I struggled for a little while to figure out what would be the best place to start. One of my criteria was that I cannot assume that every reader is already familiar with any given discussion. But we really don’t need to start with the very beginning of basic physics.
So, I decided we should start our journey with some basic information and concepts to enable the reader to visualize the reality around us. We creatures perceive our three dimensional surroundings relatively well, but stumble when it comes to higher dimensional reality. Thus we will attempt to give ourselves a mental picture that can help us grab the concept, even if that picture is not an actual replica of what is going on.
So without further delay, let’s dig in.
First, let’s state some basic things that we will need to keep in mind.
“Everything is energy”. Anything and everything is comprised of energy. So much so that even what appears to us as empty space, is NOT nothing. Empty space can still be stretched and compressed, so it must be “something”.
Modern day theory has the smallest possible thing as being pure energy. We know about atoms. And we know atoms are comprised of electrons, protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are further divided down to quarks (3 per proton/neutron). And, it seems, that quarks may be made of bits of pure energy. Some call these bits of pure energy Strings. Yes, that’s String Theory.
“Energy is always moving, flowing, changing, vibrating. Some theoretical physicists believe the shape of strings determines their properties. At this point, that’s not important. But keep in mind the constant movement of energy.
“Net energy amount must always remain constant”. I think they call that “conservation of energy”. Basically, there is never a loss of energy. If you put electricity through a lightbulb, that energy becomes heat energy plus a little bit of light. The heat dissipates into the air, but is not lost. It just gets dissipated enough that you barely notice any residual heat. The light too, when it strikes a surface, is either absorbed and turned into heat, or reflected until it is absorbed somewhere.
Just as the air around us most often seems like it’s not even there, the same goes for empty space. Think of a fish in water. To it, water doesn’t even seem like it is there. Astronauts doing a space-walk don’t feel like anything is there as well. But there is. Accepting the fact that empty space really isn’t empty may be hard to absorb, but it is also one of the concepts to grasp.
“Space & Time behave like a fabric” Okay, have you seen pictorial references to Einstein’s concept of the fabric of space? With sun and planets putting a dimple into the fabric causing curves that trap smaller bodies into orbits around them?
Let’s take this one step further. Let’s change the fabric into something more like a sponge. Instead of placing an object (say, a marble representing the Earth) on the fabric, we will physically insert it into the middle of the sponge. Picture what that part of the sponge would look like. It would be extremely compressed immediately around the Earth. The amount of compression of the sponge material will become less compressed the further away you go from our surrogate Earth. And of course, the marble is the densest of all.