A Few Ideas to Mull Over.
Maybe the folks at the Supercollider in Switzerland will find out differently, but I’m fairly confident that if we go back to the beginning of it all, we’ll find only a few principal elements that went into creation. You can’t have structural complexity with only one element; however you can have what I shall call virtual complexity. A Brownian path is an example of virtual complexity; that is, the perceived forms of the path appear complex given enough time to evolve. And what do we mean by complex?
There is a kind of order, I shall call it rich order, that we project upon collections of random events such as the path of a tiny particle being bumped about by random collisions with large and small aggregates of atoms. This rich order, which, for example, might appear to mimic the way grass spreads across a field, is also the requisite condition for similarity, for, as it progresses and develops, we project that the structure, at whatever stage, is similar to what has gone before. It is this recognition that I call similation.
This special condition also forms the basis for the general recognition of living forms—random associations asserting a kind of intention that grows and changes according to the principles of similation. This non-virtual complexity which requires more than one element, a complexity which exists prior to change, and which infers a progression of similarities, is the natural stuff at the heart of how we obtain our glimpse of reality.
I won’t write a book to insert between the preceding paragraph and this point, but take it as an article of faith that, as a result, there is a strong attraction ( some will recognize this as another pun) for finding out how many little elementary building blocks existed near the beginning of it all. For our purposes, we won’t care how many elements there are as long as we can say that they are relatively few. What we do care about, is similation.
I quote from the Supercollider information page. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionize our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.
Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyze the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.
There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what’s for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.
This mundane press release seeks to romanticize the idea that science is the only important voice of the future. There are other voices. Perhaps there won’t be Einstein’s one simple, grand rule for assembling reality, but I’m confident that the way the basic elements combine is straightforward, if incomprehensible. After all, we’re in the realm of the Unnamed One, or the set of original conditions, the very first conceivable rich order.
A linguistic expression for the assembly of reality is bound to demand elastic logic. From the point of view of science, I believe that this is the fundamental problem of the so-called Grand Unified Theory for Everything which so far has succeeded in explaining little or nothing. Fascinating, but incomplete glimpses into such possibilities are afforded us by theories variously identified as String, loop quantum gravity, heterotic, M-theory, orbifold, D-branes, Flux compactification, F-theory, Warped theory and many others, some of which enjoy dubious relationships with anything recognizably scientific.
From the point of view of Similation, it doesn’t matter so long as we recognize the crucial role of similarity as the projection that we place upon rich order.
Okay, we’re sort of agreed upon this interesting idea of original order. As an aside, one might point out that all of this is mostly intended to illustrate how the idea of a physical beginning for our universe inherits a vast array of philosophical baggage. Surely Einstein’s belief that things must ultimately be simple is some kind of act of faith, or possibly a statement of what beauty means. Personally, I’m not at all sure why God should be simple even if Job seemed to think so. Also, I’m not sure why simplicity is considered beautiful; perhaps simplicity is merely satisfying. In any case, the thorny idea of inherent spirituality, which is what we’re ultimately trying to get to, is built upon the pillars of The Beginning which, in turn, rests upon the foundation of similarity.
And hey, you can’t have a beginning without change. Let’s go back, again. Take the game of billiards. You can’t really decide that the game begins until the cue ball rolls across the felt. We’re dealing with that moment of impulse where the ball changes position. Before that moment, we had no way of measuring or noticing the space of the table, the idea of the felt, or maybe even the color green. If the impulse of the beginning is in the cue, then it might as well also reside in the side bets that the spectators were making when the cue was picked up and went sliding across someone’s thumb. I’m merely saying that there’s no a priori to a beginning, though we can make up any story we deem interesting.
As we journey back towards the moment when the cue impacted our ceramic ball, we might postulate a moment in which the energy of the ball seemed to suddenly become very large, or possibly nearly infinite. Subsequent events lead us to realize that we aren’t really learning anything about the ball; we are learning about the space the ball travels through. The mysterious rebound reveals the cushion, the drop into the pocket reveals a hole that absorbs all remaining energy and leaves us contemplating the static death of our universe—or the loss of our bet to four large members of the local motorcycle gang. Of course, this universe isn’t very interesting because there’s only the one element, the billiard ball, and therefore no real structural content. It is all virtual and built upon the idea of intention which some seem to find strange.
The notion of an intention in the past affecting the course of the future is not really such an odd idea. In fact, we deal with it in our everyday lives. We often call it expectation. In universal terms, we might call this God or even the Rocky Freak Show, the appellation of our mythical motorcycle gang. Even if we call that intention a random fluctuation, it is still there as a precursor to what we experience. If one understands what this means, then the meaning of simulation becomes clearer.