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Is the Universe Analog or Digital?

  1. Jan 7, 2004 #1
    First, I'm new to this forum, so I'm sorry if I'm being redundant or naive.

    Anyway, a while ago, I'd seen the question posed, "Is the universe digital or analog in nature?"

    Seemed like such a complex question at first, but then I came up with the following answer, and it's not what some might think:
    I believe we're mentally or perceptually digital creatures existing in an analog universe. Perhaps it's because we have fingers; perhaps it's because our brains have a built-in clock rate, just like this computer I'm typing on. Our consciousness runs in flashes and bursts, ergs, if you will, just like my Intel chip.

    However, to demonstrate the analog nature of the universe, I pose this question: Solve Pi. Pi is inherently analog in nature, and it's the purest expression of two-dimensionality I can think of. It is Curvature Itself - the fundament of dimensionality as we perceive it. And things get really hyperanalog when you square and cube Pi, and creates the need for artificial constructs like Infinity - another mathematical example I can use to demonstrate the analog nature of the universe.

    Because of this thinking, I've started to look at everything in terms of spectra. Perhaps Planck only addresses part of the deal in that it may be better expressed that the fundamental "packet" that we associate with quantum mechanics is merely the part of the "spectrum" of a transdimensional unit that also exists hypo- and hyper-dimensionally. After all, I find it interesting that every "erg" we run into appears to be spherical in nature. If you've ever been exposed to the concepts of Flatland, you'll realize that a three-dimensional object entering two dimensional Flatland would appear to a flatlander as a two-dimensional object because of his limited perception of dimensionality. Spheres are the three-dimensional equivalent in this model, so virtually any hyperdimensional artifact would appear to us in exactly this fashion. In other words, what does a hypersphere look like? Well, in my way of thinking, look around; they're everywhere. We just can't actually perceive the "hyper" aspects of the sphere. (And of course, just like Flatland, I'm reducing the dimensionalities for simplicity; you have to add the time element, etc., for accuracy.)

    Ultimately, I'm starting to wonder if we need a whole new form of math that is analog in nature. I was told that we have that in algebra and other formulaic expressions, but they're meaningless until you apply values and solve for them.

    Following my muse, maybe the universe is full of intelligent life, all interrelating by use of technologies they have developed because of their analog-based mentalities; whereas us poor digital-brained creatures are too stupid to pick up on it because we're trying to shove stuff into shapes and units and ergs and things we can understand from an inferior perceptual nature. It's like trying to absorb the nature of God. Truly, the container must always be greater than that which it contains.

    What say you?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2009 #2
    Reading this post gave me goosebumps. Especially the paragraph about Flatland, as I remember watching a film on that in the 8th grade. The mathematics teacher I had that year had not only a look on her face as if she was certain of something when she looked at me, but she also blindly gave me 95+/100 grades for each semester when I never actually did anything in class or homework. Meanwhile everyone else in class would work their asses off and complain about too much work.
  4. Nov 7, 2009 #3
    It appears that you are just rambling. I don't see what you mean by analog based mentality. Technically our mentality is both digital and analog. The signals that pass between neurons or continuous waveforms (analog). The information stored on the brain is digital in the sense that it is quantized but digital still means something totally different. So I guess the answer to your question is, on the most fundamental level the universe is quantized (so sort of digital) and on the macroscopic level matter appears analog.
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4
    Imagine I have two cubes in my hands. These cubes are just the 3-d slice of two 4-d objects.
    One object is a 3-d cube that extends for 1 foot in the 4-d, the other cube extends for 2 feet in the 4-d.
    You will agree that the second object has a greater mass that the first in the 4-d world.
    Now I start shaking the two cubes, one in each hand.
    I should feel that one cube is somehow heavier than the other, because when I move the cube, I must move the 4-d object as well.

    Has any experiment proven this ? Are there in our world two identical objects that behaves differently just because their 4-d extensions are not the same ?
  6. Nov 10, 2009 #5
    I say it depends what type of computer you are using to build your model of the universe.
  7. Nov 12, 2009 #6
    The universe is analog. period.
    when we make simulations we use a digital aproximation (n-body gravitational f.ex.)
    but energy is transported in definite quantities,quanta, between particles.
    because particles are resonators and can only accept energy adequate to change from one resonant state to another.
    even quantum mecanics is like a digital treatment of an analog wave reality.
    analog is the reality, digital is the treatment, our representation.
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