Speed of Light

If you’re a pitcher who can throw a 90mph fastball and you find yourself in space standing on top of a ship travelling 100mph and you throw a fastball ahead of the ship… then that ball would be leaving you at 90mph relative to you, but someone watching from a distance would see the ball moving 190mph relative to something standing “still.”

If the pitcher pitched the ball in the opposite direction — behind the ship — then the ball appears to the pitcher to leave him at 90mph, but someone watching from somewhere else that is “still” (relative to the spaceship) sees the ball moving from left to right at 10mph because the pitcher is moving to the right at 100mph and he throws a ball to the left at 90mph, so 100 + (-90) == 10mph to the right.


Light doesn’t work that way.

If you’re on a spaceship moving 100mph and you shine a flashlight in any direction, the light leaves you at the SPEED OF LIGHT.  If you shine it back, SPEED OF LIGHT.  If you shine it ahead, SPEED OF LIGHT.

The speed is the speed.   It’s not the speed that you’re travelling plus the speed the light leaves you… It’s just THE SPEED OF LIGHT.

The question to you is: Does this make things more interesting or more boring?

The whole idea of time being relative to your frame of reference is based on observation — the fastest speed of observation is assumed to be the speed of light because if you’re looking at something, then you’re collecting information from the light and it moves only so fast.

If you look up the speed of light, you’ll see (haha!) that the distance between things on opposite sides of the universe are increasing at a speed that works out to be faster than the speed of light.  That’s just the computation of their distance… whether they’re “moving” depends on what you call “moving” because space is just getting bigger at a rate faster than the 1/2 the speed of light at those distances.

We really don’t know anything about how the universe is NOW because we see things with light.

Time is amazingly wrapped up with space… Another word for space is distance.  Time is wrapped up with distance.  Well, what’s time but a measure of how long it takes to go a distance… at some speed.  Time is measured with the speed of light.

A human being is so small.  We don’t take up much space, relative to the Universe.  Our lives are therefore short, relative to the Universe.

They say it’s been proven that time moves slower at high speeds.  In fact, they’ve put very accurate, atomic clocks on airplanes and proven that those clocks on the planes tick time off more slowly than identical, once-synchronized clocks on the ground.

Those clocks work by counting transitions between energy states of particular atoms.

If the clocks are moving, then those transitions happen less often relative to things that are not moving.

So the question is — if you were moving very quickly… nearly the speed of light.. would you notice time slowing down?

If your consciousness is separate from the physical universe, then you should notice.

If your consciousness is the sum of the chemical processes going on in your brain, then you should not notice.

I’ve done my own experiments with a computer game.  Elements in the game move at a fixed, maximum speed.  If you speed your brain up, elements in the game seem to slow down — eventually, you’re living in bullet time.

Speeding your brain up involves chemicals and chemicals are part of the physical universe.

I don’t know if I just made the universe more or less interesting.

Note: Someone should think about drug-testing competitors before high-level computer gaming competitions.


One response to “Speed of Light”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    You are right on the last point ๐Ÿ™‚ I have long wondered how many people are doing a different kind of cheating in FPS gaming competitions. All signs would point to "certainly." A lot of gamers though probably wouldn't be classified as performance "enhanced" when they are gaming, those are more fun to play against ๐Ÿ™‚

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