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The Enigma Of The Universe : Space and Time Related to Each Other

Published: 18.01.2015
Updated: 02.07.2015

In the theory of relativity space and time are related with each other, because of the finite velocity of light. Heisenberg has explained this in this way: "In the theory of relativity we have learned that the situation is different: Future and past are separate by a finite time-interval, the length of which depends on the distance from the observer. Any action can only be propagated by a velocity smaller than or equal to the velocity of light. Therefore, an observer can at a given instant neither know of nor influence any event at a distant point which takes place between two characteristic times. The one time is the instant at which a light signal has to be given from the point of the event in order to reach the observer at the instant of observation. The other time is the instant of the observation, when it reaches the point of the event. The whole finite time interval between these two instants may be said to belong to the 'present time' for the observer at the instant of observation. "[1] Thus it becomes clear that the knowledge which we obtain through our senses and external equipment cannot be obtained faster than the velocity of light. Hence, the definition of simultaneity, also depend upon the spatial distance between the event and observer. Consequently, in any event the space and time become related to each other. So far, it is unobjectedly acceptable. But the question whether the velocity of light is the maximum possible velocity or not, is certainly not uncontroversial.

It is a fundamental assumption of the theory of relativity that the velocity of light is the maximum possible "velocity. Now, if we examine this assumption in the light of Jain metaphysics, we find that this assumption is not strictly true. According to the Jain theory, out of the six substances constituting the universe, only matter and soul are capable of moving. The soul besides capable of moving in space from one place to another, is also capable of getting knowledge of the things situated at far distances without taking help of the external means. The actual motion of soul takes place when any living thing moves from one place to another, when a soul transmigrates from one body to another, when an emancipated soul traverses to the end of the universe and also when gods or persons with special powers travel with high speeds from one place to another. The epistemological motion is not the actual change of place in space but in it the soul perceives, intuits or transcends a distant object by its epistemological powers. In both the types of motions, a soul can travel at a velocity higher than that of light. In the transmigration a soul can travel with a maximum velocity of 14 Rajjus[2] per one Samaya.[3]Also, in epistemological motion, omniscient souls can cognize an object a number of Rajjus away within a Samaya.

The above is the possibility of the velocity of soul. Now, the matter is also capable of moving with surprising speeds. The ultimate indivisible particle of matter known as paramāṇu (the ultimate atom) is also capable of moving with a velocity of 14 Rajjus/Samaya. This is the maximum velocity of matter.

Now, if we examine the theory of relativity in the light of the above facts, we find the fundamental assumption of the theory of relativity may not hold good in microcosmos. Another interesting thing is that in accordance with the theory of relativity, the velocity of anything may become greater than that of light, if it has no mass. The Jain metaphysics asserts that the ultimate atoms and certain types of bodies composed of infinite number of the ultimate atoms are completely massless. Mass, according to the Jain theory, is not the fundamental property of matter. Thus, if such massless bodies travel with a velocity greater than that of light, the theory of relativity would have to accept it.

We may also note here that in the modern age, together with the developments of the techniques of space-travelling, the mind of the scientists are eager to cross the speed limit set by the velocity of light. In one of the advanced scientific works on the exploration of space, Arthur Clarke, expressing this possibility, writes: "Before closing this chapter we must deal with two questions which any discussion of interstellar travel inevitably raises. In the first place, despite the categorical remarks made a few pages ago, can we be absolutely certain that the speed of light will never be surpassed? The theory of relativity is, after all, only a theory. May it not one day be modified, just as it modified Newton's Law of Gravitation, which had remained in violated for centuries and was generally regarded as being absolutely correct?

"Any attempt to answer this question would lead us into the deep waters of Philosophy and would involve such ideas. as the fundamental structure of space and time. It is doubtful if anyone alive today could contribute much, of real value to such a discussion; the verdict must be left to the future."[4]

The above quotation supports the possibility that the barrier of velocity of light may be practically overcome one day and if it actually happens, the foundation on which the theory of relativity stands, itself would fall to the ground.


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Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Heisenberg
  3. Omniscient
  4. Paramāṇu
  5. Rajju
  6. Samaya
  7. Soul
  8. Space
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