Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Reading The Mind of God

Distinguishing between what appears to be so and what is so, is a conundrum that has bedevilled us since time began.
In understanding anything at all we are essentially dependent on two tools; what we actually experience and discover through empirical evidence.
And what logic tells us must be so.

However the empirical evidence can lead us to make flawed assumptions, as can the logical reasoning if we anchor them in the wrong premises in the first place.

Since the origins of thought began, we have dimly come to realise- because the empirical evidence has shown us- that what appears to be so, may not always represent the absolute truth.

It is difficult to know quite how this first dawned on people. Perhaps it was as we first learned to USE our environment, when we began to make things. Bronze, for example. It was an alloy that we could make. Iron, too, it was cunningly hidden, but we learned to purify it, to make it what it really was. So we could make new substances, or we could make hidden ones show themselves. Things could be made to change.
So things as they appeared to be may not be what they really where. What was real? The metals we made, or their original forms?

And what made things live? Everything seemed to be made of basically the same things. Trees lived, But their dead bodies could be used as is they never had. So there seemed no real difference between the material that living and non-living things were made from. So what made living things live?
Clearly not something that could be seen.

The first assumption assumed a whole unseen world were things were basic. A world of simple elements; so simple they really were just logical principles. Things must either be hot or cold, dry or wet. So from these combinations came four elements, fire, water, earth and air.
And living things had a living principle in them, a spirit. A vegetable spirit, an animal spirit, or a rational spirit.

And these sorts of assumptions lasted a long time.

The problem was, that quite clearly absolute reality was not what we saw. But understanding how absolute reality worked was important to us. We needed to know which of the things we saw were real, and which were consequences of reality that we could not see.
The problem was, that generally each new theory of the reality we could not see found some new reason for dictating that it could not be questioned.

Pythagoras and other Greeks believed that the only things that we knew of that MUST be real and could not be merely appearance, were the laws of mathematics. Numbers, geometry, these things were real. 2+2 must always equal 4. It could not be otherwise. Everything else, well...

This introduced into understanding of reality a fundamental point. The only absolute realities are things which cannot possibly be different to what they are. The premise is, if something can be seen as possibly being different to what it is, then it doesn't represent absolute reality. What we see is a merely a consequence of the effects of absolute reality.

The medieval Church actually based it's entire system of logic on a set of premises which, in a sense, was quite progressive. Writers like Thomas Aquinas conceded that much of the Bible had to be taken on faith, it could not be proven by empirical evidence. But the existence of God himself, that represented absolute reality. Why? Because there was a universe. There was existence. So whatever theory you had, had to start with something. And therefore, you could not theorise anything without a creator.

One great advance on this topic was made by the devoutly Catholic philosopher, Rene Descartes. He actually carried out the thought experiment that nothing we see at all is real. That we all exist in a dream world and the world is an illusion fed us by a demon.
In his ultimate 'devil's advocate' argument, he drew the conclusion that even if you accepted that, it still must be true that you, the thinker must somehow exist. So that had to be taken for granted. No theory of absolute reality could be valid which denied the existence of he thinker at least.
But it did bring into play the question of what must absolute reality be like. Because if you couldn't state for sure that everything you saw was an illusion- then perhaps all those things you thought were true, were only true in the dream? Maybe there WAS no Sun, no stars, no elements. All part of the dream.

Descartes believed that however, you could reject the theory of the demon keeping you in a dream. This was because he accepted, as most people then did, Aquinas' point that a creator must exist. And for reasons which some might say are logically shaky, was certain no creator would create us and allow us to be subject to such a gross deceit. He believed that the creator must be allowing us to experience a world where reality could be discerned. Therefore, certain things in it MUST be real.

And what were they? The things that imagination could not remove. The things that could not be comprehended as anything other than they were. Mathematics must be real. The universe must be composed of matter and exist in space. In it things moved and changed over time. And in this, at least one conscious being existed, that was you. This was the absolute reality.

Kant went even further than this in the eighteenth century. He suggested that it was possible to imagine matter not existing. Pure void. In which case, there would be nothing to move or change. Furthermore, he challenged the orthodoxy that mathematics was an absolute reality, maintaining that ultimately it was purely an empirical science. It was a system for relating quantities, it was a human system of logic, potentially flawed in parts, where logic tried to comprehend empirical realities. To Kant, the existence of matter and motion were something we experienced, but there was no logical reason to insist that it couldn't be otherwise, that might be an illusion, or put simply that somewhere could exist devoid of matter.

In other words, although humanity could not explain the existence of matter, or change, no theory of reality could ever be satisfactory until it could, because their non-existence was a valid possibility.

But there were two things that must always exist and could not NOT exist.
And time.

In other words, Kant alleged that it is impossible to conceptualise the non existence of space and time.

Now, you might think that we've made real progress here. The truth is, as one looks at the state of human knowledge at this point, we've barely started. Human knowledge of reality is worse than non existent at this point. We only really make a start during the succeeding century.
And we found, as it happened, that fresh empirical data, together with questioning assumptions we had made, led us to decide that often, absolute reality wasn't what we thought at all.

A major part of that was realising that movement and change fit into certain quantifiable laws. That energy can be measured. Still, of course, we didn't understand energy. We still had matter, which is moved and changes, and energy which moves and does the changing.
It was a conceptual leap to wed the two and realise that both energy and matter are in fact, the same thing. That in fact matter is kind of an illusion, after all. All it is, is trapped energy. And energy isn't a mysterious force. It is composed of quanta, as is matter. And furthermore, that the universe didn't exist IN space and time. Space and time were properties of it.

So the only things we can state about this universe for certain are that space and time exist in it and must exist in any universe, and it seems to be driven by quanta. But how the quanta relate to eachother, may well be a unique factor of THIS universe.

So Kant was right. Ultimately, even mathematics itself is an empirical construct. For the simple reason that infinity, in the material universe, is not a real but an imaginary number.

Nevertheless- are there things we can say for sure must always be true of universes?
Can we actually make definite statements about the backdrop within which this universe exists- the reality outside?
The mind of God, if you like.

Yes, I think we can.

I think we can confidently state that all universes begin with the appearance of a quanta. Literally. Nothing more, nothing less. And when the quanta appears, it lacks space or time. The size of the quanta determines space and time. They are, in fact, properties of the quanta. So Kant was wrong, in a sense. Space and time are not MORE real than matter. They are properties of the quanta that matter ends up being composed of. But in what I will call Planck Tick One, there was no space, no time, no dimensions. What there was was a fixed number of quanta. Everything else followed.
Did any laws of physics apply at that moment?

Yes. The laws of thermodynamics. The history of universes is basically the history of what the laws of thermodynamics do with a fixed quanta when it appears at a mathematical point of zero dimensions. That is it. That is what a universe is, no more, no less.
And that actually does lead us to make a series of definite predictions about universes, such as that it will always evolve towards increasingly complex chain reactions as a way of speeding up its own energy usage. I'm not sure we can state for certain that the chain reactions it will favour would always be stars or life, or that it would store energy as matter, because we cannot know anything about how a universe with a different quanta would find ways of pushing itself to heat death, we only know what equations work in THIS one.
But what we can say, is the quanta will force the universe to develop dimensions that suit its own dissipation. But with a different quanta, matter, if it existed, could well have a different structure. Why three quarks to form a proton? Maybe only in this universe.

But what can we say about the backdrop within which the quanta appeared?

That quanta appear in it.

That really is it.

And it seems a logical assumption to say, an infinite number of quanta. As in, truly infinite.
In this primary reality, you see numbers AREN'T reality and therefore, infinity DOES exist. Indeed, in this primary reality, zero and infinity, the two absolutes are the only real values.
You see, in our universe, there is a final number. An end to numbers. The number of quanta multiplied by the number of possible life histories of each quanta. It's a big number, but it is still, a finite number. Numbers in real, finite universes, DO come to an end, with all the disturbing consequences that has for the logic of mathematics.

But absolute reality?
Absolute reality does not have dimensions. Therefore it doesn't have space or time.
Space and time don't connect there the way they do here.
So the only way to really conceptualise it, is this. Each possible universe must exist, but only exists once. What once must mean, I'll get to.

There must exist a universe with one quantum. It is a short universe, true. It exists for a Planck tick. There exists one with two quanta, three quanta, etc. There exists ours, with it's quanta. There exist universes with every quanta between one and the quanta of this universe. And there exist universes with every quanta above ours. So- does the everlasting universe exist?
No. Because that's the nature of this TRUE infinity, the one not to be found in our universe, but existing in this primary reality. The numbers just get bigger, infinitely. They don't come to an end which is everlasting. They just go on increasing for ever.
Does your head hurt?
It is a bit mindnumbing, I admit.

So these universes all exist.
The question you really want to know is- when and where?

And the logical answer, oddly, is the Narnia one.

They all exist in the same time and the same place.

Because space and time mean nothing in primary reality.

These universes are in a sense, all simultaneous. Their timeschemes are internal. In Primary reality space and time are indistinguishable. So the the universe that lasts for one Planck tick ALWAYS exists in primary reality, as does this one. They all ALWAYS exist, unchanging from the point of view of primary reality.

Ok, you're confused.

When you read a cartoon strip in the Times, it takes you less time to read than Lord of the Rings. It depicts a series of events.
But you reading it doesn't in fact change it.

The comic strip and Lord of the Rings still exist. When you read them, you experience them and the time it takes you to read them, varies. Universes are like that. The time matters when you're in them.
But in absolutely reality, the universes are just THERE. Their duration is an internal matter. In primary reality they all, always exist.

So WHERE do they exist? Do they touch eachother?

Again, the answer has to be, not in a way that makes sense. There is no space here. No dimensions. The SPACE of absolute reality is impossible to understand, it's dimensionless. So an infinite number of universes exist simultaneously in nothing. A space that is in one sense a mathematical point of zero dimensions, but is also infinite. Space doesn't exist here, and neither does time. Each universe truly is an entirely separate event. They cannot touch or affect eachother in any way. For them to be able to do so, would mean they ceased to be what they are, unique universes representing every possible quanta. Were it possible to reach one universe from another, that would alter the quanta of the universes concerned, affecting its structure. Travel from one universe to another would potentially mean changing something fundamental about it, a tiny piece of matter entering a universe which did not belong there, could actually seriously destabilise a universe, if one thinks about it. Fortunately, logic tells us, it could not happen. There cannot be a way in which in universes can reach eachother.

Myself, I think this is the best description of absolute reality we can ever reach. I think personally, it is something along these lines we'll settle with. I don't see how we can ever get closer to the truth than assuming what I have assumed in this post.

There may be much we don't yet know. About how things fit together, about what that means and how we can utilise that.
But in terms of understanding what really lies underneath it all, if it's very different from what I've described here, I'd be surprised.

I think we can pretty much read the mind of God these days.


Shelly Rayedeane said...

No human can ever read the mind of God because no human is free enough from sin.

If one should try to predict the future, by using "linked" thoughts via the internet, one would still not be able to predict what God would want.

The people involved would only increase the probability to bring about the end of days.

To see how things connect (through space & time) does not free any man or woman or make this world a better place to live in.

It actually imprisons them because no man or woman can ever be like God regardless of how perfect they try to become.

This is the reason your "free love" theory fails.

One love equals one mind equals the mark of the beast.

You really should read the bible more while your busy preaching (but not living) the gospel.

The bible states only 144,000 are chosen. And they are chosen by God...

not by the likes of you.

Charles Gramlich said...

Given the nature of the quantum world, I doubt myself that we, at our current stage of development, have the capability to understand the real under the surface.

sally in norfolk said...

Crushed.... you should learn how to ski then you would not have time to write such long blog post's and i would have time to read the shorter one's :-)

Sweet Cheeks said...

Crushed My Love, I didn't pay attention in Science due mostly impart to a boy I was always daydreaming about. So, I'm trying to grasp these theories. I think there is empirical evidence that I'm suffering a conundrum of sorts whether or not I have a flaw in my assuption that I could understand what happened to my quanta. It was in my pocket and now it is gone...but did it ever really exist? That is the question...possibly in my other pants? Hmmmmm...
~Sweet Cheeks~ :)

I've Been Mugged said...

I thought God was supposed to be within us all? In which case - the 144,000 must be a Biblical typo.

Well, that's what he told me only the other night over a game of Chess while discussing whether he, I or the game, were in fact, real or not.

vicariousrising said...

Last time I read God's mind, he was thinking of much more important things than philosophy. I'm not a big fan of getting in there and eavesdropping, though. It's really loud in there, just like Owen Meany. Gives me a headache and I oddly wake up in nice, quiet, padded rooms each episode.

yarber said...

"Travel from one universe to another would potentially mean changing something fundamental about it..." this is am amazing concept. It’s liberating and limiting all in one swoop. If we could travel then we would be changing everything. This is almost as powerful as this concept of God. I just wrote a book and I thought I was being a super brain but not compared to these ideas of space and time. Peggy Sue Yarber, PhD, Novel: TARE

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Crushed, interesting post making lots of interesting points... but maybe too long so that people forget why they were reading it in the first place?

Crushed said...

Charles- I think we can try conceptualise it logically though. Or at least try understand the basis of logic.
I think we're getting quite close in many ways.

Shelly- Thankyou for your input. I actually don't seriously expect the Bible to be much help in understanding the universe, though I have read most of it.

Sally- This was one of the longer ones, perhaps.
I did a short-ish one a few days back on Caroline Flint..;)

Sweet Cheeks- I used to really HATE science at school...

I learned since how interesting it is, once you start to get your head round it...

I've Been Mugged- I have no idea where that 144,000 stuff come from. I think these fundies make these things up as they go along.

VR- I think it's kind of an expression, I think the universe is conscious and thinks. But it is still something inside the mind of God, which is- well, kind of static. It doesn't think because it just IS. It is outside time and therefore isn't a process. All processes are within it.

I must admit I find I can't think about these things too long, it does give me a headache and i have to go back to them because one is kind of dealing with things that if you really think about them are mindblowing.

Yarber- I'm wondering myself one whether if you moved from one universe to another (hypothetically) what would in fact happen. Would you change it's entire laws of physics? Would you actually change it's past by altering it's fundamental composition? Would you actually yourself cease to exist?

I'll take a look at your book.

Moggs- To be honest, I don't really remember writing it. I think I wrote it a few weeks back. It's been loitering in the unpublished posts for ages. I gave Haydee a list of post titles because I couldn't decide what to post and she said 'Whichever one you wrote first'. So we got this one.

yarber said...

I am curious as to how one love equals one mind equals the mark of the beast which 666.