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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
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The Nature of Time
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re castel: on 5/25/11 at 5:33am UTC, wrote Doug, By Dewey B Larson's site, I mean Rafael

re castel: on 5/25/11 at 5:20am UTC, wrote Doug, I just discovered Dewey B Larson's site (24-May-2011). I got the...

basudeba: on 3/20/11 at 6:03am UTC, wrote Sub: Possibility of manipulation in judging criteria – suggestions for...

Peter Jackson: on 3/13/11 at 21:00pm UTC, wrote Doug. Guilty. I thought it was definitely worth it, I'm sure you agree. A...

Doug Bundy: on 3/8/11 at 20:27pm UTC, wrote Interesting - Someone voted for my essay! Thanks to you, whoever you are. I...

Peter Jackson: on 3/2/11 at 20:49pm UTC, wrote Doug Interesting, and not actually that far from my basic premises! The...

Doug Bundy: on 3/1/11 at 19:31pm UTC, wrote Hi Peter, I'm pleased you took time to read my essay. I had already read...

Peter Jackson: on 3/1/11 at 12:24pm UTC, wrote Hi Doug It was the last line of your abstract that caught my eye. The...


H.H.J. Luediger: "Even darker.... one can not easily downrate a racehorse to a donkey, but..." in Undecidability,...

Steve Agnew: "Well thank-you, you are very kind. I have come to appreciate the fact that..." in Quantum Dream Time

Samuel Parsons: "O also means a whole new universe in a box can be recreated a miniverse..." in Outside the Box

Samuel Parsons: "Is it 127? It's always comes back here. Just saying also I'm trying to..." in Outside the Box

Zeeya Merali: "INSPYRE, INternational School on modern PhYsics and REsearch, organized by..." in Welcome to INSPYRE 2020 -...

David Sloan: "Dear Alan, For any discussion regarding the essay contest, the contact..." in Undecidability,...

Jonathan Dickau: "Thank you Peter... For the kind words of explanation. It is looking like..." in From Cosmic Lighthouses...

Lawrence Crowell: "Tejinder, I was intrigued by your FQXi essay. Thanks for this reference to..." in Alternative Models of...

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Building Agency in the Biology Lab
Physicists are using optogenetics techniques to make a rudimentary agent, from cellular components, which can convert measurements into actions using light.

Think Quantum to Build Better AI
Investigating how quantum memory storage could aid machine learning and how quantum interactions with the environment may have played a role in evolution.

Outside the Box
A proposed quantum set-up that could predict your game-playing strategy resurrects Newcomb’s classic quiz show paradox.

The Quantum Agent
Investigating how the quantum measurement process might be related to the emergence of intelligence, agency and free will.

First Things First: The Physics of Causality
Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

May 28, 2020

CATEGORY: Is Reality Digital or Analog? Essay Contest (2010-2011) [back]
TOPIC: What is the Point of Reality? by Doug Bundy [refresh]
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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Feb. 14, 2011 @ 16:50 GMT
Essay Abstract

String theory developed as an attempt to integrate gravity into the standard model of particle physics. However, this really boils down to a problem with the logical concept of the point, which the gravity of general relativity exasperates. While substituting strings for points has its advantages, string theory has led to a secondary problem with the definition of a point: Sub-divisions of space-time can only be probed so far. At very small scales, space-time is so warped by a potential probe's energy, it forms a black hole and loses its meaning. In effect, small strings have doomed space-time. Theoretical physicists are reluctant to give up on string theory, though, because string interactions don't occur at a point, but are spread out, thus avoiding many problems with particle interactions at a point. Yet, a still bigger problem is that some think that neither string theory nor particle theory are background independent theories. In their view, particle theory requires a background, but, in general relativity (GR), mass warps the very background that the particle or string theory needs. Given these problems, some theorists have sought a background independent theory called Loop Quantum Gravity, coming at the problem from the standpoint of GR, rather than that of particle physics. However, in all of this theoretical struggle, no one has attempted to solve the problem of the definition of the point itself. Instead of attempting to ignore it, or substitute strings for it, or devise a spin network or a spin foam with it, perhaps we should be seeking a new definition of the point itself. This essay introduces a new approach to do that, by considering 3D space/time vibrations, where the point is defined as the boundary between the two "directions" of a given physical dimension. This opens the door to discretizing both space and time, without contradiction.

Author Bio

Doug Bundy is an independent investigator, the President of the Dewey B. Larson Memorial Research Center (LRC), near SLC, UT. (

Download Essay PDF File

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 14, 2011 @ 23:05 GMT
Dear Doug,

What is wrong with Euclid's point "something that does not have parts"? Is there any practical benefit to be expected from "discretizing both space and time"? Aren't past time and future time quite different from each other?

You might consider my reasoning too simple. However, it does also offer getting rid of contradictions.

Do you suggest using your new notion of point in general in mathematics?



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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 06:59 GMT

The trouble is not with Euclid's definition, but with the modern definition as something that does not have parts, yet has the properties of spin, charge and magnetic moment. See Feynman's Lectures on Physics.

Hestenes wrote:

"Now, the Dirac electron theory and its extension to quantum electrodynamics is universally recognized as the most well substantiated domain of physics. Strangely, however, it is rarely involved in the discussions of the foundations of quantum mechanics. This is a grievous error, for the Dirac theory entails an irreducible relation between spin and complex numbers with undeniable implications for the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Analysis of this relation strongly suggests that the complex phase factor in the complex function describes a kinematic feature of electron wave motion and therefore has a physical, rather than statistical, origin."

How can a point particle (a term that is an oxymoron in and of itself), as something with no parts, have properties of any kind, let alone a kinematical feature?

The practical benefit is gained in understanding the point and the elementary particles in some consistent manner. As Einstein said, "You know, it would be sufficient to really understand the electron." Likewise, it would be nice to understand quantum spin and isospin, but we haven't a clue as to their physical meaning, understood in terms of complex numbers. Yet, a school child can be taught the physical meaning of a 3D oscillation cycle and why it's equivalent to a 4 pi rotation.

I'm not a mathematician, but I think the search for an intuitive understanding of algebra is related to an intuitive understanding of the point. The idea of zero, in a quantitative sense is related to the idea of unity in an operational sense, which we can see when we realize that there is zero difference between the numerator and denominator of the rational number, n/n. This leads to the two interpretations of number enabling us to use them to form a field from natural numbers, which includes 0D, 1D, 2D and 3D scalars.

In my paper's end notes, I explain a little how this can lead to higher dimensional groups nested within the zero-dimensional group, when those numbers are derived from the 3D oscillations of space and time. It involves replacing the unit 1 = 12 = 13 with R not equal to R2 not equal to R3, where R = 21/2.



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Eckard Blumschein replied on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 16:02 GMT
Dear Doug,

Mathematicians tend to be not ready to admit in public that my {link:] criticism is justified. You might hopefully not just understand but also appreciate why I am suggesting to reinstate more precisely Euclid's notion of number as a measure rather than a point.

Of course, your excellent medication for the Einstein/Dirac theories of what you aptly called an oxymoron is definitely more welcome than my humble attempt to look for absolutely clean basics.



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Eckard Blumschein replied on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 16:08 GMT
Sorry for the typo: criticism

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Doug replied on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 19:15 GMT
Dear Eckard,

Thanks for your comments. I read most of your paper. It was like going on a whirlwind tour of a museum. Fascinating to be sure, but to really appreciate it, I need go back to focus on areas of interest, when I have more time, and there are so many areas of interest!

I think I remember John Baez clarifying the difference between the number of points concept versus...

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Alan Lowey wrote on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 11:38 GMT
Hi Doug, I can't wait until theoretical physicists come up with the idea of string theory being in the shape of stiff structure. If a string in the shape of a helix were imagined which had structure, it would be able to exert a force of attraction on another string-in-a-stiff-helix-shape. If this wave/particle (graviton) then travelled around a warparound universe then it would emerge to exert a force of REPULSION on another wave/particle i.e. dark energy. Ho hum..

Best wishes for the competition,


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Author Doug Bundy replied on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 19:23 GMT
Thanks Alan. Best wishes to you also.

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George wrote on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 19:03 GMT
Just as many arguments are never resolved because the protagonists are using different "languages," and since mathematics is the language of physics, we will not be able to resolve the outstanding physical dilemmas until we have a new mathematics.

I think Doug has made a great start in the quest for a mathematics to express (and argue about) the most basic of physical phenomenon.

Way to go Doug!

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Author Doug Bundy replied on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 19:25 GMT
Thanks George,

There's certainly a long way to go, but the idea of 3D numbers is about to get some powerful exposure, I hope!

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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 11:30 GMT
This info was posted in a thread earlier, but people had a hard time finding it, so I am re-posting it here:

A lot of the essays in this contest have to do with the issue of mathematics versus reality. While numbers can be used to count things, they are not those things, but I'm not sure why it's important to make that obvious distinction. I don't recall that it was ever a big issue in...

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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 13:27 GMT
The feedback I'm getting privately indicates that people do not understand the concept illustrated in figure 1 of my essay, in several respects. Given the constraints of the contest rules, I found it very difficult to include all the explanatory detail I would have liked to have included.

One of the difficulties has to do with background. There is no background. There are two, reciprocal...

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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 21:10 GMT
I've been asked to provide a graphic depicting what I mean by the "common origin" of the 3D oscillation. Here is the best I can do for now:

3D Oscillation

I'll try to improve it when I get time, but it should be good enough to convey what is meant by the common origin of the two, reciprocal, volumes that define a true point of no spatial extent and no duration.

BTW one cycle of this motion is equivalent to 4pi rotation (something inexplicable until now.

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Author Doug Bundy replied on Feb. 24, 2011 @ 16:23 GMT
In the earlier drafts of my essay, I included a chart that showed how one cycle of the 3D oscillation is equivalent to a 4pi rotation, but I had to take it out to fit the essay into the contest space requirements.

I have posted an updated copy of the essay on my website that includes the chart here.

As far as I know, this is the first time the physical and mathematical explanation of how one cycle of oscillation "around" a point of no extent can be 4pi has been given. Bruce Schumm wrote "...a particle of no extent shouldn't possess angular momentum, and the axis about which it spins shouldn't have to be rotated through 720 degrees to return the particle to its original state. We don't really have a clue about the physical origin of [quantum] spin. To describe [quantum] spin as 'intrinsic angular momentum' is like your best buddy describing how your car's differential works by explaining 'that it employs mechanical linkage;' The only useful information contained in this statement is that its author probably knows next to nothing about how a differential actually works."

Of course, I'm not saying that, because the 3D space/time oscillation is equivalent to one cycle of 4pi rotation, it is a photon or it is an electron. It's a bit more complicated than that, but what I am saying is that the physical basis for what appears to be 4pi rotation is found in the 3D space/time oscillation. To see how this concept can be employed in a preon theory of the standard model of particle physics, see here.

However, There's another, more fundamental issue being discussed in Eckard Blumshein's forum that has to do with negative numbers. Eckard rightly asserts that negative quantities don't exist physically, in the sense that we can subtract more from a quantity of entities than that which exists. For example, it's ridiculous to think that five people can leave a room of three people.

However, when we are thinking in terms of motion, or the "order of progression," the idea of negative operations is perfectly acceptable. In the case of the swinging pendulum, for example, or 2D oscillation in general, the point at zero separates the two inherent "directions," or poles, of each of the two dimensions. In the illustration I offered Eckard, we are justified in labeling these poles as positive and negative, even though there is no such thing as negative quantities.

I have elaborated on the subject in the attachment to this post.

attachments: More_On_3D_Oscillation.doc

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 22:09 GMT
Hello Doug,

Judging by the Abstract and some comments, your essay looks very interesting. I've explored some related ideas but I'm interested in what you have to say. It would seem that you are touching on some of the constructive basis for the 0-brane, in the comment immediately above. I have argued in the past that a true point is unobservable - or not verifiably constructable - because it has no duration.

I'll have more comments here once I finish reading. You can find my essay here, and comment there if you like.

Good Luck,

Jonathan J. Dickau

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Author Doug Bundy replied on Feb. 19, 2011 @ 00:55 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

I'm pleased that you are interested in my essay. Let me know if I can clarify anything for you.

I took a look at yours. It's very well written. I will comment over there, when I get a chance. I noticed a lot of familiar names in your comment section - mostly from the first contest. I didn't participate much in the second one.

Good luck to you too.

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Peter David Mastro wrote on Feb. 27, 2011 @ 14:23 GMT
I just reread your essay. I particularly like your diagrams and the linkage to the art compositional ones in my essay.

Well done.

As an aside, what is your background in mathematics? I am looking for some one to bounch a few ideas off of relative to number theory and am curious if that would be something you are interested in. I went to the LRC page to check it out and it looks pretty interesting.

If you have the time or interest respond at my essay

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 19:26 GMT
Thanks Peter.

I am strictly an amateur. I don't know how mathematicians understand their complex concepts - how they keep track of it all - it confuses me to no end! LOL.

When people ask me, I tell them that I study only the first four numbers. The interesting thing about these numbers is that they represent all that is real. Raoul Bott proved this with his periodicity...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 1, 2011 @ 12:24 GMT
Hi Doug

It was the last line of your abstract that caught my eye. The essay did not disappoint. There were some very perceptive and relevant thoughts throughout. If you like the concept of discretized space time I hope you'll read my essay, It is mathless, but be warned, it's value is in absorbing and following the logical construction so it can't be just scanned over or a magical conclusion will be missed.

Best of luck


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Author Doug Bundy replied on Mar. 1, 2011 @ 19:31 GMT
Hi Peter,

I'm pleased you took time to read my essay. I had already read your essay and many of the abundant comments on your thread. I also have followed your discussion with Eckard.

The reason I haven't commented on it can be understood when it is recognized that I have a different mind set when it comes to theoretical physics. What I like about your essay is that it is based on...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 2, 2011 @ 20:49 GMT

Interesting, and not actually that far from my basic premises! The DFM shows the big bang is probably nonsense, and also explains the space time expansion. No room in the paper for those aspects, but look here, and from the same evidence and logic led basis; But remember it's quite fashionable to recycle these days.

And you may see good logical reasons there why space time may not be expanding ever faster.

I did once explore the theory that it did so - and as gravity got thinner time sped up. I even conducted a survey and over 8 out of 10 agreed it was going ever faster! but I usually look for more objective evidence!

I'll be interested in any further views on the DFM.

Best of luck


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Author Doug Bundy wrote on Mar. 8, 2011 @ 20:27 GMT
Interesting - Someone voted for my essay! Thanks to you, whoever you are. I wish I could start over. I know that I could do a much better job.

One of the things I would do is make a more explicit connection with the topic. Even though I address the most important aspect of the topic, It's not explicitly clear why the redefinition of the point is so relevant to it.

The point is, that...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 13, 2011 @ 21:00 GMT

Guilty. I thought it was definitely worth it, I'm sure you agree. A top one too, even though on a slightly different tack - we have to spend time on both tacks to get to windward.

I hope you'll return the compliment if you haven't already. Do check out Constantinos Regazas too, I think it's important he scrapes into the top 35. An do have a look at the 'Logic' message etc. in recent posts on my string.

Best of luck.


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basudeba wrote on Mar. 20, 2011 @ 06:03 GMT
Sub: Possibility of manipulation in judging criteria – suggestions for improvement.


We had filed a complaint to FQXi and Scienticfic American regarding Possibility of manipulation in judging criteria and giving some suggestions for improvement. Acopy of our letter is enclosed for your kind information.

“We are a non-professional and non-academic entrant to the Essay...

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2011 @ 05:20 GMT

I just discovered Dewey B Larson's site (24-May-2011). I got the information there that you have an entry in the FQXi contest. I haven't read your work enough. I haven't read Larson's writings enough either. But, from the little that I've read, I think Larson's ideas and my ideas have a lot in agreement. I think I understand his 'reciprocal idea' regarding gravitation and expansion. And I agree with his idea of a universe of motion.

I've been working on the idea of an infinite kinematic continuum with space and time as 'backgrounds' for the duration transformation and the motion transformations that render the definitions on the 'instance of existence' and the 'substance of exitence'. In all these I faithfully subscribe to the idea of pure kinematics - which is I think Larson's idea, too.

I've been formulating the idea of "the revolutions of the cosmic systems in an heirarchical cosmos" as the origin of gravity. This is pretty much based on my LDS views. I've discovered that I can reconcile the idea of "the revolutions" for the origin of gravity and the cause of the how particulate mass is formed out of motion. I've presented the simple genesis formula in my FQXi essay entry. I've also presented my idea of the origin of gravity in my essay entry to the recently concluded Gravity Research Foundation essay contest.

I've considered both the idea of a "kinematic point" and the idea of a kinematic toroidal dipole configuration before. The idea of the "point" didn't work well enough. So, I focused on the idea of the "kinematic toroidal dipole", which agrees more with the current ideas regarding the fundamental particles. In terms of pure kinematics, the dipole configuration actually allows very appropriate explanations regarding what causes electromagnetism and why the magnetic force is so much stronger than the force of gravity.

If you have time, I hope you can take a look at my postings and essay entry here at FQXi in the following link:

I also have a website that I've been developing whenever I can spare the time. It's at this link:]

Kind regards,


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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2011 @ 05:33 GMT

By Dewey B Larson's site, I mean


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