Infinity Police and the Ontological Disconnect

Cultures usually have subjects that are taboo – things that are too repugnant to even discuss in low tones in the privacy of one’s own home. Cannibalism, for whatever reason, does not fall into this category. Far from it; people eating people is a staple of the movie industry, from low-budget zombie movies (always a favorite) to blockbusters where an elderly, avuncular man easily overpowers much younger (and one would think agile) opponents and well, eats some of them. Horrific subjects, such as the ‘cides’ (genocide, patricide, suicide, and of course the all-time favorite homicide) are more often entertainment than taboo. Indeed, certain daytime series have created an industry based on incest and adultery.

Then there’s infinity. I realized two things, as I was recently defending my interpretation of infinity for the 782nd time. First, that writing a book might not be the best way to present new concepts, and second, that infinity was, for whatever reason, sacred mathematical ground that I had despoiled by, well, thinking about it in a new way. Talking about cannibalism is not taboo, you see, but discussing the physical implications of infinity is simply not done. But across that hallowed ground I had trodden, and now found myself in trouble with the infinity police.

The infinity police are just one of many branches of thought police that have arisen in the past few hundred years to ensure that we think about things in the proper way. These include the quantum reality, black hole and big bang police, among others. The good news about thought police is that they can’t issue citations; the bad news is they always seem to show up just when you’re trying to start a productive conversation. The thought police are certain, with an absolute certainty born of their deeply suppressed fear of nonconformity, that questioning the way in which science or mathematics is done is simply unthinkable. This is because, of course, it requires thinking. Progress has nothing to do with it. The thought police are ready and able to enforce any given perspective, for decade after decade, even if it directly impedes new development. Especially if it impedes new development. Because you see, new development means that the old development was well, missing something.

So there I was, my dialog parked by the side of the road, making my case to a young infinity policeman who was trying to peer into my mind with his vacant, unwavering stare. I told him how I used infinite magnitudes all the time, large and small, in calculus, and it worked each and every time I did it! I told him that the two poles of the Riemann sphere were zero and infinity, and that their product was 1! He continued to stare, but I could see the anger rising in his cheeks. The source of the anger was obvious; he didn’t like what I was saying (at all), but he couldn’t arrest me for it either.

Ontological disconnect

Our mathematical systems are built on axioms, which are used to prove theorems and allow us to perform certain operations. Our number systems begin with empty sets and end with multidimensional geometries, to which we can apply topology, differential geometry, and all sorts of other neat mathematics. So we’ve got this thought construct called math, and we use it to make sure that our bridges stay up and our planes stay in the air. The infinity police don’t get upset when engineers borrow calculus, because the only things they see when they peer over our shoulders are finite quantities.

But here’s the rub. The thought construct called math is full of all sorts of rules and regulations, but it cannot, by its own design, contain a rule that says it is ok to use it on reality or that it actually conforms to reality. Math is a bridge, built on thin air, with no clear destination, and it certainly never arrives at reality. Indeed, pure mathematicians, the artists of this thought project, often look down on applied mathematicians the way that scientists might sometimes denigrate engineers.

Along comes null physics. Here we postulate the apocryphal heresy that the best way to understand reality is to start with reality. Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason why math works to describe reality is because math is the thin shadow that reality leaves in the human mind. So we rummage through its tool box, looking for mathematical widgets that have proven useful in keeping our bridges up and our planes in the sky. Head and shoulders above all of the rest of these tools stands calculus. This isn’t because of our associative or transitive axioms or even math itself. It is because the universe is a compositional thing, and when you do an integral in calculus, and add an infinite number of infinitely small differentials, you get a valid result because that is the way the universe is built.

What the infinity police fail to understand, as they glower at that (inf) symbol, is that infinity is everywhere. Every single piece of our universe has an infinite aspect, even finite pieces. Finiteness has infinite resolution, as in 2.033230… kg, because it is the result of infinite composition. So go ahead infinity police, try to write me a ticket. You have no jurisdiction in reality.

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7 Responses to “Infinity Police and the Ontological Disconnect”

  1. ML Says:

    Do you find parallels between your conceptual thinking and the Biblical account, especially in Genesis, of ‘the beginning’ or ‘creation’ of everything? Does your theory allow room for and/or acceptance of “God”? I find your theory fastinating BECAUSE I personally see parallels.

  2. art55555 Says:

    Always someone tries to toss religon into science. Get a real life.

  3. RLSantos Says:

    art55555: Science (knowledge) cannot exist withou God! This theory sounds like nothing more than doubletalk! Null physics still has the same problem that the big bang theory has, where and how did this nothing universe begin? To simply say that it is eternal does not pass muster! I believe that God is eternal and that he, is the one who created the universe. To see the complexities of this universe and hold to such theories of a self created or self existing universe is pure nonsense. No scientific theories can account for the origin of such abstracts as thought, intellect, emotion, etc..
    Get a life? Sir, your life was given to you by God, the fact that you refuse to believe it does not change anything.

  4. Douglas Pankretz Says:

    I like some of what you have to say. I dare say that electrons are data points. They are the points of infinity. Consider polar coordinates with infinity at the center. Seems to me that would make for a good start. We can reverse the field influence of energy that radiates from the electron cloud as the electrons, collectively, are what generate the ‘cloud’.
    Beyond that I can imagine space with a fractal feature that has two boundaries. One boundary is on the surface of each solar mass. The other boundary is on the surface of heavy elements. Then the expansion of the universe is simply the separation of the lighter elements from the heavy elements along their orbits.
    And then there is string theory – open and closed? Like 1s and 0s? It may well be a binary system! Of course we could then say “In the beginning they were all one with God”
    Douglas Pankretz

  5. Stephen Lahanas Says:

    While I don’t often deal with either theoretical or applied mathematics in the same forums or manner that you do, I certainly have run into what you’re describing on a regular basis. My field of endeavor is Information Technology. We tend to recognize your concept of ‘infinity police’ as a process called “GroupThink.” The problem or issue is not by any means limited to math or physics – it is more or less universal (pardon the pun).

    There are several reasons why this problem exists in my view:

    1 – The nature of individual human psychology (we tend to shy away from change, adhere to what is familiar).

    2 – Group dynamics and the need for conformity to achieve stability.

    3 – The lack of integration across knowledge systems, processes and as you hint at, Ontologies.

    While I haven’t read the books you’ve written yet, from the little I’ve seen thusfar it seems as though you’ve taken what I would characterize as an enterprise or holistic perspective to the seemingly incongruous set of current issues in modern physics. This is something I’m very familiar with but in a slightly different context. Doing this involves re-evaluating assumptions, placing the whole set of issues within some common context and then addressing the known information within that context.

    When people become too narrowly focused following specific trails of data they often lose sight of the real problems that need to be solved – we call that ‘sub-optimization.’ This leads to islands of information and understanding or Ontological Disconnects as you put it. Part of the problem may also lie in the methodologies we’re employing as well (the scientific method while quite adept in many ways tends to perpetuate this situation).

    So, what some might wish to describe as a Unified Field Theory or Theory of Everything I would refer to as “Integrated Physics.” That reflects a different approach to how physics is done rather than highlighting a single theory or perspective of what reality may or may not consist of and ultimately I believe will prove more productive and less controversial.

    Your efforts are interesting to me, because I recently used physics as an example to teach my son a little bit about Integrated Thinking after a visit to the planetarium in Phoenix. They had a delightful presentation on Black Holes (3D, color etc.) but some of what they were saying didn’t seem to make any sense. We managed our discussion as an open dialog and went over what we had heard – I asked him how we might ever hope to understand the nature of Black Holes if no light or information can escape from them. After an hour or so, it become somewhat clear to both of us (an IT engineer and an 11 year boy), that the really interesting issue, (related to the the fact that Black Holes populated the center of the galaxy), was the Hurricane like rotation of the Milky Way and billions of other Galaxies. That seemed to imply a process or set of processes that was not being addressed at all but which had universal implications. Lesson – “don’t ignore the obvious.”

  6. zosima Says:

    I think the infinity police would be less apt to write you a ticket if you defined the axioms from which you derived your definition of infinity. I have trouble fathoming how infinity can be defined as a physical quantity(ie the diameter of the universe). That would mean the results of our mathematical equations would have different results depending on the outcome of our empirical studies. Maybe its just me, but I don’t think its GroupThink for people to object to redefining math to be astrophysics. If we’re going to do that we might as well define apples as oranges.

  7. ralfcis Says:

    The mandelbrot function goes to infinity or does it? My face doesn’t appear in the pattern nor do an infinite number of other patterns generated by other infinite mathematical functions. Since I’m a Platonian and believe math is god (as opposed to an Aristotlenian where physics is god), until I see a mathematical function that generates every pattern, I can’t believe in a single infinite universe. I’m tending towards the multiverse concept which is based on all possible combinations of characteristics of elementary particles. Certainly you can’t base infinity on the size of the big bang universe because that changes. I don’t think you can base infinity on the size of the Null Physics universe because that would mean physical laws can’t be consistent throughout the universe if some parts are based on different mixes of elementary particle characteristics.

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