ONWARDWe have found the TAO
That gives rise to the now,
And why superpositions collapse,
Due to gravity, perhaps;

So, who would like to know
How the prime numbers grow?

It’s the greatest secret ever kept
But I know its concept.

(Many more words)

REWARD

The reward model reinforces anything
That can be considered supportive
Of a preexisting belief, or belief system,
Including but not limited to
Sensations and data/information.

For some folks,
God is rewarding, theism is rewarding—
These ideas have been coded
In the reward system
Via exposure during development—
By parents or community, or for other reasons.

The belief, the conviction,
Is certain in these minds due
In part to the reward system
(For a more advanced discussion about certainty
See Robert Burton “On Being Certain:
Believing You Are Right
Even When You Are Not”).

What I am getting at here
Is that there is going to be
A degree of certainty involved
With interpretation as a result
Of the reward system—
And that interpretation is hopelessly biased.

This is independent of whether one
Actively seeks certain experiences
Due to the “interpretational” nature/bias
Of sensation or experience.

This accounts for why we would see
An imbalance of mystical claims
For those who are predisposed to such beliefs,
Be they buddhist spiritual cosmic unities
Or ideas of God.

NO GOD

If “He” used cosmological processes
And evolution as means to His ends,
The the means He used are unbefitting
An all-powerful and all-loving God.

What we do know is that
There is ample imperfection
And misery in the ‘design’ of nature
To justify the conclusion that
The Creator is either malicious, incompetent,
Indifferent, or simply nonexistent.

EAST VS. WEST OUTLOOK EXPLAINED

Eastern ways have it
That interdependence is to be sought
As a frame for seeing the world
And one’s place in it,
While in the West
An independent frame is stressed.

In essence, Eastern Asians
Are raised to believe
That we are all connected
And that the needs of the group
Outweigh the needs of the individual.

In contrast, people from Western Europe
And North America are taught
To prioritize their own goals,
Feelings, and achievements.

In Eastern cultures
“The nail that stands out
Gets hammered down”,
While in Western cultures
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

These opposite ideas
Have endured for over a millennium.

Their brain organizations must differ
And so we will see that it does, and why.

There are three different forms
Of the serotonin transporter gene
(5-HTTLPR),
Based on the combination
Of two alleles, called short-short,
Long-short, and long-long.

While two-thirds of East Asians
Have short-short,
Only one-fifth of the West has it.
This gene in particular
Is related to socioemotional sensitivity.

Those with the short-short variant
Have been shown to be at risk for depression,
But only if they lacked social support,
While the short-long and the long-long
Variants remain unaffected
By the lack of social support.

The short-short neurochemistry
Would then predispose the East
To establish interdependence
As a cultural value,
One that makes everyone’s
Well-being a priority.

As reflected in the East’s
Way of life (kind of a religion),
Their culture solidified in the form
Of neo-Confusianism,
Which combined the Buddhist beliefs
That we see are all connected
And that selfish attachments are unhealthy.

Western culture emerged out of
The combination of Judeo-Christian theology,
Which posits a single God
Who holds individuals responsible
For their own eternal salvation,
Plus, from Greek civics,
Which emphasized personal agency
And free will.

Both of these Big Ideas
Migrated until they found
The population with the
Right neurochemistry
To make them stick,
Although some countries,
Like India, remain half-half.

So, while it’s true that people
Must go with their brain orientation,
It helps to be informed
Of the whys, such that one
Will able to see both sides,
And to see that we are predisposed
To find some ideas more appealing.

Science ever finds things out
That can’t be found by introspection alone.

HOW OLD IS THE SUN?

In 1860, Lord Kelvin,
Who did some work on absolute zero,
Warmed up with an estimate
On the age of the sun at 30 million years,
Figuring it was made of molten rock;

Yet, there was one, a botanist,
Named Darwin, who knew better,
For a much longer time than that
Would have been needed for
Evolution via natural selection,
Which, ironically, Kelvin was opposed to.
(The sun is 4.6 billion years old)
THE ALIENS ARE HERE
(THE VIRUSES)

You feel that you are not alone;
They are all around.

The near-invisible life forms
Of viruses swarm all around you.

The alien has integrated itself
Into the very fabric of life
That surrounds you.

There is no escape.
It has invaded and won!

Viruses are nanocreatures
That have penetrated
Forms of life on our planet
With startling efficiency.

They are merely genetic material
In a protein coat.

The dominant forms of life on our planet,
When measured in biomass and diversity,
Are microscopic.

There are 250 million virus particles
Infecting bacteria in every milliliter
Of unpolluted natural water ecosystems.

The existing equilibrium of our planet
Is dependent on the actions of the viral world.

20-40 percent of bacteria
In our marine systems
Are killed by viruses each day,
Which provides a tremendous source
Of organic matter, releasing amino acids,
Carbon, and nitrogen, recycling nutrients.

They also prevent any one
Bacterial species from dominating.

Because of their high mutation rates
And their ability to exchange
Genetic information with one another,
Viruses are tremendous generators
Of genetic variation.

The introduction of a retrovirus
Into our ape ancestors
Led to a new mammalian gene
That play an important role in our placenta.

The use of unadulterated vaccinia virus,
A variant of the cowpox virus,
Allowed humans to wipe smallpox,
Perhaps the worst scourge humanity
Has ever face, off the face of the Earth.

Like aliens, viruses are usually portrayed
As either perfectly benign or perfectly evil.

They are the ETs.

Viral Evolution

Is a subfield
Of evolutionary biology
That is specifically concerned
With the evolution of viruses.

Many viruses, in particular RNA viruses,
Have short generation times
And relatively high mutation rates
(On the order of one point mutation
Or more per genome
Per round of replication for RNA viruses).

This elevated mutation rate,
When combined with natural selection,
Allows viruses to quickly adapt
To changes in their host environment.

Viral evolution is an important aspect
Of the epidemiology of viral diseases
Such as influenza (influenza virus),
AIDS (HIV), and hepatitis (e.g. HCV).

It also causes problems
In the development
Of successful vaccines
And antiviral drugs,
As resistant mutations often appear
Within weeks or months
After the beginning of the treatment.

RNA viruses are also used
As a model system
To study evolution in the laboratory.

One of the main theoretical models
To study viral evolution
Is the quasispecies model,
As the viral quasispecies.

PENROSE’S “MANY PLACES”
EXPERIMENT

Sir Roger Penrose
Has though about something
For a very long time,
Ever since Paul Dirac told him in class about:
“…the superposition principle,
Whereby very tiny objects could be
In two places at the same time.”

This blurry flux even allows
An “infinite” number
Of locations simultaneously.

Yes, quantum mechanics works perfectly;
But, what leads to the world
At ordinary scales?

What collapses the quantum wave function?

Penrose believes he has
Identified the secret
That keeps the quantum genie
Bottled up in the atomic world,
A secret that was
Right in front of us all along.

It is gravity.

The flaw in the Copenhagen interpretation
That collapse is due to “observation”
Is that it has no basis in theory.

Gravity is the only one
Of the fundamental forces
That physicists have been unable
To explain in quantum terms,
Einstein trying for 30 years,
This perhaps being a clue that
Physicists are on the wrong path.

How would gravity affect
An object small enough to exist
In the borderland between
The quantum world of atoms
And the human world of visible objects?

There should be such a place where
The quantum approaches the classical.

An object about the size
Of a spec of dust might
Provide the perfect test.

At this scale, an object is small enough
To be strongly affected
By the rules of quantum mechanics
But large enough to observe directly.

If there was a way to observe the spec
Without disturbing it, we would see
Quantum strangeness laid bare:
A macroscopic thing
Sitting in two places at once.

Quantum theory is incomplete
Because it ignores the effects of gravity.

Gravity is so weak on atomic
Or subatomic scales
That most physicists leave it out,
But tiny objects should,
By Einstein’s theory,
Produce space-time warps, too.

If a dust spec is in two locations at once,
Each one should produce its own
Distortions in space-time,
Yielding two superposed
Gravitational fields;
Yet, it takes energy
To sustain these dual fields.

The higher the energy required
To sustain a system,
The less stable it is,
So, over time,
It tends to settle back
To its simplest, lowest, energy state,
That is, to just one object
Producing one gravitational field.

If Penrose is right,
Gravity yanks objects,
Perhaps above a certain size,
Back into a single location,
Without any need to invoke
Observers or parallel universes.

What is the degree of instability, though?

Electrons, atoms, and molecules
Are so small that their gravity,
And hence the energy,
Is negligible, and so they
Can persist that way “forever”.

Very large objects,
On the other hand,
Create such significant
Gravitational fields
That the duplicate states
Vanish almost at once.

For a dust spec,
The process takes nearly a second,
Long enough that it may be measured.

Is there an experiment?

Instead of a spec of dust,
Penrose would use a tiny mirror,
Bouncing radiation off it
To see if it was in one
Or two locations at the same time.
If Penrose is right,
The mirror would maintain
A dual existence for no more than a second
Before gravity chained it to a single location.

He initially wanted to use
An x-ray laser mounted
On a platform in outer space.

It would shoot photons
Towards a tiny target mirror
Tens of thousands of miles away.

A half-reflective mirror,
Called a beam splitter,
Would separate each photon
Into two states
So that it would follow two paths
At the same time.

On one path,
The photon strikes the tiny mirror,
Moving it slightly;
On the other,
It is reflected away
From the target mirror,
So the mirror does not move.

In the prevailing quantum view,
Both events occur simultaneously:
The mirror moves
And remains in place
A the same time.

On its return path,
The duplicate photon
That struck the mirror
Hits the same mirror again,
Returning it to its initial position.
Since there is fundamentally
No way to tell which path
The photon took,
The two photons interfere with each other
And recombine into a single photon
That is always reflected along a path
Back toward the laser;

Thus, no x-ray photons
Can ever follow a path
That leads them to a detector
Which would be sitting off of
The first half-reflected mirror.

However, if as Penrose expects,
It forces the tiny mirror
To either remain at rest or move,
But not both,
Because gravity anchors
The tiny mirror to a single state;

Consequently, each photon
Will follow one path only.
So it cannot interfere with itself;
Half the time leading it to the detector.

Thus, the quantum duplicate
Of the mirror must have disappeared,
And so Penrose’s view of reality
Would be the correct one.

Well, there is too much expense
In performing the experiment in outer space,
So, Dirk Bouwmeester
Has devised a way to bring
Penrose’s experiment down to earth.

A visible light source is to be used
Instead of an x-ray laser,
Giving it the same kick
By reflecting the light photons
Back and forth between
Two mirrors a million times.

They are past buckyballs now,
Soccer ball-shaped carbon molecules,
in size, up to an organic molecule
Called azobenzene,
Although the tiny mirror
Would be a billion times bigger.

They are working on ways
To shield the experiment
And students are creating the mirrors.

Stay tuned for a few more years.
THE FUTURE PAST

Atoms of a type are identical,
But one radioactive atom
May decay well before another.

Yet, there is no definitive cause
For the different behaviors,
No way to predict the decay time
By looking at their histories.

What regulates the particles’ behavior?

Not the past.

Where is the information,
If not in the past?

It can only be from the future.

Holy cripes!

Tollaksen and Aharonov
Designed experiments
In which the outcome was determined
By events occurring after
The experiment was done.

There were three steps:

1. A “preselection” measurement carried out
On a group of particles,
2. An intermediate “weak” measurement, and

3. A subset upon which a final
“Postselection” measurement
Was carried out.

If information flowed from
The future to the past,
Then the effects measured
At the intermediate step
Would be linked to the
Final subset measurement.

A weak intermediate measurement was used,
So as to not disturb the quantum properties:
A motorized mirror whose movement
Could get amplified from the final measurement.

So, when a final measurement was made,
If it was, then it was seen that
The deflection angle of the mirror
Was amplified by more than a 100 times!

Somehow the later decision
To make a final measurement
Appeared to affect the outcome
Of the weak, intermediate measurements,
Even though they were made at an earlier time.

Is the future known?

Yes.

Did the future already occur?

Yes.

How much of it has occurred?

Well, I am not allowed to say,
For that is classified information.

HUMAN EQUATION = ?

Because we are free to be,
We are the equations without an answer.
We solve ourselves.

ON THE ORIGIN OF THE PHYSICS

Andreas Albrecht has killed time.

He was interested in a time
When the universe was compressed
Into a space the size of a grapefruit.

The equations of quantum mechanics
Became confusing when he tried
To tell the story in a linear way,
For all possible futures
Were described in terms
Of the probability
That any one would actually happen.

However, he realized that
There was no unambiguous way
To come up with a tick-tock version,
So he tried to manipulate the equations
To isolate time,
Even having to attempt to undo
The unification of space and time,
But still trying to jury-rig
Some kind of a clock.

But his models kept falling apart,
The equations always leading
To a different kind of universe.

He called the problem “clock ambiguity”.

It seemed that the laws
Determining the history of the universe
Could never be specified beforehand
[Indeed, if causeless],
And that the fundamental physical laws
Were not fundamental.

So, then there would be
No timeless rules
That could be described by math,
No ideal realm of forms
That embody the laws of physics.

Smolin, too,
Feels that time as we know it
May not emerge from
Some deeper set of laws

Kauffman offers that
The laws of the universe
May have evolved over time,
Just as those of the biosphere
In which evolution in biology
Favors change from
The simple to the more complex.

Perhaps certain types of laws
Came to dominate
Because they are more successful
In producing a complex universe.

COSMIC RAYS

Some cosmic rays are so energetic
That they must have been born
In cosmic accelerators
Fueled by cataclysms
Of staggering proportions.

They should not even exist.

Yet, they do,
As discovered 17 years ago.

One had 3×10**20 eV!

Yet, they do not travel well,
So they must come
From relatively near by.

They are also exceedingly rare,
So we spread counters
Over 40 square miles
To detect the secondary
Scintillation particles.

Auger researchers have linked
The ultrahigh cosmic rays
To active galactic nuclei
Close to home
That are thought to be
Powered by black holes.

SEEING AN APPLE

The problem is we can’t see apples
Absent a retinal change

Technically no, we can’t see them,
But we can bring them into awareness
Via intention
Or due to subconscious processing
That does it for us.

There are thus two ways
To bring an object into awareness,
One via intentionality,
And the other by subconscious processing,
Or unintentionally.

I don’t see why there is so much ado
About one and not the other.

In any event we can see the apple
Represented in our mind
And whether the apple that we literally see
Or the apple our mind has conceptualized
Is experienced is a question up for grabs.

We’re not sure, the answer may be both—
The pattern which we actually see
Will tell us some specifics about shape, size, etc.,
But this appears to get mixed
With our conception and representations
Of apples in general
And so that which rises to awareness
Has undergone some additional washing.

This fact explains in some types
Of illusions and hallucinations—
Can we be sure of what we saw?
Sometimes the answer is no—
Awareness can be duped.

Due to the possibility of a deterministic picture
Of human action and decision making,
Intentionality becomes a slave
To experience and interaction
Up to the moment
Where intentionality appears to be occurring.

This would put intentionality
Under the realm or rule
Of being the product of experience up to that point,
And would make intentionality
Not quite what it seems to be.

So while we might believe
We are making free willed intentional decisions,
These cannot be any other way.

The data that we have indicates
That the combination of many factors
Could explain decision making.

Metanalysis has its flaws
But it is still based on data—

One of the criticisms is that
Any number of the studies being combined
May have different controls or standards
Which could lead to dubious conclusions.
But we should stick with what the data tells us.

The placebo effect shows us
That belief about something can change
How our brain reacts physically,
Releasing endorphins to lessen pain,
But I don’t think this is intentional
From the agent standpoint—
We can’t decide to tell our brains
To inhibit only glutaminergic neurons
Or allow acetylcholinase processing.

Likewise we can’t will ourselves
To escape from depression on call.

Variations exist in the population
As to the extent one can
Intentionally control anything.
This suggests a physical aspect to intentionality
That I don’t think we can afford to ignore.

It also suggests that intentionality
Has subcategories
And we must be clear which we are referring to.
Nonetheless there is a limit to how this thing
We are calling intentionality works.

This supports an evolutionary explanation
To the this phenomena.

It is not yet well understood, and sure,
We must be observant of the subjective conditions
To keep context,
But I don’t think we can rest assured
That the answer is a simple conclusion
That awareness is not physical at this time.

The subject-object example becomes confounded
Due to memory and mental models—
The brain recalls and processes objects
It is familiar with differently than novel objects.

We are more likely to see what is “really” there
When we see something for the first time
Because typically not much contextual information
Processing biases our sensory processing,
Which is what happens when
We view a familiar object or scenery.

This becomes further confounding
When the brain does attempt to “fill in gaps”
And match the perception to something
It is familiar with, which essentially fools us.

Thus that which is perceived in awareness
Is not a pure perception—
It’s been corrupted by the contextual processing
Prior to arriving there.

Significant corruption in this system
Can cause us not to be able to tell
What is real and what is not real,
So awareness doesn’t necessarily help us
Understand the world or get to any truths.

The auditory analog is interesting—
Activation is more prominent
In the right hemisphere
For someone listening to, say,
Tchaikovsky for the first time,
As it is processed as one entity
Rather than broken down into constituent parts.
Those who have listened
To Tchaikovsky extensively
Are far more likely to reveal activation
In the left hemisphere,
As the melody is abstracted into more symbols.

That aside, I maintain that experience is biased.
We recognize this as true and do our best
To get around it by inventing things
Like the scientific method to make those
Reviewing our analysis comfortable
That we are invoking the minimum bias possible.

In fact, if we were always biased and in error,
We could never know we are sometimes.

And many times we are
Until someone points out our errors to us
Or we come across something
That brings our errors to our attention.

The mind can cause physical changes in the brain,
As the mind is of the brain.

Neurons that fire together, wire together;
Sometimes this is controlled intentionally,
Sometimes we cannot control it.
Meditation is one way to induce these changes.

I would point out that intentionality
Does not seem to play as important a role
As we would like to think,
And I must assume we would
All like to think that it does.

Primed

With respect to intentionality,
It is reasonable to assume it is primed,
Either by the current environment
Or by the product of experiences
Leading up to that point in time.

We are ignorant of all the states
Leading up to this point —
But if we could know the initial conditions
And track the system up to some arbitrary point,
We could determine all of the actions
Taken by some subject.

The fact that seemingly endless options
Are available to us I think is illusory,
Or stated differently,
While there may be endless options
That we can contemplate,
It is not true that we will choose any one of them.

Most do not understand this. One person stated,
“Well I could choose to simply do the opposite
Of  what my personality would suggest,
Thus confounding the theory”.
I retorted,
You forget that your decision to do so
Includes our current conversation
As part of your experience,
And often present experience
Is a stronger predictor of choice
(this explains impulse buying,
Or home shopping or infomercial purchases).

The same with raising an arm
During a “free will” discussion.
I might even do the same,
But it’s still my reaction based
On the discussion.

Intentionality

It is clear that what we are calling intentionality
Can cause physical changes in brain structure,
But there is nothing special about intentionality
With respect to changing structure—
For, this happens when
We think about something often,
Whether intentional or not.

It turns out that neuron nuclei release factors
Which reach oligodendrocytes and schwann cells
(These glial cells can detect action potentials
In some manner despite not having the capacity
To receive or transmit voltage signals)
And cause “greater” degrees of myelination
For certain circuits or loops.
Likewise the lack of use,
What we can deem to be lack of motivation
Or any intentionality or any thoughts
Can result in atrophy of brain regions.

Intentionality is possible due to our awareness
Of both internal and external states,
Or internal states as the case may be.

We can change the degree
Of perceived intentionality in a subject
By administering drugs, DBS, and other methods,
From inducing lack of motivation to creating it.

Thus, intentionality is in some way
Tied to motivation—
Which is further tied to other states,
Processes and so forth.

This suggests that awareness is critically
And completely dependent on the bottom up—
Cells with genes which link to systems
With processes and so forth.

We don’t have any evidence telling us
That it exists in the absence of these things,
So it is very reasonable to conclude dependence,
Over invisible schemes merely pronounced.

It’s difficult to then argue that despite this
It has its own phenomenal explanation
Separate and apart from that
Which appears to give rise to it.

Subjective Awareness

The subjective awareness we gain
Can be viewed as a positive symptom
(for lack of a better word).

Let’s think of this positive symptom
As compared to positive symptoms
In schizophrenics,
Where those positive symptoms simply mean
Additional symptoms, or “phenotypes”,
If you will, on top of cognitive deficit.

Subjective awareness does not occur,
As far as we can tell,
Until humans are
At a certain point in development.

This is why we don’t remember being an infant,
And if we think we can
We are almost certainly mistaken.

Awareness at this point can be viewed
As below the level of consciousness,
Yet the brain remembers the sensory experiences
Which are encoded in implicit systems,
But there is no episodic or declarative memory.

The human then builds the mental model
Of the world over its brain architecture
And at some critical point the human becomes
Subjectively aware whereby
They can recall episodic memories
And make associations with them,
Including feelings,
Or being aware they are aware etc.

(This is opposed to Nietzsche’s view
That subjective awareness,
Or controlled consciousness,
Arose out of being forced to turn inwards
Feelings of aggression or instincts
Due to the suppression
Of a more dominant group.)

I suggest this awareness is a positive symptom
That shows up at this critical point.
This leads me to believe that the emergence
Of subjective awareness is at
The intersection of these systems
At a critical point in development,
Perhaps the point where glial cells
Have largely finished pruning connections
To a certain critical degree
And some level of myelination is attained,
So that the connections among these systems
Can furnish meaningful
Subjective representations
Both within and towards the external world.

The subjective aspect is also proposed
To be completely dependent on the history
Of development experience added to
Any genetic modifications or influences
That may exacerbate what we call feelings
Or increased/decreased subjective awareness.

It is therefore biased in a way
That is undetectable to the subject,
Making it truly subjective
(There is no objective subjectivity
Unless you abstract away,
Which one cannot do and still explain effectively).

This explains seemingly unexplainable fears,
Like for instance fear of dogs
Which ends up being the result
Of a dangerous episode
During the developmental phase
Where episodic memory could not be formed
But implicit memory automatically reacts.

It is also the case where subjective awareness
Can be removed in clinical settings—
Affecting perhaps the communication
Between the systems described above,
Thus removing awareness.

This is a suggested plausible mechanism
Leading to subjective awareness
That can be tested when we acquire
The knowledge necessary
To pinpoint some of the critical points.

I certainly suppose there will be
Other suggestions as time goes on,
And those will be tested,
But I think this is
A plausible explanation nonetheless.

I suspect if we nail down the critical points
And necessary conditions of the beginnings
Of declarative memory we’ll be closer
To an answer to this question.

Analyzing the subjective data
Is a problem in itself.
I don’t think we (in general) could come to
Some agreement on how
It should be interpreted
And what it means,
So we are left in an eternal gridlock.

I don’t see how we can
Take mystical experiences
At face value and be able to find
Some objective conclusion
That involves anything other than
And in no particular order—
The human brain is known
To produce subjective experience;

Every normally functioning human has a brain
And subjective awareness that operates
Across the same structure, cells, processes etc.;

Being susceptible to the same diseases,
Having the same sensations,
Having mystical experiences being
The result of this commonality
Of structure, cells, etc.

Instead we can pursue the question
Of subjective awareness as a phenomena.

We need to let neuroscience mature,
Let models be selected by time and effectiveness,
Let the community evolve and branch out,
Acknowledge our progress
And the inability to explain certain phenomena.

“The topic of awareness
Will be dealt with exhaustively?”

That is not currently the case—
We are still in adolescence as a field.

Only in the last 15 years or so
Has the field been able
To seriously begin advancing
To new levels thanks
To advances in technology.

I am embracing the physical solution here
Because emergent or otherwise,
Awareness occurs over
Our physical architecture
Via physical processes
(including chemical signaling)
And in no other way (yet).
No processes, no awareness.

Because our ability to actively
Measure mystical experiences
Is nonexistent I’d say
The data is completely subjective.

In fact that data is completely subjective.
It’s about as good as putting someone on a couch
And doing a psychiatry evaluation.

All we have to go on in X felt this, X said that.
This is just not very convincing to me.

Consistency of various components
Doesn’t tell me there is something more to it
Than some type of activity.

The fact that there is some kind of consistency
In reports suggests some type of process occurs
In some % of the population,
Just like OBE’s or NDE’s,
Or many other phenomena
That occur across cultures.

This is possible because
We have the same architecture
And process the same way.

The data here really isn’t data —
It’s a group of subjective descriptions
That have not been measured.
I don’t think this tells us much at all.

“To have an experience is precisely
To be aware of what is happening to me.”

Of course what we by this
Is having a unique experience
That has been encoded into memory
And which is retrievable without difficulty,
Which requires the hippocampus.

It is the case in persons without a hippocampus
(like the famous HM)
That according this this definition
No experience is possible because
New memories cannot be formed.

Now we may observe such a person
Having such an experience,
And even discuss the event in real time
But the experience cannot
Be recalled within minutes,
Or hours into the future.
I think this fact has some real implications
About the claim of nonphysical reality
Of mystical sensations.

“There is also an intentional subsystem
Responsible for awareness
And it is methodologically inaccessible
To a strictly third-person approach.”

I suggest that theory of mind
Does a reasonable job
At providing a third person first person access
To the subjective awareness of another.

If we will insist that TOM is an approximation,
I would agree, but a rather good approximation.
Accurately determining intentions
Is an activity for which
We have become proficient.

This would be impossible
Without unique or specific knowledge
About the subject for which
We are trying to decipher intention,
Or said another way, a representation about
The inner subjective state of another.

This is derived by a combination
Of our own experience
(both explicit and implicit inputs),
Interaction and observation of the subject
(like best-curve fitting),
The current circumstance
(immediate environmental factors
That may influence behavior),
Among other things.

That said, subjective self-awareness
Is not well understood currently,
But I don’t think this means that
There must be something “unnaturalistic”
About what is claimed
To be introvertive experience.

We do know that subjective experience
Is influenced by implicit processes
Which in turn are based upon our mental models
And life experience up to the present.

“The idea of reward-encoding
Will not explain how it can be sought
By those who have not experienced it before,
Or why it should come unsought.”

I think this oversimplifies the reward model.
Let’s assume that X is an atheist.
Each time X comes across information
That can be interpreted
As supporting her assertion,

X will likely interpret that information
As supporting of her assertion.
The reward model reinforces anything
That can be considered supportive
Of a preexisting belief,
Or belief system,
Including but not limited to
Sensations and data/information.

Mysticism

The brain must code the memory—
Therefore must conceptualize
According to its algorithm
And if it doesn’t we should
Be able to detect this
Via the new neural network associated
With the mystical experience.

The mystics may very well be
Tapping into emotional memory,
That which is ineffable,
And not able to provide
The factual aspects of the memory.

These 2 aspects can be separated
And this is done in patients with PTSD.
Aside from this the mystics would have to
Overcome one of the most important
Discoveries about memory —
Each time a memory is recalled
It is affected and re-stored differently
Than it was before.

We are getting a derivative of the last time
We recalled the memory each time we recall it.

By the nth time we
Have recounted a memory,
We are n+ degrees away
From the actual experience.
This is why treatments of recall
Coupled with the inhibition
Of areas like the Amygdala
In PTSD patients are effective.

I suspect the amygdala
Is quite active in those
Undergoing and recalling
Mystical experiences.
We simply cannot be certain
That these mystic experiences
Affirmatively prove or disprove
The existence of a specific deity.
This is where faith comes in, as I see it.

My inclinations tell me there is an explanation
For these experiences that involve mechanisms
We may be able to harness in the future,
Like we do for meditative states,
Or hypnosis, or the placebo effect,
As we unveil the many mysteries in neuroscience.

So I will maintain that we are the product
Of our past experiences
Run over our inherited machinery,
And each and every moment
Of memory formation and recall,
Introspective reflection, and other processes,
Are intricately and inextricably linked
And dependent upon one another.
It follows that the introspective experience
Cannot be unbiased or disentangled.

At what point can we know
That sensory perception
And information is shut off
If we are not subjectively managing this process,
As these processes are largely carried out
Below the level of explicit subjective awareness
In subcortical regions?

It may seem shut off to us,
But it is not shut off.
We may find ourselves in a state
In which we believe our awareness
Is devoid of content,
But this belief is not backed up
By how I understand the brain to work.
There is a vast amount of evidence
That our experiences are influenced
By factors we are completely unaware
(Everything from past experience,
Reward pathways, priming, among other things),
Which suggests that there may be
Influences present during such a state.
To get to the bottom of this,
We would also need to
Define information and content.

Of course, experience is subjective,
And the argument is
That common experience suggests objectivity.

But we are going to get caught up
In brain science here as explanation—
Common experience will be explained
Via commonality across brain structure
And the fact that we all
Process information the same way,
Via synaptic connections or calcium ion channels
In the case of glial cells (astrocytes).

Achieving a state that we find rewarding
Generally entails
The mesolimbic dopamine system
In the basal ganglia.

This system operates under the level
Of subjective self awareness.
In this scenario, those who achieve such a state
Are then more likely to again achieve
The state because it becomes reward encoded.

If we are aware but have no content,
Information, or perception,
I’d say we are not aware.
The feeling of being connected
To something entails feeling,
Which is associated with various things,
Be it God or the universe, or something else.

Those associations are most likely processed
In part in subcortical regions,
Like the amygdala and basal ganglia.

Mystical Experience

“Mystical experience
Is correlated with brain states,
But it is not an awareness of a delusion,
Because delusions are incorrect
Sensory representations,
And introvertive mysticism
Is specifically contentless.”

I want to make sure I understand this claim—
It seems to be saying that a religious experience
In this context is not something
Which arises from a sensory stimulation
At the time of the mystical sensation?

If so then the introvertive mysticism
Is still not contentless.
This would assume that while sleeping
Or not engaging in activity means
That the brain is not processing information
(The sum total of all
Our experiences across networks
And structures which hold
Our mental models of the world,
And our biases, of course).

There is no such thing as a resting brain.
Much activity in the implicit systems
Do not make their way up
To explicit subjective awareness,
But nonetheless processing is still ongoing
And can cause sensations
In the absence of direct stimuli.

Mystical experiences are brain states.
These states can be induced,
Or reproduced by stimulation
Much in the same way that they can occur
With minimal sensory perception.

But one point we must not ignore—
We cannot turn off our sensory neurons
(In the absence of
Certain pharma products or cell death),
So even while resting or tuning out
We are still receiving signals,
Even if they are less abundant
Or robust than when we proactively perceive.

More importantly, the brain has accumulated
An immense amount of information,
Some of which causes perception
Without the stimulus—
For example, the sense of smell
Is the most powerful sense
With respect to emotional association.

However when one thinks about the smell
(Even though the smell is absent)
One can perceive the emotional association.
I would characterize this as introvertive.

It occurs frequently and there is no reason
To assume certain of these perceptions
Have any more ‘standing’ than any others.

GENERATIONS OF UNIVERSES

The idea that Universes beget Universes
Has many attractive features.

One scenario the Caroll Chen model proposes
Is that a future De Sitter Space
Is the birthing stage
For the creations of new Universes.

However, as pointed out,
Several papers by Trodden
Have called this possibility into question.

Nevertheless,
The compelling logic of this scenario,
Which avoids all the difficult problems
Of eternal inflation,
Is an incentive for attempting
To find workable models
That predict the basic paradigm,
That Universe beget Universes.

One very promising scenario
Is the pre Big Bang proposal
By Venzianio and Gasperini.
In this model base
On string theory formalism,
What General Relativity predicts
As the creation of a singularity,
String theory predicts
As the creation of Universe pairs,
A Universe and an anti Universe,
The BIVERSE.

One serious criticisms of this model
Has been raised by Thibault Damour
And Marc Henneaux who point out
That space time should behave chaotically
On the approach to the predicted singularity
Contradicting the observed regularity
Of the early Universe.

One possible solution to this problem
Is to include in the calculations
The high energy string modes
On the verge of becoming black holes
Which smooth out the behavior of space time.

This solution has been proposed
By Gasperini and independently
By Thomas Banks and Will Fichler.

All models of Black Holes contain
White Hole solutions.
But we never see White Holes in Nature.

Perhaps the reason is
That these White Hole solutions
Are in fact Big Bangs,
The creation of new Universes.

THE PRIME DIRECTION

…Order to bring harmony
Within the human-world-system.

The music closest to the TOE
Is the harmony of the TOE itself,
A symphonic orchestra consisting
Of the universal, galactic,
And solar sections
All playing in concert;

Yet, all their instruments are still separate,
No one sound rising above the others,
Such as the pattern between the patterns
Arising to make the prime number keys,
Much like a string plucks its harmonics
Of 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc.

It’s not quite the music of the spheres,
Yet, they, too, resonate to it,
Flinging it down from
The Father sky
To our Mother Earth.

So, the songs of life, too, are sung to it,
Yet they are vibrations of it,
And all music repeats it.

It is the pattern outside of the patterns,
The primes conducting all the rest
Of the musical numbers.

(The proof may remain incomplete
Even into the Year 1,000,000,
Yet it remains “conditionally” true.)

Head, Math, and Beyond

Of the Seven Wonders
Of the Old World,
Only the Giza pyramid remains,
The rest having succumbed
To fire and earthquakes.

The life of some things approaches forever.

The prime numbers march on,
Never ending, as we will see,
Although the non-primes
Ever chip away at the prime real estate.

Alien beings from Vega
Beam a series of prime numbers to Earth…
Primes are the atomic elements of arithmetic,
From which all the non-primes can be formed.

What is the secret of their pattern?

It would seem that only the non-primes
Have a pattern, those being their nth instances.

How then can can there be an unobviously
Unpatterned pattern between the patterns
In these leftover spaces in between?

The even numbers already cut
The prime potential in half,
But for ‘2’,
Which is the only even prime.

The multiples of ‘3’ then
Remove another swath,
Although less than a third,
‘4’ doing nothing,
And ‘5’, some more,
And so on,
These few numbers alone
Already consuming
Perhaps over 70%
Of the numerical realm.

Yet, there will ever be more primes,
Some even so-called “twins”,
Like 1,000,000,009,649
And 1,000,000,009,651,
For, the harmonics may only
Approach 100% but never get to it.

Bertrand Russell once wrote and thought that
“Mathematics possesses not only truth,
But supreme beauty—
A beauty cold and austere,
Like that of sculpture,
Without appeal to any part
Of our weaker nature,
Without the gorgeous trappings
Of painting or music,
Yet sublimely pure,
And capable of a stern perfection
Such as only the greatest art can show.”

However, in later life,
Bertrand dismissed his youthful rhapsodizing
As “largely nonsense”, writing
“Mathematics has ceased to seem to me
Nonhuman in its subject matter.
I have come to believe,
Though very reluctantly,
That it consists of tautologies.”

Will math become even
More trivial than six of the Seven Wonders?

Primes seem to be special since
They cannot be split into smaller factors.

All the unspecial non-primes can be obtained
By multiplying primes together,
For example,
‘666’ is 2 x 3 x 3 x 37,
This being called
The “fundamental theorem of arithmetic”.

How many primes are there?

There are an “infinite” number, as Euclid shows,
For, if they were a finite number,
Then one could always obtain another
By multiplying the primes together and adding ‘1’.

What then the pattern of the “primal” scattering,
Seeming more as random weeds sprouting?

Are we in the presence of one of
The inexplicable secrets of creation?

Are they of a complex and timeless reality
That is independent of our minds?

Are they transcendently mysterious?

No, for they obey a law.

The Law of Primes

Here we must climb the edifice
Of mathematics that rises above
The humble counting numbers,
The fractions, and the real numbers—
All the way up to the
Complex numbers with “imaginary” parts.

Here we find the Riemann zeta hypothesis
That holds the secrets of the primes,
After an ascent taking over two millennia.

If true, then there is
A hidden harmony to the primes,
One that is rather beautiful.
In 1900, David Hilbert included it
On his list of the 23 most important
Problems in mathematics.
It is the only one that remains.

Computers have thrown
Zillions of numbers at it
And yet it holds, never failing;
But, what would it do further on
In its path toward “infinity”?

If it ever fails, even once,
Then all the thousands
Of theorems of higher mathematics
“Conditioned” on its hypothesis
Will collapse into a heap of meaninglessness.

What, then, and where,
Are the ever shrinking recesses
In which primes can grow forever?

The zeta functions has its origins in music,
The vibrating violin string
Creating all the overtones of the note,
Know as the “harmonic series”
Of 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 +…

If we take every term in this series
And raise it to the variable power ‘s’,
We get the zeta function,
Introduced by Euler, around 1740:
zeta(s) = (1/2)**s + (1/3)**s +, etc.

He then noted that this infinite sum
Could be rewritten as an infinite product:

zeta(s) = 1/(1-1/2**s) x 1/(1-1/3**s) x …

However, he didn’t fully grasp
The potential of his
Infinite product formula,
Writing that the human mind
Would never penetrate
The mystery of the sequence
Of the prime numbers.

In 1792, Gauss noted that one could estimate
How many primes there were up
To a given number
By dividing that number by its natural logarithms,
The percentage of error heading toward zero
As the number got larger.

This, then, was
“The coin that nature tossed
To choose the primes.”

Again, it might not hold unto infinity,
Nor does it predict any primes.

It was Reimann who would dispel
Any lingering illusion of randomness/mystery.

The Prime Hypothesis

In 1859, Reimann cracked the mystery.

He began with the zeta function,
Enlarging it to take in
The complex numbers,
Those having both
A real and an “imaginary” part
Involving ‘i’, the square root of ‘-1’.

The complex numbers
Are two-dimensional,
So they can be graphed on a plane.

In effect, Reimann created
A vast imaginary zeta landscape,
Consisting of mountains, hills, and valleys
That stretched forever in every direction.

The sea-level points,
Those with zero altitude
That yielded the zeta output zero,
Were the most interesting,
For they showed exactly how
The infinity of primes
Arranged themselves
In the number sequence.

There was no longer
Random noise in the primes,
For now there was
A way to hear their music.

Each zero of the zeta function,
When plugged into
Reimann’s prime formula,
Produced a wave resembling
A pure musical tone.

When these pure tones are all combined,
They reproduce the structure
Of the prime numbers,
The particular location of any given zero
In the zeta landscape determining
The pitch and volume of
Its corresponding musical note,
And, very importantly,
The farther east it was,
The greater the loudness.

With all the zeroes lying in
A fairly narrow longitudinal strip
Of the zeta landscape, and only if,
Can the orchestra of
The primes play in balance,
With no instrument
Drowning out the others.

But Reimann went further.

After navigating just a tiny portion
Of the infinite zeta landscape
He asserted that all of its zeroes
Were precisely arrayed along
A “critical line” running
From north to south—
And it is this claim that became known
As the Reimann zeta hypothesis.

Epilog

The ebb and flow of the primes, then,
Is the pattern of each instrument playing,
But combining together
With the others so perfectly
That the patterns cancel themselves out.

We may predict that long before
The year 1,000,000 A.D.,
Mathematicians will awaken from
Their collective Platonist dream,
Noting, like Bertrand,
“You are only Symbolic Convenience.”

While even the Giza pyramid may crumble,
Along with the magic of numbers,
We will still have laughter—
The so-called hardest problem
Of the primes then becoming
A somewhat broad joke
Of a trivial tautology
To the schoolchildren
Of that distant time.

WHAT IS LAUGHTER?

Hardly anything is deemed
To be more parochial
And ephemeral than laughter.

Or more lowly,
For, during much of human history,
The comical has been a mix
Of lewdness, aggression, and mockery.

It begets a peculiar panting
And chest-heaving behavior,
Traditionally viewed as a
“Luxury reflex” serving no purpose.

However, could it be
That it derived from the “false alarm”?

A seemingly threatening situation presents itself;
You go into the “flight or fight” response;
However, the threat proves spurious,
So you alert your social group
To the absence of real danger
By emitting the vocalization of laughter,
One that, as it passes,
Is amplified, contagiously,
From member to member.

The mechanism was then hijacked
For other purposes such as
Hostility or showing superiority.

Still, at the heart of laughter
Lies incongruity,
Such as a grave threat
Revealing itself to be trivial.

It has become a kind of intellectual emotion,
Every joke being an interrupted syllogism,
For example,

“The important things is sincerity.
If you can fake it, you’ve got it made”.

The odd and incomprehensible
Suddenly turns into nothing.

“SMALL NEUTRAL ONES”

Their mass adds up to more than
We can see in the night sky,
Even through our telescopes,
More than all the atoms.

They mostly go in a straight line
Towards the edge of the universe,
Straight through any planets,
Stars, mountains, and atoms.

40 billion just went through your left nostril.

They are virtually unstoppable.

When one is detected,
It is called an event.

They oscillate,
Even changing to a different
Flavor and mass,
Making them even more undetectable

They live and die
But by the weak force—
Born by decay
And dying when
They become something else—
Being immune to the
Strong nuclear force
And the electromagnetic force.

Wolfgang Pauli made them up,
For bookkeeping purposes,
When a neutron decayed
Into a proton and an electron.

No one doubts their existence now.

They are all that can get through
Fifty feet of iron.
What are they?

(Neutrinos)

“IT” FROM BIT

Information IS Reality?

A quantum entity can remain
In an indefinite superposition
Of an “everywhere and nowhere” indefinitely,
Since, perhaps, the expenditure
Of gravitational energy is so negligible
That it doesn’t “matter”.

At macroscopic levels, such as with us,
Collapse to a definite place
Occurs in a zillionth of a second.

Somewhere in between the tiny and the large,
Say, something like a spec of dust,
Collapse may even take a second or so
For gravity to collapse it to one place.

That was introductory,
So, now, what is “it” from bit
Exactly, for a quantum entity?

A “bit” is what we have
When we gain information
About a quantum entity,
Such as its location or momentum
From an observation, a mark,
Or some recording.

This is called “registration”,
Whether done by a person,
A device, or a piece of mica;
In other words.
Anything that can preserve a record.

Only then does the quantum entity
Become an actual “it”;
So, “it” comes from “bit”,
Which is information.

Until then, the “quantum entity”
Was not yet an “it”,
As there was no objective reality gained.

The laws of quantum physics, then,
Only tell us what may happen;
While a measurement tells us
What is happening (or what did happen).

Perhaps, then, it is that
Information sits at the core of physics.

The total universe would be the big “It”
That arises from the myriad yes-no choices
Of measurement (the “bits”).

So, it would be that information underlies reality;
However, this information is not just
What we learn about the world;
It is what makes the world!

An “it” from bit reality example:
When a photon is absorbed,
And thereby “measured”,
An unsplittable bit of information
Is added to what we know about the world,
While, at the same time,
It creates the reality
Of the place and time
Of that photon’s interaction.

Before its absorption,
That photon had no true reality.
The universe would seem
To be made out of discrete quanta.

Another example:
Concentrating on their spins,
A two-electron system contains two bits.

For example, they might be
“The spins in the z direction are parallel,”
And “The spins in the x direction are antiparallel”.

The two bits are thereby used up,
And the state is completely described;
Yet, no statement is made
About the direction of spin
Of one electron or the other.

The entire description consists
Of relative statements, or correlations.

This means that as soon as one spin
Is measured along a certain direction,
The other one is fixed,
Even if it happens to be far away.

Thus, quantum entangled particles do not have
Pre-existing properties, such as polarization,
That are independent of any observation.

This is the fall of naive realism
[At that level].

The result is so random
That not even God could know the answer.

Thus, randomness is ultimately
A consequence of the finiteness
Of the information.

A quantum system can carry only
A limited amount of information,
Which is sufficient only
For a single measurement.

Two particles collide,
And in so doing
Enter a state of limitation.

In terms of information theory that means
That after the collision the entire information
Is smeared over both particles,
Rather than the individual particles
Carrying the information.

And that means the entire information we have
Pertains to the relationship
Between both particles.

For that reason, by measuring the first particle
We can anticipate the speed of the second.
But the speed of the first particle
Is entirely random.

Quantum information is
Such that a bit can be 0 or 1;
A measured particle ends up
Either here or there.

But if a particle carries only
That one bit of information,
It will have none left over
To specify its location
Before the measurement,
Because the information was not sufficient.

Randomness is reality’s bedrock.

What about further on up.

It would seem, then, that,
Somehow, “less is more”,
But also that “more is different”.

When elementary units
Are put together,
It is that we get something
That is more than
The sum of the units.

For instance,
A substance consists
Of many molecules,
Gaining properties of
Temperature and pressure
That no one molecule has.

It, too, may be a
Solid or a liquid or a gas,
Yet, no one molecule
Is solid or liquid or gas.

When enough simple elements
Are stirred together,
There is hardly any limit
To what can result;

Thus, the complexity of the universe
As a whole does not preclude
An extremely simple element
Such as a bit of information
From being what
The universe is made of.

Does “more is different”, then,
Have something to do
With “it from bit”?

(Gleaned from various readings
Of Penrose, Anton Zeillinger,
And John Wheeler)

ENIGMATIC MATHEMATICS

My general impression is that
The enigmatics of mathematics
Mainly points at the enormous
Richness of mathematics.

Could be just that, which is indeed a lot,
Or it could be that something
Even larger—information
Is the basis for the “its”
Being the same as the “bits”,
Such as in the Yang-Mills equations
That so much describe the gluon behavior
That we don’t even have to try
To experimentally look at them
To gain the same empirical information.

Amazingly, the equations even came first,
Before the gluons’ discovery!

I gave a link in which Michio Kaku
Explains Einstein’s method of thinking:
How did God invent this universe?

And, well, if you follow that, one would say:
Let’s first start with inventing
The thinking tools that are rich enough
For the kind of universe I have in mind.

Hence, mathematics came to be.
Probably the kind of mathematics
That is even richer than we already know.

That’s sounds good,
As there is much more math to discover
(We can’t even solve the 3-body problem),
But then there is the same
And further problem for God’s Life
Being similarly prepared for by (?)
If we carry this theory through.
We may find richer math in the future,
Pushing Godel’s boundary further out.
One can win one million dollars
By proving the Reimann zeta hypothesis.

In his eternal question Einstein went further:
Did God have a choice?

In other words:
What was there first?
What was there being stubbornly eternal?
What was/is there, I think, being TOE?

All we may ever find as a description
Of the [Super]TOE,
Although still a complete description,
Is that the ground-state
Had to be without cause,
And thus of no real order
Not imparted to it, since nothing prior.
I think we have to understand
That TOE is really very fundamental.

Yes, and probably quite uninteresting
At its source since it must be a simplistic state.

As those states are always “unstable”,
As simple things are,
They can go through phase changes
Into the more complex states, on and on.

And in a very general way
It concerns quarks and the Milky Way
And the Elephant and everything
In between and around it,
Being universe, being, whatever, multiverse.

While TOE also is within our though
And world view and culture
Because we are part of this TOE-system.
Therefore, thinking TOE is a kind of trying
To align ourselves with this TOE-system-universe.

True, TOE must also include
The explanation of all
The emerging complexities that followed,
Right on up to how we ourselves operate.

We will find much that is new,
Yet forever mixed with what is old,
Such as appearances in motion
From Then to When,
Granting the past-present-future,
And a Where and a What
Of events moving on and changing
In the place of a space.

The Why and the How of the initial TOE,
Although kind of resolved
As Nothing not being able to be,
And the positive/negative
Particle pair emissions,
Is an essence that,
While great for curiosity
And some deep meanings
Of what we really are,
Is still dwarfed and trumped
By the glory and state
Of our everyday existence that is life,
Totally overwhelming it.

And all this is based on very old mythology.
It’s a promise, a hope, of coming home.
Though we won’t know it for sure
When something TOE pops into public
Because we don’t have
An absolute view on reality,
But it would/will help.

In getting to grips with these
Other problems,
Of surviving ourselves on this planet,
And being universe with this universe.

Right, it’s the present and the future that counts,
Our minds thence progressing higher.

We’ve been looking for “higher”
In the complete wrong direction,
For “higher” was not in
The small and simple past,
But is yet to be in
The further emerging complexity
Of the future.

MIRRORING TO EXTREME

“Imagine these same circuits
(mirror neurons and
And frontal inhibitory structures)
Become hyperactive
As sometimes happens when you have
Seizures originating in the temporal lobes
(TLE or temporal lobe epilepsy).

The result would be
An intense heightening
Of the patient’s sensory appreciation
Of the world and intense empathy
For all beings to the extent
Of seeing no barriers
Between himself and the cosmos—
The basis of religious
And mystical experiences.

(You lose all selfishness
And become one with God.)

Indeed many of history’s
Great religious leaders
Have had TLE.

The late Francis Crick,
Has suggested that TLE patients
As well as priests may have
Certain abnormal transmitters
In their brains that he calls “theotoxins”.

MORE INEFFABLE EXAMPLES
OF EVOLUTION IN ACTION

Trees grow constantly taller
At enormous evolutionary cost
In their competitive fight for sunlight.

Ichneumon wasps lay their eggs
In the paralyzed yet still living bodies
Of caterpillars so that the new larvae
Have instant access to a sustainable food supply.

Dawkins does not rail against
The book of Genesis so much anymore.
He doesn’t need to.
He need only explain Darwin’s theory
Of incremental steps trudging
Mindlessly through time.

THE LARYNGEAL NERVE

Let us untangle the recurrent laryngeal nerves.

Two of the many cranial nerves begin
At the cranial stem and head toward
Their final destination in the larynx.

One of them, as we would expect,
Takes the short direct route.
The other takes
A seemingly ludicrous excursion south,
Through the chest cavity,
Below the heart, makes a u-turn,
And comes right back up
To terminate at the larynx.

Dawkins remarks,
“If you think of it as the product of design,
The recurrent laryngeal nerve is a disgrace.”

If however one examines this phenomenon
With evolutionary eyes,
We learn that our aquatic ancestor’s
Embryonic brachial arches formed gills
As well as the ventral aorta.
As these features evolved,
The connections were maneuvered
To facilitate new features.

Instead of altering the laryngeal nerve path
To a more direct route
(Thereby avoiding disgrace),
It was pushed aside during the transition
And there it remained.

What we’re left with today is our own
Comically circuitous laryngeal nerve route.
The laryngeal nerve is
An example of history, not design.

THE CRUCIAL LENSKI EXPERIMENTS.

Bacteriologist Richard Lenski
And his colleagues at Michigan State University
Have been conducting experiments that are
A “beautiful demonstration
Of evolution in action.”

Beginning in 1988, the Lenski team has followed
The evolutionary lineages
Of 12 separate populations
Of the bacterium Escherichia coli.

For bacteria, generations are measured
In hours or even minutes,
Making them the perfect organism
For evolutionary studies.

These generational flasks of E coli
Also contain a carefully controlled brew
Of nutrients,
Primarily glucose,
Providing researchers the ability
To tinker with the population’s capacity
To process its food.

Right around 33,000 generations,
One of the 12 lineages suddenly exploded
In population density by more than six fold
Over the other 11 lineages.

To use Dawkins’ own vernacular,
This one lineage “suddenly went berserk.”

This sudden dramatic growth was astonishing,
And the explanation for it is breathtaking.

Although the “broth” in each flask
Was primarily glucose,
It contained other nutrients as well,
One of which was citrate.

But E. coli cannot process citrate as food,
Unless it mutates, which is exactly what it did.

It changed the rules.
It developed the ability to eat citrate.
It evolved.

This lineage, from so simple a beginning,
Had had enough of the restricted glucose diet,
And figured out how to eat citrate!

THE RUNAWAY MIND

ETs or Gods?

I’ll vote for ETs.

The one property of the human mind
Which gives us our capacity for imagination
Is that we project our consciousness onto the world.

I suspect this might have much to do
With our development of language,
For we began to tell stories
About the natural world in anthropic terms
Sometime early in our evolution to Homo sapiens.

This permitted information necessary for survival
To be passed down through the generations.

So, ideas about spirits in the forest,
Totems, demiurges, gods, etc.,
Were in nature-religions a way of telling
About the cycles of life and seasons —
When the fish came up river,
When the buffalo migrated,
When a certain corn plant went to seed,
And so forth.

We do these things today, of course;
Consider in the USA at Superbowl time
With the use of emblem totems
For the sports teams.

The writing of fiction is another example;
The author projects their mind
Through a character
Onto words on a page which are then projected
Into and out of the mind of a reader.

Einstein’s imagining what would happen
If he were on a frame moving
With an electromagnetic wave
Is also such a projection.
The idea of space aliens and interdimensions
Is frankly just as much a projection
As is our mental projection
Of our conscious framework out “to infinity,”
Which is this thing we call God.

The space alien,
Along with more mundane ideas of UFO,
Are similar projections of our minor forms,
Which in the past took the form
Of angels, demons, satyrs, and so forth,
But, at least ETs seem possible.

Further, as time went on
These projections assumed celestial dimensions,
Where the heavenly hosts of the Bible
Are vague ideas about angels identified with stars.

In our modern world
These ideas have assumed an updated
Or scientific form of the ET or space alien.

Our capacity to project our emotional basis
Onto them is many and various.
Some aliens are friendly and benevolent,
Like Spielberg’s “ET”
And “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind”,
Or Sagan’s “Contact.”

Other aliens are less than friendly,
As in the HG Wells Martians
In book/movie forms,
The “Predator” movies, and so forth
Unto the hideous and almost implacable ones.

In the end we are projecting
Our mental and emotional framework
Onto the exterior world
With these ideations and fixations.

So do ETs exist? Probably.
I will say that I think the universe
In the FLRW setting is k = 0,
Which makes space infinite.
(A simply connected, homogeneous,
Isotropic expanding or contracting universe)

The field theory content we observe
Does not saturate the Bekenstein bound
Until about 10^{26} light years out,
And beyond that might be
Other “pocket universes”
Beyond an inflaton or scalar field
Induced barrier of sorts.

So, anything which is not forbidden
Is ultimately mandatory;
Thus, I see no reason to presume
That ETs are impossible,
So, I suspect they very likely do exist.

Of course maybe the closest ET planet
Is 100 million light years out.

God’s nonexistence is another matter
One already best described elsewhere.

Our ideas about ETs
Tend to be reflections of ourselves;
This was carried to impossibly ridiculous forms
On Star Trek where you have aliens and humans
Bearing offspring,
Such as Spock is half Human and half Vulcan.

Nope, that is not going to happen.

Our ideas about ETs most often
Are exaggerated forms of ourselves,
Such as the bug-eyed bulbous headed grey aliens
Portrayed so commonly.

This would extend to the idea that any ET
Would project their selves as we do.

The internal mental reality of an ET
Might be so radically different from anything
We experience subjectively
That we couldn’t possibly ever understand it.

This would likely be the case,
Even if we can decode
Their electromagnetic signals
And figure out how they do
Mathematics and so forth.

The converse might likely hold as well.

So the concept of a God,
Such as found in their projecting
Their internal mental reality out to infinity,
Might simply be outside
Their capacity to internally experience.

If aliens did decode a signal from us
And collect our ability to project our minds,
They might find this to be a unique way,
For what to them is an ET, to experience
External and internal existence.

Further, they might find the idea we have
Of God to be utterly beyond their ability
To internalize or understand.

Of course this point is
Likely ever more the case
When it comes to the
Particular theological ideas we have.

SMART PILLS…

The DNA guy, Watson, may be getting, um, old,
For he is recommending genetic changes

While there are no approved smart pills,
There are those taken by college students
To stay up all night,
Plus there is always good nutrition.

However, consider cigarettes,
Which allow the brain to better focus.

Indeed, why pay good money
For a modern concentration camp
When the same can be had from smoking
For even more money.

Do not worry about any disadvantages
Such as death.

Those smokers dying young
Just didn’t keep it up long enough.
Even George Burns could have
Kept on going smoking cigars,
But he quit just before he died.

THE BIRTH OF MODERN COSMOLOGY

In 1877, when Mars
Approached Earth very closely.
An italian astronomer
Observed some dark markings,
Calling them “canali”, in italian,
Meaning “channels”.

Percival Lowell was later intrigued
By the find of these “canali”,
The word perhaps taken by him
To mean canals,
For some were straight,
Implying that they had to
Be made by Martians.
It would be, of course,
That Mars is a dry planet
And so water would have
To be transported
To the more arid regions.

Strangely, all this led to one of
The strangest discoveries in science:
That most of the universe was missing.

Percival Lowell had by now developed
An obsession with life on Mars.

In 1894, he decided that
The clear Arizona skies above Flagstaff
Would be perfect for the task
Of finding this alien civilization.

Vesto Melvin Slipher, an Indiana farm boy,
Became Lowell’s assistant in 1901—
Taken on, reluctantly, by Lowell,
As a favor to a friend,
For a short fixed term.

Slipher left 53 years later,
When he retired from the position
Of observatory director,
Having kick-started modern cosmology.

Spiral nebulae, called “Island Universes”
By Immanuneul Kant,
Were an enigma at the time.

Slipher had been using the Clark telescope
To measure whether the nebulae
Were moving relative to Earth,
Utilizing a spectrograph,
An instrument that splits light
Into its constituent colors,
Realizing that the colors would change
If the nebulae were moving
Towards or away from Earth,
Such as if a rainbow moves away from us
There will be a resultant red shift,
As the incoming waves per second get a boost,
Or a blue shift if it’s moving towards us,
The incoming waves per second getting reduced.

He found that Andromeda was heading towards us,
While very many of the others were receding,
And some very quickly, at that.

The nebulae, he suggested,
Are “stellar systems
Seen at great distances”.

Something was blowing
Our universe apart,
And something else was holding
Each galaxy together,
Not to mention that we could
Now surmise the Big Bang,
And that most of
The universe was missing.

AT THE BOTTOM OF IT ALL

The last watch fire, that of mathematics,
Lights the shadows of the universe,
Telling us much about its machinery;

And, yet, there is a kind of mysticism
About this and its Platonic forms
And ideals of perfection;
So, although no one
Has been killed in its name,
It requires a kind of faith
In what magic lies beneath it;

But, perhaps, what is really there
Beneath and at the bottom of all,
Are statistics and probabilities
Averaged over large numbers of small events,
Which, though math-like come to be,
Are not exactly the root mathematical formulas;

So, perhaps math is not at the bottom of all
Although it is very much amenable
To the emergent and secondary patterns
That we observe and measure thereafter,
Being very effective in describing that “real” world.

It’s just that, as Lee Smolin sort of said once,
About Platonic forms being underlying,
“A flower is not a Dodecahedron”.

Is the universe, and even more so the world
A reflection of some perfect mathematical form?

Or does the world rest on the kind
Of statistical methodologies
That underlie our understanding of biology?

Physicists, unlike biologists,
Wrestle not with reality but
With mathematical representations of it.

This is a great and masterly art,
As is that of a painting artist,
The high beauty obtained
Not from reproducing nature,
But from representing it,
With the addition that
A physicist’s greatest creations
May even truly capture some of
The deep and permanent reality
Behind mere transient experience.

There can be moments of blissful clarity,
A rare combination, indeed,
Such as when one
Really comprehends Newton’s laws,
And realizes simultaneously
That what one has grasped mentally
Is a logic that is realized in each of
The countless things that move in the world.

And, yet, neither Newton’s nor Euclid’s laws
Completely capture the world,
But are still a fine mirror of it,
Although not the finest and
Truest mirror of reality;
Plus, there are areas that
Can’t be completely captured by math.

And, thus, what is both wonderful and terrifying
Is that there is absolutely no reason
That nature at its very deepest level
Must have anything to do with math directly.

In many cases, there is a simple,
Non-mathematical reason
That an aspect of the world
Follows a mathematical law
On a subsequent plane.

Some systems have an
Enormous number of parts,
Such as why the air is
Spread uniformly in a room,
No mystery or symmetry being required,
Or how the force on a rubber band
Increases proportionally
To the distance stretched,
This reflecting nothing deep,
As the rubber band force we feel
Is a sum of an enormous number
Of small forces between the atoms.
Each of which may act in a complicated,
Even unpredictable way,
To the stretching.

A Platonist nightmare, then, would be
That, in the end, at the bottom,
All of our laws will be like this,
All the regularities turning out
To be more statistics,
Beyond which lies
Only randomness or irrationality.

It must always come to this,
As we already see in biology:
That the tremendous beauty
Of the living world is but, in the end,
Merely a matter of randomness,
Statistics, and frozen accidents—
For which the capture of there can be
No one, single, and beautiful equation.

(Gleaned from Lee Smolin)

SELECTING FOR FITNESS
(IN ADDITION TO THE UNFIT)

Natural selection can and does select, as well,
For mutations that increase overall fitness,
That is, these mutations increase the frequency
Of that allele in the next generations;
For example, a mutation
May elongate the beak of a bird
And make it thinner;
This would enable the possessors of this allele
To eat insects living in crevices in the rocks.

Or, a mutation may improve
The digestibility of proteins
And thus increase the food supply;
A fungus may acquire
An enzyme that digests cellulose,
Which few species can do—
A whole mountain of food is now available.

There may be other mechanisms
In addition to strict natural selection.
A possibility is the case of mutations
That accidentally carry both a selected property
And another quite different unselected property.
This gene may now hang around a long time,
And may by chance find itself
In a new environment
Where the second property
Becomes of selectable value.

Jack Beans contain an enzyme called urease,
Which very potently hydrolyses urea.
To the best of my knowledge
Urea does not occur in plants!
A second example is a
Boring enzyme of metabolism
Which moonlights as
A DNA binding protein
Of very high specificity.

With respect to selecting for fitness,
One of the great all time experiments
Was done by Richard Lenski which examined
A species of bacteria in an environment
That contained a specific type of fuel
And some other substance, perhaps citrate.

The bacteria were stained a certain way
So that researchers could determine species.

When a mutation occurred,
These mutant bacteria were then placed
Into their own isolated environment
With the same fuel and solution,
And some of the previous species
Were “fossilized” via freezing
For comparison later.

As you can imagine,
Bacteria that could specialize
By living in glucose (the fuel) proliferated better,
Just as NS would suggest;
Fitness increased quickly up until
About 20,000 generations,
Whereby these mutated bacteria
Had grown about 70% more quickly
Than the initial ancestor strain,
And then growth tapered off
In an asymptotic way.

A few interesting developments to note—
Some strains developed a mutation
That negatively affected
Their ability to repair DNA,
Which increased the rate
Of mutations in those strains.

By way of numbers, some 100’s of millions
Of mutations are believed to have occurred
In the first 20,000 generations,
But only 10-20 beneficial mutations
Gained fixation in the main population.

The most important mutation led to the ability
Of a strain to use citrate as a fuel,
And so those mutant populations experienced
An additional surge,
Breaking through the
Previous asymptotic growth.

This mutation depended on another mutation
That had up to this point been neutral
(Non-adaptive at the time),
But, coupled with this additional mutation,
Became potent in
The citrate/glucose environment,
Point being mutations can increase overall fitness,
And can be quasi-cumulative in the scenario
Where one mutation is neutral by itself
But incredibly potent
Along with another mutation.

There are other factors in evolution
Besides ‘regular’ Natural Selection,
Such as cataclysmic events
Like asteroid impacts,
Natural disasters,
And other broad extinction events.

Perhaps had there been no asteroid impact
65 MM years ago mammals would never
Have had the chance to dominate to this point.

Gould and Lewontin were big believers
In punctuated equilibrium,
But that is still ultimately
Explained by Natural Selection.

There are occasions when
True random behavior is evident,
Such as in mutations;
But equally, the response to mutations
Is not so random at all.

An organism will find that any specific,
Randomly chosen mutation
Will fall into only one of three categories:

1) It has no selective advantage
Under current conditions—it is neutral,
2) the mutation is positively advantageous
For that species in the current conditions,

Or 3) the mutation is clearly disadvantageous
For that species in current conditions.

The vast majority of natural mutations
Fall into the third category;
The second category is the least frequent.
The frequencies of these processes are amenable
To simple mathematics,
And so they are quantifiable.

As we know,
Contemporary biological evolutionary studies
Have a large mathematical component;
So, I would say that there are at least general rules
Which describe the process
Of biological evolution.

The idea is that mutations create novelty,
Most of which is maladaptive,
But that natural selection prefers some to others
By not killing the adaptive ones
As rapidly as the maladaptive and neutral ones.

In terms of art, a sculptor CREATES a statue
By carving away clay that isn’t appropriate
To what he is creating.

Dawkins invoked the idea of a blind watchmaker;
We might consider a blind sculptor.
The block of marble is chipped away
And there is a form generated,
While at the same time detritus
Has to be swept from the floor.

I think natural selection might be considered
A creative force in the same way
A river carves out a canyon,
Tectonic activity bends and shapes rock,
Or wind and water may sculpt formations of rock.
These too are blind forces as well.

NON-VERIDICAL BELIEFS
(Subjective)

Those claiming invisible things
Usually do so outright,
Often not even saying
That it is just a theory.

Even so, what one then
Suggests as what ‘seems’,
Which they don’t, either,
Still often comes down
To the necessarily invisible.

The problem,
Beyond that about “found” invisibles,
Is more about what people actually believe
And why they do so.

There has been some research done
In the area of belief.
Robert Burton has written a book
Which does a fine job identifying
The evolutionary basis for belief
And then finding which circuits
In the brain are involved
(See “On Being Certain:
Believing You are Right
Even When You’re Not”).

The basic idea is that the feeling of being certain,
Or knowing something is involuntary
(i.e. mediated by subcortical structures)
And bifurcates into two basic categories:
Veridical and subjective.

Examples of the veridical category
Include things like the capital of Paraguay,
The number of atoms in a mole,
The prime minister of England;
While examples of the subjective category
Include things like God exists,
The Bible is the word of God…

…These being beliefs that are of a nature
Which we do not have available to us
The information necessary to know them
To the same extent that we know
That the President of the U.S.
As of Feb. 5 2010 is Barack Obama.
Yet at the same time the brain will believe
These subjective “facts” with the same degree
Of certainty as the veridical category.

What’s going on?

We know that belief
Is strongly dependent on memory,
Which is paired very strongly with emotion.

This accounts for the involuntary nature
Of the feeling of certainty and conviction
About topics for which no answer
Is available, by pointing us to the amygdala
And other emotional centers of the brain
Which then link to reward centers
Most likely via the basal ganglia.

In English that means that these beliefs
Are being processed in the same manner
As those of a veridical nature,
And become reinforced
Via the brain’s reward circuits.

“…Belief”, judgments of “true”
Versus judgments of “false”,
Is associated with greater signal
In the ventromedial prefrontal cortex,
An area important for self-representation,
Emotional associations, reward,
And goal-driven behavior.”

—Taken from a study
Which was done in part by Sam Harris.

That is, the same region of the brain
Showed increased activity
When subjects judged a proposition
To be true regardless of the content
Of the proposition in question,
Suggesting that
A common neurological mechanism
Is used regardless
Of the subject under consideration.

Of course this is a simplification
And ignores the activation of the mPFC
And parts of the temperoparietal junction,
But the emphasis here
Is on the rewarding nature of the belief.

Because children are usually indoctrinated
Very young, when their brains are more plastic,
This system of belief can establish itself
Prior to other systems
And helps shape the way
In which the child then views the world.

It then becomes difficult to displace these beliefs
As the brain becomes less plastic into adulthood,
Given the reward signals they produce
And the feeling of certainty they generate.

This leads to seeing agency
In inanimate matter (invisible agents),
Seeing faces in the clouds, etc.,
But, basically,
We are programmed by evolution
To seek out intention
And there are brain correlates
Associated with this activity.

THE AMAZING DISCOVERY
OF FORBIDDEN COLORS

Are there any missing hues,
Unknown, hidden in rainbows, or not used?

It turns out, that,
Due to the way our visual system is,
We cannot see bluish yellow—
And I don’t mean green,
Which can mix of those;
Nor can we see reddish green;

Yet, I have made
The amazing discovery of seeing them!

By looking at a square of blue
And one of yellow,
Each having a small cross in the center,
I was able to cross my eyes
To bring them together,
And then saw the elusive
Bluish yellow,
And in another cross,
Reddish green,
Although at first
They jumped all around
And even put holes into each other.

Meanwhile, I am in the bliss
Of seeing the forbidden.

WHY DO WE EXIST?

It was possible.

Does it have meaning?

Only what we give it,
As we are free to do so;
There are no strings attached.

Is this scary?

No, for we have
The ultimate freedom to be,
Within our own form. It is liberating.

THE DANCE OF LIFE

We are part and parcel of everything—
We are the cosmos; we are life; we are love;
We are all that is; we are the creator
Of the dance as well as the dancer.PURPOSE?

Look to the plants,
They flowering in turn,
And with certain patterns and colors,
So as to gain the full attention
Of the pollinators.

Or even Magnolia
With but plain white flowers
Pollenated by crawling beetles,
For it first grew
Before there were flying insects.

After Darwin sailed to the ends of the earth
On the Beagle ship and wrote the Origin,
He “retired” to his gardens at Down House,
And continued his many botanical experiments.

These gardens were his engines of war
From which he would lob missiles of evidence
Towards any skeptics—
Descriptions of extraordinary structures
And behaviors in plants
That were very difficult to ascribe
To special Creation or Design,
A mass of evidence
For evolution and natural selection
That was even more overwhelming
Than that presented in the Origin,
Through six botanical books
And seventy some papers.

Then, too, there were the 200-plus specimens
That Darwin brought back from the Galapagos,
The single most influential
Natural history collection
Of live organisms in the history of science.

He questioned the efficacy
Of self-fertilization in plants,
Discovering, by experiments,
That the seeds of those
That were crossbred were heartier
(“Hybrid vigour”),
Even that plants had structures
To minimize self-fertilization.

Thus, instead of the same old plant
Just repeating itself again and again,
Which was not the case in nature,
Evolution’s change could occur.

His central concern, though,
Was how flowers adapted themselves
To using insects as agents
For their own fertilization.

Thus, again, there were
No direct interpositions of a Creator.

God was not in the details,
But natural selection was,
Acting over millions of years,
Details that were senseless and unintelligible
Except in the light of history and evolution.

What had once just been a pretty picture
Of insects buzzing about brightly colored flowers
Now became a central and essential drama in life,
Full of biological depth and meaning.

The colors and smell of flowers
Had been adapted to insects’ senses.

While bees are attracted
To blue and yellow flowers,
They ignore red ones
Because they are red-blind.

On the other hand,
Their ability to see beyond the violet
Is exploited by flowers
That use ultraviolet markings.

Butterflies, with good red vision,
Fertilize red flowers
But may ignore the blue and violet ones.

So, here was even the coevolution
Of plants and insects,
As illuminated by Darwin.

Now, if plants were to reach
The point of reproduction,
They first had to survive, flourish,
And find or create niches in the world,
And so Darwin was, too, was interested
In the devices and adaptations
By which plants survived
And their varied
And sometimes astonishing lifestyles,
Which included sense organs
And motor powers akin to animals.

It is then, the case
That flowers required no Creator,
But were just examples of nature’s contrivances,
Wholly intelligible
As products of accidents of selection,
Of tiny incremental changes
Extending over hundreds of millions of years—
And that was the ‘meaning’ of flowers,
The meaning of all adaptations,
Plant and animal,
The meaning of natural selection.

Darwin had banished meaning from the world—
In the sense of any overall
Divine meaning of purpose.

There was no design,
No plan, no blueprint in the world,
For natural selection has no direction or aim,
Nor any goal to which it strives.

It spelled an end to Teleological thinking.

SEXY FLOWERS

Linnaeus, too, was fantastic,
And also a bit playful (or serious)
About the sexuality of flowers,
He sometimes making merry with the idea,
Such as portraying a flower
With nine stamens and one pistil
As a bedchamber in which
A maiden was surrounded by nine lovers.

UPSETTING TO THEOLOGIANS

Linnaeus’ research took science on a path
That diverged from what had been taught
By religious authorities; rebuke followed.
The Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala
Accused him of impiety.

The Catholic Church went further;
Pope Clement XIII banned
The works of Linnaeus
By listing them in the
Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1758
And also condemned copies to be burned.
Linnaeus was aware of the theological tension
That would be generated
By grouping humans with animals.
(Wiki]

RECENTLY, AT BOLTZMANNGASSE 3
IN VIENNA

Institut für Quantenoptik
Und Quanteninformation
(IQOQI)

Does the moon still exist
When we aren’t looking at it?

Yes.

LOCALITY AND/OR REALISM
(AND ‘IT FROM BIT’?)

One (or both) of these assumptions is
Inadequate to describe the physical world;
However, Bell’s theorem
Does not say which to abandon.

However, lately it has been confirmed
Even more conclusively
By Ziellinger and associates
That entangled particles do not have
Preexisting properties,
Such as polarization,
That are independent
Of any observation.

So, there goes naive realism.

Now, what about at the classical level?
Well, although there, too,
We transform reality, or I could even say,
Create reality, although it’s consistent
Among all individuals,
For we see the same trees
And buildings, for example.

Two particles are called entangled
If they share the same fuzzy quantum state,
Meaning neither of them begins
With definite properties
Such as location or polarization
(Which can be thought of
As a particle’s spatial orientation).

Measure the polarization of one photon,
And it randomly adopts a certain value,
Say, horizontal or vertical;

Oddly, the polarization of the other photon
Will always correlate to that of its partner.

Zeilinger, whose group invented
A common tool for entangling polarization,
Likes to illustrate the idea
By imagining a pair of dice
That always land on matching numbers.

Equally mysterious,
The act of measuring one photon’s polarization
Immediately forces the second photon
To adopt a complementary value.

This change happens instantaneously,
Even if the photons are across the galaxy;
The light-speed limit obeyed
By the rest of the world
Can take a leap,
For all that quantum physics cares.

I’d like to come to the second freedom:
The freedom of nature.
You said that for example
The velocity or the location of a particle
Are only determined at the moment
Of the measurement, and entirely at random.

I maintain: it is so random
That not even God knows the answer.

For me the concept of “information”
Is at the basis of everything we call “nature”.
The moon, the chair, the equation of states,
Anything and everything,
Because we can’t talk about anything
Without de facto speaking about the information
We have of these things;
In this sense the information
Is the basic building block of our world.

In your last book you wrote:
“Laws of nature should make no distinction
Between reality and information.” Why?

We’ve learnt in the natural sciences
That the key to understanding can often be found
If we lift certain dividing lines in our minds.

Newton showed that the apple falls to the ground
According to the same laws
That govern the Moon’s orbit of the Earth.
And with this he made the old differentiation
Between earthly
And heavenly phenomena obsolete.

Darwin showed that there is no dividing line
Between man and animal.

And Einstein lifted the line
Dividing space and time.

But in our heads,
We still draw a dividing line
Between “reality” and “knowledge about reality”,
In other words between reality and information.
And you cannot draw this line;
There is no recipe, no process for distinguishing
Between reality and information.

All this thinking and talking about reality
Is about information,
Which is why one should not make a distinction
In the formulation of laws of nature;
Quantum theory, correctly interpreted,
Is information theory.

And can you explain
All these strange quantum phenomena
Conclusively with your information concept?

Not all of them yet, but we’re working on it;
With limitation it works excellently.

How?

I imagine that a quantum system
Can carry only a limited amount of information,
Which is sufficient only for a single measurement.

Let’s come back to the situation of two particles
Colliding like billiard balls,
And in so doing entering a state of limitation.

In terms of information theory that means
That after the collision the entire information
Is smeared over both particles,
Rather than the individual particles
Carrying the information.

And that means the entire information we have
Pertains to the relationship
Between both particles;
For that reason, by measuring the first particle
I can anticipate the speed of the second,
But the speed of the first particle
Is entirely random.

Because the information isn’t sufficient.

Exactly. Its randomness is ultimately
A consequence
Of the Finiteness of the information.

Quantum Breakdown

To investigate where quantum mechanics
Breaks down and classical mechanics begins,
The team is investigating
Two weird quantum properties:
Entanglement and superposition.
When two particles become entangled,
They become inextricably intertwined,
So that changing the properties of one
Has an immediate effect
On the properties of its partner

Superposition is another feature
That is peculiar to quantum systems;
Before a quantum object is measured,
It does not have definite characteristics;
Instead, it exists in a superposition
Of multiple mutually contradictory states—
Allowing it to be in two places at once, for example.

Thus, if information is the
Most fundamental notion
In quantum physics,
A very natural understanding of phenomena
Like quantum decoherence
Or quantum teleportation emerges.

And, so, quantum entanglement
Is then nothing else
Than the property of subsystems
Of a composed quantum systems
To carry information jointly,
Independent of space and time;
And the randomness of
Individual quantum events
Is a consequence of
The finiteness of information.

The reduction of the wave packet
Is just a reflection of the fact
That the representation of our information
Has to change whenever the information itself
Changes as a consequence of an observation.

A few months ago Zeilinger reported
Implementing a new kind
Of statistical Bell test,
Devised by Leggett,
That pits quantum mechanics
Against a category of theories
In which entangled photons
Have real polarizations
But exchange hidden particles
That travel faster than light.

In principle,
Such faster-than-light theories
Might have perfectly
Mimicked quantum strangeness
And let realism go unmolested.
Not so, according to the experiment:
The results could be explained
Only by quantum unreality.

So what idea replaces realism?
The situation calls to mind
One of Zeilinger’s favorite books,
The humorous novel
‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’,
By Douglas Adams,
In which a mighty computer
Crunches the meaning of life,
The universe and everything
And spits out the number 42.

So its creators build a bigger computer
To discover the question.

If quantum indeterminacy
Is like the number 42,
Then what idea makes it intelligible?

Zeilinger’s guess is information,
Just like a bit, can be 0 or 1;
A measured particle ends up
Either here or there;
But if a particle carries only
That one bit of information,
It will have none left over
To specify its location
Before the measurement.

Unlike Einstein, Zeilinger accepts
That randomness is reality’s bedrock.

Still, “I can’t believe that quantum mechanics
Is the final word,” he says.
“I have a feeling that if we get really deep insight
Into why the world has quantum mechanics”—
Where the 42 comes from—“we might go beyond.
That’s what I hope.”

“Then, finally, would come understanding.”

42

BECOMING

We humans mirror and recapitulate
All of evolution while growing
In our mother’s womb,
Racing through the stages in which life evolved.

During this nine months, and even beyond that,
We move from mindlessness
To shadowy awareness
To consciousness of the world around us
Onto consciousness of the self
And then even to becoming conscious
Of consciousness itself.

For the first two and one-half years of life,
The inexplicable holistic world
Is experienced less and less holistically
As the child discovers
The bounds of discrete objects.

The holistic right brain remains, of course,
For us to take in the overall view,
While the logical left brain
Is also there to recognize
The detailed relationships between objects.

As such, so goes the universe,
Since we are formed in its image.

So, then, this gives us a clue
To the nature of the universe.

Seeing that the brain is
Divided into two hemispheres,
Each with their own
Characteristic mode of thought,
That that can communicate with each other—
Means that we are looking very deeply
Into the way that reality itself is constructed.

These two complimentary aspects
To the cosmos are thus absolutely essential,
One being of the whole:
The apparently indivisible, continuous fluid entity
[Although discrete at unnoticeable levels],
The other being the interrelationships of the parts.

Each interpretation cannot appear
At exactly the same time,
But the Yin ever gives way to Yang
And ever then back to Yin, and so on,
The rounded life of the mind
Thus continuing to fully roll
As the cycle of this symmetry
Turns and returns;
If not, one either gets totally lost
In the details or prematurely halts
After but an apparent whole.

The holistic right brain mode is unfocused,
As we see in some people
Who are unconcerned with details,
It always building the scene in parallel
To form a single entity;
Whereas, the focused left side of brain
Isolates a target of interest and tracks it
And its derivatives sequentially and serially.

Yet, the two sides of the overall brain
Are connected to each other
And so the speed of the juggling act
Can meld them together
Into a complete balance like that
Portrayed by the revolving Yin-Yang symbol,
Each ever receding and giving rise to the other

Such does the universe go both ways, too,
Its separate parts implicated
With everything else in the whole.

During conscious observation,
The ‘hereness’ and ‘nowness’
Of reality crystalizes and remains,
We establishing what that reality is to some extent.

We define and refine the nature of reality
That leads to the mind’s outlook.
Counterintuitive? Cyclical?
Yes, but it is the universe in dialog with itself;
The wave functions, and yet the function waves.

The universe supplies
The means of its own creation,
Its possibilities supplying the avenues
And the probability and workability
That carve out the paths leading to success.

So, here we are, then and now,
The rains of change falling everywhere,
The streams being carved out,
The water rising back up to the sky,
The rain then falling everywhere,
The streams recarving and meandering
Toward more meaning and so on.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALL OF HISTORY

The Cosmos

For all time:
Vacuum fluctuations
waver in and out of existence
since nonexistence cannot be.

Our Universe

1E-43 seconds:
Planck era.

Cyclical compactfication
or a
Vacuum fluctuation eruption.

1E-36 seconds:
GUT transition.

Strong force separates
from the Electroweak force.

1E-36 seconds:
Inflation begins.

Slow rolling scalar field
generates negative pressure
causing exponential expansion
of space time.

Doubling time: 1E-36 seconds.

Vacuum energy density: 1E73 tons/cm^3.

Quantum fluctuations lock in
nearly scale invariant 1E-5
variation in energy density.

1E-34 seconds:
Inflation ends.

Decay of scalar inflaton field
causing reheating.

Is this the let there be light moment?
No, photons don’t exist yet,
but other massless vector quanta
like left and right weak
and B-L particle may exist.
Things are not well known about this era.

1E-34 to 1E -8 seconds:
Quark era.

Quark gluon plasma.

Quarks and super particles
dominant matter content.

1E-17 to 1E-15 seconds:
SUSY breaking.

Super partners acquire mass
with the LSP expected to have
a mass of about 10 Tev.

(In induced Gravity model,
this is where mass energy
first generates the
induced gravity field,
Gravity is born.)

1E-10 seconds:
Electroweak transition.

The Electroweak force,
under the action of the Higgs mechanism
breaks symmetry.

The photon is born.
Standard model particles get mass.

1E-5 seconds:
Quark confinement.

The QCD vacuum becomes superconducting
to color magnetic current.

Quarks and Gluons are confined.

1E -5 to 1 E-4 seconds:
Hadron era.

Hadrons are formed:
protons, neutrons, pions etc.

1E -4 seconds:
Hadron annihilation.

A brief period of proton/anti proton
and neutron/anti neutron annihilation.

A slight favoring of matter over anti matter,
possibly locked in by CP violation.
Reheating causes some protons
and neutrons to survive.

1E-4 to 10 seconds:
Lepton era.

Following Hadron annihilation
Leptons are the dominant energy density.

1 second:
Neutrino decoupling.

Mass energy falls low enough to free neutrinos,
creating the neutrino cosmic background.

10 seconds:
Electron annihilation.

Electrons and positrons annihilate,
leaving a tiny fraction of electrons remaining.
At this point the total number
of electrons equals the total number of protons.

10 seconds to 57 thousand years
Radiation era.

Photons created from
the annihilation of matter and anti matter
dominate the energy density of Universe

1- 5 minutes:
Nucleosynthesis

Fusion of protons create helium,
Deuterium, and trace amounts of Lithium.

57 thousand years:
Matter/radiation equality.

The radiation density
(photon and neutrino)
and matter density
(dark and atomic)
are equal.
This is because radiation density
falls more quickly due to the stretching
of the relativistic particles wavelengths.
Dark matter clumps into structures.
Atomic matter begins oscillation,
due to the battle between gravity
and photon pressure
generating acoustic oscillations.

The first sounds of the new Universe

380 thousand years:
Recombination.

The temperature falls low enough
to allow atoms to form; photons decouple.
The CMB is born, locking in its structure.

The story of the earliest times in the Universe.

5 to 200 million years:
The dark age.

Photons fall into the infra red energy range;
the Universe goes dark.

The atomic gas continues to fall toward
the dark matter clumps
which grow more pronounced.

Near 100 Million years:
The densest clumps
halt their expansion and begin collapsing.

By 200 Million years:
The first mini halos
form, and within these
the atomic cloud cools and collapses
to make the very first stars
whose light brings to an end the dark era.

200 million years:
First stars.
The first stars are very massive and short lived.
They die in violent Super Nova explosions,
filling the cosmos with the building
blocks of planets and the elements
needed for life.

200 to 800 million years:
Epoch of ionization.

The radiation from the stars,
and possibly the first quasars,
ionizes much of the remaining
neutral hydrogen and helium.

A thin mist returns
and partly obscures the CMB.
(Future Low Frequency Radio Telescopes
may soon be able to see the epoch of ionization)

1 to 2 billion years:
Infant galaxies.

Star groups merge,
forming the very first galaxies.

There are frequent collisions of galaxies,
high star birth rates,
and high supernova rates.

Heavy element production
changes the pattern of star formation,
making them lower mass,
less luminous and longer lived,
like those of  today.

The stage is set for the emergence of life;
the Cosmos will soon
have eyes to see and minds to think.

2 to 3 billion years:
Star birth and quasar peak.

In the dense environment
of frequent galaxy collisions
the star birth rate
reaches it maximum,
as does the forming and feeding
of supermassive black holes.

6 billion years:
First rich galaxy clusters.

Enough time has elapsed for the densest
regions to stop expanding and form clusters.

7 billion years:
Deceleration /acceleration.

The effects of Dark energy kick in.
The Universe once again begins
to accelerate its expansion rate,
but at a much more gentle rate.

8 billion years:
First modern spiral galaxies.

Although some elliptical galaxies
form in the first billion years,
classic spiral galaxies aren’t seen
until about 5 billion years ago.

9 billion years:
Matter / dark energy equality.

At this time the falling density
of matter (dark and atomic)
become equal to that of dark energy.

9.1 billion years:
Sun and Earth form.

The solar system forms
in the outer disk of the milky way.

The stage is set for the emergence
of humankind in the Cosmos.

13.7 billion years:
Present time.

Human civilization reaches its peak
and begins heading into decline
and eventual extinction,
due to over population,
resource depletion,
and environmental destruction
which generates conflict
as Human nation states fight
for ever dwindling resources.

Hopefully Humankind is not typical,
and intelligent life elsewhere
solves the problem of balancing
intelligent life needs
with available resources
by developing communitarian
economic social structures.

16 to 17 billion years:
The Milky way collides
with the Andromeda galaxy.

Somewhere within this time
the Sun enters into its Red Giant phase,
vaporizing the earth.
Humankind, extinct for over 4 Billion years,
is not around to witness this event
though possibly a new intelligent species
which emerged after
the extinction of Humankind might be.

It will be a very sad time for them
unless their technology includes
very advanced space flight.

20 billion years:
Growth of Structures cease.

Expansion due to Dark energy
empties each casual patch of the Cosmos.

The story of our Universe draws to a close.

100 billion years
What remains of the Milky way
is alone in its causal patch of the Universe.

1000 billion years
Last stars die.

The Universe is empty and dark.
However, stirring in the vacuum
of space time itself
are the ever present
vacuum fluctuations.

One small patch quite by chance
fluctuates sufficiently to create a
volume of false vacuum which cuts off
from its mother Universe
by negative pressure,
explodes into a new Universe
creating new space time and future hope
for the emergence of intelligent life
in the Cosmos.

Everything starts over.

VIOLATING UNIVERSAL NATURAL LAW

You will always be caught,
So don’t even give it a thought.

The violation of universal natural law
Is the cause of our problems, all,
Of everything that becomes rife
And plagues individual and national life,
These stresses only leading to more strife,
From lowlifes leaving their wife for the wildlife
Of nightlife to cutting someone with a knife.

So stem problems of national health,
Crime, the economy, education, wealth,
And the black environmental sins,
All of them having their origin
In a widespread law violation
By some portion of the population.

Universal Natural Law is very terse
In governing the entire universe,
It being the orderly principles
That regulate physical events/processes.

Science defines the universal law of nature,
A precise description of how nature nurtures.

Universal law pervades everything,
Of all that is in passage and being,
From the motion of particles
To the evolution of life’s articles—
Operating at every scale:
The subatomic, atomic,
Molecular, biological, geological,
Astrophysical, and cosmological.

The universe is structured hence
In these many layers of existence
As worlds within worlds,
Distinguished and not only furled
By vastly different time and distance scales,
But that every level has its own set of details;
For example, an electron/nucleus system
Is not analogous to that of a planet/sun.

The more superficial macroscopic levels of nature
Can be seen as fragmented expressions, for sure,
That are manifested from the more unified laws
Governing deeper levels with their scrimshaws—
The reflections of the dazzling symmetries
Of what once were inaccessible mysteries.

The outer ‘becomes’ are based on inner ones,
The only fountainhead of all the rhythms.
(And the converse is not true.)

Nature’s governance is maximally efficient,
For it is frugal, and not a spendthrift—
It following The Principle of Least Action
In all of its action and protraction.

This is why a ray of light refracts
When going from air to water’s tract,
Minimizing the time
And saving every dime.

From this maximal economy of nature,
All classical behavior can be scriptured.

Entropy is a count of quantum states
Accessible to a macroscopic system’s estate,
This available number ever increasing;
The nature of life is to grow, ever reaching.

The path of least action’s welcome
Is just the macroscopic outcome
Of the simultaneous superposition
Of multiple coexisting paths’ auctions
At the microscopic level,
The outcome ever of the least income.
The law to which all must succumb.

All is rooted in the verses
Of the Constitution of the Universe.

Life takes advantage and cause
Of the universal natural laws,
Even such as in merely walking,
Which is an immensely complex undertaking.

We employ technology
In all of its variety.

Everything that we fail to accomplish
Is but due to the total failure
To apply universal natural law effectively,
This being the source of all difficulty.

In the absence of knowledge of a lever,
The simple task of moving a boulder
Becomes complex and arduous to the shoulder.

Not learning gravity has caused unmild
Injuries to many a young child;
The old uses of radiation caused cancer tumults;
The use of DDT had many adverse results.

Smoking cigarettes, heavy drinking, being out late,
And other addictive obsessions surely violate
Universal natural law, at whatever rate,
Resulting in negative consequences,
While psychological violations dispense
Stress directly a a sequence immense.

While fulfillment of desire can bring happiness,
It also raises the scope and standardness
Of future desires, making the duress
Of frustration an inevitable process.

Over time this causes psychological stress,
Which in turn impairs creativity’s success,
Stalling future desires
By watering their fires
And also leads to problems of health,
These then causing further stealth
And violations of universal natural law—
Resulting in the nonsense
Of a life out of balance—
Leading to aggression, anxiety,
Impulsive violet behavior, hostility
And substance abuse—
A vicious cycle of refuse
That, among other effects,
Fills up the prisons to correct.

Vacuum Fluctuations and Virtual Particles

In the everyday world, energy is always unalterably fixed; the law of energy conservation is a cornerstone of classical physics. But in the quantum microworld, energy can appear and disappear out of nowhere in a spontaneous and unpredictable fashion. (Davies, 1983, 162)
The uncertainty principle implies that particles can come into existence for short periods of time even when there is not enough energy to create them. In effect, they are created from uncertainties in energy. One could say that they briefly “borrow” the energy required for their creation, and then, a short time later, they pay the “debt” back and disappear again. Since these particles do not have a permanent existence, they are called virtual particles. (Morris, 1990, 24)
Even though we can’t see them, we know that these virtual particles are “really there” in empty space because they leave a detectable trace of their activities. One effect of virtual photons, for example, is to produce a tiny shift in the energy levels of atoms. They also cause an equally tiny change in the magnetic moment of electrons. These minute but significant alterations have been very accurately measured using spectroscopic techniques. (Davies, 1994, 32)
[Virtual particle pairs] are predicted to have a calculable effect upon the energy levels of atoms. The effect expected is minute – only a change of one part in a billion, but it has been confirmed by experimenters. 

In 1953 Willis Lamb measured this excited energy state for a hydrogen atom. This is now called the Lamb shift. The energy difference predicted by the effects of the vacuum on atoms is so small that it is only detectable as a transition at microwave frequencies. The precision of microwave measurements is so great that Lamb was able to measure the shift to five significant figures. He subsequently received the Nobel Prize for his work. No doubt remains that virtual particles are really there. (Barrow & Silk, 1993, 65-66)
In modern physics, there is no such thing as “nothing.” Even in a perfect vacuum, pairs of virtual particles are constantly being created and destroyed. The existence of these particles is no mathematical fiction. Though they cannot be directly observed, the effects they create are quite real. The assumption that they exist leads to predictions that have been confirmed by experiment to a high degree of accuracy. (Morris, 1990, 25)

Vacuum Fluctuations
And the Origin of the Universe

There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty [five] zeroes after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to expend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is pulling them together. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero. (Hawking, 1988, 129) [thanks to Ross King for this quote]
There is a still more remarkable possibility, which is the creation of matter from a state of zero energy. This possibility arises because energy can be both positive and negative. The energy of motion or the energy of mass is always positive, but the energy of attraction, such as that due to certain types of gravitational or electromagnetic field, is negative. Circumstances can arise in which the positive energy that goes to make up the mass of newly-created particles of matter is exactly offset by the negative energy of gravity of electromagnetism. For example, in the vicinity of an atomic nucleus the electric field is intense. If a nucleus containing 200 protons could be made (possible but difficult), then the system becomes unstable against the spontaneous production of electron-positron pairs, without any energy input at all. The reason is that the negative electric energy can exactly offset the energy of their masses. 

In the gravitational case the situation is still more bizarre, for the gravitational field is only a spacewarp – curved space. The energy locked up in a spacewarp can be converted into particles of matter and antimatter. This occurs, for example, near a black hole, and was probably also the most important source of particles in the big bang. Thus, matter appears spontaneously out of empty space. The question then arises, did the primeval bang possess energy, or is the entire universe a state of zero energy, with the energy of all the material offset by negative energy of gravitational attraction? 

It is possible to settle the issue by a simple calculation. Astronomers can measure the masses of galaxies, their average separation, and their speeds of recession. Putting these numbers into a formula yields a quantity which some physicists have interpreted as the total energy of the universe. The answer does indeed come out to be zero within the observational accuracy. The reason for this distinctive result has long been a source of puzzlement to cosmologists. Some have suggested that there is a deep cosmic principle at work which requires the universe to have exactly zero energy. If that is so the cosmos can follow the path of least resistance, coming into existence without requiring any input of matter or energy at all. (Davies, 1983, 31-32)
Once our minds accept the mutability of matter and the new idea of the vacuum, we can speculate on the origin of the biggest thing we know – the universe. Maybe the universe itself sprang into existence out of nothingness – a gigantic vacuum fluctuation which we know today as the big bang. Remarkably, the laws of modern physics allow for this possibility. (Pagels, 1982, 247)
In general relativity, spacetime can be empty of matter or radiation and still contain energy stored in its curvature. Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless spacetime can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature. This is called the “spacetime foam” and the regions are called “bubbles of false vacuum.” Wherever the curvature is positive a bubble of false vacuum will, according to Einstein’s equations, exponentially inflate. In 10-42 seconds the bubble will expand to the size of a proton and the energy within will be sufficient to produce all the mass of the universe. 

The bubbles start out with no matter, radiation, or force fields and maximum entropy. They contain energy in their curvature, and so are a “false vacuum.” As they expand, the energy within increases exponentially. This does not violate energy conservation since the false vacuum has a negative pressure (believe me, this is all follows from the equations that Einstein wrote down in 1916) so the expanding bubble does work on itself. 

As the bubble universe expands, a kind of friction occurs in which energy is converted into particles. The temperature then drops and a series of spontaneous symmetry breaking processes occurs, as in a magnet cooled below the Curie point and a essentially random structure of the particles and forces appears. Inflation stops and we move into the more familiar big bang. 

The forces and particles that appear are more-or-less random, governed only by symmetry principles (like the conservation principles of energy and momentum) that are also not the product of design but exactly what one has in the absence of design. 

The so-called “anthropic coincidences,” in which the particles and forces of physics seem to be “fine-tuned” for the production of Carbon-based life are explained by the fact that the spacetime foam has an infinite number of universes popping off, each different. We just happen to be in the one where the forces and particles lent themselves to the generation of carbon and other atoms with the complexity necessary to evolve living and thinking organisms. (Stenger, 1996)
Where did all the matter and radiation in the universe come from in the first place? Recent intriguing theoretical research by physicists such as Steven Weinberg of Harvard and Ya. B. Zel’dovich in Moscow suggest that the universe began as a perfect vacuum and that all the particles of the material world were created from the expansion of space… 

Think about the universe immediately after the Big Bang. Space is violently expanding with explosive vigor. Yet, as we have seen, all space is seething with virtual pairs of particles and antiparticles. Normally, a particle and anti-particle have no trouble getting back together in a time interval…short enough so that the conservation of mass is satisfied under the uncertainty principle. During the Big Bang, however, space was expanding so fast that particles were rapidly pulled away from their corresponding antiparticles. Deprived of the opportunity to recombine, these virtual particles had to become real particles in the real world. Where did the energy come from to achieve this materialization? 

Recall that the Big Bang was like the center of a black hole. A vast supply of gravitational energy was therefore associated with the intense gravity of this cosmic singularity. This resource provided ample energy to completely fill the universe with all conceivable kinds of particles and antiparticles. Thus, immediately after the Planck time, the universe was flooded with particles and antiparticles created by the violent expansion of space. (Kaufmann, 1985, 529-532)

LIFE EXPLAINED

It is, of course, that atoms make it,
Through a casual nexus
Of physical-chemical reactions;
However, this observation cannot
Be equated to an “explanation”,
For it seems not to be reductive,
And so we must delve deeper,
For there may very well be a background
Behind what the chemicals do.

According to the quantum realm,
“Matter” is only composed of potentiality—
It only becomes matter when it’s “real-ized”.

In a stable configuration of matter,
Such as in the inanimate,
All the quantum uncertainties
Are effectively statistically averaged out,
This thus being deterministic;
But in the case of the statically unstable
But dynamically stable configurations,
The “lively” features of the underlying
Quantum structure have a chance to surface
To the macroscopic level; that is, to life.

The electric dipole moment of biomolecules
Might be the ordering parameter
For the corresponding macro-quantum system,
And so this results in a change in quality
For that macro configuration.

There is the particle and there is the wave—
Either one forced on us by our observations,
Being jointly known as the ‘wavicle’,
All three states of which are not the actual reality.

There are, strictly speaking, no objects
That are identical with themselves over time—
The temporal sequence remains open;
Nature is no longer seen as clockwork,
But only as a “possibility gestalt”,
The world occurring anew each moment.

The deeper reality from which the world arises,
In each case, acts as a unity
In the sense of an indivisible “potentiality”,
Which can realize itself in many possible ways,
It not being a strict sum of the partial states.

What remains unchanged over time
Are certain properties that find expression
In the laws of conservation of energy,
Momentum, electrical charge, etc.

It appears to us, though,
That the world consists of parts
That have continued from “a moment ago”,
And thus still retain their identity in time;
Yet, matter really only appears secondarily
As a congealed potentiality,
A congealed gestalt, as it were.

Physical phenomena are not made
Of basic building blocks
But are made of “elementary processors”,
Which are complex-valued field “operators”
That depend on time and location.

These generate certain overlappings
Of correlated multi-dimensional wave fields
That are propagating through time,
Fields of possibility,
Whose intensity is a measure
Of the probability of
An object-like realization,
This intensity being very sensitive
To the relative phase
Of the overlapping partial waves.

There are no point masses,
But only smudged particles,
Such as we know of
In the space-filling representations
Of the distribution of electrons
In the shells of atoms—the ‘cloud’.

There is a relationship structure
That arises not only from the manifold
And the complicated interactions
Of the imagined building blocks of matter,
But also one that is substantially more inherent
And holistic, again such as
We see in quantum physics.

So, there is form before substance,
Relationality before materiality.

It’s hard to imagine
Pure relationships existing
Without a material substrate,
But, consider electromagnetism:
It fills space—without a material substrate,
Or consider a music CD—
Its singers and instruments encoded
In a relationship structure.

The material CD is only a carrier,
Of secondary importance,
Its information being primary,
An analogy to particles
And waves’ descriptions.

Impressions of realizations
Are left in our 3-D world by the gestalt
That “lives” in the multi-dimensional spaces
Of quantum superpositional possibility.

Quantum systems
Of many quantum states
Are not so much systems
As they are holistically differentiated
Process structures.

However, considering them as systems,
They are complex, meaning here
That such systems cannot be reduced
To simpler systems
Without breaking connections;
Thus there can be no reductions,
For, as in chaos theory,
There are embedded instabilities—
And if we disregard even
The tiniest correlations
Then we may severely distort the result.

We can no longer just analyze the parts
But must try to use much more
Sophisticated statistical methods,
These being more than the simple probability
To which we are accustomed.

Waves can reinforce,
Weaken, or even cancel out,
This all being a kind of generation

Of partial disconnectedness
By intermediate extinctions,
Such as in the way
A biological organism forms
From a single cell
By successive cell divisions,
Which do not occur by parting,
But by repeated formation of
Semi-separating cells walls;
However, this is only a very rough analogy.

Via metabolism,
Life forms have a
Sufficiently powerful energy pump,
One that could conceivably generate states
Of thermal disequilibirium
In molecular systems
Embedded in certain substrates
That would excite certain
Low-frequency collective modes
Of vibration with great power,
Perhaps via mechanisms similar
To Bose-Einstein condensation,
The electric dipoles coming into play
As an ordering parameter;
However, this is not
A conclusive, direct connection.

Information appears only in the animate,
And is furthermore exchanged,
The meanings somehow combining
To make sense in
Some nonreductive process—
The relational reality of life happening
At this semantical level
Of information exchange.

Life is not mindless; it is inspired;
It’s meanings cannot be
Discovered by observation,
But only by participation.

Life’s entities embrace one another:
Cell, organism, species, and biotope.

A living creature is more like a poem,
Revealing further dimensions
And expressing new properties
At every level of organization:
Letter, word, sentence and [uni]verse.

Somehow, perhaps, quantum states
That continue on further
In the quantum superposition
Have reached more efficiency and effectiveness,
For all paths are tried out,
Just as in the 95% efficient
Photosynthesis methods seen,
And so that’s what collapses out of it,
The more productive paths that last,
One usually with the least amount of effort, too.

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