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by Melanie Anne Phillips

Knowledge like its external counter part, mass, does not truly exist as a state or object but as the determined limit of synthesis. We cannot know anything entirely by observation for we only see what something appears to be, not how it is connected to everything else in the holistic view. Materially, when we press our hand against a wall, we are not truly feeling the wall, but feeling the limit between our hand and the wall. We can get closer and closer to the object, but cannot be immediately next to it or the limit between us would cease to exist and we would be part of the object and it part of us.

There are no solid objects at all. We believe we see objects such as a cup or a car, but we do not observe mass, we observe limits. We see an object because light is limited from passing through it, we feel its shape because our hand is limited in approaching it. In truth, we do not see the universe at all, and define things not by their nature but by their limits.

How do we define an object? We must first specify what is part of the object and what is not; what is included in the set and what is excluded. But chaos theory shows us that the smaller the resolution of our measurement, the more irregularities we see. Eventually we reach a point where the irregularities of the objects limit are indistinguishable from the irregularities of what is next to the object. The two cannot be separated at that level of appreciation.

It is clear that in order to define an object as having an identity, we must limit ourselves to measuring it at a particular scale of resolution. When we say, for example, the planet earth, do we mean just the dirt or the vegetation and animal life as well? Are we then all part of the planet? When one of us gets on a plane, do we cease to be part of the planet? Does the planet cease to be the same planet because part of it is missing?

We arbitrarily limit ourselves to defining the planet earth as a concept: perhaps the world we were born on. But every life and death and fire and quake makes it a different planet as well. So it is not only the material content of a body that defines it, but the arrangement of the material in that body as well. Yet, the earth is constantly changing; not only in material but in arrangement of material. So how do we define the planet?

In defining any object, we synthesize an average of all the conditions and content that we have observed can be found in the concept we wish to express. As long as our observations do not violate the synthesis born of experience, we conceptualize the object as say, a planet. We also hold it to be unchanging if the sum of all the changes fall within a range.

This range is purely arbitrary. If the earth split in two equal halves with half the population clinging to each half, which would be the earth? If we are possessive, the half we find ourselves on. If we are possessed, the half we left behind. The point being that from a more objective view, the earth would have ceased to exist completely. But from a more subjective view, if the entire continent of North America was on one half, observationally, what would cause someone in Baltimore to cease thinking of the land they stand on as earth?

It might appear as if in that scenario we are redefining what we mean by the term "Earth", We are. But if the identity of an object goes with the name and not the meaning, than truly nothing can be defined by what it is, but only by what we think of it.

Certainly, the tie-in between knowledge and mass becomes more clear as the consideration of limits is made. So, nothing is what it seems. We approximate what we observe and impose a pattern upon it that serves as a limit to what we consider part of an object and what we consider not to be. Anything that changes the content or arrangement of the object at a resolution lower than the resolution of the pattern is considered to be irrelevant and not considered a change in the object itself.

Obviously, the resolution at which we set the pattern is completely arbitrary, forcing us to realize that beneath the resolution of our arbitrary patterns, objects are not homogeneous at all, and the actual set of material and conditions that make up the object may change completely, yet still fall within the range of our pattern as if it had not changed at all.

What if every particle of the earth at this moment was replaced by an identical particle? Would it still be the earth? If not, what would be different about it? What if we created and identical earth with an exact correlation of particles, one to one? Which would be the earth? The first one?

Do we again arbitrarily determine that the first of something is the "real" one? Then does that mean that the earth of today is not the real earth of last year? But its particles are the same, you say? Not truly. Not with two tons of cosmic dust drifting into the atmosphere every day; not with the loss of energy into space, not with the rearrangement of cities and the drift of continents.

Let's be clever and say that something has an identity as the same thing as long as the majority of its particles are not changed from one moment to the next. So, the changes in the earth below our pattern's resolution do not count as long as the bulk of the earth remains the same between any two measurements in time.

Well that depends upon how far apart the measurements are in time, doesn't it? If we replaced one fourth of the earth each day for four days, measuring it each day, we would meet our definition, but at the end of the fourth day, none of the original would remain yet it would still be the earth.

What if we define the earth as having at least half its original particles from some arbitrary starting point. So this time we divide the earth in thirds and destroy two parts. Again, the continent of North America is on the remaining part. Is it the earth?

Well, we say that it IS the earth, but the concept of earth has changed. Or we say that it is not the earth and the concept of earth is the same. But either way, something of the nature of what we called the earth has changed. Either the earth is defined as something else, or the earth no longer exists even though one third of it remains unchanged and the other two thirds remain as particles drifting in space.

How much can you cut off the top of a 4 inch paper cup before it is not a paper cup anymore? Who can say? How much can you cut off the top of a 4 inch paper cup before it is not THE paper cup? That one is easy.

If you cut even a single atom from the cup it is no longer THE cup. Simple enough. Have any atoms been removed lately from your paper cup? Are you sure? How can you tell? You can tell by measuring it. First you need to count all the original atoms and make sure which ones they are by marking them somehow. Then you need to take another measurement and see if anything has been removed or replaced.

Even if you could do this, how long would it take? When you start at the bottom and count to the top, you are no longer measuring the bottom when you are measuring the top. In fact, by the time you get to the top, you have charted the cup during each moment of measuring each atom, but have no guarantee that things were not changed as soon as you measured them. And no matter how fast you measure, you cannot get around this.

So, we again synthesize the concept of identity that something is THE something as long as we are unable to measure any difference at all. Which of course returns us to the concept of a pattern of arbitrary resolution beneath which we ignore changes. In fact, because we do not or cannot observe these changes, it is not that we ignore changes, but just that we are unaware of them.

So, sometimes we choose not to consider changes of which we are aware, and other times we are not aware of changes that exist. Either way, our belief in the identity of any object is not a map of it, but an approximation of its concept. Once again we face limits. The more we refine our definition of an object in space, the more time it takes to measure it and the more can change while we are measuring.

Linear thinking requires ignoring changes outside of our pattern. The pattern becomes a closed system that we describe fully, but only intersecting with the external world in the number of dimensions in our pattern. If something is smaller that we measure or outside our awareness it may effect the external world in ways that are measurable at our pattern level and appear to be chaotic.

Chaos is not some odd and undefinable region between structure and dynamics. Rather Chaos is structural or dynamic changes beneath the resolution or outside the scope of our arbitrary pattern.

As such, Chaos comes in two forms; apparently random changes in the pattern that occur from within the matrix, and apparently random changes in the pattern caused by unexpected forces outside the pattern. For you see, whenever you create a pattern that defines an object or a process, it not only limits out whatever is below its resolution, but also what is outside its scope.

Since our pattern by definition must have a shape and a size, it will be by its very structure and dynamics more susceptible to different kinds of unpredictable changes than another pattern of different structure and dynamics. Therefore, the shape and workings of a pattern act to some degree as a filter to chaos, making the effects of chaos more likely to occur in particular ways at particular times.

This determination of what is "more likely" cannot be made from within the pattern itself, as one cannot know of anything beyond its border with a view from the inside. But if we look at a pattern, then create a subset within it, we know something of the scope of what lies beyond the subset. Then, when predicting within the subset, we are able to take into account effects beyond its border that we see occurring in the larger pattern that surrounds it.

This is true whether we increase our resolution or our scope. And in fact, increasing both as far as we deem practical is the best way to insure that chaos is as predictable as possible.

Now, why have we fooled ourselves here? Because by increasing what we are considering beyond the scope and resolution of the subset, we have actually increased the size and resolution of the subset and are right back where we started.

There is no resolution small enough, no scope great enough to prevent this in an open universe. But in a closed universe, one could predict all. You would simply have to be outside the universe so that you could observe it all at once without disturbing anything.

Herein lies the dilemma: If the universe is open, we cannot predict it because there is always more outside our considerations. If the universe is closed, we cannot get outside it to obtain a full view of its workings without disturbing the mechanism.

Either way, chaos remains.

I'll close this article for now with a view toward future articles, stated here as questions. 1. What is the relationship between the observer and the observation? 2. How does experience alter reality? 3. Why does the identity of an object become more obscure the more we know about it? 4. How can the workings of the mind be best described as probabilities in a tendency graph, analogous to the pull of bodies in a gravitational field? 5. How can a black hole be equated with mentally assuming a relationship as a given?

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

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