Who Ordered The Chaos?
The inherent problem with ignoring the critical nonsense of our world
It all started with one question posed to two physicists: what is time?
Of course, no question in a discussion relating to physics can be presented in such simple terms, so I had to dance the dance of mathematically formulaic reasoning - something I'm not exactly familiar with.
I get the basics of the rudimentary principles relating to entropy and energy transfer, along with other thermodynamic properties of our reality, but as soon as I see a variable come into play or an equation come into focus, my hands are in the air.
And I'm not the only one.
Over the last few centuries, science has put up somewhat of a wall around itself as it relegated the search of answers relating to our reality to a very exclusive circle of minds. Those with specialized designations handling specialized equipment, looking at the world through specialized lenses of study.
Physics, chemistry, biology - rather than remaining under the general umbrella of Philosophy, have all diverged into their own spectrums of existence, bifurcating under their own weight to create sub-fields of study: astrophysics, biochemistry, microbiology. It goes even deeper.
The point is that we've adopted a rather serious commitment to ordering and structuring the way our reality is understood. We've compartmentalized knowledge into relative absurdity, dissecting and dividing everything to the point where its become somewhat of a rarity to see a student adopt a double major in two unrelated topics.
While helpful towards the progress of our materialistic development and towards the various systems we've established (academia, technological innovation, commercialism), it has stunted our ability to see the bigger picture through a more comprehensive frame of reference.
It can be said that our attempt to order and structure our systems of knowledge, while possibly shrouded in good intent and while achieving numerous levels of efficiency, has possibly been one of the greatest mistakes we've ever made in pursuing comprehensive answers to how our world works.
“Scientists, therefore, are responsible for their research, not only intellectually but also morally. This responsibility has become an important issue in many of today's sciences, but especially so in physics, in which the results of quantum mechanics and relativity theory have opened up two very different paths for physicists to pursue. They may lead us - to put it in extreme terms - to the Buddha or to the Bomb, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take. ”
Because we're human, we have this unhealthy obsession with trying to order our reality. We matrix patterns, we decode, we decipher, and we organize things into as neat and tidy an understanding we can.
The only problem to such an approach, and a rather big problem at that, is that while it may prove satisfying, it is inevitably sweeping a lot of critical nonsense under the rug.
This critical nonsense, the dark matter, the dark energy, the vacuum fluctuations - the enigmas and paradoxes of our reality - these questions should be put on a pedestal at the center of the room rather than relegated to the basement for some kind of future salvation.
Because they are the very mysteries that open our minds and exercise our imagination. They are the questions that motivate us to explore some pretty peculiar avenues of our world and they are the only thing that really humbles us when it comes to our assumptive belief that we've mastered the world which we inhabit.
Without considering the strange and the answerable, our knowledge systems begin to grow into themselves rather than growing outward - like tumors of inquisitiveness, malignantly decaying the pure motivations which underlie our curiosity, warping the curiosity and confining it to certain paradigms of thought that limit its true potential.
As is shown in a brief interview below, academia inevitably gets to a point where it runs out of intellect, spinning its wheels as it crumbles under its own weight of scrutiny and under its own standards for reasoning and belief. Math, akin to God's word for the devout, has to be regarded as a human construct nonetheless, no matter how verifiable it proves to be over time.
It is this construct, and others like it, that close the mind when it comes to exercising that wonderfully imaginative and creative brain that we've been developing for eons, effectively forcing humanity to think within the parameters of a box that preceding generations have confined knowledge into.
This is what happens when we ignore the critical nonsense and seek to order the chaos rather than embracing it.
A brief interview with Larry Silverberg and Jeffrey Eischen, authors of "On a new field theory formulation and a space-time adjustment that predict the same precession of Mercury and the same bending of light as general relativity." Physics Essays, Volume 33, Number 4, December 2020, pp. 489-512(24)
Borealism: One of the first names that came to mind while reading your article had been that of Max Planck, specifically due to his discovery that the energy of heat radiation, for instance, is not emitted continuously but, rather, in the form of energy fragments that Einstein went on to refer to as 'quanta'.
Like in Maxwell's case, there seems to always be this underlying effort to unify the individual threads of understanding our reality, to which your theory seems to be no exception.
Had you both operated under this pretext of seeking to tie together the different strands of prior discoveries or had it been an effort to commence from, and operate within, a blank and isolated slate of understanding?
Larry and Jeffrey: There has been an interesting dichotomy between classical physics, with its particles and waves, and modern physics, with its space-time and fields.
The latter has not been widely accepted by the public despite its mathematical success.
One of the reasons has to do with the need to move from the concept of matter to the concept of energy. The fragment of energy serves to bridge that gap.
B: And to bridge that gap, you rely on mathematical formulations (specifically those of vector continuity over a time increment).
Without wading into the weeds of it, why not start from scratch with your theory?
L&J: In science, one needs to develop ideas "axiomatically," meaning starting with assumptions after which one deduces things logically, without bringing in unsupported information.
Vector continuity is the mathematical starting point. Is is nothing more than the mathematical condition that describes flow through space and time.
B: So, in essence, math is everything. But doesn't that imply some kind of fundamental bias? An inherent predisposition to run everything through mathematical formulas? I'm not saying it's the wrong thing to do - in fact, it's likely the only way we can verify the theory - but it sort of forces one to operate within a kind of tunnel vision that stunts the imagination from the get go, doesn't it?
L&J: Historically, it has been about human agreements of what it is that we are experiencing physically.
The easiest was space. The "ruler" is how we agree to measure it (putting aside the limitations).
Next, comes time. It was more difficult because we do not see, hear, or feel it.
Anyway, we express it mathematically by turning it into a rhythm (Einstein calibrated time to the speed of light).
Finally, there was the question of matter or energy. It was the most difficult because it comes in so many different forms.
Over the last 100 years we have been moving from matter to energy; that means from particles (associated with matter) to fields (associated with energy.
So, in short, by the 1950s we have largely agreed - universally - on space, time, and energy.
However, the building blocks of energy were not yet universal. If you think about it, that does not make sense.
How would energy be universal if its building blocks are not?
The fragment of energy is just a mathematical representation of a simple form of a concentration of energy.
Using it can be more intuitive than particles and waves, one can build up a theory axiomatically with it, and it coincides with the trends in physics.
I wanted to go on to ask one more question, a question that got into the thick of the muck that this discussion began to drown in.
So I sunk to their level and sought to play dirty in the hopes that I'd get an answer that showed an independence from the cold tentacles of mathematics, one that revealed to me their humanity, their creativeness and conscious autonomy.
B: We know that there's no literal dimension of time; that causality effectuates time, which we can liken to a frequency, with events consisting of the amplitude. Like your model found, energy flows and dissipates outward, however, there must also be a function (or fragment) of energy that coalesces inward to account for the forms that are applied - for the order that arises from disorder. Many will look to the gravitational effect, currently assigned to dark matter, as the elemental process by which energy coalesces into form. Others go a bit deeper into consciousness, determinism, etc.
I suppose what I'm asking is, in your opinion, what accounts for the energy that coalesces inward, not outward; consolidating, not dissipating. Our very definition of this energy is a testament to the form we create. In other words, how do your fragments of energy apply to the immeasurable and impalpable processes that follow along in the opposite direction of time?
L&J: That is a very good question.
I would answer it as follows: The energy composed of fragments "flows" and energy is conserved so, on the whole (please excuse the pun), nothing is being created or destroyed.
In 4D space, one can create a region that has a boundary at time t and another at t+dt.
What flows into the region at t, exits the region at t+dt.
Any singularities that we see, occur "mathematically" because this is what happens in our mathematical models when the energy gets concentrated.
I never liked math.
So this was me, someone who barely scraped by through all high school mathematics classes, trying to squeeze some non-mathematical insight out of a discussion that incessantly circled back to mathematics.
Had Larry and Jeffrey been wrong to use mathematics as the stage for the presentation of their theory? Not all all - in fact, they have to, like every other physicist before and after them has to.
Because, it can be argued, that's what physics is: math.
The problem lies in the fact that it can be more than that. It can be opened up to different, non-mathematical interpretations that still espouse the information in a digestible way.
Perhaps not when it comes to formulating and debating new theories, but at least in communicating them to the interested minds that don't hold a PhD in a relative field.
It all underscores our relentless need for order. Rather than perceiving the quandaries of our existence through an abstract lens of unlimited imaginative potential, we try to fit everything into an existing framework of established institutionalized methodology that, in the simplest way of phrasing it, sucks the life out of our curiosity.
Consequently, we leave some of the biggest and most interesting questions relating to our existence in the hands of those who can't really describe their best guesses to us because of the walls that have been built up over time.
We create a division and subsequently see a general loss of interest in these subjects, not because of the inherent difficulty to comprehend the unknown, but because of the institutional captivity imposed upon these subjects of interest.
In short, we see a stifling of curiosity to those who haven't worked their way through academia to understand the kinds of questions that denote the very essence of our being.
All because we're obsessed at creating order from disorder rather than letting the tried and true nature of our reality (that everything must exist in a state of chaotic flux) convince us that our curiosity ought to be fed, not bred.
Image by Dimitris Christou from Pixabay