Search FQXi

If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fnd.

Previous Contests

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fnd.

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

Forum Home
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help


Thomas Ray: "(reposted in correct thread) Lorraine, Nah. That's nothing like my view...." in 2015 in Review: New...

Lorraine Ford: "Clearly “law-of-nature” relationships and associated numbers represent..." in Physics of the Observer -...

Lee Bloomquist: "Information Channel. An example from Jon Barwise. At the workshop..." in Physics of the Observer -...

Lee Bloomquist: "Please clarify. I just tried to put a simple model of an observer in the..." in Alternative Models of...

Lee Bloomquist: "Footnote...for the above post, the one with the equation existence =..." in Alternative Models of...

Thomas Ray: "In fact, symmetry is the most pervasive physical principle that exists. ..." in “Spookiness”...

Thomas Ray: "It's easy to get wound around the axle with black hole thermodynamics,..." in “Spookiness”...

Joe Fisher: "It seems to have escaped Wolpert’s somewhat limited attention that no two..." in Inferring the Limits on...

click titles to read articles

The Complexity Conundrum
Resolving the black hole firewall paradox—by calculating what a real astronaut would compute at the black hole's edge.

Quantum Dream Time
Defining a ‘quantum clock’ and a 'quantum ruler' could help those attempting to unify physics—and solve the mystery of vanishing time.

Our Place in the Multiverse
Calculating the odds that intelligent observers arise in parallel universes—and working out what they might see.

Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

Watching the Observers
Accounting for quantum fuzziness could help us measure space and time—and the cosmos—more accurately.

January 23, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Our Emergent Universe by Graham Walker Cookson [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 20:06 GMT
Essay Abstract

Abstract of Our Emergent Universe Essay: Wandering Towards a Goal How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention? The foundational structure of reality appears to be in a realm of pure relationships. Mathematics is our language describing allowable relationships and their structural consequences. Our scientific models, formulating mathematical laws, have grown using a reductionist approach. These mathematical laws are derived from models making accurate predictions. Since we are too embedded within the process of emergence, we have not understood all the connections between objectified mathematical laws and our evolved ability to imagine. Closing this gap requires additional structure allowing the phenomenon of emergence to be rationally included. Is the physical universe and are the laws of nature only important components of some greater structure? My essay presents a new philosophical model for this structure. I call it Binary Reflective Field Theory. It forms the framework for our emergent universe. Graham W. Cookson ~ 2017

Author Bio

Applicant’s CV Name: Graham W. Cookson, MA Born: February 22, 1949 Place: Detroit, Michigan Education: University: Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan (1967-1971) Subjects: Mathematics (Major), Physics (Minor) Honors: Student of Great Distinction (awarded to one student, 7/8 semesters) Graduate: Oakland University (1971-1973) Subject: Master’s Program in Mathematics Honors: Teaching Assistant on full salary and academic scholarship (1971 to 1973) Employment History: 1968 & 1969 – taught sailing and worked for White Boat Sales (commission sales), in Walled Lake, Michigan 1970-1971 – tutored mathematics for law entrance testing 1971-1972 – summer job building tractors and working at Meadowbrook Music Festival, Detroit 1971-1973 – teaching assistant (calculus) at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan 1973-1977 – employed at

Download Essay PDF File

Branko L Zivlak wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Mr. Cookson

I agree: The foundation of reality appears to be built on a realm of pure relationships.

Mathematics is our language describing allowable relationships and their structural consequences.

But: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts I will say The whole is more than all of its parts. This becouse if you say sum that meas that parts are of the same kinde as whole.

I agree: The whole is something else than the sum of its parts.

Yo conclude: Hence, the equation is Whole = sum of parts + information (working together).

existence in the physical universe. But information is also part of the Whole.

You say: However, the universe may not be infinite. I think that is only part of truth. What do you think about: Universe is eternal and endless due to the movement of its parts? But in one point of time, the mass and space of universe are finite.

I agree: The Physical Universe Being Quantifiable. For mass you can see at: Zivlak B, Stoiljkovich D, Relations Between Significant Masses Based on the Boscovich's Theory,

Best regards,

Branko Zivlak

report post as inappropriate

Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 17:17 GMT
Dear Graham Walker Cookson,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

report post as inappropriate

Author Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 18:09 GMT

I am interested in the group phenomenon of this essay. If the essay’s question was not intriguing enough, I was focused on the potential treasure trove of 150 different views. I uploaded all essays for my personal reference library. I have only read ten of the essays, but plan to read them. Given the time constraint, I have no idea how the contest process can give proper attention to them all. My hat is off to you…whoever you are.

I find it interesting how many of the essays seem to pick a perspective embedded in the process they are trying to describe. (a problem of forest vs trees) Another observation, however not surprising, is the egocentric commitment the essays project. Reading the various blogs, flag a tendency to shoehorn their pet theories into some fairly ‘tight shoes’.

I do not expect to place with my essay. I am too outside the club. However, just being forced to articulate my theory makes me a winner. Thank you all for the fun, Graham

Gavin William Rowland replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 08:33 GMT
" just being forced to articulate my theory makes me a winner" - agreed Graham. it is nice that, by asking a question, FQXI can be a catalyst for us to extend or rework our ideas.

report post as inappropriate

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 23:33 GMT
Nice essay Cookson,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent…. “My ideas offer interesting and useful new interpretations for science. Since our common sense lacks true perspective, anomalies in logic result. This change in perspective is radical. My Binary Reflective Field Model challenges science’s assumption that we exist in a single platform called the physical universe. I will focus...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Author Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 01:44 GMT
Thank you Mr. Gupta,

Your comments were in the spirit of this essay contest. I have not read much about a Dynamic Universe Model however you observations will change that. My model, as I outlined it, was restricted by length and the essay question. Its creation was in response to my formal education in mathematics, physics and something extremely unusual. I needed a rational explanation for irrational observations. It is the conclusion of over fifty years of focus on one problem. Not to be too cryptic, but the body of my ideas is outside of the scope of this essay. I look forward to reading your essay, Graham

William B Goodwin wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 13:22 GMT

If your model does explain some of the problem areas in physics, as you claim, then many more people should be examining it.

William Goodwin

report post as inappropriate

Author Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 16:14 GMT

It is 'a needle in the haystack' problem getting ideas out and discussed. My hope was this forum would provide such a platform. Instead, it seems more like a beauty contest. I have many reasons to believe in my model that are outside of the question framed for this contest. Graham

Klee Irwin wrote on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 20:36 GMT
Interesting Essay: "If you combine this morphing field of relationships with the smallest unit of space, it becomes similar to a fixed and pixelated frame of a digital movie." After reading your essay, I would LOVE to get your thoughts on our new movie called What Is Reality on our Quantum Gravity Research youtube channel...after reading your essay you will most likely have some interesting thoughts on it. You will see why when you view it!

My essay I submitted to contest is The Code-Theoretic Axiom and I'd love a rating from you. I gave yours a 10.


Klee Irwin

report post as inappropriate

David Pinyana wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 22:37 GMT
Original essay about emergent concepts, that I aso refer in my essay:

-We could consider that most Physical concepts (such as vacuum, energy, matter, space, time, speed,...), and also most physical theories or laws (such as Newtown, Maxwell, Thermodynamics, Relativity, Quantum,…), they are just emergent concepts and theories.

- May we also consider that known interactions (Gravity, EM, Weak and Strong) as emerging effects ?

- The laws of these forces (EM-S-W-G) are somehow related (albeit in different spatial dimensions), so we can say that this known forces/interactions are simply different manifestations of the same force/interaction for different spatial dimensions.

You can read my boot "THE FRACTAL RAINBOW" (AMAZON)... If you send me email, I can send you PDF.

report post as inappropriate

Author Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 12:40 GMT
Mr. George Gantz

Great conclusion!

This essay provided evidence that cosmic intentionality is a reasonable, consistent and complete inference about why the universe is the way it is. We can see that emergent processes exhibit intention, that systems are attracted to particular states while component units behave collaboratively in selecting those states, and that the entire process across and within levels is reciprocal. These qualities define the operative cosmic principle as love. We have the opportunity to embrace and reciprocate this love, with gratitude, joy and delight, and to believe that we are a meaningful part of a grand purpose.

However, where in our current standard model of the universe is the structure required to support cosmic intentionality? I think a greater structure is required to support your idea of a cosmic intention. At the risk of sounding self-promoting, my Reflective Field Theory may provide such a structure. At least, it provides a starting point and structure to expand your ideas. I think you would find my essay Our Emergent Universe interesting. You have my vote of a 10, great explanation of the issues. Philosophical questions need to be addressed like, “Exactly where and how do laws of nature exert influence and order?” I think my model points in the right direction. I would like to read your reaction.

Thank you, Graham

Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 15:31 GMT

I saw your post on another forum expressing frustration with the contest. I decided to read your essay. You presently have a score of 3.9 with 7 votes. You presently have 12 posts with roughly half of them being by you.

Have you heard the expression "herding cats"? That is what this contest is like. Almost everyone who submits an essay thinks they have THE ANSWER. Maybe...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Cristinel Stoica wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT
Dear Graham,

Good writing on synergy and emergence. I hope you will develop more your ideas and refine them more, in particular mathematically.

Best regards,


report post as inappropriate

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 10:40 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

report post as inappropriate

Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 16:59 GMT
Hello Graham,

I saw your lament about the 'beauty pageant' contest and decided to read your essay. You do have one profound insight that I'll come back to, but I was a bit disappointed given your claims. The essay was OK as far as it goes, though not as rigorous and tight as it needs to be, nor do you give folks much in terms of a precise procedure to derive or check your results independently.

The nugget of truth is this. Things do indeed become almost purely relational, as we approach the Planck scale, and this is something a lot of Physics folks do not understand or deal with correctly. Not only are size and distance relative, but interiority and exteriority become relative near the Planck scale, so what is inside of what depends on where you are watching from and how big you are.

As it turns out; this was a central point in my essay too, after I had a discussion about these things with Tevian Dray at GR21. But some of what you are pitching is not news or will not be anything that hasn't been tried - until you go to make it rigorous! Only then will it be clearly distinguishable from work that has already been done.

I am reminded of Oldershaw's discrete scale relativity, and B.G. Sidharth's Planck Scale oscillators on springs. However, you are also unknowingly reproducing some of what the folks in CDT or causal sets explore, without knowing or acknowledging that territory. And someone named Weinstein was talking about something called the Obserververse, which resembles what you are talking about fairly closely - but is believed to be more rigorous (nobody knows for sure).

All the Best,


report post as inappropriate

Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.