Negative reality

A small contribution to science fiction rather than science, I suspect.

There is no such thing as a vacuum. Quantum theory tells us that, even if a vacuum existed, it would soon find itself being populated with particles caused by inherent quantum fluctuations. Once they come into existence these particles are normal enough, but a moment ago they simply weren’t here. So where were they? Nowhere. They just emerged out of a quantum flux.

And then there are negative numbers. I can have one apple, two bananas, three protons, four quantum physicists – but not -1 of anything. Why not? Isn’t that a bit of a paradox? No – as Piaget tells me, negative numbers represent not things but actions – taking away. So positing one apple is literally positing – putting into position. And by the same token, negating is simply taking away. Of course, when you get to zero, you can still hypothesise a lot of taking away – hence the negative numbers. Well…

Actually that sounds like a lot of sense to me. But I can’t help speculating in slightly more empiricist vein anyway (probably because I’m British). Is there a possible connection between these quantum fluctuations and negative numbers? How about this? There is a positive universe to which we have access, and a negative universe to which we don’t. That’s not to say that there is nothing there – it just exists on a plane we cannot touch or interfere with. On such an account, nothing/zero refers not to an absolute limit but to a transition point. Being creatures of the positive universe, we cannot make that transition, but that does not mean that matter as a whole is limited to our half of these cosmic Siamese twins. Indeed, that is exactly what the quantum fluctuations in the vacuum – the closest we have to physical nothing – signify – particles shifting between positive and negative universes.

Now, what would happen if we could fish in the vacuum and pull something a little more substantial through from the negative universe? I feel a sci-fi story coming on…

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