Relativity, Fifth-Dimensional, and Interstellar
Over Christmas break I saw Christopher Nolan’s new film Interstellar. In a word: wow. If you haven’t seen Interstellar yet, I’d highly recommend seeing it well before bed time since I didn’t get home until after midnight and stayed up till 1:30 a.m. processing through the movie.
I love Nolan’s use of Kaluza’s theory of fifth-dimensional gravity as it affects the space-time continuum. Space-time has long been accepted as the traditional fourth dimension (pre-1900s). In relativity theory the combination of space and time into the space-time continuum has baffled many brains much smarter than mine for centuries.
It isn’t a big mental leap to assume that the space-time dimension is directly affected by gravity on different planets throughout Interstellar since the gravitational pull on Mercury, as example, is roughly one-third of what it is here on Earth. In the same amount of time it would take you to jump up and down on Mercury, you could jump up and down three times on Earth. What may seem like a short period of time is enough to make us think more happened in that time that we thought. In Interstellar a difference of a mere thirty minutes on one planet’s surface meant a decade of Earth time (“true time”) had passed outside the gravitational pull of the planet’s atmosphere.
I think many of us want to slow down time as we get older. Parents of young kids have told me over and over again, “I just wish I could freeze time. They grow up so fast!” The truth is we don’t have that luxury, which is what makes time so incredibly precious.
The decisions and behaviors we make inside the vacuum of time (“I’m in my own little world,” no, you’re on your own little world) can sometimes greatly influence the next several weeks and months, even years that we don’t fully realize until the time is already passed.
Interstellar is only a movie, but like many stories, it speaks more truth about realities we’re needing to face against lies we’re choosing to believe: “I’ve got plenty of time,” “There’s always tomorrow,” “We’ll figure that out someday,” “It’s not worth my time,” etc. You and I and everyone else on this planet have the exact same amount of given time in a day: 24 hours. How we spend the time is in direct relation to the value of the time itself.
As gravity keeps us grounded to the physical Earth, what’s keeping you relationally grounded to those closest to you? How do you keep time and space at healthy levels so you don’t blink and miss those moments right in front of your eyes?
As the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. May your plans and time and space and relational pull to those around you be enhanced by the moments God places you in today. May you not blink and miss God-given moments because you were too busy being on your own little world today.