Does the universe dance in forms?

  • Thread starter plum
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  • #1
plum
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Can the universe be understood entirely through the mathematical formulations of physics or is it too much in a state of fluidity and flux for human words and math to give a comprehensive, clear, and holistic vision to humans?
My apologies for such an awkward, clumsy sentence.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
iron~orchid
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Who can stop the Sun from rising ?

There is a certain fortunate inevitability about the fluidity of natural processes.

Now I wonder what rituals there are in keeping with the natural rhythm of the city...

...celebrating the annual xmas panic purchase? Getting up to the screeching and hammering of the construction site next door to worship the sacred cycle of demolish/rebuild?

Bah, how much would that suck? I just recently read something about how westerners adopted all kinds of shamanistic, tantric and whateveric practices as faddish "therapies", along with a warning that these might not do much good in the long run since they have so little to do with the rest of the western lifestyle whereas to their original practicioners every ritual was deeply integrated into their roles in society, their world-views and their daily lives.

Or something like that. I don't really know why I'm replying to this...
 
  • #3
plum
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Formalized, mathematical thought is definitely necessary for human evolution and prosperity, however the idea of there being a past-future narrative inherent in the universe itself which reflects the one ingrained in our experience may be erroneous. Although galaxies and stars behave in a way that can be analogized with our earthly perception, I believe their behavior is more implicative of this perception than of anything happening out there. The universe exists above all in a perpetual state of infinite, incomprehensible chaos occurring only in the now and the everywhere-such is its true nature-however physics can be of great benefit to our technological enpowerment and the urge to erect a clear and simple vision, however subjective it may be.
 
  • #4
Mentat
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Originally posted by plum
Formalized, mathematical thought is definitely necessary for human evolution and prosperity, however the idea of there being a past-future narrative inherent in the universe itself which reflects the one ingrained in our experience may be erroneous. Although galaxies and stars behave in a way that can be analogized with our earthly perception, I believe their behavior is more implicative of this perception than of anything happening out there. The universe exists above all in a perpetual state of infinite, incomprehensible chaos occurring only in the now and the everywhere-such is its true nature-however physics can be of great benefit to our technological enpowerment and the urge to erect a clear and simple vision, however subjective it may be.

Welcome to the PFs, plum! :smile:

As to your post (quoted above), I disagree that our subjective experience is inherently separate from "the reality". After all, if it were really that seperate, why would it work in progressive technology? Also, if we were completely incorrect about the nature of the Universe, it would be quite shocking that we were able to think about it at all (instead of just thinking about that which we subjectively experience).
 
  • #5
plum
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You're suggesting that we can justify the fact that humans are capable of reflecting the nature of the external universe inside their minds through technological innovation, however if you consider the ends and not the means of this innovation, it complements not our divine knowledge but our primitive drive for personal power.
 
  • #6
EvilPoet
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Originally posted by plum
Can the universe be understood entirely through the mathematical formulations of physics or is it too much in a state of fluidity and flux for human words and math to give a comprehensive, clear, and holistic vision to humans?
According to Galileo it's the only way to understand it. :smile:

Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these one is wandering in a dark labyrinth." [Source: History of Mathematics archive]
 
  • #7
iron~orchid
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Did anyone hear about the research done into sonar? Apparently nato has accepted that 'perhaps' naval sonar is the cause of driving whales to beach themselves and if so are open to change and using new technology to navigate.

Technology technology technology. What else does it destroy in way of the fluid Universe ?
 
  • #8
Mentat
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Originally posted by plum
You're suggesting that we can justify the fact that humans are capable of reflecting the nature of the external universe inside their minds through technological innovation, however if you consider the ends and not the means of this innovation, it complements not our divine knowledge but our primitive drive for personal power.

I don't understand what you are saying here, plum. I was responding to the idea that we cannot actually become conscious of the "real" Universe, merely that which we are subjectively aware of. I disagree. I was saying that we are only subjectively aware of that which exists objectively.
 
  • #9
plum
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Well I guess it's impossible to know the boundary that distinguishes what is subjective and what is objective. Humans are a part of the universe and our minds are part of our bodies and our consciousness is part of our unconscious...The bubble of collective consciousness that is opening up is not a transparent blanket that hangs over reality; it is more like a dirty old cracked window. To truly "know" the universe wouldn't someone either have to be its creator or...the universe itself?
 
  • #10
iron~orchid
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If you are not the Creator,

How do you justify your existence?
 
  • #11
EvilPoet
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Originally posted by iron~orchid
If you are not the Creator,

How do you justify your existence?
Who are you making this justification to - yourself or others?
 
  • #12
iron~orchid
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Can the universe be understood .... for human words and math to give a comprehensive, clear, and holistic vision to humans?

"Who are you making this justification to - yourself or others?"


Can the universe understand humans through any comprehensive venue ?
 
  • #13
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by plum
Well I guess it's impossible to know the boundary that distinguishes what is subjective and what is objective. Humans are a part of the universe and our minds are part of our bodies and our consciousness is part of our unconscious...The bubble of collective consciousness that is opening up is not a transparent blanket that hangs over reality; it is more like a dirty old cracked window. To truly "know" the universe wouldn't someone either have to be its creator or...the universe itself?

It gets worse, plum. The Universe cannot be conscious, and thus it cannot even know itself. So, the only one who can "really know" the Universe would be its creator, should you choose to accept the existence of such a thing.

Anyway, plum, there is a logical problem with trying to state that our consciousness of the objective world is "like a dirty old cracked window" or "like a transparent blanket" or anything in between, since to make such an assesment one needs to be unclouded. Therefore it causes a paradox to try to assess the clarity of your own consciousness, since you are working within the confines of that consciousness.
 
  • #14
Loren Booda
3,119
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That the universe is not entirely comprehensible physically or mathematically validates those sciences by relatively unlimited philosophical potentialities.
 
  • #15
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by Loren Booda
That the universe is not entirely comprehensible physically or mathematically validates those sciences by relatively unlimited philosophical potentialities.

Rephrase please, I don't quite get your meaning.

Are you saying that the incomprehensibility of the Universe leaves a broad horizon for science to continue new discovery?
 
  • #16
plum
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I think he means that science can be infinitely detailed and fresh because the reality it's trying to convey is infinitely detailed. He is, however, wrong. There are limits within science because it describes only forms and their relations. What I was getting at with the original question is "is the universe best understood/ experienced/communed with through the use of abstract forms or something like building engines or farming or meditation? Does a race car driver know more about the world than a physicist?
 
  • #17
EvilPoet
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Can the universe understand humans through any comprehensive venue ?
I think that depends. Does the universe have consciousness?
 
  • #18
plum
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Maybe the universe doesn't want to talk to us right now. It could be having a bad millenium.
 
  • #19
ogb p
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If you were the universe: who would YOU talk to?

If you were the universe: who would you let get to know you? Physicst, mathamatician, philosopher, or theologen? (if those are the only choices)

Oh Universe, YOU MAKE ME... feel so small!
 
  • #20
Loren Booda
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That the universe is not entirely comprehensible physically or mathematically validates those sciences by relatively unlimited philosophical potentialities.

What I mean here is that a philosophy more inclusive than physics or mathematics provides a more objective reference with which to justify those subsets themselves.
 
  • #21
plum
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So in other words, you're talking about philosophy (in a way you hope will hide your ignorance). But philosophy can't provide a comprehensive objective reference because it's not really a science; just ideas that are continuously argued.
 
  • #22
Loren Booda
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plum
So in other words, you're talking about philosophy (in a way you hope will hide your ignorance). But philosophy can't provide a comprehensive objective reference because it's not really a science; just ideas that are continuously argued.
That's why you (not so ironically) have landed on the philosophy forum? How ignorant? At least I have explained myself rather than illogically defeating my own argument. Next try without initiating an ad hominem attack.
 
  • #23
plum
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Originally posted by Loren Booda
What I mean here is that a philosophy more inclusive than physics or mathematics provides a more objective reference with which to justify those subsets themselves.

I assume that by "a philosophy" you mean philosophy itself, so you're alluding to something that already exists but pride yourself on fathoming it as being beyond the power of words to describe. That's why your statement came across to me as being arrogant, not really ignorant, or perhaps masking a laziness of thought by conveying a vague meaning.
 
  • #24
iron~orchid
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Where did the digit 1 come from... or the digit 2?

They all come from the non-digit zero!

Zero is nothing but it is the source of all digits and mathematics
 
  • #25
Loren Booda
3,119
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iron~orchid,

The ancient Greeks, Pythagoras et al., had no concept of the number zero.
 
  • #26
RingoKid
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the wind passes over a field of wheat...

...the wheat moves accordingly but stays fixed in the ground, the wind moves on
 
  • #27
RingoKid
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we register the universe as an unseen effect on a field...

...the field provides a medium for the universe to effect change
 
  • #28
wuliheron
2,135
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plum said:
Can the universe be understood entirely through the mathematical formulations of physics or is it too much in a state of fluidity and flux for human words and math to give a comprehensive, clear, and holistic vision to humans?
My apologies for such an awkward, clumsy sentence.

First off, just because something is in a fluid or chaotic state does not mean it cannot be understood holistically. Quite the opposite, holistic theories tend to revolve around mystical ideas as well as pantheistic ones.

Secondly, the mathematics and discoveries of the two physical theories that describe everything we can observe, QM and Relativity, have steadily been converging for over fifty years now. Estimates are that within the next five to fifty years a single theory will combine them both, thus providing a single mathematical formulation that describes everything.

Third, exactly what you mean by clear I'm not sure. To people in the middle ages the idea that the Earth was round, spinning on it's axis and flying around the sun at unimaginable speeds, yet we obviously were not being thrown off, was not exactly thought to be a clear concept. :laughing:
 
  • #29
plum
136
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RingoKid said:
we register the universe as an unseen effect on a field...

...the field provides a medium for the universe to effect change

But isn't time an idea imposed on the universe by human brains that use time not to understand fundamental laws, but to make surviving easier?

Even Stephen Hawking admitted that theories and equations have nothing to do with reality as it is (rather than as it appears to Earth bound talking apes)

Our theories enable us to make predictions and to "swim through" things with technological innovation, but the predictions we make are not of the state of the universe as it shall be, but rather of what our perceptions shall be; they tell us more of ourselves than of anything objective.

I'm still not convinced that the universe knows what math is. It may appear to be running like preprogrammed software, but again, this is only according to humans' understanding of nature, and we were not bred to know; we were merely bred to survive.
 

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