Saturday, July 5, 2008

A hint about what I'm trying to accomplish . . .

Some 25 years ago, when I was at the canonical age of discovery (27 or so), I experienced a moment of extreme clarity about the very thing that Einstein had pounded his head against during the latter part of his life. It was a clever shift, along the very lines of the shift Einstein made when he posited the speed of life as a universal constant, not relative to other physical factors. And later when he described the universe in a way to equate gravitational and inertial mass.

I spent a certain amount of time, which I now have to confess would have looked pretty manic, trying to get someone - literally anyone - to come on board with a meaningful conversation about the implications of my discovery. My former physics teacher. Brilliant scientists I knew. Literary types. They all sort-of agreed that what I'd written was interesting (these are the "chapters" I post), but there was no traction to the cosmic implications.

Eventually I retired from that scene, confident that since the validity of what I'd proposed was so self-evident, eventually someone else would say it better. I think along with the mania came a little paranoia - I wasn't very confident about how I could or would handle the attention which I was certain this discovery deserved. I felt entirely unequal to the task of being thought an expert at anything, as well as pretty intuitively certain that my seeking for grandiosity was fundamentally diseased.

So, I retired to a fairly busy life. I've had lots of jobs, many of them involving considerable responsibility, but through each of which I've been bedevilled by a sense of my essential fraudulence.

I never could decide if that descended from betrayal of my root cause (so to speak) or if it was an extension of the very thing which led to the presumption that I had anything at all to contribute. Mostly, the conviction of fraud was grounded in my certain knowledge that I had never been more than a dilettante at any pursuit.

Now, on the downside of life, I find that no-one, apparently, has hit on this simple reconstitution of the basic features of our understanding of the physical, moral, and psychical (is that a word?) world. While I fundamentally resist the notion that there is anything special about me in hitting upon this - I insist that it is simply a feature of reality, and like all such features would be discovered eventually. Inevitably.

But I'm growing desperate. Such a simple shift in basic human understanding could so easily correct the profound impacts of such immense misunderstandings as govern most human behavior as I now observe it.

So, here it is is broad simple outlines: If one simply construes "mind" as part of the fundament of reality (OK, the language necessarily gets muddy), and "concepts" as part of that "reality" out there, then the necessity for the Grand Unifying Theorem which, among others I think, Einstein was chasing after, disappears.

It goes like this. A concept - something held "in mind" -- is, analogously anyhow, what the probability equations of quantum physics refer to. They are not a physical reality, except in the sense that there is a conspiracy of minds to limit the possible realizations of the concept as (what I called them 25 years ago) "percepts". This transformation is indelible and complete upon the act of perception, or what the quantum guys call "measurement".

So, mind in this case is simply something capable of both conception and perception (I don't begin to drag God or humans into the equation, so to speak, having in mind, so to speak, a mind at least as comparatively reductive as is an elementary particle in physics. (I said the language would of necessity get muddy, and I think "so-to-speak" is funny and less gross than "in terms of."

So, there might be a limiting case of one mind, one percept and one concept, (I rather think the limiting case is always two, but more on that later) which can be interesting for thought experiments. But most of the time we're dealing with a reality which is the literal conspiracy of perhaps as many minds as we now conceive [sic] there are particles. Or it might be more proper to talk about the complexity of minds having some kind of equivalency to the complexity of otherwise physical matter.

As with physics, the difference between this description of reality and the more classical [sic] one of General Relativity combined with Quantum Mechanics, String theory and whatever else is out there, will only manifest itself at the margins.

For me, again we're talking 25 years ago now, one of those margins was the somewhat famous Twin Paradox, which to my knowledge always gets brushed away before it's effectively dealt with. The idea is that since according to Einsteins relativity theory time slows for a person in (relative) motion, then two twins in motion would perceive one another aging slowly relative to themselves (I use the modern gender-neutral corruption of grammar), thus creating a paradox.

The paradox is always explained away in terms of (there I go!) General Relativity and the idea that only one twin is accelerating relative to the other. But it seems simple enough to construct at least a thought experiment where perfect parity in acceleration as well as velocity is maintained for each of the twins, perfecting the paradox, and swiping away the solution.

But for me, there's no paradox, since the twins, of necessity, escape the conspiracy of minds which is all that ties them once physical, light-speed, contact is lost. Or you could say mind. In any case, there is simply no probability of their ever meeting again, and thus no paradox.

Once while sailing, I experienced a rather vivid realization of this principle. I'll tell the story in a moment, but fatherly duties call . . .

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