Home units


Caution. Ideas under construction. Participation encouraged.


Home Units are used to discern distance from the point of view of the measurer. Using Home Units reminds us that how time and space look and how far away things seem is always relative to the scale of the measurer.

The concept of Home Units is something I made up. If we are to take the equation seriously, the one that represents my Theory of Relative Understanding, than we have to take seriously the units by which factors in the equation are represented.

A Home Unit is a unit of measurement that is in scale with the measurer. For instance, my Home Unit for measuring distance might be my own height. My Home Unit for measuring weight might be my own weight. And my Home Unit for measuring time might be the duration of my own life. As a species, we might use averages among us: average height, average weight, average lifetime.

To explain how the concept of Home Units work, lets examine the distance between me and that ribosome on the wall over there. From my point of view, it’s about two lengths of me away. I’m about 2 meters tall and the ribosome is about 6 meters away; a distance of 3 Home Units. The ribosome is 30 nanometers in size, which is 30 billionths of a meter. It would have to lay down end-to-end 200,000,000 times to reach me. From the ribosome’s perspective we are 200,000,000 Home Units from each other. To the ribosome, I am 62,000 miles away, like, way out in space.

And let’s examine time the same way. Let’s say we come along and find a dead fruit fly and want to examine the distance from when it died until now. Just like the length of my body is my Home Unit for spatial distance, let’s use the duration of my life as my Home Unit for measuring time. Let’s say I’m 50 and the fruit fly died last week. We were at the same place but missed each other by 6 days.

From my perspective the amount of time passed since the fruit fly died was just 1 / 3000 of my life. Chronologically the fruit fly was at this place 0.000333 Home Units before I was; a fraction of my life. From the perspective of the fruit fly who lives only for 2 days, my arrival here occurred three lifelines after she died, 3 Home Units apart.

The Equation for Relative Understanding is only useful only for measuring relative understanding. Of course. To discern my understanding of something — say, a hawk across the river — relative to a frog’s or a ribosome’s understanding of that same hawk across the river, the equation needs to be applied in the measurer’s Home Units.

Because the Theory of Understanding does not agree with the idea of absolute truth, it does not agree with the imposition of absolute units of measurement. It would not be fair to judge the frog’s or the ribosome’s ability to understand something based on a unit of measurement that I arbitrarily choose to impose. Understanding is relative, and so to are the units by which each thing measures its world.

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