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Blogger William Orem wrote on Jan. 1, 2010 @ 23:50 GMT


Not infrequently I witness a basic conceptual divide between those in the natural sciences and those in the humanities, including non-professional people whose personalities simply tend in one or the other direction. I confess to being among the latter group – humanities -- though my passion for science allows me to “pass” in both worlds. The distinction I have in mind is encapsulated in an experience I had many years ago when interviewing a young physicist for a popular science show about periodicity in pendulums. Why is the period related to length, I asked, and not mass? It’s just a property of the system, he said.

That wasn’t quite what I was asking; but the more I mused on what exactly I *was* asking, the less clear it became. There is, to be sure, a more revealing answer: the force of gravity acting on the bob is exactly balanced by its intertia; rather wonderfully, we can see in pendulums a demonstration of why objects of any mass will fall at the same rate in a given gravitational field (thus, a pendulum at Sagan Memorial Station would swing with eerie lassitude, something I would love to see).

But that still isn’t what I had in mind. Perhaps I was driving at “Why *should* that be the case?” -- or, in the agency seeking manner of my species, “Says who?” In retrospect I believe I had, through this simple topic, touched inadvertently on the difference between Why? And How? -- and the intriguing gray area that lies between what we are, and are not, doing when we answer a question about nature.

Those with the humanities bent, in my experience, tend to ask Why? questions. They go for the sweeping ones first: “Why does the universe exist?” They (we) also tend to amalgamate wholly separate types of question – “Why *should* the universe exist?”-- Nietzsche’s “Why does man not see things?” – or, indeed, Bobby Kennedy’s “I dream of things that never were, and ask: Why not?”

Science people tend to ask How? questions. How might the Bang have come about as the result of random quantum fluctuation? How might reflexive consciousness, semantic language, and vastly superior tool use have developed in one hominid species? How could the necessities of evolving carbon-based life provide an explanation as to the seemingly “fine-tuned” nature of our cosmic environs? Each of those is a close cousin of the above Why? questions, but with critical differences -- often ones that lead to more productive questioning than wool-gathering. “How” questions dovetail naturally, for example, into technology questions: How can I build a quantum chip? How large a system can be made to avoid decoherence? How would space drive work?

To be sure, this breakdown itself breaks down even as we try and formulate it. A really good How question carries a Why underneath it – Why *can’t* I build a quantum chip? Is it because QM is linear or nonlinear? How could we find out?

And then, “What” questions may be even more intuitive than either Hows or Whys. What was the Big Ear ‘Wow!’ Signal? What is beyond the particle horizon? What is time? What is possible?

FQXi thinkers take the risk of moving out of the Hows and into the Whys from a meticulously scientific standpoint. Why does Math work? is a good example of a pure Why question – although, if the answer (as Alexander Villenkin suggested to me once) is that every logically consistent mathematics describes some region of the multiverse, allowing us to “see” from a distance how remote spacetime regions operate, it returns to being another How. How is spacetime configured ten trillion light years from here? How about the Physical Constants? And -- as with the simple pendulum on earth -- the metaquestion always remains: So why is that?

It’s just a property of the system, my young physics friend might have said.

this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 00:29 GMT
Topos mathematics is an interesting approach to quantum mechanics. From a human point of view, maybe the universe can't decide which quantum state it wants; quantum mechanics is the process of remaining ambiguous and flexible for as long as possible. When you force an eigenstate, the quantum mechanics has no choice but to acquiesce to your measurement: Yes or No. Have you ever watched some people who get in front of a judge or a lawyer? They hate to get pinned down. They weave a great story, but when the judge asks for a specific answer, the person gets flustered because they don't know how to think in such a logical way. It's just a thought, but maybe it's a fundamental quality of the universe that it likes to remain eigenstate-fully nimble and ever changing, ambiguous and flexible. Maybe "decision" versus "ambiguity" are fundamental attributes to the quantum universe?

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 01:18 GMT
The picture is reminds me of observations of water drops in very slow motion.

What physics does is to posit models which determine how observable aspect of the world are related to each other. So long as the mathematical model works we uphold it as a systematic structure behind the universe. Physicists don’t particularly engage in the why question. Why does the universe operate according to invariance principles? Why do quantum states exhibit nonlocality? Why existence? These types of questions leave the domain of physics and enter metaphysics. Metaphysics is a domain of philosophy, and philosophy most often poses questions which have no answer. The old idea of Plato of there being a domain of ideal forms and a physical world which approximates that realm remains an idea which has no answer. There is no means we have to verify the idea. There is then the domains of religion, which frankly involves answers which we are forbidden to question, at least if there is a religious authority in place. Most physicists don’t delve into these domains of imponderables, myself included.

The universe is less something which has some existential foundation we must strive to understand, but is more a system that asks questions. We work to find the questions and then to solve them within the domain of intellectual knowledge available at the time. From there we press on with the questions we find in the best manner we can.

Cheers LC

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 03:03 GMT
Isn't this essentially a conflict between left brain serial thinking, as in specified cause yields determined effect, opposed to the right brained parallel processing by which we wonder if there is any bottom line to all this sea of non-linear activity?

For the serial thinker, there is always an answer; It's the next logical step in the series. For the cumulative thinker, any discrete answer only leads to a range of further possible questions/paths to follow.

That is why our brains have both processes. We need the serial in order to put one foot in front of the other, but we need the parallel to step back and make sure we are not headed in a dangerous direction. As individuals, we are the serial, while as a group, we are the parallel.

There is an old African saying I might have quoted before: If you want to travel fast, go alone, but if you want to travel far, go with a group.

On a further note, there in no absolute meaning to life, because "meaning" is static and reductionistic, what is left when all that is "meaningless" has been boiled away, while life is dynamic and wholistic. What might be meaningless to one, is sacred to another. As the saying goes, One man's trash is another man's treasure.

We only seek to find order in the chaos because the alternative is to become chaos.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 03:34 GMT
I think it is all a matter of paradigm perspective. “Why” is the point of view from the outside, and “How” is the point of view from the inside.

Computer science is probably the area where those two perspectives meet all the time. In object oriented programming, the details are encapsulates and hidden under an interface contract with outside world. In turn this enables complexity management.

In another example, in any organization, there are constructive (or inside) and destructive (or outside) criticisms. “Why” the company did not meet shareholder’s expectations? Because of poor management. But “How” can we improve the situation?

Ability to cross the paradigm boundaries is the key to effective communication, while ability framing the paradigm is the key for PR and spin. “Academic freedom” sounds better than intelligent design. TOE sounds better than 10^500 possibilities and no clue of how to continue making progress.”

And by the way, the reason the pendulum period does not depend on mass is because mass acts both as a measure of inertia and as a gravitational source in equal parts. Answering this WHY question leads to the pillar of Einstein’s masterpiece, general relativity. Usually those simple “whys” are the hardest questions. When something is completely understood, the whys have full answers. In physics this corresponds to making the why questions mathematically well defined. The philosophical whys have no answers because we do not yet have a handle of how to approach the problems in a mathematical tractable way.

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General Omar Windbottom wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 06:16 GMT
I comment with a question: Why does the following appear to work amazingly well [using paper, pencil, hand calculator and less than 2 hours of time]?

RETRODICTING THE SUBATOMIC PARTICLE MASS SPECTRUM FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES

Basic relationship for J [angular momentum.], M [mass] and a [dimensionless spin parameter] of a Kerr black hole (McClintock, J.E., et al., Astrophysical Journal,...

view entire post


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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 14:55 GMT
Florin,

With regards to inertial and gravitational mass, or in effect the origin of inertia, this hits at the Mach principle. This conjecture really is a sort of extended equivalence principle between inertial and accelerated frames. As such this principle, if it were ever to become real physics, extends beyond general relativity.

Cheers LC

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 20:05 GMT
William,

The “how” vs the “why” is a fundamental question and I am pushing for the acceptance of specific metaphysical considerations as part of the search for the ultimate … What is it? Description or understanding? The second FQXI essay contest was a perfect occasion to present this point.

If we are looking for the limits of physics, this is a fundamental question. Why is this? Because finding the limits of physics is about finding what physics is missing from the big picture. If it is possible to define physics it means that it is finite and has boundaries, limits. If we find this wall, it is a perfect occasion to peek over this wall and not just to stop and turn around to more physics. There is nothing wrong with physics. It’s just that it may have fulfilled its promises and some are expecting from it more than it can actually deliver. It is somehow un-reasonable to expect a theory of everything from physics that is limited.

We have to understand what the universe is made of and what principle causes its evolution. These are the two pillars of metaphysics. Logic is much more than a measure of our expectations. Logic is the basis for everything to exist and happen, the basis for the spontaneity of the universe. A physical description is always a description of a relationship between the observer and the metaphysical universe. Because it is about a factual observation, there is no implicit requirement for any cause. This is why it is very hard to remove the observer in order understand what the universe is by itself. Physics is just about that; keeping the observer and his experience somewhere around as a reference.

What do I mean by “understanding”. I don’t mean self-consistent description. I mean self-consistent logical explanation. Somehow, a physical description and a logical understanding are mutually exclusive. To expect logical understanding from physic is the illusion.

Why are maths so effective? First, maths are based on logic. They are the metric extension of simple rules of logic, the mother of all being the rule of non-contradiction. Secondly, a logically operational universe requires everything to be made of a single stuff or substance. Maths are effective because there is no problem of identities. No matter the identity of what we compute, the numbers must simply add up. The problem arises when these computations involve the whole universe. Some forms of this basic substance are not experienced physically, for our own sake, and they are missing from the equations.

In other words, the universe is metaphysically very simple, but our experience of it is what makes it complex and also beautiful. Can we see through the complexity of our experience and also find the beauty that truly belong to the universe?

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 20:09 GMT
Browsing through the archive for the month of December, I discovered a paper by Hrvoje Nicolic (http://arxiv.org/abs/0912.1947v1 ) commenting on a very interesting paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.0438v3

Maybe FQXi (Bill, Brendan, Anthony) can write some article about this.

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 22:48 GMT
As Florin pointed, asking "why" about the inertial and gravitational mass led to the equivalence principle of general relativity. I think that this is valid more generally: there is a "why" behind any major discovery. "Why" demands an explanation. "How" demands a description. Description without explanation has much in common with technology, engineering, business, and many other practical domains. It is simply know-how. But it has also much in common with art and literature, where the description comes first, and the explanation is rarely present explicitly.

In my opinion, fundamental science has more to do with explanation, therefore with "why", rather than with description. For example, asking "how" without "why" leads, in quantum mechanics, to a "shut up and calculate" approach, but asking the "why" demands explanation, interpretation of the quantum phenomena.

Yes, asking "why" leads also to philosophical questions, maybe because we often search the explanations to less understood phenomena first in philosophy. Philosophy is a tool for providing many alternative answers to "why", and then we submit them to logical analysis, we derive consequences, we test them, and what survives the peer review constitutes science. Speaking about peer review, maybe this explains why, although the discoveries are made starting from the "why"s, they end up being presented as "how"s. Presenting the answer to the "why" questions can lead to disagreements between scientists, because they may interpret differently the phenomena. Limiting yourself to answer the "how" questions adds neutrality, and the cold descriptions are easier to be accepted by other scientists; also they can easier be tested in an operational way.

But the whole way towards understanding is based on "why"s. "Why" provides knowledge, "how" provides know-how.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 2, 2010 @ 23:49 GMT
I suppose there are two meanings to the word "why." One of the questions often asked is "why is the speed of light c = 3e^8m/c? The speed of light is a conversion factor which equates distances as measured by a ruler to time intervals measured by a clock. Yet, if you assume the speed of light is different you can work through a range of physical quantities which depend on the speed of light to find they all change in some proportionate manner. So we would not notice any change in the speed of light. For instance, the Bohr radius of atoms would change, which would expand the size of rulers so that we would not observe any change. So why is the speed of light what it is? There is no answer to this, or one which is available at this time. This is one of those metaphysical why questions.

Cheers LC

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 00:30 GMT
The consensus seems to be that "why" cannot have a finite answer, because it would only raise further questions.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 00:54 GMT
Lawrence,

There is an answer for the value of the speed of light, but the answer is rather very complex and imprecise. First we need to turn the question around: why are we so slow compared with c?

Next we need to consider the natural system of units: c=1, hbar = 1 and compute the value of \alpha and electron mass from renormalization arguments in a TOE. This gives the scale of the atomic distance. Last, cosmological arguments combined with chemical and biological arguments would determine our size and typical rate of change which would qualitatively give a plausible explanation of why we are so slow compared with the natural speed c=1.

So conceptually there is no problem except for the lack of a TOE, and even after the TOE is found, biology can spoil the precision of the answer. I would not consider this a philosophical question. The lack of a TOE is not fatal because we can still get a satisfying answer just by assuming the values of a few parameters of the Standard Model.

The speed of light is not a very good example because it does have a natural value c=1. Determining the reason for the value of the Weinberg angle is technically a much much harder problem, but still I would not consider this a philosophical question either.

Philosophical questions are: Is there a God? What is the purpose of life? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is existence? I think that within our lifetime, all those questions will ultimately get a scientific answer.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 00:54 GMT
Let's try asking a more effective question. Instead of how or why, let's ask,

"what is the underlying mechanism?" Mathematical physics has forgotten that mechanisms are important. And yet, the mechanisms are built into mathematics: (1) conservation laws, (2) which oscillations will fit, (3)... A mechanism doesn't have to be either immutable or simple. Mechanisms might be fleeting or short lived.

Every time you change your approach or your attitude towards a problem, a new set of questions comes into play. When humanity developed the scientific method, they asked questions that religious leaders never dared to ask. Now that the physics community is facing questions and limitations that it can't resolve, try another approach. What happens if you force the existence of something you thought was impossible? What principles of physics attempt to block it? If that principle or limitation is struck down, what are the consequences? Is this not a valid and reasonable way to discover how the universe works?

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 01:31 GMT
What you have done is to reframe the question to, "Why is c = 1?" The only answer we can give is, "How could it really be anything else?" The one thing which does happen in physics is that we must frame things around postulates, such as Newton's three laws in the early days of physics. We can of course question them, and usually problems or contradictions in physics emerge because there is some postulate which needs to be liberalized, generalized or removed entirely. There is usually some postulate which serves as an obstruction. I strongly think such conditions exist today. So we can question the foundational postulates of physics employed. The reason why we can ask "why" here is because these postulates are not something which is inherent in nature, but something we construct. However, no matter how generalized things get we will require the imposition of something as an anchor, and this might be some invariant based on a measurement, such as the speed of light. The other absolute invariant in the universe appears to be the Dirac-Planck constant of a unit of action ħ. I am pondering whether there Boltzmann’s constant is also a universal invariant, and in fact I pretty strongly think it is.

A question about why c = 1 is at the borderline between physics and metaphysics. To leave physics entirely is to ask questions such as “why is there something rather than nothing.” This takes one from physics into the hinterland of metaphysics or existentialism. To ask whether there is a God, is to take the final leap from philosophy into theology. At this point you really have abandoned science altogether. This is not to say that science has nothing to say about Biblical literalism, for clearly religious statements about the ordering of nature have a dismal track record. Yet even Augustine said that where the Bible conflicted with rational knowledge that the Biblical text had to be taken allegorically. Science can’t determine whether there exists some infinite consciousness, which we call God, as some ultimate basis of existence. Yet a cartoon idea of a God which designed existence in much the same way we humans build up a tool can be tested, and refuted in every case so far presented.

The one problem with philosophical questions which hit at the core of “why,” is that we will never be able to answer them. These questions might at the end of the day be reflections of human psychology more than real questions about the nature of existence.

Cheers LC

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 02:42 GMT
“why is there something rather than nothing.”

Because "nothing" is unstable?

Yet even Augustine said that where the Bible conflicted with rational knowledge that the Biblical text had to be taken allegorically.

Knowledge seems to be a growth process, where we reach plateaus of perception, which then become calcified. Originally religion was the essence of dynamic insight, but it eventually put forth prescriptions that became tools of social order. Now science represents the expansion of our knowldge, yet it to goes through this process where each advance is formalized and institutionalized to the point of deification.

Maybe there is no way to create the perfect static model of a fundamentally dynamic reality. As much as we chase down and capture whatever "it" is, there always seems to be some loose end pop up. When you look at physics today, from inflation theory to dark energy, it seems our ever increasing knowledge only further exposes the profound limits of our knowledge. We keep obsessively searching for the ideal, when we already know ideals are illusions of desire. As much as we might discover, our desires will always be that much greater. The essence of our being is the wonder of the child. The wisdom of age is simply that crumbling crust of knowledge remaining when the desire fades. Our search revolves around that which is searching.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 02:46 GMT
Nothing might be unstable. Yet all you have done is shoved things into another question, "Why is nothing unstable?" What might be called nothing is unstable under the inflaton or Higgs mechanism. But there can always be the question, "Why is that so?'

Cheers LC

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 03:35 GMT
The “Why”s of the speed of light? Why is it a constant? Why is it an upper limit?

We know that the passage of time is slower in a gravitational field. It is faster at our heads than at our feet. We also know that the pace of any spontaneous event (e.g. a clock) is dictated by the local rate of passage of time. The speed of light is also an event. Then, light itself cannot go faster than time allows it to. The speed of light is our indication of the local rate of passage of time, and the local rate of passage of time is a measure of the local rate of spontaneous processes, clocks and light included.

So, why is the value of c a constant? It is not a constant per se and it varies from place to place just like time. But physics measures it as Constant because it is always adjusted to local time. Light is both the clock and the stick, the ratio of which is a constant. C = 1 is fine if you know what it means.

Why is it a local limit? Because it is locally the fastest speed possible, the local “speed” of time itself.

Constant value and limit value are two different things. Think of speed limits on road signs. 50km/h in town and 100km/h on the highway. Each is a local limit but of different values.

How can I even suggest things like this? Because I showed that the whole universe can only be made of a substance of single nature and that this nature is a spontaneous explosive like process we describe in our physical reality as the passage of time.

This is the type of metaphysics I prefer and that answers my “whys”. This is what I can do and physics can’t.

Like someone said above; physics may ask a “why”, but testing it in our physical reality can only return a “how”. Metaphysics can deal with the “whys” but does poorly with the “hows”.

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 04:15 GMT
John,

You say:

“Why is there something rather than nothing? Because "nothing" is unstable?”

I disagree. If I have no money, they will not suddenly appear in my pocket because "nothing" is unstable. Or there is no planet between Earth and Mars and another planet will form there because “nothing” is unstable. I believe the answer is: “there is something rather than nothing because it can be (something).” Then what about first causes? There are none. A related, but more relevant question is why is this universe happening only once? Most likely because there is a multiverse out there and our universe instance is just one out of infinitely many other universes, but we lack (for now) the mathematical tools to address this question. For example, one obvious problem would be to find a way to count and classify all those universes.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 04:24 GMT
Dear Florin,

You said,"For example, one obvious problem would be to find a way to count and classify all those universes." Just for fun, how do you intend to count and classify them? It's not unreasonable to suppose that the next nearest universe may be quite a distance away, perhaps some multiple of the diameter of our universe.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 04:27 GMT
Marcel,

The speed of light is indeed constant. Measure it at the surface of the Earth and measure it on top of Mount Everest with the same tools you used earlier. Yes, time runs differently at different altitudes, but the speed of light is the same. This is not a matter of taste and there is no freedom about this. Experiments tell us that “c” is always the same. And the double special relativity theory-Giovanni Amelino-Camelia’s theory-(similar with your 50km/g and 100km/h metaphor) just got killed by experimental results.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 04:35 GMT
Jason,

You need a measure in the multiverse in order to define probabilities and make predictions. Then from cosmological observations we can eliminate competing models of inflation theories and sharpen out understanding of the birth of the universe. See this talk by Guth at the second FQXi conference: “http://www.fqxi.org/data/documents/Guth%20Azores%20Talk.p
df”

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 05:34 GMT
Florin,

I watched the presentation. It is indeed a difficult challenge to try to calculate the effects of inflation on a Big Bang. I was merely trying to get you to acknowledge the possibility that the Big Bang occurred within hyperspace. There is no reason to assume that the speed of light outside of this universe is also restricted to c. My hyper-drive approach is based on the idea that a small piece of space-time can be broken away from the universe; that small piece of space-time would observe hyperspace laws of motion.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 05:45 GMT
Florin,

You say;

"The speed of light is indeed constant. """Measure"""" it at the surface of the Earth and """measure""" it on top of Mount Everest with the same tools you used earlier." (my extra quote marks)

Florin, you did not understand the difference between "IS" (metaphysics) and "appears to be" (physics). The first rule of metaphysics is to understand the difference between the two.

I will check on the "Giovanni Amelino-Camelia’s theory" .. but it is still physics. Physical theories are tested on a physics test bench and a metaphysical theory is tested on a logical test bench... never mix them up.

Marcel,

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 12:30 GMT
Lawrence,

You are right. Saying there is something because nothing is unstable/the vacuum fluctuates, is more of a "how" than a "why," but you are pointing out the problem with asking "why." It's looking for a wholistic answer to a reductionistic question, so there will be always larger questions contained within any possible answer.

Florin,

Yes, but money does appear the central banks pockets when the illusion of wealth based on debt begins to vanish and the economy becomes unstable. These foundational issues do underlay all of reality and are not just arcane, academic puzzles. We build these castles out of bubbles and illusion by balancing all the various forces, but then take too much for granted and everything comes crashing down.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 14:12 GMT
The idea of nothingness being unstable only makes sense in a quantum field theoretic context. We of course would never expect classical objects to spontaneously emerge. I will be honest in saying that I don't entirely hold to this idea, for it appears that a cosmology emerges from the 10-11 dimensional vacua (26 dimensions in the bosnoic string) by pinching off a tiny bit of seed energy from the vacuum energy of a "parent" cosmology. In this sense by quantum field theory cosmologies are quantum fluctuations which are internally frozen, for lack of a better quick description, but where in the superspace cosmologies are really similar to correction terms (loops, internal lines etc) on a Feynman diagram.

Cheers LC

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 18:54 GMT
Marcel,

If it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck then it is a duck.

Of course there is a difference between IS and APEARS TO BE. Feel free to construct a MODEL of reality where c is not constant and compare your predictions with experiment. If the model where c is constant agrees always with experiments, while the model where c is not constant does not work all the time, then Nature dictates that c is constant IS reality.

Making a model and not comparing its consequences with experiments is simply meaningless metaphysical playing with words.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 22:30 GMT
Florin,

With metaphysics I deal directly with the subject matter of the universe; substance and cause. Physics, on the other hand, studies our experience (empirical) of the subject matter...

This discussion is for the purpose of finding out if and how what I do can help what you do. It is certain that one day the description of physics models of the subject matter will meet the metaphysical understanding of the subject matter. Maybe today is just not the day, this blog is just not the place, and you are just not interested.

The answer to 3000 years old questions can wait a bit more …

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 23:09 GMT
Marcel,

I am not denying the right to exist of metaphysics or its value. But some questions are already settled by science. It is the role of metaphysics to interpret and fill in the gaps but not to rewrite scientific truth.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 23:15 GMT
Dear Marcel-Marie,

I am familiar with both metaphysics and physics. Maybe you can help me with a problem I am having. Why is it that I can interact with spirits, God, the occult, healing energy, all these sorts of things; I can have incredible experiences, but at the end of the day, I can't precisely pin down the evidence. I've seen amazing things. I've seen the hand of God at work, both visually (inner eye) and by the sequence of unfolding events in such an arrangement as to suggest 'directed-ness'. I've seen indirect evidence of ghosts; only my girlfriend, her mom and myself were in the house, I left the bathroom door open, I set down with the two of them, we hear the door close, I get up to check, it's closed, but nobody else is in the house, they have been telling me all along this sort of stuff happens. I've seen an entity, face to face, with my eyes, not my imagination. Yet all this stuff happens 'under the radar', beneath the threshold of provability. I don't know if you're familiar with physics concepts like "information content" or the propagation of information no faster than the speed of light. These sorts of experiences cause me to make additional distinctions about what the laws of nature consider to be information content. In other words, I am beginning to wonder if occult influences can enter this world subject to a possible "conservation of information" restriction. In other words, perhaps they can interact with our universe in only subtle ways. But then I wonder if I'm just fooling myself.

Can you shed light on why it is so difficult, if not impossible, for occult forces to provide definitive evidence?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 23:22 GMT
Lawrence,

"We of course would never expect classical objects to spontaneously emerge."

The question isn't how could something emerge from nothing, but why is there something, rather than nothing. If nothing is unstable, then it would always be unstable, so the fluctuation would be eternal.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 3, 2010 @ 23:58 GMT
Dear John,

You said,"The question isn't how could something emerge from nothing, but why is there something, rather than nothing."

Why wouldn't something emerge from nothing if that something brings about stability. I use the word hyperspace to refer to what was here before the Big Bang; and still is here. Hyperspace is a vast infinite region of space in which the Big Bang occurred. I am exploring various issues here, but our universe is stable. Why wouldn't a Big Bang occur to create stability?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 02:50 GMT
Jason,

I would agree space is an equilibrium state. Activity is not stable in the sense it isn't, of itself, in equilibrium, although it may be/is balanced by other activity, thus there is a wholistic stability. Positive and negative, expansion and collapse, it would seem all energy and motion is a falling out of equilibrium, but balanced by opposite forces.

What is matter and...

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 03:37 GMT
Florin,

If it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck then it is a holographic projection, strategically placed duck poo and sound recording, possibly activated by that trip wire. How many episodes of Scooby Doo did you watch?

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 03:59 GMT
John,

As usual I agree with you on several points including ---

1. professional physicists can't disagree too strongly with the established order, or they risk their reputation; in the case of undergrad and grad students, they risk not getting an A or a recommendation.

2. Those mathematical models are becoming incomprehensible. The fact that equations work at all is an indication that physics does have limited energy, momentum, etc., to work with. But how far can we build the mathematics before the whole structure becomes too strained to agree with reality?

Truthfully, I can't blame people like Lawrence and Ray for loving mathematics. However, they are a bit overextended with their mathematical theory; super string theory is vulnerable to someone who has to bulldoze it to pave the way for a better interpretation. Lawrence and I have been engaged in battle over whether FTL is possible. He has not been able to clearly demonstrate why FTL = time travel; I expect GR will bend and crumple under the strain of a carefully reasoned argument.

If you add more space to the universe, then everything inside will drift further apart. You cannot scale the speed of light without conservation of energy noticing; without the physics community noticing. Of course if new space is added, do galaxies drift away from each other with more kinetic energy, or do they frame drag on moving sheeting of space? That's a good question, but I am sure that the velocity of light will not scale to protect our rulers and clocks.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 04:09 GMT
"Maybe there is no way to create the perfect static model of a fundamentally dynamic reality. As much as we chase down and capture whatever "it" is, there always seems to be some loose end pop up."

I agree with that. Many arguments here can be enervated by a counterexample. A perfect static model of ultimate reality would be something like a "rule without exception". Maybe the speed of...

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 04:32 GMT
Georgina,

Please see my argument to Marcel. You are free to construct whatever model you want, but when a model of reality predicts results validated by experiments and there are no experiments contradicting those predictions, then this model IS reality (until falsified by experiments). In Scooby Doo, the masks are always revealed at the end, or the model is falsified. Of course there are no ironclad guarantees that a model is indeed reality and is never going to be falsified. But whatever competing model is proposed has to be consistent with all the experiments performed to date.

True does not imply false, but false can imply both true and false. From a false model (according to nature), (almost) anything can be derived.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 05:02 GMT
Jason,

There is indeed a sociological pressure in physics, but (I hope) it does not extend to actual results. Find something new that nature agrees with, and you can change the paradigm. Einstein was ignored and ridiculed in the beginning, but eventually everyone agreed with him because he was proven right by nature.

The latest mathematical models are indeed (very) hard to comprehend, but this is expected. If they were easy to understand, they will not be the state-of-the-art and everyone will be an expert. This is the same in every domain, not only in physics. Think of the first browser Mosaic before it was build. How many people understood why it needs to be built and compare this with the commonplace understanding of IE today. Hundreds of years ago there were mathematical contests about solving cubic equations. Today you look up the solution on line and solve any cubic equation in under a minute.

About FTL, it has withstood all attempts to break it for more than 100 years. I can guarantee you that GR is extremely hard to collapse even under careful reasoning. We already know GR is wrong (it is not quantum mechanical), but we do no know what to put in its place yet. This is the quantum gravity problem on which thousands of very smart people worked for more than 30 years with no definite answer. If however supersymmetric particles will be discovered in the near future, this will all but confirm that string theory is indeed correct.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 05:11 GMT
Jason,

I can’t help you with your problem. Had my share of experiences that I don’t deny but simply disregard. A veil of innocence and/or indifference is part of the deal…

Florin,

Then lets try this the other way around. Maybe what you know and do can help me do, what I want to do?

Lets say I create the universe from the rule of non-contradiction. This logical creation allows only time to exist. Furthermore, observations make this as an explosive process, the passage of time, and of course, with rules of logic to make it all work.

My present goal: I need to figure out the structure of this explosive time process, the basic unit. The logical creation is entirely pre-geometric. Since logic is the basis of mathematics …

Question: … what type of maths would describe the spontaneous (logical) evolution of an explosive like process of a finite size i.e. with the last iterations closing the surface. That would be to describe a “quantum” unit of time.

Please speculate ..

Thanks,

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 06:16 GMT
Marcel,

Now this I can do.

A computer game (imaginary reality, like say Age of Empire II) would satisfy your requirement, and the law of non-contradiction is clearly insufficient. Who is the creator of the game? The programmer and the player. They exist outside the reality of the game. But this presents a problem. In order to generate a reality (ontology) you need a different reality. In other words, God created the world, but who created God?

What you need is for nothingness to be unstable as John and Lawrence say. Do we have this in nature? Yes, of course. It is called the vacuum in quantum field theory. Why is the vacuum unstable? Because of relativity combined with quantum mechanics (uncertainty principle). Look into a very small region, and fix the position. This in turn introduces large momentum uncertainly which means a large energy uncertainly which means that particles can be created. Combining QM with relativity leads to Fock space. So one possible missing ingredient in your scheme is quantum mechanics. Are there other solutions possible that would generate ontology out of nothing? I really don’t know, but it is highly unlikely. Why? Because QM solves another problem, the problem of interaction between any parts of the universe. If you want to have a cohesive ontology, then QM is imposed upon you. (But maybe there are other self-creating solutions where not everything interacts with everything. A Harry Potter world violates cohesive ontology, and there may be universes out there where this would be permitted, who knows, our math knowledge is too primitive to answer this at this point.)

But by now we again encounter the same ontological hierarchy problem. Who created QM? What was before the Big Bang?

The question now is shifted to why is the nothingness of QM unstable? I believe that it is stable, and there is a democracy of possible ontologies (with nothingness one of them), and that QM ultimately exists because it can. This was the sense of my earlier answer to John.

My (very wild) speculation it is that it has to do with hyperbolic QM. In this flavor of QM there is no time and no cohesive ontology. But too many open question remains.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 06:51 GMT
Dear Marcel-Marie,

Thanks anyway. I find these things too useful to disregard. Even if such things don't fit the ontological model, they are helpful never-the-less.

Florin,

I like Age of Empires too. It blows my mind that the built in coordinates systems that are required to make games work do not exist in nature; there is not absolute frame of reference. Nature is just so tricky!

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 08:22 GMT
Florin ,

I was not being entirely serious. Just highlighting how appearances can be deceptive.

You said "...when a model of reality predicts results validated by experiments and there are no experiments contradicting those predictions, then this model IS reality (until falsified by experiments)."

That is incorrect. It is just a model not reality. It is never proven to be reality but is just consistent with experimental observation until dis-proven or superseded by a superior model. Belief belongs to religion and superstition not science.It is not necessary or scientific to believe in nonsense, however much evidence in favour is forthcoming.

The grandfather paradox and other temporal paradoxes show that the space-time construct of relativity must be false. I do not dispute that it makes valid predictions and is very useful but it is a misinterpretation non the less. A reinterpretation that is still consistent with experimental evidence but overcomes those paradoxes, and answers other questions besides is an improvement.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 10:45 GMT
Georgina, Florin,

is the feeling in my fingers when touching my PC key pad *really* in my fingers? A hundred and fifty years ago people believed in that. Today, the brain scientists believe that all is in the brain. The whole body-scheme is generated there. To detect this, one has to examine one's body (brain) from the outside and make experiments with body-disorders.

If one believes...

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 11:37 GMT
There are in my opinion two realities.

The biologically generated "subjective" reality simulation is produced by the organism, by processing of sensory input, together with internally generated input. That biologically generated experience is the reality that most people consider real. However just poking the brain with a needle in a particular place can produce an out of body experience.It has also been found that the divide between sleep and alertness is not as clear cut as previously thought. It is quite usual for mentally well people to have visual and auditory hallucinations, as their state of alertness is replaced by a more sleep like state.Sleep deprivation or high caffeine consumption have been positively correlated with higher incidence of hallucination.

There is also IMO an existential objective physical reality that provides the sensory input and exists independently of the observing organism. These two realities are not completely separate but interface at the sense organs (or artificial detector) which I call the Prime Reality Interface.This objective reality is inaccessible to comprehension by the organism except by construction of a subjective reality interpretation or artificial model. Neither are the independent objective reality itself.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 12:07 GMT
Georgina,

surley there is an independent objective reality that provides us with sensory input etc. Otherwise i would not write here :-)

There's nothing wrong with hallucinations. But the question is, can some of them be verified? Concerning sleep, we hallucinate via dreams. But there are states of dreams where the person is conscious about being in a dream. That's a pseudo-hallucination. Stronger hallucinations are not identified at all as hallucinations. However, near-death-experiences are not only out-of-body-experiences. The latter is a state where on can perceive verifiable information, visual and auditiv, albeit these senses of the body - the interface - doesn't work at that time. So there's a difference between induced out-of-body-experiences and those experienced by real experiencers whose visual/auditiv informations have been verified. There are many such verified cases in the literature and i doubt that all these cases are merely coincidences. It seems, together with other informations from the realms of near-death, that such persons have indeed left their bodies. No consistent explanation could be made for this until today, no explanation that can explain the physical origins of this verified information. I do not insist that such an explanation can't be found in the future, the only thing i want to accent is, not too overhasty abandon the possibility that the brain isn't really the producer of consciousness, but more the receiver of it.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 12:56 GMT
We might think of science as a sort of Turing test to ascertain whether the universe is something designed by an intelligent agent from outside the universe. We might think of this as a type of virtual reality Turing test, which is a series of questions (a game of 20 questions so to speak) meant to determine if the world is a cyber-generated creation or not. What we call God, or a standard notion of God as a designer/creator in a sense similar to how we fabricate items or tools, has so far not been found. Darwin made a major step in brooming such a type of God from the origin of species by illustrating how they were related to each other. Similarly big bang cosmology performs a similar role. We have not completely dispatched such an intelligent agent from existence, which would probably require an infinite data base, but we can at least work to expand our Turning test into a larger domain of observation.

Florin is right that to make sense of the notion “nothingness is unstable” does require quantum field theory. We might imagine a situation with a quantum vacuum where the total energy is zero H|ψ> = E|ψ>, where the energy E = 0. Supersymmetry has this property. The vacuum structure is not stable, where we might think of there being a certain type of field that falls off the top of a potential hill and then raises the energy E > 0. This is how the basic Fayet-Illiopolous approach to broken N = 1 supersymmetry. When applied to the standard model, the minimal supersymmetric standard model (MSSM), there is a charged Higgs sector that might be produced in the LHC. This would not confirm a “nothing is unstable” idea of the universe (more an idea than a real theory), but it would lend some plausibility to the idea.

Cheers LC

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 18:09 GMT
Jason,

"If you add more space to the universe, then everything inside will drift further apart. You cannot scale the speed of light without conservation of energy noticing; without the physics community noticing. Of course if new space is added, do galaxies drift away from each other with more kinetic energy, or do they frame drag on moving sheeting of space? That's a good question, but I...

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 19:19 GMT
Stefan Weckbach,

You said "surley there is an independent objective reality that provides us with sensory input etc. Otherwise i would not write here :-)"

Yes that is what I call objective reality. However we can not have direct access to it because all input from it is altered by the organism to allow perception and comprehension to occur. It can be modelled but that model is produced by the human mind and shaped by its experience and mental processes. A model of external objective reality can only be a human being's representation of objective reality not the reality itself.

We relate to the subjective reality experience, a biological simulation, as reality. The point about hallucination is that it is an alternative subjective reality experience that is internally generated and does not relate directly to the existential objective reality. It is however completely real to the person experiencing it. Even when not hallucinating the brain fills in a lot of gaps in the sensory input to give a coherent and comprehensible experience. For example one may get a very brief glimpse of something that is interpreted by the brain as consistent with input from a duck. The brain fills in the detail using stored memory and a duck is seen.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 19:35 GMT
Dear John,

"What if light propagates as an expanding wave and grounds out as discrete charge, rather than as individual photons traveling from the source?" Light (individual photons) are eventually absorbed a charge. The charge is excited, then it drops back down, emitting another photon.

"It would also create a horizon line for visible light, across which only black body radiation could travel. " Black body radiation is just light emitted from everything made out of vibrating charges (atoms); you are emitting infrared black body radiation. I get the sense you are trying to relate the Big Bang to the emission of a photon by a charge; is that what you're going for?

I've entertained the idea that hyperspace is, for all practical purposes, infinite. Universes like our own spring into existence, expand, and sometimes collapse. If two universes overlap, they may have to observe sufficiently weak coupling. If there was strong coupling, they might slam into each other.

"I kept pointing out that since we are riding that wave into the future, than it must be the other three dimensions collapsing into the past..." Interesting idea.

I agree that all of these cosmological observations could use a healthy dose of creativity to get them to paint some reasonable picture. But don't be surprised if you get competing and evolving ideas.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 4, 2010 @ 23:32 GMT
Florin,

Let me now speculate on your speculations

- skip the GG (God & Games) thing …

item 1

What you need is for nothingness to be unstable as John and Lawrence say. Do we have this in nature? Yes, of course. It is called the vacuum in quantum field theory. Why is the vacuum unstable? Because of relativity combined with quantum mechanics (uncertainty principle)....

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 00:25 GMT
Jason,

""It would also create a horizon line for visible light, across which only black body radiation could travel. " Black body radiation is just light emitted from everything made out of vibrating charges (atoms); you are emitting infrared black body radiation. I get the sense you are trying to relate the Big Bang to the emission of a photon by a charge; is that what you're going for?"

With this I'm trying to explain the cosmic microwave background radiation in terms of a universe which is not actually expanding, but has a horizon effect due to a reverse curvature.

It is described as black body radiation, which I understand to be broad spectrum, but below visible lengths, so its source isn't directly apparent. (It's what all matter radiates that isn't visible.) So since it is said to be coming from the edge of the visible universe and is supposedly the initial residue of the Big Bang, if the universe is instead infinite, then this is radiation has traveled so far that it is redshifted below being able to see the original sources. Think about it, if the universe is infinite and radiation is optically redshifted, there would still be radiation traveling beyond the point where it was still visible, so some effect similar to this background radiation would be predictable.

"But don't be surprised if you get competing and evolving ideas."

The more the better. I'm just offering up what insight I might have, for what it's worth.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 01:56 GMT
John,

I still think that the Big Bang occurred. But I think it occurred inside of hyperspace, which is of infinite expanse.

By reverse curvature, I assume you mean the dark energy that is said to be causing the universe to expand? I've been toying with the idea that this energy is constant for our kind of space-time; then, the expansion of the universe is being caused by some unknown phenomena. If that is the case, it allows conjecture that hyperspace (an excited form of space-time) is radiating away a tachyon and transmuting into regular space. I am still getting the kinks out of that process.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 03:39 GMT
Jason,

Gravity warps space, but it doesn't actually cause the source to move. It only appears to move when a gravity field passes in front of it. Now we think because all galaxies outside the local group are redshifted as though they were moving directly away from us, it really means they are? Just as the sun passing in front of a distant star doesn't actually cause the star to move, but warps the path of the light, so to would the path of light from distant galaxies be stretched. Not because they actually move away, but because the light expands to fill ever more space. All the light from that source amounts to one entangled particle which becomes weaker the larger it expands.

One of the main reasons why it is argued that space itself is expanding and carrying the galaxies along with it, the rising loaf of bread analogy, rather than an expansion of the contents in stable space, is because otherwise we would have to be in the center of the universe, since all those galaxies are redshifted directly away from us. As I keep pointing out though, if the essential nature of space is expanding, then the most basic measure of it, the speed of light, would have to increase proportionally. It would be like an elastic ruler, that as you stretched it, the marks become further apart. Otherwise, if you stretch space and it just adds more marks, what is the basis of the stable nature of those marks? It seems more logical that the constant would be the essential space. In which case, either we are at the exact center of the entire universe, or it's an optical effect, like gravity lensing.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 04:02 GMT
Florin,

Now for the un-serious fun part. Lisi`s E8 is a nice sphere of 248 dimensions. This sphere can be shopped into 8 equal portions but we must keep opposite pairs for symmetry`s sake, which makes 4 basic units. So we get 31 dimensions per basic units. Now we must add the delicious fudge factor. This factor is calculated by the process of messingaroundization (not German). This consists in calculating the sum of the base 10 to the power of each of its digits; (10 power 0) + (10 power 1) which gives 11. Now add 31 to 11 and you get 42, which we all know is THE answer. This shows without the shadow of a doubt that we can have fun with maths, as long as we understand that sometimes it is just that: fun and no more.

All the bests,

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 04:10 GMT
Marcel,

You touched on may issues. Let’s discuss them in turn.

“Nothingness unstable:

Actually, I have found that a spontaneous motion is an illogical situation of logical existence in the process of resolution. A self-evolving (motion) universe is an illogical situation trying to resolve itself. Here is how I come to this conclusion. A stationary object exists equally in...

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 04:31 GMT
Marcel,

Here is a joke from Star Trek (Voyager): Neelix asked Tuvok how can he survive marooned on a deserted planet with no supplies? The answer: “you eat the Sundays”.

And I have found this extremely hilarious site: http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html Look under parodies. I especially like this one: http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/parodies/atchoo.html


Regards,

Florin

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Ray Munroe wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 14:04 GMT
Dear Marcel,

I don't think you need to appeal to a messingaroundization fudge factor when you realize that you are working in multiple dimensions: E8 exists in 8 dimensions, and M-theory exists in 11 dimensions.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 14:45 GMT
Quantum mechanics has a statistical interpretation. A wave function is a summation over various orthogonal basis elements {φ_n, n = 1, ... n}

Ψ = Σ_n C_nφ_n, with φ^*_mφ_n = 1 for m = n and 0 otherwise.

The individual probabilities for an outcome of a measurement of an observable as an eigenvalue of φ_n is P_n = C^*_nC_n, and the modulus of the...

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Ray Munroe wrote on Jan. 5, 2010 @ 16:22 GMT
Dear Marcel,

Oh - It was a joke! No matter how you figure it, the answer is ALWAYS 42! 42=Spin(7) (7 hyperspace dimensions of M-theory), 42=10*(phi)^2 = 10*1.618*1.618 (10 dimensions of String Theory), 42=26*(phi) = 26*1.618 (26 dimensions of higher-energy String Theory), etc...

Have Fun!

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 00:59 GMT
Florin,

Thanks for the comments.

The subjects are “how space curves”, “QM & probability”, different “types of logic” and “hyperbolic QM”.

I choose only the first one because it illustrates the universe that separates us; the point of view of the observer VS the point of view of the universe. The subject is SPACE.

Space is a snapshot representation that belongs to the third person, the observer/spectator. When you look at the meter stick, you see it all at one moment of time. This moment is a moment of perception, like taking a picture.

But if you forget the camera view and wonder how the particles of the stick interact with each other, you realize that they can do it only at the limited speed of light. In other words, in an operational way (for anything to happen between any two particles) every particle is some time away from each other. In fact no two particles on that stick are at the same moment simply because the operational definition of a moment in time is just an infinitely small point. Since the whole stick does not fit all at once inside an operational moment in time i.e. it cannot exist all at once, the concept of space it represents is inexistent “without the observer to take the picture”.

The operational moment in time is so small no planet, person or even sub-atomic particle can fit in it. Macroscopically, this means that there are no objects as we perceive or conceive them in the real metaphysical universe.

The Moon is the classical example. The Moon is in fact an aggregate of matter and particles across time all sharing the same center of most probable existence (center of mass). This aggregate becomes “Moon” the moment we perceive it or even think of it as whole in one moment of perception. We make it whole or appear whole when it is not! But this point of view of the observer is true in the sense that he does not have the choice about it. This apparent objectivity is pure subjectivity resulting entirely from our size, senses, physical and mental makeup…

Science is true to our reality, to our relationship to the universe but … not to the universe itself.

This is how different we are you and I. All your other comments hinge around this observer point of view and the supreme belief that what and how you see is what is. (Oh! And spacetime is but a bridge between our reality and what we know of the real universe; still tied to the observer)

There is no place in the universe for space. (and no use for it as well)

Marcel,

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 02:57 GMT
Marcel,

"There is no place in the universe for space."

Space is nothing. Like the vacuum.

"In other words, in an operational way (for anything to happen between any two particles) every particle is some time away from each other. In fact no two particles on that stick are at the same moment simply because the operational definition of a moment in time is just an infinitely small point."

Consider the process described: Something happens between two particles. Then they go on to other happenings. Their arrow of time goes from one happening to the next. Past to future. On the other hand, these happenings are first in the future, then in the past. The physical reality of the particles exists. The happenings only exist when the particles are engaged in them. So what we think of as the present is the happening in which the particles are engaged, even if it's just the neurons in our brain firing over some sensory input.

Now say we tried to define a virtual/dimensionless point in this process, the proverbial "moment in time." Would we do so by freezing the activity of the particles? Wouldn't this actually cause the screen to go blank, rather than creating that snapshot of happening, since we would freeze the very motion creating the happening? The vacuum not fluctuating? So wouldn't a dimensionless point in time be meaningless? Yes, motion is at the speed of light and our brains can only process a same portion of sensory input, as a series of frames, or thoughts, thus we think of time as flashes of perception, the moments in time, but isn't the reality just the particles bouncing around, creating changing configurations?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 03:01 GMT
edit

"same portion of sensory input,"

small portion of sensory input,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 03:26 GMT
Marcel,

Thank you for your comments. I admit I am completely lost and I could not follow your explanation.

You say: “The Moon is the classical example. The Moon is in fact an aggregate of matter and particles across time all sharing the same center of most probable existence (center of mass). This aggregate becomes “Moon” the moment we perceive it or even think of it as whole in one moment of perception. We make it whole or appear whole when it is not! But this point of view of the observer is true in the sense that he does not have the choice about it. This apparent objectivity is pure subjectivity resulting entirely from our size, senses, physical and mental makeup…”

Now, being a macroscopic object, I agree with Einstein: the Moon is there even if I do not look at it. Our galaxy, solar system, Earth, Moon, existed long before us humans were present to observe them. Therefore I do not understand your statement: “This apparent objectivity is pure subjectivity resulting entirely from our size, senses, physical and mental makeup…” Can you please clarify your statements?

Thank you,

Florin

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 04:39 GMT
The classicality of large objects is a curious issue in physics. Something such as the moon is not only large, but it is gravitating. A region of space bounded by dust falling towards a gravitating body will fall inwards as the volume is tidally distended by the gravity field. Suppose we replace the enclosed volume of dust by a region in space that is the region of support for a quantum wave. This quantum wave will be distended, but in greater generality by the Wigner quasiprobability distribution function. This distends the wave function, which might start out more or less in a spherical region, into an elliptical shape, where this cigar configuration is increasingly distended into a needle shape and then a chord, at least in the case of the central gravitating body being a black hole. In my essay I employ this sort of thinking with strings. The quantum wave function is reduced in its expectation values, analogous to the entropy of squeezed quantum states. The fundamental element which determines this is curvature, in particular the Ricci curvature. In listening to Susskind’s lectures you must have reached his argument about how curvature is an obstruction to flatness. Any curvature will distend a quantum wave function, or the energy surface it defines, from spherical symmetry. This is what promotes classicality, with a probability that expands as ~ tanh(N) approaching unit as N goes to ∞, N the number of modes in the system. More on the bit of mathematics on that later, if I get to it.

It is curious that the universe has anisotropy, which is due to a Weyl curvature. Weyl curvature is what induces this tidal acceleration, and this may well be the source of how the quantum cosmology assumed a classical configuration, with inflation scaling large enough to induce larger Weyl curvature terms. The WMAP data does illustrate how the universe has anisotropy, which is Weyl in nature, and now the Planck probe is revealing B-modes which are signatures of gravity waves.

Cheers LC

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 04:53 GMT
Florin, John,

“Now, being a macroscopic object, I agree with Einstein: the Moon is there even if I do not look at it. Our galaxy, solar system, Earth, Moon, existed long before us humans were present to observe them. Therefore I do not understand your statement: “This apparent objectivity is pure subjectivity resulting entirely from our size, senses, physical and mental makeup…” Can you please clarify your statements?”

Excerpt ; “…the Moon is there even if I do not look at it.”

You are getting close! Of course there is “something” there even if I do not look! But the actual dimensions and the name we give it should be different whether we consider the point of view of the universe or that of the observer. This something is by itself just an aggregate of matter across time… It is when we see it or think of it that we actually integrate this aggregate across time into one collection in one moment of perception; this collection in one moment of perception gives it a size as it is now whole and we may and do call it an “object”. And only when it has become an object by this process or perceptual integration does carry the name “Moon”. Do you understand?

So, to answer the classic question “Does the Moon exist when I am not watching and/or thinking of it?”

The answer is no! You have to integrate it yourself in order to make it an “object” which, only then, carries the name of “Moon.” It works the same whether you visually see the Lunar disc or think of a spherical Moon. Both sensorial and conceptual integration end up making it an object.

Ok! Another way to explain it (maybe) with an image (pun). A) If I show you thousands of pixels, one at the time and just for a brief moment only, you can never make it a whole picture; this is the universe as it really is. B) If I show you all the pixels at once, you integrate them into a full picture. A photographic film would have performed the necessary integration in the case in A) and produced a complete image. It is not just in our heads since a film can do it. It is literally a moment of coincidence, a specific point of view that man or machine may capture and integrate.

Hope this clarify the matter,

Thanks,

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 05:30 GMT
Lawrence,

I am not buying. I have no quarrel that gravity does promote classical appearances. But a pencil on my desk is still a classical object, and has less than negligible gravitational curvature. This has much more to do with decoherence than anything else.

Marcel,

If by Moon you mean the name we call the celestial object then I agree. If however by Moon you mean the very object regardless of its label, then I disagree. The Moon was there long before life appeared on Earth who could look at it.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 10:01 GMT
I think the conceptual problem of the current discussion is due to the very concept of infinity. Starting with this concept, many unexpected conclusions can follow. For example that there can't be a single moment in time because the operational moment of time is too small to fit in for any physical interaction we know (except perhaps the behaviour of somewhat "logical" interactions like entanglement).

Or another example. The exact values of the physical constants. Are they infinitely accurat in a quantitative manner? I don't think so because if they would, just a single subatomic interaction would need infinitely many time to built up (without entanglement). No wonder that in this case no physical interaction fits in *any* period of time.

Or the multiverse/megaverse, there are infinitely many earths like ours, infinitely many persons like Florin, Marcel, John, Lawrence, me, infinitely often writing the same at infinitely many fqxi-sites. Are there infinitely many multiverses, megaverses etc.? Infinitely many half-Truths due to one's perspective and just one ultimate Truth (maybe QM)?

Maths is about quantities and distinctions. If there are no distinctions, there are no quantities and hence no more maths. Operating with infinity as a holistic concept/property makes only sense if one has a quantitative benchmark to operate on. Qualitative issues like all the "why"s and "what"s (what is energy, what is space, what is charge, what is time) can't be solved with such operations.

For me, the very concept of infinity is a placeholder for yet undefined and hence undiscovered qualities of ultimate reality. As elsewhere said, for me

infinity = undefined/un-definite/undecided.

In this sense, for me infinity is a contradiction in itself, if taken too literally as merely a physical quality of the universe/multiverse. It's an extrapolation of space and time, because without our concepts of space and time, we couldn't even built a single succession towards "infinity". Flatlanders in two dimensions can do a succession. They even can built Pi from a circle. But what about "Linelanders"? They can take an arbitrary distance and divide it by an arbitrary distance. Accidentally the result will be our Pi (to a certain accuracy), but Pi has no meaning for them, as long as they don't know what it means that something can lead to its initial point by not slowing down to zero and reverse one's direction.

Going one step further into a realm with no dimension, it is hard to imagine that there could be mathematical concepts/distinctions at all. Here the blank screen for me seems at first sight to reside, the undefined, functioning as a cushion to play over an intelligent game. Strictly speaking, a dimensionless point can't be part of spacetime, but has to be out of it. But that's only the perspective of a human being inhabited into a realm with dimension > 0 (and handling these dimensions quantitatively).

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 10:26 GMT
Florin,

The basic point is that perspective is inherently subjective. Objective perspective is an oxymoron. There can be no reductionistically complete understanding of anything(obviously) and a completely wholistic understanding would require a full and complete knowledge of the entire universe and every connection, etc. Simply we all agree there is a celestial body out there, orbiting our own. We do know it isn't made of green cheese.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 11:50 GMT
To paraphrase Rene Descartes; The moon reflects, therefore it is.

To further clarify, quoting Bill Clinton, "It depends on what the meaning of "is" is."

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 11:54 GMT
I wonder if physicists have nightmares about the universe, laws of physics? I can just imagine one of their nightmares about a quantum mechanics experiment. The physicist peels back all of the wave amplitudes and Higgs fields, and discovers the real universe behind it all. It's an intelligent luminiferous aether that picks eigenvalues based upon how it's feeling that day. AAAAHHHH!!!

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 13:15 GMT
...and the nightmare continues... the physicist turn's around the intelligent luminiferous aether to see what's on the backside of it.... and he sees that this crazy little intelligent thing is tattooed: 42 is the sign, tattooed all over the back of this entity... AAAAHHHH!!!! And the physicist awakes and realizes that he has just confused the number of the 42 finalists of the fqxi-contest within his nightmare... :-)))))

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 13:43 GMT
Florin,

You do raise an interesting point. Clearly small ordinary objects are not classical because they are in a gravity field or sources of a tiny amount of gravity. The point with respect to the early universe is that gravitational Weyl curvature and the inducement of horizons set up a quantum decoherence that now persists. In that way a micrometeoroid in more or less free space is irreversibly "classical-like" or a macroscopic object. There are clearly open questions with regards to this.

Cheers LC

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 17:11 GMT
Then the physicist wakes up and peels back all of the wave amplitudes and Higgs fields, discovers nothing there and still can't figure out how all the pieces fit together in the first place.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 17:21 GMT
So he asks himself; Why?

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 18:52 GMT
Dear Lawrence ,

Could explain me why a decoherence please ?

It is important what you say about the primordial universe .

Best Regards

Steve

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 19:55 GMT
Stefan,

Infinity is a counter intuitive thing. How many real numbers are between 0 and 1? As many as between 0 and 2 or minus infinity and plus infinity. Or consider a hotel with infinite number of rooms, each room occupied by a guest. A new guest arrives. Can he check in?

And yes, the answer is 42. 42 bottles of beer on the wall, 42 bottles of beer… ha, ha, ha

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 20:05 GMT
42 for my shoes too !

How many real numbers are between 0 and 1?

Already what the zero doesn't exist thus I imagine the serie ahahahaha

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 21:27 GMT
Florin,

yes, infinity sometimes can make me dizzy if thinking too much about it. I read about Cantor and there are infinities of different orders. I know the Hilbert Hotel and other puzzles. Maybe my definition of infinity doesn't grasp its totality, cause a "definition" of something as "undefined" is somewhat contrary. Maybe one can label infinity more general as the "unknowable". One knows the formal concepts of infinity, but one never can know/carry out all of its constituents.

For example into the Hilbert Hotel it would be difficult to place countable infinitely many new guests due to practical problems. It would take a large time for the person of the room with the number googolplex to move to the room with the number 2*googolplex-1 and so on. So till all new guests have checked in, it takes an infinite amount of time. But even for only one new guest it would take an infinite time to check in, because the guest of room 2 must wait until room 3 is free and so on... (in Grand Hotels no guests are moved out of their old rooms until the new rooms are free :-))))) (I know the hotel is just a metapher of the equality of all countable infinite sets).

Yes, maybe 42 is the answer, but what was the question :-))))) (because i assume the 42 bottles of beer on the wall is a saying, a collocation that doesn't exist in my language).

But now a more serious question that i had this afternoon after writing my previous comment. If infinite maths really exists in a realm without time and space, does this mean that for every thought a human being can make, there exists a mathematical counterpart in the platonic realm of maths? Or otherwise formulated: What cannot/doesn't exist in this realm? If this realm is really infinite, doesn't this mean that there exist at least all things that can be imagined by humans/aliens, be them even absolutely crazy/inconsistent? Is there a mathematical counterpart of for example an "intelligent luminiferous aether", tattooed with lots of numbers "42" on his back? It seems to be crazy, but if all my thoughts and imaginations are only manifestations of maths, it seems to me that in an infinite landscape of maths with infinitely many cardinalities of infinity, there is all that can be pre-defined, even all combinations of things/thoughts?

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 22:16 GMT
What is the answer to Life, the universe, everything? Answer: 42.

What was the question? "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?"

That makes no sense! Exactly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrases_from_The_Hitchh
iker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 6, 2010 @ 22:33 GMT
Stefan,

“If infinite maths really exists in a realm without time and space, does this mean that for every thought a human being can make, there exists a mathematical counterpart in the platonic realm of maths?”

If by the platonic world of math you understand only the consistent mathematical statements (i.e. excluding sheer nonsense like 1+1=3 and “plus parallel covariant if and only if”), then any part of reality including human thoughts are made out of mathematical objects. Nature is not inconsistent and originally mathematics was invented from patterns in nature. Later on, those constructs were abstracted, but this is an operation which basically says that math applies many times over in reality, and all that matters in math is not the instance or realization of mathematical structures, but abstract relationships. Gordon McCabe is a philosopher who conjectured the duality of math and reality. http://arxiv.org/abs/0805.3664 This is a very nice read, I highly recommend it. By the way, Gordon has advanced formal mathematical and physics training, and he wrote a book about standard model: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Structure-Interpretation-Standard-Ph
ilosophy-Foundations/dp/0444531122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=book
s&qid=1233565403&sr=8-1

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 01:29 GMT
Steve,

Decoherence means the loss of entanglement of a pure state, as it becomes more entangled with an environment. Quantum probabilities reduce to classical-like probabilities. I can't take it further than this, for to really understand this requires considerable study of quantum mechanics. If you really want to understand these issues you have to study the subject at considerable depth.

Cheers LC

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 01:41 GMT
Florin and Stefan,

Infinity is not a number. It is a set or a cardinality of a set. It is not a number which can be computed in anyway. Yet having said that there are some things which can be said about infinity, such as there is clearly a difference between countable infinity and uncountable infinity. The case of a hotel with an infinite number of rooms is a countable infinite set --- again infinity refers to a set, not a number. The continuum of say the real line is something else and it has the appearance of being larger, or a larger set.

This gets one into hair splitting matters of set theory, and various deep theorems on the foundations of point-set topology A fair number of years ago I diverged into this area, only to leave it in disappointment. To be honest, if your interests are primarily in physics this is an area I honestly advise not getting into. This is not to say mathematical study is bad, quite the opposite. Yet I suggest doing studies of mathematics which deals with actual "objects," things like spaces, topological indices, connections and curvatures and so forth.

Cheers LC

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 01:57 GMT
Florin,

“If by Moon you mean the name we call the celestial object then I agree. If however by Moon you mean the very object regardless of its label, then I disagree. The Moon was there long before life appeared on Earth who could look at it.”

You are there! You understand! I know, because you carefully avoid the third “if”, the one I keep telling you about. The one you can’t place in your mind because there is no place for it. Because that IF is in violent contradiction with the very foundation of the reality you live in; we live in.

Colors don’t exist; we make them up with our eyes and mind. We create space by integration. We invent time from change within space. We look at an aggregate of particles across time and we make it as an object that we then call “Moon”. We make it all up. All of it. All that we know is our relationship with universe, our point of view. We know very little about the fundamentals of the universe itself.

We may say we would like to know this and that but we are not ready to accept the answer. There probably is no concept more disconcerting than the one that consist in realizing the process by which we make it all up. The best way to handle it is to place it on a shelf at the back of your mind, as something good to know, and never try to realize it real time. Just imagine what it is to try to understand the process of understanding as you are doing it! Pop!

This little walk at the edge of insanity is the price to pay to really understand what the universe is without us in the picture. The romantics of the Copenhagen school said there was nothing out there worth our attention. This little 100 years break they gave us we used to exercise our right to look away and choose to do the fun stuff, nothing to bother us. But eh! The year 2000 has gone and passed and we still strap astronauts to a huge pile of explosive … It is time to grow up and accept what we are and how we work.

Then we may explore the universe and do more stuff ...

Why do we keep asking?

Marcel,

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 03:30 GMT
Dear Marcel-Marie,

If you want to be a creative person, then don't get too close to physics as the object of your interest. Physics is the opposite of creativity. Physics will confiscate your paint, brushes, and canvas. You, and most people, look at the moon and your imagination starts to flow. Physicists look at the moon and see photons and electromagnetic waves bouncing off it; they also observe gravitational fields coming from it. They treat creative people like a rat infestation in their ivory tower. Without any new phenomena to describe, physicists start to generate mathematical relationships between here and universes they've never seen. It's like the logic part of their brains has sacked and conquered their imagination.

They can tell the difference between those whose logic is in control, versus those of us whose imagnation has long since sacked and conquered the mathematical/logcial parts of our brains. We can weave the arguments and make the little physics equations dance, but they know that something isn't right. They become very suspicious when the speed of light starts to behave funny.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 04:00 GMT
"What is the answer to Life, the universe, everything? Answer: 42."

"What" was not one of the choices.

"How? And why?"

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 04:02 GMT
Dear Jason,

I disagree, physics is poetic. In fact physics is like climbing a mountain. You want to get higher to get a better perspective. But the mountain is unforgiving if you come unprepared. Not to spoil your fun and confiscate the brushes, but Lawrence is right. Learning physics is not harder than any other learning, but it does require effort and determination. I would recommend the following site from a Nobel Prize winner: http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/theorist.html on what to learn if you want to join an expedition to unexplored mountain peaks.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 10:05 GMT
Dear Florin,

I am so frustrated with physics. I wanted a hyper-drive. Heck, I want it so bad, I'm prepared to fill in the blanks of what physicists have to discover to make it possible. I can be very creative. But I'm disappointed that the laws of physics leave us with so little capability.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 11:48 GMT
Florin,

thank you for the interesting links. I read Gordon McCabe's arxiv-paper. I have to read it surely many times and contemplate it to more and more understand it. It's not easy stuff for non-mathematicians, i think.

By the platonic realm of maths, i thought of all mathematical consistent structures, yes. But where do the nonsensical human thoughts come from - if not from the platonic world? For example the thoughts of a strongly mentally disabled person? Or a person who doesn't see the solution in a mathematical equation and insists that the equation is wrong/not valid?

Lawrence,

yes, infinity is a very confusing area. Never-ending procession of successors. Maybe our human imagination of the concept of infinity has to do with the existence and/or human experience of time. Maybe infinity is independent of time and at the heart of ultimate reality. It works ever the same way, repeating itself, its main mechanism of adding successors. Could it be described as a cyclic process, a mere formal process without content (like for example quantitative values like numbers)? Just like one who crochets a muffler by repeating ever the same mechanism and within the produced loops there aren't ascending or discending numbers, but only empty space (i know this example refers only to countable infinity)?

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 13:23 GMT
Dear Lawrence ,

Thanks but you don't explain ,and for the decoherences ,I prefer the coherences and invarariances and CONSTANTS ,perhaps we shall explain me in the future ,in 3045 for exemple when your time machine is created of course ,for the lessons ,if you want I can explain you the real sciences .I am younger but you can ask me you know .Don't worry ,your credibility will be always like now .

Decoherences ???? NO BUT I DREAM OR WHAT .

Steve

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 16:00 GMT
Steve,

In order to explain this you need to know the difference between a pure state and a mixed state, and to understand nonlocality and how states are entangled. I can only suggest trying to research these up yourself. Wikipedia might be a start, and I use it quite often just to look references up. These are fairly advanced topics, which require a whole lot more reading than I can provide by tapping away on a keyboard here.

Cheers LC

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 16:06 GMT
Infinity has two origins. The first is with numbers, where even in the case of integers for any n one can always construct n + 1, and so so forever. The other is geometry, where even in Euclidean geometry lines and planes extend endlessly or "to infnity." So infinity is a property assigned to sets which have some unboundedness, but it is not a number in the proper sense.

Cheers LC

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 16:52 GMT
Lawrence ,

Thanks .The entanglement is unique dear Lawrence ,mixed why ???? iT IS NOT NECESARY .

Fort he study ,It is already made in fact ,I just would know your point of vue but apparently it is impossible .

You know dear Lawrence ,I have a capacty very speed to study 100 pages for exemple .It is like that ,I am not better but its is like that ,I learn quickly .

Always ironic because all that lacks of sciences ,you know maths ,physics ,biology ,chemistyry ,astronomy ,astrobiology ,universality .

Be sutre I respect your potential in maths but I really insist ,the maths are reals only if the reals are inserted .

Ps the infinity is like the zero or the - ,that doesn't exist .Only the space is infinite due to our limits of our mind ,the universe is thus finite and in evolution .

Cheers

Steve

Thanks

Steve

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 17:13 GMT
Observation on the universe and possibly infinity:

Recently this press release by the Hubble telescope has been in the news;

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2010/
02/

First sentence;

"NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has broken the distance limit for galaxies and uncovered a primordial population of compact and ultra-blue galaxies that have never been seen before."

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but if the light spectrum is being redshifted crossing such enormous distances, then the very bluest part of the spectrum would travel the furtherest, since the more redshifted the light is to begin with, the quicker it would fall off the visible spectrum. So it seems disingenuous to assume they must be young galaxies because we can only see the only the blue end of the spectrum, obviously redshifted. And surprise, surprise, we can't see any galaxies beyond that, so it must be the edge of the entire universe. If we can't see it, it must not exist.

There not even be monsters there.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 7, 2010 @ 23:51 GMT
Jason,

1) Creative …???? Not really! A razor sharp pragmatism and a deep intellectual honesty.

2) Warp Drive??? No sure but … my website may help you fill-in the blanks .. -physics of time speed-

Remember … the whole universe is made of the passage of time and its derivatives …

Rule of correspondence is given for photon (soliton) as a traveling wave of variation in the rate of time.

Magnetic field lines = time rate value in the process of changing, increasing or decreasing …

Electric field lines: line along which time rate value “change”* goes by zero and changes direction; from increasing to decreasing or vice-versa. We control E and M so, in theory we could control time and …. Inertia!

*(Only the second derivative goes by zero! At no point does time stop, or else … even existence would not be possible.)

Good luck!

Marcel,

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 00:31 GMT
John,

When a photon leaves Earth it goes by a very small red-shift.

This red-shift happens when the photon travels a time gradient, from slower time (near Earth) toward a faster time (away from earth).

(red color may be due to loss of blue component because of scattering by space dust … not the same as a known spectral line shifted toward the red end of the spectrum)

A galaxy may look blue because of temperature, because of loss of red component (?) or because the light goes up a time rate gradient, a “blue shift”. This would be shown by an actual known spectral shift toward the blue end of the spectrum.

Such a time rate based “blue shift” would mean that these galaxies are, with respect to us, between us and the expanding edge of the universe. It they were between us and the (original-big bang) center of the universe, they would have a red-shift. As for any explosion, the driving force comes from a higher time rate at the center and a slower one, away from it … the very slowest being no time at all, where the expanding universe meets … nothingness.

Now for the deep field pictures …. I read somewhere that according to the inflation theory, the universe is very very very .. big. ( I like this one). If the universe was the size of Earth, the latest Hubble pictures would not even fill a grain of sand on that Earth! Here’s something to think about!

Marcel,

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paul valletta wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 01:09 GMT
Why does the image in your above link, show your white shirt, and you actually "squinting/peering" into the bubble droplet? ;)

The droplet is at eye level in photo, but when you reverse and magnify the actual droplet, one see's an upside image of person in photo, and the droplet has the person in "focus" ?

How come?

best paul valletta

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paul valletta wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 01:59 GMT
Stefan,re Out of body experience/near_death , there is a line of

Thinkings that show the experience's are in fact the experience/event of birth?

At the moment of birth the brain is like a photosensitive "plate", as the head nears the oxygen rich atmosphere external to mothers womb, the brain is activated by photons hitting the top of the head, "first_light".

The white spot in the centre of darkness (as experienced by out of body, near death) persons, is the imprint of first brain activity induced by photons bombarding the blank "mind".

This event can be thought of as the very first thought in humans, "why" this is replayed in the minds of some persons and not others, it may be relative to near_death experience or actual trauma. The brain recalls the event of birth, replayed as memory in the mind of persons who's life may be in danger?..its known that if you are conscious during life threatening experience's, then sometimes you can bring on cardiact arrest by fear itself, thus the brain distracts you subconsciously for enough time, to be in "control" for your very survival.

Why would the brain replay you the image of "birth" at the near moment of "death"..thats environment instinct..maybe?

best p.v

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 02:00 GMT
Paul,

The picture captures the idea, but it is probably photoshoped.

LC

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paul valletta wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 02:12 GMT
Thanks Lawrence, I was hinting at a further "perspective" angle, the droplet shows a bigger picture than the "actual" picture?

Ther are many veiwpoints, "how" and "why" are but two drops in a vast ocean of individual thinking?

best paul.

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paul valletta wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 02:23 GMT
Afreudian slip? ;)

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 03:24 GMT
Marcel-Marie,

Intellectual honesty? Yes, like a habit that drives me nuts.

Pragmatism? I don't have a PhD to protect. I can be creative, as long as I stay within certain boundaries of logic and physics.

You said, "Remember … the whole universe is made of the passage of time and its derivatives …" Maybe it's made of the Higgs field. So what is mass? It's the stuff I will trip over when I get home; I need to pick up my floor.

Blue-green galaxies? I think a blue shift now would send us all back to the drawing board.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 04:05 GMT
Jason,

Light escaping Earth gets red-shifted and light coming toward Earth gets blue-shifted. What do you need to go to the drawing board for??

Marcel,

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 04:34 GMT
Dear Paul,

i know that some people think the near-death-experiences could be some reminiscence to birth. Some believe that the "white spot" in the center of darkness is the light at the end of the birth channel - real physical light. Some think (like for example Susan Blackmore) that this light and the corresponding tunnel is generated due to uncontrolled discharges by the visual cortex. According to Blackmore this happens due to a lack of oxygen.

All those explanations that try to explain these phenomenon by physical mechanisms that we know could be ruled out in the past. For more information you could read the prospective study of Pim van Lommel in The Lancet (for free).

I agree with you that human beings have their "blind spots" (cognitively). Some of them maybe cannot be recognized in principal during our lifetimes as human beings. But the issues the mentioned lancet article is concerned with is something very different to cognitive freudian slips. Its the mere opposite of it if one takes a closer look. Information that has been verified in hundreds of cases in which the brain's EEG wasn't active anymore and horrible physical traumata happened to the body. A review of the whole past life of these persons with all details and emotions. Even blind persons from birth on could describe the action around them during their "clinical deaths".

There are many more arguments that suggest these phenomenon to be ontological. All other explanations have failed. Lack of oxygen, drugs, medicaments, slep disorder, neurotransmitter, halluzinations and so on. Is this proof enough to insist in an afterlife? NO, but for me it is rational to not insist in the dogma of rationality (in the sense of reductionism) as the last word. Because maybe also here we have our blind spots.

P.S. There's a rich literature concerned with these phenomenon, most from the viewpoint of systematical and scientific investigation. Van Lommels study is only the most up-to-date-paper i know.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 07:42 GMT
Marcel,

The universe is expanding. Entire regions of space with millions of galaxies are supposed to be moving away from us. Why would we find galaxies moving towards us?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 10:30 GMT
Stefan,

I think that the great difficulty with ascertaining whether consciousness is just a manifestation of the function of the body or has some other independent existence is because the experience of consciousness is subjective. I wonder if even though no trace of brain activity was detected in those recalling near death experience, there may have been some low level of residual activity that was not detected due to the limitations of the equipment.

I have a number of pre birth memories. I can remember telling myself that I must not forget at the time of my birth. I have through out my life recalled those memories and thus have retained them. I experience those memories as the same as any other memory and I am quite sure that if I was given a brain scan it would be found that those memories were accessed in the same way as any other. From that point of view they are real memories.

However what is a memory. As far as we know memories are formed by the growth of dendrites of nerve cells and synaptic junctions between them. The memory can not be isolated from brain structure. Therefore it seems likely that those memories of disembodied self and its experiences pertain to the very early development of the brain and the beginnings of consciousness prior to full bodily self awareness of the foetus. The disembodied experience being due to lack of a developed awareness of self rather than actual disembodied consciousness.

That does not alter -what- I remember and how I feel about those those memories, which as I have said are as real to me as any other. As I am sure are the memories of those who were near to death.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 12:11 GMT
Georgina,

My mom had pre-birth memories; they were of rather elaborate in nature. As a kid, I didn't believe my mom, I thought she was weird. Then, one night, I got face to face with one of those entities. I never questioned my mom again about that stuff.

There is a quality of life, a happiness and sense of connection with others that seems to vanish in the presence of logic, the scientific method and "reality". They say that ignorance is bliss; yet knowledge is to be striven for. Honestly, who comes up with these stupid rules?

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 12:39 GMT
Georgina,

assuming that during near-death-experiences, the brain still works at some low level, that does not explain the information the experiencers received. These experiences, as you maybe know, aren't only concerned with a review of the own life, but also firstly with the near and far surrounding of the experiencer's body; many have visual informations what happened in other rooms, behind their backs etc. and these informations could be verified. That's the main fascinating point of this phenomenon for me. Also there have been cases in which the experiencers met dead relatives in a spaceless and timeless realm, not knowing that these relatives already have died. These informations also could be verified later in a definite way (for example in cases where relatives died in the same night the experiencer had his/her experience). It is very unlikely that all these "information-transfers" are merely random coincidences - and if so, there should be also cases where those "informations" could be falsified - but there aren't such cases (4 Million people in the US alone have had OBE's if one believes the Gallup-study).

The theory that the brain is fully responsible for the full spectrum of those experiences inclusively the review of the own life is also very unlikely to me. It also would contradict strongly what is known today about the higher levels of awareness in correlation to the different parts of the brain and their tasks and last but not least the absence of such contents of consciousness if these parts of the brain are inactive.

Near-death-experiences have nothing to do with pre-birth memories. I never heard of just one near-death-experience where some person remembered his/her memories at the time of pre-birth. Pre-birth memories are memories just like all other physical memories and seem to play no meaningfull role in the whole scenario of the structure of near-death-experiences.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 14:29 GMT
Hi all ,

Have you seen that ,very intriguing ?

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/15oct_ibex.htm

Steve


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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 17:28 GMT
Marcel,

That observation was a little out of context, if you hadn't read my thoughts on the subject from a few days ago: Jan. 4 at 2:50 and 18:09. Jan. 5 at 0:25 and 3:39.

Jason,

Yes, the sentence didn't make sense as it was written. Obviously it would have been light from the furtherest blue end of the spectrum that had its spectral lines redshifted to the point of falling off the visible spectrum. That's my point though. Any light that started out on the red spectrum would have fallen off the visible scale first. Their argument is that since all they can see are the spectral lines from the blue end of the spectrum, these sources must not have any heavy elements in them and thus they must be very young proto-galaxies, rather than consider the redder light would have fallen off the scale anyway. There is a very cultural strong bias to fit evidence into the prevailing model and no inclination to consider other, extremely obvious reasons why they don't see any light from the heavy elements this far away.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 00:25 GMT
Stefan,

You said "Pre-birth memories are memories just like all other physical memories and seem to play no meaningful role in the whole scenario of the structure of near-death-experiences."

You may be correct. I do not know that we understand enough about consciousness to be sure. My earliest memory is of realising that I was no longer alive. I do not recall any previous life in a different body. I have no way of ascertaining whether this is a memory related to a real event or an artefact of earliest brain development or the default wiring structure that my brain began with.

The sub conscious mind receives a lot of information that is usually inaccessible to the conscious mind because it is filtered out as unimportant. We often know stuff without knowing that we know it. This is demonstrated by the mind reader and illusionist Derren Brown. Who clearly demonstrates how easily the mind is influenced sub consciously by external stimuli. It may be that in the near death state information that would not usually be accessible is received by the conscious mind and built into an experience. Such as faint voices in another room. There may be an element of coincidence but also there may be sub conscious information influencing what is seen and heard in the near death subjective reality experience.

An article printed last year in New Scientist talked about how out of body experiences can be activated by stimulation of a particular point on the brain. The brain is responsible for giving the sense of orientation. Other perspectives can be seen using memory, as when dreaming, to allow the alternative viewpoint to be realistically experienced. This is IMO because everything that is seen by an individual is a subjective reality created by the brain and the brain is capable of creating perfectly realistic alternative subjective realities.

In the near death situation the brain is not functioning normally and it is therefore not surprising that unusual experiences are created. The similarity of those experiences being due to similarity in physiological condition of the brain. Whether those experiences are real depends on whether you are the one experiencing them.

Schizophrenic or drug induced hallucination can be perfectly real for the one experiencing it. Hallucination, auditory and visual or involving other senses, is also not unusual in the mentally well, especially the sleep deprived. Who may not even realise they have hallucinated. Alien or angel encounters may also be perfectly real subjective reality experiences for those that have experienced them. A real subjective reality, as real as any other subjective reality. It can not be shown to relate though to the objective existential reality, external to the individual organism. The near death subjective reality experience also does not necessarily related to the objective existential reality although the subjective experience is perfectly real. IMO.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 03:26 GMT
John,

Blue/green galaxies, quite simply, suggest blue-shifting. Those galaxies are moving towards us. Sure there may be spectral lines that contribute certain wavelengths, but black body radiation contributes the whole spectra (visible light anyway) by virtue of the stars/gasses being hot. If all we're seing is the blue/green end of the spectra, then yeah, the rest must must be in the ultraviolet range.

In the article, they do mention a redshift=7 or 8. So it's not like they don't know about redshift/blue shift. Rychard Bouens was quoted to say, "They are so blue that they must be extremely deficient in heavy elements,... "

I think you are right. Cosmologists are so used to red shifting, that when something ultrablue comes along, "moving towards us..." doesn't even come to mind.

They do talk an awful lot about reionization. Maybe they mean tht electrons and protons started getting together. That would emit Balmer spectral lines that are blue, but when they get redshift, they would move towards orange-yellow...

Your point is well taken.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 09:37 GMT
Georgina,

"My earliest memory is of realising that I was no longer alive."

This can mean everything, in my opinion. I don't doubt that it's a valid memory, but it is difficult (for me) to conclude anything out of this statement.

"The sub conscious mind receives a lot of information that is usually inaccessible to the conscious mind because it is filtered out as...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 10:30 GMT
Jason, Yea, I don't like to be harping on a subject, but I think the whole Big Bang theory is a collective delusion. Consider the points Marcel made;

"Such a time rate based “blue shift” would mean that these galaxies are, with respect to us, between us and the expanding edge of the universe. It they were between us and the (original-big bang) center of the universe, they would have a red-shift. As for any explosion, the driving force comes from a higher time rate at the center and a slower one, away from it … the very slowest being no time at all, where the expanding universe meets … nothingness.

Now for the deep field pictures …. I read somewhere that according to the inflation theory, the universe is very very very .. big. ( I like this one). If the universe was the size of Earth, the latest Hubble pictures would not even fill a grain of sand on that Earth! Here’s something to think about!"

The whole idea of saying it's expanding space, not an expansion of space, is to explain why we appear to be at the exact center. Obviously an optical effect on light traveling enormous distances would explain that observation far, far more efficiently than all the contortions BBT was to propose.

Inflation theory would be the most obvious. Essentially it tries to shoehorn what is by all appearances a large scale flat infinite universe into a theory of expanding finiteness. Everything expanding to multiples of the size of the visible universe in a fraction of a moment, yet lightspeed remains a constant relative to our own particular dimension of space????? Remember the propaganda tool of the "Big Lie?" That people see through little lies, but the really big ones, they tend to believe, since everyone else believes them and no one would make something that outrageous up. Not to say it's intentional, but the effect is the same.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 17:53 GMT
1) Suggestion: It would be nice to have a unique number attached to a post. Reference would be easier than date time minutes…

2) Jason, I offered the blue shift as a time gradient indication of the relative position in the gradient. But, yes, it could also indicate a Doppler blue shift.. Question: If we were the ones flying toward these galaxies … we would also get the blue Doppler shift ???



3) John, I believe the big bang to be the beginning of an explosive process, not a single event sending stuff around in a ballistic way. The reason for the bang, the process itself is still happening right now. We live in this explosion that we call time. You are right in saying it expands /explode in every point … The “center” refers only to where it all started; it is now happening everywhere and may be faster at the edge where the time differential is greater. This fossil center would still exhibit higher time rate with respect to the rest of the universe.

I don’t see lies. Just the normal process of fighting for ones ideas until some better argument shows up. Of course, the data gives the same facts for everyone, but how we wrap our heads around them to come up with what it means is very different.



Finally, a little something about light production. We have incandescence, light produced by heated bodies and we have luminescence, all the other methods ..

In incandescence, the spectral distribution is a kind of a bump curve directly related to the temperature. The hotter the object gets the more the maximum of this curve of emission moves toward the blue end of the spectrum. A piece of iron goes from dark red, bright red, yellow and then green!!!!??? Ever seen a green hot piece of iron??? Nope! Why is that ?? Because of the shape of the curve, at the moment of maximum emission in the green.. the emission in the red is still around and the emission in the blue already started.. This exact combination of red-GREEN-blue constitutes for our eyes the white light sensation. No green hot metal….

Luminescence in contrast produces nice individual spectral lines for low pressure gases (neon signs), or mixtures of curves and bands (light from fluorescent lamps) and … fun stuff to read ..etc.

Marcel,

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 00:29 GMT
Stefan,

I am sure you know more about this subject than myself.

Re. the blind person. The mind is able to visualise things that have never been seen and it may be that in the unusual physiological condition of near death the brain functions differently to normal making unusually clear visualisations apparent to those that have had little or no visual experience.I do not know how blind people imagine under normal circumstances without some kind of visualisation process. It is not something I have ever thought about or investigated. However this is interesting. Painter without eyes

Coincidences happen. Also a person may not know a relative has died but may be concerned for their health or not having heard from them for some time and this may sub consciously effect what is experienced. They may not have been aware of their concern because it was sub conscious. Just as relatives can pop up in dreams. Sometimes it will be a realistic scenario which may be taken as having some significance or it may be a bizarre abstract scenario which is accepted as just another dream.

I do accept that there are some unique features of the near death experience that make them different from other alternative subjective realities. However that uniqueness does not mean that they are related to an external objective reality other than the similar physiological condition of the brain. I am actually quite open minded about this subject but I think it does not help to jump to conclusions when evidence is based on personal subjective experience and testimony. I am sure all that is experienced is perfectly real to those experiencing it. As are my own experiences of subjective reality and various kinds of alternative subjective reality.

I find sleep paralysis very interesting. The phenomenon is well described and the visualisation fairly uniform between observers.It is accompanied by the perceived presence of a malevolent entity or entities. (I have developed the ability to scream, overriding the paralysis, which enables me to wake up fully.) Is the perception of the presence due to the different type of activity of the brain which enables it to access data not normally accessible or is it just an alternative subjective reality created by the brain itself in that different state? I would prefer to think that the second case is most likely. The alternative being terrifying and likely to make me determined never to sleep again.

I also do not find the idea that dead relatives will be present at my death at all comforting but a very disturbing idea, that I would rather not contemplate. Perhaps people see what they want to see or expect to see. I think that they often see figures associated with their own religious belief, rather than those of another or something totally different.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 01:12 GMT
Marcel,

"The reason for the bang, the process itself is still happening right now. We live in this explosion that we call time. You are right in saying it expands /explode in every point … The “center” refers only to where it all started; it is now happening everywhere and may be faster at the edge where the time differential is greater. This fossil center would still exhibit higher time rate with respect to the rest of the universe."

The idea which first led me to question BBT was Omega=1. That the universal expansion of space is balanced by the gravitational contraction of space. If there is this equilibrium, it would seem to be some form of cycle.

Einstein added the cosmological constant to keep gravity from collapsing space, yet as you say, every point in space is expanding. Obviously this effect is overwhelmed in gravity fields, but just as gravity creates geometric wells, inbetween these wells are hills of expansion.

As I keep pointing out, the physical reality proceeds from past to future, but the events defining time go future to past. So just as the energy of the present is always expanding outward, the relative effect is the geometric structure is falling inward. This corresponds to the radiant expansion of light and the gravitational collapse of mass and structure.

So, yes the energy of space is expanding, yet its structure is collapsing, just as energy moves toward the future, as information falls into the past.

Consider the idea that the universe will expand until gravity overwhelms it and it falls back into a big crunch. Well, gravity is at work now and as the search for dark energy shows, the expansion is not just the effect of a singularity, but is constantly happening. Now consider ideas like Inflation, that are required to make BBT work. I've made various points about it in previous posts, so I won't repeat them.

So I'm not disputing the idea that our measure of space expands, but that we haven't fully integrated it with the effects of gravity and doing so yields an entirely different model of the universe.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 09:28 GMT
Marcel-Marie,

Let's say the ultra blue-galaxies appear that way because of blue shifting. Relativity excludes the existence of an absolute reference frame. For that reason, there really is no way to tell the difference between us moving towards those galaxies versus those galaxies moving towards us.

Georgina,

I think there are two possibilities. Either (1) evolution thought is would be useful to fool us into believing in an afterlife, or, (2) there really is an afterlife. Lot's of scientific people have to believe (1) because of Occam's razor. I prefer (2) because, if that's true, then lot's of fun, interesting and exciting possibilities occur. The only down side to believing (2) is that you have to keep a low profile so people don't think you're crazy. I kind of think that believing in these kinds of things activates lots of brain chemical and has some relation to cognition and learning. I can use that to understand physics very deeply, in ways that are impossible otherwise.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 10:51 GMT
Georgina,

"Re. the blind person. The mind is able to visualise things that have never been seen and it may be that in the unusual physiological condition of near death the brain functions differently to normal making unusually clear visualisations apparent to those that have had little or no visual experience.I do not know how blind people imagine under normal circumstances without some...

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Anonymous wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 12:13 GMT
Stefan,

you said "My point of view is, although I at present *believe* in the objective reality of near-death-experiences, I take into account that this could be indeed a trick of the mind."

I think that that is a reasonable position to take. I am standing just the other side of the fence. I prefer to assume that subjective experience does not always relate to an existential objective reality. There is plenty of evidence to support this view. Illusion and deception, dreams, hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucination, psychotic breaks, altered states of consciousness, delirium. It is therefore quite probable that the near death experience, although experienced as entirely real, is also such a situation.

Scientists are human too and it is human to seek and find what we are looking for. Participants in research projects may also be being "helpful" by providing what the researchers are seeking and censoring or rationalising their own accounts to fit with their own beliefs or what they believe is required from them. There may be an element of self deception, selective recall or even unknowingly fitting what they were later told or came to realise about their situation into their own recollection of the near death experience itself. The human mind is very good at picking up very subtle environmental clues or body language and sub consciously knowing things that it might seem impossible to know. As you say _difficult.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 12:14 GMT
From ne.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 15:23 GMT
Georgina,

yes, when considering all of those difficult questions, in my opinion,too, one has to have in mind all those scenarios you wrote. That's important if one wants to discover the nature of some phenomenon. I try to always look at both sides of possibilities. An argument against your remark of "Scientists are human too and it is human to seek and find what we are looking for." could indeed be that there are lots of scientists who didn't believe at all in such stuff as afterlife and the question is why none of them came out yet with some data that could falsify the experiences/informations in question.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 11, 2010 @ 00:14 GMT
Jason,

I'm fairly certain these sources are referred to as "ultra blue" because their spectral lines are of elements which radiate in the ultra blue, but that by the time they reach us, are shifted to the reddest end of the spectrum. It would be far more news worthy if they were announcing the discovery of light sources from the edge of the universe that had their spectral lines blueshifted. That would seriously contradict all theory.

Georgina,

Consciousness and what it is conscious of are two different things. The origins of consciousness are primordial, if not eternal. As such, society and the group are as much a field effect of consciousness as any form of swarm or network mind. The more we study neurology and biology the more obvious this is. The question of memory is what this awareness is conscious of and retains. This is a filtering effect and much is forgotten. That individuals die and others are born is natures way of pushing the reset button, or starting on a fresh piece of paper. Our lives, minds and memories are events which recede into the past, as the process of life and awareness proceeds into the future. How this plays out on individuals and particular memories is a far deeper process than we can possibly analyze. As reality is bottom up emergent, yet defined in terms of top down ordering, What emerges from the depths is only crudely delineated by the details of the observable surface.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 11, 2010 @ 11:19 GMT
Personally I have had this problem due to a cerebral accident at the age of 20 ,thus 14 years ago ,a coma in fact .It is probably the reason why I see little green men everywhere ,they tell you all ,a good universal happy year .hiihihihi wait, they say too ,all goes to the spherization .

To return serious about the objectivity even afetr a personal experiment about the sleeping state .

I can say ,I have no power ,I can't telepathe with somebody or others esoteric stupidities .

When I was in this state ,the perception is different of course after the wake up.But the objectivity is the objectivity .We can interpret all the subjectivities what we want ,the objectivity will rest .The subjectivity thus is like a road towards the objectivity if and only if the real tools are inserted ,objective tools in fact .

Sincerely

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 11, 2010 @ 23:15 GMT
Hi John, Steve,Stefan,

Thank you Stefan for introducing the term qualia to the discussion. I think I will now use it lots. Even though it reminds me too much of a flock of quail.

John you said "Consciousness and what it is conscious of are two different things." I agree completely with this. Qualia of experience may be produced from external input or internal input. The qualia of experience are not objective existential material substance or wave forms. Nor the energetic input that is used to produce the qualia , nor the brain activity patterns occurring when that input is processed. Just as the avatar in its on screen environment is not the machine code of the programme that produced it or the electrical activity in the microchips or the data input by the player.

The qualia are the experienced product of the brain activity IMO. This is based upon my current limited knowledge on this subject. I understand that some people think that the brain is able to receive qualia from external sources rather than just producing them internally.I do not think that this has been conclusively shown, although there may be some anecdotal evidence.

The qualia of experience enable the biological organism to interpret and interact with its environment. They serve a biological function and do not exist independently of the organism. Though memes or ideas can be shared by a group, which will include descriptions of qualia of experience. The group uses those shared memes to interact with each other and the environment.

John I think I understand what you are saying about awareness proceeding into the future and memories and individuals fading into the past. However perhaps the past, present and the future themselves pertain only to qualia of experience and shared memes describing those qualia. So in objective reality, independent of any observing organism, it can be considered that there is only continuous change in position of substance within space and corresponding continuous energy fluctuation.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 03:13 GMT
Georgina,

"So in objective reality, independent of any observing organism, it can be considered that there is only continuous change in position of substance within space and corresponding continuous energy fluctuation."

Exactly! But it doesn't entirely explain the fact of conscious awareness. I can accept the fact that I'll die and will no longer exist, but the fact that I'm finite...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 03:48 GMT
Almost as if a cd of someone else's software were downloaded onto my hard drive for a few moments.

Could it be that I and the other are possessed of and possessed by the same awareness? Different neurons making a connection across the same network.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 06:57 GMT
John,

John you are correct, verbal communication of memes is not necessary for group awareness or shared awareness between individuals. We have the ability to empathise with the emotional state of other humans and, when their body language and behaviour is understood, with other species too. Pheremones may also play their part. Information about the environment may also be communicated non verbally. The sensory input, giving information from the other person or animal, then forms qualia of experience within oneself.

I understand my dog's emotional state from subtle body language and behaviour, probably in the same sort of way that you understand your horses. There is not only non verbal communication from the dog about internal emotional state but also about the external environment. For example when hunting, I can tell as soon as the quarry has been located as his tail will wag rather than being held still. I can also tell when my input into the situation is required because rather than proceeding to catch the animal alone, keeping his body very still, he will gaze directly at me and then back to the location of the quarry. This is very clear and deliberate non verbal communication of an idea.

The idea has not travelled directly from mind to mind but via body language and sensory input of that language which is processed into comprehension.So there is shared awareness of something, but independent and non identical experience of that awareness.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 10:16 GMT
Georgina,

Obviously most of the time it is as you are describing, but occasionally there is the sense of having plugged into another's nervous system. Something of an out of body experience. As well as other times, such as when you really fell someone staring at you, before you realize they are there. Sort of entangled consciousness like entangled photons.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 14:11 GMT
Georgina,

you wrote

"The qualia of experience enable the biological organism to interpret and interact with its environment. They serve a biological function and do not exist independently of the organism."

Qualia - the awareness of a consciousness' content -, in my opinion originates from the opposite of the world we live in (the world of plurality). Namely from a realm of...

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 14:30 GMT
So, what is more lucid? The assumption that a strict determinism gives us - accidentaly? - the right answer to the question wether the world is completely determinated or not? In this case obviously this determinism can camouflage free will (via our brains/qualia), without any advantage to biological evolution or the tide of events, but with the only "advantage" to be able to reach this truth.

Or is it more lucid that a realm of free will can camouflage determinism to various degrees? In this case obviously a conscious agent with free will can freely decide to abandon some free will (for whatever purposes). But in the first case, no camouflage of free will *will* ever produce such a free will.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 18:12 GMT
Stefan,

I would take issue with both determinism and free will.

Determinism is the assumption that the consequences of a fully realized past define all future consequences. The problem is that cause cannot be completely defined, since there is no objective perspective from which to do so and is therefore effectively infinite. So if there is no way to completely define input, output cannot be fully defined either.

Free will is an oxymoron. Freedom from all influence also means the inability to influence, therefore one has no power to express one's will. To the extent every aspect of our being is integrated in its context, we exist as a factor in the equation, thus we influence to the extent we are influenced. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." One would just be flailing away in the void.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 18:40 GMT
John,

very good points. Concerning determinism, yes, the question is, must a physical cause of something - for example a subatomic event - be infinitely precise in time and space or is it only finitely precise? Means, are the subatomic events themselves infintely precise or not (concerning their mathematical values)?

Concerning free will, i agree. I haven't meant free will in this sense, but as the ability of a conscious observer to select between some alternatives and by doing so changing the tide of events in the wished/selected direction.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 21:19 GMT
John,

We get lots of choices. We get to chose between what is right and what is wrong. We get to chose between what is good for us and what feels good. We also get to chose our values. We can choose the easy path or we can choose a difficult path. We can choose to influence someone or not influence someone. Our choices might be well thought out or foolish. Our choices are defined in term of who and what we are.

To a significan degree, we are like classical systems whose actions are determined by our circumstances, by our beliefs and by our pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. By like quantum systems, people can never really be fully predictable. You never really know where the wheel of choices will come to a stop in someone's head; or when a miscalculation will occur. Human beings and animals are too much like quantum systems then the scientists want to admit. Animals are unpredictable, we've seen on TV people getting mauled by animals. Human beings have an unconscious fear of being predictable, because of they are predictable, they can be controlled. If they can be controlled, they can be robbed of their power, of their ability to exercise their Will. It is an ongoing conflict. Just ask any teenager.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 21:38 GMT
By the way, is there any chance that "information content" has anything to do with the chain of predictability?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 12, 2010 @ 23:07 GMT
Stefan,

You said "If Qualia only serve a biological function, the function within a strictly deterministic framework would be to only fool the observer about his own lack of free will. The underlying reality in this case would be, that no organism can act in a Darwinian sense to advance his chances to survive. Because that strict determinism governs all brain activities, thoughts and...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 00:00 GMT
Stefan,

There are a number of issues. Yes, quanta are fuzzy, also, as I keep pointing out about time as a consequence of motion, there can be no dimensionless point in time and thus no absolute location, as that would require freezing the motion that constitutes much of the energy content.

Another problem that I tried to reference is that perspective is necessarily subjective, so there can be no objective perspective of all possible input. Even if there could be a store of all knowledge, accessing it requires a distillation and consolidation to organize it and this edits some amount of information. Not to mention on going activity producing additional information outside the process, etc. The concept of determinism is based on an assumption of linear cause and effect, but reality is non-linear.

We have the ability to affect our situation. The problem is that the results are frequently not what we intend, so we do have that kind of free will, but as the saying goes; Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Jason,

You bring up the problem with our understanding of good and bad. It is a basic binary code, not some absolute distinction. Just as computers are enormous collections of on/off switches, so our decision making process is a compilation of endless good/bad decisions. Thus what might be an immediate good can be a long term bad, but we have finite lives, so there is always a balance between all the various options. We think that between black and white are just shades of grey, but all the colors of the spectrum are. Also we don't chose between right and wrong. We distinguish right from wrong and the decision is implicit in the distinction. We don't do what is bad, even though it might appear that way from others perspectives. Much as we want to think good and bad are absolute, the reality is they are relative. It's just that from our rather finite perspective, some things do appear very black and others quite pleasant.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 00:15 GMT
John,

I agree with all of that. Once more dynamic complexity reigns.

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Anonymous wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 01:16 GMT
Georgina,

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18371-brain-e
ntanglement-could-explain-memories.html

Read the comments.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 01:22 GMT
Not that it proves anything, but that the idea exists.

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 01:55 GMT
Stefan, the inevitability/relative "certainty"/attainment of higher truths adds to, confers, relates to, and/or involves both experience and truth in an interactive fashion, as this relates to/involves the shared and fundamental structure of our basic experience(s). This ability to truly and deeply understand more AT ONCE is emotional, instinctive, and enlightened. Emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness.

Completeness and balance go hand in hand, and that is very important, in life and in physical ideas. It is impossible to be truly wise and enlightened apart from the compehensiveness and consistency of both intention and concern as they relate to experience (and people) in general. This is truly higher truth/love. Desire is the glue of the self.

One then further considers how thought/truth relates to reality/experience in general.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 03:15 GMT
Frank said: "This ability to truly and deeply understand more AT ONCE is emotional, instinctive, and enlightened. Emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness." I'll go along with that. First impressions or gut instincts are the summary of what we're looking at. Eventually, we still need to dig further and ask questions. But emotions provide the advantage of summarizing something very quickly.

John,

Computers are told what to do with those 1's and 0's. Animals act on instincts and based upon what they perceive. Human beings get to wonder and to worry about whether or not they are doing the right thing. That doesn't sound very deterministic to me. While quantum particles might have to think about all of the available choices, classical mechanics says: these are the laws, do this. Classical objects obey without question.

I'm afraid that determinism is undermined on two fronts. First, quantum particles consider/exist as many eigen states before a measurement forces it into one states. Second, human being are known for being indecisive. That are not automatons who just act, as determinism would suggest. Human beings can take months or years to make a decision.

I just don't see how determinism can rise to the top of the heap of possibilities of how the universe works. If anything, there is the argument that the universe has to figure out what it can do. That's probably why there is an upper limit on what can be done (speed of light).

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 06:51 GMT
John ,

Re new scientist article. Very interesting observation.

Jason,

As usual I am at a loss to distinguish Frank's pontification from sound bite word salad. You say you go along with him but at the same time your own words seem to contradict him. Frank says "The ability to truly and deeply understanding something is ....instinctive..." I disagree. Sometimes deeply understanding something requires a lot of reflection, study and persistence to overcome easy misconceptions and alternative explanatory frameworks that are incorrect. Instinct is a primitive array of behavioural responses that have served the human for millennia but are not always appropriate to modern day situations.

Frank says " The ability to understand more at once is ...enlightened..." Lacks definition. Some might say enlightenment is deep understanding of the holistic nature of all. An excess of serotonin will have that effect on the mind. However it is more of an attitude to life and experience than supercharging of intellectual ability.

Frank says "The ability to truly and deeply understand more at once is emotional..." No emotional response is a feeling about something that may actually interfere with careful and correct analysis of a situation. Though emotional response such as fear may be useful for survival of the organism.

What does Frank's statement "emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness" really mean? Does he merely mean that consciousness is more effective when a persons emotions are normally functioning. Ie. someone has a better grasp of what is going on when they are thinking normally. This sounds so obvious that I really do not know why he considers it such a big deal.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 07:03 GMT
Actually I do know. It seems obvious to me but not to Frank.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:01 GMT
My ability to think, to reason and to analyze is somewhat limited. I have to capture the essence of what something is, and then relate it to my personal experience. I am guilty of what people describe as "thinking too much". If that is a vice, than I have had to make it a virtue. The ADD that I have, has caused me untold years of pain. I have analyzed the pain and the cause of that pain for decades. There are practically networks of thought and analysis built into my brain. Over the years, I did discover something remarkable about "thinking". When I embrace a belief in a higher power, my range of intellectual and emotional resources expands quickly. When I begin to over analyze (doubt), it tears down everything in its reach. Perhaps it was a prayer that was answered, but I decided to use this ebb and flow of thought towards something useful, something interesting. I chose physics, particularly FTL physics. Now, these forces within my consciousness reveal truths to me in intuitive and sometimes emotional ways. But I'm not like Lawrence who is a super-genius, who can remember staggering amounts of technical facts and details. I can only manipulate, conceptually, rough ideas. But I can do so quickly. I can give you ideas about what something is like, but I can't provide too much detail, certainly not mathematical detail.

Frank said: "This ability to truly and deeply understand more AT ONCE is emotional, instinctive, and enlightened. Emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness." I saw "more at once" and thought about the way I flash learn topics; I am unable to use that to get into nitty gritty details. I can, however, look at something extremely abstruse, like the Einstein equations, and pick out the essence of it. Perhaps I didn't read or analyze too deeply. When I read Frank's compositions, I do get the impression that he is discovering the nature of his own mental architecture. Give him a few years and some training in string theory, and I'm sure he'll be uncovering mysteries that everyone else overlooked.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:33 GMT
Jason,

"Second, human being are known for being indecisive. That are not automatons who just act, as determinism would suggest. Human beings can take months or years to make a decision."

You mean you have never had that little spinning wheel pop up and finally have to shut the computer down to get rid of it? As I pointed out to Stefan in a previous post, I think both determinism and free will overlook a deeper reality. The more integrated we are into our context, the more it defines us, but the more we can affect it. If the puppet didn't pull back on the strings, there would be no puppet there.

Others may have seen this before;

http://blog.ted.com/2008/03/jill_bolte_tayl.php#more

It is the best description of the relationship between the rational and the emotional mind. Essentially the serial mind is a clock that records and acts on cause and effect rationality, while the parallel mind is a thermostat that deals while the cumulative sea of information in which we exist.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 13, 2010 @ 22:55 GMT
John,

I have seen that talk before and it is fascinating.It does explain a lot.

I think it is very important that we understand the dichotomy of our thought processes and do not dismiss the right hemisphere perspective.

Jason ,

You illustrate by your own example the individuality of experience. Why we can not take our own personal experience and assume it to be a subjective reality shared by everyone else.I do not deny that frame of mind can effect thinking ability. Any distractions can hinder the thought process. This would include worries or other things on the mind simultaneously, environmental distraction such as annoying noise or interruptions or bodily distractions such as a pain.

Perhaps delegation of many worries and distractions to a"higher power" is a calming therapy for some people. That puts the mind in a better state for contemplation of other matters. I am assuming this was a voluntary choice that you made and that you were not just suddenly and involuntarily "possessed" by this "higher power". If so, it would not appear to be instinctual or entirely emotional or stemming from an enlightened frame of mind but a logical and deliberate decision to ease mental distress. A sensible, rational and purposeful decision.

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 00:01 GMT
Jason, John -- Desire consists of both intention and concern. The fullness and richness of our being, thought, experience, and desire (or emotion) is attained when intention and concern become consistent (or balanced) and comprehensive.

Ideally, the heightened feeling that the genius experiences at the emotional center of the self results in emotion that is balanced (or consistent) and comprehensive (or complex). Such emotion involves heightened intuition, concentrated and comprehensive desire, and a superior range, consistency, comprehensiveness, and depth of the attendant thought. The mind and desire are sharpened by focusing and concentrating thought and emotion. The increased desire or feeling that further involves the unconscious improves the consistency and comprehensiveness of the self's desire and thought, and attention is improved as well.

The ability of thought to describe or reconfigure sense is ultimately dependent upon the extent to which thought is similar to sense. Beethoven's thought, for example, was more comprehensively encompassed and characterized by emotion, which accounts for the range and depth of his expression of desire. The self-encompassing effect of "becoming one with the music" truly elevates desire and advances the self. In the experience of great music, the high feeling and degree of emotional consistency and complexity (or comprehensiveness) are such that thought is, in effect, "outsmarted", and may only describe the musical experience in a relatively incomplete, inconsistent, unsatisfactory, and distant fashion. Whereas in the dream, the expressions and manifestations of desire are more concerning, music involves the representation and expression of desire as increasingly intentional and concerning. An enriched, central, balanced, unified, coherent, expansive, and fundamental basis (or platform) for the overall advancement of the self is thus achieved. Desire is the glue of the self. From dreams and abstract (or general) ideas to the experience of great music itself, the worlds of thought and sense are encompassed by the self as desire. Art and music make experience, desire, and attention sustained and intentional, thereby expanding upon experience and freedom.

I trust that this helped to clarify matters. (I have plenty more on all of this.)

"That which your fathers have bequeathed you, earn it in order to possess it." --- Goethe.

Increased and successful access to relatively unconscious (or dream) experience makes thought more like sensory experience in general, thereby improving upon both memory and understanding. The highest/ideal/true form of genius is thus understood as such, thereby adding to the integrated extensiveness of experience, emotion, energy, feeling, desire, intention, concern, interest, wonder, and understanding(s)/description(s).

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 07:43 GMT
Georgina,

You said,"Perhaps delegation of many worries and distractions to a"higher power" is a calming therapy for some people."

Delegation to a higher power? It's never worked for me. I still worry about stuff. In fact, in some ways, it's worse, for me and for God. You see, I've been nagging God, and the other "powers that be" for months now concerning the topic of FTL phenomena. I'm also stuck on this need for evidence and/or a significant demonstration/miracle. On that note, I've been exploring viewpoints regarding this. In a way, from the perspective of my cells, I am God. When I pray to (nag) God for something I want, (e.g. a demonstration of FTL phenomena that some cosmologist might observe), I am reminded of how my cells are probably praying to me. They are wishing and hoping I will eat better. For the past couple of days, I have demonstrated my godly power to the cells of my body by abstaining from chocholate. I intend to do this for a while. I am hoping that through some Law of the universe, the Golden rule perhaps, that my prayers will be answered, just as I've answered the prayers of the cells of my body. They pray that I will deliver unto them more nutritional sustenance.

Ok, yes, maybe I am at the pinnacle of bizzarre thinking. But it really is an interesting perspective to explore.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 09:06 GMT
Ok Jason,

I was trying to think of how it might work but looking from my own personal perspective. I though that calmness would be beneficial to clear thinking and that perhaps you had found this via your particular beliefs. I find that I am less irritable and easily distracted if I abstain from overindulgence in coffee drinking.

I think that it is important to recognise the different hemispheres of the brain and how they communicate with the conscious mind. The right hemisphere, which is comparative and tends to take a holistic viewpoint, is non verbal and communicates via visualisation or imagery. Which may be often an analogy rather than direct representation. If the left hemisphere, the logical, mathematical and reductionist side of the brain always dominates the conscious thinking process, then it prevents the right hemisphere from effectively communicating.

Time out, relaxation and quiet time, not necessarily meditation, is helpful to allow the non verbally communicating right hemisphere to communicate with the conscious mind. It is during this "time out" that inspiration, new ideas, intuition can seemingly appear from nowhere. This is not instinct or emotion or enlightenment but just being mentally quiet enough to appreciate the input to consciousness of the right hemisphere. Some might call it day dreaming and a waste of time. Others might consider it vital for mental and physical health. Others may just consider it taking time to relax and get things into perspective, seeing the big picture. In that big picture many worries may appear trivial.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 09:51 GMT
Georgina,

You convinced me. I'll give it a try. I feel like my mind is very over taxed right now. I just want to slip away into some fantasy. You are more than welcome to try to persuade me that the right brain needs time to daydream. I feel like I haven't been able to daydream in quite a while. I keep trying to error check my daydreams, which is really kind of pointless. Thank you for your thoughts.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 17:55 GMT
Jason,

Georgina is right. You are pushing the linear left brain as far as it will go in terms of questioning the veracity of wholism, yet that is the prerogative of the right brain. So sit back and let the brain sort itself out. This is difficult when it is cranked to the max and reaching for the stars, but sometimes you can give that part of the brain some little chore to do that will distract it. Think of it as the sun and you want an eclipse so you can see the stars otherwise hiding in the light.

I hate to nag on it, but for me it does come back to that point about time. When we view time as the path from one event to the next, everything is linear and we are isolated in our singularity, but if we see it as a constantly changing kaleidoscope of which we are just one part, then we have a far more wholistic view of reality. The linearity is an emergent effect, so we can submerge it back into the cumulative reality.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 21:20 GMT
Dear Georgina, John,

"Georgina is right. You are pushing the linear left brain as far as it will go in terms of questioning the veracity of wholism, yet that is the prerogative of the right brain."

Yes, those are important point in my opinion. Linearity never can merge the world of thoughts into oneness/unity, because no linear thought is irrational in the sense that it can overcome Gödel's restrictions. Only "irrational" thoughts - means thoughts who can contain themselves in a certain way - can merge the world of thoughts into oneness/unity and overcome this restriction. If those unities have an empirical connection to the external reality or not is another question. But all theories, models or figures of thought that are internally self-consistent have to contain a certain part of self-reference to do that. By doing this, the initial axioms of the whole figure are confirmed in a circular, self-consistent way. Science is therefore a way to search for those self-consistent figures that aren't only self-consistent internally, but also externally in respect to incoming, provable data. But here is the next difficulty: not all of the data that could be external can be proved to really be so. So linearity and proofs are of limited nature if it comes to unite one's world of thoughts.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 21:44 GMT
Stefan, John, Georgina,

Is there a mandate, proof, or absolute necessity that ALL fundamental mechanisms in nature MUST BE linear? I accept that physicists rely upon linearity to simplify the mathematics. But can you have a FUNDAMENTAL mechanism that operates in a nonlinear way with multiple inputs? I would suspect that QM behaves this way.

I have been trying to determine if a Thought can exist apart from a brain as a quantum structure, like a particle in its own right. In other words, can quantum mechanics provide the appropriate platform in which to construct/deconstruct a thought, break it down into its fundamental units or components. Such units/components would have an independent existence from the brain.

If it takes 100Mbytes of information content to clearly describe one thought, then the idea is to divide the information content of the clear thought into fundamental units/particles where each particle has the information content of the clear thought, 100Mbytes, but the 100Mb of thought is undetectable.

We all know what water (H2O) is. A single molecule of H2O is still water, but it goes completely unnoticed by us. We don't start to notice it until billions or trillions of water molecules accumulate as moisture or a drop of water.

Just so you know, this idea is breaking new ground. Nobody is talking about this. In fact, it might seem crazy to imagine thoughts, things that are independent of a human brain, as being a substance of information content. To imagine that a thought can be an object of information content, and then try to divide it up into something like a molecule is very new. It fits with my experiences. The question is: can quantum mechanics accept this approach to information content?

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 21:55 GMT
To describe it in the language of particle physics and computers. Parallel processing ---- imagine that there exists a particle that can hole information content of 1 bit. You have a file that you want to send which is 1Mb. You would need to use 1 million particles, right? But what if a single particle can hold the information content of 1Mb, what at the expense of clarity. One particle holds the entire information content of the file, but it is undetectable. 800,000 particles will carry 100% of the file, but the bit recognition is only 80%, it's a little hazy. You might have to guess or try to figure it out.

Does anybody out there understand anything that I'm saying?

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 22:23 GMT
Consider a hypothetical quantum particle: the Quabition (quantum bit particle). It will carry the information content of many megabytes. Let's say the information content that one Quabition will hold is N, but it can only carry 1 bit. Therefore, it can only display with a clarity of 1/N. To clearly see or measure the information content of the file/message/etc, M bits must be used. M/N is the %clarity of the file. If M>=N, then there is sufficient clarity to understand the message. If M

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James Putnam wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 23:04 GMT
Dear Jason,

I do not think that there is a reason to imagine a 'Quabition'; I see that suggestion as an acceptance of separate mechanical type particles. I think that there is no separation of intelligence from mechanical type properties. I think that any separation is artificial and imposed upon us by the mechanical theories of theoretical physics. However, I do not think that I know the final answers. I offer alternative interpretations of theoretical mechanical ideas; however, they are clearly not real because they remain mechanical. Mechanistic 'speak' seems to be the only way to address the deficiencies of theoretical physics. It seems incredible that we are discouraged from asking about properties of intelligence. This situtation, I think, has to be caused by ideology and not scientific thinking. I write about physics theory, life, intelligence and human free will. Hopefully my writings are helpful. I do not presume that they are the final answer. What I think right now is that you should be congratulated for thinking about 'thinking'. I have decided on my own that Einstein's theories are erroneous; however, I wish you success in your use of them in your pursuits to advance technology.

James

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 23:57 GMT
The problem is that "thought" is making distinctions, yet it is the connections which tie it all together. Consider the extent to which physics tries to digitize everything, even time and space, but keeps finding the distinctions to be fuzzy. The Planck unit is a good example; To have a unit, you need to define its parameters, which are necessarily smaller, but there is nothing smaller than Planck scale. It's simply the scale at which the concept of measurement becomes meaningless.

We are all the time trying to hold one thing up against something else, be it political parties, or the brain and the mind and trying to draw a clear line between the two, but find it's like separating the sides of a coin. Which, if you cut down the middle, would just have two thinner coins with two sides apiece.

(Actually the difference between the brain and the mind is that the brain is a physical entity which goes from past events to future ones, while the mind is a stream of consciousness receding into the past, as the brain constantly frames each new thought.)

Go back and watch the video of Dr. Tayler. She very clearly states her working right brain perceives the wholeness and continuity of everything, but her seized left brain cannot make the necessary distinctions required to function.

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James Putnam wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 00:10 GMT
Dear John,

"The Planck unit is a good example; To have a unit, you need to define its parameters, which are necessarily smaller, but there is nothing smaller than Planck scale. It's simply the scale at which the concept of measurement becomes meaningless."

Is this statement theoretical or empirically proven?

James

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 01:11 GMT
The idea of Quabition (quantum bit particle) actually fits naturally within the framework of quantum mechanics. I configure and troubleshoot MPEG video electronics. There are a variety of techniques for error coding. There are standard mathematical formulas for adding extra bits to if you expect a high error rate. Next, those bits are modulated into RF signals. While a quabition is a particle I made up, a standing wave in a transmission line could easily fit the profile. In the digital age, there are all sorts of techniques for converting a series of bits into sinusoids or waves within a frequency range.

I'm simply attempting to carry that one step further by suggesting that nature already does this. I'll explain in more detail later. I have to get back to work, I'll explain more later

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James Putnam wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 01:23 GMT
Dear Jason,

"The idea of Quabition (quantum bit particle) actually fits naturally within the framework of quantum mechanics. I configure and troubleshoot MPEG video electronics. There are a variety of techniques for error coding. There are standard mathematical formulas for adding extra bits to if you expect a high error rate. Next, those bits are modulated into RF signals. While a quabition is a particle I made up, a standing wave in a transmission line could easily fit the profile. In the digital age, there are all sorts of techniques for converting a series of bits into sinusoids or waves within a frequency range.

I'm simply attempting to carry that one step further by suggesting that nature already does this. I'll explain in more detail later. I have to get back to work, I'll explain more later."

Ok, thank you for that response. What I am wondering is: Are you relying upon the 'Uncertainty Principle' to support your statement that I quoted above?

James

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 02:24 GMT
James,

At that scale, it's all theoretical. Consider the recent story about light of different wave lengths from a very distant super nova arriving within moments of each other, that was described as disproving space being granular, as that would have potentially interfered with one wavelength more than the other.

Other than that, it's just plain logic. How can you have a unit without defining parameters smaller than that unit? That would be like having a margin of error plus or minus 50%, but that margin might also be off by 50% and so on. The reason it's all fuzzy is because it's all interconnected.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 03:30 GMT
Dear James,

There has been discussion on this thread about what is consciousness and what is life? I've already discussed on other threads the idea of overlaying another space-time/Higg field/universe/set of laws of physics; that second universe with its own laws of physics would couple very weaky, if at all, with the observable physical universe. Overlaying another universe/space-time...

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 05:07 GMT
Just a few comments

Frank,

“Desire” is an available choice in a situation of satisfaction. If you are not in a state of satisfaction, then what you have is a “need”. Well fed, you may “desire” some food and will do some fancy cooking. Your choice! If you are starving, you are in “need” state, not a “desire” state. Starving, you will eat the stuff raw! Every “requirement” that is hardwired in our own being is first a “need”. Being human is the chance to “desire”. But to be in a situation of need, is when we turn back to the animal state. To desire is a human fancy and privilege. Animals don’t desire, they need. This goes for food, sex, and anything other requirement for survival.

John,

…perception…. We get “time” perception from change in space. This means that we first must establish a space set before we can detect within this set a change and from it “time”. Establish first a set “blue sky” in which a high altitude plane draws a white line (change). We must first create a space set before we can think of time. This is the right order of perception. The blind man hears the street background noise; this is the space set. Within this sound set he hears a melody played on a flute; this is his cue for time passing. The “space set” doesn’t need to be visual. It is only a sensory set with stable, uniform or harmonic state. A change in this state is our cue for time. Space before time!

?

Someone said something about God …

An interesting subject, in a brain working context..

See, to believe in God has some advantages. It (Warning: Theory in progress) means you have accepted a non-rational concept of the non-threatening kind in your brain. You have in your brain a specific place for the non-rational. So, whatever non-rational question you have will tend to cling to that area of your brain. Questions of death, sickness, life etc. can be put back on the “back burner” and leave you with some peace of mind. Otherwise, the questions float around in your brain and can do some nasty damage. Some questions may linger around and IRQ some of your other brain processors …. hearing, vision, tactile processors to get busy with the nagging question etc. leading to mental/perceptual problems… Rebooting each system individually is usually a good but temporary solution …



Marcel,

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 09:05 GMT
Dear Jason,

"Is there a mandate, proof, or absolute necessity that ALL fundamental mechanisms in nature MUST BE linear?"

An exclusively mechanistic linear proof can't prove the exclusiveness of linearity. That's the problem with linearity and proofs.

This conclusion is just another aspect of self-referential evidence and self-consistence. It *seems* that linearity and mechanics are the only drivers in the cosmic game, but i doubt this.

I also don't think that thoughts and feelings - all Qualia - can adequately be described by a model - because all models have to be somewhat mathematical at the end, because a model must be based on linear thoughts of reasoning.

MPEG-Coding is interesting. It uses the Fourier-Transformation and we know of it, that it can transform all kinds of patterns into wave-descriptions. MPEG-Coding also produces irreversible information-loss. Maybe an analogy to QM; Maybe analogies are a way of reasoning without linearity (in the sense of causes), circumstancing it?

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 09:21 GMT
Stefan,

You said,"Maybe analogies are a way of reasoning without linearity (in the sense of causes), circumstancing it? " BINGO!!! Obviously, it can't give you engineering level accuracy. It's more like scouting ahead.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 17:35 GMT
Jason,

If you thought in terms of waves, rather than particles, this cross consciousness is much more workable.

As for information, it doesn't exist if there isn't the energy to express it. Conversely, if you have energy, it manifests as some amount of information. The difference between the two is that when the energy changes form, it is destroying old information and creating new information. So energy is what goes from past information states to future information states, while information is what goes from future potential to present existence to past circumstance. Time is a consequence of this changing energy, not a dimension along which events exist. So you can forget about time travel.

Marcel,

I agree with your understanding of time. It, like temperature, is an effect of motion in space. Fluctuation in the vacuum. As well as your position on space, the vacuum being a prerequisite for motion. It is both absolute, as an equilibrium state and infinite, as without boundaries, since such would require an explanation that infinity does not need. As I've said before, I think the left brain can be compared to a clock, while the right brain can be compared to a thermometer.

As for God, remember that polytheism predated monotheism and if you think about it, you will realize these pantheons of deities where what we would call memes, or paradigms today. Common ideas to which everyone agreed, whether it was the (subjective) supremacy of ones own group and one's immersion in it, or various geographic and astronomical/astrological features, activities such as partying, war, sleep, sex, etcetc. After awhile people began to notice and comment on how all these ideas were inter-related and as stories grew to explain these relationships, they all started to run together into a pantheistic view of reality. Then, as this idea became ever more developed and institutionalized, the sense of unity eventually became defined as a unit and since this unit needed some definition for people to grasp, it evolved into a human father figure. The problem is that the absolute, the universal state, isn't some platonic ideal form. It's the equilibrium, the neutral state out of which increasingly complex form emerges, not an ideal to which complexity is drawn. So you might say space is the real god. The illusion emerges from it and the illusion returns to it. When we die, we don't pop out somewhere else, we get smeared across the universe, like some fading wave of radiation.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 18:25 GMT
John,

Time travel has to die so that FTL propulsion can live. TIME TRAVEL IS DEAD!!!!! FOREVER!!!!!! God (the gods, the powers that be) realized that if time travel was to be implemented, they would have to either come up with a Big Bang's worth of energy to create another universe, and pull it away before anybody could notice it; or rewind all of the stars, planets and galaxies. That's...

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 19:13 GMT
John,

You said: "As for information, it doesn't exist if there isn't the energy to express it." Exactly! Energy can be expressed as particulate matter, as velocity/momentum, as electromagnetic energy; hypothetically, it should be possible to withdraw energy from the Higgs brane and move to a Brout (hyper-space)-brane or an aethereal brane (plane?). By the way, I really hate using the word brane with aethereal; it looks too much like "brain" which denies its existence. Let's face facts. We're still waiting for better evidence of the occult, better coupling. In the mean time, let's call it the Aethereal "Plane". A plane is just a flat piece of manifold or membrane.

You said: "So you might say space is the real god. The illusion emerges from it and the illusion returns to it. When we die, we don't pop out somewhere else, we get smeared across the universe, like some fading wave of radiation." Nope and nope. Jesus wasn't some poor SOB with an attitude that happened to get dragged along by history. Do you believe that?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 23:01 GMT
Jason,

Limits are what define us and definition is what limits us. If you wish to escape your limits, you have to give up your definition as well.

Smeared

out

across

the

universe

......

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 01:05 GMT
John,

I'm not smearing definitions. Let me put it this way. Physics is done. There isn't anything more they can do. Everything that can be measured has been meausured. Is that the answer you want? I'm not being vague. If you want to accurately critique/critisize what I'm doing, try this:

1. Need evidence to support ideas,

2. Using imagination to shape physics the way I want it,

3. Adding additional universes/branes to get around the known limitations, calling it "weak coupling".

These are accurate critisms. I don't see how I am smearing definitions. Can you give me an example?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 03:07 GMT
Jason,

??????

I'M the one arguing for smearing definition!!!!!!

There is a reason all that hard edged math turns to mush when it gets pushed to extremes. Not only does it all fit together, it all runs together!

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 03:22 GMT
John,

Oh! Something is odd. I've been coming up with some pretty outlandish ideas. I think they are really good ideas, based on my personal experiences and a great deal of thought. What's strange is that people should be coming out of the woodwork trying to attack them, looking for holes or weaknesses. Actually, the more I think about the idea of thought forms as molecules in another dimension, an aetherial plane, the more I like it. But surely somebody can spot a logical flaw in some of my ideas, right?

As for smearing, I think of it as stepping back to see the forest. Mathematical physics deals to much with the trees. It takes another viewpoint to see what is going on.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 10:13 GMT
Jason,

I was attacking your ideas. I said they would work better if you thought in terms of waves, rather than particles. Everything is entangled. Entangled particles, "spooky action at a distance," even make sense if you think of them as actually being the front of a wave and not just riding one.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 10:18 GMT
As would all those stories of people sensing when people they love are in trouble.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 19:06 GMT
John,

Look up Multiverse in wikipedia. They have a very nice explanation. Overlay another universe with ours. Let it have molecules of its own with a different value of h and c. Allow weak interfacing between our universe and this other universe(s). Let evolution benefit from the existence of this other universe. Result: very subtle kinds of information content transfer. We call it psychic/thought forms/occult. In reality, they are molecules unto themselves. It fits. Waves and particles share a relationship in terms of the Planck constant. So the difference between them is really just how you happen to detect it. But modulation of waves with information content is common use today. The idea of the quabition as a unit for large information content is a variation.

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 16, 2010 @ 19:10 GMT
Marcel, FQXi, Steve, and all: “Is not the core of nature in the heart of man?” -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness.

Emotion is manifest (and differentiated) as sensory experience and feeling.

"Music is a higher revelation than philosophy" -- Beethoven.

Desire is the glue of the self.

James Clerk Maxwell -- "The only laws of matter are those that our minds must fabricate and the only laws of mind are fabricated for it by matter." Dreams make thought more like sensory experience (including electromagnetism/light and gravity) in general. The ability of thought to desribe OR reconfigure sensory experience is ultimately dependent upon the extent to which thought is similar to sensory experience.

Thoughts and emotions are differentiated feelings. The higher desire (or feeling) of genius merges (or balances) increased intentionality of experience with increased concern in order to gain what is a fundamental extension of being, desire, thought, and experience. (Desire consists of both intention and concern, thereby including interest as well.)

The instincts allow for the increase, advancement, extension, and differentiation of desire. Consciousness advances desire and consists of advanced instinct. The instincts involve the projection, integration, connection, and extension of feeling, energy, desire, emotion, and thought.

The comprehensiveness and consistency of both intention and concern in relation to experience in general is ultimately dependent upon the natural, integrated, and extensive manifestations of sensory experience, including the range of feeling thereof; for the self represents, forms, and experiences a comprehensive approximation of experience in general.

FQXI -- all members of FQXi should read, and very carefully consider, this

post.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 17, 2010 @ 13:22 GMT
Hi dear Frank ,all ,

Personaly I consider Goethe like one of the best thinker of all times .

I agree about the creativity of the art ,I am musician (piano and guitar)And indeed the music is a harmonic road towards the truths.Even whith the horticulture ,the art is a driving force like the sciences too.

You know I like a lot you work because I think indeed what the dream and the creativity are eseentials in the puzzle .I can say what the dream when it is correlated with te realism can imply many discoveries .The dream is thus more foundamental than the imaginaries.

That seems an important piece of the evolution where we extrapolate our future harmonies .

Friendly

Steve

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 17, 2010 @ 20:20 GMT
Hi Steve. Thanks. I agree with you that Goethe is one of the very best thinkers. Francis Bacon, Nietszche, Schopenhauer, Plotinus, and William James

are some of the greater geniuses as well.

"Music is a higher revelation than philosophy" -- Beethoven -- see how this goes with "becoming one with the music". Moreover, see how these ideas go with this: Emotion that is comprehensive and balanced advances consciousness...AND this as well..."The self represents, forms, and experiences a comprehensive approximation of experience in general."

Francis Bacon: "..., all perceptions, both of sense and mind, are relative to man, not to the universe."

The known mathematical union of GR and Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism/light demonstrates that ..."The self represents, forms, and experiences a comprehensive approximation of experience in general."

Indeed, if the self did not represent, form, and experience a comprehensive approximation of experience in general, we would be incapable of growth and of becoming other than we are.

The self represents, forms, and experiences a comprehensive approximation of the totality of experience by combining unconscious and conscious experience. Experience then becomes a more direct expression of the self that is increasingly representative of a greater totality of experience as well. This is due to the combined effect of higher feeling with consistent, balanced, and complex emotion; as the more concerning, compelling, and unconscious aspect of higher feeling merges with the more conscious aspect of emotion that is comprehensive (or complex) and balanced (or consistent). This is demonstrated in becoming "one with the music." Indeed, given such a fundamental integration and spreading of the self, the self represents and forms a comprehensive approximation of all experience.

Such truly elevated and powerful desire is characterized by relatively unified and comprehensive desire, intention, and concern. Art and great thinking advance and recognize the self as that which is true, serious, compelling, beautiful, and real. Indeed, man is only great and truly concerned to the extent that the totality of experience is understood and felt to be reflective of the self or desire; for this is how the self is fundamentally advanced.

The fundamental instinct or desire is to become other than one is; and this involves, includes, and is consistent with, the following:

1. All living things grow.

2. Powerful desire is involved in creating a life that is other than one's own.

3. The cyclical nature of dreams and waking experience, including the fact that dream experience tends to be unique, insofar as it generally does not recur.

4. Both the life and death drives.

5. The heightened passion and desire that are involved in the relatively new (and unique) experiences or creations of genius.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 19, 2010 @ 04:11 GMT
Structured sidetracking and pseudo-poetry…

(for entertainment purpose only)

Music? Music is to the human brain what tuning forks are to the piano. It readjusts our time base for frequencies way above our simple heartbeat. Jam session; getting together to set our watches straight. Like a conversation. Not like vomiting in an ice cube tray or shouting in a paper bag. More like a handshake with a missing finger for parity bit.

The brain is like a separate universe with its own rules of physics. Axonal speed instead of c. Distance between neurons is not spatial but rather via the axonal connections. Our senses are a gateway for an abundance of signals to propagate into the immense emptiness of that universe. The signal differential is like natural curiosity and knowledge some crystalline growth inside this other universe.

How do you compare distances inside such a universe? You make races. Brain electrical firing in every region of the brain is like starting pistol shots for such countless races. A standard length axon gives the regional speed. The winner of the race stops it. Without this electrical activity, the brain is dead… unless one restarts the firing sequence. It is all about frequencies. It is easy to understand for sound input.. But even eyesight is transformed into frequencies before being fed to the brain. A brain filled with oscillating receptors, tuning forks vibrating. The output is also frequencies, from voice to muscle activation.

The rest of the body is an even slower universe. Slow release of chemicals, their distribution, concentration, accumulation and decay in time give a relative spatial position in relation to specific organs, just like capacitance, resistance and induction coil do with alternating current. The brain roots itself into this body with nervous proliferations. Daily life speed lies between that of the brain and that of the body.

Oscillation, frequencies, rhythm, beat .. Music to my brain…

Marcel,

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 19, 2010 @ 05:51 GMT
Marcel-Marie,

So what do you think about the endocrine system? Among the various bodily maintenance activities, it also regulate moods. Mood is a longer lasting version of an emotion which can be of short duration. There is a highly complicated emotional system that interplays between the amygdala and the endocrine system. How did this evolve? I favor my explanation. But is there a simpler explanation that doesn't require molecules from an aethereal dimension? Does every organism that failed to show an emotional response get Darwinized? Darwinized means removed from the gene pool before offspring can be passed down.

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 19, 2010 @ 14:36 GMT
Bohr: "Truth lies in the abyss." DiMeglio: "The only way to get about the abyss is to be AS the abyss." Nietzsche: "Is seeing itself not seeing abysses, and where does man not stand at an abyss."

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 19, 2010 @ 18:27 GMT
Hi all ,

Dear Frank,after Goethe, Bohr,my favorite,with newton of course.

Do you know Seneque Frank, I am persuaded you shall like.An other about the human nature is Voltaire, incredible this mister.And of course Victor Hugo.

Dear Marcel ,

It is relevant the axional velocities and thus the synchronizations of the polarised systems.The gravity takes a kind of rule of "polarity superimposed systems".The sorting seems an essential about the harmony thus.

If a Ré major with its 2 dieses in a serie of octaves, superimposed with its oscillations uses a serie with Fa Do dieses,thus the sol diese will be sorted.

The frequences of 440 Hz can be thus in a creative serie.Fa Do Sol Ré La Mi Si,

Do 0 Sol1 Ré2 La3 Mi4 Si5 ...minor corresponding La for Do thus 1 diese too, the serie is harmonious and the decibel more the kind of oscillations with different sounds can be in this serie .The bémols are in the same way on the other sense.

If the brain is on a specific music thus all must be in a specific serie of frequences and polarisations where the sortings and the polarity imply an evolutive point of vue, and the music never will change its main oscillation.

Fortunaly for the synchronizations.

An important link with music is the velocity of notes in this serie, even the maximum thus linear can be superimposed and can be the main oscillation too.

Best Regards

Steve

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 04:58 GMT
Congratulations to all the winners of the contest! Especially to our chatting colleague Florin! It is rare to have both, the open-minded fellow that makes it to winning level.

As for me, as much as I think I would like to win, I am not entirely sure I would like winning. It would mean that someone actually understood something I said. And this would entail consequences not necessarily on what I would get, but on what I already have. Simply means I can do better … next time. You are all invited to offer your post-mortem comment on my essay. I already got a few interesting ones. Always appreciated.

Jason,

Is not the mood resulting (consequence) from the endocrine system rather than the endocrine controlling the mood, on purpose???

Steve,

So, what is the brain doing? Is it computing kind of a Fourier transform? Acting like a bunch of parallel R-C or L-C filters? Or behaving like an analog computer? Your speculation.

Marcel,

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 06:42 GMT
Marcel,

Thank you for your kind words. I am happy about the prize, but disappointed that some truly very good essays did not make the cut, but no system is perfect and it is hard to please everyone. I was pleasantly surprised by the in-depth discussions I have had here at FQXi and I wished more FQXi members would have joined in the discussions.

I know that I learned a lot in the last six months and having a place where I can discuss and defend my ideas helped me to understand better what I am doing.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 07:51 GMT
Congratulations also to you personally, Florin - and also thank you again very much for in-depth discussions and your frankness to answer questions and explain your lines of thoughts here. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot out of it.

Thanks also to all other participants in discussions and contributions of thoughts, ideas, open questions etc.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 12:20 GMT
Hi all ,

Dear Marcel,I am not a supporter of a brain computer.I prefer the biological evolution and the time with its sortings and polarisations.The artificial intelligence is not possible.Always a computer will rest a simple computer.The time is important and the evolution too.

The fourier serie andits harmonics are interestings but it is just a serie with its referential or limits.The harmonic analyze are evidently important but the deep of our brain is more like that,simply due to our limits of perception and of young age at the universl scale.

Like the music ,the main partition is secret, but we can see its notes...

Dear Florin,ongratulations,even if I don't agree with your method ,I agree about your skills and thus the results for you are logics.I am like Marcel ,I am sad for some people where their essays were so relevants.

Best Regards

Steve

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 18:43 GMT
Dear Stefan and Steve

Thank you for your kind words, and I hope we could continue discussing those very interesting foundational topics at FQXi until the next contest will energize the community again.

Maybe FQXi would solicit ideas about the topic of the next contest. Personally I would prefer a topic about quantum mechanics because even professional physicists do not really understand it restricting themselves to a shut up and calculate mentality. I would dare to say that the majority of physicists do not understand it.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 21:28 GMT
Dear Marcel,

You said:"Is not the mood resulting (consequence) from the endocrine system rather than the endocrine controlling the mood, on purpose??? " As a very clear and obvious example, the testes are part of the endocrine system. Visual stimuli that produce visual images in the brain. There are some images that will result in endocrine system activity, mood change, and sexual arousal. So what is your question?

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 23:19 GMT
Jason,

A mood in this sense... I guess you are right. I like the effect of mental images on other systems...

Lets say I am grinning as I bite in a very hard and sour granny smith apple ...

.. are you salivating yet? (this works only if it makes reference to something that is part of your own experience)

Marcel,

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 21, 2010 @ 01:06 GMT
Florin,

Same with me. The more I explain it to someone else, the more I understand it myself. Good questions force me to expand on the rationale for what I take somehow for granted.

Thanks,

Marcel,

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 21, 2010 @ 03:29 GMT
Marcel,

Actually, I thought of crab apples...yuck!

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 21, 2010 @ 05:41 GMT
Marcel,

Yes, I get what your saying; I'm just being facetious. At this point, it's hard to even imagine that anyone is even understanding what I'm trying to communicate. There are layers of abstraction that make it possible to interface a human beings thoughts with that of (1) God, (2) spirits, etc... I can't get into these layers of abstraction because this is a sharp departure from physics/logic/mathematics. Some of the mathematicians on this blog have suggested that the universe really exists only at the lower energies. I am inclined to think that others things exist that would ordinarily be in the higher energy ranges; but for the fact that there existence requires very minimal energy, which makes up for it. In other words, whatever space-time (Higgs-brane) is made of, there are expected to be more aethereal existences that manifest with a lot lower energy requirement.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 21, 2010 @ 13:08 GMT
The best apples are from Belgium ahahha like BEERS too ,but a serious belgium problem ,INBEV BEER BELGIUM have problems,help the belgium beers the best too and OUR CHOCOLATE mmmmmmmm ,here some species for apples ,Jona gold ,granny green,but if you find the Pink Lady, incredible, so good this apple, spheroidal.

Chocolote,Leonidas mmmmm

Beer...Chimay(Abbaye beer)

In Belgium we have a sad politic socialist system and its corruptions but we have our chocolate ,our beers and our apples and too the ground apple,fried potatoes mmmmm the best too .

Viva el belgium but please USA help the beer ahahaha

Steve

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 22, 2010 @ 00:16 GMT
Steve,

Chimay ... yes! BUT rather xpensive over here. :-(

Fries with mayo !!!! Wars started for less...

Marcel,

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 22, 2010 @ 11:17 GMT
Hi dear Marcel ,

hihihi that is why I eat with Ketchup my fries.

Friendly

Steve

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 22, 2010 @ 19:14 GMT
An other dear Marcel is the Beer of the Abbaye of ORVAL(very digestive after eating),probably the best one.

Here is a list of the best, 1Ciney,2Saint-Feuillin,2Leffe

In fact you know, the reason is simple, it exits here many abbayes and many secrets of production.

here it is not expensive, for example in a shop in bootle of 33cl 1,5 euros and in a bar 3 euros for a chimay ,2.60 for a ciney,2.80 for Leffe hhihihi ,a fries packet 1.50 euros ...it is the only things which are not expensives

ahaha the rest oh My God even a bottle of coke 1.65 euros you imagine.

Incredible.It is the life, the economy, the capitalism .But we evolve fortunaly.

Friendly

Steve

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 22, 2010 @ 20:34 GMT
Marcel,

Fries with mayo? Yucky!!! Icky! Eww!!

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