Dark Matter: A Shy Unicorn?

Calm down, it’s just an idea

Gary Blaise
12 min readDec 6, 2020
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt

As we search for a dark matter to explain gravitational lensing and the rotation curve of spiral galaxies, here’s an idea involving the simplicity of space itself.

Part One . . . the set-up

Consider for just the next few minutes that space comes in tiny grains which make up the volume of our universe. The grains consist of particle properties, though, while each grain¹ has a “real,” or measured volume, its remaining properties (charge, spin, mass, magnetism, etc) are completely unmeasured. Without measured value, these properties can only exist as ideas² and, if space is in fact quantized in this manner, it might explain why the grains would be so hard to find; without measured properties, there’s nothing to measure . . . nothing to detect.

Along with the grains, space includes a few discrete particles of matter and energy. These are the remnants of collapsed grains whose unmeasured properties have received measured value and make up every thing we know.

But between the grains is the important part, for here lies a background from which they have emerged.³ It is, of course, an immaterial background which can be neither spacial nor temporal, for if it were either of these things, it would be both of these things and already exist in grains of space. We can know that our immaterial background is actually there, or “real” because — whether it be grains of rice or grains of quantized space — grains of anything require an enveloping field made of something which is not the thing it hosts. In short, the background of a quantized space must truly exist, and it must exist non-spatially; an immaterial reality.

And here’s the thing, ideas are immaterial as well. And, as you would know more than anyone, they are also quite real. So for just the next few minutes, consider our immaterial background to be a suitable “place,” as it were, for ideas. Because an idea, any idea, is always an awareness of something, we can consider our background of ideas to, itself, possess a property of awareness; an abstract background. As you digest this notion, imagine how a material object placed within an abstract background would necessarily generate an idea of its presence; that its presence would be noticed.

Each of the grains which make up our quantized space is, of course, contained by a perimeter, or border which limits its volume. Like a property line between neighbors, the grain’s border forms an elision with the borders of its neighbors, and it is the network of these borders which, taken together, form the abstract background. In this way, the entirety of space-time is something like a froth of soap bubbles. In our sudsy metaphor, the bubbles represent the discrete volumes of the grains while the bubbly network of impossibly thin walls represent the abstract background which contain their unmeasured properties.

All particles undergo activity, or changes of state in each moment. For this reason, the activity of every particle, or coherent thing made of particles, would necessarily generate an inevitable idea of that thing in the background because, again, the object is evolving within a background which is abstract. The idea of the object, whether it be a particle, a protein, a brain, a body, an exaltation of larks, or the Milky Way galaxy is a nested description of the coherent object’s constituents in terms of its measured property values; a vibrational idea, if you will, of the object’s activity, or changing property values from moment to moment. Likewise, the vibrational idea of the object’s property values is updated by the object’s activity, or “vibration” of which the vibrational idea is aware, or “notices,” as it were, in each evolutionary moment.

For example, the vibrational idea of an electron contains all of the information regarding the properties of the electron such as charge, spin, mass, and magnetism with their specific measured values, and the blending of this idea, this abstraction, with the grain’s abstract properties will set the unmeasured property values of the grain to the discrete, measured values of the electron’s idea, at which point the grain can no longer maintain its abstract nature and collapses down to that particular electron. The vibrational idea becomes updated as it notices the changed values of its object.

1 — Grains of potential space-time. 2 — The vibrational idea (Vi) of the particle in the above diagram collapses a grain of potential space-time, creating a vacuum around the newly-emergent particle. 3 — Surrounding grains are elongated into the vacuum. Elongation becomes one of the grain’s abstract properties. Vibrational ideas collapsing an elongated grain of “conditioned” space will emerge as a discrete particle in motion.

In spite of all this, the thing which is relevant to the issue of dark matter is simply that the grains are always larger than the particles to which they collapse in somewhat the way that a volume of water vapor condenses down to a droplet. This is important because it means that a collapsed grain leaves an inevitable void in its place around the smaller, newly-emerged particle (see diagram, above). The void is, of course, a perfect vacuum in the non-spacial background and it tugs, as only it can, upon surrounding grains, thereby elongating those grains inward toward the newly-emerged particle as a kind of “conditioned space.” As the voided area becomes filled with elongated grains, outlying grains are pulled in, becoming less elongated with distance from the emergent particle. On a larger scale, all objects are surrounded by regions of conditioned space whose grains have been elongated in this way simply because all objects have been collapsed down from grains of potential space-time.

An elongated change in the grain’s volumetric shape from one moment to the next is a real, discrete motion in the direction of the elongation, and the inevitable idea which is created by that motion becomes yet another of the grain’s abstract properties. In the simplest circumstance, a particle which has been collapsed down from an elongated grain will, of course, express the grain’s measured property of this motion and move (evolve) in the direction of the elongation toward the previously-emerged particle! That is, the conditioning of quantized space through the elongation of its grains would describe the thing we call gravity. For example, the evolution of photons passing near a star will be affected as they collapse grains which have been elongated to various degrees such that the pathway of light will actually bend inward toward the star. Likewise, the pathways of objects passing through a region of conditioned space will be influenced to various degrees by the elongation of the grains they collapse.

Part Two . . . “dark matter”

Elongated grains, with their inherent property of motion, exist throughout the universe — it’s how things move around — and they exist in numbers which are proportional to the density of surrounding objects. Simply put, fewer grains exist where there are fewer objects. Furthermore, not only are grains fewer in regions of object sparsity, they are also (relatively¹⁰) larger. That is, and pertinent to the mystery of dark matter, an excess of grains never occurs where there will be nothing to collapse, and they are larger in regions of object sparsity simply because there is no efficient reason for them to be so numerous and small. In other words, space comes in just enough grains to accommodate the evolution of its discrete objects and, in this way, there are always enough grains (“empty” space) between objects to keep things properly separated, whether those objects be the particles of an atom, the molecules of a compound, or the galaxies of a cluster.

According to this idea, the cosmic web is not due to the gravitation of some kind of dark matter. Rather, it’s because the larger grains of a region displace the smaller ones out to the regional edges. The perimeters of neighboring regions form a domain of smaller grains which evolve as the objects of the web structure we observe. In this way, it is not the gravity of a “dark matter” which pulls things together into this web-like structure, it is the inevitable pushing apart, or displacement of smaller grains by larger grains out to their regional edges where the smaller grains evolve as particles of matter.

The grains in the above diagram are representative of the tiniest bits of space from the dense, central regions (smallest grains) to the sparse, outer regions (largest grains) of a spiral galaxy. While the grains appear to come in different sizes from your POV, grains within any region will always measure to be the same size (perhaps 10⁻¹⁴ meter) when measured within that region. To the very distant observer, however, while grains all collapse at the same rate, particles collapsing the larger grains will appear to move faster. Likewise, stars which evolve through the larger grains of a galaxy’s outer region can appear to be traveling too fast when a galaxy rotates as a rigid wheel.

The effect of progressively larger grains would be plainly evident in the rotation speed of spiral galaxies. While an electron, for example, may collapse grains at approximately the same rate throughout a galaxy, those grains in the relatively sparse outer-arm regions will appear to move at a much greater or even super-luminal speed simply because the grains being collapsed are relatively so much larger¹⁰ out there, thousands of light years away from the inner regions of greater density. Likewise, large objects will appear to move faster in the sparse outer-arm regions since the grains being collapsed are larger.

Imagine, if you could, a magnifying glass through which you can observe a single particle evolving through a line of grains set in a row on the table right in front of you. Now, as you move the magnifier back, you will observe the grains to become larger . . . and larger. As you do this, the particle, likewise, appears to evolve from one grain to the next faster . . . and faster! Though imperfect, the example gives you a feeling for what is happening.

Alternatively, the notion of a “spacial domain” might explain the rotation curve problem. The domain is a vast region of space with its own state of fundamental motion compared to the universe around it. The great disc of space, for example, which is occupied by our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, could be thought of as a spacial domain in that the fundamental motion of its space is set apart from the space around it in a wheel-like rotation, somewhat reminiscent of how objects caught in the whirlwind of a tornado can seem stationary in relation to the relative motion of objects outside it. Perhaps the genesis of spacial domains, and a whirling one like ours in particular, is found in the quantum fluctuations of an early universe, the eddies of which would have grown during the earliest micro-moments of inflation to the size they are today. Matter in motion, evolving in grains within the space of such a fluctuation, would grow with inflation and continue to move through its already-rotating space. From the perspective of another galaxy far, far away, stars near the edge of a rotating domain would appear to move faster than they should. The motion of stars near the edge of our own galaxy, however, does not appear to be excessive since we are all moving together within in same domain of space, a domain whose fundamental motion seems perfectly stationary to us.

The gravitational field of a galactic cluster can bend the light of an object hidden behind it and redirect that light towards Earth. Above: The upper half of the diagram shows the path of light in a quantized universe of variable grains while the lower half shows a universe of uniform grains. Below: while grains appear in different sizes, grains always measure to be the same tiny size and collapse at the same rate. While the two light paths appear at different distances from the cluster, they are actually the same number of grains away from the cluster and would measure to be the same distance.

The effects of gravitational lensing (as seen in the title photo with its giant arcs and distorted galaxies), located so far away from the luminous material of a galactic cluster, would also be caused by the greatly increased size of grains in the cluster’s sparse outer regions. A distant, hidden galaxy whose light flows around a cluster’s periphery of grains which have become relatively larger will, of course, appear to lie much farther away from the mass of the cluster than if the light had passed through a similar region of smaller grains. That is, the image of the hidden galaxy will appear to be displaced farther outwards from the cluster, giving the impression that the cluster is in possession of more gravity than its luminous material would suggest.¹¹


  1. The smallest grain of potential space-time could measure approximately 10⁻¹⁵ /meter, just one quadrillionth of a meter. By comparison, the smallest theoretical unit of space is only 10⁻³⁵/meter, the “Planck” length!
  2. If I say, “electric charge,” you think of a particular property of particles perfectly well even without a stated orientation of positive, negative, or neutral. This is possible because the property of charge also exists as . . . an idea.
  3. The continual emergence of grains from the background may help to explain dark energy. (Pls. see the Medium article “Dark Matter: a shy unicorn?” for how grain size may affect dark matter.)
  4. For the sake of clarity, the illustrations show considerable separation between the grains in order to accommodate call outs and arrow indicators. In actuality, of course, the abstract background formed by the elision of borders has no spacial thickness. Along with unmeasured properties, the background contains all vibrational and philosophical ideas including the laws of nature. (Pls. see the Medium article “Consciousness and Quantized Space” or the book, Between Space, for a fuller description of the abstract background, its mechanics, and the unique form of its ideas.)
  5. For our purposes, coherent objects are those with a singular function like an atom, a molecule, or a protein; not your bicycle, a diamond ring, or an ice cream cone. The removal of particles from a coherent object would alter or damage its singular function.
  6. The tiniest moment is the “Planck time” of about 10⁻⁴⁴/seconds; a trillion-trillion-trillion-billionths of a second. If space is quantized into tiny grains, then time must be quantized into tiny moments simply because space and time are always together, “space-time.” That is, a quantized space, its constituents and its objects, must evolve from one quantized moment to the next.
  7. The “collapse,” therefore, is really more of a condensation and, in the same way that water cannot maintain its gaseous phase when condensed down to the liquid of a droplet, a grain cannot maintain its abstract (unmeasured property) nature when condensed down to the discrete (measured property) form of a particle. It’s probably more complex than described here where, for the sake of simplicity, a single particle is shown to have collapsed down from single grain. In fact, the smallest particle (~10⁻¹⁴/meter) is so much larger than a Planck-sized grain of 10⁻³⁵/meter, that there could be trillions of grains forming a particle-sized region of space which collapse down to the sub-components of a single particle.
  8. In accordance with the law of gravity, elongation decreases inversely with the square of distance from an object.
  9. In this way, grains are a kind of graviton since gravity and motion are the emergent properties of a conditioned space. For more on this, please see my article, gravity, an idea of motion, here in Medium.
  10. While the size of grains may appear to vary greatly across the universe, all grains measure out to be the same size simply because a grain is always the smallest unit of potential space (possibly 10⁻¹⁴/meter). On the other hand, the size of particles (approximately equal-to-less-than 10⁻¹⁶/meter) and objects collapsed down from them, do not change and you might therefore suspect that particles would begin to run into each other as the grains they must collapse become larger . . . and especially as these grains become larger than the required space between evolving objects such as between the particles of an atom. But collapsed grains are constantly being replaced by new grains of potential space-time — especially the relatively large ones found in the vast, empty tracts of the cosmic web — which emerge from the non-spacial background and at a greater rate than that by which they are collapsing. So there’s not only plenty of “room” for particle evolution, the universe is expanding because the newly-emergent grains have discrete volume, pushing everything apart. The expansion of space in this manner could help to explain dark energy. You can learn more about this idea in my book (pp. 156 — 161), linked just below this article.
  11. Because a grain’s measurement is invariant despite apparent size, the length of any fixed number of grains in a row will always give the same value. If grains are, perhaps, 10⁻¹⁵/meter, then the length of 10¹⁵ grains in a row will always be one meter regardless of their varying size. This is why, assuming as we have, that grain size is invariant across the universe, we would expect to see lensing effects nearer a cluster’s luminous material when, in actuality, if a lensing effect (from our point of view) is predicted to occur, say, 1 light year’s distance from a cluster, that effect may appear much farther from the cluster depending upon the progressive increase in the size of the grains involved. The measured distance in terms of the number of grains is the same in either case. (Likewise, could far distant objects be nearer than we think simply because the intervening grains may be larger and fewer to traverse?)

Gary Blaise is the author of Between Space: the Science of Consciousness and Eternity, 2nd edition, 2022.