Sketch Thoughts on the Implications of the Quantum
Given a piece of wood, there is a certain fixed potential energy which it contains as regards the ability to burn it. Say quantity x. So if you burn this piece of wood in 10 minutes, is it possible to burn it in less time? Well this depends in the context it is in, but yes, you can burn it faster for a higher power level. For example, you can blow on a wooden fire to make it burn quicker. But there seems to be an upper limit to how fast you can burn it. Take a piece of uranium. It burns faster than wood- The capability to extract energy from the uranium is greater than that of wood in terms of the rate at which the energy is expended. An increase of the rate can be achieved by "blowing on it" with more neutrons. There is an upper limit, however, to how fast this energy can be extracted from this substance too. (Both examples also have certain limitations in how dense the energy is concentrated.) So lets look at the conceived photon of light itself. In this photon there exists a certain quantity of energy, just as existed in the wood, or in the uranium. Is the energy which the photon itself carries transferred from the photon to something else, such as an electron, over a certain time interval which could be increased or decreased as the energy in the wood or uranium? Or is this silly to ask? After all, if we say that a photon represents a quantized amount of energy which cannot be divided up into smaller energy expenditures, then would we not have to say that the energy transfer from the conceived photon to something else is instant? This does seem to be the case- after all, if the quantum of energy is a quantum after all, then there could be no conceivable lapse of time during which it was expended, because, after all, that would indicate a moment at which the energy was not expended, then another moment in which it was half expended, and finally through to the last moment when the energy finished its expenditure. The same is true on the other side for the absorption of this energy. There could be no lapse if time in which the energy was expended because that would mean that there would have been a time interval within which an amount of energy would have been expended which was smaller than the conceived "indivisible quantum of energy expenditure". In light of this, it can not be admitted that photons have any spatial extension which contains their energy, as we see other things such as wood and uranium to have extensions in (phenomenal) space which (are conceived of as) contain(ing) their energy. (It could be conceived that the photons have some spatial extension- represent some material carrier of energy- of some sort, in the likeness of particles perhaps. However, this is not conceptually necessary as we see when we consider the actual effects which they exhibit and the concept of quantization. Any attribution of such conceived features to the process which we call "photons" is unwarranted based on the experimental physical evidence of their quantized energy values. One could attribute such things to photons without changing the conceptions of quantized energy which we have about them, but it would be unnecessary, and could prove to be a conceptual hindrance to determining the higher theoretical structure which enables a further comprehension of "them" in the future. Therefore, we can not conceive of a photon as a particle, or as a "wave packet" either- as we see in certain pictures which people draw in an attempt to explain them. The concept of waves, as applied to the domain of photons, are characterized by the same spatial characteristics which we observe in macroscopic, observable, waves (in media such as water for example), and thus imply a time interval within which such energy is expended.) We are confronted by more considerations as a result. If it is true that the transfer of energy in all circumstances, is, at the fundamental level, instantaneous, why then is there any time at all between energy transfers of any type, including observable ones? Would not all large energy transfers be instantaneous if their component energy transfers were also instantaneous? What modifications must we make to our concept of energy itself? Must we dispense with this concept altogether? A reply may come: No; the energy transfers in the small are all instantaneous when the time comes for the transfer, but the time it takes to make the transfer is not instantaneous. You can understand that. Think of how the energy from a thrown ball is transferred from its potential state into another state only when it reaches its impact location. Similarly, the fundamental components of all energy transfers- namely, the tiny quantized energy transfers- also take time to unleash themselves because it takes time to bring about the conditions which allow for that release of energy to take place. Thus, it takes time for a succession of instantaneous energy releases to occur, thus resulting in an extended energy release through time which makes the impression of being continuous but which is really quantized. As an example which may help thinking about it- imagine that the energy transfer between moving pool balls is instantaneous. If you hit the cue ball into an assortment of other pool balls, it will take time for each ball to eventually exchange energy with one another through the hits, because the trajectories of the balls must line up right. Despite this response may be, some may still yet feel unsatisfied. Some may wonder how, if it be true that the quanta of energy have no spatial characteristics, no extension, and no time required to transfer themselves- how then we will understand how it is that the quanta would "know" whether or not to unleash themselves in one particular place and not in another? Also, how would they know to unleash themselves after a certain time has elapsed? After all, for something with no spatial extension it is difficult to compare it with something (with spatial characteristics) which is moving through space on its way to transfer its energy to something else through a collision. If the photon has no "edge", no boundary, due to its necessary lack of spatial extension, then how would the photon determine when/where to expend its energy?- and that in a way similar to the billiard balls as when their edges touch the edge of another billiard ball? It is strange. But no one can deny the question of the "speed of light" which points to something which indicates a definite lapse of time between photonic energy transfers across distances- seeming, apparently, to indicate that "something is moving" through space and "impacting" somewhere else. The physical basis for "energy" transfers on this level must be approached from a completely new conceptual framework. It can be forecast that the notions of "energy" and "force" will be dispensed with altogether in this conceptual framework. "Mass" as well. We see that the current notion of energy is bound up with and reliant upon the notion of force. If one examines the way in which "energy" would be expended on the quantum scale under the continuous impulsion of a "force", then we see very quickly how it is that the notions of "force" and "energy" themselves become quite suspicious and inapplicable. Imagine for example a nuclear sized man pushing an electron sized box at a constant "force". The poor fellow would find himself in all sorts of strange situations which I will let your imagination enumerate. Another funny question of a similar character is the question of mass. If the quanta of energy are incapable of being stored and transferred through anything which has spatial extension, and yet, Einstein showed how all mass is energy, then why does mass seem to be so spatially extensive, such that, generally, the more space which something occupies, the more mass ( and thus energy) it generally has? Shouldn't it be so, that no spatial extension should be observed in matter associated with mass if the individual quanta of energy which compose the mass have no spatial extension? Perhaps this indicates a departure from the notion that all "mass" is associated with objects of spatial extension. But, of course, if the concept of force and energy are changed, then the concept o mass too must change.