Another boring existential ponderance....
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18-05-2014, 06:54 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
Hello Airportkid, how are you?

(17-05-2014 07:52 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Thanks very much for your insights.
The gratitude is indeed mutual.

I think I agree with you to a large extent, and I may even agree with your choice of words if we convene on their specific meanings and we stick to that convention.

In reality, we can find two "dimensionalities"; one inside objects and one surrounding it. A crucial difference between both, as I think you suggest, is that I can wave my arm within the outside dimensionality, but I cannot do the same within the physical self of stuff. If I stick my arm into the damp sand of a beach, so that it is well surrounded by physical selves rather than outside dimensionality, I lose the ability to wave it easily. Physical selves can easily move within their surrounding outside dimensionality, but they cannot easily move through other physical selves. That is why I would say that physical selves occupy the volumes in which they appear.

Furthermore, as you also point out, that motion occurs in the same three orthogonal axes along which physical selves appear; physical selves made of the internal dimensionality have height, width and depth, and motion can occur up or down, left or right and forward or backwards. Motion occurs in the same spatial dimension(s) as physical selves exist. But in order for motion to occur, two "things" must happen.

One is that some physical self must be able to move; it needs to be surrounded by outside dimensionality in at least one direction of motion. When physical selves are tightly surrounded by more physical selves, no displacement can occur. The other requirement is that time must progress; motion only occurs over non-zero intervals of time. In order for physical selves to cover non-zero distances in zero intervals of time they would need to have an infinite speed, and that does not seem to be possible; the fact that living beings may not be able to extract as much energy from their surroundings as they need to carry on living does suggest that the amount of energy in the universe is not infinite.

So even though potential motion can be seen as purely spatial, effective motion occurs in a context that is not purely spatial; effective motion occurs over time. Moreover, motion may occur without a net displacement of physical self, if the object under consideration is rotating around an axis passing through its geometric centre and especially if the object is perfectly spherical in shape, but even that motion requires time to lapse. Motion occurs over time even when it does not imply the change of location in space.

I think we may both be describing the same notions, even if we are not managing to fully understand each other's view. The dimensionality inside objects is what I generally call matter; non-empty space if you will. The outside dimensionality along which physical selves (material structures) are able to move is nothing, empty space, lack of any material thing; that is why I referred to nothing as the lack of things between and beyond the things that does not prevent things from moving, which is fairly similar to your statement that "the outside is that dimension within which I can wave my arm". What you call the universe seems to be exacly the same as what I call the universe; the complete set of every structure that exists and every implication conveyed by their existence and their motion. The fact that things move in relation to one another implies their ability to move, and hence matter's ability to move when surrounded by nothing is an implication of matter's existence and motion; the abstract notion of empty space is also part of the universe. But empty space is an abstract notion, it is not a real thing out there; real things out there, physical selves, are material structures that occupy the volumes where they appear. So empty space does not need an enclosing spatial boundary because empty space appears in the context of time (empty space is an implication of matter's existence and motion). In order to have matter in motion you need non-empty space (matter), its tendency to move towards or away from other pieces of non-empty space (energy) and nothing else around those pieces of non-empty space, that will not prevent their motion. Empty space does not need an enclosing boundary because empty space does not exist, it does not occupy any volume; it is non-empty space what exists out there and it is non-empty space what is enclosed by a boundary. Empty space is a notion in our minds reflecting non-empty space's ability to move when nothing else prevents it.

But if you were to argue that space appears in space, as the nothing between and beyond the things, I would understand it. Out there seem to be a relatively few pockets of non-empty space, with finite chunks of nothing in between and infinite chunks of nothing beyond. So if you want to call the universe an ultiverse because it provides itself with its own context (spacetime) that is fine with me. Regarding higher dimensions, I don't see the need for them; space + time seems enough.

Regarding the field of vision analogy, I think I understand what you're saying although I wouldn't go as far as claiming that the phenomenon is not physical. I think you may be using the word as a synonym for "tangible" but physics is mostly directed to the study of behaviours, which are intangible entities. Fields of vision are physical phenomena, if only in the sense that they arise from the interactions of many physical (i.e., tangible) structures. I wasn't trying to dissect the properties of visual fields, simply pointing out how they occur in the context of time. Intangible entities that do not occur in the context of space occur in the context of time; I don't think there is any need to resort to higher dimensions. But maybe there is, so please don't take my words too seriously.

Thanks again for your valuable thoughts. Have a great day!
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18-05-2014, 07:35 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(16-05-2014 09:51 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Yeah, another alcohol-infused run around from the fair heathen.

Pondering the extremes tonight. Existence and nothing. Forever or never was/will be.

I started watching the original cosmos series with Sagan last night just to kill time in between the new series' episodes since it's got me all pumped up for science at the moment. So's I've been thinking about us and existence and the universe and whatnot.

Got to thinking about nothing again, I know I've brought it up before but it's an intriguing subject to me. I like to think about "nothing" because it's a word used so often, but with a meaning so absolutely impossible to grasp if you really think about it. Where is nothing?....It's nowhere, because by definition it doesn't exist.

So where does our universe end? Where does the edge of our universe butt up against nothing? What is the boundary between existence and nonexistence? By definition there is no such boundary and there cannot be one.

This leads me to have to consider that existence must be infinite. Actually it leads me to logically conclude that there is no alternative. Existence in one form or another must be infinite, by the very fact that there is existence, because there is no nothing.

So now my mind is blown, because I can't come up with a more abstract or confusing concept as infinity than nothing, but there you have it. Does that make any sense?

Just thinking......

Edit: man, this whole thing was much grander sounding and involved when it was rolling around in my head, I guess sometimes words are a less than ideal means of communication than ideas. Hope you smell what I'm stepping in.
I don't believe in the concept of "nothing". I think it's an artificial language concept that is meant to exclude something else we talk about. There is no way to exclude everything. Why there is something rather than nothing? Because existence is the basis of everything. There is no alternative to existence, emptiness is an illusion.

Universe does not need to have a boundary. Any shape can be closed without boundaries, if the closing goes through one more dimension. See, Möbius strip is a 2D sheet of paper, but it is twisted and connected through the 3rd dimension, so it is continuous, boundary-less. Klein bottle is the same thing of 3D to 4D.

So how do we avoid the infinite regression of dimensions to close the universe? That's simple. All the dimensions' space is more and more curved, relative, "smaller", we would say. Eventually the smallness of all the new dimensions passes under Planck length and becomes a singularity. This is the only end and beginning that the universe has. Only it means that our visible universe is not the only universe, there are many more-dimensional universes besides this one.

I have worked it through into detail, but not in English. I'll probably translate it some day. Meanwhile I have caused a major shitstorm among the local defenders of science's chastity against lecherous science perverts like me.
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18-05-2014, 08:47 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
Hello evenheathen, how are you? Would you mind if I tried to answer some of your questions in the way I would answer them to myself? All my answers may be wrong, of course, but I'd like to share them nonetheless.

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  This is exactly where the problem lies. What is this "space"?
Nothing.

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Does it exist?
Not in reality; it is an abstract notion that occurs in our minds when we perceive how things can move when they are surrounded by nothing.

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  If so, what kind of existence is it?
An imaginary one.

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  It obviously can't exist in the same manner that "existence" exists, if existence is existing inside of it. Or can it? Consider
That is a trick question because space "exists" in the same sense as existence "exists"; that is, not really.

Existence reflects the fact that material structures occupy non-zero volumes somewhere in relation to one another, but what exists is the set of material structures, not existence. Existence is an abstract implication conveyed by the location of things, similar to how space is an abstract notion conveyed by matter's ability to change its relative location. Existence and space are abstract notions; material structures are real things. But that may be what you were saying all along, that space's occurrence cannot be the same kind as the occurrence of things that exist.

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  As far as existence being referred to as non-zero, if existence as we know it is indeed finite as has been said, there would have to be at some point a definite change from non-zero to zero. However, it's already been postulated that zero doesn't actually exist, so that would be an impossibility. Well....as far as our comprehension is concerned anyway. Or at least mine.
Zero does not exist, just like every other number does not exist. Numbers are abstract notions reflecting the countability of things that may exist (real entities that appear in space) or may not exist (virtual entities that appear over time). The point where finite existence becomes infinite non-existence is multiple because existence happens along three orthogonal axes, so it is a three-dimensional surface rather than a point; the surface of real objects. Is it so difficult to understand that objects have a surface between the matter inside them and the void outside?

(17-05-2014 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  So I'm back to square one, looking for zero.
You can find zero in the same "place" where you can find infinity, in the abstract nothingness of empty space. Empty space is the infinite set of locations occupied by zero instances of matter.

Or maybe not, maybe space is a thing out there. I'm reflecting about how things seem to be and behave from my point of view, but I'm not asking you to trust it.

Great thread, thanks a lot!
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18-05-2014, 09:01 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(16-05-2014 09:51 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Yeah, another alcohol-infused run around from the fair heathen.

Pondering the extremes tonight. Existence and nothing. Forever or never was/will be.

I started watching the original cosmos series with Sagan last night just to kill time in between the new series' episodes since it's got me all pumped up for science at the moment. So's I've been thinking about us and existence and the universe and whatnot.

Got to thinking about nothing again, I know I've brought it up before but it's an intriguing subject to me. I like to think about "nothing" because it's a word used so often, but with a meaning so absolutely impossible to grasp if you really think about it. Where is nothing?....It's nowhere, because by definition it doesn't exist.

So where does our universe end? Where does the edge of our universe butt up against nothing? What is the boundary between existence and nonexistence? By definition there is no such boundary and there cannot be one.

This leads me to have to consider that existence must be infinite. Actually it leads me to logically conclude that there is no alternative. Existence in one form or another must be infinite, by the very fact that there is existence, because there is no nothing.

So now my mind is blown, because I can't come up with a more abstract or confusing concept as infinity than nothing, but there you have it. Does that make any sense?

Just thinking......

Edit: man, this whole thing was much grander sounding and involved when it was rolling around in my head, I guess sometimes words are a less than ideal means of communication than ideas. Hope you smell what I'm stepping in.


Those thoughts....and these as well.

From the smallest of the small (sub atomic particles, Higgs-Boson, etc.) to the edge of the known universe.....then realizing that science tells us that over 99% of the space in all of that is empty or contains a "dark force".
Mind boggling to be sure.
I wonder if there are as many degrees of small as there are of large??

"People don't go to heaven when they die; they're taken to a special room and burned!" Evil_monster
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18-05-2014, 09:04 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(18-05-2014 09:01 AM)RaisdCath Wrote:  From the smallest of the small (sub atomic particles, Higgs-Boson, etc.) to the edge of the known universe.....then realizing that science tells us that over 99% of the space in all of that is empty or contains a "dark force".
Mind boggling to be sure.
I wonder if there are as many degrees of small as there are of large??

It's not empty, it contains fields.

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18-05-2014, 09:29 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(18-05-2014 09:04 AM)cjlr Wrote:  It's not empty, it contains fields.

I'm going to hate myself for asking this, but could you try to define "fields" for me in as much of a layman's terminology as you can?

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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18-05-2014, 11:20 AM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
As an extensions of your inquiry, I have wondered how to describe the space that we tend to call nothing which makes up the fundamental framework of matter. I'm talking about atoms of course. Atoms are mostly empty space. If you stretched an atom out to the size of football stadium, the nucleus would be located in the middle of the field while the electrons would be located at the tippy top of the bleachers. So what's the deal with all the space between the nucleus and the electrons? I'm no expert, but I assumed that even the smaller subatomic particles such as quarks were located within the nucleus. So what is the space that composes 99% of the atom's mass if there are no particles to speak of? It's not "nothing" since it exists within the confines of time and space. Is it just.....matter-less space?

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18-05-2014, 12:18 PM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(18-05-2014 11:20 AM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  As an extensions of your inquiry, I have wondered how to describe the space that we tend to call nothing which makes up the fundamental framework of matter. I'm talking about atoms of course. Atoms are mostly empty space. If you stretched an atom out to the size of football stadium, the nucleus would be located in the middle of the field while the electrons would be located at the tippy top of the bleachers. So what's the deal with all the space between the nucleus and the electrons? I'm no expert, but I assumed that even the smaller subatomic particles such as quarks were located within the nucleus. So what is the space that composes 99% of the atom's mass if there are no particles to speak of? It's not "nothing" since it exists within the confines of time and space. Is it just.....matter-less space?
What if space is a form of energy - dark energy?
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18-05-2014, 12:20 PM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(17-05-2014 02:03 AM)Charis Wrote:  Yep, aaaaand my brain just popped.

Oh, good...I mean not that your brain popped but that mine did too.

Way too deep for this chick.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

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18-05-2014, 12:25 PM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(18-05-2014 09:29 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(18-05-2014 09:04 AM)cjlr Wrote:  It's not empty, it contains fields.

I'm going to hate myself for asking this, but could you try to define "fields" for me in as much of a layman's terminology as you can?

A field is the mathematical framework within which excitations propagate.

Hmm. Maybe that didn't help much.

I think you probably have some understanding of what the term means - it's horrifically abused in science fiction, of course, but everyone in modern society has heard of and interacted with electric and magnetic fields. Mathematically, a field is simply a space with some value associated with each point. More technically, the "value" at each point can be pretty much any sort of mathematical object, from a scalar to a vector to a tensor or what have you.

An electric charge induces a force in all other electric charges; this is represented by its contribution to the overall electric field, which represents the (electromotive) force an (electric) charge experiences at any point in space. And that's basically it. So far, so classical.

The actual mechanism of the electromagnetic field is the photon; exchange of photons is how an electric charge influences other electric charges.

That conclusion arises from applying quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field - quantising charge, and, well, everything else too. The math then predicts that the force is mediated by a particle we can fingerprint as the photon. Incidentally, this (quantum electrodynamics - quantised electrodynamic fields) is perhaps the single most thoroughly and accurately confirmed prediction in the entire history of science.

Anyway, with the very fruitful experience of the classical electromagnetic field and its quantisation, people applied some of the same methods and procedures to other phenomena. In modern physics everything is a field. So when the weak and strong forces were discovered they got similar treatment, eventually admitting of unified explanations - weak force as describing fermionic flavour interactions through its gauge bosons and strong force as quark colour mediated by gluons.

All of those names are shitty; "weak" and "strong" refer to field strength relative to electromagnetism, "quark" is a completely made up word (and comes from a reference to three of something, even though we now know of six types), "flavour" and "colour" have nothing to do with flavour or colour but even less to do with anything else, and "gluons", which are so called because they stick quarks together.

But the important thing is that everything is fields. The actual interactions of those three fundamental forces all follow the same rules. Gravity is also a field, but general relativity doesn't play well with others and can't quite be described from the same starting points.

But the important thing to my earlier brief statement is that fields are (in general) boundless. In free space a field decays to zero only at infinity. It may be negligent long before that, but it's still present. Like how everything in the solar system contributes to its overall gravitational field geometry, but because the sun is so much more massive those contributions are relatively negative - unless you're very close to any non-solar body, like, say, human beings on the Earth!

...

So anyway, all that "empty" space is anything but. It is permeated by non-zero fields of all kinds. The "inside" of an atom is a constant delicate balance of interacting fields, despite it being "empty" space, with a (relatively) highly localised nucleus and a (relatively) highly diffuse electron cloud.
(but it's not like "size" is a well-defined quantum property anyway, though people generally use "empty" in a way dependent on an inapplicable intuitive sort of interpretation of it)

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