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CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: The Physical Nature Of Time by Paul N Butler [refresh]
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Paul N Butler wrote on Sep. 30, 2008 @ 08:36 GMT
Essay Abstract

Our sense of time is due to the interaction of two systems. The first is the basic structure of the universe that we live in and the other is the way our minds work. It is how our minds interact with and react to the inputs received from certain parts of the physical world that gives us our sense of time. It would not be possible to adequately cover both parts of the subject in this paper due to space limitations, so it will mostly be limited to the aspects of the physical world that tend to generate in us our sense of the meaning of time.

Author Bio

Worked in IT for over 30 years. Currently retired. Have always been interested in understanding how the world works and would like to share with others some of the things that I have discovered over the years.

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 2, 2008 @ 16:36 GMT
As I've described my view of time, it's that there is only this field of radiation energy and structure tends to condense out of it, like dew out of fog, because the energy isn't stable. In fact equilibrium is a state of order and isn't stable. So we have this universe of expanding radiant energy, interspersed with gravitational vortices. These collapse to the point they ignite, either from chemical reaction or pressure and radiate the energy back out as more expanding energy. This is a perpetual cycle, since the equilibrium isn't stable.

So the past is effectively that dimensional structure we view as reality, yet by the point we perceive it, is only collapsing information of past events. The (chemical) interaction and pressure created by this collapsing past radiates back out and informs the field of energy and thus directs how future structure is defined, thus creating the future. In a sense then, the unstable equilibrium is what we might define as the present. This isn't as clearly argued as I would like, but i hope you get the idea. It ties into the bottom up chaos/energy/process vs. top down order/structure of Complexity Theory, with collapsing structure as top down order, future to past direction of events and radiating energy as bottom up process, past to future direction of the energy manifesting those events.

Now to get to the point I've been mulling over. Part of my initial interest in understanding time has been an effect I could conjure up on occasion of predicting events if I just completely zone out. Being a rational sort, I needed an explanation. The event which describes my thinking was the tsunami that struck south Asia some years ago. Prior to its arrival, the water receded considerably and all the animals started acting disturbed. Given the wave nature of reality, we perceive only the present, yet it is like a cresting wave. Since our perspective is inherently subjective, we don't sense that drawing back, or vacuum which proceeds the arrival of the body of the wave. Yet for those beings most imbedded in their larger context and not self absorbed, this vacuum is as real as the wave itself.

Now since our brains function as electro-static fields, I think we have the ability to transmit our thought patterns to others, just as a radio transmitter is picked up by a receiver. For reasons of survival, because our world isn't very benign, we have also learned to mute our projection of thoughts so that others can't sense what we are thinking. (Suffice to say, I grew up as a younger child in a large, competitive family and this was apparent to me long before convention taught me it was taboo.)

Which is to say that these waves take many forms, across many spectrums, not just visible light and auditory. Since I've spent my life working with racehorses, I've had to develop these senses out of professional necessity.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 11, 2008 @ 11:01 GMT
John Merryman;

When looking at a theory, it is helpful to first see what class it fits into.

There are four main classes of theories. The first and highest class is composed of those theories that are derived directly from interaction with the real world. This class is the most likely to be valid because it is based on real world observations and tests that are usually repeatable. ...

view entire post

John Merryman wrote on Nov. 13, 2008 @ 04:47 GMT

Thank you for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful and detailed manner. Hopefully my response is at least half as clear.

In my own submission, I tried to remain fully in the first category of theory, subsequent discussion of how such a basic perspective might interact with other's observations about the subject and how it interfaces with a complex reality does lead...

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 13, 2008 @ 04:59 GMT
Sorry for some of the grammatical errors, its late. (That's "waving", not "having," in the story of the ant.

Narendra Nath wrote on Nov. 17, 2008 @ 13:08 GMT
Dear Paul,

let me begin by offering you my apology for the critical comment on very legthy postings not only by you but a few others too. it is just my personal opinion which can easily ignore. You will grant me my independence when i submit the following points in support of my view:-

1. During my education, i was told to respond to others specifically to the query being made. i also learnt that it is impolite to tell others what they are not keen to know, however profound your opinion may be, as per your judgement.

2. The interest of other is supreme in any dialogue between the two. If one is not seeking details from you, it is best to be brief. This helps the other understand/comprehend you better. It is for the other to seek specific details that are of interest.

3. Profoundness of one may just be routine for another. None of us are likely to have the same background knowledge.

4. Never tell any thing to the other unlesws he seeks it from you. Only the other knows what aspects/details he is interested in. Your opinion or interest in this regard is not important, howsoever significant you may consider the same.

Please ignore my observations if you don't care or like the same. i wish to remain friendly to you , as to all the other authors in this format. Good luck to you!

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 19, 2008 @ 08:56 GMT

In order to make any reasoned responses to your theory, I will need to ask many more questions to get further details of what you are proposing before I can give detailed analysis of it. I will try to look at it with the detail that you have given me, but my responses may change as I get a more complete idea of the details involved. I won’t get into the medium or no medium concept...

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Paul N Butler wrote on Nov. 19, 2008 @ 09:06 GMT

Apology accepted. It would be good if you have not already done so to offer an apology to John Merryman on his paper’s space also because as I said his comments were not very long at all. Mine were actually long, but my main objection was the egoism part. I have found that in this world if one does not respond to such comments others generally assume they are true even...

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 19, 2008 @ 18:35 GMT

That's going to take me a few days to really process. Some thoughts though;

One of the consequences of my observation about the nature of time, that energy goes from past events to future ones, while these events go from being in the future to being in the past, is that while energy and information are inseparable, but they are opposite sides of the same coin. So when you...

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john Merryman wrote on Nov. 19, 2008 @ 19:08 GMT

"transverse wave"; In the sense that you aren't measuring the energy of just the point of contact, which is shorter in the conventional sense, but since the quanta reflects the entire wave, which is spread over such a big area. So the photon is a hologram of the entire wave. Solves the entangled particle, action at a distance problem.

"which creates and consumes itself in order to grow"; Just as energy creates and consumes information.

Now I am late....

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 20, 2008 @ 08:59 GMT

That is ok it takes me awhile to do the same also. It is better to think it through than to jump to quick conclusions.

It may be that we are looking at energy and structure differently. So far when you talk about energy it seems that you are talking mainly about electromagnetic energy. When I talk about energy I am going to a much lower level and to an all encompassing...

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 20, 2008 @ 12:19 GMT

I think we have generally the same understanding of energy, vs. information, though I may not have stated it as completely. At the temperature of absolute zero, there is no motion, so that even if some fundamentally eternal particle exists, it would have no contact with any other such particle and thus not exist from the perspective of any other reference. So motion itself is more...

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 22, 2008 @ 01:07 GMT

"Notice there is no need for anything to go into the future to inform it to change the position information by some amount. If you know the motion amplitude information content you can use it to determine the position of the motion and the value of the position information at some point in the future, but it does not exist that way until that future point becomes the present....

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Narendra wrote on Nov. 23, 2008 @ 06:38 GMT
Dear Paul,

i saw your response of 19th to my post of 17th. Many thanks. I admire your concern for the humanity at large, as reflected in the response. But mind you, destiny is controlled by factors unknown and howsoever righteous one may be, it matters only if others respond in the same manner. I find no conflict between mine and your views in a broad sense. The details are bound to vary. To quote a young man of 20 years among us, Clinton "Kyle" Miller, what matters in life is this moment, as we can act only in it, neither in the past nor future. The latter two only can give us tension and anxiety, respectively. Also, thinking ourselves to be living in this world of ours that is certainly not of our making, why one need to worry much about calamities/tragedy. One can help others in overcoming them provided we act. Actions are possible in the present moment. Kindly see some of the postings on my essay as well as of that of Kyle and hopefully you and John Merryman will find others intersting too! Please ignore such specific requests, as i am just trying to emphasize that the world is not centred around us but the reverse is true!

John Merryman wrote on Nov. 23, 2008 @ 15:56 GMT

"As viewed from my viewpoint matter or structure is just the next step up from energy particles in a hierarchical structure of motions. Both matter (structure) and energy are completely composed of the most fundamental entity, which is motion."

I thought you would like this;

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 24, 2008 @ 10:45 GMT

The idea that at absolute zero there is no motion is something that I have seen a lot lately, but it is not true. Absolute zero is the temperature at which no energy radiation occurs. If you don’t take the extreme view that this means the point where all matter has decayed into energy and the energy has completely dissipated (empty space) in order to not have any energy radiation...

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Narendra nath wrote on Nov. 24, 2008 @ 13:37 GMT
Dear Paul,

i must say going through your last post was quite a bit of strain for my eyes. Your long justification for the existence of God or not is just a personal matter for you or any other individual. What i may like to tell you will be to let you know that you are human being with both rationality and emotionality components like any one else. Our behaviour is not governed by science although we do govern the science as we create it through our ingenuity.

The other point i wish to bring to your attention concern the awesome size and energy content of the Universe. Just compare your existence with it.It humbles us all if not you. The word God is also a human creation as God is not a somebody like us who has created all this for us to worry about! Let me suggest that you opt for 'consciousness', cosmic and individual and recognize that some connection exists between the two. The whole creation involves 'motion/vibrations' of some sort and that becomes 'physical' forus to deal in science. The rest is nonphysical consciousness. As you see the logical pattern in the evolution of the Universe, you will appreciate the 'Creator' if any. Names don't matter. he immense energy, the logical pattern with gradual coming of different celestial objects, then earth and then air , water, plants/trees and then animals and last of all the Humans. Only we are able to comprehend the secrets of nature. We are born not out of our own desire and we also die not as per our wish. We only can live by our wish!

Just to end, let me tell you that there are some secular religions too in this world, may not be in the west to which you may happen to belong, but in the east. True religion to me is the one that one practices in his actions and not what he may belong to o/c birth or for any other reason! names don't matter here too.

I hope you had a good sleep and are no too worried to let John know more of what you feel like telling him and take tension of access to computer! Relaxation of mind is very essential for the contributions that one may make towards the good of humanity and the environment we all live in!

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 26, 2008 @ 06:22 GMT

Sorry I couldn’t get at the computer yesterday due to other things coming up. Also I noticed after I sent it that I kind of got carried away on my history and made a very long comment you don’t need to regard or comment on all of it. It just sort of flowed out and I was tired at the time. I’ll try to be more restrictive in the future. Now to answer your Nov. 22...

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 26, 2008 @ 06:35 GMT

Your Nov. 23 comment

You are right that destiny is controlled to various degrees by others, but ultimately it is controlled by the one at the top no matter what others do. My position is to make it easier for the others if possible to accept the necessary changes that will happen. You are also right that we can only act in the present. The information that we have stored...

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nARENDRA wrote on Nov. 26, 2008 @ 13:52 GMT
Dear Paul,

Your post in my response indicates that you are in agreement with me on nearly all the issues. Please continue to hold on to your unique identity but also conserve your energy for helping others understand you better. he best way i find is to set personal examples through one's actions in life, big or small.It is true in both our personal and professional activity in sciences.We are both in a similar state, having retired from active professional career. But we certainly can provide our experience and knowledge to ones who sincerely seek the same from us, not otherwise. Otherwise we only tire ourself without benefiting the others.

John Merryman wrote on Nov. 27, 2008 @ 02:57 GMT

Sorry I hadn't replied earlier. Religion is a tough topic to discuss, as it provides the foundation which we need to exist and to argue religion is to examine what is most profound to another. I don't question Jesus' existence. I don't even question his holiness, but as he expressed it, it seemed to me a matter of what he was saying all could achieve and it was only the institution...

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 27, 2008 @ 07:30 GMT

I hope you are right that we agree on nearly all issues. When I was young it seemed to be important to me to have my own individual identity based on my accomplishments, so that I could feel good about myself and also have others think well of me, but as I have gotten older it is not something that I consider that important anymore. I began to look outward from myself and...

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Narendra Nath wrote on Nov. 27, 2008 @ 15:33 GMT
Dear Paul,

You gave me a lengthy post too. But i welcome it after what you posted for me at Carlo 's essay, indicating something 'low civilization' in my context. Ours is one of the oldest civilization , over 5000 yrs. ur ancient literatures on Vidanta Philosophy contains tips for the purpose of life and how it should be lived. Then , the literature of Patanjali on Yoga/ meditation is also over 3000 yrs old. The latter i quoted in my essay too. i am sure your remarks about Indian civilization on Carlo's post may have come inadvertently. I respect all civilizations that have enriched the modern humanity. As our essay contest posts close very soon, we both in the group of old retirees need to end such 'controversies' pleasantly, spreading universal love for the entire humanity!

Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 28, 2008 @ 19:27 GMT

You are right and yet religion is really the most important area of life to get a good understanding of because of its long term significance to all of us, as it can make the difference between long term life and death. I am glad that you don’t question Jesus’ existence and holiness. You are right that Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the...

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Nov. 28, 2008 @ 23:31 GMT

Sorry if you were offended by my comment. It was not aimed at the Indian civilization or any other particular civilization (you should see that I did not mention any particular civilization). It was merely a statement of fact that the name calling propaganda tactic is a very negative and destructive trait to a civilization and, therefore is a trait of a low level civilization...

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John Merryman wrote on Nov. 29, 2008 @ 02:50 GMT

I do take the extreme view of absolute zero. "Absolute" is not a subjective term. Energy and mass are interchangeable, so how do you have mass, yet say there is no energy?

I also push my religion to the limit, as well. To me, the default state, the absolute is "empty space," not a point. That's why I disagree with the fundamental assumption of both monotheism and Big Bang Theory. A point is a singularity, not the absolute. If you have one point, there is the potential for other points. As I see it, the points are effect and the fluctuation of the vacuum, the empty space, is the cause. Points are nodes in the network. They form as vortices of structure in this sea of virtual energy.

Good and bad are polarities. We are attracted to what holds our sense of self together and repelled by what breaks us apart, whether we are a chicken, a human, a government, or a religion. Do you think it is possible to have good without bad, anymore then it is possible to have up without down? We don't want our bodies to come apart, but they do. Whatever has a beginning has an end.

As for consciousness, I see it as something elemental, rather than a form which may be reincarnated. Not to say there might be some mental structures telegraphed through the generations, but my area of expertise is in dealing with animals and registering where their sense of self is focused. Also I have a teenaged daughter, so I've been educated about the Twilight series and vampires. Having that clue imbedded in my thinking, I've been noticing the concept being mentioned in various media as an analogy for the way that people plug into and feed of other's emotional space.

I think the essential point between physics and the psyche is whether structure or energy is more fundamental. As I've said, I see energy and information as two sides of the same coin, but our society is essentially based on structure as cause and energy as effect. In other words, nouns exist, verbs happen. Yet it seems the reality is the opposite. without the motion, there is no real physical basis. The "strings" are just external vibration and internal dimension.

As this applies to western monotheistic concepts, it seems our religions are determined to find the meaning in life, but the problem is that the concept of "meaning" is essentially static and reductionistic. What is left when all the "meaningless" chaff and extraneous details are blown and distilled away. Yet reality is wholistic and dynamic. No matter how much we postulate "block time" and "laws" it is still the motion and emotion which is the basis for all structure and knowledge. As individuals, we have purpose, or we cease to exist, as our energy and the hand of the clock moves on to other uses and others times. The information of our self falls into the past, as what is conscious moves into the future.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 1, 2008 @ 07:58 GMT

I thought you might like that interpretation of absolute zero. You will probably like the next even more extreme idea about absolute zero as well and that is that absolute zero can never be achieved in any very large area of space or for any very long time if you believe in current quantum theory because of quantum fluctuations that would cause energy photons or matter particles to...

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John Merryman wrote on Dec. 1, 2008 @ 12:24 GMT

I agree with you that the absolute state, as I've described it so far, cannot be attained, or we wouldn't be here having this conversation. There is another facet to the absolute though, which is that it is both nothing and everything. Both the empty state and all energy contained by it. The difference between this state of oneness and a set of one, is that if you were to separate out ANY part of this energy or space, neither the isolated part, or the rest would be absolute, but relational to what is measured. That is why I have problems with monotheism, is that it conflates the absolute state with the set of one. The set is a distinction, as you make clear, between what is included and what is excluded. The problem is that any shape, form, distinction, knowledge, relationship, etc. is based on this breaking of the absolute. When you insist it is possible to have this state of subjective perfection, where good can exist without bad, where pleasure can exist without pain, where up can exist without down, you create hubris. As the old saying goes, the perfect is enemy of the good. We have to have movement, yet it needs to keep some perspective of the opposing elements, the blowback, in mind. There is no happy medium, as that is the flatline on the heart monitor. The absolute as nothing. So in order to feel, the price we pay is that some of it is pain.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 2, 2008 @ 09:33 GMT

How do you perceive this energy to be generated or if it is always there how is it hidden at times and seen at other times? What is the mechanism behind it (its structure and interaction rules or that which determines when it manifests itself and in what form)? You seem to be suggesting that this empty space/energy state exists, but that it should just be accepted as fact without...

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John Merryman wrote on Dec. 2, 2008 @ 18:01 GMT

You do a good job of expressing the difficulties in describing the conceptual extreme of the absolute. Though I would argue to separate energy from the vacuum would be a distinction and negate the absolute. The absolute is the universal state. Since energy is neither gained or lost by it, there is no transfer of energy. When you make distinctions within this state, they are relational to each side of the distinction, not to some outer standard. Even if you isolate a very small part of the infinity as the point of reference, then all of infinity is relative to that reference. Using gravity as an example of a singular polarity may be dangerous to your argument if an opposing polarity were discovered. Essentially Einstein postulated the Cosmological Constant as the opposite polarity to gravity and dark energy has been measured to fit within this model, as a potential Cosmological Constant. You argue it is possible to have motion in one direction without necessarily having motion in the other direction. While it may be possible your point of reference only moves in one direction and never goes the other direction, how do you reference it? There has to be some broader field of reference which is effectively moving in the opposite direction of your point of reference. It's like saying the sun only moves one direction around the earth, but the fact is the earth rotates the opposite direction.

Many of the most evil people in history, Hitler and Stalin come to mind, succeeded at what they did, not because they committed those crimes personally, but because they convinced the people around them that there was only one way to go and therefore anyone who got in their way must be wrong. We are inherently attracted to what is beneficial and repelled by what is detrimental, but reality is complicated and what might be good from one perspective, is bad from another. Our current economic paradigm of unlimited growth for everyone on earth is a good example of short term benefit and long term disaster. Government economic policies which mitigate economic swings are an example of trying to balance these counteracting effects.

To me there are two sides of this reality, the expanding, entangled radiant energy and the collapsing discrete structured order. So even though this discrete gravitational mass seems particlized, it is still composed of and contained within the energy field, just as those relative distinctions exist within the absolute. So reality is this field of energy, of which structure is condensing out of, just as the order of the past collapses out of the complexity of the present, with the chaos of the future providing the wave of potential, as the expanding energy must collapse in order to keep the cycle going, yet all within the universal field.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 4, 2008 @ 04:33 GMT

Thank you. I notice that you now have substituted the concepts of the empty state/space with vacuum. This is an important distinction because although it originally had the same connotation in the past as empty space, the concept of the vacuum is now not generally considered the same as empty space. In the present context it would be more appropriate to consider the vacuum as an...

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John Merryman wrote on Dec. 7, 2008 @ 01:13 GMT

I've been meaning to reply to the above post, but work, family and the flood of other submissions has consumed whatever time I have.

As for the distinction between empty space and the vacuum, it seems the energy filling this space is balanced between positive and negative. Matter and anti-matter. So it's like a point I may have raised previously, that zero isn't a point between 1 and -1, as it is the absence of any point, but with the potential for any point, ie, empty space. It's like the nadir of a swinging pendulum is the point where it swings fastest from one side to the other, but is still drawn to.. While effectively being nothing, it has the greatest degree of freedom, as definition is limitation and limitation is definition. Like the line from the old song, Me and Bobbie Magee, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose."

This also has to do with how we live and perceive our lives. Like the pendulum, when it seems we have traveled so long in one direction that it seems the only way to go, but the situation is slowed, we wait for things to pick up again. Sometimes though, the inconceivable is happening and we are going to start going the other direction. I think this applies to some of our scientific, political, religious and economic assumptions. With so much change dominating our lives, time seems linear, but for most of life, it is cyclical.

Narendra wrote on Dec. 8, 2008 @ 03:53 GMT
Reread with devotion the long postings of Paul and John and some others again. i am wiser about the nature of the world and the humans who inhabit it. Learning is life but we need to assimilate the same to be good in our actions towards the society around and the world at large. We tend to solve some problems in science ( it is true for personal lives too ) and new ones arise, it is a never ending business to make our life interesting. Let us all enjoy the opportunity this essay contest have provided. The organizers may have a tough time digesting all the contents of over 150 essays and thousands of postings!

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 8, 2008 @ 06:43 GMT

I understand that we all have other things that we need to do in life. Next to some other ways of serving God, taking care of the family is the most important thing to do in life.

It would seem to me that if space is the balance between matter and anti-matter, the matter and anti-matter must exist in other places that both feed into our space and if the amount of...

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John Merryman wrote on Dec. 8, 2008 @ 18:35 GMT

Thanks for the compliments.

Yes, we do seem to wander off the subject of time, though it all ties together at a fundamental level.


I hadn't thought in terms of matter/antimatter stored in other dimensions, though this seems to be the dimension with the preponderance of matter over anti-matter. I've wondered whether matter/anti-matter isn't somehow...

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John Merryman wrote on Dec. 8, 2008 @ 18:46 GMT
And sheer irony that it now takes the form of the sacrificed son.

Revolution co-opted.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 9, 2008 @ 06:46 GMT

I am pleased if you have gained any knowledge, wisdom, or understanding from that which I or for that matter others have provided here. Believe me, the survival of man in this world has already been provided for (for as long as this world is needed to fulfill God’s purpose) though all may not yet know it. Those from anywhere and at any level that aid in God’s work shall be rewarded and those who work against it will receive an undesirable end result at the proper time. These things have already been decided from above and cannot be changed. My intent at this point in this world is to try to not only provide the opportunity for man to experience a better life in this world by providing information that if received and used in the right way can provide for man’s needs in the future and open up new opportunities for man to advance and at the proper time to expand to new societal connections with others, but to also do what I can to help others to be able to have a part in the endless life that is available in the world that will replace this one. I do not offer to solve all problems whether scientific or in personal lives. I will only provide the basic information that can be extrapolated into a new level of understanding through the labor of many, in the case of scientific knowledge, and through the labor of each individual that willingly receives it, in the case of knowledge of God. It is always up to each individual to decide how to react to these and other things, so that all things may be rightly judged at the proper time. New problems will always arise while we are in this world as part of our instruction and for other purposes. I do appreciate the opportunity that those who have created this contest have provided to allow this experiment to be carried out and I am sure that it will result in much useful information to me in my continued endeavors to fulfill my purpose here. It is true that the large number of papers that were entered in the last few days will likely make it difficult for the judges to properly analyze all of them and come up with a well reasoned judgment as to which ones should receive which awards. May God help them in that endeavor.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Dec. 11, 2008 @ 06:38 GMT

You are right that matter and antimatter are opposites. They are not truly opposite polarities, but opposite directions of motion in the fifth dimension. The fifth dimensional motion of an entity creates angular motion components that cause the entity to take a curved path in the lower three dimensions due to the specific type of interface that exists between the fifth dimension and...

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Narendra Nath wrote on Dec. 26, 2008 @ 13:14 GMT
i enjoyed getting sandwiched between Paul & John on the postings on this essay. Hope we all are wiser, including others who have read the postings. The purpose of this wonderful essay contest gets served well to the credit of the FQX Institute.

John Merryman wrote on Dec. 27, 2008 @ 01:29 GMT

Sorry to have missed your last post. I was going by the number count and mine had been 34. I've noticed another thread(Sean Carroll) drop a number as well.

I have to agree with your description of space, as it is the vacuum in which fluctuation exists. As the basis of being it is absolute and the unbounded infinite as well.

I really haven't a desire to argue your religious convictions. They are the thread of narrative by which you explain reality. While I have some other thoughts on the subject and they are not as tightly bound into a particular narrative, that is only because it is not my inclination to have all of creation bound into a single narrative. While the singular defines, it also constricts. I find God's grace to be fleeting and it is most fleeting when we hold it too tightly. It grows when we let it go to choose its path, as we choose our own. Some of us are wheat and some of us are chaff, but we all end up as fertilizer to what comes next. The spirit goes into the future, as the memories fall away into the past, but without those memories, there would be no future. Without death, there can be no life. The ancients understood that. That's why they worshiped sacrifice. We, on the other hand, fear death and hide in our possessions and memories.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 03:40 GMT

Thank you, and thanks also to those who put on this contest and those who sponsored it for the opportunity given to many that would not otherwise have had a good place to voice their theories and concepts. It is a big step toward getting the scientific community to the place that it should have been all along, as an open forum that receives and analyzes all concepts equally regardless of the source of the information on the basis of scientific merit alone. A good second step would be to create a national scientific archive that would hold all the information on all scientific theories and concepts that have not been proven to be scientifically invalid and the detailed reasons as to why those concepts that have been deleted are considered to be scientifically invalid. It should be cataloged so that similar fields of study are linked together so that concepts can be linked to all fields that they pertain to for easy reference. The archive should be free and open to all except for those areas that require limited access due to national security.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 04:04 GMT

That is ok. I haven’t even had the chance to read all of the papers let alone keep track of all of the comments attached to them. It would be good if all of this contest information was put into a book or an internet archive, so that we and others could later go over it at our leisure then contact any one who had given information that was of interest to us to inquire deeper into...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 03:02 GMT

I generally concur with your view of physics, but I do feel your religious construct tends more toward indoctrination than insight. We are all narrative threads drawn from the web of connections in which we exist, as are our religious, political and economic institutions. There has to be some balance between the coherence which makes these narrative structures whole and the connectivity which makes them a viable part of the larger environment, so they are neither so isolated as to be irrelevant, or overbearing as to be destructive and or parasitic.

While the basis of Christianity is Judaic, it was the Greeks who really formalized it. This seems to be because it served to connect their primordial religious customs with their emerging rationality. It provided the metaphor for the cycle of life through the unknown of death. The Greeks had long and complex formulations to deal with this relationship, which Christianity served to crystalize in a way that allowed them to shed some excess cultural baggage. Yet many of those traditions of variety and synthesis emerged in the Christian monotheism, from the Holy Trinity to the incorporation of polytheistic deities as saints, angels, cherubs, the Holy Mother, etc, though the deeper connections have been lost. Like a rope woven together from many different threads and then having the many loose ends trimmed off.

I can understand your desire to define this rope as a whole and with a clear purpose, yet for me, those many threads, where they came from, how they fit together, creating both the strengths and weakness of this rope, are of far greater interest than simply presenting a neat package, all wrapped up and signed, sealed and ready for delivery. This is because it is those loose ends which connect me to my larger reality and trimming them is the real sacrilege.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 5, 2009 @ 07:24 GMT

It is good that we have some agreement in physics concepts. As far as religious constructs are concerned, you are right in the sense that they tend toward indoctrination (i.e. instructing, teaching), but I believe that is partly what we are both here for. Another part at least for me is to study and learn of others in this world. Insight is a difficult thing to comprehend in many...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2009 @ 01:06 GMT

I respect how you define your life, but I can't fit myself into that mold. As I've probably pointed out before, the absolute is basis, not apex, so the spiritual absolute is the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell.

In line with my observations about time, the only reality is the present and that is what this spirit manifests. Frankly my God is just as happy with monkeys typing at typewriters, as with God in human form being nailed to a cross, though monkeys wouldn't waste their time on something without purpose. That is what matters; purpose. Without purpose there is no existence. Be it stone, or cement, wheat or chaff, everything has its place in the puzzle. It is when we look for meaning that problems arise, because meaning is reductionistic. It's what's left when you distill away all that's meaningless. Yet there is no wheat without chaff. What might be just noise from your perspective, is signal from some other perspective and there are myriad feedback loops which can make that other perspective essential to your own. You hold your version of monotheistic religion up as the one true path, yet there are people throughout this world with equally strong views and different religions. It is what gives their life meaning. It is what's left when all that is meaningless is distilled away. Currently the other two monotheistic religions are killing each other over a small piece of land because it has different meaning to each and the other's meaning is just noise. How much of this search for meaning isn't just a function of our instinctive searching for food and shelter? To a hunter gatherer, it is the berries on the bush which have meaning, not the bush itself. How much of our belief structures are really just an advanced form of that? We want what we want and just do not have the capacity to see the larger context? We are always trying to distill out the most fundamental laws, the hardest materials, the strongest energies, the most powerful Gods. I'm certainly guilty of it myself, or I wouldn't be in this contest. Yet I find that when I reach a goal, its real value is giving me perspective on all that has gone into reaching that goal, not simply aiming for the next goal. Oftentimes what becomes the next goal lays in something I previously discarded. It is my identity to see all the pieces fit together, not to throw most of them away.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 6, 2009 @ 04:48 GMT

I have looked into the concept of rising from a low basis and have found it lacking if God does not exist. Without God the only other alternative is that the world and all things in it including us came about by some chance event with no purpose. What we see as our rise can only be logically viewed as a series of chance events in such a world. It would be the result of a long lucky...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 6, 2009 @ 22:55 GMT

I just don't equate the essence of conscious awareness with the structure of knowledge. One is a mystery. The other is a feedback loop. I'm a farmer. I don't need some institution to make me whole. I remember thinking church didn't make much sense when I was quite young and it didn't take me long to recognize it as another form of mind control. I spend my life controlling animals. I know how it works. Carrot=hope. Stick=fear. Good=beneficial. Bad=detrimental. Attracted to one. Repelled by the other. Governments, religions, businesses have all been perfecting their methods for millenia, but the underlaying processes are far older than humanity. I know I'm just a little fish out in the big ocean, but I like it that way. I don't need a straitjacket to make sense of it all. The past contracts. The future expands. That's why we go toward the future.

As for dinosaurs, did it ever occur to you that they must have existed in a weaker gravity field? Whether the earth was smaller and the accumulated space debris over ten of millions of years increased it, or it rotated faster, or some combination, it just seems they were built far too delicately for their size and apparent speed. Not to mention that avian experts can't understand how the bigger flying ones could get airborne. Of course a weaker gravity field would also mean a less dense atmosphere, so maybe it just rotated faster.....

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 12, 2009 @ 03:12 GMT

You are right that conscious awareness is not the same thing as the structure of knowledge. The two are connected to each other, however. The structure of our knowledge is based on the patterns that we perceive in the world around us. It is based on analysis of both the present motion conditions that we are observing and on the stored records of previous present motion conditions. ...

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 18, 2009 @ 02:35 GMT

I don't think that awareness and the feedback loop of knowledge can be separated. Any more than we could understand the vacuum without the fluctuation. Without the subjective totality, the absolute really is just nothing.

I can appreciate your faith in your religion, but you have to understand that I value my beliefs as well. I view ideals as necessary for learning, but they do have their limitations. The obvious example is when opposing ideals are in conflict, there is no room for compromise, as with the current situation in the Middle East.

Religious absolutists tend to deride anything less as moral relativism, where nothing has real value, but that's a complete misunderstanding of relativity. Absolutists assume there is an absolute standard against which all is judged, while relativism means that every possible aspect must be weighed. The first is subject to whomever makes the judgments in the name of the absolute authority and history shows this is often abused. The latter can be extremely complex, but tends toward more balanced judgments. As an example, it should be noted that democracy was originally developed by polytheists, while the validation for monarchy has historically been monotheism, as in the divine right of kings.

For me, it is a world that has formed from the elemental to the complex and returns to the elemental when the complex becomes unbalanced, not one handed down by higher authority.

Paul N. Butler wrote on Jan. 27, 2009 @ 20:27 GMT

Yes awareness and knowledge are joined together in many ways as I mentioned in my last post. Awareness is actually a form or part of knowledge. To gain awareness of the existence of one’s self and other things in the world is synonymous with gaining a degree of knowledge of these things.

You definitely have the right to believe what you will. That is what free will is all...

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