All material at this website © 1989-2005 by Christopher Michael Langan
 

 

 

 

 


What is the CTMU?

Multiple Universes

Gravity

The Existence of Souls 

Self-Creation 

Existence of Reality 

Self-Awareness

Recreational Mathematics


Supraphysical Components

Matter 

Which Came First?

Visible and UV Light

More on God

Moral Laws

Cognition 

Spiritual Machines 


Q:  Chris, I'm not a mathematician or physicist by any stretch, but I am a curious person and would like to know more about the CTMU (Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe).  I am particularly interested in the theological aspects.  Can you please explain what the CTMU is all about in language that even I can understand?

A:  Thanks for your interest, but the truth is the CTMU isn't all that difficult for even a layperson to understand.  So sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and open your mind...

Scientific theories are mental constructs that have objective reality as their content.   According to the scientific method, science puts objective content first, letting theories be determined by observation.  But the phrase "a theory of reality" contains two key nouns, theory and reality, and science is really about both. Because all theories have certain necessary logical properties that are abstract and mathematical, and therefore independent of observation - it is these very properties that let us recognize and understand our world in conceptual terms - we could just as well start with these properties and see what they might tell us about objective reality.  Just as scientific observation makes demands on theories, the logic of theories makes demands on scientific observation, and these demands tell us in a general way what we may observe about the universe. 

In other words, a comprehensive theory of reality is not just about observation, but about theories and their logical requirements.  Since theories are mental constructs, and mental means "of the mind", this can be rephrased as follows: mind and reality are linked in mutual dependence at the most basic level of understanding.  This linkage of mind and reality is what a TOE (Theory of Everything) is really about.  The CTMU is such a theory; instead of being a mathematical description of specific observations (like all established scientific theories), it is a "metatheory" about the general relationship between theories and observations…i.e., about science or knowledge itself.  Thus, it can credibly lay claim to the title of TOE.

Mind and reality - the abstract and the concrete, the subjective and the objective, the internal and the external - are linked together in a certain way, and this linkage is the real substance of "reality theory".  Just as scientific observation determines theories, the logical requirements of theories to some extent determine scientific observation.  Since reality always has the ability to surprise us, the task of scientific observation can never be completed with absolute certainty, and this means that a comprehensive theory of reality cannot be based on scientific observation alone.  Instead, it must be based on the process of making scientific observations in general, and this process is based on the relationship of mind and reality.  So the CTMU is essentially a theory of the relationship between mind and reality.

In explaining this relationship, the CTMU shows that reality possesses a complex property akin to self-awareness.  That is, just as the mind is real, reality is in some respects like a mind.  But when we attempt to answer the obvious question "whose mind?", the answer turns out to be a mathematical and scientific definition of God.  This implies that we all exist in what can be called "the Mind of God", and that our individual minds are parts of God's Mind.  They are not as powerful as God's Mind, for they are only parts thereof; yet, they are directly connected to the greatest source of knowledge and power that exists.  This connection of our minds to the Mind of God, which is like the connection of parts to a whole, is what we sometimes call the soul or spirit, and it is the most crucial and essential part of being human. 

Thus, the attempt to formulate a comprehensive theory of reality, the CTMU, finally leads to spiritual understanding, producing a basis for the unification of science and theology.  The traditional Cartesian divider between body and mind, science and spirituality, is penetrated by logical reasoning of a higher order than ordinary scientific reasoning, but no less scientific than any other kind of mathematical truth.  Accordingly, it serves as the long-awaited gateway between science and humanism, a bridge of reason over what has long seemed an impassable gulf.

More on the CTMU


Q:  Hey Chris, what's your take on the theory of Max Tegmark, physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  He has a paper on the web which postulates that universes exist physically for all conceivable mathematical structures.  Is it as "wacky" as he postulates?

A:  Since Max claims to be on the fast track to a TOE of his own, I just thought I'd offer a few remarks about his approach, and point out a few of the ways in which it differs from that of the CTMU.

Many of us are familiar with the Anthropic Principle of cosmology (the AP) and Everett's Many Worlds (MW) interpretation of quantum theory.  These ideas have something in common: each is an attempt to make a philosophical problem disappear by what amounts to Wittgensteinian semantic adjustment, i.e., by a convenient redefinition of certain key ingredients.  Specifically, MW attempts to circumvent the quantum measurement problem - the decoherence of the quantum wave function - by redefining every quantum event as a divergence of universes, shifting the question "what happens to the unrealized possible results of a measurement when one possibility is exclusively actualized?" to "why can we not perceive the actualizations of these other possible results?", while the AP shifts the question "why does the universe exist?" to "why is this particular universe perceived to exist?"  Both MW and the AP thus shift attention away from objective reality by focusing on the subjective perception of objective reality, thereby invoking the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity (what usually goes unstated is that mainstream physical and mathematical science have traditionally recognized only the objective side of this distinction, sweeping the other side under the rug whenever possible).

Perhaps intuiting the MW-AP connection, Max Tegmark (formerly at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton) has effectively combined these two ideas and tried to shift the focus back into the objective domain.  First, noting that MW is usually considered to involve only those universes that share our laws of physics (but which differ in the initial and subsequent conditions to which those laws are applied), Tegmark extends MW to include other universes with other sets of physical laws, noting that since these sets of laws are mathematical in nature, they must correspond to mathematical structures...abstract structures that we can investigate right here in this universe.  And that, he says, may explain why this universe is perceived to exist: the conditions for the evolution of perceptual entities may simply be the mean of a distribution generated by distinct physical nomologies corresponding to these mathematical structures.  In other words, the conditions for the existence of "self-aware substructures" (perceptual life forms) may simply be the most likely conditions within the distribution of all possible universes.  And since the latter distribution corresponds to the set of mathematical structures in this universe, the hypothesis can be tested right here by mathematical physicists.

Of course, Tegmark's attempt at a TOE leaves unanswered a number of deep philosophical questions.  First, what good does it do to "anthropically" explain this universe in terms of an MW metauniverse unless one can explain where the metauniverse came from?  What is supposed to prevent an informationally barren infinite regress of universes within metauniverses within meta-metauniverses..., and so on?  Second, what good is such a theory unless it contains the means to resolve outstanding paradoxes bedeviling physics and cosmology - paradoxes like quantum nonlocality, ex nihilo cosmology, the arrow of time, and so forth? Third, what is the true relationship between mathematics and physics, that one can simply identify sets of physical laws with mathematical structures?  It's fine to say that physics comes from mathematics, but then where does mathematics come from?  Fourth, where are the mathematical tools for dealing with the apparently ultra-complex problem of computing the probability distribution of universes from the set of all mathematical structures, including those yet to be discovered?  Fifth, what is the real relationship between subjective and objective reality, on which distinction both Many Worlds and the Anthropic Principle are ultimately based?  (Et cetera.)

Since one could go on for pages, it seems a little premature to be calling Tegmark's theory a TOE (or even a reasonable TOE precursor).  And although I 'm not saying that his theory contains nothing of value, I'm a bit puzzled by the absence of any mention of certain obvious mathematical ingredients.  For example, topos theory deals with topoi, or so-called "mathematical universes" consisting of mathematical categories (mapping algebras) equipped not only with the objects and morphisms possessed by categories in general, but special logics permitting the assignment of truth values to various superficially nonalgebraic (e.g. "physical") expressions involving the objects.  Why would any "TOE" purporting to equate physical universes to mathematical structures omit at least cursory mention of an existing theory that seems to be tailor-made for just such a hypothesis?  This in itself suggests a certain amount of oversight.  Tegmark may have a few good ideas knocking around upstairs, but on the basis of what his theory omits, one can't avoid the impression that he's merely skirting the boundary of a real TOE.  

In contrast, the CTMU deals directly with the outstanding paradoxes and fundamental interrelationship of mathematics and physics.  Unlike other TOEs, the CTMU does not purport to be a "complete" theory; there are too many physical details and undecidable mathematical theorems to be accounted for (enough to occupy whole future generations of mathematicians and scientists), and merely stating a hypothetical relationship among families of subatomic particles is only a small part of the explanatory task before us.  Instead, the CTMU is merely designed to be consistent and comprehensive at a high level of generality, a level above that at which most other TOEs are prematurely aimed.

The good news is that a new model of physical spacetime, and thus a whole new context for addressing the usual round of quantum cosmological problems, has emerged from the CTMU's direct attack on deeper philosophical issues.  


Q:  Einstein says that gravity is a result of "mass-energy" causing a curvature in the four dimensional space time continuum. At the planck scale, (10^(-33)) centimeters, is space still continuous?, or is space discontinuous?  I have read books saying space time may have holes or breaks in continuity.  Are these holes related in any way to "gravitons", or reverse time causality? (Question from Russell Rierson)

A:  A mathematical space is continuous if it has a metric that withstands infinitesimal subdivision. To understand what this means, one must know what a "metric" is. Simplistically, a metric is just a general "distance" relationship defined on a space as follows: if a and b are two points in a space, and c is an arbitrary third point, then the distance between a and b is always less than or equal to the sum of the distances between a and c, and b and c. That is, where d(x,y) is the distance between two points x and y,

d(a,b) <= d(a,c) + d(b,c). 

If this relationship continues to hold no matter how close together the points a, b and c might be, then the space is continuous. On the other hand, where the distance concept is undefined below a certain threshold, metric continuity breaks down on that scale. Since the Planck limit is such a threshold, space is discontinuous below the Planck scale...implying, of course, that it is discontinuous, period. Not only is it "granular" in a slippery kind of way, but the grains in question are effectively without spatial extent. 

Because space and time are undefined below quantum limits, they no longer have extensionality or directionality. But if we interpret this to mean that anything, including causality, can "flow" in any direction whatsoever, then reverse causality is conceivable on sub-Planck scales. In fact, some theorists conjecture that on these scales, continuous spacetime becomes a chaotic "quantum foam" in which distant parts of the universe are randomly connected by microscopic "wormholes". That's pretty much the party line among physicists. 

Now let's bring philosophy to bear on the issue. At one time, space was considered to consist of "ether", a quasimaterial "substance" through which physical objects were thought to swim like fish through water. But since the introduction of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, nothing material remains of empty space; although it is permeated by fields and "vacuum energy", these are merely contained by space and are not equivalent to space itself. Space has instead become a mathematical abstraction called a "tensor field" that confers relative attributes like location, direction, orientation, distance, linear and angular velocity, and geometry on physical objects and energy fields. Because empty space, as abstracted from its contents, cannot be observed and has no observable effect on anything, it is not "physical" in the usual sense. 

That which is immaterial is abstract, and abstraction is a mental process that "abstracts" or educes general relationships from observations. So from a philosophical viewpoint, saying that space is immaterial and therefore abstract amounts to saying that it is "mental"...that it is to some extent composed of mind rather than matter. Although this runs against the scientific grain, it is consistent with our dominant physical theories of the very large and the very small, namely relativity and quantum mechanics. In relativity, space and time are combined in an abstract manifold called "spacetime" whose "points" are physical events that can be resolved in terms of mutual behavioral transduction of material objects, a process fundamentally similar to mentation. And quantum mechanics characterizes matter in terms of abstract, immaterial wave functions that are physically actualized by interactions of an equally immaterial nature.

What does this mean regarding the continuity of spacetime? Simply that like spacetime itself, continuity and its quantum-scale breakdown are essentially mental rather than material in character. As Berkeley observed centuries ago, reality is ultimately perceptual, and as we know from the subsequent debate between Hume and Kant, perception conforms to mental categories... categories like space and time. So rather than being purely objective and "physical" in a materialistic sense, space has a subjective aspect reflecting the profoundly mental nature of our reality. 

Gravitons, though subject to some of the same reasoning, are another matter.


Q:  Does the CTMU allow for  the existence of souls and reincarnation?

A:  From the CTMU, there emerge multiple levels of consciousness.  Human temporal consciousness is the level with which we're familiar; global (parallel) consciousness is that of the universe as a whole.  The soul is the connection between the two...the embedment of the former in the latter.

In the CTMU, reality is viewed as a profoundly self-contained, self-referential kind of "language", and languages have syntaxes.  Because self-reference is an abstract generalization of consciousness - consciousness is the attribute by virtue of which we possess self-awareness - conscious agents are "sublanguages" possessing their own cognitive syntaxes. Now, global consciousness is based on a complete cognitive syntax in which our own incomplete syntax can be embedded, and this makes human consciousness transparent to it; in contrast, our ability to access the global level is restricted due to our syntactic limitations. 

Thus, while we are transparent to the global syntax of the global conscious agency "God", we cannot see everything that God can see.  Whereas God perceives one total act of creation in a parallel distributed fashion, with everything in perfect superposition, we are localized in spacetime and perceive reality only in a succession of locally creative moments.  This parallelism has powerful implications. When a human being dies, his entire history remains embedded in the timeless level of consciousness...the Deic level.  In that sense, he or she is preserved by virtue of his or her "soul". And since the universe is a self-refining entity, that which is teleologically valid in the informational construct called "you" may be locally re-injected or redistributed in spacetime.  In principle, this could be a recombinative process, with the essences of many people combining in a set of local injections or "reincarnations" (this could lead to strange effects...e.g., a single person remembering simultaneous "past lifetimes").

In addition, an individual human sublanguage might be vectored into an alternate domain dynamically connected to its existence in spacetime.  In this scenario, the entity would emerge into an alternate reality based on the interaction between her local level of consciousness and the global level embedding it...i.e., based on the state of her "soul" as just defined.  This may be the origin of beliefs regarding heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo and other spiritual realms.


QIf I have interpreted you correctly, you maintain that the universe created itself. How did this come about? What existed before the Universe and when did the Universe create itself or come into being?                        - Celia Joslyn

A:  You're asking three distinct but related questions about cosmology: how, when and as what did the universe self-create? 

The universe can be described as a cybernetic system in which freedom and constraint are counterbalanced. The constraints function as structure; thus, the laws of physics are constraints which define the structure of spacetime, whereas freedom is that which is bound or logically quantified by the constraints in question. Now, since there is no real time scale external to reality, there is no extrinsic point in time at which the moment of creation can be located, and this invalidates phrases like  "before reality existed" and "when reality created itself".  So rather than asking "when" the universe came to be, or what existed "before" the universe was born, we must instead ask "what would remain if the structural constraints defining the real universe were regressively suspended?" First, time would gradually disappear, eliminating the "when" question entirely. And once time disappears completely, what remains is the answer to the "what" question: a realm of boundless potential characterized by a total lack of real constraint. In other words, the real universe timelessly emerges from a background of logically unquantified potential to which the concepts of space and time simply do not apply. 

Now let's attend to your "how" question. Within a realm of unbound potential like the one from which the universe emerges, everything is possible, and this implies that "everything exists" in the sense of possibility. Some possibilities are self-inconsistent and therefore ontological dead ends; they extinguish themselves in the very attempt to emerge into actuality. But other possibilities are self-consistent and potentially self-configuring by internally defined evolutionary processes. That is, they predicate their own emergence according to their own internal logics, providing their own means and answering their own "hows". These possibilities, which are completely self-contained not only with respect to how, what, and when, but why, have a common structure called SCSPL (Self-Configuring Self-Processing Language). An SCSPL answers its own "why?" question with something called teleology; where SCSPL is "God" to whatever exists within it, teleology amounts to the "Will of God".


Q:   Is there a reason for reality to exist?  Specifically, some mathematical proof that would prove that a reality must exist?  This would of course lead in to the more common type of questions, like "Does *this* reality exist?"  Perhaps there's a mathematical or logical proof somewhere that shows that *something* must exist (reality by default), or that total-non-existence can't exist by it's very definition.          - Bill  

A:  See the above response to Celia.   

Q
:   I think I got clued in by an old Alan Watts text that said (I think) "If you can agree that you are not separated from reality, then you must agree that your 'self'-awareness is also reality's awareness of itself."  This is of course continued to "if God exists and cannot be separated from reality, then your awareness is also his awareness of himself, etc etc".  I think this approximates some of what you have said, but doesn't require the upper level math(!). - Bill

A:  If Watts said these things, then he anticipated the CTMU (loosely speaking, of course). But whereas Watts used conditional (if...then) formulations, similar statements are unconditionally supported by certain elements of mathematical structure that he omitted.


Q:   Given my own self-awareness and inability to separate from reality, *I* have no doubt that this reality *does* exist (the proof is in the pudding).  So while I do not need "proof" that there is a reality, that I am part of that reality, and that my awareness is reality's awareness of itself - I do not know WHY all of this stuff exists (myself included).

If there *is* a reason that reality MUST exist, then that would also be the reason that *I* exist. Which is probably what I am really wondering.  Is the answer that giving myself a reason to exist is the reason for my existence?         - Bill     

A:   The first part of your "why" question is answered at the end of the above response to Celia.  Since the meaning of life is a topic that has often been claimed by religion, we'll attempt to answer the second part with a bit of CTMU-style "logical theology". 

Within each SCSPL system, subsystems sharing critical aspects of global structure will also manifest the self-configuration imperative of their inclusive SCSPL; that is, they exist for the purpose of self-actualization or self-configuration, and in self-configuring, contribute to the Self-configuration of the SCSPL as a whole. Human beings are such subsystems. The "purpose" of their lives, and the "meaning" of their existences, is therefore to self-actualize in a way consistent with global Self-actualization or teleology...i.e., in a way that maximizes global utility, including the utility of their fellow subsystems. Their existential justification is to help the universe, AKA God, express its nature in a positive and Self-beneficial way.   

If they do so, then their "souls", or relationships to the overall System ("God"), attain a state of grace and partake of Systemic timelessness ("life eternal"). If, on the other hand, they do not - if they give themselves over to habitual selfishness at the expense of others and the future of their species - then they are teleologically devalued and must repair their connections with the System in order to remain a viable part of it. And if they do even worse, intentionally scarring the teleological ledger with a massive net loss of global utility, then unless they pursue redemption with such sincerety that their intense desire for forgiveness literally purges their souls, they face spiritual interdiction for the sake of teleological integrity.  

Such is the economy of human existence. Much of what we have been taught by organized religions is based on the illogical literalization of metaphorical aspects of their respective doctrines. But this much of it is true: we can attain a state of grace; we can draw near to God and partake of His eternal nature; we can fall from God's grace; we can lose our souls for doing evil. In all cases, we are unequivocally answerable to the System that grants and sustains our existence, and doing right by that System and its contents, including other subsystems like ourselves, is why we exist. Sometimes, "doing right" simply means making the best of a bad situation without needlessly propagating one's own misfortune to others; the necessary sufferance and nonpropagation of personal misfortune is also a source of grace. Further deontological insight requires an analysis of teleology and the extraction of its ethical implications. 

Now for a couple of qualifiers. Because we are free, the teleologically consistent meaning of our lives is to some extent ours to choose, and is thus partially invested in the search for meaning itself. So the answer to the last part of your question is "yes, determining the details of your specific teleologically-consistent reason to exist is part of the reason for your existence". Secondly, because God is the cosmos and the human mind is a microcosm, we are to some extent our own judges. But this doesn't mean that we can summarily pardon ourselves for all of our sins; it simply means that we help to determine the system according to whose intrinsic criteria our value is ultimately determined. It is important for each of us to accept both of these ethical responsibilities.


Q:  Humor me, Chris. Why does this work, and why in God's name would someone do  this?  I'm sending it to you because you know EVERYTHING!!!!!  Thanks!!!!  

Eleanor Mondale, Southampton, NY

It only takes about a minute.......Work this out as you read.  Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!  This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate. (try for more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (Just to be bold)

3. Add 5. (for Sunday)

4. Multiply it by 50 (being a bit stupid)  I'll wait while you get the calculator................

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1751.... If you haven't, add 1750 ..........

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born. (if you remember)

You should have a three digit number .....

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).   The next two numbers are your age.

THIS IS THE ONLY YEAR (2001) IT WILL EVER WORK, SO SPREAD IT AROUND WHILE IT LASTS. IMPRESSIVE ISN'T IT?

A:  One reason people find this amazing is that it seems to reveal a mysterious mathematical connection between your age and your appetite for chocolate.  Otherwise, why would it yield your age even though all you're feeding in is the number of times per week you want to eat chocolate?  Shouldn't the randomness of your appetite for chocolate mess up your age?  How does your age get in there in the first place?  It must happen when you subtract your year of birth.  But shouldn't subtracting your year of birth destroy any information regarding your appetite for chocolate?

No. The procedure is structured in such a way that the number you choose simply gets bumped up a couple of place values, where it can't cross wires with the basic age and birth-year arithmetic. To see this, assume that you don't like chocolate and want to eat chocolate 0 times per week...i.e., that your chocoholic index is 0.  Then what you start with is: 

(0 x 2 + 5) x 50 = 5 x 50 = 250.

Now subtract 250 from 2001. What do you get? Presto!

2001 - 250 = 1751

That is, because

250 + 1751 = 2001,

you're simply calculating the current year by adding 1751.

So now we've got the current year, 2001.  But what happens when you subtract your year of birth from the current year, provided you've already had your birthday?  You get your age!  That's how the age and birth-year arithmetic was reverse-engineered.

Now what happens if you start upping your chocoholic index one binge at a time?  If you up it from 0 to 1, you get

(1 x 2 + 5)50 = 350

instead of 250, which means you're adding 350 - 250 = 100 to your age.  If you up it to 2, you get

(2 x 2 + 5)50 = 450

which means you're adding 450 - 250 = 200 to your age.  And so on and so forth.  Multiplying your chocoholic index by 2 x 50 = 100 simply moves it up to the 102 (hundreds) place, where it can't affect the 101 and 100 (tens and ones) places containing your age.  It's a red herring!

The author of this trick states that it can only be used this year (2001).  Is that true?  Well, yes and no.  It's true as long as we insist on adding the "magic number" 1751.  But it's false in the sense that we can update or backdate the trick to any year we like by instead adding a number equal to that year minus 250.  For example, next year we'd add 1752, while in the year 2101, we'd add 1851.

What if you want to eat chocolate ten or more times per week?  No problem.  But in that case, you end up with a number of more than three digits.  The 101 and 100 places still contain your two-digit age, while the higher places contain your 2, 3 or n-digit chocoholic index.

Can we change this trick into a new one?  Sure!  Choose the number of fast-food burgers you want to eat per day - your "Wimpy index" - multiply it by 4, add 12, multiply the result by 25, add 1701 (1700 if you haven't had your birthday yet), subtract your year of birth, and marvel at the results.  This is sufficiently close to the old trick that you should be able to see how to cook up as many such tricks as you like.  [Note that the product of the first and third numbers equals 100 - that's the multiplier that bumps your Wimpy index up two places - while the fourth number equals the current year minus the product of the second and third numbers.]

Why would someone do something like this?  It's just a bit of mathematical legerdemain that probably has the person who cooked it up laughing himself (or herself) silly over how gullible, innumerate and greedy for chocolate most of us are!


Q: ...a couple of  questions about the CTMU:

Christopher Michael Langan said in his introduction following:   "Thus, if D(S) contains supraphysical components, they are embedded in S right along with their physical counterparts (indeed, this convention is already in restricted use in string theory and M-theory, where unseen higher dimensions get "rolled up" to sub-Planck diameter)."

 If I understood it right, the supraphysical component in string- and M-theory is called supraphysical, because the model does not assume it to be part of the physical universe. Taking on that thought and considering the definition of the REAL UNIVERSE in the CTMU I have to doubt that the supraphysical component is even part of the REAL universe.  Does anyone know where my mistake in thought lies?

A:  As noted by Berkeley, we can know reality only through perception. So our theories of reality necessarily have a perceptual or observational basis.  But as noted by Kant, the process of observation has substantial internal complexity; it is a relationship of subject and object with sensory (phenomenal) and cognitive (categorical) components. So reality is at once monic, because uniformly perceptual, and dualistic, because perception has two complementary aspects. Thus, the "dual aspect monism" of the CTMU.  Now consider physics. Because physics is governed by the scientific method, it deals exclusively with phenomena. Thus, it effectively diverts attention away from the cognitive, categorical aspect of perceptual reality, without which neither phenomena nor scientific theories could exist. Because physics is irreducibly dualistic and takes the fundamental separation of mind and matter as axiomatic, it cannot provide us with a complete picture of reality. It can tell us only what lies outside the subjective observer, not within.

By definition, reality must contain all that it needs to exist; equivalently, anything on which the existence of reality depends is real by definition (if it were not, then reality would be based on nonreality and would itself be unreal, a semantic contradiction). So attempts to explain reality entirely in terms of physics are paradoxical; reality contains not only the physical, but the abstract machinery of perception and cognition through which "the physical" is perceived and explained. Where this abstract machinery is what we mean by "the supraphysical", reality has physical and supraphysical aspects. Physical and supraphysical reality are respectively "concrete" and "abstract", i.e. material and mental in nature.  

The question is, do we continue to try to objectivize the supraphysical component of reality as do the theories of physics, strings and membranes, thus regenerating the paradox? Or do we take the CTMU approach and resolve the paradox, admitting that the supraphysical aspect of reality is "mental" in a generalized sense and describing all components of reality in terms of SCSPL syntactic operators with subjective and objective aspects?

My advice: we take the CTMU approach, relegating the scientific method to the phenomenal side of reality theory - after all, M-theory is beyond the empirical scope of the scientific method already - and recognizing that the universe is everywhere both subjective and objective, rational and empirical, mental and material. Anything else would lead to reductio ad absurdum.


Q:  Scientists understand how the universe was made. My question is, where did the matter, or the energy which eventually became the matter, come from to form the universe?

Bob Cannarsa, Glen Head, NY

A:  By definition, there is nothing outside of reality that is real enough to contain reality. So reality is self-contained. A self-contained medium must provide that which is necessary to its own existence. So if energy is necessary for the existence of reality, reality must find that energy within itself. Because matter consists of energy according to Einstein’s famous equation e=mc2, this applies to matter as well.  That is, the universe, using its own energy, made its own matter.  How could it do this?  By configuring itself in such a way that the matter it made would be “recognized” as such by other matter.  


Q: What came first, the chicken or the egg?  Those are your choices...either the chicken or the egg.  Any other answer is wrong.

John Harras

A:  Contrary to popular belief, this age-old dilemma actually has a very straightforward solution.  First, you must specify what kind of egg you mean. If you mean “any kind of egg”, then the egg came first (because chickens were preceded on the evolutionary timeline by, for example, egg-laying fish, insects and dinosaurs). If, on the other hand, you mean “a chicken egg”, then you must specify whether this means (a) “an egg laid by a chicken”, (b) “an egg containing a chicken”, or (c) “an egg laid by and containing a chicken”. In cases (a) and (c), the answer is by definition “the chicken” (if the answer were “the egg”, then the egg could not have been laid by a chicken).

In case (b), the usual and most interesting interpretation, the answer is “the egg”. This is because interspecies mutations separating a new species from its parent species occur in reproductive rather than somatic DNA, i.e. in germ cells rather than body cells. (Germ cells include the sperm and egg cells produced in the reproductive tracts of male and female animals respectively.) Since germ cells are merely produced, but not somatically expressed, by the parents of the organism(s) whose biological information they encode, their expression begins in the egg containing the offspring.  So the egg contains a chicken, but was not laid by a chicken.  (See how easy that was?)


Q: My question is this:  If you could answer the question what is the mathematical difference between visible light and invisible light, i.e. ultraviolet rays, wouldn't this answer the question concerning the importance of further study into what is defined as physical.  After all how do you perceive ultraviolet rays-- as a sunburn or plant growth.  Therefore, although not visible there indeed may be other energy forms that coexist right where we are, having an impact on us, without our knowing its source.  It is not visibly physical yet its effect on us is very physical.

A: Visible and UV light differ in frequency, or number of waves transmitted or received per second.  Because light always travels at the same speed (c = ~300K km/sec), higher frequency means shorter waves: 

lambda = c/frequency  (where lambda = wavelength)

I.e., more energetic, higher-frequency light has a smaller wavelength than less energetic, lower-frequency light.  Unfortunately, the tiny light sensors in our retinas, called rods and cones, cannot detect short-wavelength UV light.  

Your question seems to be this: how can we call UV light “physical” when we cannot directly detect it?  The answer is twofold but simple: we can call it “physical” because of (1) its perceptible physical effects on animals, plants, minerals and detection devices, and (2) our need to acknowledge the full definitions and logical implications of our perceptions and concepts.  

Answer (2) is why reality is not merely “physical” in the concrete or material sense.  In order to exist as a self-consistent perceptible entity, reality must ultimately make logical sense; our perceptions of it must conform to a coherent cognitive syntax containing the rules of perception and cognition and incorporating logic.  This syntax tells us that if light exists below the maximum visible frequency, then in the absence of any extra constraints, it can exist above it as well.  

Specifically, having identified the physical cause of light to be photon emission by subatomic oscillators called electrons, we are compelled to recognize the existence of "light" at whatever frequencies such oscillators may exhibit, right up through X and gamma radiation.  The logical component of our cognitive syntax ultimately forces us to define and cross-relate all of the concepts in terms of which we apprehend reality, including light, in a logically consistent way.


Q: Hello Chris.  I saw you on TV and heard what you had to say about God.  I have also read your description of the CTMU.  I have had the same thoughts as to our existence in the mind of GOD.  I think that the evidence of evolution that exists in the universe has to be linked with creation as a tool.  I have only 11.75 years of School and not very high IQ so please excuse the grammar, etc.

A: Hi!  You don’t need to apologize for the 11.75 years of school – I don’t have much more myself!  Regarding evolution and creationism, the linkage is simple: since Biblical accounts of the genesis of our world and species are true but metaphorical, our task is to correctly decipher the metaphor in light of scientific evidence also given to us by God.  Hence, the CTMU.     

Q: God said he would reveal his existence (reality) with numbers.  Do you see yourself as part of this end time promise?

A: If God made such a promise, then one could say that the CTMU is at least a part of its fulfillment.  This is because the number concept is actually far more general than most people think it is.  

At one time, a "number" was a positive integer.  As the years passed, new kinds of number were discovered: 0, negative numbers, rational numbers or fractions, irrational numbers that cannot be expressed as fractions, complex numbers, and even transcendental and transfinite or "infinite" numbers.  Noting that each kind of number is associated with an algebraic system like a number field, we finally realized that a “number” is any element of an algebraic system.  Because the CTMU embodies an algebraic system called SCSPL, it too is “numeric”.  And since this system is the basis of a proof of God’s existence, the CTMU might be said to “reveal the existence of God with numbers”.


Q: I have read your CTMU and some of the Q & A on the Ubiquity website regarding the CTMU and find it extremely fascinating.  Much of the information resonated with many of the things I have been contemplating for the last year (or so).  I wanted to know if you had any further writings on the topic especially related to the following areas.  (1) The nature of the interaction(s) of the multiple levels of consciousness.  (2) The nature of the connection with God via our "souls".  Or just in general, the nature of the soul.  Is it a more complex syntax in which we are embedded that facilitates this communication with God?  Are we all embedded in it?  (3) The nature of morality.  Do "moral laws" have a basis in reality (loosely speaking).  That is, if moral laws are mental constructs, how do the mental constructs of higher levels of consciousness affect the lower levels?  That is, how does what "God thinks is right" affect us (lower forms of consciousness)?   I realize that, to a degree, the above questions are really all the same, but if you have any essays or thoughts on these matters I would love to hear them.

I have more questions and thoughts but I can save those for later...

A: Yes, such writings exist, but they are (as yet) mostly unpublished.  Don’t worry, I'll get them out there somehow.  As for your specific questions on morality, the following should suffice.  In the CTMU, “what God thinks is right” is encapsulated by the Telic Principle.  This principle, a generalization of the Cosmological Anthropic Principle, asserts that by logical necessity, there exists a deic analogue of human volition called teleology.  

However, due to the fact that God’s Self-creative freedom is distributed over the universe, i.e. His “Mind”, human volition arising within the universe is free to be locally out of sync with teleology.  This requires a set of compensation mechanisms which ensure that teleology remains globally valid despite the localized failure of any individual or species to behave consistently with it.  In part, these mechanisms determine the state of your relationship to God, i.e. your soul.  If you are in harmony with teleology – with the self-realization and self-expression of God – then your soul is in a state of grace.  If you are not, then your soul is in danger of interdiction by teleological mechanisms built into the structure of the universe.      


Q: What does cognition have to do with physics or math?  The laws of nature (physics) are not related with perception of those, I think.  Animals use those laws better than human without having a single idea what gravity or electricity is.  Math is abstract.  The laws of nature are discovered, not invented (I study psychology which from my point of view is not science for many reasons, maybe it will be some day).  If theories are mental constructs does that mean that gravity (not as a term) exists only as an abstract concept?

A: Abstract laws are more general than the concrete, physical matter-and-field systems that obey them.  If we divide reality into the concrete, and the abstract but non-concrete, math falls under the latter heading due to its generality.  That is, concrete physical reality exemplifies mathematics, but mathematics is not confined to any particular physical model; equivalently, the laws of physics are a mere subset of the laws of mathematics.  So mathematics inhabits a higher (or alternatively, more basic) level of reality than the material world.  

Since the human mind can reason both inductively (from the specific to the general) and deductively (from the general to the specific), it spans both levels.  Therefore, mathematics is mental as opposed to merely physical in nature.  Because, as we have just noted, the laws of physics are a mere subset of the laws of mathematics, and because (as you write) the laws of nature are discovered, not invented, physical reality is ultimately mental in character as well.  However, although this applies even to gravity, we are corporeally locked into a physical compartment of abstract mental reality within which we are not free to treat gravity as a mere “concept”.  This helps explain why we can’t fly by the power of thought alone.


Q: In the book "The Age of Spiritual Machines" Ray Kurzweil believes by 2029 humans will live among machines that convincingly claim they are self-aware.  How does the CTMU deal with non-biologic consciousness? 

A: Kurzweil’s prediction implies that within three decades from now, AI machines will be able to pass something called the Turing Test, a hypothetical scenario devised by the mathematician and seminal computer scientist Alan Turing.  To pass this test, a machine located behind a partition must convince a human interlocutor that it too is "human", i.e. that is possesses "human consciousness".  

Since the CTMU shows that a generalized form of self-awareness or consciousness distributes over every part of reality, any machine that exhibits self-awareness or explicitly claims to be "conscious" will to some extent be telling the truth (indeed, if your toaster could make such a claim right now, it too would be “telling the truth”, although not in a fully human sense).  On the other hand, it is not yet clear whether Kurzweil’s AI-style machine consciousness, though ostensibly of a higher nature than that of your toaster, will be entirely human in character. 

© 2000 by Christopher Michael Langan (All Rights Reserved)

 

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