Where are the Laws?. Where is the Key?
We are faced with the same problem that confronted Plato and Kant. To oversimplify, Plato would put the laws in heaven, while Kant would place them in the mind, and many scientists would simply posit them in nature. We might suppose that this ambiguity of location would not exist if it really mattered, but it may determine our destiny.
The problem is that of transcendence. Is there or ought there to be a way out? This is a question of limits. What limitation does the world impose upon us, and what recourse do we have? Are we the prisoners of nature? Is there a court of appeal?
I have supposed that the world is a mental construct and that if we got ourselves into it we ought to be able to get ourselves out. Or have we dug ourselves into a hole? The way in is probably not the way out.
Most observers would agree that with regard to nature we are misfits. And furthermore that this is not just a recent aberration. Despite all the evidence of ‘natural’ evolution, it is difficult to deny that somewhere in its dim past, humanity left the reservation, we passed a point of no return. There are radical ecologists who believe that we can and must return to a pre-historical state of nature, but they have no plan short of cataclysm.
Pace the deep ecologists, it is difficult to suppose that God would have given us two hands and silicon if she did not intend for us to make computers. Computers seem to be bringing us to the banks of another Rubicon, but it is difficult to discern the other side.
Computers with their promise of cyberspace and virtual realities are pushing the envelope of natural law, but they seem to fall rather short of being chariots of the Gods. The human spirit refuses mere blandishment.
We languish at the gateway to our dreams. We look for a hidden entrance. I have previously discussed the probability that there already exists a sequestered stargate. How could there not be if the world is what we imagine? The only question is how to storm the gates of heaven. To do that we need to understand their construction.
Our dreams and imagination readily transcend the dictates of nature, but we also know to be cautious about what we wish for. We may inhabit a cell, but it is a padded cell, and in the larger cosmos those pads may not exist. Imagine all of our self-destructive tendencies suddenly being given free reign.
Most of us would agree that we will need to take baby steps; we will need continuity. Unless that continuity has been providently built in to nature we will be in trouble. We must trust in the providence of teleology. There is no other way out.
All that we have to worry about then are the details, but we can still work at the puzzle from both ends. We work on understanding the bigger picture and figuring out the details at the same time and gradually everything will fall into place.
Once upon a time reality was more fluid and more permeable, but the demands and habituation of civilization have led to the present state of rigidity and to the apparent precariousness demonstrated in the anthropic principle. We do not see many loopholes. The quantum realm presents one possibility. We can imagine that cyberspace could be supercharged with quantum computers. The quantum might provide a conduit for our minds to participate more directly in the reshaping of the world, or in the exploration of others. We can reasonably suppose that there are other realities and that we should explore them before venturing to construct or reconstruct our own. Such mutual exploration is likely ongoing, albeit in camera. Quantum information conduits might be sufficiently indirect so as to allow imminent public participation.
The possibility of other realities challenges our understanding of this reality. How might they connect or communicate? That they must do so is a given for a relational and immaterial cosmos. Our present degree of isolation is unnatural and unenforceable.
Yes, we might visit in an out-of-body state. But even so, what degree of strangeness could our minds comprehend or withstand? Would our identities be at risk of terminating? Our apparent facility with virtual realities provides some room for optimism.
I have supposed that our world is distinguished, if not unique, in its impermeability. This feature relates to the degree to which its phenomena are permeated by mathematical forms. It has to do with its atomicity and analyticity. Virtual realities may be modular or object oriented, but are non-atomic. This restricts metabolism, which is the basis of our intra-connectivity. Perhaps there is a trade off between intra- and inter-connectivity. Do we have to sacrifice one for the other, and if so, how? How can we ignore atoms in our rush into quantum cybertronics?
God is said to be in the details, and VRs are noted for their lack of same. Object orientation is easy on the programmer, but tough on the processor. Every object has to be second-guessing its situation. It has to calculate its every move. How do atoms manage so easily? If they are our figments then our imaginations must be overworked. On the other hand, all the computers in the world are unable to calculate the topological dynamics of the smallest unit of the Plank vacuum. Things can’t be as difficult as they seem.
Experience is nothing if it is not minimally consistent. A minimal facility for self-organization within the experiential, teleological manifold could go a long way toward ensuring a meaningful world, a world that could even contain atom-smashing experiences when pushed to its limits, as we have certainly managed to do. Meaning is nothing without the appropriate company. Every meaning is naturally gregarious. That is all that is needed. We just need to become better oriented to the telos, because that is the source of our meaning.
The problem is to translate teleology into technology. Our technostructure is where we are most dependent upon the dictates of physics, while at the same time it is the primary locus of change. Is it not just pushing us deeper into materialism? How can it be turned around without disruption?
This brings us back to unification. Unified field theory is the principal artifact of our intellectual history. Surely its apparently approaching completion portends the telos, and the theory itself must even anticipate it. Where else could lie the key to transforming scientific materialism? Is the key obscured in the intricacies of the mathematics, or is it not more likely to be in plain sight?
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