You'll find these in reverse chronological order because I'm not insane
I was recently walking amongst the Flatirons at dusk, and I suddenly came to an interesting intellectual discovery. It seemed fairly profound to me, though ultimately the nature of the realization is fairly simple, once you consider it for a second. Before I describe the precise nature of the discovery, perhaps I should give some level of indication why it seemed so profound. On a personal level.
In an increasing number of my pursuits, I’ve recognized that there seems to be a conversation of sorts going on between different aspects of reality. In particular, I tend not to be one of the participants in the conversation, but either my impulsive actions or intellectual activity seems to be the medium by which this conversation occurs. I suppose my latest discovery is one particular instantiation of this phenomenon. If nothing else, simply observing this conversation is somewhat remarkable. The trick, I suppose, is realizing that the conversation is even happening in the first place. Only then can you actually witness it as it occurs. It took me about 21 years to actually figure out it was happening. My simply describing it will make it patently obvious, and perhaps some of you that have been involved in research-based endeavor have already come to a similar realization.
In order to explain my realization, I first have to explain the nature of physics. Particularly, what theoretical physics is all about. Now, I recognize that some might have a viscerally negative reaction to my even bringing up physics, likely because of some poor experience in high school. First of all, let me say that I’m not actually going to be describing physics from a high level, rather than actually doing it. So don’t stop reading even if you feel some degree of repulsion towards physics. Second of all, before I even describe physics, let me say that in my experience, physics is either profoundly frustrating and difficult, or shockingly easy. There’s very little in-between. More specifically, if you take the time to develop an intuition for the most basic principles governing a particular theory, working with the theory becomes remarkably easy. And if you don’t develop that intuition, you’re literally screwed. Physics becomes exponentially more difficult. In my experience, this is why so many people believe they are “bad” at physics. The American school system (especially high school, but certainly college as well) teaches students to memorize facts. It does not teach students to develop intuition for the first principles governing a particular topic. Thus, students are typically totally unprepared to engage with something like physics, wherein the material becomes exponentially more difficult if you opt to approach it using a “memorize everything” learning framework. Hmm, I’m going down a rabbit hole. All that is to say that physics might not be as hard as you think, and it’s possible you didn’t approach it correctly.
Anyway, if you actually know me, I’ve probably already given you this particular speech, and it’s certainly not the main body of that which I wish to discuss at the particular moment. So, let’s move on to what’s actually interesting.
In order to describe how theoretical physics works, I first need to describe how math works. In essence, one first defines particular entities of different types. Then one describes concrete rules for how the entities interact with one another. Finally, one typically manipulates the entities in question according to the rules provided which leads the creation of a new state that logically follows according to the definitions used to describe the entities. So, for example, a number is an example of an abstract entity defined within the context of mathematics. One then can define operations such as addition and multiplication, both of which take two numbers and produce a new number. Not only that, but rules such as the “distributive property” (which you probably remember from basic algebra) define basic rules that govern relationships between addition and multiplication.
Ok, the actual particulars of math aren’t important. Basically, all you need to understand is that math provides a framework for creating abstract (typically symbolic) entities, and defining rigorous, deterministic rules for how these entities interact.
Ok, so now I’m in a position to describe what theoretical physics actually does. It’s actually pretty simple. First, you observe something in the physical world. This could be anything from gravity, to temperature, to windspeed. Really anything. Then, you observe how different mathematical structures behave. More precisely, you study what happens to different mathematical entities when you apply previously defined rules to these entities. Thirdly, you attempt to find a mathematical structure that behaves similarly to the physical phenomenon you observed (in some capacity). Finally, you manipulate the mathematical entity and then map it back onto the physical system, which effectively allows you to predict how the physical system will behave.
I think probably I’ll give a related example to explain this more clearly. What is a map? A map is a simple two-dimensional image that is a representation of geographical features in a particular area. We’re all familiar with maps. Now let me ask you this. Is the map the same thing as the actual land it represents? Obviously not. Is the map perfect? No. So why is it still useful? It’s useful because it’s a good enough representation to help you perform some action. Maybe let’s be more specific. Let’s say you’re in Denver, and you’re trying to drive to Salt Lake City. If you don’t have a map, it becomes substantially more difficult to acquire the information necessary to make it to Salt Lake City. Which exit do you take? What’s the right highway? However, if you possess a map, and the map is a sufficiently faithful representation of the different features you’ll encounter on your way to Utah, then you can make accurate predictions about how you should best approach your journey. In other words, if you want to get somewhere, you need information about what lies between you and your destination. The map allows you to easily acquire this information because the map is incredibly accessible. Far more accessible than acquiring this information by interacting physical terrain.
This is precisely the same reason why a physicist tries to find a mathematical structure that behaves in the same ways as some physical phenomenon. Instead of trying to drive from Denver to Utah, the physicist is interested in figuring out how some physical system is going to behave. More specifically, the physicist is interested in figuring out how some system will behave in different environments and situations. There are two ways of acquiring this information. First, you can simply empirically observe how the entity behaves in a variety of different situations. More specifically, if you’re trying to figure out what something does in a particular situation, you can simply attempt to observe that thing under those conditions. So let’s say you’re interested in how electrons behave at very low temperatures. One way to acquire this information is to simply observe electrons at very low temperatures. Ok, great.
But what’s the problem with this approach? Any time you want to figure out how something will behave in a new situation, you need to find a way to observe the system under those particular conditions. Typically, this is either difficult or effectively impossible. What if you’re trying to figure out how electrons behave at the center of the sun? That’s a pretty tough one to directly observe.
Luckily, there’s another option. Instead of just empirically writing down how electrons behave under a wide variety of conditions, let’s say you instead try to find a mathematical structure that behaves in the same way as those electrons under different conditions. Let’s say you find such a mathematical structure. That’s pretty great! Why? Because if you wish to acquire information about how the electron behaves in a new environment, instead of observing it in that new environment, you can simply simulate the behavior of the electron using the mathematical structure you’ve found. In particular, instead of observing the electron in the new environment, observe the equivalent mathematical structure in an equivalent mathematical environment. And why would you do this? Because working with the math is much easier than working with the actual system.
Just like the example with the geographical map, it is much easier to acquire information from a mathematical structure than a physical structure.
Ok, so just to reiterate, this is literally all that happens in theoretical physics. First you observe something. Then you find a mathematical structure that behaves in the same way. This mathematical structure gives you an easier way to acquire information about the physical system in question. Boom. Done.
That ended up taking longer to describe than I previously thought it might. Well, whatever. Now let’s get to my realization.
I’ve presented physics in a fairly simple light. Observe something. Find math that behaves similarly. Use the math to predict something about the thing you observed.
However, I’ve left out one crucial step in the process. Namely, I haven’t talked about how to efficiently work with the mathematical structures you find.
Now it is true that math should behave according to certain rigorously defined rules. However, typically in something like physics, you have something you’re trying to find, and you need to mess around with the math to get it in a form that gives you the information you want. And this can be pretty monstrously difficult.
I imagine you’ve likely experienced this, regardless of whether you hate math or if you’re a theoretical mathematician. Typically, in school, math question questions are frequently phrased as “Here’s some stuff we know. Now solve for X.” And it typically requires some brain power to solve for X.
In fact, given the rules of math, in any given situation, there are usually an exponentially large number of different options available for how you can possibly manipulate an equation. So the question is, how do you figure out how to manipulate the math to get the information you want?
In my experience, I’ve found that perhaps the most powerful way to do this is by developing an intuition for how to mathematical entities in question should behave. Then you can let your intuition serve as a guide for how you should perhaps manipulate certain equations.
But here’s the question: what is that intuition? What is actually going on when you follow your intuition?
Here’s the thing I realized. If I told you to imagine a ball spinning in front of you, I imagine you’d be able to conjure up this apparition in your head. In fact, it could likely be more than just a 2d image in your head. You could probably imagine holding the ball, touching it. Engaging with it with your different senses.
I realized that when I talk about using my “intuition” to solve some problem in math, what I’m really doing is conjuring up some physical representation of the mathematical quantity in question to give me insight into how I should proceed. In other words, my intuition is almost precisely the opposite of what we do in physics.
In theoretical physics, you find math that behaves in the same way as a system. However, in using intuition to work with mathematical structures, you’re basically conjuring up some physical representation of the mathematical structure to give you insight into how you should manipulate the given mathematical structure.
When you’re dealing with physics, typically the subject of your intuition is actually the physical system you’re describing in the first place.
Ok, this post is stretching on a bit long, but here’s what I’ll say. Up until my little walk in the Flatirons, I wrongly conceptualized the process of mathematical modeling as being simply simple one-time back-and-forth between the physical world and the mathematical world. Namely, you attempt the convert the physical world into the mathematical world, you work with the mathematical world, and then you convert back to the physical world.
I’ve realized that in this sort of process, there’s actually much more back and forth between mathematical knowledge and physical intuition. And at a certain point, it begins to feel as though the physical and mathematical worlds are engaged in conversation, with your brain being the medium by which this exchange takes place.
I find this quite compelling.
Sup fam. Just transferred to CU from ol’ Berkeley, and the academic year has begun. Also I just had a major project fail, so Danny boi is feeling a little directionless at the moment. Well, that’s not quite true, but nonetheless, I though it might be time to shake off some cobwebs and blog about some things that have been bouncing around the ol’ nogerino.
I’d like to present a theory on why some notion of “God” or perhaps some other hyper-powerful supernatural creature could potentially come into existence. So in other words, I’d like to discuss why God might exist. Specifically, how God might have come into existence.
I think the best way to do this is to first talk about the human experience, and particularly, humanity’s understanding of the divine. Additionally, I’d like to talk about why humanity’s collective cultural belief systems or “religions” do provide a pretty substantial benefit to the population.
In most of the religions that I’ve encountered, one common thread is the establishment of an intellectual framework focused on several archetypical ideals. These ideals take many different forms for the different religious systems. Sometimes these ideals are encapsulated in a divine figure, like “God,” or perhaps many gods. Other times these ideals take the form of a particular way of life.
I think Christianity is a particularly good example of this, simply because how explicitly this construction takes place in the Bible. Specifically, the figure of God in the Bible is taken to be perfectly good, perfectly just, and of infinite wisdom. Alternatively, you also have Satan, who is typically presented as the perfect embodiment of evil.
Another particularly interesting aspect of the Biblical God that many people I’ve met find particularly compelling is the fact that God also purports to never change. In other words, God is taken to be the archetypical representation of everything “good” now and forever more.
Now admittedly, I’m certainly less familiar with other religious systems than I am with Christianity. That being said, based on what I have learned and experienced, the different religious systems typically provide a similar type of utility to their practitioners.
And what is that? The utility that stems from knowledge on how to live.
Now, with that said, different religious systems certainly provide different ways of giving this information. Typically, this information is imparted through stories, or myths. Greek myths, for example, present situations in which humans interact with one another, and with the gods. At first glance, someone living in modern times might dismiss these tales as primitive and useless. But that’s certainly not the case.
Even though we humans don’t interact with Zeus and Athena on a regular basis (or at least I don’t. If you do, give me a yodel), these stories certainly provide a particular utility. And what is that? Well, Zeus, Athena and the other gods of the Greek pantheon are representations of different archetypes. Athena, for example, is the embodiment of wisdom, whereas Zeus represents the all-powerful ruler (among other things, of course).
The Greek myths therefore tell stories about humans interacting and negotiating with these archetypical representations of different aspects of reality. More often than not, the human characters in these stories suffer tragic fates because they interacted poorly with the gods.
So sure, you can dismiss these stories as fairytales, but you’d be missing the functional value of these myths. Specifically, myths encode information about how to live and interact with reality. And the myths that have the highest probability of lasting throughout the eons are the ones that people repeat. And why would people repeat a myth? Likely because some aspect of the myth rings true within their personal context.
Therefore, it naturally follows (by means of some sketchy logic) that the myths that have survived the millennia are the ones that encode useful information about how to interact with reality.
I should also mention that this is typically the utility provided by any story, regardless of its association with a religious system. Good stories are incredibly useful to us humans because they implicitly reaffirm our existing knowledge base regarding information on how to live. This is a can of worms I probably shouldn’t open right now, so I’ll just move right along.
Ok, so I hope I’ve established that myths and stories are one vehicle religions use to encode information about how to live. But there are certainly other means by which religions encode this information. For example, the Tao Te Ching, basically goes right ahead and makes explicit assertions about reality, and how Taoists ought to act. The 10 Commandments are another example of this, in which explicit instructions are given about how to behave.
That being said, the most interesting way (within the context of this post) that religions provide knowledge about how to live is by providing an embodiment of perfection and encouraging practitioners to emulate this figure. I’ve already mentioned that this is how God is presented in the Bible, for example.
A common phrase you’ll hear in Christian circles is that Christians are constantly trying to be “more like Him.” Him being God, of course. To extrapolate this a bit, Christians are therefore attempting to emulate their perception of perfection and the embodiment of “good.”
Now, I think it would behoove us to take a step back for a quick second here. How do Christians know that what they are pursuing is actually “good?” What even is “good?” And does this apply to people who don’t practice that particular belief system?
Ok, before we move on, just know that I’m going to make some pretty broad statements here that might not be fully correct. Even though that’s the case, I think the point of my arguments is going to be clear, so don’t get bogged down in the gray areas and edge cases.
I think I’ll start with a discussion of the nature of “good.” I think we all intuitively think of “good” as describing actions that provide sustainable benefit both to ourselves and our community. You likely have a different definition of “good,” but I think you probably can agree in part with this definition.
And what sorts of actions actually benefit the individual and our community? Well, this is a tricky question. Even though this isn’t a complete answer, I think “good” actions promote the stability of humanity with the context of a reality that constantly threatens our existence. Typically, this either manifests in someone solving a problem, or empowering a group of people to solve their own problems. This arguably describes the impetus behind technological development and provides some degree of moral argument for increased technological development. But that’s another rabbit hole that I don’t want to go down right now.
Ok, now that I’ve established a relatively concrete definition of “good,” now let’s talk about whether the objective that Christians pursue is actually “good.”
I’ve established that “good” actions actually have a tangible benefit to humans within the context of survival. Not only that, but most people have a reasonable sense of what is or isn’t “good” because their experience has shown them what sorts of behaviors actually benefit the individual and the community.
With that said, Christianity actually provides a pretty good framework for determining what is or isn’t “good.” Why? Because it creates a context for people to converse and argue about what actually is good, and what isn’t.
To see why this is the case, here’s a toy example. Let’s say Dante and Virginia both believe in God. They also believe that God is perfectly “good.” Now let’s say Virginia makes the following assertion: “God wants us to kill evil people, because evil people harm others.” Dante might then respond: “Wait, no. That’s not true. God wants us to love evil people and try to help them see the errors in their own ways.”
Now, regardless of who’s actually right, this is an example of people arguing about the nature of God, given their mutual belief that God is “good,” and given their own personal perceptions of “good.” And this has been happening all throughout history.
So who wins, Dante or Virginia? Well it isn’t totally clear. However, let’s say that the pair agrees to disagree, and both follow their own belief regarding the nature of God. Statistically speaking, one of those two beliefs will actually provide a greater degree of utility to humanity on average, and therefore will likely have a higher likelihood of being passed on to the next generation.
It’s literally survival of the fittest, but with world views (almost sounds like Stable Entities…). Now, obviously reality isn’t a statistically perfect system, but these conclusions imply that over the course of time, Christians should trend closer to a more accurate belief of what is actually “good,” or what actually provides humans with the greatest degree of utility.
Ok, so with that said, though not actually perfect (IMHO) the Christian pursuit of knowledge of perfect “good” naturally should lead to a better knowledge of what’s actually “good.” And for that reason, I’d argue that people who don’t believe in Christianity certainly shouldn’t dismiss the teachings of Christianity outright. Even though there may be inefficiencies, the process of refining Christianity has been a multi-millennium project, and the results of that project should be given their time of day.
But what’s interesting about all this is that not only do Christians naturally attempt to discern the nature of “good,” but to the best of their abilities, they also attempt to become “more like God.” (That is, of course, if the Christian is behaving optimally within the context of the Christian belief system).
Now what’s particularly interesting to me is that technology has been developing at an exponential rate. In simplistic sense, technology gives us better tools for enacting our desires and visions for reality. To put this in different language, the power that humanities posses over reality has been increasing at an exponential rate.
To put it really simplistically, humans are getting much, much better at doing the things they want to do.
Now then, this power is and will lead to increased instability, as individuals have greater potential to harm entire populations. If humans are to survive, we need to figure out what sorts of actions actually benefit both the individual and the community.
In other words, we need to figure out what’s actually “good.”
Now then, the people who subscribe to religious systems arguably have a head start in this pursuit, because they benefit from thousands/millions of years of encoded information regarding the nature of “good” (i.e., what sorts of actions actually lead to beneficial outcomes).
What’s particularly interesting is that if humanity is able to survive the instability of increasing power, then it will literally become more and more like God, in the Christian sense, i.e., a manifestation of perfect “good.”
If exponential improvements continue to occur and humanity survives them, at a certain point, humanity will be indistinguishable from God, in the Christian sense. Omnipotent, due to the limitless improvements in technology. Omniscient, given the limitless potential for technologies that synthesize representations of reality. Omnipresent, given the (almost) limitless potential improvements in transportation technologies.
Not only that, but such an Entity would almost necessarily be “good” because the power granted that Entity combined with evil actions could literally destroy sizeable aspects of reality. That’s a weak argument, but I think you see the point.
Ok, so this line of reasoning introduces a mechanism by which a God-like entity may come into being. However, this begs the question: what if this already happened? If that’s the case, then God might actually already exist.
Ok, let me flesh this out a bit more. A good deal of this argument has leaned on a notion “good,” and presented why humans might want to try to be more and more “good.”
However, I’d argue that “good” isn’t necessarily a human construction. Earlier I spoke of “good” describing actions that promote the dynamic stability of an Entity. Which means that if we de-anthropomorphize “good,” it can basically apply to any system.
Now then, humans can be described as Entities that are capable of formulating internal representations of reality and acting in accordance with those representations (i.e., intelligence). Though certainly an advanced system, I’d certainly argue that most Entities within reality could benefit from some mechanism like that, which is to say that there’s no reason to firmly believe that intelligence is a uniquely human phenomenon. I imagine that it’s incredibly rare, but certainly not impossible.
With that said, any creature capable of formulating internal representations has a high incentive to determine what is “good” (in the more global sense) and pursue those sorts of actions. And given the exponential nature of technological improvements, moving from mortal to God-like might occur much faster than we’ve might imagine.
Basically, what I’m trying to assert is that according to the reasoning presented in this post, there’s a mechanism that allows for the creation of God-like entities that behave in reasonable correspondence with our own human belief systems. Which is fairly remarkable, I’d say.
So I’ve been thinking about it, and I think we’re going to die 😊. How’s that for a click baity first sentence. I was actually lying in the first sentence – I actually think we might die. Definitely not guaranteed. I’m def not tryna bool on out as Thomas Malthus’s reincarnation, but it’s actually a legitimate concern.
I suppose I should probably explain what I mean. Well, as with most of my posts, I’d like to first talk about why humanity has made it this far to begin with. Am I about to talk about Stable structures? You betcha!
Ok, so humanity is fairly miraculous, specifically given our dynamic stability within the context of everything else we can perceive. If you’ve even taken cursory biology, you know what I’m talking about is true. If you’re not convinced, go look up our best understanding of the human ear. It’s literally buck wild. It’s so unbelievably complex, it’s difficult to even conceive that it literally doesn’t fall apart in a second. Let’s just say, you’d be forgiven if you researched the human body and came away believing in the existence of a Creator.
Anyway, if we assume intelligent design isn’t actually a thing (for sake of argument – don’t get your panties in a wad), there still is totally a mechanism that would allow for something as complex as Homo Sapien to come about. Let’s talk about it.
Definitely beating a dead horse if you’ve read some of my other stuff, but I’m gonna talk briefly about Stability again. Basically, according to our perceptions of the world, it’s fairly obvious that some things are more stable than others. If, for example, you built your house out of granite, it’s going to last longer than if you built the boi with thousands of slices of Swiss cheese (an inferior cheese, IMHO).
So within the context of stability, some things just “work” better than others. And by “work,” I mean “possess some Characteristic that allows it to survive in its present form for a greater duration than other Entities.” Not too bad, right?
Ok, in past posts I’ve gone on at length about why some Entity might be more Stable than others (ie it’s better at contending with threats, etc.), but right now, let’s talk about how Entities even come into existence in the first place.
As I think you can intuitively agree, complex stability just doesn’t manifest arbitrarily. In other words, a Big Mac isn’t going to just appear at the center of the milky way. Well, it could, but that would be an incredibly low probability event.
This idea of complexity just appearing out of nowhere is something that people have been thinking about for a while. There’s a thought experiment about something called a Boltzmann Brain, which basically looks at whether a fully conscious brain could just come together arbitrarily in the middle of space. If you think about it, a brain is just some matter that’s organized in a particular way, so there’s isn’t a reason why a bunch of matter couldn’t randomly form a brain in the middle of space.
However, just to continue the Boltzmann Brain thought experiment further than it’s typically taken, let me ask you this: Even if matter randomly came together to form a brain in the middle of space, what then? I’ll tell you what then. The brain would immediately die due to the lack of blook flow, the low temperature, a lack of nutrients, and generally a lack of a body to support it. The same could be said of effectively any biological entity, in that it would immediately perish if it were to arbitrarily form in the middle of space.
So then, it’s not just our biology that makes us humans incredibly interesting, it’s also the context that allows humans to exist in the first place. And it’s this context that gives us a clue into how something as complex as a human could even come into existence in the first place.
Ok, let’s talk about subatomic particles. Not because of their actual physics, but rather because most people think of them as a fundamental building block of reality. Whether that’s actually true is neither here nor there for the present argument. Bear with me.
So if you had a super big puddle of subatomic particles (like in the early universe), what would happen? If you don’t believe a supernatural figure had anything to do with our universe, then you probably tacitly believe that the puddle of particles would eventually become people, houses, monkeys, whatnot. But how do we get from the chaotic puddle of subatomic particles to structures are complex as monkeys? Let’s dig in.
Basically, the only thing you need to know about subatomic particles is that they interact with one another in interesting, but relatively predictable ways. Basically, what typically happens is that particles will either attract each other or repel each other in different ways.
The really interesting thing though is that some configurations of particles are way more stable than others. The configurations that are most important to us humans are atoms. And if you think about it, it’s not too difficult to see how atoms formed from particles. As a quick recap, atoms basically have a bunch of electrons (small, negative bois) swirling around a bunch of protons and neutrons (large, positive or neutral bois).
Basically, in order for atoms to come about, all you need is an area of space where a bunch of particles are interacting. Chances are (ie, it’s a fairly probable event) that an electron and a proton are going to come together to form a hydrogen atom, and then boom, all of a sudden you have a very stable structure. So basically, it’s reasonably probable that particles create hydrogen atoms, and then stay in that configuration due to its stability.
Just to be clear, hydrogen is special. If you throw two electrons together, the resulting configuration is highly unstable. The same thing can be said for a huge array of other possible configurations of particles. Without needing to know the details, there’s something about hydrogen that just makes it work, where other things don’t.
Ok, so now we have hydrogen. Luckily for us, hydrogen is both highly stable, and it also interacts in interesting ways with different atoms. Thus we can apply the same line of thinking to atoms that we did with particles. And basically, the story there is that some configurations of atoms just work (are inherently more stable), than others, and you get molecules.
You can basically continue this line of thinking until you start getting biological Entities, and whoopie! We have humans. However, as you’ll probably intuitively agree, it can’t just be that easy. And, blessed reader, your intuition is correct. It isn’t.
Basically in order to reliably get situations where lower forms of complexity can create higher forms of complexity (ie molecules to biological cells), you need something I call a Sandbox. (That’s by no means an original term, and you probably know where I’m going with this).
Here’s how I define a Sandbox. First of all, you need some structures (like particles) that interact with each other in interesting ways. More specifically, the situation has to allow for the Entities to interact with each other in many different ways. For example, if all subatomic particles were spread out across the universe, they wouldn’t be able to interact and form atoms. In order to get atoms, you need particles to be in the same general vicinity to increase the probability of atom formation. To make a somewhat shaky analogy, nature has to be able to run a bunch of “experiments” in order to find the structures that are the most stable. So you need a situation where random interactions are fairly probable.
On the flip side, you can’t have a situation that’s too chaotic. If you stuffed all the particles in the universe into a tiny box, you’d probably get atoms pretty quickly, but they’d probably be blown to pieces by all the chaos around them. Essentially, the Sandbox can’t be too unstable or the structures that do form won’t be able to survive the threats to their existence.
Lol. If you’ve read my stuff where I pontificate about Order and Chaos, this is a slightly less philosophical treatment of the subject: progress occurs at the order between the Light (order) and the Chaos.
Just as a quick side note, can I quickly vent a little bit? Some people have been getting really caught up in how “fined-tuned” the universe is for human life. They say things like “if some fundamental physics constant was slightly different, life wouldn’t be possible.” Duh! But you sons of goats are looking at it wrong! Life and consciousness are obviously really cool, but they aren’t necessarily the end-all-be-all of the universe. From my perspective it seems fairly obvious that life and consciousness are both phenomenon that make total sense within the context of reality because they’re simply mechanisms that lead to higher structural stability.
While life and consciousness are obviously incredibly, unbelievably complex, they aren’t super surprising, in that it makes sense that they would manifest in a reality with temporal consistency, given that such a reality places high priority on temporal stability. What would be way more surprising is if life and consciousness didn’t give rise to higher Stability. If that were the case, I would be way more likely to believe in an intelligent creator because complexity basically doesn’t come around unless it has a competitive advantage.
Ok, back to my original tangent. Why do humans exist? Well, we’re basically the product of a ton of Sandboxes. What I mean is that in going from atoms to molecules, molecules to cells, cells to organ, organs to organisms, each step of the way there’s been a Sandbox that allows the universe to “experiment” with many different structures and find the structure that works the best.
Now then, you might be wondering, wouldn’t Sandboxes themselves be really, really rare? If so, then humanity’s existence would seem more mysterious. However, if you read my post on Explosive Continuity, you’ll see that certain particularly stable structures naturally give rise to Sandboxes (low threat areas where “experimentation” is possible). I won’t go into that too much, but if you’re interested, send me an email and I’d love to discuss this.
Anyway, let’s go back to the very first paragraph. Why do I think humanity’s in real trouble? Well, we’ve been banking off some great Sandboxes for the last millions of years, and now we’re in a position where we could destroy our current Sandbox. Why? Because humanity’s too powerful, which makes it very unstable.
One critical aspect of a Sandbox that allows it to function is that if one experiment fails, it doesn’t destroy the Sandbox. So two electrons being close to each other isn’t going to threaten the electron and proton to form hydrogen, which is why we get atoms.
If a failed experiment can lead to the destruction of a Sandbox, then you’re basically dealing with a situation that’s too chaotic to be a Sandbox. And that’s specifically what’s happening with humanity.
Scientific progress is really neat, but it has drastically increased the power individual people yield. And just like any other situation, certain aspects of humanity are more unstable than others. As you probably agree, it’s not great if the unstable parts of the system can wreak a huge amount of havoc.
To look into this, let’s consider the age-old phenomenon of someone losing hope, going crazy, and killing a bunch of people. In the old days (like cave man era), if you decided to go on a killing spree, resulting in your own suicide, you could probably only kill a couple of people before you were taken down.
Now a days, with ARs and bombs, if someone really wants to kill a lot of people, they can kill a lot of people. We typically focus on the positive aspects of empowering people with technology, but the same technologies that “make the world a better place” also allow people to cause a greater amount of destruction, if that’s their goal.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention! (JK) Scientific progress naturally accelerates if left to its own devices, which … um … might just kill us. Let’s just say that if General AI is widely available to your average Joe Shmo, it’s time to head for the fracking hills.
So what do we do about this? Well we could either try to dampen scientific progress, which, historically speaking, would probably be a total disaster, or we need to increase the size of our own Sandbox drastically so that when Joe Shmo decides to ‘splode the Earth with his pocket nuke, we don’t all die.
And how do we do that? Well, we’d need to increase our domain beyond the boundary of destruction, which probably means that we need to get to space, and we need to get there like now. Frankly, spreading to space probably wouldn’t save us from malicious AI, but at least we might be safe from some nukes.
Hmm, a small group of humans would probably have to sneak off in a totally untraceable manner to escape malicious AI. That’d be interesting.
Ok, well I imagine you all catch my drift. However, I should note that Malthus’ error lay in underestimating human ingenuity to solve the problems he thought would bring humanity to its knees. While I’m arguing that humanity’s ability to constantly progress may in fact be our downfall, I certainly don’t want to make Malthus’ mistake and discount the problem-solving abilities of generations to come.
However, if the trend of the last several thousand years stays true, then the coming developments of humanity will likely be well beyond or entirely different from what we presently conceive, bringing its own opportunities and threat.
Eh, whatever. Just stay on your toes, bois.
Shalom, brethren and sisthren! It’s quite nice to be writing another one of these. I’ve been working on four major projects over the last several months, so that’s been eating up a healthy chunk of my time. And frankly, I wasn’t sure that the utility all you schmeags derive from this blog was worth the effort of writing posts, so my incentive for writing has been fairly low.
However, I’ve actually spoken to a fair number of people over the last month or so that have expressed their enjoyment in partaking in XFA. To all of you who enjoy observing my mind soup, a most heartfelt thank-you.
Now then, let’s get down and dirty with the notion of Desire (not the sexual type, just your average “I want that car cause it looks cool” desire), and why I’ve boldly associated it with Tension. But before we really dissect this bad boi, I’d like to talk about why this is even on my mind in the first place.
Actually, a more honest answer than the one I’ll provide is that Desire is fundamentally tied to the notion of goal-formation, and I’ve actually been thinking a good deal about goal-formation in relation to the nature of human intelligence. While we typically take our ability to formulate goals (even subconsciously) for granted, attaining a bio-mechanical understanding of the neural dynamics of goal formation is comparable in complexity to achieving an understanding of the nature of consciousness, which anyone who is anyone agrees is pretty fracking hard problem.
Anyway, I’ve been extensively studying the formation of intelligence over the last months, and this has led to me to frequently contemplate the nature of goal-formation. However, the last two paragraphs actually have nothing to do with where I was originally going with the train of discussion in the third paragraph. Wow, how’s that for a cohesive narrative. Anyway, let’s get back to where I was originally going with this post.
The other main reason I’ve been really thinking about Desire is because of my current situation. Here’s what’s going on in my life. First, I’m almost finished creating a social media platform that I believe might actually fundamentally improve how people interact on the internet. If it works, it also might be incredibly lucrative. Second, next week I’m heading to Detroit to meet with some incredibly powerful individuals to pitch them on a project I’ve been working on with a couple of buddies. While the project is itself exciting, the more exciting aspect is that this could actually potentially provide me with an opportunity to successfully drop out and work full-time on an awesome project, and get paid, baby! Third, a good friend of mine has had an app idea that seems remarkably promising, and at this point, I’m pretty much confident in my ability to throw this new app together fairly quickly.
Ok, so why am I saying this? Am I trying to sloppily flex on the haters? Well, not quite. My current life situation is somewhat interesting because even though some of the stuff I have brewing is pretty exciting, there is absolutely no guarantee that any of it will pan out. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be back at square one.
But what does this have to do with Desire? Well, several times over the last couple months, I’ve been hit with such a strong confidence that my social network will make it big that my brain just assumes it’s going to happen. And in those moments, I’ve been possessed by some of the most potent anxiety I’ve ever experienced. And that’s weird.
Before we go any further, some of you might note that it’s incredibly presumptuous for me to assume a new social network is actually going to take off. You’d be absolutely right, of course. However, the aforementioned confidence I felt was more a remnant of my extremely turbulent emotional cycles, and less a function of the logical deduction. For reference, typically when I get extremely excited about a new idea working, I can almost guarantee that I’ll be hit with a wave of existential depression the following day. Isn’t life fun?
Anyway, the whole point of this lil story is that there frequently seems to be a strong correlation between Desire and anxiety in my life. Also, I’m only capitalizing Desire because it’s the subject of the post. Just thought I should make that clear.
So then, why are Desire and anxiety seemingly linked? An even more interesting phenomenon is that gratitude seems to have an opposite effect from Desire. Frack it, I’m going to stop capitalizing desire. It seems weird.
Specifically, as you’ve undoubtedly experienced, achieving a state of gratitude for the good aspects of life seems to assuage my anxieties tremendously. Gratitude journaling also seems to be rampantly taking over the self-health community, so I’m not the only one thinking about this.
At this point, you might be wondering, “…Hey Danny? Are you just trying to say greed makes us sad, and gratitude makes us glad?” (couldn’t resist the rhyme) “Isn’t that totally obvious?” Well, yes, reader, I suppose you’re right, but I’d like to take a deeper dive into this phenomenon from a quasi-rigorous neurological perspective. Prepare yourself for a classic Danny Boi G stream of consciousness, because I haven’t really fully fleshed out my thoughts on the subject.
Ok, let’s start with what our brain is even doing in the first place. One of the most important jobs of the brain is to form an efficient representation of reality. Let’s take that statement apart, shall we?
First things first, what do I mean by an efficient representation? A representation is a structure that exhibits similar characteristics and behaviors as some other structure. So a lego human being is a representation of a human being, because it shares some of the same rudimentary characteristics of a full-fledged biological human being. So what do I mean by efficient? By efficient, I mean that the representation is able to evolve far more rapidly than the structure it’s representing.
For an example of an efficient representation, think of a billiards video game on your computer screen. If the person who programmed the game did a good job, then the computer game should be a good representation of a real, physical game of billiards. Now then, unlike in real life, we can speed up the computer game, which allows the state of the computer game to evolve faster than actual game. Thus I would call the billiards video game an efficient representation of an actual billiards game.
Aside from being merely convenient for the sake of entertainment, why might the computer game be helpful? Well, let’s say that you want to figure out where the eight ball will go if you hit the cue ball in a certain way in the actual game of billiards. You basically have two options. First, you could just hit the ball in real life and see what happens. Second, you could set up an analogous situation in the video game and watch the video game play out. If you go with the second option, you reap all sorts of benefits. First things first, you can speed the video game up, which allows you to figure out what’s going to happen faster. Not only that, you also figure out what’s going to happen without ever hitting the cue ball in real life. That’s big. Basically, the efficient representation of the pool table (ie, the video) gives you “knowledge of the future” before the future even happens.
Ok, so let’s go back to my original statement about the brain. I’m essentially asserting that one of the brain’s principal functions is to construct efficient representations of perceivable reality. And just like in the billiards game, this efficient representation allows the brain contemplate and simulate future situations before they’ve even occurred.
Why is this a big deal? I use this example all the time, but bugger me bloody, here we go again. Let’s say you look up, and you see an asteroid falling toward your head. If this asteroid hits you, you are going to die. Let’s carefully take apart what happens next.
For your entire life, you’ve been watching objects fall. Whenever an object is unsupported it falls towards the ground. This happens in such a consistent fashion that our brain is able to form an efficient representation of the process. This efficient representation of falling objects allows our brains to simulate situations faster than they actually evolve in real life. This ability to simulate allows our brains to make predictions about the future state of reality with remarkable accuracy. So if your cousin Davy throws a football, you have a pretty good idea of where the football is going to land before the football actually lands. While this sort of cognitive process probably doesn’t sound that exciting, I’d like to humbly submit that this is one of the most miraculous aspects of our present reality. Ok, but let’s get back to the asteroid, because it’s actually quite important.
So there you are, looking up at the asteroid. If you were a jelly fish or a rock, the perception of an asteroid above your head isn’t going to change your behavior. However, because you’re a human with a brain that has formulated a good representation of falling objects, your brain can rapidly play out what is going to happen in the next several moments, before it happens. So basically the brain can determine that a sizeable object is about to fall on your head, and if you don’t get out of the way, you’re going to die. And thus, you get out of the way, and you don’t die. Ta-da.
It seems like people frequently refer to “knowledge” as this nebulous entity that grows and changes over time. If we’re getting technical, however, “human knowledge” is basically just the sum total of efficient representations of reality the brain has acquired over its lifetime. And as we’ve just seen, the reason why our brains even form efficient representations in the first place is because it greatly benefits our ability to contend with threats, thus markedly improving our stability as individuals and as a species.
Ok, I certainly could go off on some unreasonably long tangents about this, but let’s try to get back to the subject at hand. What does all this business about efficient representations have to do with desire and/or gratitude?
Our brain’s ability to construct efficient representations of reality not only allows us to better comprehend the state of the present moment, but it also allows us to simulate hypothetical scenarios. Our brain also has functionality to evaluate the quality of these real or hypothetical scenarios. Our brain might attempt to determine if a hypothetical scenario might involve pain, or if it might trigger pleasure receptors. Basically, the brain can determine if a hypothetical scenario is better or worse for us than the present scenario. Finally, the brain can determine if a hypothetical scenario is actually in sync with the present state of reality.
Ok, I’m kinda running out of steam here, but I’ll just try to finish my train of thought. In terms of evolutionary fitness, it would make sense that whenever the brain simulates a hypothetical scenario that is of higher perceived utility than the present situation, the brain induces a certain amount of anxiety. This anxiety would be the impetus for us to attempt to manipulate the state of the present to become more like the hypothetical, “simulated” state of reality. This mechanism would allow the brain to help move a human being towards states of greater utility.
On the contrary, if the brain determines that the present state of reality sufficiently meets the requirements of stable survival, it would make sense for the brain to “turn off” anxiety so that the human doesn’t make any changes to their situation to compromise the state of stability.
Ok, so what about desire and gratitude? Well, under this reframing, desire can be thought of as the brain attempting to move the human being toward a state of greater perceived utility. And in order to do that, the brain would naturally want to induce some level of discontent/anxiety about the present situation. Likewise, gratitude is basically the process of recognizing the beneficial aspects of the present state of reality. If the brain is able to decide that the present state of reality is sufficiently beneficial, then the brain should remove feelings of discontent and anxiety to preserve the current state.
So yeah, not particularly difficult to see, but here’s a reasonable explanation of why desire induces anxiety, and gratitude induces peace. So yeah, give gratitude a try.
To finish out, let’s get a bit soppy. Basically, yeah, there are a couple things in my life that are kinda exciting at the present moment. However, I’ve found that it’s imperative to my mental health to recognize that even if all of them don’t pan out, there’s so much about my present state that allows for stable survival, and thus tremendous cause for gratitude.
So yeah, in case you were wondering why gratitude is so important, these are my two cents. Peace.
Sup schmeags. So quick Danny life update before we talk about Life, the Universe, and Everything. I’m in a bit of an ironic situation, in that I believe I’m a certifiable workaholic without every having worked an official full-time job. Neat, huh?
Anyway, you might be wondering what I do with all the time I don’t spend writing XFA posts. Well, I’m finding myself spending an increasing amount of time trying to convince my perpetually fraying emotions that it’s a good idea for me to just keep coding. I hit a bit of a rough patch last night involving Orchid, comments, and really sketchy DOM manipulation, and I decided to put my foot down. So yeah, I’m taking a full day off, which is something I’m not actually sure if I’ve done since I got my wisdom teeth out back in January.
And that means it’s a great time for me to write some blog posts! I’ll probably go find Roger and give him a toot as well, but there’s time for that later. To be clear, “Roger” is the name of my bassoon, which should clear up any juicy misconceptions that last statement may have imparted to you.
Alright friends, let’s talk about explosive continuity. I probably should have named the post “Explosive Homogeneity,” but it seems the term “Homogeneity” has accrued some negative connotations in the last several years with which I have no desire to be associated.
Also, I’ll be using my Fizzy Definitions, so if you see capitalized words that otherwise have no business being capitalized, you can scoot yourself on over to my last post in which I outlined my definitions of some of my most frequently used words.
Ok, before we get into what I mean by “explosive continuity,” let’s talk about why this is important. The notions surrounding explosive continuity provide (in my estimation) a compelling explanation for effectively any large-scale system that has some degree of homogeneity. Humanity, biological life, the universe, dimensions, subatomic particles are all examples of such systems.
Hmm, that didn’t come across as sexily as I wanted, but hey, no one’s ever said that sex sells, right?
Ok, so now that I’ve (somewhat shakily) described why explosive continuity is important, let’s talk about what it is, and why it comes about.
As I’ve stated about a bajillion times by this point, a Stable Entity basically has two jobs if it wants to survive. It has to maintain its internal stability, and it has to contend with threats in its environment. So as a human being, if you want to survive for a good long time, not only do you have to make sure your internal organs don’t randomly shut down (leading to an almost certain death), but if you run into a tiger, you best be sure to either fight it, or run away. Likewise, if you’re a Carbon atom, if you want to survive for a long time, you have to be sure that your protons and electrons don’t arbitrarily decay (they typically don’t), and you also have to be sure that you aren’t blasted to smithereens by a rogue Alpha Particle.
Now then, basically all the arguments I present about stability recursively apply to an Entity’s substructure, so we’re just going to ignore internal stability for the present moment. Let’s talk about dealing with threats.
Every Entity typically poses some degree of threat to every other Entity with which it interacts. So, a bowling ball (a certified Entity) poses a threat to you (another certified Entity) because the bowling ball is able to interact with you and your constituent parts. You might argue that the bowling ball doesn’t pose much of a threat to you, but what if you accidently drop it on your foot? What if Dwayne the frikin’ Rock Johnson throws it at your head? Now it’s really a threat!
While the degree of the threat obviously varies drastically given the context of the situation, the threat is always there. So then, how do you deal with a threatening Entity? You basically have three options. You can fight, you can flee, or you can cooperate. Now then, fighting and fleeing are typically the goto options in these sorts of situations (remember your fight or flight instinct?) but cooperation is typically the best option, if it can be achieved.
Before I move on, I want to clarify one point. Given my language, you might think I’m talking specifically about biological Entities. That’s simply not the case. These arguments apply to biological systems because they’re Entities, not the other way around. These arguments apply just as well to non-biological entities.
To illustrate this, consider a rock. Within the context of our planet, rocks are pretty darn stable. They’re certainly not nearly as fancy (or interesting) as human beings, but they’re darn good at the whole Stability game. Why is that? Well, rocks typically have great internal Stability because they’re built out of super stable materials (small atoms), and they’re also pretty great at contending with threats? How, you rightly ask? Well, they aren’t super great at fleeing, but they are pretty darn great at fighting and cooperating.
“But Danny,” I hear someone keening in the back of the room, “Rocks don’t fight. Rocks don’t cooperate.” Well, Foolish Florian (I’ve been reading GOT lately), here’s what I have to say to that. How should we define fighting? I would argue that we could define fighting as behaving in a manner that eliminates a threat. Rocks happen to have such a high degree of internal stability, that most true threats to their stability simply break on impact. While it’s certainly passive, this particular characteristic of rocks makes them pretty great at fighting threats.
“Ok, so rocks fight,” mutters Florian. “Whatever. But they don’t cooperate.” Well, again, I would have to disagree with you, under a particularly open definition of the word “cooperation.” I would define cooperation as two or more Entities behaving in a manner that increases their collective stability. We therefore can certainly apply this definition to rocks. Consider the interaction between a rock and a human being. As long as the two entities have low relative momentum, then there is a ton of potential for cooperation. The human might take shelter next to the rock, thus protecting the human from other threats. In this case, the human might also attempt to fortify his/her shelter with other materials, which could easily increase the rock’s stability as well. Thus, cooperation.
Cooperation is actually way more common than one might think. It’s typically a key ingredient in creating higher-order Stable Entities. Just to satiate your appetite, here are some other examples of cooperation. The interaction between primitive eukaryotic cells and mitochondria is a great example. Any form of biological symbiosis is probably the most familiar example of non-human cooperation. The interaction between electrons and protons is a fantastic example of cooperation as well. And obviously, people working with other people is clearly a form of cooperation.
Now then, cooperation is clearly the optimal way of dealing with threats, but obviously cooperation isn’t always possible. Statistically speaking, out of all the threatening Entities an Entity may encounter, the Entity will likely only be able to cooperate with a small set of those Entities.
Good heavens, I need to find a way to use the word “Entity” less frequently. This is getting out of hand.
Ok. So I’ve established that it’s in an Entity’s best interest to cooperate with other Entities if possible (because it increases everyone’s stability), but cooperation is really hard to achieve. So then, how can an Entity minimize its need to fight or flee from threats (suboptimal outcomes), and maximize its propensity for cooperation (far and away the optimal outcome)?
Well, typically the best way for Entities to achieve this is to exist in a widely homogenous environment. To understand why this is, let’s take two different examples. Let’s first imagine that you live in the middle of nowhere, but your house is surrounded by gorillas for miles and miles. When you first move in, you might find this terrifying. I, for one, have an irrational fear of gorillas from a Nancy Drew book I read as child, so I’d consider that a suboptimal situation. If, however, you learn how to cooperate with gorillas, you’re basically home free. Gorillas have shown a remarkable capacity for communication, so let’s say over time you learn how to speak gorilla. Before long, you could basically organize your environment into a gorilla metropolis. Awesome!
Now, let’s consider a different situation. You live in the same house, but now you’re surrounded by miles and miles of all different sorts of animals. We’re talking Noah’s frikin Ark, baby. This really isn’t as great. Even if you learn how to speak gorilla, you aren’t in a position to deal with the threats posed by the lions, bears, shadow cats, white walkers, ismenian drakons, and what not.
Definitely not my best analogy, but you get the point. If you exist in a homogenized environment, then you don’t have to do as much work in order to achieve a state of productive cooperation with the environment.
If you’re looking for real world examples of this “homogenization,” then literally look around you. Almost every large-scale system we humans encounter on a daily basis exhibits a greater degree of continuity than almost anything else we can observe. The air we breathe, the ground on which we walk, the climate, our civilization, businesses, multicellular organisms, humans themselves are all examples of incredibly homogenous environments. It’s this homogeneity that has allowed for Stable Entities as complex as human beings to come about.
Ok, we’ve hopefully established that it’s almost always in an Entity’s best interest to exist within a homogenized environment because such environments typically allow for the greatest degree of productive cooperation between local Entities. With that said, can an Entity do even better? And perhaps the more leading question is: how do these homogenized environments come about?
The answer to the first question also answers the second. Yes, an Entity can do even better than simply existing in a well-homogenized environment. How? If it can act as the agent of homogenization. In other words, insofar as it’s possible (which it typically isn’t), it’s in an Entity’s best interest to homogenize its environment. And, as you might have guessed, this is typically how homogenized environments come about.
Now then, I’ve been pretty loose with my definition of “homogenization,” but let’s talk about how an Entity might go about homogenizing its environment. Well, one way is to simply eliminate all of the most potent threats to your existence. This has basically been the MO of almost every large civilization in human history. How do you guarantee the health and stability or your society? Simply conquer all the threatening societies around you.
Another example of this is biological immune system. An animal is a system of trillions of incredibly homogenous systems (cells) displaying an incomprehensible degree of cooperation, and the immune system’s job is to basically destroy anything that threatens the homogeneity of the organism.
Ok, so eliminating threats is a great way to promote homogeneity, but there’s an even more potent way to homogenize your environment. Replication. We humans call it reproduction. Sex, baby.
The essence of replication or reproduction is to reorganize the Entities in your environment into a copy of yourself. Now then, the reason why this form of homogenization is so potent is because this replication can easily be exponential in nature. If the copies you make of yourself can also make copies of themselves, then soon you’re going to get a bajillion copies of yourself.
Replication is also great because cooperation is typically easier to achieve between similar Entities than between dissimilar Entities.
The real powerhouses can both replicate themselves and eliminate threats in their environment. That’s not a hard one to understand. It’s easier for an army of 100,000 soldiers to take down a civilization than it is for a single soldier. And how do you get from one soldier to 100,000? Sex, baby (replication).
Thus, systems of Entities that can replicate themselves and eliminate threats in their environment exhibit what I call explosive continuity. As long as resources exist to sustain the further production of similar Entities, they basically grow exponentially fast, which is to say, really frikin fast.
Due to our privileged status of citizens of the Earth, we constantly encounter systems that exhibit explosive continuity. Explosive continuity is basically the MO of literally every biological system, ranging from cellular structures to global communities. It’s pretty darn important.
However, there’s one more system that I’d like to talk about which I believe might exhibit explosive continuity in the manner I’ve described. That system is our universe.
There’s basically nothing within perceivable reality that exhibits a greater degree of homogenization than outer space. That might be a weird thing to think about, because we typically think of outer space as being empty. However, in the past century, we’ve learned that our universe is expanding incredibly rapidly. That’s kinda the whole deal of the Big Bang.
Within the context of reality, explosive continuity is quite rare. However, when it does exist, it’s, well, explosive. And there’s nothing quite as explosive in perceivable reality than the Big Frikin Bang.
Which leads me to the following hypothesis. Cosmologists typically attribute the expansion of our universe to a mysterious force called dark energy. If you want to get jiggy with the math, dark energy kinda just appears as a constant in Einstein’s field equations, but that’s less important here. Math, after all, is just math.
So here’s my hypothesis about the nature of dark energy. Based on my observation of processes that behave like our expanding universe (systems exhibiting explosive continuity), I hypothesize that our extremely homogenized dimensions (both spatial and temporal) are actually just a sea of constituent Entities that are able to replicate themselves and eliminate threats to their existence. Based on my understanding of particle physics, I hypothesize that these Entities are even smaller than subatomic particles but may very well be the constituents of subatomic particles. I would guess that these Entities operate at roughly the Planck scale, simply because that’s where fancy physicists believe the continuity of space and time starts breaking down.
So yeah, that’s my hypothesis about the nature of dark energy. I don’t really care about the local structure of the constituents of Dimensions so much as their global behavior, because that’s what actually makes everything we know and love possible.
What makes this hypothesis so intriguing is that it indicates that there are greater forms of structure to reality than simply all that is perceivable in our universe. So yeah, for all you schmeagy physicists that don’t know what to do with CERN now that we’ve found the Higgs Boson, let me humbly suggest that you ain’t seen nothing yet. However, based on literally everything we know about reality, I’d guess it’ll be pretty darn hard to figure out how to observe the constituents of dimensions.
In closing, if you ever learned about European history, you may remember that at one point, some humans believed that the Earth was surrounded by a “Celestial Sphere.” The celestial sphere model was used to explain the fixed motion of stars and planets by asserting that they are embedded on the surface of this gigantic sphere. The religious folk of the time were a big fan of the Celestial Sphere model because they basically asserted that God and the angels lived on the other side of the sphere. So, if you want to find God, just go to the other side of the sphere.
Unfortunately for those religious folk, it turns out the celestial sphere model is a pretty bad model for explaining the motion of heavenly bodies, which means it’s a little harder to find God than they suspected.
If however, our universe is constructed from some constituent Entity which exhibits explosive continuity, then that means our universe is embedded within a greater form of reality than we’ve ever dreamed of perceiving. I’m not talking parallel universes, I’m basically asserting that reality might be much much larger than we initially thought.
So if you’re looking for God (or aliens, or general superintelligence), I’d start there.