole to the quantum field, where our cognition begins. From the holistic whole to the pre-particle structure. Our perception takes place on many levels and continues from the quantum level to the level of classical physics.
Quantum field is a (pre-)matter state. A special type of matter, where particles are treated differently to those seen in classical physics, but on the quantum level we rather treat them as excited states (quanta) of their underlying fields, which are more fundamental than the particles. There are no particles in physics that are absolutely basic. The theories of Bohm, Hiley, and Bella offer a systemic solution to the problem; the particles are densely interconnected in networks of interactions. In quantum field theory, what we perceive as particles are excitations of the quantum field itself. With the term field a mathematical description of a force or interaction between the particles is meant. In different contexts, naming field, force and interaction between the particles are used to denote the same concept.
The only truly irreducible field is a subquantum field vacuum. Therefore, in the context of the quantum fields, I prefer to use naming interactions between the particles instead of fields, to stress the potential rising of a particle from such quantum fields. The rising of a particle is in quantum mechanics known as a vacuum fluctuation; when the superposition of eigenfunctions breaks into one eigenfunction (vector) of a quantum field (to which our measurement also contributes). Once the symmetry with the vacuum fluctuation is broken, the chain-like fluctuations follow.
There are four fundamental interactions between the particles:
● Electromagnetic (mediator/carrier particle: photon)
● Weak (mediator/carrier particle: three weak bosons)
● Strong (mediator/carrier particle: gluon)
● Gravitational (mediator/carrier particle: graviton)
In Einstein's general theory of relativity, the gravitational field is attributed to the curvature of spacetime with mediators being gravitons. The other three are discrete quantum fields.
Each of the particles has its antiparticle. At extremely high energies, instead of four, there is supposed to be only one type of a particle (quark) and one type of interaction between them (only one quantum field). At this most uniform stage, which is called Supersymmetry, the particles are unified in one elementary particle, meaning they are able to pass from one to another. In CERN, scientists are trying to build an experiment finding this one particle, that would fill the gap in the Standard model and explain yet unanswered questions underlying the currently accepted theory. As of today, it has not been found yet.
Vacuum state is considered the quantum state with the lowest energy a quantum system can have, t.i. special case of zero-point energy. It is the ground state of the field. The underlying background of all the four aforementioned fields.
Quantum mechanics is a non-deterministic theory and does not predict the outcome of any measurement with certainty. It does not determine the outcome before the measurement happens. Instead, it indicates what the probabilities of the outcomes are.
Physics plays around with particle-like structures. Quantitative observations of a vacuum with tools of physics allow us to refine our conceptual understanding of its behaviour, however, it does not offer an explanation of the qualitative essence of the happening, for which the system unity beyond the particles is crucial.
3. ONTOLOGICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL
There is no known method to consciously enter the world beyond particles. The reductionistic approach starting with particles is an incomplete description of reality (also argued by Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen). Although concepts in quantum physics have offered us a whole new possibilities and deeper concepts compared to classical physics, trying to explain life with pure quantum mechanics still lacks the relationship between mind and matter.
It is still unknown how the information is transferred from the vacuum to the quantum level. New research and contemporary scientists increasingly suggest that the process is tightly bound with cognition and self-consciousness (Bewusst). Therefore, they propose to combine quantum mechanics and neurosciences into a new contemporary science, researching the interaction between mind and matter.
Vacuum appears to act as a border between the world from which we discover and the world which we invent, which we co-create. The border between the ontological and epistemological world. The second seems to be rather subjective to the whole human race.
If science analysing the epistemological world takes us to the border itself, can the senses with intuition take us beyond, to the complete emergence embracing our entangled milieux?
Vacuum is such a simple undercompensating word for the complexity it describes and to say what is on the border of a space-time is merely a six-letter word is nothing more than a disservice to what vacuum really is. There is no above.
Writing: Ana Skerjanc