A Journal for Western Man
Note: This is the seventh article in Mr. Stolyarov’s “Errors of Post-Classical Fysics” series. The prior articles are
3. “Light is not a Wave”
Here, I shall expand on my view of how light is transferred between its source and its target. Conceiving of light as a direct relationship at a distance between source and target, I claim that light does not “travel” between the two, as a particle might. Rather, light appears on the target directly from the source, without ever being present in any intermediate locations where no other entity exists. I explain this in A Rational Cosmology, Chapter VII:
Since light is not a particle, it cannot simply be sent from one entity to another and then affect the target entity. There is no "sending" of light, but rather the relationship is directly between the source entity and target entity, without any entities that must necessarily be intermittent for the relationship to occur. Light is the name for the interaction at a distance which the source and target entities undergo. In that sense, there is quite a contrast between a wave relationship, such as sound, which requires the presence of billions of periodically vibrating molecules between the source and the perceiver, and light, which requires only the source and target entities. Though, like a wave, light is a relationship, in certain critical fundamental aspects it is as far removed from waves as relationships can get.
This view is grounded in ubiquitous observation—which has never encountered light except as manifested by some source or target entity. It is not a widely accepted view, however. What prevents its understanding by scientists and the public at large is a commonplace fallacy: the idea that all relationships of process must involve some transfer of matter from one entity to another. A corollary to this fallacy is that all relationships of process are also relationships of contact, that no two entities can have a relationship of any sort unless some third material entity is transferred between them by moving spatially from the entity that originates it to the entity that receives it.
Falling prey to this fallacy, many modern scientists think that light can only be manifested if some particle or entity is transferred through space between the source and the target. I shall shatter this misconception here and show that it is quite conceivable for light to occur without any transfer of matter. Furthermore, the direct transfer of light without any contact between source and target—and without any intermediate “light carriers”—is the only view of light consistent with logic and ubiquitous observation.
The Universality of Matter Transfer Fallacy
Modern fysicists often commit a fallacy which results in their invocation of a myriad of fictitious particles, including the “foton” particle of light. This fallacy is the result of an attempt to explain all existent processes by means of a single quality: matter. Under this view, no process can occur except by the transfer of matter from one entity to another; every process requires that the fundamental “stuff” of an entity be altered in some manner. Since matter cannot exist except as possessed by entities—a view that most people grasp implicitly if not explicitly—advocates of the fallacy claim that no relationship can occur without the originating entity either directly touching the entity it affects or sending some intermediate entity to it. The idea of the universality of matter transfer leads to the presumption that all relationships are ultimately relationships of contact.
This idea is false, and ubiquitous observation can demonstrate its falsehood. One can observe relationships of force, such as gravitation and magnetism, which do not require the continuity of two entities’ boundaries, or the transfer of some intermediate material entity between them. The relationships occur directly and at a distance, without at all altering the intermediate space between the two participant objects. We are all constantly affected by the Sun’s gravitation, for example, but this does not mean that the Sun transfers any of its mass to us—or that we, who also exert a gravitational force on the Sun, transfer any of our mass to it. If such a case were true, we would be quite rapidly wasted away into nothing by the mere fact of our presence in the Solar System!
What do distance forces between two entities do? They accelerate both entities, altering their velocities. The entities’ amounts of the quality, matter, remain the same as they were before the interaction. Acceleration is the change in velocity with respect to time—or, in terms of the fundamental qualities of entities, the change of “the change of distance with respect to time” with respect to time. Acceleration alone nowhere concerns the change in an entity’s amount of matter. The magnitude of an entity’s acceleration due to a force is dependent on the amount of matter an entity has (the more material it is, the less it will accelerate), but no entity in the force interaction gains or loses matter to the other entity. An entity’s acceleration might depend on an entity’s mass, but this is a one-way dependency. An entity’s mass does not depend on its acceleration.
Force is a relationship that affects entities’ acceleration alone—which means it affects qualities other than their matter, which means that the relationship of force does not require an alteration in an entity’s material qualities. Of course, contact forces do exist, but these forces also do not transfer matter to the entities they affect. They only “push” or “pull” those entities, altering their velocities but nothing else. (Inelastic collisions, which do involve matter transfer, are a different subject entirely. Forces are involved in those collisions, but the transfer of matter only accompanies the forces. It is not in itself a part of the forces.) However, forces are not required to be contact forces, since they are not a transfer of the quality, matter.
In the face of contrary evidence, dogged adherents to the universality of matter transfer fallacy still maintain that all interactions are ultimately contact-based. When confronted with gravitation or magnetism, they invent fictitious particles, such as “gravitrons,” which they claim “convey” forces to their target entities. I thoroughly demonstrated the logical impossibility of this scenario in A Rational Cosmology, Chapter VIII:
Apparently, some fysicists have rejected the very possibility of non-contact forces and have instead tried to explain this fenomenon by inventing entities, such as "gravitrons," that make direct contact with the entities they are supposed to exert forces on, and thereby result in acceleration. Cosmologically, this cannot be, as such entities would need to be massless (especially in the case of "gravitrons," which would otherwise themselves be quite significantly affected by the force of gravity), and mass is a ubiquitous quality of entities. Additionally, an entity without mass cannot exert a force, since by Newton's Second Law, a force can only exist where both a mass and an acceleration exist. Furthermore, this notion ignores the far better verified Classical idea of action-reaction pairs. If the Earth "sends" gravitrons toward an approaching spaceship, the gravitrons´ pull on the spaceship might explain the force the Earth exerts on it; it would not explain the force the spaceship exerts on the Earth. (Unless the spaceship were to send out an equal and opposite stream of gravitrons at the same time as the Earth, wherein the question would arise as to how these two entities were able to coordinate this exchange with such tremendous precision, how their gravitrons are made possible in the first place, and whether each entity has an inexhaustible amount of gravitrons, or whether it spontaneously stops exerting or experiencing gravity once it runs out.) Far more fundamental notions, belonging both to cosmology and Classical fysics, refute the idea of massless "particles" causing non-contact forces, thus rendering the idea false. To add to this, the idea might be declared moot by Occam's Razor, since, as earlier explained, the two entities involved in the action-reaction pair are quite sufficient to account for how forces originate.
Forces are only possible among entities with mass. Gravitrons, as “immaterial force carriers,” are self-contradictory on many levels, since all entities must be material, and all entities that can exert forces must also be material. Furthermore, the idea of intermediate particles such as “gravitrons” is entirely superfluous for describing a relationship that can be much more simply accounted for by the direct interaction of two entities at a distance.
Transfer of Luminosity is not Transfer of Matter.
Light is not a force—as I had demonstrated in the third article of this series—since all forces cause their targets to accelerate, whereas light qua light does not. However, light, too, is a relationship that does not in itself affect the participant entities’ material qualities. No entity becomes more or less massive just by being illuminated. If the contrary were the case, the Earth would have an enormous coating of mass added onto it from the 4.6 billion years it was continuously illuminated by the Sun. Thus, the relationship of light affects not the participant entities’ matter, but some other of their qualities. This quality can be called luminosity. Since luminosity is not matter, and it can be transferred independently of matter, light does not require the transfer of matter to occur. Thus, light does not require intermediate entities to “carry” it between the source and the target. This means that luminosity can be transferred at a distance, without at all altering the affected entities’ amounts of matter or the arrangement of their constituent particles.
Travel is Only Required for Transfer of Mass.
Light does not travel through space and does not manifest itself in any intermediate region between its source and some target entity (which includes targets other than the intended or anticipated one). Wherever there is an entity sufficiently proximate to the light source and not blocked from it by others, it will be illuminated. Wherever there is no entity, there will be no light. Light is a transfer of luminosity, which is a quality. Qualities are qualities of entities, and no “absence of entities” can ever have qualities. Thus, wherever there are no entities, there is no luminosity and hence no light.
The above implies that light cannot “travel” through space. Only entities can travel, and all entities are material. Any transfer of qualities not including matter cannot have entities involved in it—and thus cannot involve “travel.” It is thus not only possible for light not to involve intermediate entities: it is impossible for light to involve such entities. Only distance relationships where matter is transferred from the source to the target can have intermediate entities traveling between the source and target to transfer this matter. Luminosity alone cannot be transferred by this means.
Transmission without Travel
The knowledge that the relationship of light takes time to initiate often misleads many to believe that, during this time, light must necessarily travel from the source to the target. This is a common non sequitur. On The Autonomist Forum, Reginald Firehammer asked me:
My question is, when a light source (say a laser burst) occurs, there is some time before that light "reaches" its destination. In the time between when light is (transmitted?) and the time when it is (received?) what is going on?
In that time, the source is acting on the target in order to make the relationship of light happen. No action is instantaneous; all action takes time to perform. The source’s action on the target takes time to perform, as well; the farther away the target is, the more time is needed before the consequences of the action manifest themselves. However, this should not be taken to imply that light can at all “travel.” The source acts directly on the target at a distance, and the source directly but gradually alters the target’s quality of luminosity—similar to the way entities constituting a force-pair gradually alter each other’s spatial qualities.
During the time between light’s transmission and reception, the source is acting on the target in that way, which is necessary for the target to be illuminated thereafter. While no light appears on the target, the source is preparing to carry out the relationship of illumination. When this preparation stage, needed to carry out the relationship, is over, the relationship manifests itself. There is no “in-between” stage for light—light cannot be found anywhere except the source or the target. I wrote in A Rational Cosmology, Chapter VII:
If there is no entity 1.5*108 meters away from a source, there will be no light there, even if a half-second had passed from the moment of emission of light. As earlier explained, the very occurrence of "beams" of light in particulate media is explained by the effects of the source on the many closely grouped molecules comprising the media.
Even if it is true—as Max Planck suggested—that light is transferred in discrete quantities, it takes time to transfer each such quantity. It might be that this quantity of luminosity transferred is the “threshold” required for the target entity to begin manifesting illumination. Prior to reaching that threshold, the target entity simply does not have enough luminosity to manifest visible signs of light.
A human observer can only see light if he, too, is a direct or indirect target of the relationship. If he sees the light source, he is directly targeted by it. If he sees a target of the relationship, this is because the target has also redirected part of the light to the observer’s eyes.
A common misconception has arisen since at least the time of Einstein, which holds that light must be something other than a relationship solely between source and target, because we can at times see light at its source before we see it at its target—which is taken to imply that light is a “particle” that “travels” to us faster than it “travels” to the more distant target.
This is false view. The only way we would be able to see light from some source before it was manifested on a target far away is if we were targets closer to the source than the original target. If no such targets existed, no light would exist until the source reached the original target. Because we are closer to the source than the original target, it takes less time for the relationship of light to fully manifest itself, since it is more time-consuming for a source to directly act on a farther entity than on a nearer one. Thus, we are illuminated before the farther target and can see the source.
But this does not mean that light exists anywhere but on the source and targets. Human designation does not necessarily equal reality. The fact that we have designated some farther entity a “target” of the relationship of light does not mean that it is the only target. If we do not yet see light manifest on that target, this does not mean that the light can exist independently of a target. It simply exists with respect to some other closer target, which happens to be the observer. Some targets—by virtue of their proximity to the light source—are easier for the source to directly act upon than others.
We Cannot See No Longer Existing Light Sources.
The false view that light can “travel” has led to the fallacy that a source can transmit light and become destroyed—while light still reaches the target. This fallacy is used to invoke the absurd possibility of “seeing” stars far away that have since been destroyed, since it takes multiple millions of years for light from them to be transmitted to the Earth. Thus, advocates of this view claim, the fact that the transmission of light takes time enables us to “look into the past” and see the source as it had been when it began to transmit light—while the source might look entirely different or altogether not exist at the time when we perceive its past state.
Reginald Firehammer presupposed this fallacious view when asking me the following question:
Consider a laser burst of light from the earth to the moon. The laser could transmit the light, and the transmitter destroyed before the light is "seen" on the moon. If the laser transmitter is destroyed before the light reaches the moon, something must be that is the thing the light being seen is the "relationship" to if your theory is correct. You would say the light is the relationship between the transmitter and receiver, but if there is no transmitter....?”
I claim that light cannot ever be “seen” if its source is destroyed before the transfer of luminosity is fully effective. Every action takes time to perform, and illumination is no exception. The light source does not begin to act upon the target only when light “reaches” the target; that would imply the fallacy that light travels. The light source begins acting upon the target immediately upon initiating the transmission of light. Because it takes time for the consequences of every action to manifest themselves, the visible consequences of illumination are not instantaneous. However, continuous direct activity by the light source upon the target is required for illumination to ever occur. If the light source ever ceases to be, it will cease to transfer luminosity to the target, and the target will never exceed the luminosity threshold necessary for it to visibly manifest light.
If there is no light source, it follows that the relationship of light cannot occur. If the source is destroyed, the relationship ceases upon the source’s destruction. The only way that we can observe light is if it emanates from a source that presently exists. Thus, if it takes a second for light to be transmitted from the source to the target, the source must continue to exist after that second elapses, or else the relationship would instantly cease.
If the light is the action of a source on a target, no action can occur when the acting entity no longer exists. While it pleases those who deny the absolutism and uniformity of time to conceive of bizarre possibilities of “looking into the past,” the only entities that can act are those that presently exist. The human senses can also only perceive presently existent entities. If the human senses are fully equipped to know reality, they must be fully equipped to know the reality currently before them, and not some eclectic mix of past and present.
Two Stages of the Relationship of Light
To summarize, rational cosmology requires two stages for the
relationship of light, neither of them involving “travel” or the
transfer of matter:
G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent filosofical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician and composer, contributor to organizations such as Le Quebecois Libre, Enter Stage Right, and The Autonomist. Mr. Stolyarov is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator and a Senior Writer for the Liberal Institute (http://www.liberalinstitute.com). He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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