Thoughts on Mental Relativity
E/E <-> E*E
The above equation represents the distillation of
our efforts to solve the meaning of story and the function of the mind. It is the equation
of Mental Relativity and is the essence of self-awareness.
All the variables are labeled "E" to
express the holistic, homogenous nature of our perceived universe as a whole. Yet, each
stands for a different word: a different kind of variable.
The initial E refers to Existence. The second E is
Emptiness. The third E stands for Entropy. The fourth E is Extropy.
The equation reads: Existence divided by Emptiness
is the equilibrium of Entropy times Extropy. Conceptually, this means that what defines
the edges between existence and nothingness is the balance between the opposing forces of
building down toward stability and building up toward complexity.
Jumping ahead, we can see that what we see as a
process toward destruction or toward growth is actually the placement of the equilibrium
point along a sliding scale between creation and destruction. Examples would be the
tendency of a board to rot when the equilibrium point is closer to Entropy than Extropy.
Yet a tree that grows has its equilibrium point closer to Extropy than Entropy.
Because of the fractal nature of the relationship
of these variables, an item may be growing in one fractal dimension, even while it is
disbanding in another. The human body is a point in case. We grow older and older and our
bodies become more complex. Yet a point is reached in which that complexity becomes top
heavy and can no longer be supported. The infrastructure crumbles and the body dies,
succumbing to entropy which had been working in another fractal dimension. The line
dividing life from death is drawn by the equilibrium between growing into complexity and
We tend to see objects as either there or not
there. We tend to see time as approaching some limit line that defines one state on one
side and another on the other. In fact, objects are only perceived by taking a frame of
reference and setting the limit at which the resolution of our perception discerns an
edge. Binary states are only perceived by limiting the number of fractal dimensions so
that the homogeneous nature of existence appears divided into moments.
In fact, we see an object degrade over time, or
grow, but so slowly to our senses that we discount the temporal fractal as if it were not
involved at all. We therefore see a desk or a tree and imagine that it has an existence
In fact, there was a time when the desk did not yet
exist and when the tree had not grown, and there will again. By ignoring the analog nature
of existence, we form edges that truly are not, yet serve in a practical sense within the
limits of our life span.
When we perceive a human as alive at one moment and
dead the next, we mask over the degree of life that they existed in which varied over the
years and see them as wholly alive on one side and wholly dead on the other. But when we
take into account waking and sleeping, being groggy from medication or unconscious from an
accident, the line between life and death becomes blurred or analog.
Is this to say then, that there are no true
dividing lines, no edges, no stability? Well, of course, that depends on the frame of
reference. When one selects a fractal dimension as the measuring stick, there quickly
comes a point at which our mental perception fails to resolve the difference between one
dimension and the next. This is our edge, and it is very real indeed.
It seems that we are hobbled by the limited
complexity of our own minds into seeing roughly the same edges as our comrade human
beings. Some see a bit more, some a bit less, but all that one sees is real to them, from
where they stand.
This subjective reality is all that any of us can
hope to be aware of. It is that great mystery of creation that there should be any
separation at all, rather than a homogenous flux with currents and eddies that defines
both processes and states, both mental and physical.
Newton once said that science was the greatest of
all endeavors because it might someday answer why there is something rather than nothing.
I suggest that this question will never be answered, and in fact is actually the wrong
question. The real issue is: why is there something divided from nothing? I imagine this
question is also unanswerable, but at least we now know that we will never answer the
June 11, 1993
When we divide our appreciation of all that we
perceive into the binary nature of E/E and the process nature of E*E, we actually create
another binary pair between the two. Yet the influence they have on each other (causality
in both directions) creates another analog pair. In this case, we might see the process of
Entropy at work in our very perception of the equation. We take four items and group them
into two. But Extropy is also functioning, since we then see another analog pair that did
not exist in our original perception and this describes the process of creation.
Of course, grouping the two variables on each side
of the equation into a single unit on each side is only one direction as well. We might
just as well describe the relationship between E which is divided by E, creating a new
process that then shifts the binary appreciation onto the two variables themselves. The
similar effect could be employed on the right side of the equation.
Altogether, the point is, that when ever we see a
pair, we project a relationship between them that determines a causality. And although one
direction for that causality seems most comfortable, in truth, both directions work. So
that the function of the human mind is to take pairs and make them fours by Extropy and to
take fours and make them twos by Entropy.
From this point of view, binary pairs are what we
are looking at, and analog pairs are where we are looking from. Of course, the opposite
appreciation is just as true, yet the human mind seems biased to most comfortably employ
the former. Problems arise when we try to use the same kind of appreciation for both sides
of the equation (both pairs of variables). Suddenly we see objects in the universe and
states of mind, but nothing gives or evolves. Or, we see an endlessly flexing universe in
conjunction with a constantly altering mind set. These are the perspectives of chaos, and
define the nature of awareness. However, it is the capacity to see one pair as objects and
the other as interacting processes that defines self-awareness.
Obviously, the capacity to merge variables in one
direction and to impose relationships in the other create an open ended vector of
reorganization, which is the nature of the workings of the mind. Yet, a closed nature
exists in tandem, for once one has either reduced or produced far enough, all the elements
of consideration assume the same arrangement as their original position. In other words,
the condition of the mind returns full circle to the beginning of a cycle imposed by the
number of dimensions we can perceive. The cycle continuously repeats, always touching base
with the intrinsic infrastructure of its order, yet endlessly spiraling through one
fractal dimension to the next. It is the differential between the values assigned to the
variables in one fractal dimension compared to the values assigned in the next that is
perceived as chaos since it has no apparent source nor explanation, being intrinsic to the
foundation of perception itself. One cannot look at the point one is standing on at the
same time one is standing on it.