Note: This article is written as a sequel to my previous article.
Now, the crisis in modern physics brings up the puzzling question: what is wrong with gravity? And a further analysis of the situation indicates that either something is wrong with modern physics or with gravity.
Many physicists would wish that it was the latter, as the reality of the former would imply that a huge part of what makes modern physics is wrong. Even I would not wish for the former, but it is sadly the case. So much of modern physics, as a huge part of it comprises the standard model, is wrong.
I have written about the standard model of particle physics in the previous scientific post. However, a part of me decided to write this very related article because I want us to specially identify the role gravity played in making us understand the conceptual crisis that plagued modern physics.
I decided to write this article to show my impression with gravity for being the odd one out. I am impressed with gravity for not fitting in with modern physics and for being the one indication that modern physics was wrong at its foundations.
You know, many physicists and scientists see scientific theories as just a means of modelling the universe, which may or may not have any real relationship to do with the universe. So, with this thought, one has to appreciate when there seems to be a connection, whether successful or not, between our theories and the universe.
For the case of gravity, there was an unsuccessful connection between our modern theories and gravity, but nevertheless, this unsuccessful connection was an indication of truth, which is that every attempt to quantize gravity is wrong and it is doomed to fail.
Many physicists felt that since light had become quantized that they could go further to quantize gravity in the same manner. But this simple aim and achieved method, as many physicists thought, proved to be the most difficult to realize for gravity.
This problem became blown and officially referred to as the problem of quantum gravity. Modern physicists became discombobulated were then asking and looking for how gravity can be quantized, and sadly, when one looks at the whole situation, it seemed as though modern physicists wanted to forcefully impose the discretion principle on gravity.
And when it turned out that they couldn’t, some began to wonder what is wrong with gravity?
But gravity remained stubborn and outside the standard model. In this manner, gravity was the one important indicator that our modern theories are wrong about the universe and that the unity of the universe could not be established on the concept of quantization or the discretion principle.
But for how long would it have taken before modern physicists realize this? Well, one can only speculate that it would have been for as long as it took for post-modern physics to arrive. Without the arrival of post-modern physics, modern physicists would have remained in their already doomed efforts to quantize gravity.
It took post-modern physics to show us that nothing is wrong with gravity, rather something, if not everything, is wrong with our modern theories and attempts to quantize gravity. There is nothing wrong with gravity and there was no assurance that we will never understand it.
I think part of what made it seemed as though something is wrong with gravity was because of how easily the other three supposed fundamental forces of the standard model have been quantized. So, many physicists felt that inevitably gravity should be quantizable like the other three supposed fundamental forces of the standard model.
But it turned out to be impossible. Gravity refused to be quantized, and I say this not just because physicists depended on general relativity in order to understand gravity, but because the continuity principle as it broadly applies but was neglected by modern physicists is the only true principle in the universe.
We may have “succeeded” in quantizing light, but gravity remained the odd one out to show us that we were wrong, even to have quantized light. This is the point where we begin to appreciate Einstein’s unification approach.
In Einstein’s pursuit of the unified field theory, he followed the reverse method of what many physicists are doing today. He wanted to rather unify physics on the continuity principle, and for this reason, he rejected quantum mechanics and thus it supposedly achieved quantization of light, which was one of his earliest accomplishments in physics!
Einstein felt that quantum mechanics or the discretion principle was wrong or at least not “the final say” and this reflected in his methods. Today, many physicists do not think that Einstein was right in the path he followed, but post-modern physics vindicates him.
For even though Einstein failed in his pursuit, he was right in his approach to the unified field theory. Many physicists who accepted quantum mechanics as supreme and then sought to quantize gravity were wrong in their approach, and it was for this reason many wondered: what is wrong with gravity?
Also, one may have to consider the blame general relativity holds for further misleading us into thinking that something was wrong with gravity. General relativity did not give us the true picture of gravity, and even though this was the case, I will not want you to go further to think that this was why we could not unify relativity with quantum mechanics.
The error of general relativity had nothing to do with the unification of physics as we thought of it to be the unification of quantum mechanics and relativity. Rather, the error of general relativity has to do with the unification of physics because it is the wrong picture of gravity and the relativity of accelerated frames.
Quantum mechanics is not the fundamental theory of the universe, but relativity. So we have only relativity to blame for the unification problem and not quantum mechanics.
Thus, if general relativity had presented to us the true picture of gravity and of the relativity of accelerated frames, there would have been no need for physicists to try to quantize gravity; they would have seen early enough and by themselves the non-fundamental nature of quantum mechanics and of the standard model.
So general relativity is not wrong because it refuses to unify with quantum physics but because it is wrong about gravity and the relativity of accelerated frames. There is just no need to refer to quantum mechanics when discussing the unification problem as only the continuity principle could resolve the problem.
I have taken the time to appreciate gravity in this article because we were able to quantize light and so we thought that we were onto something, when actually we weren’t. If not for the reluctance of gravity, we wouldn’t have known or suspected beforehand the error of the discretion principle and of every attempt to quantize gravity.
Also, it should be clear that it just wasn’t about general relativity being the wrong picture of gravity, but the fact that the unified picture of the universe could not have emerged from the discretion principle but from the continuity principle.
So we must always look back at the crisis of modern and appreciate gravity for being the one indication that something was wrong with the discretion principle and with all our attempts to quantize the universe.
Gravity was stubbornly telling us that something was wrong with “quantum gravity” and not the reverse. And concerning what I had already mentioned, quantizing three of the supposed four fundamental forces of the standard model further made physicists feel that something was wrong with gravity.
Einstein had rightly ignored the weak and the strong forces and had focused on only the electromagnetic force and the gravitational force, so I think that this was why it was easy for him to have neglected quantum mechanics and the discretion principle in his pursuit to unify physics.
But we on the other hand wrongly held that there are four fundamental forces in the universe and since we had “proceeded to successfully” unify three of these four fundamental forces except gravity, we felt that gravity would inevitably become unified with the other three.
So, we were very much surprise that gravity didn’t. We did not take the time to consider that quantum physics and every attempt to quantize gravity may be wrong. Instead many of us were forced to think that something must be wrong with gravity.
Thus, this article makes it clear that many modern physicists feel that something is wrong with gravity only because it stubbornly refused to satisfy the discretion principle. And sometimes I wonder what would have been the fate of physics if we had discovered a false way of quantizing gravity just like we did for light.
We would have dug ourselves into a pit that would be very hard to escape from. Not like it wasn’t already the case with the quantizing light, but we would have worsened the situation.
So, we exactly owe it to gravity for making us suspect that we had not yet touched or seen the unity of the universe. And I deeply appreciate gravity for being the odd one out and for being the one important indication that something was wrong with modern physics.
Until next time,
I will be here.
– M. V. Echa