I’ve spent long hours thinking about just how forces are transferred. I have notes from as early as 13 or 14 years old where I sketched out thoughts. I was fascinated by Mach’s principle when I first learned of it. Relativistic motion, time dilation, space dilation. All that stuff you read a lot about when you read a hell of a lot of hard sci-fi.
Pure science wasn’t my calling, but I do love the heart and core of hard science. Yes, it’s true, science is generally about ‘finding answers’. But the heart of pure physics isn’t finding all the answers to all the questions. Science, of the ‘big physics’ kind, is the quest to minimize the number of what I’ll call ‘Fundamental questions’: questions for which the answer can only be ‘because we would not exist were it otherwise’.
It is with this in mind that I propose that the mental model of not just gravity, but of all forces, has cause and effect inverted. I feel like the concept of a ‘force carrier’ is mathematically sound, but fundamentally incorrect; that there is a simpler answer. Indeed, that the answer is so simple that it doesn’t feel like an answer at all:
As time increases a given particle is more likely to be closer to other particles.
The statement is simply restating observation. However, so is the equation F=GmM/R2. The latter is certainly more specific, but it ultimately goes little further than the former.
There’s more to the probabilistic statement though. Consider the motion a particle as one approaches the Planck scale. A Planck length is considered to be the fine-grain limit to the fidelity of the universe. So what happens to the decimal places beyond the Planck length?
What if what we perceive as the force of gravity is the result of a small bias in the rounding that the universe performs to account for Planck scale rounding? Rather than pure random rounding, or truncation, a bias that accounts for nearby particles of similar nature.
The probability of one particle appearing slightly closer to another need not be based on rounding. It may in fact be a ‘Fundamental answer’ of it’s own: “As t1 goes to t2, particle 1 has a 1 in n chance of appearing m wavelengths closer to particle 2. And that’s just how it needs to be for us to exist.” I don’t want to believe this is the case, however.
Note that all other laws are still applied; a large object in motion perceives a force towards another large body because a significant number of constituent particles jump a wavelength closer to the distant body. In turn, each constituent particle also has a probability bias in its location related to the strong and weak nuclear forces. Summing all these small location biases over all the particles results in the acceleration of the entire body towards the second body.
This discussion is about one atomic scale particle. I actually prefer to think of each of the forces as relating to a particular energy scale, but physics already has perfectly excellent descriptions for each of these particles/energy-levels/things: Gauge bosons.
Where this all falls down is in asking the question “are particle interactions ‘push’ or ‘poll’?”. Does a distant particle truly emit ‘events’ (waves/bosons, etc) every Planck timestep, or does ‘the universe’ provide a big record book that local particles can use to ‘look up’ what it should do next?
Mountains of research papers tell us that we live in an event driven world, with particles emitting other particles and waves and such all over the place. The research states that forces are carried by wave-like particles. I don’t like it. It’s inefficient, for one thing. Look at video game physics: large interactions are mediated by events, but small interactions are poll driven: player action versus ray tracing to determine light reflection, etc. It’s a directional thing: In an event driven universe, the light bulb emits light no matter what. In a polling based (game?) world, the light bulb only emits light if there is a path from an observer back to the light source. How do you even begin to explain emitting enough particles to explain gravity? The number of ‘higgs bosons’ travelling through space due to a single star would be unfathonable. Add a second star, and that absurd number of particles doubles, and now interact with each other.
In a polling based universe, the answer to the question ‘If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?’ is ‘not until some potential observer of the effects polls one of the particles that will have been affected (the present queries the past, past affects the present).
Which is, so far as I can tell, exactly what we see when we play games with particle/wave duality via the dual slit experiment.
Aaannyway. Regardless of how particle 1 is informed of the presence of particle 2, it’s interesting to consider the possibility that the two particles are attracted to each other simply because ‘the universe needed a consistent way to round a particle’s’ location at the Planck limit’.