The entire cosmic creation begins from the point of the Pancha Bhutas or the 5 elements, according to Indian philosophy. They are Prithvi or Earth, Jal or Water, Agni or Fire, Vāyu or Air, and Akash or Space. Now, the first four elements contain five characteristics. They account for the five faculties of Shabda(sound), Sparsha(touch), Roopa(sight), Rasa(taste), and Gandha (smell). There is another faculty which is consciousness. It is what we usually call the shashta indriya or sixth sense. The fifth element, space, influences our sixth sense. Of course, the other five senses have influence, but the sixth sense behaves differently based on the space we live in. This is what differentiates the living from the non-living.
So space is essential. It is where we live. And the space surrounds us at various levels. For example, I’m sitting in front of my laptop on my table. The room is my space. But the room itself is part of a bigger space, i.e. the house. Now the table, the room, and the house also exist in society. When I moved to Germany, I moved to a new social space. My sixth sense, my consciousness, is influenced by my life in both nations. Both countries have geographical and cultural differences but have one thing in common. They have a very dense population, and both nations are primarily run by diverse groups, which tend to make smaller subgroups, and these subgroups tend to behave differently. If we explore the macro aggregation. Then we can say both nations are part of the earth. Earth is part of the solar system, the solar system is part of the milky-way galaxy, which is part of a cluster, and so on, which all occupy some space in the whole universe. With the entire multiverse philosophy, the Avengers franchise explores this idea in a cinematic fictional way. It’s all about the surrounding space.
Spaces also have different influences at more minor scales. For example, I am an individual. But I am made of organs. The organs are made of tissues, tissues of cells, cells of proteins and proteins of amino acids, molecules and so on. There are also microbial ecosystems that are part of me. My consciousness is influenced mainly by these microbes. These other organisations also influence my moods, thoughts, and actions. So it’s a collective sense. If we go further, there are atoms, subatomic particles, and bosons. And the spaces between these subatomic particles decide how these particles are going to behave. The famous Schrödinger’s cat is a classic thought experiment that explores this idea.
Spaces also influence our understanding of the system. We understand the system through interactions. And we always need a medium of exchange to express our experiences during these interactions. It can be through spoken languages, writings in scriptures, cave paintings, architecture or any other form of gesture. The surrounding space also determines the evolution of these mediums. For example, languages such as German and Hindi have similar origins. Some historians say that they originate from Central Asia. That is why there are similar phonetics, similar words, and similar grammar, but the language is quite different. German today is much closer to Latin than, say, my mother tongue Bangla. Even more interesting is that words that may sound similar have entirely different meanings based on how you pronounce them. And pronunciation is nothing but spaces between fundamental sounds.
Spaces also completely change the meaning of a collection of words when we translate from one language to another.
One of my colleagues in Darmstadt showed me this exciting usage of space. And the observation really sent me on this train of thought. So I guess space is vital at the quantum level. It is important at an individual level and at an environmental level too. It also has importance in the meta-physics world. So to conclude it all
“We are nothing but space and dust, trying to find its way back to where it all began.”