On a flat surface, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. The general term is geodesic since on a curved surface like the earth, the shortest distance between two poles is a curved longitude. In general, the line that a moving object takes is the shortest path between two points. Objects were said to move in a straight line by an inertial direction until it was found that gravity curved their path. Einstein concluded that gravity somehow “curves” space to change the geodesic. While Newton saw the earth as attracting an apple, Einstein saw it as bending space-time so the apple naturally “falls” to earth. Objects still make their own direction but Einstein let gravity alter space to change that directional movement.
Quantum realism approaches the issue of movement direction from a network perspective so photons move in a straight line by how the quantum network passes them on, not by themselves. In this view, each node is what current physics calls a point of space:
“A point in spacetime is … represented by the set of light rays that passes through it.” (S. Hawking & Penrose, 1996) p110
Imagine one node surrounded by neighbors that has to receive and pass on a photon. How it does so then defines the geodesics that Einstein says define gravity. Since every photon has a polarization plane at right angles to its transverse oscillation on space, let the set of neighbor connections for any given polarization plane be a planar circle. Planar circles reduce the direction problem for any node to an in-out planar circle problem (Figure 2.8). This simplifies direction just as two-dimensional anyons simplify the quantum Hall effect (Collins, 2006).
For a network, the shortest “distance” between two nodes is that which involves the least number of transfers. Even if a photon takes every path, as the next chapter suggests it does, the fastest path will always be a straight line in the simulated space. It is proposed that quantum objects move in a “straight” line because that is the fastest network route. In Chapter 5, a large mass like the earth redefines what straight is by changing the processing load differentially around it, i.e. it literally “curves space”. In quantum realism, the geodesics of space depend on what network paths give the fastest transfers.
In summary, for one node receiving one photon, there is a planar circle that defines the processing transfer direction and a transverse circle that defines the processing amplitude (Figure 2.9). Quantum spin complicates this but for now, the planar circle gives the geodesics of space while the transverse circle allows the processing that defines time.