Knowledge Adventure for: December 21st 2000 C.E.
FINITE YET UNBOUNDED
All about this 'wraparound universe' stuff
As we have seen in the mangastrip so far, the universe of Tryslmaistan is in serious trouble, do to a vast column of debris that crushes entire worlds as it expands. Some readers may be having some trouble grasping just how this could happen, especially the part about how this same column of debris 'falls around the universe' to bite its own tail... without curving in any observable way. This may seem impossible, but it is not, because of a quality of spacetime that both Tryslmaistan, and our own universe, Mundis, share.
This quality was defined by Albert Einstein as being 'Finite, Yet Unbounded'. It means that a universe can have a limited -if vast- number of stars, planets, of miles of space itself...and yet have no 'edge', boundary, wall, or other limit to the extent of it. Like some kinds of videogames....the 'screen' of the universe wraps.
We can understand this most easily by using the 'Flatland Analogy. Flatland is taken from a wonderful short fantasy novel by the brilliant Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926). Flatland explains the whole concept of physical dimensions though the adventures of a living, intelligent, infinitely flat, two-dimensional square, who lives in a two-dimensional world. Anything that applies to two dimensions can be expanded to apply to three dimensions, and by using this analogy, we can understand things we cannot easily visualize: the shape of things in MORE than three physical dimensions!
If you would like to read FLATLAND, here is the entire book, with illustrations, to enjoy and to expand your understanding. I highly recommend it.
First let us take a three-dimensional being, Mr. A. Cube, and transmute him to a two dimensional form, thus...
our Cube creature is now a two-dimensional Square, just as in Abbott's novel. Please note that our Square fellow is not sitting on 'top' of his flat universe, like some pat of butter on top of a pancake, but is actually embedded into it. A Square is made up of the stuff of his universe, and is part of it, in the same way that Mr. Cube is embedded into three-dimensional space. Mr. Cube is made of 3-D space itself, and of course, so are we. Mr. Square is made of 2-D matter, and for him there is no 'up' and no 'down'...those directions do not exist for him at all! Mr. Square only has 'north', 'south', 'east' and 'west'. Even if he could somehow imagine the existence of a third physical dimension, Mr. Square cannot point to it, because no part of him -or his universe- can be put in that direction. All the light in his 2D universe is 'Flat' light, and follows the flatness of his universe, so he cannot see anything 'above' or 'below' his universe....even if it is right next to him. If we were to whisper right above Mr. Square, and our voice could affect him, he would not see us, but would imagine the voice coming from inside his own head....or perhaps he would imagine ghosts! By looking down on Mr. Square, we can see his insides...his guts, and heart, and stomach, because we are looking at the whole of him, inside and out, from our perspective in the higher, third dimension!
Now, let us imagine that our Mr. Square's flat universe is actually the surface of a big sphere...like a hollow soap bubble, thus:
To Mr. Square, the universe is still absolutely flat. This is because the 2D light in his 2D universe always follows the curve of the 2D universe. Why? Because the light itself is made of 2D matter, and this is part of the 2D universe, and can only travel embedded in that universe. We, hovering outside, can see the whole of Mr. Square's universe, and see that it curves, because we are in a higher physical dimension. To Mr. Square, the universe just seems perfectly flat, and stretches beyond his ability to see.
Now let's say that we gift Mr. Square with perfect, godlike vision, or perhaps he has some godlike technology that makes telescopes seem pathetic, and he can literally see ANY distance perfectly, no matter how far away, and regardless of the speed of light. What would Mr. Square see? He would see right around his universe, and end up looking up his own ass.
This is because the flat 2D view must follow the 2D universe, and the curve is irrelevant, so to Mr. Square, he sees his own backside ahead of him! In fact, any direction he looks, he would see some part of himself in the distance, because his sight wraps around the universe and can only come back to himself.
This is actually how our own universe is constructed....only we perceive three dimensions, and the universe is curved in a fourth, higher, physical dimension. Now I know this is very hard to imagine, just as the third dimension is hard for Mr. Square to imagine, but the way everything works would be the same. If you had godlike vision, and there were no planets and suns and galaxies in the way, and if you could see perfectly to any distance regardless of the speed of light....you would see the back of your own head, somewhere out there. And any direction you picked....up, down, left, right....you would see the opposite side of yourself in the distance. That distance, by the way, is the hyperdimensional diameter of the universe!
Now in Unicorn Jelly, we have the problem of Myrmil, and the war that broke it to pieces. The pieces fell, hitting other Worldplates, and so on, until it becomes a gargantuan cylinder of falling debris, pulled along at a steady, constant pace by linovection...the equivalent of gravity in the Tryslmaistan cosmos. The material of this storm of destruction would fall 'right around the universe', just like Mr. Square's vision could see 'right around the universe' to see his own tailbone. This is how the column of devastation in Unicorn Jelly can bite its own tail and become a closed loop that never visibly curves...the curving it does, it does in a higher, 4D plane. Since no one can point or see in that hyperdimensional direction (any more than Mr. Square can point 'up' outside of his universe), there is no way they can see the hyperdimensional curve of the universe. Thus to them, the Myrmil column is perfectly vertical...yet if falls so far that it comes back to the point it started from.
When the Ark Ships flee the storm, it would not work to go up or down in the Tryslmaistan universe, because the column is always there. The best escape is sideways, flat out away, level with the Worldplate they are leaving behind. At least that way, they can make the greatest distance from the ever expanding storm.
Ah! But would not all of this mean that eventually the storm would itself pass the higher-dimensional 'equator' of the universe and then become not a column, but an enclosing ring?
Yes, it does. Ultimately, there will be no where left to run, as the storm closes in on itself, and finally stops....because there is nothing left to crush. All the debris would gradually grind itself to dust and loose tratons after hitting its own leading edge....and all that would remain is fine, floating dust, hanging in the air, spreading out forever.
But....if there is all that loose, fine dust, wouldn't it stick together? Wouldn't the stated laws of the Tryslmaistan universe gradually force the dust to clump into falling triangular lumps, evenly spaced, that when they got big enough, they would begin to slow down and eventually stop, frozen in place by planovective forces (which only affect objects above a certain size)...wouldn't that mean that the Worldplates could form again, maybe become hard with age, covered in sand raining from the sky, and water too, to form a central sea, if only enough time went by?
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