A lack of variety
Physics today is defined in three main areas: the infinitely small, the infinitely large, and what is in between. This is an infinitely serious problem. Because this definition reduces physics to a limited spatial framework, which is only one of those it uses. As if all human knowledge were reduced to the use of one of its languages.
To say that reality is divided into microscopic, cosmic and intermediate macroscopic is to make the universe a vast flatness. It does not matter that its space has three dimensions, or even that it is emberlified in an additional ten, this gives it only one dimensional variety, very insufficient to animate it.
A strange but frozen decor
Imagine building a decor: with one dimension you create a line, with two a wall, with three a ceiling. Suppose it is possible to continue adding “walls” in additional dimensions in this way. The setting becomes strange, only because we do not have the visual sense to represent it. In fact it is still a decor, as inert as the usual space. No movement agitates it.
What animates space is another dimensional variety: time. But time poses serious problems in physics. It is needed as a sequence, not as a unfolding. Let’s put the unfolding aside for now, let’s look at the worries of the ‘sequence’ aspect. It is very difficult to make it a universal dimension, that is, to arrange for the units of a fundamental temporal sequence to apply to all real things.
Discretion or continuous listening?
Indeed ‘sequence’ implies ‘quantification’ (or discretion as physicists say) and therefore elementary block. Time, as a chain of states of reality, is not continuous. But at what level should we look at states to define the fundamental unity? Planck time (about 10−43 seconds) is a common but too arbitrary reference. It assumes that the Planck echelon is the ultimate foundation of reality. And obliges to declare oneself a strong reductionist —all reality is reduced to the micromechanisms of this level, its other aspects being only illusions. Two postulates that are equivalent together to putting a blindfold. Our mind would have managed to encompass the totality of reality, sees its roots, from within? But our mind itself would be an illusion? I confess to having difficulty understanding how to reduce oneself to such a lack of explanation.
In practice physics almost never uses Planck time, but units adjusted to the model of the level of reality described. These units are fairly well connected to each other in physics. Planck time can be expressed in seconds… to the nearest 10−4 . Is it an uncertainty only related to the imperfection of the measuring instruments? Perhaps for inert matter, which is mainly concerned with physics, but not for the mind. The way we chant our seconds, mentally, is strictly proprietary. No universal time at this level. This is why one must be a strong reductionist (or eliminativist) to keep “one” time, time as a single and universal dimension.
Euclid and his troublesome infinite
The proven discontinuity of time has cast doubt on the continuity of space. Certainly they are different dimensional varieties, but Minkowski was able to bring them together in the same framework, space-time. That one variety is continuous and the other discontinuous poses mathematical problems. Continuity is mathematizable of course, so represented by discontinuous numbers. But the postulates of continuity and discontinuity are incompatible, and have been since Euclid’s geometry. In Euclid a dot has no size. An infinity of points separates it from another point, even if our eye sees no gap between the two. This geometry corresponds to the sequence of so-called ‘real’ numbers, also all separated by an infinity of other numbers. While the non-Euclidean discontinuity is content with the sequence of integers and truly joined elementary space points. What separates continuity and discontinuity is no less than infinity.
The buried spirit
The mathematical paradoxes brought about by the conjunction of continuous and discontinuous dimensions have led physicists to favor discretion —discontinuity. Now continuity also becomes an illusion. After all, it is easy to store it in the same spectral drawer since the only place where it exists with certainty is our mind, already accused of illusion. Our conscious mind is self-experiencing continually, the fool! And not as a succession of mental states, much less as a sequence of Planck units. But this is the case with its micromechanisms, say the eliminativists. So our illusory consciousness has only to rally to the representation made by its own cogs.
How to escape this aberration of a mind that is buried, as a phenomenon, by its own models?
Elementary my dear Watson, let’s begin to escape from the model. What constrains us is this model that would like to merge the two dimensional varieties, spatial and temporal, into a single space-time made of 4 discontinuous dimensions. But the effort of the eliminativists comes up against an additional pitfall: the unfolding of time. What animates the temporal dimension so that events seem to follow one another and not all be immobilized next to each other like the threads of a gigantic tapestry of the Norns? Here again the eliminativist must reject the unfolding as an illusion of processes that do not involve any. That the unfolding seems to be one-way —the arrow of time— is also an illusion. Finally, the illusion is an extraordinary catch-all to explain everything that bothers the eliminativist in reality. But failing to explain what an illusion is in itself, is it not the eliminativist themselves who lives in an illusory universe?
Escaping forces us to go back, precisely to take up the concept of different dimensional varieties. Perhaps there are other varieties? But already, the fact that there are two reveals a framework that encompasses both. Reality cannot be described by a single dimension, nor by a single variety. These frames are like Russian dolls. To fit one you need a larger doll. Are we able to see the largest doll? Certainly not, because “seeing” is an intrinsic meaning to the doll where we are confined by our physical structure. But having managed to escape from eliminativism, we can already say that there is a doll bigger than ours and try to know it.
The doll I am referring to is, of course, the complex dimension. It is naturally present in any discourse of knowledge, including among eliminativists. Wanting to flatten the world in its micromechanisms begins with the recognition that there is a complex “volume” to flatten. The “skin” that the eliminativists want to plate around this volume is interesting as a cast. But on the one hand we must be interested in the ‘illusions’ inside. On the other hand, the micromechanisms are not a skin but a core. Like time, complex variety seems to have an arrow, from simple to complicated. The arrow can reverse. But the complex sphere has no outer limit, it can continue its expansion. Our descendants will hopefully be more complex than we are.
The blindfold falls
So we have an obvious, natural, quantified new dimension —in the form of a sequence of complex attractors. A dimension capable of integrating all the phenomena of reality —each level becomes the owner of its phenomena, physical concepts cannot reduce consciousness to an illusion. However, this dimension is not yet formalized. It requires a broadening of root concepts, especially causality.
This is the next topic we will discuss, to continue to let go of the blindfold…