Coming to terms with the theory of relativity is a long and difficult process that requires shedding all the popular misconceptions and hype surrounding the subject matter. Science doesn't sell but throw in carefully worded claims of time travel, matter materialization, shape shifting and alternate realities and relativity becomes pretty sexy. I think the truth is sexy if only because so many veiled layers need to be peeled off to get at it. My agenda is to cut to the truth and bare relativity, maybe helping others avoid the same pitfalls I've fallen into. Part of the problem is that stepping into relativity is like stepping into a cathedral where only hushed, reverent tones are tolerated. I think the biggest pitfall is coming to terms with the fact that the assumptions or conventions which form the basis of relativity are not directly provable, much like beliefs. They're only indirectly provable in that the results of those assumptions follow what the theory predicts of how motion and gravity (being indistinguishable from changes in motion) affect reality. Some results that you'd conclude are real, but do not fall out from the assumptions, are excluded from the theory. A specific example is the theory cannot predict a twin's aging as he's leaving his earthbound twin at high speed until he turns around and returns to earth. Everything before the turnaround is indeterminate (even if there's communication between the two parties) but suddenly becomes real after the turnaround. A second example is the theory can't determine the outbound one way speed of light, despite the fact Maxwell's equations can, because light itself is used to synchronize clocks used to measure the speed of light, an apparent conflict of interest. Interpreting relativity is like negotiating a mine field and requires unwavering focus and careful steps and language. The 2nd pitfall in coming to terms with relativity is the terminology itself. Relativity piggybacks onto terms used in everyday language but changes their meaning making discussion very difficult. Terms such as relative velocity, reality, mass, length, wave medium, theory, post-processing, the present, past and future mean something very different in the jargon of relativity. This leads to many arguments and misinterpretations based on the wrong assumption that the scientific terms mean the same thing as their language counterparts. The creation of any jargon innocently starts as a shortcut to communication within a group but ultimately ends up as a means of excluding and befuddling those outside the group. The 3rd pitfall is that while no one will commit to a single story of how Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, all printed versions of the story follow the exact same sequence of events. I had begun to try to understand relativity by recreating the thought process sequence Einstein purportedly used to come to his conclusions. I couldn't find a way to connect the dots that made any sense. That path just led to a myriad of questions that everyone found too tedious to answer. So I'm dropping this tack (for now) and will come up with my own story based on three unprovable assumptions. The 1st assumption is there's no way you can tell if you're moving unless you change your motion and experience an inertial force (which is equivalent to a gravitational force). Relativity forbids you from placing a marker in either time or space that would give you a way to determine an absolute value of your motion because the absolute motion of the marker itself would be unknown. This assumption is supported by another assumption that both parties in relative motion see the others clock dilating because it is unknowable who is actually moving. The 2nd assumption is that there's a universal rate of time that passes the same for everyone. The guy on a black hole or traveling near the speed of light will experience themselves aging at the same basic rate as someone free floating in space would experience. But depending on their relative motions, they would see everything outside their own timeframe as aging faster or slower relative to themselves. Time passes slower for all other moving frames outside the "stationary" reference frame unless that reference frame has experienced a change in motion thereby establishing it wasn't stationary. Time would therefore pass quicker for all other frames from its perspective as is seen in the twin paradox example. Relativity dictates that both twins would have to receive messages before the turnaround that each was aging slower than the other. Somehow it would have to go back in time and change the messages for one of the twins after the turnaround that his other twin had been aging faster all along. A 3rd assumption is that while there's no speed limit on how fast you can travel from point A to point B using your own base time rate, there is a limit to how fast information can travel. This is the main reason the rules of relativity supercede those of a Newtonian universe, to preserve causality while still allowing infinite speed. Before I give more examples of how the above assumptions contradict each other, I need to know if the assumptions are valid and not just the basis of a strawman argument. Undoubtedly there will be some disagreement of the terminology used which I'll define in subsequent posts.