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
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
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
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
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?