We are happy to announce that you can follow the first ever time-space-gravity-experiment in the world’s largest virtual Mud Clock. The research will be carried out by the reporter team Per Huttner and Fatos Ustek, who will be writing on site and on an everyday basis.
Huttner and Ustek left their homes and research centres on July 15, kissing goodbye to their loved ones before starting their experimental journey that will last for 42 days. Their journey will take place in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN which has been filled with a form of virtual sulphured earth that will allow them to investigate the limits of temporality and the boundaries of reality.
The duo will carry out experiments for the implementation of an absolute accurate clock that will not only be correct for the present, but for of all times and all dimensions. Huttner and Ustek will be travelling at 16,67% of the speed of light and will be communicating simultaneously using multiple forms time-keepers and means of communication.
During the experiment the duo will be eating balanced Time Smoothies to counteract the osmotic and speed induced pressure of their bodies. The Smoothies will provide a higher density in their digestive-tract and will provide a counter-pressure to outside and hence lead to the equanimity of an atmosphere.
For your thirsty brains we have offered the research material for the first 7 days below. This will also counteract the fact that the duo will be travelling at 16,67% of the speed of light which means that there is a 7 day difference between the time experienced on the journey and the time experienced by the readers.
Do not miss out on this unique possibility to live history in the making ONLY on this site.
Research Day1: The Counter-Intuitive
Today we started the ‘real’ preparations for our journey. There are so many practical things to resolve. But in all the confusion, I was struck by a thought. What amazing things physics can do to our minds. For instance, different scales create different universes with their own logic. Look how galaxies or subatomic particles function and you will get some pretty amazing inspiration: particles that have no mass that are in an infinite number of places at once, or that the total energy of the universe is zero. It blows your mind away that the energy of the sun or the weight of the Himalayas are only borrowed energy from the expanded universe.
Understanding these things, create new ways of thinking about our own lives and the reality that surrounds us. Here is an example. It has been said that if we were to build a particle reactor the size of our universe of the type that we are going to travel (The Large Hadron Collider), it would generate enough energy to ‘see’ what the strings of string theory ‘look’ like. That is how much energy we need to see a Planck length. It is in the counter-intuitive that ‘new universes’ are created. We travel as much in our minds as in our bodies. We set out on this journey with the help of a Mud Clock to find other scales of temporality and the counter-intuitive realities that are inherent in the virtual mud. What luxury to be a part such an endeavour.
Research Day 2: Swimming in the Longitude of Sleep
Today, we simulated sleeping in the mud. It has been 32 hours in the mud and sleepiness has been covering us like a duvet. It is more unusual for us both that the process of integration requites long hours of sleep while adjusting to the newness of the condition. Either the density we travel in, the swollen bodies we inhabit or the sleepy-mind we carry along allow us to indulge in vivid dreams. This takes place as our surfaces of interaction expand in regards to our immense speed of rotation. Here is a quote from the dream diary:
“Here I am, sitting on a corner table while a big crowd (like a parliament of owls) surround myself, all looking at two other directions than towards me. I can hear each sound and see each detail of their faces and observe how they negotiate the space they occupy. Then there is fear, so strong: fear of me not being visible. Do they see me at all? Why can’t I meet their eyes? I am here, sitting still while continuously transforming in my molecular composition – where also my cells exchange function. I am here. I know this.
But then I ask myself, why on earth do I have no clue if here for me, is there for others? Then, I wake up.”
Research Day 3: Logic and Humour
“…je dirai que la réalité est une convention stupide établie par des êtres sans humour, ni scrupules, et que je réclame pour moi le droit de me contredire, à l’instar du poème moderne.”
“…I would say that reality is an agreement made by stupid people with no sense of humor, no scruples, and I proclaim that I have the right to contradict myself like a modernist poem.”
Drawing by Jean-Yves Girard.
In his text, ‘Mustard Watches an Integrated Approach to Time and Food’ the excellent French logician Jean-Yves Girard explains that the Mustard Watch is superior to all other time keeping devices. It is so, simply because it tells time as well as any other and at the same time contains mustard. So it is logical that if you are out of mustard, the watch will provide you with the missing substance.
We can live without mustard (even though sausages will not be as tasty). This means that we could raise the stakes more according to the logic and invent the Insulin Watch or the Anti-Histamin Watch. It would without doubt be more effective than the Mustard Watch. But then we would also leave Mr. Cassé’s device well behind and fall right back into the Cartesian Non-Rabbit-Hole. Where does our Mud Clock fit in?
Research Day 4: Getting Bell Right
After breakfast, we studied Bell’s theorem, mostly known as Bell’s inequality. In other words, we will aim at calculating the quantum effects that appear to travel faster than light. In the calculations that we carry out, we seek to arrive at something that will enable us to formulate interdependent relational dialectics. We decide to focus these calculations on local realities. Therefore we will be exchanging coordinates with each other throughout the experiments. At times we will be sharing the same potentiality in space-time-gravity, whereas at others we will have opposing positions. We will need to continuously load our proton accelerators in response to our position.
Research Day 5: Bohemian Rhapsody
The start of our journey is only three days away and fear is mounting in my body. What will happen to my mind and my body inside the Mud Clock? My worries are two fold. I worry that travelling at such high speed is going to make me sick and I worry that my mind is going to block, so that I will ruin the experience for everyone else who have invested so much time, money and energy in realizing this dream. I read David Bohm for comfort. “One of the primary blocks to such latent creativity is what Bohm refers to as ‘self-sustaining’ confusion in the mind, in contrast to ‘simple’ confusion. Simple confusion is that which we experience when for instance, we don’t understand directions we are given, or when we can’t find the solution to a puzzle. Self-sustaining confusion, on the other hand occurs ‘when the mind is trying to escape awareness of conflict…in which one’s deep intention is really to avoid perceiving the fact, rather than to sort it out and make it clear’ Bohm points out that this process creates an order of its own: a reflexive state of dullness in which the natural agility of the mind is replaced is replaced with a torpor on the one hand, mechanical and meaningless fantasies on the other. Unfortunately says Bohm, this has come to be considered a normal state of mind, and is therefore endemic to our culture.” 
Research Day 6: Hidden Variables
What keeps modern physics still stable and strong is the fact that we approximate conclusions rather than arriving at exact values. The aspect of ‘Error’ in calculations are mostly sent to the kernel of calculations. In other words, the water does not always boil at 100 degrees Celsius at 1 atm pressure and 25 degrees Celsius, but at variant degrees in close approximate of 100. This means, that at times water boils at 99 degrees Celsius, or at 95 or at 108. Each event of water boiling gives a different result. Each event does have its own specific dependents and variables, although all events take place in the same room, at the same pressure point. Though, in physics we accept the premise of water boiling at 100 degrees Celsius as a valid reality. You can do this experiment at home, though do not forget to invite a good bunch of friends for tea.
What we call error, is the difference between the approximated truth and the empirically arrived event based reality. In our case of boiling water, we subtract our event-based calculations from 100. And let us say we make 100 different experiments and end up with 100 different results. Now subtract all your results from the number 100 and add them to one another, then divide the sum by 100. The outcome will give you the Error of the event, and mostly this will be smaller than 1, which makes it small enough to omit.
However, the error might not always be smaller than 1, which brings out a big confusion for deriving arguments from premises. In Bell’s theorem, one needs to calculate the reception percentage of two addresses from one source, through at times shifting the angles of one of the addressee (or both) leads to shift in results. The story is, imagine two sheets of metal, one placed in London and the other in Paris and imagine a source in Berlin, which shoots electrons. Both sheets do receive a certain amount of electrons. And now, change the angle of the metal sheet in London by 15 degrees, the amounts that is received by both sheets are both different. Although, the sheet in Paris stood still, and the source kept sending same number electrons per second, the number of electrons hitting the surface of Parisian sheet changes. That is our case for hidden variables.
Research Day 7: Insomnia Incognito
I can’t sleep. I am too excited. I should be tired, but my thoughts race. Tomorrow we will leave. What if something goes wrong? What if we never return. I worry for Fatos. She has not been herself lately. She is probably only too stressed. But what if she buckles under the pressure. What if I fail to meet what is expected of me?
I read the I-Ching, listen to some music and eat two apples. I know that we are going to be fine and I know that we will have a wonderful trip and also contribute somehow to our fellow humans. I need to sleep.
“…la lumière que l’on a toujours fait figurer, sous l’étendard de la pureté est en fait un agent de désordre : ‘l’ordre se constitue dans se qui brille, car ce qui brille rayonne le désordre. La constitution de la matière requiert par conséquence que la lumière se sépare de l’objet qui s’organise. L’astronome pareillement se dégage de la terre.”
“… light has always been proclaimed under the banner of purity, bit it is in fact an agent of disorder: order is constituted in that which shines, because that which shines radiates disorder. The constitution of matter therefore requires that the light is separated from the object that it illuminates. The Astronomer similarly distances himself from the earth.”
My Friends, I proclaim. We do not need light or illumination. We need more Mud Clocks. This has been the most amazing and exciting day of my life. I distance my self from earth while still travelling it. This is a new reality, a new life, a new universe.
I feel like sitting in the midst of a tormented reality. I trace my cognitive mapping though the curvature of the fractal where I have been imprisoned since a couple of hours. I am rather still, moving in the flux with the atmospheric resonance. I do not exactly know where I reside and my velocity in this density is of no help. I imagine being in a café with the smell of fresh pizza and this lucid daydream gets ruptured by six kids entering the space, screaming. I surrender. I try to focus and to be alert and in the now. I am recalling breathing exercises. I was guided to persist and I try to do so. But nothing that I do helps me to focus on breathing. I am missing the point! This repetition is of no use! I get aggravated and irritated. Whose idea was this at first place? Being on my own embraces an annoying difference from waking up in my room on a silent Sunday morning – to be idle without knowing how to spend the day. This solitude is without tears, just a stone sitting on my chest. So I go on, challenged by the impossibility of being and fully aware at the same time. All this is quite new, and something of an unpredictable nature. Nothing is like it was, just a set of resemblances I hold onto.
Solitude is a strange time measuring device – boredom another. After all the excitement of commencing the experiment, a strange sense of normality is sedimenting in me. Today, I feel slightly lonely after a day’s work in the Mud Clock. I would like to go for a coffee with a friend or a drink with a colleague. I recall that virtual diving towers allow me to embrace the mud time differently. It creates a space where I can plunge into the otherness of fellow travellers (real and virtual). I start with the three-meter springboard. I dive. When I hit the mud it allows me to meet a boring accountant type. Not what I had in mind. I get out and climb to the five-meter platform and perform a reverse in the tuck position and land again. Now I have the great pleasure of talking to a young intelligent boy with strange eyes. But he runs off to play with another child. I climb to the ten-meter platform which it is full of teenagers. But I ignore them and throw myself off with confidence. On my way down I start to worry. The impact with the mud’s surface is tougher than I had estimated. But it was worth it, because I meet a lady who reminds me of Fatos and our conversations about Gödel stimulate me so much that I quickly feel tired and sleepy and ready for some Mud Clock rest.
A poem is a prolonged hesitation between sound and sense. This sentence has been whirling in my mind since morning. I wonder if it was in my dream that I had a joyful conversation with Paul Valery. If so, we must have talked about love.
When I am in the mud I reflect on my normal life. I see clearly how our ability to remain on the move and to embrace fluidity has become key in defining our lives. We want to be like watery present everywhere and with an ability to shape shift depending the reality that surrounds us. Our restless search for change is probably one of the aspects that marks our time most.
In a text for American Scientist, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and writer of poetry and drama, Roald Hoffman reflects on the nature of curiosity. He starts out by noting that the Latin root of the word “interesting” means being “in between”. (Is mud between rock and water?) Hoffman moves on to reflect on a liquid metal with special properties: “The observer first has to know what is normal, in order to care about what is not. Lithium tetramine (Li(NH3)4) is a bronze-colored metallic liquid (that combination of properties is interesting by itself) that crystallizes into a metallic solid at 89 degrees Kelvin (–184 degrees Celsius). That is a low temperature, but so what? Other elements and molecules solidify at lower temperatures: molecular hydrogen (H2) at 14 degrees Kelvin and helium not at all. But none of these other atoms or molecules is a metal. Li(NH3)4, a liquid and a metal, has a freezing point nearly 150 degrees lower than that of any other liquid metal. How am I to think about the way intermolecular forces (responsible for solidification of all compounds) interweave with the free motion of electrons that is the hallmark of being a metal, to make (Li(NH3)4) melt at such a low temperature?” In other words, what is important here is less, which particles make up the molecule, but rather what holds it together. No, not even that, but what is different about these forces from other forces in other molecules. Travelling at such a high speed changes how I am put together and also how time is formulating itself. It is beautifully scary and every evening when I go to bed I feel tired in way that I have not felt since I was a child. Is it because my body has lived so many new experiences?
Deductive disciplines like geometry:
You enter certain rules and others follow. We make a rule for multiplication for a calculator. 125 times 80, will be 125 x 80 and for the human mind it could be 125 x 4 x 2 x 10 which would be 500 x 2 x 10 and they all equal 10,000. At certain instances humans can calculate the result faster than the machine.
It has never been more important to speak of solidarity and group efforts than today, when the complexity around us forces us to work together in large groups. Our journey inside the Mud Clock is an effort carried out by a great number of people and a marvellous team. But it is also important to keep in mind that Fatos and I travel at 50 000 km/s in the opposite direction and here we will be able to understand and formulate identity in new ways as we swoosh past each other more often than I care to think about:
“The ontological status of any assemblage, inorganic, organic or social, is that of a unique singular, historically contingent, individual. Although the term ‘individual’ has come to refer to individual persons, in its ontological sense it cannot be limited to that limit scale of reality. Much as biological species are not general categories of which animal and plant organisms are members, but larger-scale individual entities of which organisms are component parts, so larger social assemblages should be given the ontological status of individual entities: individual networks and coalitions; individual organizations and governments; individual cities and nation states. This ontological manœuevre allows us to assert that all these individual entities have an objective existence independently of our minds (or of our concepts of them) without any commitment to essences or reified generalities.”
The Mud Clock team makes this journey possible and yet only Fatos and I get to embark on this wonderful journey. Somehow I feel that we have stopped being individuals, we are part of a larger system, cogs in a wheel – but also founders of another kind of reality.
When I write this, we have been travelling for a week. Only four weeks remain and I start to ask myself many questions. What is going to happen to our team when we reach the end of our journey? What will happen to Fatos?
At ease with my new space-time-gravity configuration, which I am slowly getting used to, I start to work on Schrödinger’s box. This time we have no cat. The box will allow us to handle the experiments on a small scale. We will not repeat what Schrödinger already has done, but use his experiment to look at quantum particles and their speed. If we can calculate the speed of particles on-the-move rather than at the set-destination, we will be able to prove our postulate on the nature of quant particles. If we can prove that velocity is not only dependant on density of place, static energy of the particle but also the static-kinetic energy of other particles in the entire universe, we will arrive at our goal of ‘tuning’. So today, I construct the box and vacuum it before taking a long nap.
The only thing that must not happen, happened today. I felt sick. Nobody has ever travelled so fast for such a long time before. So, it has been impossible to predict what will happen to our bodies. Pain and disease has always been a threat to the project. Today an infernal sting shot up in my teeth. This is the particularity with toothache; it travels ceaselessly in your mouth and it impossible to locate the source of the pain. You cannot pinpoint it, like you can with most other corporeal pains. I exchanged some messages with the team’s medical expert and after some reflection; she suggested that I should rub some of the virtual mud on my gums. She suspected that there might be a temporal disparity between my body and the surrounding substance that caused the pain. I did what she asked and it worked wonderfully and the ache went away immediately. I realised that pain both actualizes subjective time (I am entirely in the present and nothing else exists but me and my pain) and renders it totally superfluous (I only want the pain to go away and time will ‘recommence’ when that happens).
“The science of pataphysics, that is the science of realm beyond metaphysics, studies the laws which govern exceptions and explains the universe supplementary to this one. For the laws discovered in the traditional universe themselves are correlated exceptions. Accidental facts versus exceptional exceptions…” This is what I pinned to the wall last night before I fell asleep. I do not know if what I did can be defined as ‘sleep’. Maybe the speed makes me dizzy or the responsibility is weighing too heavy on my shoulders? I wake up over and over and I hear myself talking to myself about decisions that I need to make. I do not know if my alpha waves mingle with the beta waves. But I wake up sweating profusely, continuously murmuring to myself, though in my confused, half awake/half dreaming state, I believe that I am conversing with people.
There is a saying. I cannot recall who said it or where it comes from. But it states that: just because you are not a paranoid, does not mean someone is not out there to get you. Please do not laugh. This is the state I am in. Almost a post-Solaris state: what if mud awakens the ghosts of my previous life?
How do I solve the equations of love and move on?
I have always said that ‘you have to be dead certain of the goodness of your own actions to become truly evil’. I realize in the mud that this statement might be true, but it also dismisses any form of temporality. Today we were met with the news of the terrible bombing in Oslo and the horrible shootings at Utøya. The joint attack is at its very essence evil. It is hard to take in such depressing news when you are alone in the mud. To counteract my solitude, I started looking into my travel library. Alain Badiou helps me: “There lies the root of Evil. Evil is the will to name at any price. Usually it is said that Evil is lies, ignorance, or deadly stupidity. The condition of Evil is much rather the process of a truth. […] Evil is the desire for ‘Everything-to-be-said.’ To contain Evil, the potency of the True must be measured.” The power and ingenuity of the Mud-Clock becomes clear again.
Being, embodies in you, the observer, participant or user, your complete genetic, cultural and personal histories as ‘subsidiary’ cues bearing on your ‘focal’ attending (experiencing) of your circumstances, again in a ‘from-to relation’.
Circumstance, encompasses all of the conditions, qualities and consequences making up the real context of your being in the world.
There is embedded in any set of circumstances and your being in them, the dynamic of a past and future; what was; how it came to be; what it is; what it may come to be.
Today the mud drags in the past. The Norwegian events are still with me. This feeling of deep metaphysical discomfort creates a thin membrane between the mud and myself. I analyze this brane’s dimensionality and Badiou comes back. He says that injustice is clear and justice obscure. In other words, we know injustice immediately, but how can we ever define what justice is? The injustice that the youths at Utøya and their families have been subjected to manifests the truthfulness of his statement. It has been repeated millions of times that ignorance is bliss. But there is hope here, because even if we can never fathom justice, Badiou’s words show that philosophy remains a powerful tool to bring back the equilibrium between the individual and the surrounding world – even when this is made up of virtual mud.
It is natural to want to have a bigger grasp of the relationship between objects and people around you. You meet someone. It is not necessarily a love affair and that someone does something to your life without any apparent reason.
I used to write on the walls of my room at my parents place – acting like a teenager even though I was in my early twenties. But those texts remain etched in my mind. And one of them was written by Kafka: we fall for the ones who never know that we fall for them and they leave us in the dawn without a notice with our rivalries.
Let us leave the tributes behind. The Schrödinger experiment without the cat is progressing well. The vacuuming equipment is extraordinary. Today, we could calculate the speed of approximately a dozen protons (I say approximately since there is always an error to take into account). I sometimes think that Error is the quantum constant of the universe. That is a very romantic thought, so don’t take it too seriously. The calculation is achieved also with an overall measurement of the protons sent from left plate to the right plate inside the box. Although relativity calculations do complicate the process, it is so much fun.
Do you have days that your mind is useless for some tasks but great for others? Sometimes you cannot think clearly, sometimes you cannot put objects in clear relation to one another, sometimes you cannot elaborate what you think and sometimes nothing ‘reasonable’ crosses your mind. And sometimes, comparative literature is nothing but a blunt position: yes we read the news here.
We have been travelling in mud for almost 3 weeks. Time is different here. Not only because we travel so fast. But also because the virtual mud affect our bodies. I think about traditional sculptures. They were made from clay (a nicer word for mud?) and then cast in plaster, wax and finally in bronze. Sculptures do not freeze time. But a smile can be kept for millennia and revisited many times in a lifetime. Alberto Giacometti famously claimed that he wanted to capture the dying and decomposing bodies of the people that he portrayed, something that Veronique Wiesinger shows to be a fundamental aspect of his practice. The claim is amazingly beautiful, because it shifts the outlook on how we perceive time, reality and depiction. The statement obviously turns portraiture upside down, which is traditionally perceived to try to capture a fleeting moment (of beauty, of pain, of indecision or of moral conflict). But it does so much more than that. After all, the body is a short-lived entity that spites the universe’s movement towards higher equilibrium (the second law of thermodynamics). The ageing process on the other hand proves the impotence of this spitefulness. When I travel through the mud, I think about Alberto’s eyes and how they move from clay to subject and back again at great speed. I wonder what happens in his brain and how it merges the two images. No technology will ever be able to mimic that magic scanner of decomposition.
We have been travelling in mud for a long time here. Time is different here, not only because our body temperatures are lowered to 21 degrees Celsius. But also we live in the condition of time as gravity where the temperature alignment results in the transformation of forces of time and gravity. Hence time-space equations are rather mapped as time-space-gravity and more accurately as space-gravity. This transformation of forces do result in the exchange of variables for the equations of a variety of formulas, that we use in our experiments. The dissimilarity we have as the norm, creates stimuli for understanding ourselves in new ways. In order to prepare ourselves for the situation, we studied how Michel Siffre dealt with a shift of living parameters in 1972. Siffre, “who descends a 100-foot vertical shaft into Midnight Cave in Texas. He remains there alone for 177 days, isolated from the sun and without access to a clock, sleeping only when his body tells him to. On the thirty-seventh day of the Midnight Cave experiment, Siffre undergoes a strange physiological shift known as “spontaneous internal desynchronization.” Without his realising it, his schedule becomes wildly erratic. Some days last as long as fifty-two hours, others as short as sixteen. It seems entirely random, though it isn’t. In fact, his body’s temperature cycle and sleep cycle, normally aligned, have become unlinked, causing his life to be governed by two competing internal clocks.”[i]
I have come to realize that we have to return to incompleteness to make full use of this experiment. But it is a double incompleteness; the text and the reading constitute two states of incompleteness. Firstly, the text is incomplete in itself. We do not know where this research will lead us. Even when the journey in the virtual mud is over, all of us on the team will continue to add to the event (by reflecting, speaking, reading and writing) without ever completing it.
Secondly, like any form of literature, this journey presents a situation. The text is incomplete without you dear reader. Without you, this journey makes no sense. It would have no purpose. You are the purpose. When you read the traces we leave of the journey in the Mud-Clock, you short-circuit the event in a positive way. However, the events of this journey can never be repeated, which means that it falls outside of the scientific paradigm. You have the possibility to share this un-scientific incompleteness with us and with other readers and be a part of its twisting and turning in a superior dimensionality.
Each atom has a characteristic oscillation frequency. Cesium atoms (with atomic number 55 in the periodic table, the heaviest of the natural alkali metals) also have the curious behaviour that they explode when they come into contact with water.
Cesium beam atomic clocks[ii], are among the most accurate time measuring devices in existence. They utilize a 9193 MHz hyperfine transition in the Cs 133 atom as the fundamental oscillator. The best of these clocks are pretty correct, or if you want to they can deviate plus or minus about one second in a million years.
One of the reasons of our existence is at 21 degrees Celsius in the virtual mud, is related to the fact that Cesium atoms melt at 28.4 degrees Celsius. This temperature arrangement is necessary for the calculations of cesium beam atomic clocks in the Hadron Collider where the parameter shift only stays within the positioning of time and gravity.
We first measure the transition frequency of the cesium atoms. For your reference, we could as well measure its resonant frequencies. For the measurements, we lock a crystal oscillator to the principal microwave of the cesium atom. The signal we receive falls in the microwave range of radio spectrum and this is also the same sort of frequency used in direct broadcasting satellite signals.
To make the clock, we bring the cesium atoms to boil (at 669.3 degrees Celsius) and let them pass down a high vacuum tube. The atoms first pass through a magnetic field that separates the atoms of right energy state (for our experiment) from others. The Microwave field the atoms arrive at, sweeps backwards and forward within a narrow range of frequencies, so that at some point in each cycle it crosses the frequency of exactly 9,192,631,770 Hz. When a cesium atom receives microwave energy at exactly the right frequency, it changes its energy state.
At the far end of the tube, another magnetic field separates out the atoms that have changed their energy state if the microwave field was at exactly the correct frequency. A detector at the end of the tube gives an output proportional to the number of cesium atoms striking it, and therefore peaks in output when the microwave frequency is exactly correct. This peak is then used to make the slight correction necessary to bring the crystal oscillator and hence the microwave field exactly on frequency.
This locked frequency is then divided by 9,192,631,770 to give the familiar one pulse per second required in the real world.[iii] I check my notes, of the calculation of oscillations a cesium atomic clock made by Prof. Yasar Safkan: ‘The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.’ So a cesium atomic clock would make just over 9 billion oscillations per second (OPS). Finding how many oscillations per day (OPD) is just a matter of multiplication:
OPD = OPS x 60 x 60 x 24
Where OPD is oscillations per day, and OPS is oscillations per second.
So we find out that the number of oscillations per second is: 794 243 384 928 000
Even though both Fatos and I are both knee deep in the real mud of the art world, we very rarely talk about beauty. Here in the virtual clay, where time moves faster and slower at the same time, I long for beauty. I have lost track of how long we have been moving and I think about the neck of a young woman walking in front of me on the street, the petals of a flower or the joy of sharing an evening with friends. When I think about it more, it becomes immediately obvious that beauty cannot be possessed.
Beauty awakens desire. It constitutes a direction. When I see the beauty of youth, I want to possess it (but do not know how, sexually?). When I enjoy the splendour of a majestic landscape, I want to retain that moment forever. The temporality of desire is always in the present moving backwards. It has a trajectory of retention, of stopping time. Desire takes the event and generalizes it. It moves the event into a zone shared with all the other events where objects, people and situations have been coveted.
On the other hand, the meeting with a philosophical idea or the novelty of an artwork contains another form of beauty. Both contain something that cannot be defined, it is incomplete. Art and Philosophy constitute a present moment that points towards the future and will continue to do so as long as it is incomplete. Because both are meetings with the unknown, it can never be completed. It creates another form temporality. This temporality cannot be quantified or put into statistics, which means that it is not a scientific time. If the meeting with a philosophical idea can be quantified, it is only opinion disguised as a philosophy. When art awakens desire, it is only aesthetics disguised as art.
Today, I decided to take a walk through the mud. Rather than a random one, I followed the theoretical line up of a “quantum walk”. Involving all possible moves I can make from a point: left, right, straight, backwards, up, down, and their composites. I walked in the juxtaposition of the superposition of all possible states. My walk was different from the choreography of Merce Cunningham and John Cage, that was done using the flipping of a coin. The dancer on the stage moves and flips the coin and moves according to it showing head or tails.
Richard Feynman was first scientist to propose quantum walks according to probability. This is different from the Feynman constant. Or not. Feynman’s proposition is the opposite of a random walk, or a dance based on flipping a coin. “A quantum walk involves the use of internal states and superpositions, and results in the hypothetical person ‘exploring’ every possible position simultaneously… When a quantum walker flips a coin, it directs him to move one way, but he maintains an ‘internal state’ that moves the other way, making him a superposition of both directions of movement. During a quantum walk, as the quantum object takes more steps, it becomes ‘delocalized’ over all available positions, as if its presence is blurred. A second feature of quantum walking is matter-wave interference, as when the person flips heads and next flips tails. The second step makes the new superposition overlap the old one, and the new superposition can either amplify the old position or remove it. After all this occurs and the desired number of steps have been taken, an attempted observation will collapse the superposition and ‘resolve’ the object to a single position.”[iv]
Although, quantum walks appeared as a theoretical constellation, now we are able to make cesium atoms arranged in an optical lattice perform a physical quantum walk, while laser-cooling the atoms in the potential wells of a one-dimensional optical lattice. In this, we make use of the extreme electropositivity of the cesium atoms, while shifting the physical and internal states at the Hadamard-type gates, which perform a sort of Fourier, transform.
So I took a walk in two distinct paths simultaneously, the whole afternoon…
For you, it is day 21 of this journey. We are on day 26. This morning, like every morning, I had to eat another Time Smoothie and I swear to god I had to fight very hard to not be sick. It comes in a fake strawberry taste that in the beginning covered the horrible chemical taste. But every time you drink the disgusting white-pink gunk, the chemical taste bleeds through.
The fresh fruit and vegetables that we could bring on the trip are long gone and we survive on freeze-dried food that has all the right nutrition, but no taste or texture. I cannot tell you if it is the anti-osmotic properties of the Time Smoothies or the bad quality of the freeze-dried food. But I am bloated and my digestive tract is totally out of balance. I would give my right foot for a large salad and a bowl of fruit.
The traditional source for time keeping has been the sun based on observations of sundials. Recent studies report that there occurs a leap second, every now and then. There is a difference between the most accurate clocks and the sun. The best clocks of our times require an insert of a leap second every 84 months. The shift in calculating the day from ‘sunset to sunset’ to ‘noon to noon’ could just be a minor act in the grand scale.
“[v]Since the introduction of atomic clocks, which greatly surpass the stability of the rotating Earth, we have technical names for the different averaging methods that address both predictable and random irregularities of Earth’s rotation.
The International Earth Rotation Service (IERS) in Paris is charged with predicting when the next leap second will be needed. It then informs national time laboratories, such as the National Research Council, of the impending leap second. The leap second can be inserted in (or – if it were ever necessary – removed from) the last second of the day, of June 30 or December 31. Clocks, which take advantage of the leap second prediction facility, disseminated by the time laboratories, will then have a minute with 61 (or 59) seconds. With a positive leap second, the normal pattern of times changes from
23:58:57, 23:58:58, 23:58:59, 23:59:00, 23:59:01, 23:59:02… to
Other clocks report the same time stamp for two seconds (00:00:00 for example), while others (such as NTP software) gradually slew their clock time to avoid the possibility of reversing the order of two time stamps (for example, 23:59:60.9 and 00:00.1 might be recorded as 00:00:00.9 and 00:00:00.1, and construed from these time stamps as having taken place in the wrong order).”
Our brief is to re-evaluate time by living in the virtual mud. But the more time I spend in the virtual mud, the more convinced I am that we are dismounting the idea of the individual. It becomes harder and harder to know what is ‘me’ and what is ‘Fatos’. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish myself from the team in the control room. We are becoming one ball of hard research that live according to someone tossing coins or throwing dice.
Today, we discovered an underground cave in the mud. Fatos and I had to swim into the giant hole in the dark mountain (which is white and porous on the outside). As our senses got use to the black virtuality, I lost track of what was her and what was me. I felt the fear escalating in me and at the same time I could feel the jealousy of the team in the control room. They wanted to live what we were living.
I felt that I stopped existing and at the same time my existence had never been more meaningful. The deeper I moved into my experience of the event, the more I could transfer to the others. The more generous I was. I was pulled in two opposite directions at the same time and yet I moved closer to something more real than I have ever lived. Contradiction becomes fusion and one plus one moves towards the infinite.
I can tell you that merging with others smells like the ocean, sounds like a piano and tastes like chalk.
I have been collecting reflections, reflections that emerge in the mud. They appear where the water density increases ever so slightly. First, they appear as scenes from a film. But what is particular about these images, is that they portray instances and people that I have no recollection of. In the last one, I saw a group of four people talking outside a café in London, three boys and a girl. The guy, in a green shirt with glasses looks a bit like Walter Benjamin. I do not know these people. I have not spoken to any of them, not even once! In another image, I see a woman sitting at a round table and marking texts written on scrap paper with green colour pencil. She is highly engaged and slowly she becomes the text.
I once read about a theory that talks about time and its relation to doing tasks and making objects and how they both imply a genuine engagement with the now. If I can recall clearly, the texts suggests those who can embody what they do, engage fully in what they do – they exist in the moment.
If it is painting a painting, then they become the painting.
I miss watching pink Hollywood films, these days.
In John Huston’s 1962 film about Freud based on a script by Jean-Paul Sartre, Montogomery Clift who plays the original psychoanalyst says. “There is no time in the subconscious.” He says so in response to one of his patient’s claim that “it happened so long ago.” I ask myself how memories are placed in time. How do we know what happened last week and what happened when we were children? Certain memories are simple to place because of their geographical location. I know that memories close to my grandfather’s house date from my childhood. Memories from China date from the last decade.
But here in the mud there is no geography. There is just ceaseless travelling in something monochrome. I find it harder by the minute to order my memories and to separate them from my dreams.
The timelessness of the subconscious is our natural state and what we live in our daily lives according to clocks and watches is only a contrived construct.
Two more minutes and then the time is up! Sometimes, experimenting with cesium and protons feels like waiting for Godot and sometimes it is a train that we just have missed by a split second.
The longer this journey progresses (and it really does), life in the Mud Clock is getting increasingly chaotic. What I was able to do without effort in an hour in the first week, now takes a whole afternoon of hard work to accomplish. Time gets shorter as chaos gets more intense, so that the subjective time of each day in the mud gets exponentially shorter. We charge the cesium atoms so that they acquire more and energy and they bounce faster and faster in our time-keeping devices.
Much of the journey has been spent trying to keep the chaos at bay, but the last few days Fatos, the team and I have been forced to accept that we cannot win. We will never be able to reinstate order in the same way as we lived it when we set out on this journey. We have come to admit that we are fighting a loosing battle against everything’s unrelenting journey towards disorder. But in exchange we gain something else, something bigger and more hard to grasp and explain.
This is also how we come to accept that the journey will end. Our process is like the development of the universe. In the beginning, the universe was expanding and time’s arrow pointed in one direction. But as the big-bang will run out of steam and the big crunch commences, the arrow will point in the opposite direction making the chaos more intense and time will accelerate until everything travels at the speed of light and compresses until the whole universe will be squashed into a Planck length. The compression of the Mud Clock goes faster by the day. This is good news because we are being squeezed together and once everything is compacted, we will know what time, space and utopian solidarity means. This is the moment that our journey is over.
(For those of you who enjoy this idea, please turn to Italo Calvino’s “All at One Point” in Cosmo Comics.)
We embrace realities like a room of one’s own. My reality is here, in the mud: the dark matter of my universe. It has been exactly 28 days that I sit down to write at noon. It is obvious and unavoidable that my past unfolds in the mud. The first days it was a hassle, the second week followed a revelation of a grand scale, third week brought boredom and fourth week – that which I am in, urges the excitement for something ‘new’ to arrive. I am not in a waiting mode, though contemplation takes over once in a while. I allow myself to withdraw from my reality sometimes, which triggers my mind to move constantly to and from thoughts of the possible and the new. I am afraid.
Deleuze returns to an image: a bee and an orchid that are perfectly matched. Even though they look and function in totally different ways, they fit perfectly together. His argument is that we cannot say that one has been designed to fit the other. What is important is their relationship, what happens between them. They are becoming together. They develop in harmony, in chaos, in fighting for their own space in the universe.
We cannot say that ‘we have been born in the best of worlds’ because we develop and the world develop in unison. There is a fundamental difference between me and the world, but we are the product of each other and that is what makes the world beautiful – we were made for one another.
In the virtual mud, it is different. The mud has not been designed for me, but for this experiment. I have not been designed to be in the mud. I have been designed to live on planet earth. I long to be in the world that has developed and has been developed by the hands and minds of all my forefathers and other creatures that lived before them. I want to go home.
I woke up and wanted to do something that does not relate to what we have been doing so far. I mean the experiments and the adjustments of the data we collect. I do not know if I have burned myself out working too much, or if it is just one of these days where you do want to lie down and dwell in your thoughts all day. I think it is the burden of responsibility that one sometimes needs to escape. Just to feel that without any major accountability, one can still be living and still breathe as usual and ponder different things.
I seek what I seek to find in the midst of thoughts and emotions. So, here I am not willing to do much, not even striving to have another smoothie, though I grew to like them over the last thousand hours. I also want to see what Bell’s theorem corresponds to in my life. Can I be left only with assumptions of the multi-linear paths of affect, or achieve to experience first hand?
In the end, are not all the theories for elaborating and enriching what we derive from living and how we feel about it? I am living with more questions than answers today. Can I just call it as it is? Or do I need to force myself to leave a meaningful mark that is specific for being awake in this very moment? If so, let me share some speculations of mine: I have been thinking on the space-time and while trying to prove it wrong. I came up with and replaced it with entropy-gravity.
So far, so good, but then is it not dangerous to fall into what space-time has been mapping for us for the last couple of centuries? So when a change, is it only a shift of terminology, can we call it a change? Let me add a very different question. What if what you think you feel is what you condition yourself to feel (while convincing yourself with the proofs based on what your thoughts have amassed so far)? In a way, proofs are proofs just because you also expect them to fulfil what you expect to prove. Am I exceeding a scientific argument? I do not think so and I think so, at the very same time. This limbo, is this a happy place? No rather funny one!
We started with the idea of redefining time and managed to create a new relationship to space, because today we are in all places at once. But because we are in an infinite number of places at once, the leap seconds come quite frequently. We are not only affected by the sun, but by billions of other stars in the universe that also leap.
This allows us to ask an infinite number of specialists to look at our infinite number of leap seconds and we get an infinite number of perfect measurements of the same time, but taking place in different places. We see that there is an equally great infinity of missing seconds that there are extra seconds.
All these imperfections in the well-oiled machinery (that is virtually all void) go to show that the universe is active. Not only is it active. It is not reactive, because that is our role in the cosmos, to be slaves to larger and imperfect mechanisms.
As we are approaching the last day of our experiment, when we will have the finale of the whole project and the grand testing, I wonder if it will really happen. Will there be a lapse of something ‘missing’ or a fabulous event. In case of the latter, that will be incredible in many ways. And just this millisecond, I was surrounded by the fear of missing out on another possible entry to the experiment. Could it be possible that we forgot to take something important into consideration? Could it be possible that if we had a different starting point for the whole project, we could have increased our chances of ‘success’? Could it be that we actually achieved something important but failed to recognise the important result? Amongst these thoughts, a glimpse of hope emerges like a beautiful Pink Martini song:
Ma chambre a la forme d’une cage
Le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre
Les chasseurs à ma porte
Comme les p’tits soldats
Qui veulent me prendre
The fact that Fatos speaks French, makes it is impossible that our experiment has failed. We know that we have victory in our hands and go for a quantum walk together and let the cesium clock do our respective chores. This day is both incredibly short and totally pointless. That is also what makes it so precious.
It happened! It was not what we expected, but it happened! Actually something else happened than what we looked for!
Something else happening, proved that it happened for real at a different time-space-gravity-entropy constellation.
I am swimming in the sea of joy.
We didn’t know how long our journey would last. But it is amazing that it lasted 6 weeks or 42 days, which makes it a homage to Deep Thought that appears in Douglas Adam’s “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. In the book a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings build a computer named Deep Thought, created to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer is revealed to be 42, Deep Thought creates another computer, more powerful than itself, to calculate the question for the answer.
Michel Cassé, p.14, Le psychanalyste, le physicien et le réel, 1987, Radio France/Éditions Poiesis ISBN 2-905525-06-1
 Lee Nichols, Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition of David Bohm’s “On Creativity”, Routledge 1997.
 Michel Cassé, p.14, Le psychanalyste, le physicien et le réel, 1987, Radio France/Éditions Poiesis ISBN 2-905525-06-1
 Manuel DeLanda, A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity, 2006.