• Devans99
    2k
    The problem then with non-eternalist models is the need for a first action - what caused the first action? When thought of in a sequential, causal, manner, it does not seem to work.

    So something more like the eternalist model. The eternal 'IS' has permanent existence concurrent with the whole of creation. It cannot be said to have a first ‘anything’ - it is fundamentally not a sequentially organised being of time.
  • Possibility
    283
    Potentiality: latent or inherent capacity or ability for growth, fulfilment, etc.

    The 'IS' would be the one and only permanent thing, it necessarily being in a continuous transition, and thus never existing as anything particular, even for an instant, as befitting its necessary nature as eternal in that there is thence no point for it to have been designed, leaving it to be not anything in particular, as if it were everything, even.

    Properly speaking, only the 'IS' “exists” and all the rest “happens.”
    PoeticUniverse

    Potentiality is not something different in each object/event, but has a unity in multiplicity. It is existing on its own, and is necessary to the existence/creation/development of the universe.

    Potentiality is inherent in all aspects of the universe in time, across time and yet remains eternally unchanged - it is only awareness of it in time and with respect to each object/event that changes. Its latent quality is directly related to the awareness of its existence in relation to objects/events. Once we’re aware of that existence, we interact with it as inherent potential: we assume it was always there.

    Potentiality is both scientific and non-material - although it is rarely discussed as a unitary concept (unless you count the dismissive/passive nature of descriptions in Aristotle/Aquinas). Potential energy, for instance, is ‘something’ that is scientifically predictable, and yet is ‘nothing’ in spacetime until it effects change. In quantum physics it can be predictable in limited conditions, but is unmeasurable in its purest ‘form’.
  • Devans99
    2k
    I'm a little confused by your comments. My point was that all time-based models for the origin of the universe ultimately fail - they result in an infinite regress of events - which is impossible - only something timeless can be the basis for everything in existence. I'm not quite sure where you discussion of potentiality fits in? Potential energy does not exist without associated objects that possess the potential? So to my mind, potentiality by itself does not shed light on the origins of energy/matter, it is a consequence of the presence of energy/matter. Maybe you could expand?
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    all actions would be in some sense concurrent for the 'IS' - it would exist in the 'eternal now'.Devans99

    Since presentism has some problems, we are leaning toward eternalism herein. If we take Parmenides’ view, as Einstein did, time is completely left out and with it, seemingly all Happening, the 'IS' reduced to an impenetrable, immoveable and never-changing geometric object; however, we still have to admit that there are happenings and thus account for them.

    From our viewpoint, we can't really tell the difference between presentism and eternalism.
    Thinking, for example, seems to be a dynamic process, but it could have been all laid out beforehand in the Great Block, like everything else. Smolin, though, would say that qualia are always only about the 'now'.

    Anyway, the 'IS' is the unity and the happenings are the multiplicity. We can look at our greatest findings and also at ourselves to see if this theme is reflected, as it well ought to be. The problem of the one and the many is perhaps the most difficult in metaphysics.

    The Theory of Relativity demonstrates the undeniable unity of reality, as the spacetime continuum, while Quantum Theory demonstrates the inescapable discrete multiplicity of plurality, so in these these two working theories we have some confirmation, one pertaining to the large and further away, holistic view and the other about the close-up detailed view.

    We humans, too, reflect the same scheme, in that we take in scenes further away as a whole, probably processing them in parallel, while the close-up can get examined in detail, in a serial process; so, again, these clues confirm.

    Consciousness is also a unity, built from the individual constituents' qualities, via higher and higher brain modules.

    Thoughts, too, ever transition to the next thought.

    More later, perhaps. My keyboard needs help.
  • Devans99
    2k
    Since presentism has some problems, we are leaning toward eternalism herein.PoeticUniverse

    One thought is an eternal realm for the ‘IS’ and a temporal, presentist, realm for us poor mortals. But it seems the eternal realm must come ‘first’ and the temporal realm be part of the eternal realm, so it’s not a natural model - more natural is for our realm to inherit the properties of the eternal realm. Or equally depressing, we have the ‘IS’ as a non-material, eternal being who needs no container but has created a transitory, presentist world (selfish). Both options have disadvantages though: SR/GR and Zeno’s paradoxes are not addressed.

    Thinking, for example, seems to be a dynamic process, but it could have been all laid out beforehand in the Great Block, like everything else. Smolin, though, would say that qualia are always only about the 'now'.PoeticUniverse

    One model I’ve always found interesting is circular time. It receives some theoretical support from closed time-like curves in GR and the Big Crunch hypothesis. There is a possible way that might allow a compromise between the seemingly dynamic processes around us and the static nature of eternalism:

    - It starts out as growing block theory. The first time around the ‘circle of time’, the future is not real, only the present and past (which is built up dynamically as a growing block)
    - On the next time around the ‘circle of time’, the past circumnavigation of time is replayed, as if it were a movie being replayed on a computer

    If we anthropomorphise the ‘IS’, then this scheme might be seen as quite an effective way to build a universe that is eternal for its occupants. It is an Occam’s Razor design for eternal life, at least when compared to traditional views of eternity like heaven and hell - which seem to present insurmountable implementation difficulties.

    How that fits in with an eternal ‘IS’ I’m not too sure. It would have to be causally prior to the eternal, circular realm in some sense to be its creator. So some things would have to be 'more eternal' than others.

    I wonder if we could imagine the ‘IS’ as some sort of limit process. The way 1/n tends to zero but never quite gets there. The ‘IS’ would eternally be ‘greater than zero’, but would take a long time to materialise in its full form. Like music ‘fades out’ at the end of the song, a sort of eternal ’fade in’ for reality. But it’s not really an eternalist model and I’m personally not keen on infinite processes.

    The Theory of Relativity demonstrates the undeniable unity of reality, as the spacetime continuum, while Quantum Theory demonstrates the inescapable discrete multiplicity of plurality, so in these these two working theories we have some confirmation, one pertaining to the large and further away, holistic view and the other about the close-up detailed view.PoeticUniverse

    There is a strong hint of eternalism from the quantum easer experiment.

    I return to the possibility of a non-material ‘IS’ that is not bound by time or space. If we could see reality from a perspective of a photon, then it would not experience time or space, so maybe spaceless and timeless is not completely far fetched. The ‘IS’ has to have no start in a temporal/sequential sense and also has to be causally efficacious. I’ve thought about various structures (basically open and closed topologies) but at present, the nebulous ‘non-material’ remains as the only candidate I've come up with. Sherlock Holmes used to say when all of the probables are eliminated, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth. Don’t think we are quite at that point yet though.

    But anyhow, the nature of time has defeated all comers for thousands of years, so we must not get depressed about not solving it in the last few posts! Thanks for the conversation!
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    Potentiality is not something different in each object/event, but has a unity in multiplicity. It is existing on its own, and is necessary to the existence/creation/development of the universe.Possibility

    It appears that for anything to be, it first has to be possible (to have potential), although the timeless has no 'first', about which I don't know what to say.

    For those who want spontaneous events amid 'Nothing', it always useful to remind them that they are referring, knowingly or not, to a capability/potential/possibility, and that's what's eternal, and that thus they didn't really have a 'Nothing'.
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    more natural is for our realm to inherit the properties of the eternal realm.Devans99

    Yes, as I've mentioned recently, although overall we remain mired in the temporal. or, if we are really traversing the eternal's pseudo-temporal we can't jump to the other parts of it, and there's no real difference since what makes no difference is no difference. It's like that live music versus mp3 music is still music, for the message is the same no matter the messenger implementation difference.

    For now, I'm trying to follow Sherlock in following what been derived here in the last few days rather than getting too much into 'maybe' offshoots.

    What more to say about the eternal? Well, it has no first anything, no first kiss, no first star…

    If, say, in a time view, we note that a star requires previous stellar material to achieve its stellar ignition, we wonder how the first star got going, that's a puzzle, but in the eternalist view, all is at once and there is no first or last star; somehow, everything and anything needed is already there, for the eternal is its own precursor.

    What else can be derived from the impossibility of 'Nothing'? It's just as impossible for there to be spacers of nothing between particles, and so if there's not anything between them, then they are adjacent. Perhaps all is field, as Einstein suggested.
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    Support for only the Natural being so:

    Everywhere we look, we see but the natural. Nothing appears out of the ordinary after the repeat occurrences, such as Quasars, which may have been thought as miraculous the first time.

    — If, say, our Earth was far from the Goldilocks zone, then we could claim magic, but it isn’t; it is where it could prosper.

    — Without our moon, the Earth would rotate like a top in and out of freezing and scorching zones, which would prevent or at least greatly hinder plant growth. There would be thousands of such conditions required, but the universe is very large, and so someplace had to be full of them.

    — Bacteria formed our atmosphere over two billion years by expelling oxygen, which to them was a poison. The oxygen race could then prosper.

    — Without even looking back, such as for the above, we already know that the useful events, to us, had to have happened and we can thus even surmise what many of them were before they get discovered.

    — One of many near extinctions, the Permian, wiped out 95% of all the species, including the dinosaurs, apparently opening the field for the further evolution of mammals. Such doesn't appear to be intelligent design.

    —Or, the supposed Supernatural ever gets constrained to act and produce exactly like the natural would do—evolution, for example.

    — If the Supernatural and the Natural were truly two distinct categories then how could they interpenetrate and affect one another without speaking the same language?

    — Etc.

    I sticking with the all Natural, as probable.
  • Possibility
    283
    Potential energy does not exist without associated objects that possess the potential? So to my mind, potentiality by itself does not shed light on the origins of energy/matter, it is a consequence of the presence of energy/matter. Maybe you could expand?Devans99

    This is a common view derived from Aristotle/Aquinas. Are you sure of the direction of causality here? If we are aware that an object possesses potential, then where did that potential come from? If it is only a consequence of the presence of energy/matter, then how did this energy/matter come to be present except through potential?
  • Possibility
    283
    My point was that all time-based models for the origin of the universe ultimately fail - they result in an infinite regress of events - which is impossible - only something timeless can be the basis for everything in existence.Devans99

    And yet time is what we experience. I’m going to recommend Carlo Rovelli’s ‘The Order of Time’ here again - it explores the relativity of time to this point you have currently reached in suggesting eternalism as the ‘only’ credible option (from a physics standpoint), and then proceeds to rebuild our notion of time in the light of quantum theory (or more precisely quantum gravity).

    The distinction between past, present and future is not an illusion. It is the temporal structure of the world. But the temporal structure of the world is not that of presentism. The temporal relations between events are more complex than we previously thought, but they do not cease to exist on account of this. The relations of filiation do not establish a global order, but this does not make them illusory. If we are not all in single file, it does not follow that there are no relations between us. — Carlo Rovelli

    There is nothing mysterious about the absence of time in the fundamental equation of quantum gravity. It is only the consequence of the fact that, at a fundamental level, no special variable exists.
    The theory does not describe how things evolve in time. The theory describes how things change one in respect to the others, how things happen in the world in relation to each other. That’s all there is to it.
    — Carlo Rovelli
  • Devans99
    2k
    I sticking with the all Natural, as probablePoeticUniverse

    I’m of the view that that the Big Bang and the initial conditions of the universe are probably unnatural. The supernatural evolvement goes no further than setting these initial conditions for the universe though. To me it’s as if a giant intelligence computed the requirements for a life supporting universe and designed some sort of device/bomb that would result in such a universe.

    The BB seems unnatural - it is a singleton, natural events come in pluralities. It had unnaturally low entropy to start with - the CMB radiation is isotropic to one part in 100,000 - and thats 400,000 years after the BB - nothing natural has such low entropy. The BB itself appears engineered to keep the universe out of gravitational equilibrium. Space itself is expanding in an unnatural manner to do this.

    The standard model appears fine-tuned to support life. The strengths of the forces (strong nuclear force and electromagnetic) and masses/charges/other characteristics of sub-atomic particles all have to be set to close to their current values in order for atoms to hold together; if the forces were different, atoms would not form or be stable, or if they would form, it would only be the simpler elements (no carbon so no life).

    The apparent fine-tuning of the atom allows the wonderful range of matter we experience in the world today (the elements all 100+ of them). Then we have the remarkable chemical bonding process that give rise to the hugely diverse range of chemical compounds in the world, many of which are essential for life.

    The atom seems like a toolkit for construction of advanced matter and life. Contrast our universe to most hypothetical universes; particles would just bounce off each other endlessly without any cohesion because the forces and particles where not fine-tuned such that atoms and compounds would form.

    Gravity appears fine-tuned to allow the formation of stars (energy sources for life) and planets (living surfaces for life).

    I think it is likely that atmospheric evolution and thus subsequent biological evolution play out similar on all potentially life supporting rocky planets. The reports of UFO encounters are supportive of this. The atmosphere would always start with a main constituent of hydrogen. Volcanos (which all rocky planets seem to have) would introduce nitrogen and carbon dioxide. At this point, early life forms appear. From then on, evolution may take a predicable path, resulting in plants, photosynthesis and oxygen. In any case, I do not believe that all advanced life forms need oxygen to proper. There are other possibilities.

    If there was no moon, then we would be subject to more extreme weather and more ice ages, but life has prospered through such conditions in the past and is very resilient and adaptable. Evolution would win the battle.

    Asteroids are an unavoidable ’feature’ of the design chosen for the universe - solar system evolution is not possible without occasional asteroids. The number of astroid impacts is a function of the age of the solar system - it reduces with time. In any case, any reasonably advanced life would be able to develop counter measures against such eventualities.

    In summary, there are about 20 constants that must be at or near their current values for this universe to be life supporting. The chances of that happening by accident are tiny (billions to one), so we can infer that conditions for life in the universe are the result of fine tuning - which implies a fine tuner.
  • Devans99
    2k
    This is a common view derived from Aristotle/Aquinas. Are you sure of the direction of causality here? If we are aware that an object possesses potential, then where did that potential come from? If it is only a consequence of the presence of energy/matter, then how did this energy/matter come to be present except through potential?Possibility

    I see two possibilities:

    1. Energy/matter was created in the BB via the zero energy universe hypothesis
    2. Energy/matter existed timelessly and entered time at the BB (likely candidate for the start of time)

    Both respect the conservation of energy. With the 2nd, the energy/matter has 'permanent' existence.

    And yet time is what we experience. I’m going to recommend Carlo Rovelli’s ‘The Order of Time’ here again - it explores the relativity of time to this point you have currently reached in suggesting eternalism as the ‘only’ credible option (from a physics standpoint), and then proceeds to rebuild our notion of time in the light of quantum theory (or more precisely quantum gravity).Possibility

    I do not think eternalism is the only credible option for time - just exploring the possibilities. It's a struggle to find any credible options for time - they all have problems. But I think we can rule out vanilla presentism.

    I should really take a look at Carlo Rovelli's book - sounds interesting.
  • Possibility
    283
    I see two possibilities:

    1. Energy/matter was created in the BB via the zero energy universe hypothesis
    2. Energy/matter existed timelessly and entered time at the BB (likely candidate for the start of time)

    Both respect the conservation of energy. With the 2nd, the energy/matter has 'permanent' existence.
    Devans99

    I have a question:

    Given what energy/matter is in time, how would you describe its existence in a timeless state?
  • Devans99
    2k
    Given what energy/matter is in time, how would you describe its existence in a timeless state?Possibility

    That's a good question. I am really not sure of the answer. My argument seems to lead to the need for timeless existence, but it is difficult to see how such a thing could work. This maybe indicative that I have it all wrong and there is in fact no such thing as timelessness, or it maybe indicative that its just difficult for beings of time to conceive of a different possible state of existence. I hold out some hope for the second - of all the possible realities, the human race is familiar only with one and that could lead to a rather blinkered outlook on the possibilities - which maybe almost without limit.

    I wonder if timeless matter could be matter which exists in all possible configurations simultaneously (in the 'eternal now'). So maybe a little like a quantum superposition.

    I wonder if the idea of 'instantaneous change' might help with eternalism/timelessness. Photons could be a possible precedent, so maybe quantum entanglement. From a photon's perspective, travel to anywhere in the universe can be accomplished in no time.

    Is it possible to imagine an eternal being of space but not of time (4 spacial dimensions say). It would be in all possible states simultaneously. It would have no past or future, yet it would be causally efficacious and would have permanent existence.

    So with this model, the 'eternal realm' would be 4 spacial dimensions, one of which maps to our time dimension. If we were to look on that realm through time-based eyes, the eternal being would appear to be everywhere and everywhen simultaneously.

    In the timeless realm, there maybe not be the familiar 4 forces - forces act over time and there would obviously be no time. I'm not sure what the nature of a timeless force would be.

    Please forgive me for being rather nebulous and vague... its a difficult question.
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    I wonder if timeless matter could be matter which exists in all possible configurations simultaneously (in the 'eternal now'). So maybe a little like a quantum superposition.Devans99

    Since all the paths are superposed, there is no particular state, as all the states are there all at once. Most of the paths lead to not much, such as a zillion barren places, but at least they got that far, further than some more instant dead-ends. Some paths, such as our Earth and us are even still going strong. The universe is only .02% through its paces.

    Photons are some kind of key: as said, they don't age in our temporal realm, being instant in our space-time.

    QM suggests that the universe is not in a particular objective state at any given time of ours, which kind of goes along with a continual transitioning.

    With an 'IS' block containing everything, there will be gems amid the extravagant waste. Even in our universe, there is a humongous amount of stuff. It appears that stuff is very easy to come by. 2x10**76 last time I counted it!

    My Hubble Deep Field discovery video, with my invented characterization of the discoverer:


    My Vault of Everything video, adapted from a Borges' story:
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