‘Nothing’ is an oxymoron
Let us return to the metaphysical questions mentioned at the beginning of the previous article. What is the relationship between the real per se and the mental image we construct of it? Why is there something rather than nothing? Do we have free will? Are mathematical objects invented or discovered? These questions now concern a reality unified by the complex dimension. All frameworks can be established there, each in their relative independence, a curious mixture of things that can say ‘I am’ and to which one can say ‘if and only if’. Our frameworks installed and the reality become monist, some questions find meaning and others lose theirs definitively.
For those who lose it, the reason is simple: they assume that it would be possible to externalize our thought of reality in order to appreciate it, subject it to these questions. Impossible per se. Everything is inside. Nothing can escape from it because there is no surrounding. To suppose a vacuum around, even a simple absence, is already to postulate an existence. Those who imagine nothing as absolute do so purely dialectically. ‘Nothing’ is an oxymoron. There is indeed an opposite to ‘existence’ but this opposite exists. This paradox of a self-annihilating concept warns that this is an impasse of thought and not a valid representation.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
The fate of this question is therefore settled. It doesn’t make sense. Let us illustrate this with a believer who, after an exemplary life, is offered the incredible chance of being able to ask God any question. Arrived before the Impressive Presence, she does not allow herself to be dismantled and asks: “Why do you exist?”. God shakes His Head and turns to a row of angels sitting in front of screens: “I have a bug with this program, guys. Give me a reset…”
The meaningful question is, “What is there beyond what seems to us to exist?” This time the answer comes easily. What seems to exist to us is part of a complex dimension. Its two ends fade into the unknown. Unknown from the origin and unknown about the future. Complex reality suspended between two unknowns, but solidly woven by a transcendental principle which makes it this monistic and commensurable whole. We have a common thread. By towing it to one end or the other, we bring things out of the two unknowns. New fishing towards the origin, towards the future. New constituents for complexity itself, a self-elongating serpent…
What is the relationship between the real per se and the mental image that we construct of it?
This relationship is an organizational mimicry. One layer of mental complexity mimics the organization of another layer. The target is an entity made of surimposed complex layers and the mimicry is called a model. The target has a complex thickness while the model does not —it flattens the target. The mental model makes it possible to understand the targeted layer of the entity but not to experience oneself as it. The model is experienced… as what it is physically, that is, an activated neural pattern surimposed on others. Thus certain concepts make us feel emotions while they are mimetic of icy things, totally foreign to the concept of sensitivity. A pure mathematical abstraction can trigger a wonderful sense of beauty in its designer, an experience belonging to the mental layer and not to what it models.
When we mentally mimic the wholeness of a complex entity, we flatten its depth. Transformation of a complex verticality into a horizontal model. The surimposed layers become pieces of a horizontal puzzle that our mimetic mental network can grasp. It assembles them into an image that simulates the complexity of the entity, without any possibility of experiencing it yourself.
Let us thus keep a humility of the same depth about things as that which we do not perceive…
Are mathematical objects invented or discovered?
Easier question. Mathematical objects are both invented and discovered. The complex dimension allows an infinite number of observation posts, each with its own independence. The two most common positions are 1) My mind, which represents reality; 2) The real, to which the mind lends its ontological motivations, since it is impossible to access the real per se.
Mathematical objects are discovered when it is the real that speaks in our mental universe. They are invented when it is the identity spirit that enters the same stage. The mind indeed manufactures the language used on the stage of this virtual theatre. Mathematical language translates objects supposedly owned by the real per se, impossible to grasp in first person. “I” cannot hold these objects so I say them.
If this language is faithful then our instruments designed according to models using this language will be able to effectively manipulate real mathematical objects, those of reality per se. The real per se is nothing but a surimposition of complex layers in which our instruments and our mind itself are inscribed. The independence of our mind allows it to conceive mathematical objects that do not necessarily exist elsewhere in the real per se. Mathematics is not all mimicry. It is in this mental portion of the complex dimension that the platonic world of mathematical ideals is located.
We still have to know if mathematics can mimic the ∑meta-physics of the complex dimension itself. This is the hardest task.
Do we have free will?
This last question makes sense in the complexity, as it receives silly answers from isolated observation points. Let’s go back to the two most common observers, the spirit and the real per se. Reduced to the micromechanisms that we attribute to it, the real per se answers: “You have no free will since you are a simple emanation of my micromechanisms”. The spirit relies on its first-person experience to respond to the contrary: “My free will is total; I myself don’t know for sure what I will decide tomorrow.”
Why are these two reductive postures stupid? The real per se, at least its eliminativist version hosted by a few brains, claims that free will is an illusion. An illusion for what, for whom? What experiences this illusion? Micromechanisms? Here are the quantons endowed with consciousness, which is certainly not the idea of the eliminativists, who go around in circles. The mind, relying on its experience, actually experiences only the surface of its complexity. It does not access the depth of its decisions. It can guess that its referee is not so free. Freedom is an illusion, but an illusion of what, of what mechanisms?
The two postures lead to ‘illusion’ by labeling it in a contradictory way. For the mind the illusion is real, manifestly experienced. For the real the illusion does not exist, the mind is mistaken —but what is mistaken does exist. With its two labels, the illusion begins to take on substance. What lurks in the middle, after all?
With the complex dimension, the crowd of intermediate levels between micro-physics and macro-mental is revealed. Free will rises, thickens. A cell is already an entity freer than its molecules, a brain freer than its neurons. Free will is a faculty that grows throughout life, from the genetic tendency that programs our networks to their maturation by the complex environment encountered.
We do not have “one” free will but a free-spanning arbiter. It weaves together the many criteria encountered into decisions of increasing complexity. When all is well. Free will can thicken or thin. A brain easily reverts to crude concepts, to save energy or because sophisticated ones bring little reward.
We remain neural machineries in search of pleasure.