Breaking the Speed of (Light) Thought

An announcement a couple of weeks ago claimed that the speed of light had been broken. A pair of German physicists, Dr. Gunter Nimtz and Dr. Alfons Stahlhofen, of the University of Koblenz, claimed that they measured microwave photons – energetic packets of light – traveling “instantaneously” between a pair of prisms. If true, this discovery clearly violates Einstein’s theory of special relativity while raising the possibility of supraluminal (faster than the speed of light) travel.

Their experiments found that as they separated the two prisms by up to 3 feet and shot microwave photons through them, most of the photons reflected off the first prism they encountered while a few photons appeared to “tunnel” through space to reflect off the second prism. Based on measurements of photons from both prisms, the scientists found there was absolutely no difference in time between photons emerging from both prisms. The rogue photons had somehow vanished and reappeared coming out of the second prism.

While the Internet has been all abuzz about this important discovery, this isn’t the first time a claim has been made that the 186,000 miles per second speed of light had been broken.

In 2000, a group of scientists at NEC Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey reported in the journal Nature that they had exceeded the speed of light by as much as 300 times faster than what normally occurs in a vacuum. They did this by shooting light through a “vapour of laser-irradiated atoms”.

Also in a May 2000 article in Physical Review Letters, an experiment led by Anedio Ranfagni of the Italian National Research Council, involved shining light beams at a mirror, curved like the inside of a bowl. The mirror shot the beams back toward an instrument that measured the speed of the rays. They found that the beam at the “axis”, or center, of the apparatus was clocked going about 5 to 7 percent above light speed in a vacuum.

The experimental evidence for energy transmission faster than light speed now appears very convincing. However, in all of these cases scientists seem to agree that light may unfortunately not be able to communicate information, say like an analog radio or TV signal, thus may not have any practical purpose. The reason given for this conclusion is the fact that the light waves are distorted after having traveled faster than the speed of light. Any frequency, amplitude or phase shift data encoded into the signal would be lost. From this, we might easily conclude that supraluminal speeds are not of practical significance thus not worthy of our attention.

Can this be true? Supraluminal speeds and evidence of quantum tunneling are of no value? Should we simply proceed as if nothing happened and not consider the possible impact this revelation might have on society? No suggestions were given for how the scientists might work around the evident problems in order to use this revolutionary technology. No hypotheses for what this might mean for global communication, human consciousness or interplanetary travel. Considering how important these discoveries are, don’t you think more could have been said to enlighten us about the possibilities?

As a computer scientist, it seemed obvious to me that quantum communication could take place by pulsing light waves on and off to produce a binary code of 0’s and 1’s like a digital computer, digital TV or the Internet. So, even if the received wave is distorted in some way, its mere presence or absence could carry a message. Why wasn’t this possibility discussed?

Free communication is like free energy – it would upset the existing power structure. Satellites, wires and transmission towers would become a thing of the past. A single unified point-to-point form of communication could likely replace our currently overburdened networks, providing an unlimited number of channels carrying any kind of information. We could presumably reach one another no matter where we were – inside a concrete bunker, deep underwater or on the far side of the moon. Best of all, free communication would take us off the grid, making it virtually impossible to control, track, monitor, regulate or bill us for our time.

Quantum communication might even play a key role in consciousness. Perhaps “creative leaps” are really just space-time leaps of photons, resulting from electrochemical neuron pulses, that reenter our brain to spark other neurons, leading to intuition and sudden “eureka” moments. Quantum information sharing might one day be found to explain telepathy, psychic prognostication and the global consciousness of the Noosphere. We might even learn how to connect the human nervous system to quantum computers, producing what is called “techlepathy” or “transhumanism”, to accelerate the speed of thought and even the evolution of consciousness.

As for the possibility of supraluminal travel or time travel, scientists are quick to point out that physical objects still cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Their experiments apply only to light and not matter, leaving our existing laws of cause and effect safe and sound. I suppose we can all take comfort in the sheer impossibility of traveling back in time to arrive somewhere before you began. We can also rest assured that traveling across vast distances remains totally impractical, eliminating any possibility of visiting (or being visited from) another star system. At least we can count on space-time to remain constant – can’t we?

A 1994 “warp drive” theory by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed the possibility of supraluminal travel without breaking the rules of general relativity. He proposed that by distorting the local space-time metric in the region of a spaceship in a certain prescribed way, it would be possible to achieve motion faster than the speed of light as seen by observers outside the disturbed region. This idea, which does not violate any physical laws, suggests we can contract the space in front of a spacecraft while expanding the space at the rear, effectively moving space rather than simply propelling the spacecraft!

A number of scientists support this notion, such as former Stanford physicist H.E. Puthoff, Ph. D. who said:

“…the possibility of reduced-time interstellar travel, either by advanced extraterrestrial civilizations at present or ourselves in the future, is not fundamentally constrained by physical principles.”

Of course, Dr. Steven Greer and the folks with the Disclosure Project announced at a National Press Club meeting in May 2001 that supraluminal travel is not only possible, it already exists in the black operations of the U.S. military. Their claim (among others) is that extraterrestrials have been traveling to Earth this way for centuries, if not millennia, and that such technology, obtained from downed UFOs, has been reverse engineered and incorporated into both current and next generation stealth aircraft.

While these claims are quite puzzling next to the modest experiments of mainstream science, the possibility of clandestine supraluminal technologies seems plausible against the backdrop of dozens of ex-military testimonies describing such craft and their propulsion systems. What else could explain the gap in visible progress in this field since Nikola Tesla’s discoveries in the early 20th century? Ever since the invention of the atomic bomb in the mid- 1940’s, the U.S. military has continued to inject untold billions of dollars each year into high-energy physics research without a comparable level of visible return. The mind boggles at what they must have discovered over these past sixty years.

Breaking the speed of light is not only a revolution in science; it is a revolution in thought. It suggests a new way of thinking that reinvents the technological infrastructure we have come to assume. An open way of thinking where the “laws of physics” need not be broken if other laws can be found that make the impossible possible. An enlightened way of thinking that explains the paranormal and our own consciousness as an integral and entangled part of nature. We need only our imagination and a little perseverance to cross this threshold.

With ten spatial dimensions predicted by quantum theory, we can certainly expect many more mind-blowing discoveries waiting on the other side of the light barrier. The degree to which our scientists are visionary and our government is open will determine how soon we break down these last barriers of communication and travel to the stars. Today we find ourselves more constrained by the speed of thought than the speed of light.