Monday, February 18, 2008
Does Humanity relate to the Why?
As I have pointed out in my other blog, is that as of late I have come across a wonderful web site that is created and hosted by two (married to each other) physicists. What is interesting about this site is that one is not just simply exposed to the thoughts, convictions and beliefs of a few physicists, yet rather they have provided a structured forum in which to discuss science in general and how it relates to and is perceived by the world. This site not only includes like-minded people as themselves yet rather a broader spectrum of those I consider myself a part of, which I refer to as the wonderers.
What is to be found in the following, is a comment I left on this site in relation to a subject that started out as a discussion of a book called the “The Ingenuity Gap” and evolved into a discussion of what our society is, what are its problems, why they are so, and most importantly how they might be solved. Subsequently there was a lot of discussion about what the responsibility, role, and place an individual serves to be in all of this. The main point of contention and query was to question whether society and its instrument, government, primary purpose is to serve the people as individuals or are the individuals there to serve the purpose of society. My contention was that it is neither in as both viewpoints are correct and yet incorrect. What is found hereafter is exactly as it is on the site with one exception, which is the last paragraph. This I excluded because the site is dedicated first and foremost to the scientific format (philosophic viewpoint) and thus I omitted it there out of respect for the creators and their intentions.
“Though I am very sympathetic to this, and it might indeed be the way to go, it is just not true……….You can go a big step further by changing the political system itself, for neither of these examples you need a bottom-up approach, all you need is to convince the top (I am very much a bottom-up person though).”
The way I see society there is no bottom up or a top down to consider. That is because it only amounts to a whole as to the function that is common. You could equate this to an organism as opposed to a single cell. In an organism we have different cells for different functions. They all must function properly or the whole organism suffers. Yet this is a strange organism, for unlike a typical one where the parts are in service of the whole, the organism of society is one that exists in the service of its parts. So in contrast to the typical organism, where it is a common (and required) strategy to sacrifice individual cells to maintain the whole; in the case of the social organism this is not seen as the right thing to do. This of course is the dilemma. As an example, in the contemporary context wars are seen as wrong, not so much because they have no chance to benefit the organism, yet rather because they sacrifice the parts (cells). This on its own is why a society is required to be moral rather then a typical organism where such a practice would be considered not only wrong yet ultimately destructive.
It is often proclaimed by many, that the reason for our current plight is that we defy nature and if we were simply to obey her we would have no problems; and yet as I have indicated, the whole modern concept held by these same people, as I have shown, is by its very nature required to run counter to the claim. I would ask then what is it to be? Should society be perceived as an organism where the parts are necessarily sacrificed for the good of the whole or must it act for the good of each part at the sacrifice of none? If it is the former we have always had what’s required, if it’s the latter we then stand in defiance of nature. Therefore, it must be first understood that morality is not natural (as commonly perceived) and if we want to hold our ideals we must not only understand this to be true, yet further are required to stand together in this defiance.
What I didn’t say on the site is as follows:
So then, am I proposing that society’s ulitmate goal is unnatural and perhaps then wrong? No, for this is a misunderstanding resultant of restricting oneself to two dimensional and/or flawed logic. That is to consider when something that is not like the other, it then must be the opposite. When you incorporate three dimensional logic; that is when something in one sense is similar and yet exceeds in some aspect what it’s being compared to, it is not the opposite or negative, yet rather the superior or evolved state. The superior or evolved state of natural is then supernatural, not unnatural. It has been speculated by some (myself included) that all life in general is the first stage of this departure to become superior to nature. What mankind’s goal as many have envisioned would thus be the completion of this. The question of course is, do we (humanity) have both the conviction and capacity to complete the program or are we simply another step in the evolution of life to end in this completion? I don't profess to know, just merely wish to offer another avenue of thought one might explore and also to suggest reason to consider that not only the how and the what as relevant to understanding, yet also the why.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Time, is it an Essence?
As you may recall in a previous entry I discussed time and how it could and is considered in physical terms. That is where time is not simply imagined as a marker which we use to separate one state in a changing physical process from another, yet rather as an actual part of the physical process itself. That is as to be a dimension or degree of freedom which forms part of the actual substance of reality to both define the limits of the scope and potential to which such physical process can evolve. Now what is interesting and relevant in the context of this blog is this has been and still continues to be a central subject of study and concern for both of our considered two disciplines, being science and philosophy. In this way it forms a commonality within the struggle for understanding shared by both.
To continue, in order to explore this further, I wondered how I might form an analogy that could at least, in some crude way, describe what I’m talking about as to whether time is simply a marker within physical process or rather is part of the physicality of the process itself? The analogy I have come up with is to be found in the comparison of playing a record (musical phonograph) with the actual production of one. So to begin when we play a record what is involved? What’s entailed is that first we have a media (substance), on which there is inscribed a pattern (information), that when actualized by a process (the playing) we are presented with or realize its content. This physical process of course involves motion in the sense that the record turns (travels) and a needle striking (following) dimensional differences within the media presented. These differences scientifically would be described in terms of its amplitude (height), wave length (length) and frequency (depth or density or how many per given length). These could be considered as the three commonly understood dimensions (degrees of freedom) of what we understand as space and can be interpreted and imagined without the need for anything else at all. That is they can remain fixed and still be thought to be real. However to have all this actualized or realized for the listener we must have something else and that is the movement (time) which when added has the music come into being. This compares to how some physicists imagine time to be as a dimension.
First, it is important to point out that the three (space) dimensions between them can have no affect on each other or enable there actualization (to be realized as considered fixed. However. the fourth one (time) certainly can. What do I mean by this? Well let’s consider the record again. In the playing of a record to have it come out (realized) the way it was recorded it must turn at a speed that is consistent with the way it was produced and the record must turn in the correct direction (clockwise or forward as formed). To play it at a different speed, although one may still be able to comprehend it, will have it display different qualities (characteristics) as related to the perceived (not self actual) distances of all three involved. To play it in the opposite direction renders it for the most part incomprehensible. I think you can see what I’m getting at here. That is in Einstein’s view of reality all what I have said comes into consideration. The speed (time) of the universe can have us perceive and experience our reality (the universe) differently according to the speed and relative to the fixed qualities and quantities of its content (mass/energy). Also, it suggests that if this is to be meaningful at all, it can have only one direction. This is considered in science within an action or consequence of action called entropy, where the averaged actual relative positions of the matter/energy contained in the universe is perceived as becoming more disordered as related to both its previous and initial state. This in turn is connected to space to both expanding and lowering in average energy content (temperature).
So now let’s speculate further how this could relate to our world as what it serves to represent. First it should be understood that the playing of the record is not a state of being or becoming but merely the act of observing the past. This we also do every day when we look out in front of us whether it is merely at the screen of this computer I am typing on or out into the heavens at night. It is only different in terms of how far this is from our own now (present). The being of the universe takes place in the now (cutting the record) which is never truly experienced only later to be realized. The becoming is in the future and depends on what is encountered (nature of the wax). It must be understood that within this highly speculative model although the character or nature of the substance on which it will be enacted (realized) is already there and in some sense predetermined. However in the act of travelling through, although the force and initial direction may be set and consistant, would however still leave this future to remain difficult if not impossible to predict. What would make this truly to remain uncertain and unknowable is of course is if the substance itself is not simply variable because of a changing set nature but rather if it were also reactant to itself and by its own complex interactions constantly changing in terms of its total local and universal character at any given instance. This universal character although changing could still preserve its overall (averaged) value.
All this of course supplies no answers and yet at least gives us one way to frame the questions of concern which are how, what and why. This may give you further reason to understand and perhaps even to accept that we can and should address them all as to be considered in terms of our search for understanding.
“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable”
T.S Elliot - Burnt Norton (1935)