Dark Matter: A Shy Unicorn?

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt

Our current description of dark matter relies upon a mysterious gravitational source to explain the strangest of observations. One of these observations is the block-like rotation of spiral galaxies and the terrific speed of their outer arms — often superluminal — whose starry members remain somehow attached when they should have long been flung away in accordance with everything we know. The problem here is that these structures haven’t enough mass to create the gravity required for such tethering. Another, and strikingly beautiful observation, is that of ‘gravitational lensing’ which you see in the photo, above. This occurs when light from a galaxy hidden behind a galactic cluster has become “lensed” to appear in the periphery of the cluster. This occurs because the cluster’s gravitational field bends the light behind it, refocusing the hidden galaxy in our direction. Once again, judging from the cluster’s luminous material, there’s not enough of it to pull off such an effect, yet . . . there it is. So, what gives? Dark matter? Here’s another idea involving the simplicity of space itself.

Consider for a moment that space is “quantized,” or comes in grains of some unimaginably tiny size.¹ Each grain consists of the fundamental particle properties (mass, spin, charge, momentum, etc.) but most of these properties are in potential form only. Potential because, although they truly exist, potential properties exist without measured value. That’s right, no measured values. Potential properties, are the reason why grains of quantized space are so difficult to confirm: Without measured properties, there’s nothing to measure, nothing to detect . . . and this would mean that each grain exists mostly as an immaterial reality; an abstraction, an idea.² The grains are “mostly” potential because, in addition to their unmeasured properties, each grain has a couple of measured, or “discrete” properties. These are the material properties of volume and relative position.³ In this way, grains of quantized space are a kind of “cosmic emulsion” of the potential (abstract) and the discrete (material).

Additionally, of course, there are the discrete particles of matter and energy. Discrete particles are the remnants of “collapsed” grains whose potential properties have received measured values. While this description may feel unsettling to some, none of it is new: Looking around, it’s clear that your world, if it is quantized, has volume, that most of the volume is “empty,” and that the remaining volume contains those particles of matter and energy which make up every thing we know.

Between the grains lies, by necessity, an immaterial background; a field which is neither spacial nor temporal for, if it were either of these things, it would, of course, already be in space. In this way, you may think of our quantized universe as a sort of cosmic bubble bath in which an impossibly thin film of soap forms a froth of tiny bubbles. In our sudsy metaphor, the air pockets are the grains of potential space-time while the soapy film represents the non-spacial background, an immaterial “substance” into which the grains are set and from which they have emerged. And, in our bubbly froth, you will occasionally come across a discrete particle; the condensed remains of a former bubble.

The background of a spacial field must, of course, be non-spacial. That is, the background must be immaterial, and our non-spacial background is not only immaterial . . . it’s entirely abstract. Why? Because, if everything we know here in space-time exists in particles of matter and energy, where are those immaterial, abstract things we cannot find yet know to exist? Leaving aside the personal abstraction of your mind as the subject ongoing investigation, we are still left with the impersonal abstractions which include things like math, physics, the laws of nature, and the unmeasured properties of discrete particles. We find none of these abstractions here in our material world of space and time. And why would we, for these are the abstract realities of a necessarily immaterial nature. Consider, then, for the next few minutes that abstraction resides, as only it can, between grains of space; our abstract background into which are set discrete particles and potential grains of space and time.

Particles, and the coherent things made of them, are always in a state of change, or motion from one moment to the next. Particles and their motions occur within the background and, because the background is abstract, these motions bring about an inevitable idea in the background of the particle’s space-time activity. This is a vibrational idea of the particle in terms of its measured properties; a description, if you will, of the particle’s discrete form at each location in space and at each moment in time. The vibrational idea⁶ is continually refreshed, or updated by the particle’s activity in each moment of its ongoing evolution. Furthermore, because the grains are mostly abstract, the vibrational idea (vi) of each particle (and coherent object made of particles) blends easily with the potential, or abstract properties of the most likely grain it will collapse in order to emerge in each moment of its evolution (because if space is quantized, time must be, too). During this blending of abstractions, the unmeasured properties of the grain are set to the measured properties of the particle’s vibrational idea whereupon the grain can no longer maintain its potential nature and collapses down to the measured properties of the discrete particle (or coherent object).

Conditioned Space: 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 (2). Surrounding grains are elongated into the vacuum (3). 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 important thing regarding 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 smaller droplet. This is important because it means that a collapsed grain leaves an inevitable void in its place around the smaller, newly-emerged particle. The void is, of course, a perfect vacuum in the non-spacial background and it tugs, as only it can, upon the surrounding grains, thereby elongating the grains inward toward the 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 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.¹⁰ 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 appear to 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.

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 (relatively¹¹) 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.

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. However, while grains all collapse at the same rate, particles collapsing the “larger” grains will appear (from far away) 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 effects of variable grain size would be plainly evident in the rotation speed of spiral galaxies. While an electron, for example, may collapse grains at approximately the same rate across 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 larger¹¹ way out there, tens of 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 observe a particle crossing (collapsing) a series of grains in a row on the table in front of you. Now, as you move the magnifier back, observe the grains to become larger, larger, larger as the particle appears to evolve across each grain faster, faster, faster. Though an imperfect example, it gives you a good feeling for what is happening.

The rotation curve might also be explained by a kind of “spacial domaine,” or vast region of space in its own state of fundamental motion compared to the universe around it.

The notion of a “spacial domaine” might also explain the rotation curve. This is avast 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 domaine in that the fundamental motion of its very 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 domaines, 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 vantage point of another galaxy far, far away, stars near the edge of a rotating domaine 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 domaine of space, a domaine 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 (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 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 distant, 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.¹²


  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 the Planck length, 10⁻³⁵/meter!)
  2. If I say, “Imagine a mass of iron,” you imagine this perfectly well even without “discrete,” or measured values for the material properties of mass. This is only possible because an unmeasured state of the property truly exists . . . as an idea.
  3. Just look around. That your quantized world has volume is clear enough but, without the permanent relative position of particles to each other, space and its objects would just squirm around incoherently and this is not what we see. Objects maintain a relative position to each other within the abstract background.
  4. For our purposes, coherent objects are those with a singular function like atoms, molecules, your heart, or cerebral cortex; not your bicycle, diamond ring, or ice cream cone. The removal of particles from a coherent object will begin to damage its singular function.
  5. 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 bits, bits larger than the largest of particles, then time is quantized into tiny moments simply because space and time are always together, “space-time.” That is, quantized space and its objectsevolve from one quantized moment to the next.
  6. Bold typeface, idea, is used to distinguish the vibrational idea of a particle from other, random ideas.
  7. There are several versions of quantized space. You can find out more about this one (Inter-Spacial Abstraction, or “ISA”) and the evolution of its particles in my book which is linked just below this article.
  8. 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 (~10⁻¹⁶ /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.
  9. In accordance with the law of gravity, elongation decreases inversely with the square of distance from an object.
  10. In this way, grains are a kind of graviton particle. Gravity and motion are the emergent properties of a conditioned space. (For more on this, please see “gravity, the idea of motion” here in Medium.)
  11. While the size of grains may appear to vary greatly across the universe, all grains measure the same dimension simply because a grain is always the smallest unit of potential space (possibly 10⁻¹⁵ /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 vast tracts of otherwise nothingness — 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. 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.
  12. Because grain 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 POV) 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 size variance of the grains involved. The measured distance in terms of the number of grains is the same in either case. (Likewise, far distant objects could be nearer than we think simply because the intervening grains may be larger and, therefore, fewer to transverse.)

Gary Blaise is the author of Between Space: the Science of Consciousness and Eternity , first revised edition, 2019.




Gary Blaise makes clavichords in San Francisco.

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Gary Blaise

Gary Blaise

Gary Blaise makes clavichords in San Francisco.

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