"Gravity is attractive. This is true whether we
picture gravity as a force (following Newton) or
as geometry (following Einstein). It's common sense. The earth pulls
us toward its center
rather than kicking us into the skies."
Joao Magueijo, theoretical physicist, anarchist, muse
I may have misled you in my earlier blogs. No, not "may have;" I absolutely got it wrong. It's not that matter attracts light or that black holes won't let it go, but that matter shapes the context in which light travels. In fact, matter shapes the context in which all things move, including infinitely small things like photons, and infinitely big things like planets, and infinitely complex, tangled and wacky creatures of massiveness and light . . .
. . . like you.
What I'm talking about is gravity and it's widely misunderstood by the average Jo(e). Like most people I hang out with (who aren't staking careers in physics), you probably think gravity is a force that acts on things, pulling them, holding them, giving them weight. Not so.
Gravity is context. It's the result of hills and valleys we can't see, but inescapably dwell within.
The space we occupy is a fabric of prolific nothingness and time, stretching in all directions simultaneously. When chunks of matter interact with this fabric, it bends. The more massive an object is, the deeper the curve in the fabric around it.
Imagine a thick cotton sheet held securely by a team of very strong, dedicated sheet-holders. It's a beautiful, sunny day and they are suspending this sheet perfectly, several feet above an empty swimming pool. Toss a penny onto the sheet. It shimmers, but nothing much happens. Your team of hulky holders remain at a distance from each other, on the secure perimeter. Now toss a bowling ball onto the sheet. It dips accordingly; everyone moves a little closer to the edge to accommodate the change while the penny slides down, toward the ball. Now toss in a compacted Mini-Cooper, crushed to the size of a small suitcase (a dense, very heavy mini Mini) and crash! The bowling ball rolls helplessly into the pit created by the car. The folks holding onto the sheet are instantly lured into a new degree of intimacy, cursing me for not filling the pool with water (sorry, guys).
This is how gravity works. It shapes the space around us so things within that space roll toward other things. When several massive objects compete, the fact of the landscape determines how far you roll and in which direction. For example, the sun is unimaginably huge compared to Earth - which explains why we don't get a pass to leave our cosmic homeroom. The Sun's dip in the space-time fabric creates an incline the Earth can't roll out of. But we also have massive Jupiter and Saturn shaping our situation, thus tilting our slope in other directions. Which explains why we don't go crashing into a blaze of glory despite the Sun's powerful seduction. Other massive objects modify the curve we're rolling in and keep us in check.
This also explains why Earthlings don't float up into the horizon while holding sheets over empty pools. The mass of the Earth creates a curve we don't have the strength to overcome. We're inside an abyss with very steep, slippery walls and no grip. The Earth created the shape around us by bending space-time into this enormous cup. We look up into the heavens, but we can't jump to meet them.
So we build rockets.
Yes. Rockets. Because gravity overcomes gravity. And speed - motion - has its own wicked gravity.*
Down in the deeps of our slippery sloped abyss created by Earth, let's say we invent an ultra-cool skateboard that gathers momentum quickly enough to build serious speed. Step on it and set your aim for the rim: you can escape with the right velocity, even though you still weigh in with much less matter than the Earth. That's how rockets get out beyond the blue. They aren't "heavy" enough to change the shape of the abyss, but they're fast enough to roll uphill.
Which brings me to the galaxy of metaphors gravity inspires for me. "If you build it, they will come." "Like moths to a flame." "A rolling stone gathers no -" wait, scratch that. A Rolling Stone (capital R, capital S) gathers mucho moss! And I'm not just talking about Kate (a shameless pun), but about the "moss" of fame, celebrity, money, clout and attraction that keeps the population slipping toward it: rockstar gravity, baby. A small stone rolls and rolls, becoming inescapably massive to the lighter creatures in its orbit.
Even if you don't like my example - not a diehard Stones fan - you've been affected by the curve they create. Perhaps only in your thoughts, but thought is enough to make the point. If you're not actually rolling toward them, it's because you're rolling away - toward something else which overcomes their mass in your world - or because you're more massive than the band.
How does a celebrity wield gravity? How does one idea sell millions while another goes bust? What explains good luck and "bad" luck in your story? How do you change the matter (people, opportunities, things, emotions) orbiting your life?
Recognize that gravity works on you. It shapes the context in which you exist.
And then recognize more importantly that YOU are a center of gravity yourself. You shape the context in which you and others live. You are the penny, or the bowling ball, or the heavy mini Mini that influences the way the team on the perimeter moves closer or keeps its distance.
The gravity you bring to the story of space-time depends on how you fill yourself with Self. How massive are you in terms of the density and quality of love, wisdom, self-esteem, creative expression, humor, power and receptivity you cultivate internally? The more you fill up with the Self you want to be, the greater your ability to bend the fabric, shape the landscape, become a rock star in your own way.
And if, on your own, you still don't have enough mass to affect the greater good or generate the intense buzz you need to get your idea - your biz - your new life off the ground, then add mass to your mass. Collaborate. Invite. Network and connect. Join hands with people who share your vision - or who, at the very least, help you fill yourself with Self so you can gravity-up and get things rolling.
I fill my heart, my sensibilities and my being with the substance of clear, joyful desire and compassion and lyricism and love until I become a massive curving force in the space-time fabric of my world. As I increase my mass, more love and poetry and compassion and desire come into my geometry. Ah, happy, creative life!
But, hey. There's a flip side. Paparazzi. Nuisances. Cynical, naysaying moons in orbit. Sludge and vampires. What happens if your massiveness creates a valley into which the ick and ugh get trapped with you? How do you undo what gravity has done? How do you free yourself of weighty objects like negativity, poverty, despair, or failure?
Lose some gravity. The weightier things that fell in will keep their curve, but you will not enforce it. As you become lighter and lighter, you become available to other alluring matter beyond the dip you're in.
Then, start moving!
Motion is your key. Gather speed. Dance, think, follow-through, make the call, decide decide decide to want more, create, write, sing, give, call out - MOVE. Become a rocket aiming for the stars.
*As we know, according to general relativity everything falls democratically, in the same way, along lines in space-time called geodesics. The reverse of the coin is that everything also produces gravity, that is, everything curves space-time and bends geodesics. This fact implies some surprising new effects, far removed from our experience, but known to be solid predictions of relativity from the beginning. For instance, light and electricity are heavy. Not only is light bent by gravity, it also attracts other objects; a sufficiently energetic light ray would pull you toward itself. Motion is heavy, too, and a fast star attracts others more than does a steady one. Indeed gravity emanates from everything, be it heat, light, magnetic fields, even gravity itself. It is this last feature that makes the mathematics of relativity so complicated: It describes matter producing gravity and then gravity itself as the source for more gravity in an intricate cascade.From Faster Than the Speed of Light