Like his predecessor, Immanuel Kant, Mach believed that the ‘bottom line’ in any scientific enquiry is what he called the data of sense and instrumentation – and, POAMS adds, communication. In this way, space and time are nothing in themselves but only dimensions, or degrees of freedom among the patterns and sequences of data out of which our perceptions of the world are spun.

In POAMS, these data are ultimately the quanta of all physical interaction, and c is no more than an accident of circumstance by which the space we project out of these data just happened to be measured in metres rather than in seconds. If, on the basis of Römer’s discovery, we had measured all lengths in seconds, we would see the world as simply four-dimensional. With the conversion factor being unity, all the important practical consequences of relativity, such as time-dilation and mass-energy conversion would follow without having any ‘c’ to bother us.

The POAMS approach to physics is therefore information-based, as opposed to classical physics which, by comparison, is mechanics-based in the manner conceived by Democritus and encapsulated in the physics of Galileo and Newton. In other words, the physics of POAMS is founded on observation and is therefore relativistic in the sense of Mach and Einstein, as distinct from the absolutist, mechanistic ‘God’s-eye-view’ physics of Galileo and Newton.