Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained The Problem

April 25, 2010

The Problem

Part 1 of 4 posts

Sometimes thoughts and ideas arise out of thin air and that’s what happened the other day when I got the idea to blog about Quantum Strangeness, and how it becomes less strange when viewed through the prism of what I call the structure of existence. So, welcome to my theory of everything (TOE).

Life is lived in terms of a series of events: appointments, muscle aches, down time, paychecks, road trips, shopping, phone calls, work, work, etc., etc. My TOE, however, is suggesting a more meaningful universe. You see, in the same way that the constancy of light’s velocity moved Einstein to think “outside the box,” (actually he imagined the constancy of the velocity of light since in 1905 that phenomenon had not yet been confirmed)leading him to deduce the required relationship between an observer’s reference frame and the predictability of events, so too, in my thinking about quantum phenomena, existential phenomenology, and religion’s aesthetic traditions, I was lead to think “outside the physical event.” What could possibly exist outside a physical event you ask? That something is logic, and, in my case, that something is structured in such a way as to account for our experience of temporality, rationality, and predictable events; furthermore, that structure is a lot easier to understand than Einstein’s theories. Logically speaking, the structure I am suggesting is the simplest possible structure imaginable, and yet it is flexible enough to contain the whole of the space-time continuum (Einstein, 1915). This structure exists on three levels, the two higher levels preserving the integrity of the bottom level. It’s not as if this structured existence will change the way science gets done, but, in the overall scheme of things, the reality explained by science is not as emotionally gratifying (or encompassing) as the reality suggested by this structure.

My theory, as with most structuralism, has two components, a diachronic timeline of events (think evolution here), and the frozen in time structural aspect of experience (think logic and mathematics here). Because the universe, in my theory, takes place in the space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication,” the universe is comprehensible. Whoops, I’ve put the cart before the horse, so to speak, so I now digress to a brief discussion of the strangeness of quantum phenomena.

At the quantum level, the universe looks and behaves differently from the way we typically perceive it. At the level of the very small, we loose track of independently existing things. For some physicists, it becomes difficult to think of the universe as a collection of objects because it’s more like a complicated web of relations, a web of relations existing between the various parts of a unified whole. An elementary particle, under certain conditions, is no more than a set of relationships that reach outward to other things. What’s happening in physics today is a far cry from what happened in the past, and its telling us new and exciting things about the universe, and maybe even about ourselves! This new vision of reality is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. When humanity is brought into the mix with everything else, a whole new ballgame arises. The center of balance shifts, and overtime, possibilities open, even if in the short run, the rules remain the same. Humanity will be in for immense benefits if this new vision catches on. Here’s a little bit of the history behind this strange new science.

It all started with Max Planck’s black body radiation experiments at the turn of the century. He discovered that radiation or light propagates in discrete packets. Those packets are called the quantum of action. The energy in a quantum of action varies, but its discreteness does not, and that discreteness is known as Planck’s constant. Particles in classical physics evolve in a continuous manner, and in three dimensions of space, but in atomic physics that just doesn’t seem to be the case. With the discovery of the quantum of action, there was a merging of the dynamic state of the elements under study with their localization. The particles’ independence dissolved, as it became impossible to simultaneously determine position and momentum, an impossibility for which the uncertainty relations of Heisenberg became the precise expression. After the uncertainty principle, Cartesian space and time co-ordinates ceased to be applicable, and physicists were forced into learning new rules for a new game. In fact, all the conjugate variables of analytical mechanics–energy, time, momentum, position, had to be dealt with as approximations; they had to be dealt with in terms of statistical analysis. Ultimately, with the loss of space and time localization, physicists were forced to abandon their concept of a deterministic physical universe and, because of that, Einstein spent the rest of his life (after publishing his major accomplishments) trying to put “determinism” back into the universe.

It’s true that our knowledge, at the quantum level, is limited by statistical analysis, but it works, and it works well. That, according to Niles Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, was pretty important in itself. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, the model attributed to Bohr and Heisenberg, it doesn’t matter what’s going on at the quantum level, what matters is that in all possible experimental situations we can, within certain limits, predict the outcomes. Understanding reality, according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, lies beyond the capabilities of rational thought. The laws governing individual events are, at the quantum level, completely discarded. Only mathematical laws governing aggregations apply. According to quantum mechanics, it is not possible, even in principle, to know enough about the present to make a complete prediction about the future. Even with the best possible measuring devices, it is still not possible. Overcoming all the history that’s still building in quantum mechanics is a daunting task for anyone. Einstein wasn’t the only physicist who disliked the theory. Many have tried to dislodge the Copenhagen interpretation. In every instance, however, the physical world has intervened and said, “Your questions are meaningless.” No physicist likes to hear that! When a wave behaves like a particle and a particle behaves like a wave, the concepts that used to define the physical world no longer apply. Nature now requires a marriage of ideas that in the past were designed to live apart. Neil’s Bohr just got tired of fighting the inevitable. That’s when he started seeing things in a complimentary light. He basically said that there are no waves out there. There are no particles running around, either. That strange animal that interacts with the experiments, the quantum of action, is all there is. Because Bohr believed that, he introduced the idea of complementarity. He considered the particle picture and the wave picture as two complementary descriptions of the same reality, each description being only partly correct and having a limited range of application. For Bohr, the entity “electron,”–just like the other elementary entities of physics—had two irreconcilable aspects, which must be invoked in order to explain, in turn, the properties of the entity. To give a full description of atomic reality, each picture is needed, and both descriptions are to be applied within the limitations given by the uncertainty principle. In fact, when the queen of England knighted Bohr for his work in physics, he was forced to pick a family coat of arms, and so he picked the Chinese symbol of Tai-chi. Because he believed that reality had to be visualized in both its complimentary and contradictory aspects, but not at the same time, he felt that, at least at the level of the quantum of action, the basic idea of Eastern mysticism’s yin/yang reality had been confirmed. But, there is more to quantum strangeness than yin/yang reality! There’s another level to this relationship of mutually exclusive opposites coming together in same reality and it’s called “observer-generated reality.”

The classical notions of space, time, causality,–objective reality, — break down at the quantum level. Remember there are no waves propagating. According to most physicists, the wave function is not quite a thing, it is more like an idea that occupies a strange middle ground between idea and reality, where all things are possible but none are actual. An electron is not a particle either, it is more like a process, always forming, always dissolving. It can’t be detected until it interacts with a measuring device and even if it does interact we don’t know if it interacts with the device per se, or if it interacts with the last link in the chain of events that define the experiment—the consciousness of the human observer. The physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, devised a thought experiment to illustrate that point.

You put a cat in a box with some poison gas. When the gas is released, the cat dies. The release of the gas is triggered by radiation decay that is totally random (cannot be predicted). In classical physics, the cat dies at the time of the decay, but in quantum mechanics the cat dies when the observation is made, when the last link in the chain of events that defines the experiment occurs. At the time of observation when the box is opened the wave function collapses and probability becomes actuality. Of course, common sense tells us that can’t be true, but that’s precisely the point, common sense breaks down at the quantum level, things are “different” at that level. So the question remains: Is it (or when is it) necessary to include human consciousness in our descriptions of the world? Or, put another way: What role does measurement play in an experiment? Does it provide a description of the world under study or does it actually create that world? Quantum Mechanics has a hard time answering questions like these. Maybe one day that situation will be better understood, but until that day comes, talk about “objectivity” is probably best left to the Buddhists. They don’t have a problem with “independent reality” because, for Buddhists, there isn’t any; everything is interdependent. The subjective world and the objective world are, for an enlightened Buddhist, just words referring to mutually conditioned relations woven into one fabric. Keeping the Buddha in mind, along with the strange universe described above, I want to begin my discussion of structured existence by revealing the shape of my TOE—it’s shaped like a V, yes, it looks like the letter v, but that’s just the beginning.

The Principle Of Relativity Includes In Itself The Observing Intellect End Of Life Story Chapter 5

January 15, 2010

My conversation with the Devil continues to cite the connectivity problems that arise in the micro universe and then draws upon Relativity theory for confirmation of the necessary opposites that shape God’s footprint. In the discussion of temporality that follows—given the theory of God’s footprint—the message is that because unidirectional time is not found in space-time human beings are free to seek knowledge, make decisions and reverence the God of all possibilities!

God’s Physical Footprint Answers So Many Questions

Relativity Is A Theory Made To Order For A Consciousness That Is Independent Of Events

Future Time Nine Continued

“God’s footprint answers so many questions,” said MV, “fundamental questions, like, why are we here?”

“We’re here,” I replied, “because God is free.”

“Yes, of course,” responded MV, “but it’s in the details that we find answers to the really difficult questions and the more we focus on these details the more meaningful God’s footprint becomes. For instance, why are the parameters of the universe—the relative strengths of gravity and electromagnetism [so far, three dozen and counting (Laszlo, 2004)]—so fine-tuned to the existence and survival of life? Our connection to a friendly universe is just one of the ‘connectivity problems’ that must be dealt with. God’s footprint becomes more meaningful when the observation problems relating to the collapse of the wave function and/or the wave/particle dualities (Bohr’s complementarity theory) are considered. But the real connectivity stumper, and where God’s footprint also comes into play, is found in our participation in a quantum event that instantaneously connects us to an event theoretically on the other side of the universe. That connection presupposes a whole different kind of connection. It’s that kind of connection that David Bohm was referring to when he pointed out that in the two basic theories of physics-Relativity and quantum mechanics—there are “entirely contradictory concepts which have not been brought together; this is one of the problems that remain. They both agree, however, on the unbroken wholeness of the universe, although in different ways.’”

“Now I’m lost,” I said, “what does all that have to do with God’s footprint?”

“Remember, from a structural perspective, the footprint remains a closed system,” responded MV, “but, in terms of content, there’s more to the footprint than closure. The formulation rules of structure, affirmative ideal, transformation, wholeness, and self-regulation, permit the structuring process some degree of freedom, which, ultimately, works to transform the ‘micro world’s duality based structure/content form’ into a more ‘independent, structure content form,’ or the independent form of consciousness and events; and further, when this independent form of consciousness turns it’s lens back upon duality based structure/content, the limiting aspect of structure/content—complementarity—comes into focus.”

“Whatever you say,” I replied, “But what about Relativity? How can Relativity and the duality bound nature of the micro world be consistent?”

“You’re not listening,” said MV. “Relativity is a theory made to order for a consciousness that is independent of events. In fact, a consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. Indeed, the working concepts in Relativity, — determinism, locality, and continuity, are not only used to describe what Relativity takes to be the interdependent relationships that exist between observers, reference frames, and physical events, these concepts may also be used to describe, at least in part, the closed system structure of God’s footprint. That said, however, micro level structure is different from macro level structure, and there’s the rub. Remember, form is content for a higher form and content is form relative to some inferior content. When the observer penetrates duality based structure/content form, ~~b, the observer’s independent relationship with the event comes to an end. This consequence is the result of the closed system nature of God’s footprint.”

“I’m listening but I still don’t understand,” I replied. “Do you mean that Relativity explains physical phenomena in the macro world because the structure/content of b~b~bb permits self-consciousness to exist independent of the events, while, at the micro level Relativity does not explain physical phenomena because physical phenomena, at that level, is really an inferior form of the b~b~bb structure/content?”

“Precisely,” responded MV. “The concepts of indeterminism, non locality, and discontinuity are the concepts that best describe physical phenomena at the micro level of experience. And further, it is precisely those participation problems found in quantum physics, ‘the agencies of observation problems,’ which validate the existence of God’s footprint!”

The Self, ~bb, Generates The Salience Of Cognitive Objects

Future Time Nine Continued

“Ok, help me out here,” I replied. “Let’s walk through this, or better yet, let me take it from here. You correct me if I’m wrong. Going back to the basics; were talking about God’s freedom and the liberation of consciousness. It begins with a simple footprint; that is, the micro world’s duality based, ‘structure/content form,’ or ~~b. Consciousness, in this simple footprint, is caught between the two ‘nots,’– not this, not that. However, the footprint grows when the ‘two nots’ become, after a structural transformation, caught in the life/death struggle that we call life. In this higher structure/content form, God’s footprint expands, and consciousness becomes freer. But wait, it’s not over yet. Another structural transformation occurs and God’s footprint expands again thus liberating an even freer form of consciousness. In this new structure/content form, consciousness becomes independent of its surrounding environment and begins to think for itself–becomes self-consciousness. How am I doing?”

“Not bad,” said MV, “but we’re supposed to be taking this somewhere. It’s about the details; the implications, remember?”

“I’m getting there, be patient,” I replied, “in fact, I am there! It’s all starting to come back to me now. It’s right there in the transformation between the consciousness of struggle– life–and the higher consciousness of independent thought. When life consciousness transforms into self-consciousness temporality or ‘time of mind’ is birthed and from this new born the spirit of self-liberation follows. In fact, I included ‘time of mind’, the ~bb structure of b~b~bb, in my thesis. To get an acceptable thesis I had to write a paper explaining what my thesis was going to be about and I remember how difficult it was to talk about structure without talking about the structure of b~b~bb. Instead, I talked about the inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, or the ‘time of mind’ aspect of mind. Fortunately, my thesis was approved. Here’s a bit of the summation that I used to convince my professor to let me write my thesis:

[This argument will begin with a description of Descartes’ cogito (Flew, 1979), giving specific attention to the “identity inference” implied by this cogito. This inference is described by Anscombe (Ed. Cassam,1994, p152) as: “The thinking that thinks this thought–that is what is guaranteed by cogito”. I will then describe how the self (when the self is understood in terms of the triadic relationship, “me-self,” negation of the “me-self,” and, “I-self”) offers a different conceptual basis from which to derive the “identity inference” without attaching itself to Descartes’ excess baggage, or, as this baggage is described by Hermans, et al., (1993, p. 39), “the existence of a unitary, closed, highly centralized subject or self, as an entity in itself, having an existence ‘above’ or ‘outside’ the social environment.”

With the triadic self-concept in place, I will then proceed to describe why “a relativity to a basis,” according to Evans (Ed. Cassam, 1994, p. 196), “becomes a conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates,” and, why acquiring knowledge (accessing the truth or falsity of knowledge) invokes an act of self-reference where the subject is required to reflect on the credibility, or basis, of the knowledge in question.

From this model of a triadic concept of self I will be able to forcefully argue that much of what Mead (1934) and James (1890) described as the socially generated component parts of self are, in fact, an accurate description of self. However, I will also argue that, as a consequence of the conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates, a second, inner component of self is at work. It is this inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, and, in so far as this inner-self is capable of instantiating inner directed values, e.g., numbers, sets, multi-valued logics, this inner-self makes possible the hypothetical-deductive method of scientific explanation and prediction. It is relevant that the source of these inner values can be traced to the space that differentiates the self into a “neither this” (social), “nor that” (individual), circumstance, as opposed to Descartes’ “clear and distinct ideas.” Since the time of Descartes, these “clear and distinct ideas,” have been considered the source of these inner values and, hence the source of rational thought.]

“Just to get clear on one point,” said MV, “this ‘time of mind’ that you refer to, is that the same as the measured time of clocks?”

“No, it’s different, but it is embedded in the time of clocks,” I replied, “because it is an event. Einstein revolutionized space and time by merging the two in his space-time concept, but ‘time of mind’ is not included in space-time. However, space-time includes ‘time of mind’s negative condition.’ In fact, it is the negation of ‘time of mind’ which, on a structural level, closes God’s footprint, the footprint that now incorporates the independent form of consciousness and events.”

“Since you have already worked this subject over in your writing,” said MV, “I see no point in continuing this conversation. Instead, let’s take a look at your expanded explanation. I will say this, though, your particular sense of ‘time of mind’ may not be included in Einstein’s space-time, but the consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. This is not my belief; rather, it comes from no less of an authority than Hermann Minkowski, the first person to see the four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded in relativistic equations. According to Minkowski:

“The principle of relativity includes in itself the observing intellect, which is a circumstance of the greatest importance…this principle gives indications concerning things which take place in moving bodies, not only in relation to physical and chemical phenomena, but also in relation to phenomena of life, and therefore also to the quest of man. It is remarkable as an example of a thesis based on strictly scientific experiment in the purely physical domain, which bridges the gulf between two worlds generally considered to be of different nature.” (P.D. Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p. 104)

Time And Problem Solving Are Interdependent

Science deals with time on three levels. There is the time, which following from Newton’s laws of motion, is used to predict the future of moving objects. It terms of our solar system, this is the time that allows for space travel. Reflecting on this time, the French mathematician Laplace declared that the existence of God was an unnecessary hypothesis. He realized that the initial conditions at the birth of the universe predetermined everything, thus everything becomes predictable, — both backwards and forwards. There is also the time encountered in thermodynamics and in the biological sciences—a unidirectional arrow of time. According to the second law of thermodynamics energy dissipates while entropy (disorder) increases, or, in other words, things decay. A third level of time is found in Relativity and in quantum mechanics. This time gets measured by the t-coordinate in an undifferentiated continuum, and, according to Denbigh, “if this coordinate is ‘taken for real’ as has been the tendency among many scientists and philosophers, the familiar distinction between past, present and future, so important in human affairs, comes to be regarded as a mere peculiarity of consciousness” (Kenneth Denbigh, Three Concepts of Time, 1981, p. 4).

In the above time examples, time and problem solving become co-dependent. This dependency is itself dependent, from the perspective of freedom’s dialectic, on the space of implication or ~bb. We are free to problem solve and act on our environment in a consistent and systematic manner. We acquired this freedom only after embedded consciousness, after a lengthy evolutionary journey, liberated consciousness’s implicative aspect in human consciousness.

The Unidirectional Flow Of Time Is About Conservation

Identifying The Absence Of The “Unidirectional Time” In The Negative Space Of Freed Embedded Consciousness, We Are Once Again Brought Back To The Realization That If It were Not For The Four-Dimensional Space Time Aspect Of Freed Consciousness, You And I Would Not Be Free In A World Of Our Own Experience, Making Decisions, Seeking Knowledge, And Paying Reverence To The God That Has Made All This Possible

Temporality Concluded

Discontinuity occurring in continuity, or ~bb, in freedoms dialectic, permits the dissociations that help build, one upon another, the fruits of civilization. But, on a more personal note, one can also fall victim to the culturally imposed conformity that acts to stifle intelligence and creativity. In this respect, the practice of dissociation breathes fresh air into the dull mental habits that suffocate creativity and imagination. Here’s what Douglas Hofstadter has to say about this kind of dissociation. He calls it “jumping out of the system”:

“One can certainly jump from a subsystem of one’s brain into a wider subsystem. One can step out of ruts on occasion. This is still due to the interaction of various subsystems of one’s brain, but it can feel very much like stepping entirely out of oneself…This drive to jump out of the system is a pervasive one, and lies behind all progress in art, music and other human endeavors” (Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 1979, p. 25)

In much the same way as Hofstadter suggests, the necessary condition, in my opinion, that allowed Einstein to jump out of the system of absolute time (in his attempt to reconcile the results of the Michelson Morley experiment) is found in the implicative, unidirectional temporal nature of ~bb, — the same “time of mind” that identified reversible time and entropy. In fact, one has to look no further than the communication of meaningful sentences for evidence of the primary character of unidirectional time. Not only does ordinary experience support this claim, but so to does Relativity theory.

Sense experience moves in one direction only. In perception and cognition we cannot unsee, unhear, unsmell, untouch, and unknow. According to freedom’s dialectic, rational discourse is a product of unidirectional time, but also, according to freedom’s dialectic, unidirectional time is embedded in its opposite condition. We may then ask, what is the opposite condition of unidirectional time? Fortunately, for confirmation of “time of mind’s opposite,” we need only look to the implications of Relativity theory. In the book, Ideas and Opinions, Einstein describes the significance of the four-dimensional space-time continuum with special emphasis placed on the fate of the now:

“The four-dimensional structure (Minkowski-space) is thought of as being the carrier of matter and of the field…Since there exist in this four-dimensional structure no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four-dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three—dimensional existence” (Einstein, Ideas And Opinions, 1954, p. 371).

And, agreeing with Einstein, Hermann Minkowski, the creator of the four-dimensional space/time continuum (he discovered the mathematical significance of relativistic equations) says this about “time of mind’s negative condition”:

“In the universe all is given: for it there is no past or future, it is—the eternal present; it has no limits either in space or in time. Changes take place in individualities and correspond to their displacement along the world ways in the four-dimensional, eternal and boundless manifold. In the domain of philosophic thought these ideas should produce a greater revolution than the displacement of the earth from the center of the universe by Copernicus” (P.D Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p.105).

Identifying the absence of “unidirectional time” in the negative space of freed embedded consciousness, we are brought back to the realization that were it not for the conditional aspect of space-time, we would not be free to pursue agendas (for the most part agendas of our own choosing), make decisions, seek knowledge, achieve goals, and, reverence the Divinity that makes it all possible.

The Footprint–Determinism

November 26, 2009

Yes, God has a physical footprint and it’s grounded in the Logos of existence as it is described in the “the new model of the observer/observed relationship.” Accordingly, we live in a universe that, on one level, is deterministic, while, on another level, is less deterministic. However, the entire universe is comprehensible by people who can comprehend—you, me, and the scientist. Also, according to this Logos, death is not “the end;” rather, death is like the off ramp of one highway merging on to another highway—all energy far from equilibrium, eventually, must take this “off ramp.” However, information generated on the highway of life moves full speed ahead (by reproduction and natural selection, on the one hand, and by culture—language, books, libraries, etc., on the other hand). And, finally, we live in a universe where comprehensibility begins and ends in duality. Initially, this duality begins with the wave/particle duality of conjugate variables, and later, this duality is defined by human intelligence embedded in the physical events. The boundaries that shape God’s footprint then are defined by the duality that constitutes the comprehensibility of the universe, e.g., ~~b (wave/particle duality), ~bb (accommodation/assimilation of living creatures duality), and, b~b~bb (the duality of physical event/human intelligence).

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Godzilla was when Matthew Broderick found himself in a huge hole searching for Godzilla’s footprint. The craterlike hole and the footprint were one, but Godzilla’s footprint was off the scale of any footprint Matthew had ever encountered so it remained hidden from him until a military officer pointed out that he was standing in the middle it. In a like manner, we are standing in the middle of God’s footprint, the breath of which begins in the quasi-material world described by quantum physics, extends up into Einstein’s space-time continuum and is as deep as what is humanly possible to imagine. Since we know the parameters of the footprint, we can extrapolate a shape that is much more manageable. The footprint is shaped like a piece of pie! The space-time continuum exists in the mind’s eye of the physicist, but the rest of us know this continuum only through its effect on (some) physical events, so let the physical event represent one end of the piecrust and at the other end of the crust sits the observer. Both the physical event edge of the pie and the observer edge of the pie comes together at the narrow slivered end of the pie piece. Let the slivered part of the pie represent the quasi-material world of quantum phenomena.

The physical event, or that which we see, smell, taste, touch, and hear, occurs along the physical event edge of the pie piece while the comprehensibility aspect of the universe occurs along the pie piece’s observer’s edge. In other words, the physical event side represents what I (and Northrop) call the aesthetic continuum while the observer’s edge of the pie— or that which, in one form or another, senses an environment, — represents “liberation from the aesthetic continuum.” As always, from the human observer’s point of view, the aesthetic continuum is subject to an analytical account, or the hypothetical deductive method which postulates the public side of the continuum, and of course, there is the more personal, relative, experiential aspect of that continuum, one’s own individual, relative experience of it. The public side of the continuum, though, thanks to the advances of Relativity and quantum physics has changed the meaning and significance of the physical event, and that change woke me from my drunken slumber (my drunken slumber comment is a very loose paraphrase of Kant’s comment on Hume’s critique of Locke’s theory of knowledge). Of course, the implications of Relativity theory and quantum mechanics are still being debated (after ninety years and counting) and I, like so many more, am eagerly waiting to see how it turns out. Fortunately, I’m not holding my breath,—which brings me to a brief description of my upcoming posts.

While trying to comprehend the meaning of the “new physics” awhile back, I wrote some dialogue. The dialogue below deals mostly with Relativity theory. Next week’s post wanders in and out of Relativity theory and quantum mechanics. After that, well, I’m only sure of a post on the observer, or the connecting link that shapes God’s footprint. After that maybe a post on temporality etc. etc., time will tell.

Our old Professor friends, — the philosopher, Noel, the physicist, Tony, and the English Professor, Stan, — have been discussing this situation (the significance of the physical event), so perhaps they can make this idea more clear?

“Maybe Noel,” interrupted Tony, “you’re referring to a different Einstein. The one that I thought we were talking about is the one who eliminated the confusion concerning space and time. We have known for a long time that people in other cultures experience space and time differently. But that’s the beauty of Einstein’s work; now we can all agree that space-time intervals are the same for everybody, even for space aliens traveling at close to the speed of light. We now know that the length of a space-time interval between any two events is the same for everybody.”
“Okay, Tony, if you want to jump into the thick of it, than lets do it,” replied Noel. “The space-time interval, what’s it based on?”
“The speed of light, or rather the constancy of the velocity of light,” Tony responded. “You and I share the same space-time, but my space and your space, and my time and your time, are the same only when we are at rest relative to each other. We live in our own private worlds of space and time, but in the new public domain of space-time, space and time are the same for everybody. In fact, the intrinsic structure of space-time accounts for the constancy of the velocity of light for all observers.”

“Do you know why?” said Noel.
“Sure,” responded Tony, “it has to do with the implications of relativity theory. In the mathematics of space-time, Minkowski, Einstein’s mathematics professor, showed that even though the Pythagorean theorem does not work in space-time, something like the Pythagorean theorem is still at work. In Euclid’s geometry the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of its two sides. In the geometry of space-time, the distance between two events, like in the Pythagorean theorem, is equal to the time interval squared minus the space interval squared, however, that minus is the reverse of what takes place in the geometry of Euclid. Subtracting, instead of adding the two intervals, produces four-dimensional space-time. In space-time the distance between two events connected by a light ray becomes zero. Light rays coming at us from outer space take time to reach us, but in space-time no distance is traveled. That’s one of the incredible results that follow from Einstein’s theory. And that is also why the speed of light is constant for all observers. In space-time light is just there, everywhere.”

“I’m just a little confused,” said Noel, “If light doesn’t go anywhere, how can we know that the length of a space-time interval between any two events is the same for everybody?”
“Because of the constancy of light’s velocity,” Tony replied.
“So what you’re saying is that time doesn’t change, just space?” said Noel. “Is that the answer? Don’t answer that. There’s ‘no’ time to answer, right? Anyway, Einstein’s field equations dictate the space of space-time, and, as you have all ready pointed out Tony, we can agree upon the measured value of space-time. Is that about right?”
“Well, a stab in time will get you nine,” Tony muttered. “You know damn well what I’m talking about Noel. It’s just that you don’t like it. You won’t accept that in the cosmic scheme of things, you and I, and everybody else, are just world lines. That past, present, and future may, or may not, possess meaning scares the hell out of you. You hate the idea that your private frame of reference might be limited and meaningful only to you. Einstein’s universe attacks your sense of freedom, your dignity. Well I’ve got news for you. Nobody was more concerned about dignity than the old man. He didn’t bemoan the fact that he wasn’t God. It was enough for him to peer into the heart of nature, or the mind of God if you prefer to call it that, and understand what was really going on. It was enough for him to know that all human beings had this gift, but how it was used was a person’s own business. Denying it, however, was not dignified. It was just plain stupid; and anyway, what about the effects, the predictable consequences of Einstein’s theory? If they don’t occur in reality then where do they occur?”

“Right where they are predicted to occur,” Noel replied, “in the surrounding manifold of our sensual experience. Nature, or the name that we give to that manifold, takes in everything we can see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and explain. Space, as an ontological entity, in the theory of general relativity, doesn’t exist. The being of space has been replaced with purely methodological considerations. What space ‘is,’ or whether any definite character can be attributed to it, is no longer a concern. Rather, we must be concerned with the geometrical presuppositions, the ‘ideal meanings’ that get used in the interpretation of the phenomena that we ascribe to nature according to law.”
“I’m getting tired of this,” said Tony. “Science gets done and benefits follow, which, really, is all we have to worry about, right Stan? How come you’re so quiet, anyway? That’s not like you. Are you sick or something?”
“I’m fine. You know me, quiet as a mouse, but sharp as a tack,” said Stan. There’s a time for talking and time for listening. I’ve been enjoying the latter. Let me try to simplify this conversation, eh fellows; that is, after I throw another log on the fire.”
“Always the educator, eh Stan,” said Tony, “but that’s why we love ya.”

“Take nature for instance,” responded Stan, “for you Tony, its independent of the observer. It’s a bit complicated, but knowable, and it exists before one begins to experiment on it. That’s not the case for Noel. For him, nature does not exist independent from the observer. In fact, questions asked concerning nature, for Noel at least, actually brings nature into existence. And, he looks to quantum mechanics to substantiate that claim. On that level, the physical world seems to emerge from observations made on it. Any argument there fellows?”

“You’ve got the stage,” replied Noel, “go for it.”
“Now for the hard part,” said Stan, “On the one hand we have Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and on the other hand we have quantum theory. Both theories are proven successes, but when taken together they are out of joint. The equations that describe the gravitational field are completely different from the one’s that describe subatomic interactions. Moreover, space and time are intimately related in relativity theory. They are dependent on the state of motion of the observer. In quantum theory space and time are not tied to existence at all. As far as a person’s limited reason is concerned, there is no quantum world, just an abstract quantum physical description. Given this confusing state of affairs, it would be doctrinaire and dogmatic to say that one theory is better than the other, or that one is talking sense and the other is lacking in it. Right fellows?”
“Who’s patronizing now,” said Tony.
“Guilty as charged,” responded Stan, “I guess nobody’s perfect. For you Tony, the mind’s ability to discover reality’s true nature is a religious belief, just like it was for Einstein. If Einstein had a religious belief, it was that the world is comprehensible and objective.”
“I’d probably go to church, if I could sit next to Einstein,” Tony replied.

“As I was saying,” said Stan, “under the rule of cause and effect everything has its place and time, but that is not what works for you Noel. Knowledge, for Noel, constitutes what we take to be the physical world, and new knowledge may substantially alter that world. In other words, over time, both knowledge and the perceived field that we find ourselves in changes. Both Cassirer and Kant agreed on this. The function of the mind’s capacity to connect meaning to sensual contents goes beyond sensual contents and establishes an order among the connections between them. The necessary elements of every assertion—being and non-being, similarity and dissimilarity, unity and plurality, identity and opposition—cannot be represented by any content of perception, but through them ‘ideal meanings’ get created, and when applied to the perceptual field those elements fill our perceptions with meaning. That process, over time, alters both the meaning and the content of our perceptual field. But, what it comes down to in the end is testing the deductive consequences of those ‘ideal meanings’ against the sensual contents in the field of our perceptions. That was the way it worked for Einstein and, in any universe that will not change.”

Based on the above dialogue, for me at least, the physical event seems a little less obvious! But it’s still there; the foundational attribute of our knowledge of the objective world is still there. It’s just that it seems a little more open to interpretation at this point. Anyway, the physical event is only one aspect of God’s footprint. To get a better perspective on the footprint, (and I’m sure Matthew Broderick would agree here), we need to climb out of the hole in order to see the whole pie piece—errrr footprint!

The Voice Of The We Of Divinity

November 18, 2009

Change of plans, instead of posting the statistical evidence (weak evidence) that I gathered in support of the existence of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self, I have decided to describe the relationship that exists between the not-me-self and divinity. This relationship is complimentary and symmetrical, like the coming together of the right and left hand gloves.

Understanding the below post requires a lot of jumping back and forth from description to diagram–a difficult task–on the other hand, the few quotes from Buber’s “I And Thou” book at the bottom of this post say everything I am trying to communicate here–in the fewest possible words! FYI a click on the above diagram enlarges it; also, clicking on the before/after posts above or the related posts below expands the meaning/significance of this post.

In last week’s “end of story post” (the We Voice of Humanity) I wrote: [“Otherness”, when understood from within the context of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self’s self/other relationship, manifests multi-layers of “otherness”. “Otherness” is always embedded in a whirl of “otherness” and unravels in layers. (Footnote. The implicative affirmative of the not-me-self occasions “otherness” first in the form of the common values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group, that is, the products of symbolic interaction. A second layer of “otherness” is encountered when the self engages the novelty, impulsiveness and spontaneity — the creative potentials of self-determination — in the self’s option to affirm, reject, and/or qualify the common values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group. A third layer of “otherness” occurs in the “thickness of description” used to validate intersubjective positions concerning values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group. And, a forth layer of “otherness” is occasioned when the “ought,” as in non-relative ethics and morality, is applied to intersubjective positions concerning values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group.)]

In the “We Voice of Divinity,” I will talk about what I didn’t talk about in the last post; that is, I will describe that layer of “otherness” which is occasioned when the “ought” (as in non-relative ethics and morality) is applied to intersubjective positions concerning values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group. However, in order to talk about “that,” I must first talk about a new way of understanding the observer/ observed relationship, and that discussion begins now.

“Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.”
(Einstein, Ideas And Opinions, p. 225)

For me at least, the above diagram, speaks directly to this Einstein quote, as it also speaks to the issues of why nature responds so strangely when certain questions are put to her, questions like: Wave or particle? Why is the universe comprehensible as opposed to incomprehensible? Is nature independent of the observer? Why, on the quantum level, do we find a physical reality with no uniquely determinable location, a physical reality that exists in several states at the same time, a physical reality structured by a mathematical equation? Nature’s response to these types of questions becomes less strange, I believe, if we look through the prism of this new look (understanding) of the observer/ observed relationship.

Science, doing science, is limited to the reductionist, physical/cultural, self-boundary, or the dark blue quadrant. The pink horizon of self is part of that quadrant, but I have made it pink for labeling purposes. In other words, when I look up from my computer screen, I see a physical world of cinder block walls, tile floors, furniture, colors etc. My five senses inform me of this world and science informs me that there is more to these sensations then what my five senses are telling me about the nature of the world. The unfortunate thing about science is that, in most cases, it tries to reduce all other quadrants, life and mind, to the physical/cultural platform—not possible.

The red horizon of self is a product of the overlap of the mind/life platforms—the green quadrant. This quadrant, in addition to representing life, also represents emotional life. Emotions are a defining characteristic of the plant/animal kingdom (yes, a quirky group of scientists have produced evidence that plants have feelings), but emotions are not just a product of the green quadrant. Emotions are informed by the mind and that is the difference that makes a difference. J.E. Creighton puts it like this:

“In the development of mind, feeling does not remain a static element, constant in form and content at all levels, but…is transformed and disciplined through its interplay with other aspects of experience. Indeed, the character of the feeling in any experience may be taken as an index of the mind’s grasp of its object; at the lower levels of experience, where the mind is only partially or superficially involved, feeling appears as something isolated and opaque, as the passive accompaniment of mere bodily sensation… In the higher experience, the feelings assume an entirely different character, just as do the sensations and the other contents of mind.” (Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key, A Study in the Symbolism of Rite, Reason, and Art, p. 100)

The yellow self-horizon is also a product of the overlap of the mind/life/reductionist platforms, but its content—the purple quadrant, is restricted to the psychological, sociocultural, self-boundary of human discourse. This purple quadrant deviates somewhat from the standard science model, which lumps the “self “into the “physical stuff” of body/brain/mind— the blue quadrant. However, there is some disagreement here. If you were to ask a “structuralist” or a “symbolic anthropologist” if the mind can stand alone, their answers would be interesting. Here’s how the philosopher, Ernst Cassirer, addressed this question:

“Man has, as it were, discovered a new method of adapting himself to his environment. Between the receptor system and the effector system, which are to be found in all animal species, we find in man a third link which we may describe as the “symbolic system.” This new acquisition transforms the whole of human life. As compared with the other animals man lives not merely in a broader reality; he lives, so to speak, in a new dimension of reality.” (An Essay On Man, p. 25)

Cassirer, also adds:

“All knowledge of the world and all strictly spiritual action upon the world require that I thrust the world back from itself, that in contemplation as in action it gain a certain distance from it. Animals do not know this distance: the animal lives in his environment; he does not place himself over against it and so represent it. This acquisition of the world as idea is, rather, the aim and product of the symbolic forms ––the result of language, myth, religion, art, and theoretical knowledge.” (Cassirer, The Phenomenology of Knowledge, p. 276)

The reductionist/ life/mind platforms are connected and separated by bridges that hold everything together. The self, or our experience of self, starts at the horizons of the overlapping quadrants and proceeds inward via our experience of these quadrants. Concerning the bridges, just to give a little perspective here, in Chinese mythology, the jovial Chuang-tzu, when asked what supports the turtle that supports the world, (the world sits on the tortoise shell), replied, “Its turtles all the way down.” Well, in this cosmology, the world doesn’t sit on tortoise shells, instead, the universe hangs suspended, all the way up and all the way down, in logic, the Logos that structures existence.

Here are the labels (by the numbers) of the layered sequencing of platforms—reductionist, life, mind—that constitute self.

1 R—The reductionist, mass/energy, platform.

2 L—The life, biological/reproductive, platform.

3 M—The mind, symbol/meaning, platform.

4 S—Human self—is not an entity, rather, it is intersubjective boundary horizons.

5 The reductionist, physical/cultural, self-boundary.

6 The life, biological/emotional, self-boundary.

7 The mind, psychological, sociocultural, self-boundary of human discourse.

8 The connecting bridge that separates and connects the life platform to the reductionist platform.

9 The connecting bridge that separates and connects the mind platform to the life platform and to the life platform’s limiting condition—the reductionist platform.

In my concluding post next week, I will expand on what it means to have a “self,” as I continue to talk about the connecting bridges that define this “self.” I will also discuss the connecting bridge that is not in the diagram above, the bridge connecting Divinity to everything else. Stay tuned. I leave you with a few quotes from Martin Buber’s book I And Thou. Buber, based on the quotes below, was very much in tune with the implications that follow from the new look of the observer/observed relationship.

“…in every You we address the eternal You, in every sphere according to its manner. All spheres are included in it, while it is included in none.” (p. 150)

“Of course, God is ‘the wholly other’; but he is also the wholly same: the wholly present. Of course, he is the mysterium tremendum that appears and overwhelms; but he is also the mystery of the obvious that is closer to me than my own I.” (p. 127)

“…in truth, there is no God-seeking because there is nothing where one could not find him. How foolish and hopeless must one be to leave one’s way of life to seek God: even if one gained all the wisdom of solitude and all the power of concentration, one would miss him.” (p. 128)

“The word of revelation is: I am there as whoever I am there. That which reveals is that which reveals. That which has being is there, nothing more. The eternal source of strength flows, the eternal touch is waiting, the eternal voice sounds, nothing more.” (p. 160)

“The encounter with God does not come to man in order that he may henceforth attend to God, but in order that he may prove its meaning in action in the world. All revelation is a calling and a mission.” (p. 164)

“God embraces but is not the universe; just so, God embraces but is not my self. On account of this which cannot be spoken about, I can say in my language, as all can say in theirs: You. For the sake of this there are I and You, there is dialogue, there is language, and spirit whose primal deed language is, and there is, in eternity, the word.” (p. 143)