06 January 2010


We return now to the question of the essence of "space."

Thusfar, we have established that the usual concept of space requires it to be thought of us as composed of discrete units. While we have not established that there are a finite number of these units, we have established that any finite section of space must be composed of a finite number of units.

As (possibly) interesting as this discussion has been, we have neglected what arguably should have been the original question as to the essence of space itself in favor of discussing certain (perhaps essential) qualities that space possesses. This very fact may prove useful in coming to the essence of space. We are constantly engaged in questions wherein "space" is the horizon upon which the question is set. Any question of location, position, direction, size, and similar issues seem to be questions of space. The most basic of everyday concerns involving where one will go or how one will get there to the most difficult problems of engineering and the technical arts rely (or seem to rely) upon the notion of space. In none of these questions does space itself become a theoretical question; it is instantly passed over in favor of the practical aspect of the question, comprised by those things that are located within space and not space itself.

This puzzling fact may be further accented by the complete inability of the empirical sciences to give an adequate account of the essence of space. Note here we do not speak of a temporary inability, suggesting that additional research or more advanced observation techniques will someday enable a physicist to "solve" the "problem" of "space." Such a solution would hardly be possible when it comes to the essence of space, since the essence of space is no longer a question that physics can consider, anymore than the physicist can turn his microscopes backward and place his own essence under consideration. This question has been obscured from its vision by the essence of the conception of space that makes possible the work of physics. The reasons for this will become clear as we progress, but we may comment now that physics as it stands will only ever be able to explain the essence of space in light of material entities (whether these be particles, waves, or fields), and such an explanation of the essence of space in terms of that which exists within space will not be able to unveil its essence.

We will close at the present by highlighting that space constantly retreats to the background whenever it is involved in a question. Turn your mind now to the concept of space, and try to fix your thoughts upon it. What comes into your mind? If there are any images of objects within space itself, clear them at once, since space itself cannot be that which it contains. Clear away all materiality from the conception, and fix your gaze upon space itself. Stripped of matter, what remains? What is space?

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