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Have we observed an absolute void?

 
 
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 07:30 am
To assist in drafting my theory, I've been trying to distinguish between the vacuum of space and an absolute void -- that is, space with a residual energy constant and space lacking any energy whatsoever.

However, as far as I can tell there's been no record of such a void, and so I've been racking my mind over whether its possible or not.

If it isn't, what exists beyond the boundaries of known space?

It's an interesting conundrum, if you ask me. How can the universe, a volumetric phenomenon, exist in an absolute void? By definition, an absolute void does not and cannot have a volume because it does not and cannot have observable qualities, much less a definite shape.

Anyway, back to the point. I have one or two questions for you to answer:
1. Have we ever observed anything like the "absolute void" I described, or have we only ever come within a certain margin of it?
2. What do you think lies beyond the bounds of our universe... if indeed anything exists beyond it at all?

Bonus question: if an absolute void does not exist, would you say our universe is a localized and entirely self-sufficient entity contained within itself? If not, what do you think is... y'know... out there?
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 09:49 am
@lieunacy,
Quote:
1. Have we ever observed anything like the "absolute void" I described, or have we only ever come within a certain margin of it?
2. What do you think lies beyond the bounds of our universe... if indeed anything exists beyond it at all?


It depends on how you define "existence". If, like me, you define it as a relationship between observer and observed (esse est percipe) the question becomes meaningless, similar to "what was there before the big bang ?".In the latter, since "time" originated with the big bang then "before" is rendered meaningless. And in your question, a "void" is by definition "unobservable" hence "non-existent".

A "naive realist" might argue that "existence of a universe" does not depend on observers, but such a person forgets that he IS observing such a universe in his mind's eye.
lieunacy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 10:31 am
@fresco,
Quote:
It depends on how you define "existence". If, like me, you define it as a relationship between observer and observed (esse est percipe) the question becomes meaningless, similar to "what was there before the big bang ?"


I agree that existence is defined by a relationship, though I disagree that this relationship is limited to that of an observer and the thing observed. I would further specify that relationship as "reality," which is one's perception of all that he or she can see to exist; more generally, existence then could be simplified as the relationship between light and dark. So long as one exists, so too must the other; whether they are observed or not is of no matter to them.

Quote:
In the latter, since "time" originated with the big bang then "before" is rendered meaningless. And in your question, a "void" is by definition "unobservable" hence "non-existent".


Once again, I must disagree: I don't believe anything before the Big Bang is meaningless; quite contrarily, I believe that the potential events before the Big Bang are essential to our greater understanding of existence. Why? Most simply stated... what caused it? Knowing what existed before, if anything at all, would be crucial.

Quote:
A "naive realist" might argue that "existence of a universe" does not depend on observers, but such a person forgets that he IS observing such a universe in his mind's eye.


A wise realist would without refute argue that existence of a universe does not depend on observers.

If it did, how do we currently exist? The universe could not have come to be -- it must have existed before we could observe it.

In other words, the universe predates the concept of an observer, and therefore existence predates the concept (and existence) of an observer.

Of course, perhaps I simply misunderstand your definition of existence.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 10:39 am
@lieunacy,
Quote:

If it isn't, what exists beyond the boundaries of known space?


It's unknown!

My best guess would be that there is a wave-front of energy/pattern/creation which propagates itself through the 'void' at the speed our universe is expanding. We know that what we consider to be 'reality' is mostly an illusion and that there are about 50 things going on every picosecond that we can't even measure, that are only theorized. At the edges of reality it's entirely possible that the normal rules just don't apply.

Cycloptichorn
lieunacy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 10:47 am
@fresco,
I'm about to leave so I'm going to make this quick, but I'll define existence as I see it for you:

To exist is to have an energy constant. This does not necessarily mean 'mass', only that measurable energy of some type is contained with a region or body.

To be real is to realize existence. This is a philosophical definition in that reality always exists, but existence is not always real -- for example, in the case of "virtual" particles, or particles that exist for a fraction of a second. We are able to observe them (they exist), but rarely are they "real" (do we actually observe them).

Summarily: existence is observer-independent, while reality is observer-dependent.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 10:56 am
@lieunacy,
Quote:
Of course, perhaps I simply misunderstand your definition of existence.


Correct ! You have !

But forget about my idiosyncracies. If you can't see that your "before the Big Bang" argument is vacuous, you are going nowhere ! Causality is to physics as the number ladder is to mathematics.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 11:21 am
@lieunacy,
lieunacy wrote:
To assist in drafting my theory, I've been trying to distinguish between the vacuum of space and an absolute void

The definition of a physical "void" is only meaningful in relation to the Universe we exist it. You can not ask how our Universe can exist within another "void" when the thing you are asking about is outside of our Universe (terms become undefined).

lieunacy wrote:

Anyway, back to the point. I have one or two questions for you to answer:
1. Have we ever observed anything like the "absolute void" I described, or have we only ever come within a certain margin of it?

There probably can't be an "absolute" void in our Universe because at any given moment a photon may be passing through the area, and there is always some curvature even if it is minute.
lieunacy wrote:
2. What do you think lies beyond the bounds of our universe... if indeed anything exists beyond it at all?

I have no idea. Nor does anyone else, despite claims to the contrary.
lieunacy wrote:
Bonus question: if an absolute void does not exist, would you say our universe is a localized and entirely self-sufficient entity contained within itself?

It is localized and entirely self-sufficient, but is not contained within itself.
lieunacy wrote:
If not, what do you think is... y'know... out there?

There is no "out there". The very idea is simply a consequence of our brains trying to apply localized perceptions and dimensionality to a system it is not equipped to deal with.

djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 11:25 am
Have we observed an absolute void?

well, there was the Ford presidency
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 12:03 pm
Quote:
... what exists beyond the boundaries of known space?


Does known space have boundaries?
0 Replies
 
lieunacy
 
  0  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 01:48 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
The definition of a physical "void" is only meaningful in relation to the Universe we exist it. You can not ask how our Universe can exist within another "void" when the thing you are asking about is outside of our Universe (terms become undefined).


Well, first let me make one distinction: you most certainly can ask. You can always ask. Wink In any case, that's precisely why I was asking. I wanted to clarify and make sure there were no prevailing theories about what might exist beyond our universe. I'm not implying that anything does; in fact, I'm personally inclined to believe the opposite. As you said, terms become undefined.

Quote:
There probably can't be an "absolute" void in our Universe because at any given moment a photon may be passing through the area, and there is always some curvature even if it is minute.


Good news for my hypotheses. Very Happy

Quote:
I have no idea. Nor does anyone else, despite claims to the contrary.


I was only looking for ideas, I'm not disappointed to hear that it's currently unknown.

Quote:
It is localized and entirely self-sufficient, but is not contained within itself.


When I say contained within itself, I mean to say that all of its mass and energy have been conserved since "time" began, and that its influence is contained within the local space it created.

If that's not the case, then I'm curious to hear what is.

Quote:
There is no "out there". The very idea is simply a consequence of our brains trying to apply localized perceptions and dimensionality to a system it is not equipped to deal with.


Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I agree with you.

And I'm hesitant to say this, but my current understanding of "out there" is somewhat like a video game engine. With additive geometry, you add something to a negative space. To function properly, it generally must be a closed system (or anomalies occur). Bringing this concept into a real-life context, I view the universe as a relative "positive" volume in "negative" space with the distinction that the "negative" space isn't actually there.

When the "positive" volume (the universe) was "added" into the negative space, it created its own field of influence and essentially defined its own boundaries, beyond which lie only a curvature the wraps around itself. The "negative" space is as you succinctly stated, a consequence of localized concepts of dimentionality.

And honestly... to take it a step further, my hypotheses include the premise that the universe is "contained" within an electromagnetic field -- the aforementioned curvature. This field was created at the beginning of "time" at the "origin", when high-energy photon interaction produced a surplus of quark-antiquark and lepton-antilepton pairs. These pairs, all massive, are the constituents of matter and were created from light (the photon) itself as the universe expanded in all directions at -- you guessed it -- its own speed.

This means that all matter and energy are "contained" -- beyond the point which photon waves permeate, "negative" space begins. To survive, the universe will have had to produce an electromagnetic field to a) provide a "barrier" from "negative" space, and b) act as an oscillating field for charged particles to maneuver in or, I imagine, it would have "died" -- collapsed or simply "fizzle" out.

With the presence of photons (and gluons) and massive particles clocking in at less than one trillionth of a second after the "Big Bang", the conditions for this field to exist are mostly satisfied.
0 Replies
 
lieunacy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 01:54 pm
@fresco,
Hehe... "vacuous"... yay puns.
0 Replies
 
tiry6
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2011 09:29 am
@Cycloptichorn,
if we can refer to it as an absolute void surely we are refering to something and by definition that void can not be void.in other words one can not point at something and say that thing isn't there. matter by nature pre dates us god knows how many times the matter in the universe has evolved how can we wind back through such complex evolution what we see as observable universe may be is limited only by our understanding.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 10:19 am
@lieunacy,
They took the Hubble, pointed it at the emptiest part of the sky they could find, and found that that "empty" part of the sky is full of galaxies.

Hubble Deep Field
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Oct, 2011 11:20 am
A very interesting discussion. But my answer to most (nay all) questions regarding absolutes has to be silence because they are no more than constructions.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2011 04:59 pm
@JLNobody,
I wonder in my naivete: Is the notion of a "void" (in the physicist's not the zen buddhist's sense) contradicted by/non-commensurate with such notions as "anti-matter" or "dark matter"?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 08:34 am
@Cycloptichorn,
What exists beyond the boundaries of KNOWN space is more space--the only difference is that it is presently UNKNOWN (or unexplored) space. Can't one say the same about the OBSERVED and UNOBSERSVED universe?
And what about the "boundaries" of the universe? Can there be such a thing?
I like to remind myself that such adjectives are functions of the way human minds work more than of the limits of physical reality.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 09:06 am
@JLNobody,
I meant to say two posts above "dark ENERGY" rather than "dark matter." Sorry.
0 Replies
 
francaigh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 May, 2017 05:55 am
@fresco,
Existence isn't defined by perception, just noted by perception. A thing can exist if you don't see it. The issue here is nothingness; can it exist? It cannot. Nothing does not exist. So, the void, if defined as totally nothing at all, doesn't exist. Now my question is simple. Inasmuch as the cosmos cannot contain nothing, and therefore there is something at every existent point, how can anything move? Being cannot exist in a kind of gel of nothing in which it has the possibility of moving into empty space because 1) no space is empty and 2) saying space when we mean nothingness just begs the question, what is space outside of the being it contains? I want nothing glib, but a real answer. I keep getting sneers, but nobody has explained this to me.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 May, 2017 06:38 am
@lieunacy,

Quote:
If it isn't, what exists beyond the boundaries of known space?


I believe in the block Universe theory which interprets the future or the past as already existent, but its mechanism creates this illusion of flow such that say, like when you change the frequency of a radio station you stop seeing the past or cannot yet perceive the future. In this non-temporal sense, there is no expansion through the void which in turn explains away the odd Metaphysics of attributting properties to a pure void like it would be the case for the property of allowing motion through a pure void which by definition cannot have any properties. And then again, this is the case where I invoke the importance of Parmenides as much more fundamental to Western Philosophy than it has yet been given credit for.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 May, 2017 08:47 am
@francaigh,
Quote:
Existence isn't defined by perception, just noted by perception.


Smile Try telling that to a frog starving to death surrounded by what WE see as 'dead insects' !
Tuned perceptual systems (which in the case of humans can be assisted by dedicated transducers) define the bounds of what we call 'existence'.
We are little more than clever frogs.

Your focus on the word 'nothing' is vacuous because 'thinghood' is defined by the species specific observer. Thus the thing we call 'space' is contextually defined by those humans who have a joint communicative need for such a concept. 'Space' has no meaning in its own right. i.e outside the realm of human communication.
IMO That is the only 'answer' that makes sense.
0 Replies
 
 

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