Dark Matter: A Shy Unicorn?

Calm down, it’s just an idea

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Our current description of dark matter relies upon the workings of a mysterious gravitational source to explain the strangest of observations. One of these is the block-like rotation of spiral galaxies and the terrific speed of their outer arms — often superluminal — whose starry members remain very much attached when they should have long been flung away in accordance with everything we know. Specifically, the problem is that these structures haven’t enough mass to create the gravity required for such tethering. Another, strikingly beautiful observation, is that of gravitational lensing; a condition which occurs when light from a galaxy hidden directly behind a galactic cluster (in a line of sight between us and it) manages to appear both enlarged and enlightened in the periphery of the cluster. The resulting image, which can be anything between slightly skewed to sharply streaked, is a result of the cluster’s gravitational field which bends and refocuses the hidden image 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 properties of particles (i.e. mass, spin, charge, momentum, etc.) but most of these properties are in a potential form only. Potential because, although they truly exist, these properties exist with no measured values. Properties without measured values, potential properties, would be one reason why quantized space is so difficult to confirm because, without measured properties, there’s nothing to detect . . . and this would mean that each grain exists mostly as 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, and 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, there are the discrete particles of matter and energy. These familiar bits which make up our physiscal reality 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: If you look around, it’s clear that your quantized world 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 bubbles 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, as an immaterial background; 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. The motions of particles occur within the background and, because the background is abstract, these motions bring about an inevitable idea of the particle’s activity. This is a vibrational idea of the particle in terms of its measured properties; a description of the particle’s discrete form at each location in space and at each moment in time. The vibrational idea⁶ is refreshed, or updated by the particle’s activity in each moment of its evolution. Furthermore, because the grains are mostly abstract, the vibrational idea (vi) of each particle (and coherent object) blends easily with the potential, or abstract properties of the most likely grain it will collapse in order to exist in each moment of its evolution. 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).

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In spite of all of 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 can be condensed 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. 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. These elongated grains are 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 and discrete motion in the direction of the elongation, and the inevitable idea of 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 elongated 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 elongation of its grains (“conditioned space”) 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. More commonly, the pathways of objects passing through each other’s regions 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 all 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.

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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 out there, tens of thousands of light years away from the inner regions of greater density; a region where you, for example, live in another galaxy far, far away. 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 not a perfect example, it gives you a good feeling for what is happening.

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The effects of gravitational lensing, with its giant arcs and distorted galaxies, located so far away from the luminous material of a galactic cluster (see introductory photo), would also be caused by the greatly increased size of grains in the cluster’s sparse outer regions. The light from a galaxy hidden directly behind such a cluster (in our line of sight between us and the galaxy) yet flowing around its periphery through a region of conditioned whose grains 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. (The smallest theoretical unit of space is the Planck length, 10⁻³⁵meter!)
  2. Imagine a mass of iron. Without “discrete,” or measured values for its weight, size, charge, magnetic momentum, spin, and other material properties, you imagined “mass” perfectly well because this property truly exists and you understand it 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. That objects have a relative position to each other and this helps relate them to a background from which the locational order derives.
  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 a unitary thing; space-time. Quantized objects, therefore, evolve 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. If the largest of particles is approximately 10⁻¹⁶ meter, then a grain must be no smaller than 10⁻¹⁵ meter, or a quadrillionth of a meter.
  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.
  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 the DARK ENERGY idea in my book (pages 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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