# E=mc^2 = monism?

1. Dec 21, 2004

e=mc^2=monism??

Doesn't Einstien's famous equation prove some sort of monism or at least strongly suggest it?

2. Dec 21, 2004

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
I would definitely say it suggests it.

3. Dec 21, 2004

### Les Sleeth

I agree, I think it suggests it. Here's one possible way to fit monism to it.

Why should mass and energy have anything to do with light? A possibility I've suggested is that mass is actually a concentration of some basic existential "stuff"; in the past I've termed it illumination. If you rearrange Einstien's equation a little you get: E/M = C^2. You can see the proportion of E to M has to be relatively huge to give C^2. So maybe mass is a concentration of illumination, maybe energy is the result of compression, and is observed (i.e., it moves things/does work) as mass deconcentrates. (To explain oscillation and why illumination "particlizes" as it compresses there has to be more to the model.) Just a thought. :tongue2:

4. Dec 21, 2004

### StatusX

c is just a physical constant, it is neither big nor small. it is used to convert space units to time units or mass units to energy units.

5. Dec 21, 2004

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
Well, it's a very big number when you put it in the traditional terms of meters and seconds. There's no questioning that there is what humans would think of as a "huge" amount of energy contained within very small amounts of matter. Look no further than the atomic bomb for evidence of that.

6. Dec 21, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
It doesn't prove or suggest monism at all. All it says is that objects have energy just by virtue of the fact that they have mass. If we merge SR with quantum theory, we see that the conjunction of the two theories implies that massive particles can annihilate with their antiparticles and produce photons. But all this is in the realm of physical objects (particles and fields). None of it can be extrapolated to the mind, and so it cannot rule out dualism.

7. Dec 21, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
They don't. At least not by virtue of Einstein's equation. The fact that we refer to 'c' as the speed of light is just an historical accident. The universal upper limit of speed really has nothing to do with light-ness.

But what if you had named it, "existential stuff" instead of "illumination"? Then you would not have made this connection, which is really nothing more than a flimsy play on words. It just happens to be a coincidence that 'c' is named "the speed of light", and that the basic stuff of the universe is named "illumination" in your model.

8. Dec 21, 2004

### Les Sleeth

You're right, I made a mistake to say EM's nature and the upper limit of speed are related. It's not what I think myself, so I don't know why I said that.

I believe there is a way argue the relationship between energy and matter can suggest (not prove) monism. Just the fact that most of what exists in this universe is matter and energy, and there's an = sign between them can be interpreted monistically can't it?

Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
9. Dec 21, 2004

### Sho'Nuff

I think it was at least intended as such

10. Dec 21, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
First, the "E" in "E=mc2" stands for the same type of energy that I spoke of when we last discussed it. Specifically, it stands for something that is purely mathematical in nature.

Second, the equals sign means that the quantity of energy that we assign to a particle at rest is equal to the product of m and c2. It does not say that matter is energy.

Third, even if I did agree with your interpretation of the equation, I don't understand how you can on the one hand talk about "most of what exists" and then from that infer a monism. Isn't a monism a metaphysical school of thought that holds that everything (as opposed to most things) is of the same basic nature?

And fourth, what about what I said here?

In other words, what evidence do you have that E=mc2 has anything to say about consciousness? After all, doesn't the "monism-vs-dualism" issue center around the question, "Are matter and consciousness of the same nature or not?" So to imply (or suggest) a monism is to imply (or suggest) that dualism is wrong. Now you may be able to make a convincing case one way or the other on that question, but not with E=mc2.

Boy oh boy, just look at us. Here you are saying that an equation that strictly pertains to material particles suggests a monism (and what other monism could that be other than a physicalist one?), and here I am pointing out that that equation does not rule out "something more". What's next, flying cows? :rofl:

11. Dec 21, 2004

### Les Sleeth

True. I probably should have not commented. I don't think it's convincing at all, just "suggestive." Knowing your stand on not mixing up physics with anything too speculative, I realized I was risking criticism by saying anything.

A small point. It probably seems paradoxical that some "existential stuff" can be both consciousness and physical, but that's how it has to be in order for monism to be true. Even a space or a beginning or end, where the "existential stuff" didn't exist, would create duality (stuff and nothing), so to be true the "existential stuff" must be homogeneous, uncreated, indestructible, and infinintely extended. The idea is that the "existential stuff" is simply in different conditions (e.g., the condition of physicalness, the condition of consciousness . . .) The issue then becomes in what order things come about. Did the stuff form into the universe, and then consciousness emerged from physicalness? Or did consciousness develop in the stuff first, and then participate in the formation of the physical universe, eventually emerging through it via the CSN?

Lol. Maybe we're having a bipolar moment. :tongue2:

Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
12. Dec 22, 2004

Thanks

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to reply to my thread.
It seems that physicists look for symmetry in their mathematical work when dealing with TOEs. Does that mean that the universe itself is probably symmetrical?

13. Dec 22, 2004

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
Symmetry is generally thought to be a governing principle in nature, but just so it's clear, it isn't geometric symmetry. No implication is made about the shape of the universe. You might want to ask this in the particle physics forum, though. I really don't know any physics beyond what is taught in the corollary courses to other science majors.

14. Dec 22, 2004

### StatusX

I don't think symmetry is anything special about nature, it just arises when we are looking at two things that are really aspects of the same thing. For example, the laws governing electricity and magnetism are extremely symmetrical, but this isn't anything beautiful about nature, as some might suggest. Once we discovered special relativity, we realized they were two aspects of the same thing. I would bet that the most fundamental law of nature will have no symmetry whatsoever, and in fact, that will be how we know we're at the end.

15. Dec 22, 2004

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
I don't mean symmetry of laws, just the general principle believed by particle physics that every particle has an antiparticle. Heck, I don't even know if this is still believed to be true, but it was last I knew.

16. Dec 22, 2004

### Les Sleeth

It just might be significant too. Why should the "same thing" constantly manifest symmetries? What if, for instance, part of what we can't see is some polar aspect operating behind what we can now see. I'm using the term “polarity” in the broadest sense to represent that tendency in creation for things to assume the form of opposites. In creation it is exhibited in matter-antimatter, the balance of forces concentrated in an atom, the relationship between gravity and the expansion of the universe, electron and proton complementarity, positive and negative charges, and the north and south poles of magnetism; and in the evolution of life possibly the same principle works to create everything from left-right brain and male-female polarities to assertive-receptive and conservative-liberal personality types.

The Chinese certainly thought it significant, and contemplating it became the basis for their most enduring philosophy.

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder isn't it? (Interestingly, studies have shown that higher consciousness is very much attuned to symmetry in music, movement, speech and even visual appreciation.)

Hey, that's getting awfully close to monistic theory. Personally I think the same thing about what's "most fundamental." However, whatever that most fundamental is, wouldn't you agree it has to have the potential to become all the structured, rhythmic, symetrical, ordered laws and processes we find present in the universe?

17. Dec 22, 2004

Symmetry

I am not talking about astehtic symmetry or that of a geometrical object but like that of a mirror. I agree that Maxwell's laws are very symmetrical and SR showed us that magnetism and electricity are aspects of the same thing. Just the saem a "universal" symmetry would show that the 4 fundamental forces of nature are aspects of the same thing

18. Dec 22, 2004

To Les

I don't always understand what you Tom and Loseyour name are saying but you are all very brilliant.

19. Dec 22, 2004

### Locrian

Hah. How amusing!

20. Dec 24, 2004