1
   

Philosophical Theory of Everything

 
 
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2008 01:08 am
This is a summary of what I have been researching and writing in my spare time for the last few years. During that time, I was trying to find an audience in the science community, but despite a general attitude of "Hey! That's cool!", they had little use for it. The obvious finally smacked me upside the head and I realized that I should be looking along the path of philosophy. I've done some shallow diving into philosophy but little else, so I decided to take some classes. In those classes, I learned that there is no "theory of everything" (a bit like the theory of everything that physicist are searching for). What I mean is, I learned that there are essentially five wisdoms in philosophy; we can categorize philosophers into five groups because every philosopher falls into one of these five groups base on a different way of describing "wisdom".

1. a quest for the fundamental principles, ideas, perspectives associated with understanding all of reality.

2. a quest for moral and spiritual fulfillment - "the good life"

3. a quest for the foundations of knowing (the period from Descartes through Kant) regarding the use of science

4. a quest for speaking clearly, logically, and with meaning and truth - the use of language

5. a quest to enter into dialog to understand and resolve the major issues and conflicts in human personal and social life.

I believe this "Philosophical Theory Of Everything" encompasses all of these philosophies and more.


_______________________________________________________________________

Foreword

If you're at least out of high school, and you were a reasonably good student, then the information in this document is already familiar to you, but it is important to realize that we are among the first generations on this planet to be blessed with this vast picture of the universe. People - particularly scientists, artists, theologians, and philosophers - have in essence been trying to get a better view of this place, of which we are and it, us.

This document will outline the structure of this philosophy and hopefully instill within you a desire to speak more on the subject. I will supply few citations for this information because it is generally available in any high school science text. It is that simple, that elegant, and as you will see, beautiful.



Introduction:

To begin this journey, we must look into the past. Starting at the beginning of the Universe, milliseconds after its birth, all the way up until right now. Afterwards, we'll look at the next logical step, an idea that may drastically change the way you see your place in the Universe.



Quarks:

We start this trip at the smallest bits of matter we know of, at a scale that we cannot actually see, a scale smaller than that of the atom. So we turn to what is called "The Standard Model", which is kind of a tool and parts kit to make atoms. The Standard Model consists of three of the four physical forces: the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism, as well as a laundry list of particles of matter. This includes six Leptons, five known Bosons plus a postulated sixth called the Higgs Boson, and a sextet of the particle that is our main focus at this point of our journey, the quark. The six quarks are named Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom, but the two we are most interested at this point are Up and Down. This is because to make a Neutron, you throw together two up quarks and a down quark, as well as some gluons, which stick the Quarks together by communicating the Strong Nuclear force (hence the name glue-on), and Presto! you've got a Neutron. A similar recipe involves two down quarks and an up quark instead, which produces a Proton.

So again, a variety of quarks come together to become a Neutron or a Proton. This union is facilitated by the exchange of information, achieved through the utilization of the strong nuclear force and its gluon messenger particle.



Atoms:


"To see the nucleus, we would have to blow up the atom to the size of the biggest dome in the world, the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. In an atom of that size, the nucleus would have the size of a grain of salt! A grain of salt in the middle of the dome of St. Peter's, and specks of dust whirling around it in the vast of space of the dome - this is how we can picture the nucleus and electrons of an atom."

All the stuff that we know about, and most likely all the stuff we don't know about is made of atoms. And as Frijtof Capra illustrated so beautifully in the quote above, the amount of matter in an atom is miniscule. Yet because of the strong force in the nucleus, as well as the electromagnetic force, which works between the nucleus and the surrounding electrons thereby "solidifying" the atom, matter is able to transcend its existence and become something much bigger than the sum of its parts. This instance of transcendence is a dramatic example of one of the behaviors of matter that we're focusing on in this document_ We've seen it twice now, strings or quarks transcending to become protons or neutrons, and the addition of the electron to transcend to the state of being an atom.

But the processes that run this world have limitations. The number of protons, neutrons and electrons that Nature can pack into an atom is restricted because it would take an inordinate amount of energy to keep such structures stable. As it is, the elements at the heavy end of Mendeleyev's periodic table exist only for tiny fractions of a second. So if matter were to transcend any more, it certainly wouldn't do it through becoming obese at the atomic level. The Universe had to take a different route.



Chemistry

The science of Chemistry looks at all the different kinds of substances and how they interact with each other. Or better still, how the atoms that make up each substance interact with each other. As I said, it is uneconomical and unstable for an atom to grow through the gain of atomic weight. So Nature did the next best thing, and began combining atoms in order to gain the aforementioned transcendence. In a sense, history repeated itself. The actions I described at the quark level occurred in the first milliseconds after the Big Bang, those particles became atoms soon afterwards, and now the process repeats itself and the atoms become molecules. Furthermore, those molecules repeat the process yet again, and begin forming into pretty much everything. This continues to be the general theme of matter, the unification of atoms to form stable configurations.

As Richard Dawkins stated in The Selfish Gene:

Darwin's survival of the fittest is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated with stable things. A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough, or common enough to deserve a name. The things that we see around us, and which we think of as needing explanation - rocks, trees, ocean waves - are all, to a lesser or greater extent, stable patterns of atoms. The earliest form of natural selection was the selection of stable forms and the rejection of unstable ones. There is no mystery about this; it had to happen by definition.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Dawkins was focusing on genetics, whereas we have yet to get that far. Let's finish off Chemistry first.

When elements are combined, they make compounds. This combining behavior occurs through the processes of covalent or ionic bonding. Whenever you see those ball-and-stick models of molecules, you're seeing a representation of ionic or covalent bonds. In order for these bonds to be possible, the atoms must negotiate the bond. If one atom passes electrons to another, each then has an electric charge and is attracted to the other like opposite poles of a magnet. This is an ionic bond, which metals tend to form. Nonmetals tend to make covalent bonds, which differ in that electrons are shared between atoms; the shared electrons are in a way weaving in and out between the bonded atoms. Another consideration to be taken when a deal is struck between atoms to become molecules is the number of chemical bonds available. Each element has a set number of bonds available by which it can connect to other elements. For instance, the carbon atom has the most chemical bonds at four, nitrogen three, hydrogen one, sulphur and oxygen each have two, etc. The process that allows individual atoms to combine into molecules requires that information regarding the number of chemical bonds be transferred between the prospective partner atoms. Much of the rest of chemistry involves the manipulation of these bonds through the application of energy, or the introduction of other materials. So as you can see, the core concept at this particular scale of matter (which we happen to call chemistry) essentially involves elements coming together, communicating their bonds through the utilization of the electromagnetic force, gravitation, and/or energy, to become the countless chemicals that populate the universe - the waters of the oceans, the nucleotides that make up our DNA, or large fiery balls of burning gas hanging in the heavens. Matter increases in complexity and transcends.



Cells

The first stirrings of life happened on the molecular level. As Carl Sagan explained in Cosmos:

"In those early days, lightning and ultraviolet light from the sun were breaking apart simple hydrogen rich molecules in the primitive atmosphere and the fragments of the molecules were spontaneously recombining into more and more complex molecules. The products of this early chemistry dissolved in the oceans forming a kind of 'organic soup' of gradually increasing complexity. Until one day, quite by accident, a molecule arose which was able to make crude copies of itself. Using as building blocks the other molecules in the soup."

"Four billion years ago, the ancestors of DNA were competing for molecular building blocks, and leaving crude copies of themselves. With reproduction, mutation, and natural selection the evolution of living molecules was well underway. Varieties with specialized functions then joined together, making a collective, the first cell."


And Richard Dawkins said the following in The Selfish Gene

Other replicators (DNA ancestors) perhaps discovered how to protect themselves, either chemically, or by building a physical wall of protein around themselves. This may have been how the first living cells appeared.

Endosymbiotic TheoryBiology and Communication:

At one point in the evolution of matter, single-celled life forms arose on our planet, the result of eons of trial and error on behalf of protein spewing DNA and others of it kind. Eventually, some of these single-celled organisms evolved into multi-celled organisms, and the race between hunted and hunter propelled the process forward from there. But in its struggle to obtain the resources required to stay alive, matter also required communication. Just as information exchange is vital to the stability of the atom and its parts, so it is for the living organisms that populate our earth. The first nervous system was born from the need for communication between the cells of multi-celled animals. As a simple example, we could imagine a primitive ten-celled organism, something like a worm. The cells of our imaginary worm would need to be able to communicate with each other, cell number one would need to know what cell number ten is doing and thereby cooperate, lest our worm rip itself apart. That communications network, which became the nervous system, is vital to all multi-celled animals. In fact, animal brains are born from the nervous system and probably began as something like an information router or hub.

Brains eventually developed sophisticated methods of communication between themselves. And now the human brain has found ways to communicate over very long distances. Communication, or the exchange of information, is a driving force behind matter and how it behaves. Communication and/or information exchange is achieved through the use of the gluons of the strong nuclear force, the photons of electromagnetism, the gravitons of gravity, the dance of a honeybee, the roar of a lion, or the ring of a phone. Communication is the catalyst for cooperation and unification.

Invention

What do you think are the five greatest inventions ever?

Some of the usual and most common answers to this question might be the computer, airplane, television, radio, the automobile, or indoor plumbing. Notice that each one of these advancements, directly or indirectly improves our ability to come together, to communicate, and to get along with one another (especially indoor plumbing). Expand your list to the 20 greatest inventions ever and I think you'll find that at least 75% of them share the same trait.

This is not a coincidence.

It's what matter does.



Love

What three things in your life are most important to you?

The usual and most common answers are family, friends, often one person in particular, community, country, the arts, religion, career. One obvious characteristic of each of these things is that they would not be possible without coming together, communication, and cooperation. Even some of the uncommon answers one might give, such as practicing a martial art, being a Dead Head or a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, owning a classic automobile, or coaching a youth soccer team, all these things, in order to be its most fulfilling, require communication and coming together with others, and in turn reward us with a sense of belonging. They require joining a dojo, or hanging out with fellow fans, or going to Hot August Nights in Reno, or teaching your players the finer points of a through pass. In order for any of these things so close to our hearts to be successful, even to exist requires cooperation and communication.



What is it good for?

But it's not all wine and roses, is it? The world is full of darkness and bad things. Much of this has to do with self-preservation, not just on a personal level, but also on a national level, which includes all those long marches and bloody struggles. Of course you realize this means war. All nations, tribes, kingdoms, dynasties, and empires at one point or another throughout history actively sought to (seek to) expand their borders. Although there are many reasons for doing so such as resources, wealth, etc. the underlying effect has been to unify as much of the world as possible under one rule. The conquerors would then assimilate the conquered into their societies, encouraging them through various means to subscribe to their religions, political systems, or other beliefs. Also note that when the conqueror engages in activities that go beyond normal warfare, such as ethnic cleansing or genocide, it is a greater affront to our sensibilities. War becomes more so an atrocity in those instances because the element of unification in war is in effect greatly reduced. As far as mankind is concerned, the most violent manifestation of this larger overall behavior pattern is war.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.



Business


In this modern day world, the act of conquering nations is frowned upon and discouraged by the global community. This is obviously a good thing since we are hopefully reducing the amount of killing that has so permeated our history. Therefore, humanity has found alternatives to war in order to continue unifying, and one of those is through international business.

Although the goal of business is the accumulation of wealth, there remains an underlying theme. For instance, over the past century, usage of the English language has propagated around the world because it is widely recognized as the language of business, at least for now. More recently however, international business has not only established a spoken language, but the mediums though which the communication travels. To do business with the likes of the US, Germany, Japan, China, India, or the UK, a country must possess the infrastructure required to communicate effectively, such as telephones, computers, LANs, WANs, the ability to understand EDI, XML, Rosettanet, as well as an understanding of other "languages" such as DOS, Unix, or C++. Whether through the communication between companies as business partners, or the cooperation between nations as allies due to mutual business-based agreements, the behavior pattern of unifying, communicating, cooperating, and transcending is illustrated quite clearly as vital to the existence of the very concept of business.



Trivial Pursuits

Why do we put bumper sticker on our cars, or modify the engine and/or stereo so you can hear the car before you see it? Why do some us want to drive fancy sports cars, while others, big four-wheel drive trucks? I know a number of people with personalized license plates. What purpose do they serve other than identify their vehicles?

It is all a form of communication; a one-way signal to the world that conveys a message, one that is personal in nature, varying from driver to driver. If you tried, you could probably discern a little bit about the personality of a car owner by just looking at their car.

Fashion is very much the same thing. As are tattoos, piercings, dancing, performing, bodybuilding, graffiti, and certain home improvements such as landscaping. These are all attempts to communicate a message to anyone who'll look. That message may be anything from "I'm rich" to "I'm sexually active" to "I'm an antiestablishmentarianist", or "I am rebelling against the utter futility and inherent evil of conforming to society". The primary purpose for engaging in these activities is to communicate. Even thought it's one-way, it's still communication, it's still compelling to many of us.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It should now be readily apparent that I am drawing parallels between human nature and a repeating behavior pattern in the nature of matter as viewed from a grander scope. Amongst all scales of matter, regardless of how small, how big, living or non-living, matter will unite, facilitated by an exchange of information, and become something larger than the sum of its parts. And then, upon reaching a level of stability, it does it all over again. Over and over, again and again.

It's what matter does.

This behavior pattern will be referred to as the Universal Behavior Pattern or UBP.



Entropy

If we consider the result of all this unification, communication, and transcendence, we see that a general resistance to entropy is really the ultimate goal. "Success" is to resist the inevitability of entropic forces acting against you by following the UBP. The very opposite of atoms transcending from protons, neutrons, and electrons, is decay, and decay happens at every level. Bodies decay, molecules decay, stars decay, cities decay. Everything falls apart; it's just a matter of time.

But for the most part no body and no thing wants to fall apart. And that would apparently include quarks, atoms, molecules, and cells. They don't even think, yet they know that coming together is a good thing. Matter wants to follow this universal behavior pattern to become more than what it is. Why does matter resist entropy?

Consider something else. There have been a number of projects implemented to research small robots and their uses. One curious finding during these experiments was that these relatively simple small robots would exhibit flocking behavior, much as you would expect from birds, fish, or ants. The robots are like ants in that each ant really only knows what it can sense in front of and underneath it, as well as the ant next to it and the piece of food an inch away. It merely responds to its local environment. But in doing so, it is quite curious that the tendency towards unification is also achieved. Dead or alive, matter exhibits this behavior pattern. A need to flock, a tendency towards unification, an opposing stance against entropy, because entropy is something that matter would like to avoid if at all possible. I realize that I am getting uncomfortably anthropomorphic here, but as I see it, since we ourselves are matter come to know itself, then the reasons we as humans resist entropy are just as valid a reason why entropy is resisted at the atomic, molecular or cellular level. Then again, we don't even know why entropy is resisted at those lower levels; so really, as far as we know the only answers to that question are the ones that we ourselves can give. Entropy is decay, rot, death, and destruction; as perfect an antithesis as Satan is to God. Life, love, a really great party, those are the good things in life. Entropy sucks. Why shouldn't we resist it?

But the dualistic nature of the universe would seem to dictate that entropy also has a good side and is a necessary evil. Whatever entropic event occurred that wiped out the dinosaurs, as horrible as it must have been, led to the eventual rise of humanity, which I consider to be a good thing. The American Revolutionary war was a terrible and bloody struggle in which the English were fighting to keep the colonies faithful to the crown and part of the British Empire, whereas the colonists were trying to break away and become a sovereign nation unto themselves. George Washington and the American founding fathers fought for an entropic cause. As a US citizen, I'm going to take patriotic license and say that was a good thing too.

So entropy, despite it being a primarily negative aspect of the universe, also has its uses. Matter, in its pursuit of coming together and transcending, will often encounter entropy in one aspect that might advance its cause in another. We eat, which is an entropic experience for our food, so that we can live our lives, which are likely far richer in nature than the lives of our food. Life is born from death.

Entropy also pushes living matter to improve. It provides impetus to strive for higher levels of complexity. Carnivores provide an entropic aspect to the lives of their prey. Therefore, the prey must constantly strive to improve. They must get better, stronger and faster to stay alive and avoid entropy. But this behavior is not limited to living matter. Since the very beginning of the universe, matter has strived towards complexity, the net effect of which has been a progression of transcendence, from the very small, to the very large, and any which way between.



Entre Nous

There is a deep and meaningful lesson that we can learn from lower forms of matter. Notice that despite this entire coming together and cooperating and communicating, the individual components of the higher-level entity maintain a certain level of sovereignty. No one nucleotide rules DNA, none of the three components of the atom is completely dominant, as are neither of the three quarks, monopolies are ultimately unstable, a father is part of a family and at the same time a man unto himself.

The future of humanity must contain components of coming together, cooperating, communicating, achieving a level of stability, and transcending, but at the same time maintaining respect for the individual. Although this only partially narrows the scope of the direction in which we are traveling, does it not make sense that upon gaining knowledge of the importance of this Universal Behavior Pattern that we begin considering our options? It's as if we've been coasting down a road, fortunate in our way despite the fact that nobody's in the driver's seat. Isn't it about time that we started steering? That we start thinking about how we go about coming together, communicating, and becoming something bigger and better than the sum of its parts?



Needs


If you consider Maslow's pyramid of needs, one can see how the UBP fits nicely within that framework. The lower levels of the pyramid are akin to maintaining stability as a sovereign entity (this is the realm of medicine) whereas the higher levels of the pyramid speak of belonging to something grander than oneself. This independent interdependence is much the same as the proton is independently interdependent within the structure of an atom, or as family members are independently interdependent within the structure of the family, or the Marketing department within the structure of a company. The UBP gives birth to things like patriotism, religion, labor unions, Sharks fans, quilting bees, chat rooms, cell phones, blogging, town hall meetings, the desire to start a family, or the need to find someone to spend your life with.



Runaway Anthropomorphism


PARIS (AFP) - Stars may be unable to grow beyond about 150 times the mass of our Sun, according to a study. The theory is put forward by Donald Figer of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, who used the Hubble telescope to scan the Arches, a thick cluster of some 100 very big stars near the centre of the Milky Way. Published in the British weekly science journal Nature. In this region of space that is ideal for stellar growth, Figer saw no star that was bigger than 130 times the mass of the Sun, and suggests a "firm limit" for individual stars of 150 times. "If there are stellar systems more massive than the limit, then perhaps they are binaries (stars that revolve closely around each other) or products of mergers of lower-mass stars," Figer proposes.

Atomic particles, since they could not expand past a given size, had to find different ways of expanding to stay on pace with the expanding universe. It would seem that stars also have a similar predicament, and so similarly necessitating the need for galaxies and other star clusters.

It is Somethingness fighting or trying to keep up with Nothingness.

Matter is trying to avoid becoming insignificant, so it tries every way it can to be big. Sure, stars and planets are big, but not big enough all by themselves, so they form galaxies. But perhaps even galaxies are limited, so matter must find still more ways of making something of itself.

It seems that since the universe is expanding, matter must find a way to expand along with it, but matter is not expanding in the same sense that the universe is expanding. That is, universal expansion can be thought of like a balloon expanding, this is something that matter cannot do. No matter how big the universe gets, an electron will stay the same size. Therefore, at the risk of becoming insignificant, matter it would seem must find a way to become bigger than it really is, to transcend to a larger scale through the economic utilization of the available matter in the universe. Hence, we see transcendence of great proportions as in the case of atoms (remember St. Peters?), or economical use of materials in construction such as the use of water in life.

If matter did not follow this behavior pattern, if it did not unite and transcend, then matter would become very insignificant in the midst of space; a cloud of quarks or strings in some lonely corner of the universe. But through the laws of nature; be they the laws of gravity, or electromagnetism, or the strong nuclear force, matter has a larger "footprint" on the universe in comparison to the amount of matter that's actually used. And now that matter has come to know itself, it uses those same forces to unite and transcend in other ways.

Judging from the deeply rooted tendencies within human nature, as well as the nature of matter itself, it would also seem that we are now expected to follow in those footsteps, to find ways of becoming more that just the sum of our parts. We need to become big, but economically so, by utilizing as little matter as possible. Given that this is achieved through forces of nature, our use of electro-magnetism for communications might somehow provide the medium through which our transcendence will be accomplished (the Internet being a sure ingredient).

The importance that we as humans place on this behavior pattern is so great that to an extent it determines our "right" and "wrong". Actions performed for the better of the group or the entity to which we belong are often likely to be considered altruistic, such as "taking one for the team". Whereas actions performed that promote destruction of the entity are often likely to viewed as bad, selfish, or greedy.



Connecting Science and God

Hopefully, I have successfully and briefly illustrated to you a repeating phenomenon in the history of the universe. The science behind it is strong, and the sheer simplicity of the concept borders on childish. But there is distinct beauty behind this idea. The idea that if entities of matter unify and, through the use of effective information exchange or communication, cooperate in just the right way, then the next predictable step is transcendence to something that can quite literally change the universe.

Once again:

Amongst all scales of matter, regardless of how small, how big, living or non-living, matter will unite, facilitated by an exchange of information, and become something larger than the sum of its parts. And then, upon reaching a level of stability, it does it all over again. Over and over, again and again.



As a side argument to this philosophy, I am proposing that this may be the primary, and possibly only information that has been passed down to us from what might be a higher power.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,592 • Replies: 35
No top replies

 
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 11:21 am
@Bomzaway,
Hi Bomzaway! That made for very interesting and rewarding reading IMO. I might not be with you %100 on everything, but in fact, I rather enjoyed and liked your theory in general.

For one thing, you and I both accept the general idea of entropy. You've just gone a different direction with it than I ever had. So, could I do your theory partial justice with the statement that (contrary to normal intuition) entropy itself is a driving force behind order? And if so, would you say it is A driving force, or THE driving force? At this point I'd probably venture to say that it would be A driving force, while the nature of matter is the other. Your thoughts?

Also, two questions from my Theistic perspective, but which would not in any way discredit your theory: Have you come to any ideas about where or from what matter and energy came from in the first place? And also, have you come to any ideas about why matter should behave as you have described it? (With the "desire" to transend and then survive?)
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jan, 2008 10:06 pm
@Bomzaway,
I think it's a mistake for you to incorporate science into a philosophical theory unless you're willing to have your philosophical theory live or die with the strength of the underlying science.

Some philosophers have good literacy in science, some don't. But not even scientists have a comprehensive enough knowledge in science to speak authoritatively outside their own field. So if a philosopher takes for granted the changing field of science, then that philosopher can be completely arbitrary in accepting or rejecting certain findings, and that philosopher can be stuck defending theories that are no longer tenable once the science changes. Furthermore, how can a philosopher even be sure that they understand science? Your understanding of entropy has essentially nothing to do with entropy as a scientific concept, so you're just using the word idiosyncratically (or at best colloquially).

Does the world care if physicists come up with a unifying theory of everything? Not even all physicists do. So what, we may some day have a rational mathematical statement that is the result of zero experimentation and a lot of highly caffeinated pontification that invokes theoretical dimensions. Does it get us any closer to understanding ourselves? Is it philosophically necessary? Is it physically necessary?

So I am not really satisfied with the project you've presented, at least in the way you've presented it. If you really want a philosophical theory of everything, your incorporation of science must boil down to one of the following statements:

1) Existence is fundamentally defined by the physical parameters of the universe.
2) Existence is NOT fundamentally defined by the physical parameters of the universe.

If you're a dualist, then you're going to go for number 2, because there will be a spiritual or metaphysical or divine realm that is not beholden to physical parameters.

If you're a pure scientist, then you're going to acknowledge that ALL science (including the scientific explanations behind human self-consciousness and psychology) is a matter of discoveries within the physical realm, and therefore cannot be all-encompassing about the physical realm. In other words, all the details, like quarks and atoms all the way up to macroeconomics, is simply incidental to the whole statement.

Incidentally, there HAVE been theories of everything. Existentialism simply states that we exist, first and foremost, and everything else including meaning comes secondarily. Descartes attributed everything to the two fundamental givens of human consciousness and God. The Scholastics put God central to everything. Analytical psychology had its own theories.

Quote:
1. a quest for the fundamental principles, ideas, perspectives associated with understanding all of reality.

2. a quest for moral and spiritual fulfillment - "the good life"

3. a quest for the foundations of knowing (the period from Descartes through Kant) regarding the use of science

4. a quest for speaking clearly, logically, and with meaning and truth - the use of language

5. a quest to enter into dialog to understand and resolve the major issues and conflicts in human personal and social life.

I believe this "Philosophical Theory Of Everything" encompasses all of these philosophies and more.

You're facing problems of both contingency and epistemology here. How do we know anything, and what depends on what? These are all human questions, and can be reduced to what I think are some of the fundamental aspects of philosophy:

1. Philosophy only exists within human minds. It is a human endeavor.
2. We create philosophy because we are forever tortured by the fact that we are both a person and a thing. As a person, we prioritize, we rationalize, we organize, we make sense of things. As a thing, we hurt, we live, we die, and we need (in a biological way). This conflict spawns dualism, transcendental thought (i.e. a justification for something longer lived than our collective biological lives), and it also spawns theories about subjectivity.
3. All your questions are an explosion of this conflict in number 2 -- take the complex human experience, throw it into a prism, and out of it you get ethics, metaphysics, science, religion, as well as everything from organized philosophy down to solipsism.

Science has epistemological strengths, but it has metaphysical limitations. Thus, it's a misappropriation of science to 'transcendentalize' it. I, for one, think of metaphysics as little more than an ornate act of denial on the part of people who like to celebrate their own rationality, and it lives or dies solely based on the crafty use of language (rather than reason). That's not that I would transcendentalize science, far from it -- but that's because there is a difference between the physical principles of physical existence, as opposed to science which is the human intellectual endeavor to uncover and understand those principles.
Bomzaway
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 03:34 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I think it's a mistake for you to incorporate science into a philosophical theory unless you're willing to have your philosophical theory live or die with the strength of the underlying science...


You response suggests to me that you've misinterpreted what I've written (except for your comment on my use of the word "entropy" - which I agree with but I've not changed yet)

First of all, YES, I am willing to have my philosophical theory live or die with the strength of the underlying science. That's because I can state with extreme confidence that the underlying science required to "see" what I'm talking about is comprised of some of the most rock-solid theories in scientific history, including the Standard Model and Evolution. These truths are very unlikely to change. I'm not drawing my conclusions from obscure theories out of the university of nowhere or the results of some mind experiment performed by two guys on LSD, these are basic and extremely fundamental scientific theories.

Second, your perception of my emphasis on science is skewed such that you seem to think science is somehow required for this theory to exist. However, the truth is that the UBP exists regardless of science. It's not a result of science, it's a discovery of science; just as a new planet is not a result of science, but a discovery of science. From the beginning of time (as far as we know) the UBP dovetailed out over the eons to the point where it soon became ubiquitous. It's everywhere, and undeniable. The science itself is only required in order to recognize that the first thing the universe started doing after the Big Bang was the UBP - after that the instances of UBP increase exponentially such that it's essentially a vast and expansive truism.

Does that narrow things down any?
Bomzaway
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 03:40 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
Hi Bomzaway! That made for very interesting and rewarding reading IMO. I might not be with you %100 on everything, but in fact, I rather enjoyed and liked your theory in general.

For one thing, you and I both accept the general idea of entropy. You've just gone a different direction with it than I ever had. So, could I do your theory partial justice with the statement that (contrary to normal intuition) entropy itself is a driving force behind order? And if so, would you say it is A driving force, or THE driving force? At this point I'd probably venture to say that it would be A driving force, while the nature of matter is the other. Your thoughts?

Also, two questions from my Theistic perspective, but which would not in any way discredit your theory: Have you come to any ideas about where or from what matter and energy came from in the first place? And also, have you come to any ideas about why matter should behave as you have described it? (With the "desire" to transend and then survive?)




Assuming that we're using the term entropy as a catch-all term for "destruction and other similar actions", then yes, I think it is A driving force.


As for your other questions, I don't know. There's no reliable data available to tell us "from what?", or "why?" of the universe. I cannot comment.
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 04:18 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway wrote:
Assuming that we're using the term entropy as a catch-all term for "destruction and other similar actions", then yes, I think it is A driving force.


As for your other questions, I don't know. There's no reliable data available to tell us "from what?", or "why?" of the universe. I cannot comment.

Fair enough. Thanks for the response. Smile
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 08:23 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway wrote:
First of all, YES, I am willing to have my philosophical theory live or die with the strength of the underlying science.

Then can you consolidate your theory? Can you attribute all philosophy, all philosophical problems, etc, to the neurobiologic underpinnings of the human mind (which in turn arise from the underlying physics, chemistry, biology)? Because even if I take for granted that even belief in God is ultimately the result of neurotransmitters and synapses and neuroanatomy (which I do believe), that still leaves us with the dissatisfyingly young science of neuropsychology, in which we really cannot scientifically account for complex thoughts. That's not to say that complex thoughts should be doubted -- but we certainly don't know enough to bridge the gap between neurobiology, and it's very likely that we never will.

Quote:
I can state with extreme confidence that the underlying science required to "see" what I'm talking about is comprised of some of the most rock-solid theories in scientific history, including the Standard Model and Evolution. These truths are very unlikely to change.

They constantly change. Evolution can be summarized concisely, but evolutionary science is constantly added to and amended as science changes. So I guess it comes down to your degree of resolution -- how much variability in a live, changing science are you willing to incorporate? How abreast of it do you need to stay in order to keep your theory up to date?

Quote:
these are basic and extremely fundamental scientific theories

While I agree, unless you're going into the evidence, you have to take it all for granted, which philosophically is a precarious position to be in.

Quote:
Second, your perception of my emphasis on science is skewed such that you seem to think science is somehow required for this theory to exist. However, the truth is that the UBP exists regardless of science. It's not a result of science, it's a discovery of science; just as a new planet is not a result of science, but a discovery of science. From the beginning of time (as far as we know) the UBP dovetailed out over the eons to the point where it soon became ubiquitous. It's everywhere, and undeniable. The science itself is only required in order to recognize that the first thing the universe started doing after the Big Bang was the UBP - after that the instances of UBP increase exponentially such that it's essentially a vast and expansive truism.

I like your ideas -- but they almost have more romantic power than philosophical power. They express that a theory of everything is nearly synonymous with an eternal human quest for knowledge, and the theory is, basically, the 'state of the art' in this human quest.
Justin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 11:10 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway, this is a splendid post. I like your explanation and it would certainly be a good start for anyone interested in philosophy, thanks!

One thing, about the DNA and covering it with proteins. From what I've researched, the DNA is covered by protein. The DNA doesn't actually do anything other than provide a blueprint for the RNA and it would do that once the protein is released. I'm led to believe perception controls this and essentially is the control of the atom. Smile - another discussion.. We touched on it in this post.

Anyway, fantastic summary and well written. Enjoyed, indeed.

Life is rather simple... we just keep complicating it.:confused:
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 11:10 am
@Justin,
Justin wrote:
From what I've researched, the DNA is covered by protein. The DNA doesn't actually do anything other than provide a blueprint for the RNA and it would do that once the protein is released. I'm led to believe perception controls this and essentially is the control of the atom.

Indeed a whole other topic, but I'll summarize it briefly. We have several families of large organic macromolecules in the body: nucleic acids (DNA + RNA), carbohydrates, lipids (fats), and proteins. Proteins are by far the most diverse and complicated in terms of their roles, structures, functions, etc. A protein's primary structure is determined by its sequence of amino acids. The sequence of amino acids is stuck together in order in the ribosome (a structure made from protein and RNA) according to the nucleic acid sequence on a messenger RNA.

The messenger RNA is the reciprocal sequence of the gene (DNA) that encodes that protein. Yes, there is some post-transcription modification to that RNA, but basically DNA encodes proteins via RNA as an intermediary. An enzyme called RNA polymerase is what reads the DNA and synthesizes the complementary messenger RNA (mRNA).

Now, DNA is coiled up around proteins called histones, and as such it is inaccessible to RNA. The process of regulating histones is an extremely active area of research, and there are things like chemical modification (like acetylation) that control them.

Once DNA is exposed, however, it is transcribed (i.e. expressed) because each gene has a 'promoter sequence' that gets recognized by RNA polymerase. The efficiency of this recognition depends on the sequence, can be modified by numerous other functional proteins (that will up-regulate or down-regulate expression), and this regulation (in many cases) is stimulated by extracellular or intercellular signals like hormones and cytokines and drugs.

Perception may control some of this by virtue of the neurotransmitters and downstream neurendocrine effects of our neurologic sensations. It all boils down to the atom in the end, but I think atomic physics loses the forest for the trees in this case -- the uniqueness of this biological system happens at a different level, i.e. that of macromolecules and molecular interactions.
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 10:04 am
@Aedes,
I read your post and can confirm that I identified something similar in my own research. I described it as 'the development of forms of informational organization.' I wasn't able to make much of it and adopted biological evolution as my basis, but I do know the next step, the next transcendence - what it is, and how it can be achieved.

You are correct to identify (and wonder at) the progression of forms of organization: physics, chemistry, biology, awareness, knowledge, invention - and to view these as a progression, each arising from the last, toward greater complexity, in contradiction of entropy.

What troubles me is that you do not identify a cause, but as a parting gesture suggest this UBP might be ascribed to a higher power. It could be that there's a fundamental paradox underlying the existence of the universe - giving rise to the particular physical conditions that give rise to chemistry as a means of addressing this paradox, in turn giving rise to biology, awareness and so on, this paradox being worked out by the development of forms of informational organization. I don't know enough about physics or chemistry to entirely understand your explanation of why a physical universe gave rise to chemical properties, but I'm pretty damn sure it wasn't because God said 'Let there be hydrogen.' (or is it helium, or beryllium first?)

Nonetheless, this borderland is where I'd look for clues, for without identifying a real cause, we require the return of your higher power for every physical effect, every chemical reaction, every biological coupling - and were this your assertion it is accounted for by pantheism - the idea that we and everything else are aspects of God. Yes, you have described 'a repeating phenomenon in the history of the universe' but I'm sorry to say I don't see how this accounts for any of the 5 aims you identify.

  • A Theory of Everything - no, for you rely on a higher/external power not explained in terms of the theory.
  • The Good Life - no, your philosophy seems to condone any collective activity from spelling bees and little league through to capitalism and warfare.
  • Knowledge - again, this philosophy doesn't tell me how to apply reason to achieve valid knowledge.
  • Language - no, this doesn't tell me what's meaningful or how to communicate truth.
  • Conflict resolution - again, I can't suppose that the behavior of elementary particles will predict the behavior of my neighbor.

It's clear you have a sincere interest and I really do think you're onto something, but I do not think you can simply omit the meaningful quality of human existence. As I say, in my own work I kept this idea in the back of my mind and wrote with biology, or evolution as a basis, for in these terms the present moment can be resolved - whereas it's very difficult to resolve the present meaningful reality in terms of atoms, let alone quarks.
As an analogy consider trying to resolve 'the firing of a gun' in terms of 99% the speed of light over two miles. While there's some all embracing temporal continuity it would be ludicrous to suggest the two events could occur at the same time because in the time between the pulling of the trigger and the striking of the hammer, the light has traveled there and back and there and back again.
Regarding the next transcendence, if one flips the whole equation 180 degrees, looking at it in terms of what we do know, the real, demonstrably valid practical science of it all, if humankind began to behave in accordance with their knowledge of reality - not only could they survive into the long distant future, but harmonize with the developmental continuity you allude to, running throughout the very fabric of reality - and which, almost as a function of our being we come to knowledge of!!! It's like all we have to do is step onto the indicated spot and we can sort energy, climate, hunger - the works. It's all scientifically possible - and who knows what it might be possible to achieve in such a future. That so, it's always tempting - when one finds a way in, to skip through the long grass out into the endless meadow of philosophy as if one had not a care in the world - but believe me, there be monsters here. Read more widely and do something you shouldn't - regards, iconoclast.

Bomzaway
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 02:42 am
@iconoclast,
iconoclast wrote:
What troubles me is that you do not identify a cause,


I don't identify a cause because it's not possible to do so.

It seems to me that the Universal Behavior Pattern is something on par with a computer algorithm - a command of sorts programmed into the foundational workings of the universe. The universe is not specific as to how the UBP need be carried out, just that it be done. The materials available to the universe to do this were at first minimal - the various components of The Standard Model (six Leptons, five known Bosons plus a postulated sixth called the Higgs Boson, and six Quarks) - so the results were limited. Those results however, were fed back into the UBP command to generate 100+ different atoms. Moving forward through time, the previous result (all the various kind of atoms) were again fed back into the UBP command, but given the greater variety of materials to work with (more variables) the universe produced the millions and millions of molecules that exist in the universe.

This "equation" would seem to me to be something along the line of the Mandelbrot Set, an equation that feeds its results back into itself - thereby producing chaos, then order, then chaos, etc. This systematic feeding of the results of the UBP back into UBP itself is the primary command "programmed" into the universe. Did some intelligent being "enter" the command or did it arise somehow naturally?

It is only here that I suggest a possible higher power. Not because I believe there is such a thing, but because tracing the UBP back to the beginning of the universe takes us to a point where we kind of come to the end of our epistemological rope. Science takes a similar tack when considering the Anthropic Principle (which I assume you know about).

I'm not necessarily sold on the higher power thing, but some people really need that spiritual side of life - some being agnostic or just not religious because they're sick of the bullshit. I think this is a logically viable argument should someone want to take up the higher power torch and run with it.


But despite this point, which is a whole conversation in itself, it is only a side note. The largest impact of this idea comes from the possible results. Because it seems quite clear to me that as far as living matter on planet earth is concerned, we're the only species that has the capability to somehow be the next thing in our little corner of the universe to "transcend" significantly. That is, to act out the UBP and become something larger than the sum of its parts.

Imagine that humanity finds a way to correctly enact the UBP. Regardless of whether or not the world has read this idea, let's say nations find a way to unite, cooperate through the use of effective communication (like say, via the internet) and we transcend - we declare ourselves "Earthlings". Then what? To what would we transcend and become? Throughout the history of the universe, transcendence involves uniting with similar entities. So to that point, I'm going to propose the possibility that extra-terrestrials would be those "similar entities".

It's not outside the scope of reason. There may be aliens out there that we may begin friendships with, or perhaps we're all there is in the universe and so we venture out into space, spreading like dandelions in the front yard. Whatever the case may be, let's say we eventually become some sort of federation of planets utilizing electro-magnetism or maybe gravity to communicate. So here we are slowly growing and remaining unified through communication. We are successful, and our Intergalactic Empire grows. We have transcended.

Now, take a quantum leap and pretend you are Zeus, high upon Olympus, such that you can see the entire universe in a font of water.
Now here's this thing floating in the water. You've never seen it before, but it's grown large enough to catch your attention. Upon closer examination, you realize that it's made up of tiny bits of matter (the planets of the federation), but it's more than that, because there are forces of nature (our communications) being exchanged between the bits of matter, so there's a sort of substance to it.

That's a familiar story, isn't it - little bits of matter being held together by a force of nature?

Anyway, since time is one of Zeus' playthings, fast-forward the universe to see what happens to the thing. Following the same behavior pattern, the thing grows. Maybe other things appear and they grow too. Perhaps to Zeus, it looks like the water is freezing. Some sort of crystallization is occurring. To us, our civilization is growing and spreading across the universe.

But let's not forget. The thing in Zeus' font is our Intergalactic Empire, which is made up of planets, which is made up of nations, which are made up of states, which are made up of cities and towns, which are made up of families, which are made up of people who love each other.


iconoclast wrote:
A Theory of Everything


A theory of everything? Yeah, I may have been just a wee bit rash in titling it as such, but I do feel that it touches on, and identifies the "why's" in regards to the importance of each form of wisdom. Most recently however, I've been toying with the idea that this might be some kind of Summum bonum, but I have to think about that some more.

iconoclast wrote:
The Good Life - no, your philosophy seems to condone any collective activity from spelling bees and little league through to capitalism and warfare.


You misunderstood. Those are merely examples of the way humanity unknowingly follows the UBP, regardless of good or bad.

As for the Good Life? Given the Zeus extrapolation above (which is, provided that humanity doesn't commit some kind of global Hara-kiri, a logically possible future outcome) the UBP is solid proof (described my the OP) that all these things are universal virtues:

1. Getting along with each other
2. Respecting each others right to exist
3. Communicating effectively (which I interpret as openly and honestly)
4. Coming together, becoming a part of something larger than oneself and using that larger something as a vehicle to further extend the first three virtues.

Virtuous I mean, by way of outcome. That is, judging from the historical record I illustrate, whatever it might be that we transcend to would likely be pretty extraordinary. A good guess is that it would be good for humanity as a whole. Moreover, it provides an incentive to live a virtuous life because there is a logically viable positive outcome for the effort - a positive outcome that's far more substantial than some heavenly estate in some afterlife.

Second, all of these things would agree with just about any moral code, religious value system, mythos, etc. One might think that this is of no great consequence because anyone can make up a moral code that agrees with such belief systems. However, I didn't make this up, and the UBP has been active since the beginning of time. So in reality, everything else - the Golden Rule, the Eightfold Path, the Ten Commandments, Taoism, Confucianism, the Hindu niyama and yamas, the Code of Ma'at, even the Moral Zeitgeist of atheism are merely culturally biased interpretations of the UBP.

iconoclast wrote:
Knowledge - again, this philosophy doesn't tell me how to apply reason to achieve valid knowledge.


This perspective only weakly relates to this. Just simple Descartes and Kant - all philosophical ideas have to be examined, compared, and contrasted to scientific ideas.

iconoclast wrote:
Language - no, this doesn't tell me what's meaningful or how to communicate truth.


Communication is touched upon by the UBP because it is the means by which the entire process is enacted. It is of utmost importance.

iconoclast wrote:
Conflict resolution - again, I can't suppose that the behavior of elementary particles will predict the behavior of my neighbor.


The UBP expresses a lot of the things that we already know about conflict resolution - the four virtues I list above explain the relationship.

I sincerely appreciate your comments. Thank you.
Bomzaway
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 02:52 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Then can you consolidate your theory? Can you attribute all philosophy, all philosophical problems, etc, to the neurobiologic underpinnings of the human mind (which in turn arise from the underlying physics, chemistry, biology)? Because even if I take for granted that even belief in God is ultimately the result of neurotransmitters and synapses and neuroanatomy (which I do believe), that still leaves us with the dissatisfyingly young science of neuropsychology, in which we really cannot scientifically account for complex thoughts. That's not to say that complex thoughts should be doubted -- but we certainly don't know enough to bridge the gap between neurobiology, and it's very likely that we never will.
*****
Evolution can be summarized concisely, but evolutionary science is constantly added to and amended as science changes. So I guess it comes down to your degree of resolution -- how much variability in a live, changing science are you willing to incorporate? How abreast of it do you need to stay in order to keep your theory up to date?


One of the strangest aspects of this is that is has qualities similar to that of one of those Magic Eye pictures that were so popular back in the 90's. Remember those? If you looked too close at the details you couldn't see the picture, but if you relaxed and allowed yourself to see the thing as a whole, the real picture comes into view.

This concept is quite similar. If you look at the details, you lose the picture. One must keep oneself from mentally delving too deeply into the chaos of things. If you recall, the science required to understand this is the most basic in nature. The examples of UBP activity I provided are largely primer level introductions to the major sciences; quantum physics, chemistry, genetics, biology, sociology, as well as key and well-established theories such as asymbiosis, and the jump from single-celled organisms to multi-cellular life. You can find this stuff at your local Barnes and Noble in some of those kids encyclopedias published by Dorling Kindersley, a few of which are my reference materials. There is some significance to this simplicity in that it belies the fact that this elementary science - some of them childishly simple commentaries on the nature of the universe around us - came from the extremely complex world of science, spanning centuries of effort from countless individuals. Therefore, these scientific basics that I illustrated could be accurately described as emergent truths evolving from the chaos of scientific theory.


That said, you are absolutely correct in saying that scientific theories change all the time, but at this point in human development, it's mostly the details that change, not the foundational theories upon which they are built.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 01:32 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway wrote:
it's mostly the details that change, not the foundational theories upon which they are built.

I can't fully agree with this, because the foundational theories are forever a work in progress. Sure, the "central dogma" of molecular biology (DNA -> RNA -> protein and DNA <-> DNA) has been well established for decades. But this is not all that useful compared with how fundamentally new research has revolutionized our understanding of this -- particularly post-transcriptional mRNA modification, post-translational protein modifications, feedback loops, functional RNAs, siRNA (small inhibitory RNAs), promoters, reading frames, and modification of histones. In other words, the original theory has been so vividly supplemented that it has almost faded back to 'template' status.
0 Replies
 
Edvin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 03:27 am
@Bomzaway,
Interesting post! I haven't had the time to read it all, but your take on evoluion was interesting. Do you realy see the fundamental dynamics of nature inhabit all of existence? Fritjof Capra argues that in order to survive as a species one most conform to these dynamics, since it was these that led to survival in the process of selection in the first place. Do you agree? And correct me if I'm wrong, but do you see evolution as a continius process of matter gaining greater complexity in order to avoid entropy? Could be that I've again misunderstood wha I've read, but how does complexity prolong the existence of matter in it's current form?
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 07:46 am
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
do you see evolution as a continius process of matter gaining greater complexity in order to avoid entropy?
Entropy is a thermodynamic phenomenon that occurs at the level of molecular interactions. It is not something that evolution can notice, let alone avoid. And evolution is not a process of matter, even though matter and energy are fundamental constituents of things that evolve.
0 Replies
 
Pongobongo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Apr, 2008 02:31 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway wrote:
One of the strangest aspects of this is that is has qualities similar to that of one of those Magic Eye pictures that were so popular back in the 90's. Remember those? If you looked too close at the details you couldn't see the picture, but if you relaxed and allowed yourself to see the thing as a whole, the real picture comes into view.

This concept is quite similar. If you look at the details, you lose the picture. One must keep oneself from mentally delving too deeply into the chaos of things.


I quite agree with the notion of focusing of the picture as a whole. With generality comes compromise, and with compromise comes growth. In order for the worlds of philosophy, science, and theology to progess they must work together. There is no "I" in team. Wink

Also, to touch on your idea of "God the programmer"...this is also something very close to my own way of thinking. We can take this to another level and incorporate the idea that God made man in his own image. It fits the UBP idea that all things inherently wish to communicate and transcend. Ok, this next bit is going to appear religious, but it is only so to an extent that it still fits this topic.

God was all there was in the beginning. In order to stave off insignificance, he created other beings to communicate and exist with (the Angels). However, his first creations could not do anything but follow orders (much like simple robots) and did not fulfill his need for communication and relation. Thus he tried again with Man, but this time he gave his creations free will (like self-programming robots). This gave him other beings to communicate and exist with, thus signifying his own existence.

And following UBP (and robo-bugs Wink), Man learned to communicate and work together to a common end. Thus God the Programmer created intelligence (or AI). This is another reason, I believe the term artificial intelligence to be misleading. Intelligence is intelligence, anything else, such as programming that fakes intelligence, is not intelligence at all.

As it is always fun to end on an extremely extrapolated note...would not God's ultimate goal of UBP then be the eventual creation of another "God" such as himself? We seem to be on that path, and there would be no other reason for the universe to exist with God outside it for anything other than his entertainment. At least not following the proposal of UBP... (No theological flames please, just a "what-if".) Wink
0 Replies
 
paulhanke
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 08:35 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway wrote:
Amongst all scales of matter, regardless of how small, how big, living or non-living, matter will unite, facilitated by an exchange of information, and become something larger than the sum of its parts. And then, upon reaching a level of stability, it does it all over again. Over and over, again and again.


... and isn't that just the coolest???!!! :a-ok:

The implication here is that if we could achieve an understanding of, say, the (autocatalytic/autopoietic/whatever) processes involved in molecules coming together to form self-perpetuating molecular systems then we would also understand (at a qualitative level at least) the processes involved in, say, consciousness arising from the collective unconscious cognitive activities of the brain/mind ... then the excruciatingly complex and gigantic leap required to link consciousness back to fundamental physics just melts away to reveal: The Grand Staircase!
0 Replies
 
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 09:40 pm
@Bomzaway,
Re the original post:

Essentially, your argument comes to this, which is undoubtedly true; the universe developed in the manner in which it did and not otherwise. That is one of the most important realizations in philosophy, in my opinion, but it in no way eliminates all philosophical problems and presents a unified theory, because it does not address a great many other issues. The only specific problem I have with your theory is that you ascribe a beginning to the universe, which is logically meaningless. If you really think about the issue, about what you actually know or can deduce, there is no reason to assume that the universe began or will end; why can it not simply exist? If that is so, it seems to move in a cycle. Anyway, I liked your post and think that its interesting that you came to this same point from science which I arrived at through philosophy.
0 Replies
 
Bea phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Sep, 2008 06:49 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway;7846 wrote:
This is a summary of what I have been researching and writing in my spare time for the last few years. During that time, I was trying to find an audience in the science community, but despite a general attitude of "Hey! That's cool!", they had little use for it. The obvious finally smacked me upside the head and I realized that I should be looking along the path of philosophy. I've done some shallow diving into philosophy but little else, so I decided to take some classes. In those classes, I learned that there is no "theory of everything" (a bit like the theory of everything that physicist are searching for). What I mean is, I learned that there are essentially five wisdoms in philosophy; we can categorize philosophers into five groups because every philosopher falls into one of these five groups base on a different way of describing "wisdom".

1. a quest for the fundamental principles, ideas, perspectives associated with understanding all of reality.

2. a quest for moral and spiritual fulfillment - "the good life"

3. a quest for the foundations of knowing (the period from Descartes through Kant) regarding the use of science

4. a quest for speaking clearly, logically, and with meaning and truth - the use of language

5. a quest to enter into dialog to understand and resolve the major issues and conflicts in human personal and social life.

I believe this "Philosophical Theory Of Everything" encompasses all of these philosophies and more.


_______________________________________________________________________

Foreword

If you're at least out of high school, and you were a reasonably good student, then the information in this document is already familiar to you, but it is important to realize that we are among the first generations on this planet to be blessed with this vast picture of the universe. People - particularly scientists, artists, theologians, and philosophers - have in essence been trying to get a better view of this place, of which we are and it, us.

This document will outline the structure of this philosophy and hopefully instill within you a desire to speak more on the subject. I will supply few citations for this information because it is generally available in any high school science text. It is that simple, that elegant, and as you will see, beautiful.



Introduction:

To begin this journey, we must look into the past. Starting at the beginning of the Universe, milliseconds after its birth, all the way up until right now. Afterwards, we'll look at the next logical step, an idea that may drastically change the way you see your place in the Universe.



Quarks:

We start this trip at the smallest bits of matter we know of, at a scale that we cannot actually see, a scale smaller than that of the atom. So we turn to what is called "The Standard Model", which is kind of a tool and parts kit to make atoms. The Standard Model consists of three of the four physical forces: the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism, as well as a laundry list of particles of matter. This includes six Leptons, five known Bosons plus a postulated sixth called the Higgs Boson, and a sextet of the particle that is our main focus at this point of our journey, the quark. The six quarks are named Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom, but the two we are most interested at this point are Up and Down. This is because to make a Neutron, you throw together two up quarks and a down quark, as well as some gluons, which stick the Quarks together by communicating the Strong Nuclear force (hence the name glue-on), and Presto! you've got a Neutron. A similar recipe involves two down quarks and an up quark instead, which produces a Proton.

So again, a variety of quarks come together to become a Neutron or a Proton. This union is facilitated by the exchange of information, achieved through the utilization of the strong nuclear force and its gluon messenger particle.



Atoms:


"To see the nucleus, we would have to blow up the atom to the size of the biggest dome in the world, the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. In an atom of that size, the nucleus would have the size of a grain of salt! A grain of salt in the middle of the dome of St. Peter's, and specks of dust whirling around it in the vast of space of the dome - this is how we can picture the nucleus and electrons of an atom."

All the stuff that we know about, and most likely all the stuff we don't know about is made of atoms. And as Frijtof Capra illustrated so beautifully in the quote above, the amount of matter in an atom is miniscule. Yet because of the strong force in the nucleus, as well as the electromagnetic force, which works between the nucleus and the surrounding electrons thereby "solidifying" the atom, matter is able to transcend its existence and become something much bigger than the sum of its parts. This instance of transcendence is a dramatic example of one of the behaviors of matter that we're focusing on in this document_ We've seen it twice now, strings or quarks transcending to become protons or neutrons, and the addition of the electron to transcend to the state of being an atom.

But the processes that run this world have limitations. The number of protons, neutrons and electrons that Nature can pack into an atom is restricted because it would take an inordinate amount of energy to keep such structures stable. As it is, the elements at the heavy end of Mendeleyev's periodic table exist only for tiny fractions of a second. So if matter were to transcend any more, it certainly wouldn't do it through becoming obese at the atomic level. The Universe had to take a different route.



Chemistry

The science of Chemistry looks at all the different kinds of substances and how they interact with each other. Or better still, how the atoms that make up each substance interact with each other. As I said, it is uneconomical and unstable for an atom to grow through the gain of atomic weight. So Nature did the next best thing, and began combining atoms in order to gain the aforementioned transcendence. In a sense, history repeated itself. The actions I described at the quark level occurred in the first milliseconds after the Big Bang, those particles became atoms soon afterwards, and now the process repeats itself and the atoms become molecules. Furthermore, those molecules repeat the process yet again, and begin forming into pretty much everything. This continues to be the general theme of matter, the unification of atoms to form stable configurations.

As Richard Dawkins stated in The Selfish Gene:

Darwin's survival of the fittest is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated with stable things. A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough, or common enough to deserve a name. The things that we see around us, and which we think of as needing explanation - rocks, trees, ocean waves - are all, to a lesser or greater extent, stable patterns of atoms. The earliest form of natural selection was the selection of stable forms and the rejection of unstable ones. There is no mystery about this; it had to happen by definition.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Dawkins was focusing on genetics, whereas we have yet to get that far. Let's finish off Chemistry first.

When elements are combined, they make compounds. This combining behavior occurs through the processes of covalent or ionic bonding. Whenever you see those ball-and-stick models of molecules, you're seeing a representation of ionic or covalent bonds. In order for these bonds to be possible, the atoms must negotiate the bond. If one atom passes electrons to another, each then has an electric charge and is attracted to the other like opposite poles of a magnet. This is an ionic bond, which metals tend to form. Nonmetals tend to make covalent bonds, which differ in that electrons are shared between atoms; the shared electrons are in a way weaving in and out between the bonded atoms. Another consideration to be taken when a deal is struck between atoms to become molecules is the number of chemical bonds available. Each element has a set number of bonds available by which it can connect to other elements. For instance, the carbon atom has the most chemical bonds at four, nitrogen three, hydrogen one, sulphur and oxygen each have two, etc. The process that allows individual atoms to combine into molecules requires that information regarding the number of chemical bonds be transferred between the prospective partner atoms. Much of the rest of chemistry involves the manipulation of these bonds through the application of energy, or the introduction of other materials. So as you can see, the core concept at this particular scale of matter (which we happen to call chemistry) essentially involves elements coming together, communicating their bonds through the utilization of the electromagnetic force, gravitation, and/or energy, to become the countless chemicals that populate the universe - the waters of the oceans, the nucleotides that make up our DNA, or large fiery balls of burning gas hanging in the heavens. Matter increases in complexity and transcends.



Cells

The first stirrings of life happened on the molecular level. As Carl Sagan explained in Cosmos:

"In those early days, lightning and ultraviolet light from the sun were breaking apart simple hydrogen rich molecules in the primitive atmosphere and the fragments of the molecules were spontaneously recombining into more and more complex molecules. The products of this early chemistry dissolved in the oceans forming a kind of 'organic soup' of gradually increasing complexity. Until one day, quite by accident, a molecule arose which was able to make crude copies of itself. Using as building blocks the other molecules in the soup."

"Four billion years ago, the ancestors of DNA were competing for molecular building blocks, and leaving crude copies of themselves. With reproduction, mutation, and natural selection the evolution of living molecules was well underway. Varieties with specialized functions then joined together, making a collective, the first cell."


And Richard Dawkins said the following in The Selfish Gene

Other replicators (DNA ancestors) perhaps discovered how to protect themselves, either chemically, or by building a physical wall of protein around themselves. This may have been how the first living cells appeared.

Endosymbiotic TheoryBiology and Communication:

At one point in the evolution of matter, single-celled life forms arose on our planet, the result of eons of trial and error on behalf of protein spewing DNA and others of it kind. Eventually, some of these single-celled organisms evolved into multi-celled organisms, and the race between hunted and hunter propelled the process forward from there. But in its struggle to obtain the resources required to stay alive, matter also required communication. Just as information exchange is vital to the stability of the atom and its parts, so it is for the living organisms that populate our earth. The first nervous system was born from the need for communication between the cells of multi-celled animals. As a simple example, we could imagine a primitive ten-celled organism, something like a worm. The cells of our imaginary worm would need to be able to communicate with each other, cell number one would need to know what cell number ten is doing and thereby cooperate, lest our worm rip itself apart. That communications network, which became the nervous system, is vital to all multi-celled animals. In fact, animal brains are born from the nervous system and probably began as something like an information router or hub.

Brains eventually developed sophisticated methods of communication between themselves. And now the human brain has found ways to communicate over very long distances. Communication, or the exchange of information, is a driving force behind matter and how it behaves. Communication and/or information exchange is achieved through the use of the gluons of the strong nuclear force, the photons of electromagnetism, the gravitons of gravity, the dance of a honeybee, the roar of a lion, or the ring of a phone. Communication is the catalyst for cooperation and unification.

Invention

What do you think are the five greatest inventions ever?

Some of the usual and most common answers to this question might be the computer, airplane, television, radio, the automobile, or indoor plumbing. Notice that each one of these advancements, directly or indirectly improves our ability to come together, to communicate, and to get along with one another (especially indoor plumbing). Expand your list to the 20 greatest inventions ever and I think you'll find that at least 75% of them share the same trait.

This is not a coincidence.

It's what matter does.



Love

What three things in your life are most important to you?

The usual and most common answers are family, friends, often one person in particular, community, country, the arts, religion, career. One obvious characteristic of each of these things is that they would not be possible without coming together, communication, and cooperation. Even some of the uncommon answers one might give, such as practicing a martial art, being a Dead Head or a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, owning a classic automobile, or coaching a youth soccer team, all these things, in order to be its most fulfilling, require communication and coming together with others, and in turn reward us with a sense of belonging. They require joining a dojo, or hanging out with fellow fans, or going to Hot August Nights in Reno, or teaching your players the finer points of a through pass. In order for any of these things so close to our hearts to be successful, even to exist requires cooperation and communication.



What is it good for?

But it's not all wine and roses, is it? The world is full of darkness and bad things. Much of this has to do with self-preservation, not just on a personal level, but also on a national level, which includes all those long marches and bloody struggles. Of course you realize this means war. All nations, tribes, kingdoms, dynasties, and empires at one point or another throughout history actively sought to (seek to) expand their borders. Although there are many reasons for doing so such as resources, wealth, etc. the underlying effect has been to unify as much of the world as possible under one rule. The conquerors would then assimilate the conquered into their societies, encouraging them through various means to subscribe to their religions, political systems, or other beliefs. Also note that when the conqueror engages in activities that go beyond normal warfare, such as ethnic cleansing or genocide, it is a greater affront to our sensibilities. War becomes more so an atrocity in those instances because the element of unification in war is in effect greatly reduced. As far as mankind is concerned, the most violent manifestation of this larger overall behavior pattern is war.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.



Business


In this modern day world, the act of conquering nations is frowned upon and discouraged by the global community. This is obviously a good thing since we are hopefully reducing the amount of killing that has so permeated our history. Therefore, humanity has found alternatives to war in order to continue unifying, and one of those is through international business.

Although the goal of business is the accumulation of wealth, there remains an underlying theme. For instance, over the past century, usage of the English language has propagated around the world because it is widely recognized as the language of business, at least for now. More recently however, international business has not only established a spoken language, but the mediums though which the communication travels. To do business with the likes of the US, Germany, Japan, China, India, or the UK, a country must possess the infrastructure required to communicate effectively, such as telephones, computers, LANs, WANs, the ability to understand EDI, XML, Rosettanet, as well as an understanding of other "languages" such as DOS, Unix, or C++. Whether through the communication between companies as business partners, or the cooperation between nations as allies due to mutual business-based agreements, the behavior pattern of unifying, communicating, cooperating, and transcending is illustrated quite clearly as vital to the existence of the very concept of business.



Trivial Pursuits

Why do we put bumper sticker on our cars, or modify the engine and/or stereo so you can hear the car before you see it? Why do some us want to drive fancy sports cars, while others, big four-wheel drive trucks? I know a number of people with personalized license plates. What purpose do they serve other than identify their vehicles?

It is all a form of communication; a one-way signal to the world that conveys a message, one that is personal in nature, varying from driver to driver. If you tried, you could probably discern a little bit about the personality of a car owner by just looking at their car.

Fashion is very much the same thing. As are tattoos, piercings, dancing, performing, bodybuilding, graffiti, and certain home improvements such as landscaping. These are all attempts to communicate a message to anyone who'll look. That message may be anything from "I'm rich" to "I'm sexually active" to "I'm an antiestablishmentarianist", or "I am rebelling against the utter futility and inherent evil of conforming to society". The primary purpose for engaging in these activities is to communicate. Even thought it's one-way, it's still communication, it's still compelling to many of us.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It should now be readily apparent that I am drawing parallels between human nature and a repeating behavior pattern in the nature of matter as viewed from a grander scope. Amongst all scales of matter, regardless of how small, how big, living or non-living, matter will unite, facilitated by an exchange of information, and become something larger than the sum of its parts. And then, upon reaching a level of stability, it does it all over again. Over and over, again and again.

It's what matter does.

This behavior pattern will be referred to as the Universal Behavior Pattern or UBP.



Entropy

If we consider the result of all this unification, communication, and transcendence, we see that a general resistance to entropy is really the ultimate goal. "Success" is to resist the inevitability of entropic forces acting against you by following the UBP. The very opposite of atoms transcending from protons, neutrons, and electrons, is decay, and decay happens at every level. Bodies decay, molecules decay, stars decay, cities decay. Everything falls apart; it's just a matter of time.

But for the most part no body and no thing wants to fall apart. And that would apparently include quarks, atoms, molecules, and cells. They don't even think, yet they know that coming together is a good thing. Matter wants to follow this universal behavior pattern to become more than what it is. Why does matter resist entropy?

Consider something else. There have been a number of projects implemented to research small robots and their uses. One curious finding during these experiments was that these relatively simple small robots would exhibit flocking behavior, much as you would expect from birds, fish, or ants. The robots are like ants in that each ant really only knows what it can sense in front of and underneath it, as well as the ant next to it and the piece of food an inch away. It merely responds to its local environment. But in doing so, it is quite curious that the tendency towards unification is also achieved. Dead or alive, matter exhibits this behavior pattern. A need to flock, a tendency towards unification, an opposing stance against entropy, because entropy is something that matter would like to avoid if at all possible. I realize that I am getting uncomfortably anthropomorphic here, but as I see it, since we ourselves are matter come to know itself, then the reasons we as humans resist entropy are just as valid a reason why entropy is resisted at the atomic, molecular or cellular level. Then again, we don't even know why entropy is resisted at those lower levels; so really, as far as we know the only answers to that question are the ones that we ourselves can give. Entropy is decay, rot, death, and destruction; as perfect an antithesis as Satan is to God. Life, love, a really great party, those are the good things in life. Entropy sucks. Why shouldn't we resist it?

But the dualistic nature of the universe would seem to dictate that entropy also has a good side and is a necessary evil. Whatever entropic event occurred that wiped out the dinosaurs, as horrible as it must have been, led to the eventual rise of humanity, which I consider to be a good thing. The American Revolutionary war was a terrible and bloody struggle in which the English were fighting to keep the colonies faithful to the crown and part of the British Empire, whereas the colonists were trying to break away and become a sovereign nation unto themselves. George Washington and the American founding fathers fought for an entropic cause. As a US citizen, I'm going to take patriotic license and say that was a good thing too.

So entropy, despite it being a primarily negative aspect of the universe, also has its uses. Matter, in its pursuit of coming together and transcending, will often encounter entropy in one aspect that might advance its cause in another. We eat, which is an entropic experience for our food, so that we can live our lives, which are likely far richer in nature than the lives of our food. Life is born from death.

Entropy also pushes living matter to improve. It provides impetus to strive for higher levels of complexity. Carnivores provide an entropic aspect to the lives of their prey. Therefore, the prey must constantly strive to improve. They must get better, stronger and faster to stay alive and avoid entropy. But this behavior is not limited to living matter. Since the very beginning of the universe, matter has strived towards complexity, the net effect of which has been a progression of transcendence, from the very small, to the very large, and any which way between.



Entre Nous

There is a deep and meaningful lesson that we can learn from lower forms of matter. Notice that despite this entire coming together and cooperating and communicating, the individual components of the higher-level entity maintain a certain level of sovereignty. No one nucleotide rules DNA, none of the three components of the atom is completely dominant, as are neither of the three quarks, monopolies are ultimately unstable, a father is part of a family and at the same time a man unto himself.

The future of humanity must contain components of coming together, cooperating, communicating, achieving a level of stability, and transcending, but at the same time maintaining respect for the individual. Although this only partially narrows the scope of the direction in which we are traveling, does it not make sense that upon gaining knowledge of the importance of this Universal Behavior Pattern that we begin considering our options? It's as if we've been coasting down a road, fortunate in our way despite the fact that nobody's in the driver's seat. Isn't it about time that we started steering? That we start thinking about how we go about coming together, communicating, and becoming something bigger and better than the sum of its parts?



Needs


If you consider Maslow's pyramid of needs, one can see how the UBP fits nicely within that framework. The lower levels of the pyramid are akin to maintaining stability as a sovereign entity (this is the realm of medicine) whereas the higher levels of the pyramid speak of belonging to something grander than oneself. This independent interdependence is much the same as the proton is independently interdependent within the structure of an atom, or as family members are independently interdependent within the structure of the family, or the Marketing department within the structure of a company. The UBP gives birth to things like patriotism, religion, labor unions, Sharks fans, quilting bees, chat rooms, cell phones, blogging, town hall meetings, the desire to start a family, or the need to find someone to spend your life with.



Runaway Anthropomorphism


PARIS (AFP) - Stars may be unable to grow beyond about 150 times the mass of our Sun, according to a study. The theory is put forward by Donald Figer of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, who used the Hubble telescope to scan the Arches, a thick cluster of some 100 very big stars near the centre of the Milky Way. Published in the British weekly science journal Nature. In this region of space that is ideal for stellar growth, Figer saw no star that was bigger than 130 times the mass of the Sun, and suggests a "firm limit" for individual stars of 150 times. "If there are stellar systems more massive than the limit, then perhaps they are binaries (stars that revolve closely around each other) or products of mergers of lower-mass stars," Figer proposes.

Atomic particles, since they could not expand past a given size, had to find different ways of expanding to stay on pace with the expanding universe. It would seem that stars also have a similar predicament, and so similarly necessitating the need for galaxies and other star clusters.

It is Somethingness fighting or trying to keep up with Nothingness.

Matter is trying to avoid becoming insignificant, so it tries every way it can to be big. Sure, stars and planets are big, but not big enough all by themselves, so they form galaxies. But perhaps even galaxies are limited, so matter must find still more ways of making something of itself.

It seems that since the universe is expanding, matter must find a way to expand along with it, but matter is not expanding in the same sense that the universe is expanding. That is, universal expansion can be thought of like a balloon expanding, this is something that matter cannot do. No matter how big the universe gets, an electron will stay the same size. Therefore, at the risk of becoming insignificant, matter it would seem must find a way to become bigger than it really is, to transcend to a larger scale through the economic utilization of the available matter in the universe. Hence, we see transcendence of great proportions as in the case of atoms (remember St. Peters?), or economical use of materials in construction such as the use of water in life.

If matter did not follow this behavior pattern, if it did not unite and transcend, then matter would become very insignificant in the midst of space; a cloud of quarks or strings in some lonely corner of the universe. But through the laws of nature; be they the laws of gravity, or electromagnetism, or the strong nuclear force, matter has a larger "footprint" on the universe in comparison to the amount of matter that's actually used. And now that matter has come to know itself, it uses those same forces to unite and transcend in other ways.

Judging from the deeply rooted tendencies within human nature, as well as the nature of matter itself, it would also seem that we are now expected to follow in those footsteps, to find ways of becoming more that just the sum of our parts. We need to become big, but economically so, by utilizing as little matter as possible. Given that this is achieved through forces of nature, our use of electro-magnetism for communications might somehow provide the medium through which our transcendence will be accomplished (the Internet being a sure ingredient).

The importance that we as humans place on this behavior pattern is so great that to an extent it determines our "right" and "wrong". Actions performed for the better of the group or the entity to which we belong are often likely to be considered altruistic, such as "taking one for the team". Whereas actions performed that promote destruction of the entity are often likely to viewed as bad, selfish, or greedy.



Connecting Science and God

Hopefully, I have successfully and briefly illustrated to you a repeating phenomenon in the history of the universe. The science behind it is strong, and the sheer simplicity of the concept borders on childish. But there is distinct beauty behind this idea. The idea that if entities of matter unify and, through the use of effective information exchange or communication, cooperate in just the right way, then the next predictable step is transcendence to something that can quite literally change the universe.

Once again:

Amongst all scales of matter, regardless of how small, how big, living or non-living, matter will unite, facilitated by an exchange of information, and become something larger than the sum of its parts. And then, upon reaching a level of stability, it does it all over again. Over and over, again and again.



As a side argument to this philosophy, I am proposing that this may be the primary, and possibly only information that has been passed down to us from what might be a higher power.

Thanks Bomzaway ! I find nothing childish in the simplicity of these concepts. Binary code, genetic code, Einstien's Theory of relativity - all have a simple 1st appearance. Yet they provide explanation, communication, & manifestation. UBP, Universal Behavior Pattern - I see it all the time in nature...ie. hundreds of the same tiny sea shells wash up on the beach together. How did they stick together ?
0 Replies
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 03:24 pm
@Bomzaway,
Bomzaway, look at this post

http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/metaphysics/2221-sponge-evolution.html
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
Paradigm shifts - Question by Cyracuz
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Philosophical Theory of Everything
Copyright © 2023 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/24/2023 at 12:50:26