My magic marker creates a reality!

In the last entry I considered how the concept of reality, our sensory input, can only be described accurately as perceiving objects that move. From this, science has chosen to describe objects that move by assigning dimensions that are independent (orthogonal), and that choice results in three spatial dimensions and one time dimension that allows effective mathematical analysis. Any time you can break down a system into orthogonal or linearly independent components, you are using the method of “divide and conquer” to simplify analysis of an overall problem. From there on out, the mathematics of R3 + T, four dimensional spacetime, handily matches the original sensory input of observers. Very nice and neat and self consistent, which means it can be trusted to work for most situations we observe. However, this short circuits our investigation into the inner workings of our reality by working from this spacetime as an assumption–a basis (no pun intended) for a vast architecture described by science. I want to go inside here.

In no way do I refute what is well thought out science– otherwise there’s a great danger of becoming a dreaded crank–one who denies the well-researched body of data that describes much or most of how our reality is going to behave. Nevertheless, the fact is, until someone uncovers or discovers dramatic new information, right now science is somewhat of a played out field–physicists scrabbling around trying to write a paper about something genuinely new and interesting. Reminds me of vultures in the desert hoping to find something tasty, but there really isn’t much out there right now. If the Higgs particle is found, info on dark matter, etc then things will liven up a bit–but for the most part right now, if there’s something to be found, somebody has already written about it. They said the same thing around 1900, and along comes Maxwell, Einstein, and Bohr et al, and suddenly things really came alive in science for a while–the theory of special relativity talking about the speed of light and the Lorentz transforms, then general relativity with the behavior of gravity and how spacetime curvature and energy/mass distributions are equated. Then along comes quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, and until about 1975 or so things really were rollicking. Since then, however, it seems to me we’re kind of stuck. Some interesting stuff here and there, and when the new accelerator comes on line in a year or so, Higgs might be found and then there will be some stuff to work on for a while. But really, nothing earthshaking is looking likely anytime soon.

So why am I writing? Because while I accept that the spacetime description of reality is a good place to build an abstraction of our reality, it leaves some big holes. It doesn’t help us understand some really big questions. What exactly is time? What exactly is space? Why is there such a thing as electrostatic attraction (currently theory says that it’s the result of photon exchange, but there’s a problem–momentum doesn’t work right in this case). Bigger questions: did this existence appear out of nothing or did somebody/something create it. Is this somebody intelligent. And of course, eventually we get to why are we here, what are we supposed to do, meaning of life, etc etc questions that I’ve already spent some time with. These actually are related to my first question: Why am I writing?

Ah, now we are getting to something really interesting, with complex threads throughout an increasingly complex infrastructure. I don’t know if anyone out there is reading any of this, so my writing flirts with pointlessness. I take time to think about these things, and then try to describe my thinking, wondering whether it ends up in the eternal bit-bucket or provokes some thoughts in someone out there. So let me take a little break from this reality thing–but not really, because my question actually has a lot to do with it.

Why am I writing? There may be no-one out there who reads this. So why? Let me start by saying that when I write, I hold a magic marker. There was a childhood book that I loved and still remember where a little boy holds a magic marker, which whenever he drew, the object became real, something he could play with and use. It told stories of different things that happened when he did that, and I don’t remember any of that. But I do remember that basic story line. The same thing happens here. I write, because in so doing I create a reality. I create abstractions, which once they are written, I can read and check for consistency with the reality I observe. I can create abstractions that answer some of these deep questions that science isn’t going to get to in my lifetime. Yes, the abstractions might be wrong and I might go down wrong paths, but by being careful and thorough in my thinking, I can increase the odds that my thinking will be “good” that is, useful and trustworthy for responding to events in my reality. What really makes this a bizarrely wonderful thing is the realization that created and written abstractions actually become a reality component (a member of the global reality set). By writing about possible abstractions, then attempting to test them and refine them, I actually am creating a new element of the global reality that can be manipulated just like a physical object! This sounds like I’ve gone off the deep end, I’m sure! But I really think it may be a valid statement–not because such abstractions are physical objects as we know them, but because I am getting to a point where I suspect physical objects are not anything more than an abstraction in the right point of view. My magic marker works not because the marker is magic but because physical objects and our minds are magic!!

Now what the heck do I mean by that? While we can trust our senses to reveal the global reality as it really is, our senses tell us nothing about why objects are there and why they can move. Here, our senses fail us. We can use our senses to check that our formulas for movement work, but sensory input cannot reveal the inner workings, because the sensory input comes from devices (our eyes, hands, instruments) made from those workings, and the processing of that sensory input is done with a device (our brain) made from those workings! So when I say my magic marker works, it transcends this FUNDAMENTAL LIMITATION of observing infrastructure using gizmos made from elements of the infrastructure. Physical objects are magic in the sense that they are made from objects from the infrastructure, and the sensors and our brains are made from objects from the infrastructure. We cannot transcend this limitation on our observing ability just by improving our scientific abilities, that is, using our sensory input to formulate a theoretical abstraction of our infrastructure that matches the real infrastructure. Scientific analysis and generation/verification of theory is only as good as the original sensory input.

So how in the world do we transcend this limitation? The principle of the magic marker is our door out of this box. Let’s think about what a brain is doing when it creates something new like a beautiful new piece of art or music. I break the human brain down into three parts (by the way, I’m a firm believer that this description can be built now with electronics, and someday machines with true human style intelligence will someday be commonplace): A sensory input processing stage, an abstraction or model generator, and most importantly: a random number generator! With these three components it is possible to create. Observe the world, process and store these observations, periodically retrieve these observations and analyze for traits and reduce and mix to models that can be stored–and then, here’s what makes us able to create new, never before seen realities: use the random number generator to perturb our models in new unexpected ways to create new models! That’s all there is to human intelligence!

Well, yes, I’m being a bit facetious here, but let’s look at this VERY carefully, because this is our way out of the deterministic scientific box we are now in. My magic marker is my creativity. I write because by so doing, I may happen on a model that shows how and why things are the way they appear–below the surface of the infrastructure that observation and science cannot reveal. And by so doing, I may actually add something useful to our reality, and then my own self defined purpose of life will be fulfilled. Even if I fail, I will have failed at doing something truly worthwhile by my own definition. That is a life worth living, a life truly transcending the limits that seem to appear in front of us. I once thought I could build something that would take humanity out to the stars. How limited!! I now see how our minds can travel far beyond the stars, can travel into worlds built and constructed by its own actions. There will come a day when I close my eyes for the last time, but that day is not today. I write, not because it is there, but because in so doing I MAKE IT THERE! How glorious!! Of course, I might just be pouring worthless words into the cosmic bit-bucket, too.

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