The Metaphysical Primacy of Mathematics
The most fundamental question regarding reality, the most fundamental of all metaphysical questions, is “Why does anything exist at all?” Another way of phrasing this is “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
This is ultimately a philosophical question rather than a strictly scientific one. Science can investigate “how” things happen, and “how” such things as do exist interact, transform, and so on, but science – on its own – is inadequate to answer “why” anything at all exists in the first place.
The closest that science – on its own – can come to answering such a question is to simply state that reality (or the cosmos) always existed in some form. In other words, science can only say that it is logical that since something exists now, and since something cannot be truly created from nothing, that something, i.e., existence, must have always existed in some form, although that form can certainly change and transform over time. It says that all things that do exist now do so because they are composed of things which ultimately have existed eternally, in some form or another. In other words, “how” existence exists is by being eternal.
This, however, only says “how” existence exists, so to speak, but does not say “why” something always had to exist. In other words, “why” is there eternal existence rather than eternal nothingness?
In order to get right down to the fundamental question of “why” existence exists it is necessary to invoke something even more fundamental than science, and even more fundamental than “God.” This should be something which literally has to exist, whether or not anything else at all exists. Something that even a “God” could not create or change in any way. Something truly eternal. In the words of philosophers, something must be invoked which is “ontologically necessary.”
Mathematics (mathematical truth) is more fundamental than science, and even more fundamental than “God.” Mathematics has an independent existence of its own, whether on not anything else at all exists. Even “God” cannot create or change mathematics in any way. Mathematics is truly eternal. Mathematics is “ontologically necessary.”
Before moving on, let's examine this a bit more carefully so that we can be certain that we are on a solid footing here. After all, to state that mathematics (or anything else, for that matter) is ontologically necessary is quite a statement.
“One plus one equals two.” This is an eternal truth, and like all truths, it would still be true even if no one knew it to be true. One plus one would still equal two even if there were no beings in the universe who knew it. It would still be true if the universe itself didn't exist. And even if nothing else existed, one plus one would still equal two.
The mathematical truth, “one plus one equals two” is ontologically necessary. This applies to all other mathematical truths as well. Mathematics, and mathematical truth, is a single, infinite, eternal, and ontologically necessary structure, each part of which ultimately implies or connects with the whole.
Mathematical truth is true everywhere. There are no “places” where mathematical truth is not true. The truth of mathematics is a “plenum,” a thing without gaps, completely full everywhere. There are no “gaps” anywhere in which mathematical truth does not exist, or where it would not be true. The teleological phrase “nature abhors a vacuum” is made more accurate when the emotional or teleological component is stripped away, and the fundamental basis of reality is expressed: “nature is a plenum of mathematical truth, and mathematical truth is a plenum.” It is so because the nature of mathematical truth is such that it can be no other way.
Mathematical truth is “metaphysical” in the deepest sense of the term. You cannot hold the truth “one plus one equals two” in your hand. All truth, and thus all mathematical truth, is likewise non-physical. (Although, such truths often may be correlated with physical things – which is why physics is so completely mathematical in nature.) Furthermore, while such truth can be apprehended by a mind, it also has an independent existence outside of any mind. This is why such a statement as “one plus one equals two” is true in an objective sense, independent of any mind which may know or agree with it.
The metaphysical truths of mathematics are independent of and “metaphysically prior” to both consciousness and physicality, in the sense that mathematical truth still would be true in the absence of consciousness and physicality; conversely, neither consciousness nor physicality could exist in the absence of mathematics. Nothing, in fact, could exist in the absence of mathematics.
Mathematics determines the nature of consciousness, physicality, and all things. Reality exists, ultimately, because mathematics exists. It is math, itself, which is the metaphysical foundation for both the mental and physical world. It may be said that mathematical truth is the “spirit” from which existence emerges. All mental and physical things are fundamentally mathematical in nature, because it is math that “breathes life” into existence, or more accurately, that gives rise to both mental and physical existence. It is math that generates both order and disorder. It is math that generates the mental and the physical. Nothing exists which is not mathematical. Math is the root of all.
What does it mean to have mathematical existence? At the very simplest, this could be seen to mean that something has “number.” The “smallest number,” so to speak, would be the smallest “mathematical thing.” In a sense, zero would be this smallest number – except that zero is, in a very real sense, the absence of number. Just as white is the absence of color, so too is zero the absence of number. In conventional speech, one can talk about “the color white,” and one can also talk about “the number zero,” and everyone knows, in an unambiguous way, what is being referred to. In another, more technical and precise sense, however, both refer to the absence of something, rather than to the presence of something.
The smallest numbers, the smallest things which actually “have number,” would then not be zero but “infinitesimals.” Such infinitesimals can be positive, or negative, real or imaginary. Infinitesimals each “contain” an infinite number of infinitesimals with themselves. Infinitesimals, it will be demonstrated, are the mathematical key to existence itself.
SCION: The Plenum of Consciousness
NOTE: We are now going to get very speculative. We are going to present a modern analogue of Leibniz's Monadology (essentially his metaphysics) as he himself might have done – had he known quantum mechanics (the uncertainty principle, non-locality, the collapse of the wavefunction, etc.) the eternal, infinite and expanding nature of the universe, the creation of UTMs from cellular automata and vice versa, and knowledge of modern science in general. We are not saying that this is how things are. We are merely presenting this as one picture of how things ultimately could be, based upon all of the above. It attempts to present a consistent and coherent picture why there is anything at all, to explain the origin, nature and relationship of the physical and mental aspects of reality.
Earlier in this writing, we have referred to consciousness as being “irreducible.” We will now go beyond this concept of mere “irreducibility,” however, and show that the existence of consciousness is not only contingent upon, but actually inevitable due to mathematics. In other words, we will show that it is the ontological necessity of mathematics which gives rise to the ontological necessity of consciousness. To put this yet another way, while consciousness is irreducible, it could not exist if mathematics did not exist – but since math does exist, by necessity, as an infinite, eternal plenum of mathematical truth, it follows that consciousness also exists as an infinite, eternal plenum of mathematical consciousness.
The “amount of consciousness” which would be required for consciousness to exist at any point, i.e., the “smallest” amount of consciousness, so to speak, would be some infinitesimal amount of consciousness. The smallest possible amount of mental existence (consciousness) is an infinitesimal fluctuation, divergence, or difference from mental non-existence (i.e., non-consciousness). It seems, then, that to maintain a mathematical plenum of consciousness, it is only necessary for each point to have some non-zero, infinitesimal consciousness.
To say that something is ontologically necessary is to say that it has to exist. Mathematics, as we have seen, is ontologically necessary. The very honest question at this point, however, is whether consciousness, itself, also has to exist, even as a contingency or consequence of mathematics. To put it another way, the question is whether mathematics is both necessary and sufficient to give rise to consciousness.
The very honest answer at this point is that it is hard to say. It does seem, however, that it is possible to conceive of mathematics which is conscious, as well as mathematics which is not conscious; it seem impossible, however, to have non-mathematical consciousness, i.e., some sort of consciousness which is non-mathematical in nature. (All things which exist, including consciousness, are mathematical in nature.) In other words, it seems that consciousness is contingent upon mathematics, whereas mathematics is not contingent upon consciousness. With that in mind, it would be wonderful to be able to go further and demonstrate that consciousness must not only be contingent upon mathematics, but must somehow also be a necessary and inevitable consequence of mathematics itself.
To create consciousness, in a way, is to create something which cannot be directly perceived from outside itself. From within itself, it is everything. From outside itself, it is nothing. Consciousness is a fundamentally subjective sort of thing, only directly perceptible from within itself.
In that case, to create consciousness would be to create something which has no existence outside of itself. It seems somehow “easy” to create something which has no objective existence outside of itself, or at least easier than creating something which does have an objective external existence.
In order to exist, a speck of consciousness only needs to be infinitesimal – the very tiniest fluctuation, divergence, or difference from the non-existence of non-consciousness. If something is mathematically infinitesimal, it seems to make it even easier to create if it also has no existence outside itself. Being mathematically infinitesimal seems to be a mathematical way in which an existing thing could be impossible to be perceived from outside itself.
Another quality of infinitesimals, or of infinitesimally small things, is that infinitesimals may be further divided into infinitely many “smaller” infinitesimals. An infinitesimal is an infinitely small thing which contains a sort of infinity within itself.
The case may be made that, in mathematical terms, it is infinitely easy to create an infinitesimal which has no objective existence outside itself. One could also say that is is infinitesimally difficult to create such a thing. When a thing has “infinitesimal difficulty,” this is the equivalent of saying that it is “infinitely easy.” To say that a thing is “infinitely easy” is essentially the same as to say that it is inevitable. In this sense, consciousness (an infinitesimal fluctuation, divergence, or difference from non-consciousness) is mathematically inevitable. It is both contingent upon mathematics, and an inevitable consequence of mathematics.
This inevitability of mathematics, and the concomitant inevitability of consciousness, are true in every world, and throughout all existence. Mathematics would be true even if nothing else existed, and is therefore an inevitable part of existence. So, because consciousness is an inevitable consequence of mathematics, and because mathematics is “omnipresent,” it is not simply one infinitesimal speck of consciousness which exists, in this or that time or place; consciousness, like the mathematics which gives it existence, is omnipresent. Consciousness, like the mathematics which gives it existence, is a gapless plenum.
This omnipresent plenum of mathematical consciousness is the fundamental “ground of existence” or the “ground of being,” and from this “ground” all existence grows. It is the “ground of existence” or the “ground of being” from which everything which science studies ultimately grows. Science is ultimately the study of everything – and this plenum of mathematical consciousness is everything. This plenum is thus the ultimate and total object of study of science. We can give this omnipresent plenum of mathematical consciousness a name which reflects its nature as the ultimate and total object of study of science: we can call it, in capital letters, “SCION.”
SCION, then, is the ontologically necessary omnipresent plenum of mathematical consciousness – the “living math” – which is the very foundation of existence. SCION is actually the entire “world” itself, where “world” is used in the largest, most all-encompassing cosmic sense. We will see that it is SCION, the ontologically necessary plenum of mathematical consciousness which ultimately gives rise to the physical world.
While SCION is a plenum of mathematical consciousness, it would be incorrect to also think of it as a “mind” in any meaningful sense. Whereas a “mind” is consciousness configured into a highly ordered and structured form, SCION is consciousness in its most raw and unstructured form. It is a single unstructured plenary fluid of conscious mathematical infinitesimals – consciousness in its most raw, chaotic and primordial form. We will soon see, however, how order and structure necessarily arises from this disorder.
We will also see that SCION, the ontologically necessary plenum of mathematical consciousness, is the source of Einstein's elusive and metaphorical “God,” i.e., the source of underlying rationality and order which pervades the world.
The Physical World
The fundamental distinguishing aspect of consciousness is “feeling.” To “feel” is very much what it is, at the most fundamental level, to be conscious.
A “feeling” or “sensation” may also be viewed as a fluctuation in consciousness. Consciousness is not “static,” however, but is a dynamic process in which feelings or sensations create fluctuations, and in which fluctuations create feelings or sensations. Fluctuations in consciousness are thus both feelings or sensations themselves, and also reactions or responses to these feelings or sensations.
Feelings or sensations have “hedonic value.” A positive hedonic value is some increase in pleasure or decrease in pain. A negative hedonic value is some decrease in pleasure, or increase in pain. Consciousness operates to increase or maximize hedonic value.
The existence of the physical world, as we are about to see, may be explained in terms of the action of consciousness, i.e., of SCION, specifically as the result of certain fluctuations of consciousness which are associated with feelings or sensations. Because consciousness operates to increase or maximize hedonic value, the emergence of the physical world from the action of consciousness must somehow serve to increase or maximize hedonic value.
Scientists know that at the most fundamental level, the physical world is quantized rather than continuous. Even space and time are quantized. In other words, there is a “smallest spacial distance” as well as a “smallest temporal distance.” Furthermore, even space and time are not fundamental aspects of physicality, but are more properly viewed as being emergent properties, which arise from the operation of something even more fundamental. We assert that this “something even more fundamental” is the collective action of certain fluctuations in consciousness which serve to increase or maximize hedonic value. To put this another way, this “something more fundamental” is the collective action of certain fluctuations within SCION, the ontologically necessary plenum of mathematical consciousness, which comprises the entire “world,” in the largest, most all-encompassing and fundamental cosmic sense.
While physical existence is quantized, mathematical and conscious existence form a continuum – a continuous plenum of mathematical and conscious existence. To put this another way, while physical existence is quantized, SCION is a continuous plenum. There must, however, be a way in which quantization – quantized physicality – arises from the plenum of mathematical consciousness which is SCION.
It must, then, be the case that it “feels better” when SCION creates (possibly infinitesimal) divisions within itself. Each such division can be thought of as a sort of “cell” or “node” of physicality.
Consciousness both feels and reacts to feelings. If the world is quantized, it is because SCION experiences maximum hedonic value by doing so. In other words, SCION must experience some decrease in pain or increase in pleasure as a result of being quantized. Perhaps it “feels good” when SCION divides itself into “cells” or “nodes” of some particular (possibly, but not necessarily, infinitesimal) size; conversely, perhaps it “hurts” when not divided in this way.
It may be the case, for example, that “pieces” of SCION larger than than the size of a single “cell” or “node,” spontaneously give rise to certain chaotic fluctuations, flows, currents, etc., which are experienced as a hedonic disvalue. In that case, there would be an automatic hedonic reaction or response, i.e., a hedonic fluctuation of consciousness, which would serve to restrict the “size” of any piece of undifferentiated consciousness to below the size which give rise to this chaotic state, would increase hedonic value. Thus SCION would be divided into “cells” or “nodes” small enough to avoid such painful chaotic flows. This is speculation, of course. The idea, however, is that it is pure hedonic value which drives SCION to self-organize from a single infinite undifferentiated plenum of consciousness, into a plenum consisting of an infinity of differentiated “cells” or “nodes” of consciousness. It can be assumed that, in this way, SCION would naturally and automatically assume the most hedonically valuable configuration possible. (It may, however, be the case that this is only a “local maximum” of hedonic value, and that other, even more hedonically valuable configuration may be possible, but that to attain such configurations would require first fluctuating through other more negative hedonic states.)
Perhaps, just as we have defined “SCION” as the totality of the operation of mathematics throughout existence, we can now define a “scion” as a single “cell” of SCION. Thus the scion is the smallest distinct “unit” of both mental and physical existence. Whereas SCION is the ultimate, total and largest object of study of science, a scion is the smallest distinct unit of this total, and would therefore be the smallest object of study of science.
The division of SCION into individual scions does not need to be visualized as occurring as some sort of globally directed event. (Remember, SCION is not an ordered or structured mind, but merely mathematical consciousness in its most raw and chaotic state, as a plenary fluid of infinitesimals.) This division of SCION into individual scions is completely explainable in purely “local” terms. Variously sized sections of SCION could spontaneously divide into smaller sections in a reaction against the hedonic disvalue which is experienced by any section which is too large (and chaotic). Thus SCION is maintained as a network of differentiated scions.
While SCION experiences an increase in hedonic value when it is differentiated into “scion-sized” pieces, the interconnectedness of the physical world seems to indicate that a decrease in hedonic value would ensue if any individual scion were completely isolated from any other scion: such complete isolation would destroy the infinite nature and “oneness” of SCION. Thus, while each of these scions are separate and distinct from all others in the “network” of scions – the “scionic network” – each also remains directly connected to all others. These scionic connections allow scions to interact with one another in a more controlled fashion, while also maintaining their mutual differentiation from one another.
The scionic network, as described above, is a “non-local” network: every scion is connected with every other scion – an infinitely interconnected network – with no sense of “place” or “location” being encoded into the network. In this state, while the scionic network increases the hedonic value of each scion over that which it would experience if it was not part of this non-local network, the network nevertheless would be essentially “formless,” at least in the sense of “form” as we tend to think of it in physical terms.
The hedonic value of each scion is further increased by another set of connections, which connects it only to its “neighbors.” This “local-network” serves to give “place” or “location” to each scion, and to give “form” to the scionic network as a whole.
Thus, the scionic network actually consists of two distinct sub-networks, comprised of two distinct types of scionic connections: the infinitely interconnected “non-local” network, which directly connects every scion with every other scion; and the finitely connected “local” network, which directly connects a scion with only some subset of other scions which can then be thought of as its “immediate neighbors” in the infinite, eternal network of scions.
In the absence of the scionic network, there would be no way for two scions to interact directly, without simply merging into a single, larger consciousness. This is because it is the nature of consciousness to always experience itself as unitary. For two scions to directly interact would be for them to merge into a single unit – essentially a single “I,” albeit a very simple “I.” (Imagine two drops of water, “directly interacting,” i.e., coming into direct contact with each other. They would simply merge into one larger drop.) The scionic network has the effect of allowing individual bits of consciousnesses (individual scions) to interact in such a way that they maintain their individuality; in other words, it allows them to interact indirectly, through their mutual interconnections. This indirect interaction of scions produces “physicality,” in that what we perceive as physical reality takes place upon the “stage” of the scionic network.
The infinitely interconnected non-local network is the underlying mechanism behind non-local quantum connections, i.e., quantum non-locality and “entanglement.” The information which is carried by the non-local network is essentially “quantum information,” although it might be more descriptive to simply call it “non-local information.” The finitely connected local network which directly connects each scion only with its immediate neighbors carries “local information.”
It is reasonable to speculate that information traverses each connection essentially instantly, regardless of the length of the connection. (Actually, “length” is essentially meaningless, in terms of these connections. All connections are essentially equal, and essentially instantaneous.) There is a maximum speed at which a scion “processes” or “reacts” to the “feelings” it gets from the information it receives from the network of scions. Some of this information is hedonically reacted to at the maximum speed possible to a scion. This sets an upper limit to the speed of propagation of “local information” through the “local network,” and gives us the speed limit of the universe, i.e., the speed of light. Other information, of course, is reacted to or processed much more slowly. Once any information is hedonically processed (or reacted to), this reaction is reflected in the outflow of information from the scion, through its network connections to all other scions. There is no such “speed limit” in the non-local scionic network, however, since each scion is directly connected to every other scion through the non-local network. This explains the instantaneous nature of non-local quantum phenomena.
Thus the “mechanics” of the speed at which various types of information are hedonically processed and propagated causes the network to display both relativistic locality and quantum non-locality. Furthermore, curved space-time is a result of variations in the number and configuration of connections in the local-network.
There is a longstanding philosophical debate as to whether or not we have “free will.” There should be no debate regarding whether we simply have “will.” We have desires and preferences, which can all be reduced to a drive for hedonic value. This drive for hedonic value is “will,” in its most fundamental form. The debate, however, is whether or not our will is in some sense “free,” and what we even mean when we speak of such “freedom” of will.
There seems to be at least two distinct meanings of the term, “free will.” One meaning is something like “non-deterministic will.” This means that our will operates, at least in part, in some sort of non-deterministic manner. This is essentially equivalent to saying that our will operates, at least in part, in some sort of irreducibly random or unpredictable manner.
There is another sense of the term, “free will,” which means something like “not forced from without.” In this sense of the term, “free will” means that we have some ability to choose and to act as we please, as autonomous beings, according to our own will; conversely, this means that we are not controlled nor forced (at least not fully) to choose and to act according to the will of some external entities.
The first type of “free will,” i.e., non-deterministic or “random” will, seem to essentially be impossible, unless there is some truly random and completely “undetermined” aspect to reality. Such “randomness” would have to me much more “profoundly random” than the randomness of thrown dice, or tossed coins, however. The outcome of these seemingly random systems actually would be predictable with complete precision, provided we had access to completely precise knowledge or information regarding the initial state of such systems in advance. Although it may be impossible for us to access such completely precise knowledge in practice, the fact that such precise knowledge would, in principle, allow us to make completely accurate predictions about future states of such systems, means that such systems are fundamentally deterministic in nature.
Such discussions and definitions are rife with paradox and contradiction.
Each scion, while itself a single cell or node of a quantized physical network, contains within itself a (possibly, but not necessarily, infinitesimal) plenum, i.e., a “piece” of SCION. While SCION is a plenum, each scion is a portion of that plenum which has differentiated itself into a distinct cell or node in the infinite and eternal network of other such cells or nodes. The internal plenum of a scion, being divisible into an infinity of infinitesimals, may be thought of as a sort of as a sort of a “plenary fluid” of infinitesimals; within this “plenary fluid” are “currents,” “flows,” and so on. This same “plenary fluid” is also the “substance” of SCION. It is these currents, flows, etc., within the plenary fluid, which may be the source of so-called “free will,” if we are to assume that “free will” is to be understood as making choices in a way which
The ontological requirements and properties of free will and consciousness are so similar that free will and consciousness are always present together: To create free will (like consciousness) is to create something which cannot be directly perceived from outside itself.
In that case, to create free will (like consciousness) would be to create something which has no existence outside of itself. In a way, it seems somehow “easy” to create something which has no objective existence outside of itself, or at least easier than creating something which does have an objective external existence.
In order to exist, a speck of free will (like consciousness) only needs to be infinitesimal – the very tiniest fluctuation, divergence, or difference from the absence of free will. In a way, if something is mathematically infinitesimal, it seems to make it even easier to create if it also has no existence outside itself. And in a way, being mathematically infinitesimal seems to be a mathematical way in which an existing thing could be impossible to be perceived from outside itself.
The case may be made that it is essentially infinitely easy to create an infinitesimal which has no objective existence outside itself. One could also say that is is infinitesimally difficult to create such a thing. When a thing has “infinitesimal difficulty,” this is the equivalent of saying that it is “infinitely easy.” To say that a thing is “infinitely easy” is essentially the same as to say that it is inevitable. In this sense, both free will and consciousness are inevitable. Both of these are contingent upon mathematics, and an inevitable consequence of mathematics. In that case, then, wherever consciousness exists so too does free will, and vice versa.
Infinitesimal effects, just the sort of effects necessary to influence the infinitesimal “particles,” “flows,” “currents,” etc., in a plenary fluid of infinitesimals (such as exist within each scion) would be created by the infinitesimal effect of free will, which would always accompany consciousness.
The scionic network, as described thus far, is an infinite and eternal network of scions, both “non-locally” connected to every other scion, and “locally” connected to its closest neighbors. Each scion transmits information to and from every other scion, and each scion also acts as an information processor. Its reacts to the information it receives hedonically. Each scion acts as a sort of “conscious automaton,” in an infinite and eternal network of other such scions.
It should be noted that SCION, in its manifestation as the scionic network, gives rise to physicality itself. Each node of the scionic network, i.e., each scion, serves as a single Planck-length unit of space-time. Thus, from SCION, differentiated into infinite scions, infinitely interconnected in the scionic network, emerges the quantized space and time which we experience in the physical world.
Not only does space and time emerge from SCION, but so too do matter and energy, and their associated forces. While matter, energy, and forces traverse the network, what is really traversing the network are pattern or “complexes” of scionic connections, connected in particular ways. It is these patterns or complexes of scionic connections, traversing the scionic network, which we experience as matter, energy, particles and forces.
The traversal of patterns or “complexes” across the network can involve (1) the “physical movement” of scions themselves through the network (by simply changing which other scions they are connected to in the “local network”), and (2) the movement of certain “patterns of connection” throughout the (local and non-local) network, where the “pattern” itself moves through the the network while the scions themselves remain “stationary,” and (3) some combination of (1) and (2).
The smallest physical entities are comprised of a complex involving a single scion, along with its pattern of connection to other nodes. Larger forms of matter/energy are comprised of complexes involving any number of multiple scions. This gives rise to the existence of all particles and forces, and all forms of energy – and ultimately to exactly the type of universe we see around us.
This also explain the effects of Einstein's General Relativity: Space and time can “bend,” by modifying the “local connections” between scions, such that their “local connections” with other scions increase, decrease, or merely change from one set of scions to another. The “universal speed limit” of the propagation of light is also explained via the propagation of certain scionic complexes through the local-network at the maximum hedonic “processing speed” or “reaction time” of scions.
Physical Sentient Beings
Physical sentience (beyond the bare, minimal sentience of an individual scion) involves scionic complexes in which (at least some of) the individual scions, while still retaining their individuation from one another, participate together to form a larger, more complex and organized form of consciousness. To put this in somewhat more familiar physical terms, the individual nodes (scions) of such scionic complexes are “quantum entangled” such that their state may be mathematically described by a single unifying (and extraordinarily complex) “quantum wavefunction.” Such scionic complexes may be thought of as a number of individual scions operating in such a unified manner that they effectively form a sort of “super-scion.”
We can speculate as to various aspects of the “mechanics” of how such a “super-scionic complex” manages to give rise to larger, more complex instances of unitary consciousness than that available to any individual scion. It may be that the separate “plenary fluid of infinitesimals” which each individual scion contains begins to somehow operate more like a single, unified fluid, when they are joined into a super-scionic complex. As far as we currently know, it is not possible for such super-scions to exist in a purely “immaterial” form (that is, as some sort of “pure” consciousness) but requires rather complex physical structures of some sort to act as a sort of “scaffold” of sufficient complexity and permanence to support such complex forms of consciousness.
Such complex physical structures can obviously arise through the process of biological natural selection, through the coupling of the drive for hedonic value with biological survival. This coupling takes place naturally, since organisms which find hedonic value in pro-survival activities are much more likely to survive and pass on those same hedonic drives to their offspring than organisms which find hedonic value in anti-survival activities.
Super-scionic patterns need not be confined to biology, however. With advancing technology we may eventually engineer durable non-biological super-scionic patterns. This may initially involve the merger of biology with technology, in all sorts of ways. Over time, however, it is inevitable that the technology will become more advanced, and the need for biological components will be minimized, perhaps to zero. The result will essentially be a form of “life” which is very different and even superior to the fragile biological life with which we are all so intimately familiar firsthand – and yet, such life would be endowed with all the depth of thought and feeling, and the richness of experience – and even beyond, it would seem – as any biological entity. This is not, however, some future to be feared, as humanity made “obsolete” by its own creation; in reality, this will be the evolution and transformation of humanity into something resembling a sort of super-humanity, living a sort of super-human existence. (The reader is referred to “The Singularity is Near,” and “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” both by Ray Kurzweil.)
Quantum mechanics is one of the most seemingly mysterious as well as misunderstood parts of modern physics. This is due to the often unexpected and counter-intuitive nature of so much of quantum mechanics, and is further compounded by all of the various differing “interpretations” put forth by different quantum physicists in order to explain the very same phenomena. So, before delving into how quantum mechanical effects arise within the scionic network, it would be helpful to first step back and take a look at various of the interpretations of quantum mechanics which have been advanced to date.
The Instrumentalist Interpretation
The instrumentalist interpretation is essentially a non-interpretation. Those who hold this view assert that it is essentially impossible to ascertain the underpinnings of quantum mechanics, and therefore that it is fruitless to make claims regarding such underpinnings. This view is often expressed as “shut up and calculate,” which is meant to drive home the point that the only useful endeavor of a quantum physicist is to simply calculate the probabilities of outcomes according to the “Schrodinger equation,” without reference to any sort of interpretation as to what is “really” happening “behind the scenes,” so to speak.
The Copenhagen Interpretation
The Copenhagen interpretation is the most widely accepted interpretation of quantum mechanics. It was developed by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in the late 1920s in Copenhagen. (Hence its name.) The Copenhagen interpretation, like the instrumentalist interpretation, holds that there is a certain statistical distribution of the probabilities of outcomes of certain quantum processes, as determined by the Schrodinger equation, but within this statistical distribution the actual outcomes are fundamentally random and non-deterministic. The Copenhagen interpretation differs, however, in how it attempts to “explain” just why quantum mechanics is the way it is. (The instrumentalists make no such attempt at explanation.)
The position of particles is indeterminate and essentially meaningless to speak about until they are observed, at which time there is a “collapse of the wavefunction,” and it is precisely this act of conscious observation, according to the Copenhagen interpretation, which randomly selects a single possibility from the probability distribution of possible positions. Consciousness (and conscious observation) thus takes on the very special role of being the mechanism whereby the wavefunction is collapsed, and some aspect of reality goes from being in an indeterminate state of “quantum super-position” to some single state. Those who adhere to the Copenhagen interpretation often talk about how the observer (or experimenter) influences the outcome of quantum experiments, “wave-particle duality,” i.e., the fact that particles can also be viewed as waves and vice versa, and so on. It is also those who adhere to the Copenhagen who tend to speak of “Schrodinger's cat” as existing in some “super-position” of alive and dead states until someone actually checks to see if the cat is actually alive or dead.
It was precisely the Copenhagen interpretation about which Einstein famously said, “God does not play dice with the universe.” He was dissatisfied with the idea that events in the universe proceeded in some fundamentally random way. He also famously said, “Is the moon not there when nobody is looking at it,” again in response to the Copenhagen interpretation's view that the physical world is in some indeterminate or “super-positional” state until it is observed.
The Many-Worlds Interpretation
The many-worlds interpretation makes exactly the same physical predictions regarding the observed outcomes of quantum-mechanical events as the Copenhagen interpretation; in fact, all of the various interpretations of quantum-mechanics make exactly the same such predictions (except, perhaps, for certain “fringe” quantum mechanical occurrences) because all interpretations are based upon exactly the same experimental and mathematical foundations. The difference is in the “interpretation” of just why quantum events result in such outcomes and such a particular mathematical description.
The many-worlds interpretation holds that there is no moment of “collapse of the wavefunction,” thus eliminating the special role played by consciousness in the Copenhagen interpretation. Instead of quantum collapse, however, the many-worlds interpretation holds that each possible outcome of every quantum-mechanical event actually does take place; this is only possible, however, if the universe essentially “splits” into multiple universes, such that each possibility in a quantum possibility distribution happens in its own new “branch” of the universe. Each such “splitting” or “branch” has the same history as all of the other branches which resulted from the same quantum event, prior to that event, but each also subsequently develops independently – and thus has its own independent history – from that moment of splitting onwards. Every time that the universe splits off into new branches, we also split off into these new branches, since we are part of the universe, of course.
Pilot Wave Theory
The instrumentalist approach of “shut up and calculate” essentially says nothing about what is “really going on” behind the mathematics of quantum mechanics, and therefore does nothing to further our understanding of reality beyond the application of the mathematics itself. The Copenhagen interpretation forces us to deny the objective nature of the physical world itself, instead proposing that the very act of conscious observation serves to define the state of reality, albeit in some fundamentally random and indeterminate matter. The many-worlds interpretation, on the other hand, holds that the physical world does have an objective reality, but that this objective reality splits into different branches every time any quantum event takes place anywhere in the universe.
There is, however, an interpretation of quantum mechanics which does not invoke such things as wave-particle duality, quantum super-position, indeterminacy, or the universe constantly splitting into countless alternate branches. This interpretation is variously called “pilot wave theory,” “de Broglie-Bohm theory,” “Bohmian mechanics” or “the causal interpretation.” It was first developed by Louis de Broglie in the 1920s, although after a few years he eventually was persuaded by others to abandon it due to pressure to adopt the more widely accepted Copenhagen interpretation. David Bohm became aware of the earlier work of de Broglie in the early 1950s, and subsequently developed the theory further. John Stewart Bell developed what later became known as “Bell's theorem” in 1964, after having become aware of pilot wave theory himself. (Bell's theorem, in its simplest form, states that no physical theory of “local hidden variables” can ever reproduce all of the prediction of quantum mechanics.) Support for pilot wave theory has been gaining since the 1990s.
Pilot wave theory postulates that particles are “really” particles (rather than some entity which can be alternatively described as either a wave or as a particle, depending upon circumstances) which are guided by a “pilot wave.” The evolution of this pilot wave is defined (just as in the Copenhagen or any other quantum-mechanical interpretation) by the Schrodinger equation. In addition to the Schrodinger equation, there is also a “guiding equation” which specifies how a particle is guided by the pilot wave.
In pilot wave theory, particles follow a real physical trajectory, and have a real physical position at all times. This is very different from the Copenhagen interpretation, in which particles only have a definite position when they are being observed. The “wave-like” nature which has been attributed to particles in the Copenhagen interpretation is explained in pilot wave theory by the influence of the pilot wave itself, rather than because of some inherent “wave-particle duality.” Furthermore, pilot wave theory is completely deterministic: there is no fundamentally random “collapse of the wavefunction.”
In quantum mechanics there is the well-known “Heisenberg's uncertainty principle,” which states that when measurements of two complementary physical properties (such as position and momentum, for example) are made, there is a limit to the precision of the product of their measurements. In other words, the more precisely one is known, the less precisely the other can be known at the same time. The Copenhagen interpretation holds this limit, i.e., this “uncertainty,” to correspond to an actual inherent physical imprecision of complementary properties. Pilot wave theory, on the other hand, holds that each of such complementary physical properties is well-defined, i.e., a particle has both a well-defined trajectory (which includes both its position and momentum over time) and a well-defined wavefunction. The uncertainty principle, in pilot wave theory, is therefore not due to some fundamental physical imprecision regarding these values, but instead rests in the fact that the wavefunction itself defines the limits of that which can be known about a particle.
There are other interpretations of quantum mechanics, in addition to the ones listed above. The four interpretations above – the instrumentalist interpretation, the Copenhagen interpretation, the many-worlds interpretation, and pilot-wave theory – were chosen because it was believed that comparing these three would best serve to convey the idea that what is really going on “behind the scenes” in quantum mechanics is truly open to interpretation, and the matter is far from settled. The instrumentalist interpretation, essentially a non-interpretation, highlights the difficulty with actually constructing a sensible interpretation, and for choosing one interpretation over another. The Copenhagen and many-worlds interpretations were chosen primarily because these are the most widely known interpretations, both amongst professional and amateur physicists. The pilot wave theory was chosen because it was the first (and perhaps the most fully developed) interpretation which relied upon non-local hidden variables (in the form of the wavefunction) while maintaining the reality of particles as particles and not as waves, without recourse to the constant splitting of the universe into countless parallel branches.
With our brief survey of a few differing interpretations of quantum mechanics behind us, we are now in a better position to explore how quantum events can be understood in terms of the scionic network. We will begin with the concept of “quantum interference.”
When a scion hedonically reacts or processes incoming information, the result of this process is instantly transmitted to other scions throughout the scionic network. It must be remembered, however, that the scionic network actually consists of two distinct types of networks: the “non-local” scionic network, in which each scion is directly connected with every other scion; and the “local” scionic network, in which each scion is directly connected only with those other scions which would be experienced as “next to” it in terms of their manifestation of physical space.
While the speed at which information which is hedonically processed by a scion can only be transmitted at some maximum speed through the local-network, i.e., at the speed of light or slower, it is instantaneously transmitted to every other scion throughout the infinite non-local network, due to the mutual non-local interconnection of every scion with every other scion.
The interference exhibited by the famous double-slit experiment (as well as all other quantum phenomena) is explained differently by the many-worlds interpretation, the Copenhagen interpretation, pilot-wave theory, or any number of various other interpretations of quantum mechanics, although all interpretations agree as to what is actually predicted and observed. Scionic network theory can be used to help further model what is “really” happening “behind the scenes” of the observed phenomena of quantum mechanics.
In the double-slit experiment, a particle seems to act a bit like a wave and interfere with its own trajectory, but only when there is no active detector for the particle in either slit. If such a detector is present, however, the particle seems to lose its wavelike aspects, thus behaving more like a “classical” particle and not exhibiting self-interference with its own trajectory.
This provides the necessary framework for just the type of non-local hidden variables required by something like pilot-wave theory.
There are many instances in which the information transmitted by different scions may, quite literally, “interfere” with one another, and cause certain aspects of the network to evolve in a “physically indeterminant” manner. Physical indeterminacy involves a certain “undecided” factors in the network, which only become “decided” when the physicality they are associated with is actually becomes physically manifested. This is the source of such phenomena as those revealed by the famous quantum-mechanical “double-slit experiment.”
The scions which comprise a super-scionic complex transmit information to other scions – and to each other – in a very specifically coordinated way, since their individual separated plenary fluids of infinitesimals also operate together in a more coordinated or unified way. This more unified transmission of scionic information essentially means that information which is collectively transmitted by the scions comprising a super-scion interfere with each other far less than the uncoordinated transmission of scionic information by an equal number of more “simply” connected scions. In a way, this give more “weight” to the the information transmitted by a super-scion.
The scionic network constantly gives rise to pairs of “virtual particles.” These are particles whose existence is extremely short-lived, because these virtual particles almost immediately annihilate each other. The existence of these particles is so short, in fact, that scientists have prepended the term “virtual” to distinguish them from the more “normal” long-lived particles, known as “real” particles. These virtual particles are temporary scionic complexes, which arise for two reasons: (1) as a result of certain interactions between other, “real” particles, and (2) as a result of the interference created by some of the information transmitted between scions. As mentioned, these virtual particles are normally extremely short-lived.
There are two conditions, however, in which these virtual particles can survive long enough to become “real” particles. One condition is when virtual particles arise at the edge – or “event horizon” – of a black hole. In such a case, it is possible for one member of the pair to fall into the black hole, while the other one travels out into the surrounding universe. The other condition is when virtual particles arise in space which is expanding with sufficient rapidity. (We will discuss expanding space in the next section.)
The two conditions, above, may seem to be very different, and in some ways they are. They are certainly very similar, however, in that they are both conditions in which the two members of a pair of virtual particles are immediately ripped away from each other, due to the local properties of space-time, as encoded in the scionic “local network.”
The Expansion of the Infinite, Eternal Scionic Network
It is possible for new scions to be created. SCION is a plenary fluid of infinitesimals. Between any two (or more) infinitesimals it is possible to “extract” another, “new” infinitesimal. In conditions under which space-time is expanding, the operation of the network of scions requires the creation of new scions.
The production and mutual annihilation of virtual particles creates a very small “pressure” within the network of scions, which manifests physically by “pushing” space very slightly outwards, or “inflating” space. Under conditions of relatively low rates of expansion, this pressure is largely unnoticeable, over most distances. This pressure is cumulative with distance, however, and becomes significant over cosmic scales. It is this outward pressure, due to virtual particle pair production and annihilation, which is the source of the repulsive force of “dark energy,” i.e., Einstein's “cosmological constant.”
The inflation of space would normally continue faster and faster over time, without end, except that when the inflation or expansion of space proceeds with sufficient rapidity, it will separate pairs of mutually created virtual particles fast enough that they will not have time to mutually annihilate. Thus they will live on, and fill space with additional mass. This additional mass then acts to decelerate the expansion of space, which in turn prevents additional virtual particles from becoming real.
This ultimately creates an eternal cycle consisting of:
A period of rapidly accelerating expansion of space-time and the resulting ubiquitous production of “real” particles and energy.
A period of decelerating expansion, due to the mutual gravitation attraction of all of the new “real” particles.
A period of slowly accelerating expansion, which ensues once space-time has expanded sufficiently that all of the new “real” particles are far enough apart that their mutual gravity is overwhelmed by the inflationary force created by virtual particle pair production and annihilation.
As this expansion accelerates, eventually it brings about another period of rapidly accelerating expansion of space-time – and the cycle goes on….
As stated above, new scions are created under conditions of expanding space. While such conditions exist throughout the eternally expanding cosmos and particularly so during periods of cosmic inflation, gravitational fields also create temporary “patches” of expanded space-time. The strongest gravitational fields exist within and around black holes, of course. Due to the effect of Hawking radiation (mentioned earlier in this writing) black holes will eventually “evaporate” over time, provided they take in less matter than they radiate. (Such a black hole would have to be effectively isolated in space. This would typically be due to the expansion of space having “carried away” any other matter or energy from the vicinity of the black hole. This is the expected fate of black holes in our universe, in the distant future.) As a black hole radiates away, or “evaporates,” it becomes smaller, and eventually explodes (with more of a “pop” than a “bang,” in terms of the magnitude of the explosion). As the black hole becomes smaller, and eventually vanishes, the expanded space within it begins to “flatten;” this, in turn acts to destroy the “extra” scions which were temporarily required by the expanded space. (It should be noted that “temporary,” in this case, could easily comprise billions of years.)
If a black hole were to survive long enough to experience a period of extreme cosmic inflation, the production of Hawking radiation would be so extremely accelerated that the black hole would then rapidly evaporate. The largest of such black holes could actually leave a “signature” of their existence upon the distribution of matter and energy in the universe during the subsequent epoch. Such a signature would be a circular or elliptical irregularity in the background radiation of the universe. (An elliptical irregularity would indicate a rotating black hole, whereas a circular irregularity would indicate either a non-rotating black hole, or a rotating black hole whose axis of rotation was directly in line with the current position of the Earth. Elliptical irregularities, due to rotating black holes, with randomly facing axes, would be the most common case, by far.)
Since black holes are relatively small in comparison with the entire observable universe, the amount of scions which are being created at any moment due to the expansion of the cosmos is far greater than the amount being destroyed at any moment due to the “evaporation” of black holes. With the exception of those scions which comprise the interior of a black hole, scions are essentially “immortal.”