23 Nov 2008
When Universes meet and worlds collide
Mathematics is certainly a kind of abstract reality independent from our physical reality. It is a platonic world of its own. We have axioms and well-defined mathematical elements, and from these elements everything is built-up in a strongly logical way. Does this mean that our physical reality must be some kind of mathematical structure? No. The world of programs for example is also a world of its own, see the Wolfram Atlas of Simple Programs.
From the very beginning, humans believed in the religious concept of the soul apart from the body, in a mental substance which is independent from this world. The ancient Egyptians, one of the first civilized cultures of the world, were obsessed by this idea. The basic reason for this belief could be that the idea of the soul belongs to an reality largely independent from our daily life, just like mathematics. It is an imaginary reality, a reality that mirrors the real life but which is a world of its own.
In fact, each evolutionary system can be considered as a world of its own or even as an own universe. Evolutionary system here means simply a system that is based on kind of code which is subject to evolution. The code is based on certain elements and describe what substances, species, forms and structures are possible in the corresponding universe.
We have for example
* genetic code: the world of biological structures (plants, animals, organic lifeforms, ..)
* alphabetic code: the world of alphabetic structure (words, books, articles, ..)
* mathematical code: the world of mathematical structures (equations, theorems, ..)
* religious code: the world of belief structures (commandments, behavior rules, beliefs, ..)
* psychological code: the world of mental structures (ideas, beliefs, desires, intentions, illusions, concepts,..)
* computational codes: the world of programs (cellular automata, turing machines, ..)
Codes can be nested, for example an alphabetic code can contain an ordinary language, which is a nested code in this case. Another example is the hox gene code within the genetic code which defines the segment structure of the body (i.e. the body plan).
The interesting things (for example synchronization patterns, shadow emergence or strong emergence) happen if two different worlds or universes meet: if one emerges in another, or if one can be described by another, for example if our visible universe can be described on a certain microscopic or macroscopic level by some kind of mathematical law. In this case one universe can be explained at a certain scale by another, and describing one universe is possible in terms of the other. This gives us a deep feeling of understanding, because our thinking is based on metaphors and analogies.
A code itself can be the connection of two worlds, if it implements the basic blocks of one world in terms of the other. Strong emergence is related to the emergence of a new code. A code can be used to root one system in the other, if it is the gateway and interface between both. It often separates and unites two systems at the same time. The binary code for instance can be understood by hardware and software, and it separates and unites both at the same time.