Dissolving the ego

Resultado de imagem para Photo by Ernst Haas/Getty

Photo by Ernst Haas/Getty

You don’t need drugs or a church for an ecstatic experience that helps transcend the self and connect to something bigger

Jules Evans is policy director at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations (2013) and The Art of Losing Control: A Philosopher’s Search for Ecstatic Experience (2017).

In 1969, the British writer Philip Pullman was walking down the Charing Cross Road in London, when his consciousness abruptly shifted. It appeared to him that ‘everything was connected by similarities and correspondences and echoes’. The author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (1995-2000) wasn’t on drugs, although he had been reading a lot of books on Renaissance magic. But he told me he believes that his insight was valid, and that ‘my consciousness was temporarily altered, so that I was able to see things that are normally beyond the range of routine ordinary perception’. He had a deep sense that the Universe is ‘alive, conscious and full of purpose’. He says: ‘Everything I’ve written has been an attempt to bear witness to the truth of that statement.’

What does one call such an experience? Pullman refers to it as ‘transcendent’. The philosopher and psychologist William James called them ‘religious experiences’ – although Pullman, who wrote a fictionalised biography of Jesus, would insist that God was not involved. Other psychologists call such moments spiritual, mystical, anomalous or out-of-the-ordinary. My preferred term is ‘ecstatic’. Today, we think of ecstasy as meaning the drug MDMA or the state of being ‘very happy’, but originally it meant ekstasis – a moment when you stand outside your ordinary self, and feel a connection to something bigger than you. Such moments can be euphoric, but also terrifying.

Over the past five centuries, Western culture has gradually marginalised and pathologised ecstasy. That’s partly a result of our shift from a supernatural or animist worldview to a disenchanted and materialist one. In most cultures, ecstasy is a connection to the spirit world. In our culture, since the 17th century, if you suggest you’re connected to the spirit world, you’re likely to be considered ignorant, eccentric or unwell. Ecstasy has been labelled as various mental disorders: enthusiasm, hysteria, psychosis. It’s been condemned as a threat to secular government. We’ve become a more controlled, regulated and disciplinarian society, in which one’s standing as a good citizen relies on one’s ability to control one’s emotions, be polite, and do one’s job. The autonomous self has become our highest ideal,  and the idea of surrendering the self is seen as dangerous.

Yet ecstatic experiences are surprisingly common, we just don’t talk about them. The polling company Gallup has, since the 1960s, measured the frequency of mystical experiences in the United States. In 1960, only 20 per cent of the population said they’d had one or more. Now, it’s around 50 per cent. In a survey I did in 2016, 84 per cent of respondents said they’d had an experience where they went beyond their ordinary self, and felt connected to something greater than them. But 75 per cent agreed there was a taboo around such experiences.

There’s even a database of more than 6,000 such experiences, amassed by the biologist Sir Alister Hardy in the 1960s and now mouldering in storage in Wales. They make for a strangely beautiful read, a sort of crowdsourced Bible. Here is entry number 208: ‘I was out walking one night in busy streets of Glasgow when, with slow majesty, at a corner where the pedestrians were hurrying by and the city traffic was hurtling on its way, the air was filled with heavenly music, and an all-encompassing light, that moved in waves of luminous colour, outshone the brightness of the lighted streets. I stood still, filled with a strange peace and joy … until I found myself in the everyday world again with a strange access of gladness and of love.’

The most common word used when describing such experiences is ‘connection’ – we briefly shift beyond our separate self-absorbed egos, and feel deeply connected to other beings, or to all things. Some interpret these moments as an encounter with the divine, but not all do. The philosopher Bertrand Russell, for example, also had a ‘mystic moment’ when he suddenly felt filled with love for people on a London street. The experience didn’t turn him into a Christian, but it did turn him into a life-long pacifist.

I became interested in ecstatic experiences when I was 24 and had a near-death experience. I fell off a mountain while skiing, dropped 30 feet, and broke my leg and back. As I lay there, I felt immersed in love and light. I’d been suffering from emotional problems for six years, and feared my ego was permanently damaged. In that moment, I knew that I was OK, I was loved, that there was something in me that could not be damaged, call it ‘the soul’, ‘the self’, ‘pure consciousness’ or what-have-you. The experience was hugely healing. But was it just luck, or grace? Can one seek ecstasy?

Pullman thinks not. He says: ‘Seeking this sort of thing doesn’t work. It is far too self-centred. Things like my experience are by-products, not goals. To make them the aim of your life is an act of monumental and self-deceiving egotism.’

I disagree. It seems to me that humans have always sought ecstasy. The earliest human artefacts – the cave paintings of Lascaux – are records of Homo sapiens’ attempt to get out of our heads. We have always sought ways to ‘unself’, as the writer Iris Murdoch called it, because the ego is an anxious, claustrophobic, lonely and boring place to be stuck. As the author Aldous Huxley wrote, humans have ‘a deep-seated urge to self-transcendence’. However, we can get out of our ordinary selves in good and bad ways – what Huxley called ‘healthy and toxic transcendence’…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/religion-has-no-monopoly-on-transcendent-experience

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7 Ways to Stay Cool & Prevent Heat Stroke Symptoms

Heat stroke symptoms - Dr. Axe

Heat stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. The body suffers from dehydration  because it can’t release internal heat into the environment, resulting in core temperatures of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The scary part is that most people aren’t aware that they are in danger of heat stroke — the most severe heat-related illness — until it’s too late. And by then, they have become confused and delirious as a result of nerve damage. To reduce your risk of becoming ill, the first step is to become aware of heat stroke symptoms and the warning signs of heat-related illness. A quick diagnosis is crucial in order to avoid organ failure, cognitive impairment and death. (1)

But to ensure that your health is never put in harm’s way because of the heat, take preventative measures to keep your body cool and stay hydrated. It’s also important to avoid actions that increase your risk of developing heat-related illnesses, like engaging in physical activity that increases your chances of heat stroke, such as hot yoga and exercising in the direct sun.


What Is a Heat Stroke? 

Heat stroke occurs when your body’s natural processes to regulate your core temperature begin to fail as you become overheated. Our bodies regulate our core temperature to maintain a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit — even in the hottest or coldest environmental conditions. For this to be possible, our thermoregulatory system uses different physiological mechanisms in order to balance the heat produced inside the body and the amount of heat lost to the environment. When these mechanisms break down, heat stroke symptoms occur.

Did  you know that you have temperature receptors in your skin? When the temperature outside the body becomes too high, the receptors send messages to the hypothalamus, which is the processing center in the brain. When the body becomes overheated, it releases heat by sweating and activating the muscles in your skin. Your blood vessels also begin to swell, or dilate, causing your skin to look red. More warm blood then flows close to the surface of your skin so that heat is lost through the skin and into the air.

Muscles in your skin work to increase heat loss by causing your hairs to lay down flat, as opposed to raising them up in order to trap more warmth. Your skin glands also secrete sweat onto the surface of your skin in order to increase heat loss by evaporation. Your body will keep sweating, releasing internal heat, until your body temperature returns to normal. (2)

The problem is when you sweat so much in an effort to cool down the body that you become dehydrated. When your body runs out of fluids to sweat out, and you haven’t been drinking enough water to supply more fluids, your body temperature will continue to rise. Then you may begin to notice heat stroke symptoms. Once your body’s core temperature rises, all of your innate processes that are in place to regulate your internal temperature break down, creating a serious problem.


Heat Stroke Symptoms 

Before heat stroke symptoms develop, you will experience a few warning signs. Generally, heat-related illnesses occur in four stages: beginning with muscle cramping, leading to heat exhaustion and ending with heat stroke. Here’s a breakdown of these four stages (3):

1. Heat Syncope (fainting): Heat syncope, or fainting, occurs when your body tries to cool itself, which causes your blood vessels to dilate so much that blood flow to your brain is reduced. This usually occurs when a person has been working outside or has been physically active in a hot environment. Besides fainting, a person experiencing heat syncope may feel dizzy, restless and nauseous. (4)

2. Heat cramps: Heat cramps, also known as muscle cramping, is one of the first sign of heat-related illness. You may feel like you pulled a muscle, even though you weren’t doing anything strenuous. Muscle aches or cramping is a huge warning sign that you are dehydrated and need to get somewhere cool and drink water before your symptoms worsen.

3. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion happens when the heat begins to make you feel uncomfortable and ill, leading to symptoms such as heavy sweating, weakness, headache, changes in pulse, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea, vomiting and fainting. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can advance to heat stroke. (5)

4. Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious of all heat-related illnesses. It is a medical emergency because it can lead to serious brain damage, organ failure and even death. The most common heat stroke symptoms include:

  • body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • rapid and strong pulse
  • shallow breathing
  • hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • severe headache
  • fatigue
  • minimal or no sweating, despite the heat
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle cramps
  • dark-colored urine
  • delirium
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness

Heat stroke is so serious because it can lead to organ failure and even death. It immediately affects your cognitive function and can lead to impairment. In fact, research shows that approximately 20 percent of patients who suffer from heat stroke have long-term, irreversible brain damage as a result. (6) That’s why some of the most common heat stroke symptoms are delirium and confusion. Your nerve cells are particularly vulnerable when the body becomes overheated, and your brain is made up of these nerve cells. When the body overheats, the blood vessels dilate and blood flow increases, which strains the heart as well…

more…

https://draxe.com/heat-stroke-symptoms/

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Toxic Exposure: Chemicals are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture

by University of California, San Francisco

When her kids were young, Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., MPH, knew more than most people about environmental toxics. After all, she was a senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But even she never dreamed, as she rocked her children to sleep at night, that the plastic baby bottles she used to feed them contained toxic chemicals that could leach into the warm milk. 

Back then, in the late 1990s, it wasn’t widely known that the chemicals used in plastic sippy cups and baby bottles can potentially disrupt child development by interfering with the hormone system. That, in turn, could alter the functionality of their reproductive systems or increase their risk of disease later in their lives.

“When I had babies, I did many of the things we now tell people not to do,” says Woodruff, who for the past decade has been the director of UC San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Also a professor in the University’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, she earned her doctorate in 1991 from a joint UCSF-Berkeley program in bioengineering and then completed a postgraduate fellowship at UCSF.

Woodruff’s children have since grown into physically healthy teenagers, but many children are not as lucky. Unregulated chemicals are increasing in use and are prevalent in products Americans use every day. Woodruff is concerned by the concurrent rise in many health conditions, like certain cancers or childhood diseases, and the fact that the environment is likely to play a role in those conditions. What motivates her is the belief that we need to know more about these toxics so we can reduce our exposure to the worst of them and protect ourselves and our children from their harmful effects. (Woodruff points out that the word “toxics” as a noun means any poisonous substances, from either chemical or biological sources, whereas “toxins” are poisons only from biological sources, either plant or animal.)

The PRHE is dedicated to identifying, measuring and preventing exposure to environmental contaminants that affect human reproduction and development. Its work weaves together science, medicine, policy and advocacy.

For example, research over the past 10 years by UCSF scientists and others has showed that bisphenol A (BPA) – an industrial chemical used since the 1950s to harden plastics in baby bottles, toys and other products – is found in the blood of those exposed to items made with BPA and that it can harm the endocrine systems of fetuses and infants. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlawed BPA in baby products in 2012, and some manufacturers developed BPA-free products. But now scientists believe the chemicals that replaced BPA may be just as harmful. 

Furthermore, BPA is only one in a long, long list of chemicals we encounter every day in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. And scientists have barely scratched the surface of understanding them. Of the thousands and thousands of chemicals registered with the EPA for use by industry, the agency has regulated only a few. 

“In the last 50 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in chemical production in the United States,” Woodruff explains. Concurrently, there’s been an increase in the incidence of conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, childhood cancers, diabetes and obesity. “It’s not just genetic drift,” Woodruff maintains.

And we’re all at risk from increasing chemical exposure. The water we run from our taps, the lotion we smear on our skin, the shampoo we rub in our hair, even the dust in our houses is full of synthetic chemicals.

Preventing exposure in babies

PRHE experts do more than just measure such trends. They also collaborate with clinical scientists and obstetricians at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), so their findings directly benefit pregnant patients. “We partner with the clinical scientists,” explains Woodruff, “because they look at treatments for disease, and environment might be a missing factor in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Though environmental toxics affect us all, there’s a reason PRHE focuses on pregnant women and children, Woodruff adds. Exposure to even tiny amounts of toxic substances during critical developmental stages can have outsize effects. So exposure to toxics is especially detrimental to fetuses, infants and young children, as well as preteens and teenagers.

“If you prevent the problem at the beginning, you get a lifetime of benefits,” says Woodruff.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began measuring human exposure to chemicals in 1976. These so-called “biomonitoring” studies found a range of toxics in subjects’ blood and urine – substances like DDT, BPA, air pollutants, pesticides, dioxins and phthalates. Phthalates, for example, are a class of chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors but widely used as softeners in plastics and as lubricants in personal-care products. Biomonitoring has determined that women of reproductive age evidence higher levels of phthalates than the population at large. One reason, says Woodruff, is that young women use more products like perfume, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.

Woodruff herself recently led a study in which UCSF researchers collected blood samples from pregnant women at ZSFG. After the women delivered their babies, the researchers collected umbilical cord blood samples – and discovered that almost 80 percent of the chemicals detected in the maternal blood samples had passed through the placenta to the cord blood. It was the most extensive look yet at how the chemicals that pregnant women are exposed to also appear in their babies’ cord blood (and followed an earlier study by Woodruff that marked the first time anyone had counted the number of chemicals in the blood of pregnant women). Published in the Nov. 1, 2016, print edition of Environmental Science and Technology, the study also found that many chemicals were absorbed at greater levels by the fetuses than by the pregnant women…

more…

https://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2017/06/toxic-exposure-chemicals-are-our-water-food-air-and-furniture

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ANONYMOUS CLAIMS NASA IS ABOUT TO DISCLOSE THE DISCOVERY OF ALIEN LIFE

by Terence Newton, Staff Writer Waking Times 

At some point in time, whether now, or a thousand years from now, disclosure of what the government knows about extraterrestrial life will have to happen. A secret this big simply cannot be kept, especially as the space program becomes privatized and more people have access to the heavens and to the data we’ve collected in the past. In many ways, we’ve been experiencing disclosure lite, as information slowly creeps out from many sources.

Billionaire Robert Bigelow, a space industry pioneer and NASA partner, recently publicly stated that aliens are real and are already active on planet earth. Around the world, people are witnessing and video-recording unusual craft, UFO’s, in the skies, many of them strikingly similar in unique locations. Heads of State and military personnel have made dozens of statements on the reality of UFO and ET activity here on earth, but the public at large simply won’t believe any of this until the government itself makes a legitimate disclosure.

READ: NASA OPENLY ADMITS ALIEN LIFE EXISTS: GET READY FOR DISCLOSURE

A video just released by the global hacker collective Anonymous, claims that NASA has essentially done just that after NASA’s recent announcement that many planets very similar to earth have been found in our own galaxy. Anonymous claims that an associate administrator of NASA and accompanying comments are akin to disclosure, and that a more public briefing is forthcoming.

“Anonymous’ claim is based on a number of recent NASA discoveries coupled with comments made by one of the agency’s spokesmen during a congressional hearing titled ‘Advances in the Search for Life,’ in April.

 

Professor Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, told the hearing that NASA’s recent advances, such as the discovery of hydrogen in Saturn’s moon Enceladus and the Hubble team’s promising results from the oceans of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, are promising signs that we’re closer than ever to discovering evidence of alien life.

 

Taking into account all of the different activities and missions that are specifically searching for evidence of alien life, we are on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented, discoveries in history,” said Zurbuchen during the hearing of the committee on American Science, Space and Technology.” [RT]

See the Anonymous message for yourself, here:

Final Thoughts

In the age of disinformation, propaganda and top-down control, we have long foreseen the likelihood that disclosure will be a propagandized phony announcement, staged as a false flag to give we earthlings yet another reason to demand more authority from government. If NASA should truly disclose the discovery of life on other planets, the announcement would have to be scrutinized as another plot to manipulate human beings, as NASA is itself an organization highly suspect for the role it plays in enabling the deep state as an arm of the military industrial complex.

Furthermore, as this revelation comes from Anonymous, even more suspicion is warranted, for we have seen how the new world order has attempted to hijack this organization, and as mainstream media outlets report on this story as having been released by anonews, it is important to remember that this organization is merely a blog and a facebook page created to generate web traffic and personal income by seizing on a well recognized brand. In other words, the messengers here are highly suspect but the message in this case is curious considering that so many bits of disclosure have been happening recently.

About the Author
Terence Newton is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com, interested primarily with issues related to science, the human mind, and human consciousness.
This article (Anonymous Claims NASA is About to Disclose the Discovery of Alien Life) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Terence Newton and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/06/25/anonymous-claims-nasa-disclose-discovery-alien-life/

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Your Wedding Night Sex Will Probably Suck—and That’s Totally Normal

by Tracy Moore

Popular culture tells us that everything in love leads to the altar, and everything in sex leads to doin’ it on your wedding night. No matter that some 75 percent of us get hitched about as virginally intact as your average bunny rabbit — we still seem to treat wedding night sex as an important ritual: It consummates the marriage (if you’re religious), for one, but it also symbolizes finally coming together as legal and symbolic partners, no matter if you’ve been doing it for months or years. But studies of wedding-night sex find that after the sweet yet stressful slog that is getting married, a lot of people find that the night isn’t quite what they imagined.

One 2016 survey of 1,000 couples found that 52 percent didn’t have any sex at all that night. Respondents indicated the biggest reasons were being too drunk or too tired to get it on after a long stressful day of beaming, photo-taking, socializing and dancing. Others said they were traveling immediately for the honeymoon the next morning and needed sleep more than amore, while others said they wanted to keep partying with friends.

Another survey found that some 9 percent of couples don’t have sex on the big night because the stress of getting married led to an argument before the night’s end. Yet another survey found that in 4 percent of couples, the woman’s period got in the way. (Might we suggest that this is no reason to abstain, all other interest in doing it being equal that night.)

When asked on Reddit a few years ago what their wedding night was really like, people let loose with all manner of stories about how it really went down. “Everyone always talks about wedding night sex, but then you hear that it doesn’t happen nearly as often as you would think,” the user asked. “So how was YOUR wedding night? Did you actually work up the strength to do it, or were you so beat that you couldn’t?”

One person answered that they had managed to have sex, “but it almost felt like an obligation,” explaining:

We had been on our feet for 12 hours, dressed up in more clothes than we’d ever worn in our lives, talking to people, dancing. By the time we got to our room, we’d have both been content to just go to sleep, but we powered through it…

Others chimed in with agreement. “It was basically the, ‘Boy, glad that shit’s over with’ sex.”

Many of the responses echo this sentiment: running around for hours, drinking way too much, and being too exhausted to make it official. Some people admitted they settled for sex-like activities instead. “The whole-body effort of sex seemed an impossibility so I gave a BJ instead,” another commenter wrote. “Less effort and we get credit for doing something!

While that seems a bit anticlimactic, couples who had been together for years and were just excited to move through the big day with their lives and relationships intact didn’t seem too disappointed that they didn’t get it on. Instead they counted cash in envelopes, ate junk food and passed out.

“We got to our hotel,” one person wrote. “Ate hot fudge sundaes and crashed. We had lived together for a year. Having sex on our wedding night just didn’t seem like a big deal.”

I put the question to married friends, who gave similar answers. “We passed out and got up in like 5 in the morning to catch our honeymoon flight,” one woman told me. “We had sex, but it was like, guess we have to — we were so tired,” another one said….

more…

https://melmagazine.com/your-wedding-night-sex-will-probably-suck-and-thats-totally-normal-c5a356b9e07a

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Traitor Moron Macron – ‘We Must Welcome (Muslim) Refugees …Because It Is Our Tradition And Our Honor’

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, June 22, 2017

© AP Photo/ Julien Warnand, Pool Photo

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that Europe should welcome refugees because it is a European tradition and honor.

PARIS (Sputnik) — Europe should greet migrants, because it is a part of its traditions and a matter of honor, Macron said Friday.

“We talked about the migrant crisis. It is not a concern of several countries, it is our common challenge… And it demands our common decision,” Macron said after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels.

The French president added that the migrant crisis was a long-term challenge.

“We must welcome refugees because it is our tradition and our honor. The refugees are not just any migrants, not economic migrants. They are people who are fleeing their country for freedom because of the war or the political situation,” Macron stressed.

Since 2015, Europe has been experiencing the worst migration crisis in its history, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing hostilities in the Middle Eastern and North African countries. According to the latest data of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), updated earlier in the day, 2,108 migrants died in the Mediterranean while trying to cross the sea since January 2017, most of whom were en route to Italy. The number of migrants that had crossed the Mediterranean Sea to enter the European Union in 2017 is almost 84,000 people.

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What Is Space?

Cham_BR-10

It’s not what you think.

Ask a group of physicists and philosophers to define “space” and you will likely be stuck in a long discussion that involves deep-sounding but meaningless word combinations such as “the very fabric of space-time itself is a physical manifestation of quantum entropy concepts woven together by the universal nature of location.” On second thought, maybe you should avoid starting deep conversations between philosophers and physicists.

Is space just an infinite emptiness that underlies everything? Or is it the emptiness between things? What if space is neither of these but is a physical thing that can slosh around, like a bathtub full of water?

It turns out that the nature of space itself is one of the biggest and strangest mysteries in the universe. So get ready, because things are about to get … spacey.

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Space, It’s a Thing

Like many deep questions, the question of what space is sounds like a simple one at first. But if you challenge your intuition and reexamine the question, you discover that a clear answer is hard to find.

Most people imagine that space is just the emptiness in which things happen, like a big empty warehouse or a theater stage on which the events of the universe play out. In this view, space is literally the lack of stuff. It is a void that sits there waiting to be filled, as in “I saved space for dessert” or “I found a great parking space.”

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If you follow this notion, then space is something that can exist by itself without any matter to fill it. For example, if you imagine that the universe has a finite amount of matter in it, you could imagine traveling so far that you reach a point beyond which there is no more stuff and all the matter in the universe is behind you.1 You would be facing pure empty space, and beyond that, space might extend out to infinity. In this view, space is the emptiness that stretches out forever.

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Could Such a Thing Exist?

That picture of space is reasonable and seems to fit with our experience. But one lesson of history is that anytime we think something is obviously true (e.g., the Earth is flat, or eating a lot of Girl Scout cookies is good for you), we should be skeptical and take a step back to examine it carefully. More than that, we should consider radically different explanations that also describe the same experience. Maybe there are theories we haven’t thought of. Or maybe there are related theories where our experience of the universe is just one weird example. Sometimes the hard part is identifying our assumptions, especially when they seem natural and straightforward.

In this case, there are other reasonable-sounding ideas for what space could be. What if space can’t exist without matter—what if it’s nothing more than the relationship between matter? In this view, you can’t have pure “empty space” because the idea of any space at all beyond the last piece of matter doesn’t make any sense. For example, you can’t measure the distance between two particles if you don’t have any particles. The concept of “space” would end when there are no more matter particles left to define it. What would be beyond that? Not empty space.

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That is a pretty weird and counterintuitive way of thinking about space, especially given that we have never experienced the concept of non-space. But weird never stood in the way of physics, so keep an open mind.

Which Space Is the Place?

Which of these ideas about space is correct? Is space like an infinite void waiting to be filled? Or does it only exist in the context of matter?

It turns out that we are fairly certain that space is neither of these things. Space is definitely not an empty void and it is definitely not just a relationship between matter. We know this because we have seen space do things that fit neither of those ideas. We have observed space bend and ripple and expand.

This is the part where your brain goes, “Whaaaaat … ?”

If you are paying attention, you should be a little confused when you read the phrases “bending of space” and “expanding of space.” What could that possibly mean? How does it make any sense? If space is an idea, then it can’t be bent or expanded any more than it can be chopped into cubes and sautéed with cilantro.2 If space is our ruler for measuring the location of stuff, how do you measure the bending or expanding of space?

Good questions! The reason this idea of space bending is so confusing is that most of us grow up with a mental picture of space as an invisible backdrop in which things happen. Maybe you imagine space to be like 
that theater stage we mentioned before, with hard wooden planks as a
 floor and rigid walls on all sides. And maybe you imagine that
 nothing in the universe could bend that stage because this abstract frame is not part of the universe but something that contains the universe.

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Unfortunately, that is where your mental picture goes wrong. To make sense of general relativity and think about modern ideas of space, you have to give up the idea of space as an abstract stage and accept that it is a physical thing. You have to imagine that space has properties and behaviors, and that it reacts to the matter in the universe. You can pinch space, squeeze it, and, yes, even fill it with cilantro.3

more…

http://nautil.us/issue/49/the-absurd/what-is-space

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