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Friday, December 31, 2010
Brain / Mind ... Philosophy ... Science ...

I had an afterthought to my last post, about the E8 geometric-mathematical model as a possible matrix for the “complete theory of everything”. I noted that the authors seemed a bit paradoxical in citing what a confounding mess the current particle physics model was, versus their attitude that the E8 structure would make them feel all warm and fuzzy. My point was, why is E8 so good that they would lay down all their questions and just accept it as the final answer. Why couldn’t they at least ask the child-like question, “why E8?”.

In pondering that, I suppose that E8 has a certain beauty to it. Here is a link, if you want to see it. It looks like a bunch of points and lines arranged in circles, with some other intervening but repeating relationships that determine just where each thing stands. So yes, there is a certain artistic quality to it. Perhaps after many decades of relentless search, the physical theorist would be content to just say, I’ve found E8, the true blueprint to the world. It is beautiful, and I uncovered it. I have fulfilled my destiny.

But that still doesn’t satisfy the metaphysical sojourner in me. E8 is great, but why? Because it is beautiful, is that why? And what does it mean to be ‘beautiful’? Just what is it in us that sees the beautiful? The science people are telling us today that in our conscious experience of the world, we are not anything special. Human consciousness (and animal consciousness, if it exists) is just a function of all those forces and particles that E8 would explain. It’s just another one of the trillions of effects and emergences from the fundamental forces, just like neutron stars and pecan shells and Justin Beiber CDs are. And yet, without it, E8 has no beauty. Without a consciousness to perceive the beauty of E8 and all that emerges from it, does it all really exist? Are we sure that in E8, we have found “THE TRULY FUNDAMENTAL” in the Universe?? Or does the reason cited for thinking that thought point to something more?

Something to ponder for the New Year. And a Happy and Prosperous 2011 to All. And to All in this Beautiful Universe (E8 or not), a Good Night.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 4:46 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, I like very much your questions about beauty and how it fits into the E8 theory. I would think that in the answer to those questions lies something of the mystical that is so missing in physics.

    As to human consciousness being simply a function of the forces, etc., of E8, I would think the physicists have forgotten the rule that says the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Furthermore, if one is going to follow the concept of evolution (and here I guess one has to leave physics), it must apply to consciousness also. So, wouldn’t consciousness be a continuum that runs from the first “thing” that existed to present day man? And it seems to me that consciousness will continue to evolve and grow.

    I like your questions about beauty and consciousness. I find myself wondering why it is that physicists seem to think they have the answer to everything. They seem unable to accept the fact that they may have the answer to simply a part of what makes up the universe. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — January 1, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

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