The In-Between – a scientific perspective

The following (imaginary) talk was given recently by a renowned author to an international congress on major advances in cosmology. It is part of work on the concept of The In-Between in preparation for the novel of the same name.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, distinguished physicists and cosmologists,

This afternoon I wish to address a captivating concept that challenges the boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos – the intriguing notion of the “In-Between.”

Calling the In-Between a ‘space’ is a misnomer as it has neither space nor time. It can best be understood as the unique passage between one universe and all others. That there is only one such passage for all universes was a hypothesis that was developed convincingly by Prof. Aanan Bachman several years ago. Although, at the time, no one was able to demonstrate its existence.

As you might imagine, it is not a bustling crossroads, but rather a rarely-used passage, granting access to only a few gifted individuals. The nature of the In-Between – outside time and space – subjects would-be travellers to extreme strain and the resulting ‘reshuffling’ of their minds and bodies produces unexpected effects that continue to defy our understanding. As was witnessed by the travels of Ellie Bachman, granddaughter of the physicist.

The primary purpose of the In-Between, however, is to maintain the difference between universes. Why should maintaining difference be so crucial, you might ask. Because difference is the sole parameter that distinguishes one universe from another as all universes exist in the same space and time. One impact of this need to safeguard difference and avoid all universes merging into one, is the need to curtail the flow of ideas and novel ways of working from one world to another.

Herein lies the paradox, for it is precisely at the juncture between universes that the In-Between acts as a bridge, enabling novel ideas to ripple like waves from one realm to another. Those few who travel the In-Between, like young Ellie, are then tacit purveyors of new ideas and, as a result, are engaged in a constant struggle with forces inherent in the In-Between that oppose change.

Our pursuit of the mysteries of the In-Between brings us face to face with profound implications, not just cosmologically and in terms of physics, but also morally, ethically and politically. It challenges our understanding of the delicate balance between the maintenance of the status quo to guarantee identities are preserved and stability is ensured versus encouraging change and innovation such that systems do not become over brittle and are not shattered because ill-adapted to changing circumstances. These questions are particularly pertinent in our own world where the acceleration of climate change and our failure to react satisfactorily to it threaten our very existance.

During the early stages of writing this text, ChatGPT was used. This exploration of the technology offers potentially interesting avenues for creative writing through a critical approach to the technology based on author-driven improvements to outputs rather than blind acceptance or blanket condemnation of perceived (and undeniable) threats. For a full report on the process, beginning with a few conclusions but also including the various stages of the text,  critique of suggested versions and the prompts used, click here.

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