Skeletons in the Closet of Science

Knoxville, August 27, 2000

Whenever I'm 'on the road', the 'gears start to turn' in more ways than one. This time, en route from Montréal to Dallas by five speed standard transmission, it was no different.

Once again the old Chilhowian thoughts about reality began to raise their curious head, ... is the world composed of enduring discreteness, or does it have 'fluid drive'?

When I looked at the cars and trees and scenery whipping by me, ... all I could think of was 'things and trajectories', ... but whenver I went over an overpass which overlooked another, intersecting autoroute, all I could see then were flowing rivers of traffic, and I could imagine myself sitting in that flow, in one of those cars. There was no thought of 'each thing following a trajectory' in this flow view, ... there was, instead, the thought of cars as 'fishes' searching for and slipping into 'holes' in the traffic flow.

This 'self-including' view was the empathetic 'immersed in the flow' view that psychologists such as Daniel Schacter ('The Search for Memory') talk about, when we image things in our mind, and include ourselves in the picture, it is termed 'field memory' by psychologists. Whereas, when we image things as if again seeing them, voyeur style and excluding ourselves, it is called 'observer memory' and it is much 'cooler' in emotional terms, according to research done by Schacter and others.

So, as is often the case, my thoughts went back to Kepler and his point that we earth-dwellers were very fortunate in having these two very different views of our solar system, ... one in which we looked out upon the world in voyeur fashion, excluding ourselves from the picture (the 'geocentric' view, at the scale of the solar system) and another where we included ourselves and our 'codynamical dance' with our fellows (e.g. our other-planet-based fellow observers --- i.e. ourselves, vicariously looking out upon things as if from the 'heliocentric' view).

Like many philosophers are saying or have said, ... in the voyeur observer-excluding view, we tend to reduce ourselves, the 'subject' so as to become fully defined by the objective world out there, ...we make of ourselves (our culture insists) a 'culturally-correct' inventory of properties and behaviours, and this comes with a 'feeling' which is not unlike that of an arctic blizzard (minus the romance or excitement of the blizzard). In the observer-included flow view, however, we become a part of the whole and can bask in the warmth of the thought that we are a fully included participant in evolution, together with friends, relatives, grandchildren and ancestors, not to mention animals, plants and minerals. Many find this a joyful feeling, but it is the blizzard form of perception which is most favoured by our western culture.

Ok, I was driving along, listening to music and the gears were turning in my head on the various issues I have been dialoguing in and reflecting upon, and my thoughts kept coming back to this 'skeleton in the closet' of mainstream science which centers around this 'Tycho's illusion' thing. It seems as if it scares scientists, ... it gives one that nasty feeling that one's trousers have just dropped to the floor in public, ... that one has missed an incredibly simply, but fundamental point, and built a whole scientific empire upon a 'cognitive illusion', .... one of those 'Goedel's Theorem' busts where one builds twenty pound theorems on a base of ten pound axioms. But this notion of 'having missed something' doesn't scare the children, the artists, the 'religious' (nor myself, ... who am neither of the former, but all at the same time (to some degree); i.e. a philosophical 'inclusionalist'. So for many, this type of skeleton is not a threat but an opportunity which needs to be brought out into the open.

Every time someone draws a picture of the solar system on a flat sheet of paper, and describes the relative motions of the planets, ... my mind starts to involuntarily object, and say; 'wait a minute', its fine to describe on a flat sheet of paper what happens in space, but how do we know what is possible, in terms of 'codynamics of multiple bodies' (or multiple 'flow-features') in space, and what kind of space are we really talking about, and how do we know that?

This objection emerges because I keep thinking of a 'flowspace' kind of space, where space induces the codynamics, as Kepler believed. In this view, the revolutionary sphere of Mars is like a vortex in a stream, and the revolutionary sphere of Earth is 'grounded' in this Mars vortex, so there is lots of flexibility there with respect to the harmonic relationship between the cycling of Earth and the Cycling of Mars and the whole harmonics can start off from the outer space to the inner space in an inclusionary nested fashion, ... from the 'bass voice', of the outer planets, as Kepler noted, to the 'soprano voice' of the inner planets.

Now this 'vortices- grounded- in- vortices' view is a fine facilitator for the 'outer-inner' harmonics thing, from base to soprano, but the fixed gearworks of an unbendable euclidian space cannot! The euclidian gearworks has to go in a linear progression from 'inner to outer' (i.e. from the 'bottom-up' in the rectangular euclidian terms of our culture).

So which space is 'our space' in the case of the solar system?, ... the 'powerglide automatic transmission' or the 'fixed gearworks'.

Well it seems obvious to me, after listening to Johannes, Henri and Albert, amongst others, that the powerglide space is needed to explain our observations without excluding a whole lot of information and putting uncertainty into a gross 'catch-all' for what is not covered by mainstream science.

But our discretist scientific tradition continues to simply 'ignore' the issue. It says, 'sorry, but we can't handle three body and more problems, so we have to treat three and more body codynamics in a probabilistic context. That is, the material kinetics of mainstream science cannot deal with the notion of simultaneous multi-body (multi-feature) codynamics because that would involve something like space having an inductive effect on the features of space (container-constituent-coevolution) and start orchestrating them into simultaneous harmonies or something, like vortices in a flow.

'Yeah, but Einstein's relativity theory says that's what's really going on at the bottom of things, ... there's this inductive tendency called 'field' which is orchestrating the patterns in space, ... and Denis Gabor said the same thing about 'information' that in its basic essence, it was not at all 'discretist', but is instead, an inner-outer inductive tendency or 'rotating field vector'.

Anyhow, when Margolis et al discovered 'Tycho's illusion' (more like 'western science's content-over-context illusion'), it turns out that the gearworks model of the solar system doesn't seem to work and the euclidian views of two different observers, one on the earth and one on the sun, cannot be reconciled, as Harris pointed out in the 'Tycho's Illusion' dialogue, .... it seems there is some 'powerglide transmission' stuff going on.

Ok, well, ... rolling down the road listening to the eagles, and reflecting on, ... 'my lord, there's a girl in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me', .... my thoughts went back (after a moment) to Kepler's three laws, and particularly his third law, which says that the ratio of the cube of the orbital radius to the square of the orbital period is the same for all sun-planet orbitals in the solar system; i.e. R**3/T**2 = K (the same 'K' for all planetary orbitals.

Now his first law says that the orbital is an ellipse and his second law says that the area swept out by the orbital radius is proportional to time (equal areas are swept by equal times).

So there's always this 'detail' that bugs me which is that Kepler said that the orbitals spiral and kind of spin a cocoon around the sun and around the next planets inward towards the sun, ... kind of like an inclusionary nest of russian dolls, or geological layers, if one prefers to stick with nature's analogies.

So, is the orbital an ellipse having a discrete 'area' (as on a flat euclidian plane), or is it a non-discrete spiralling ribbon area, painted out by the orbital radius?

One of the big successes of general relativity theory is, that it proved that the planetory orbitals are spiraling ellipses (this is the same problem a Gabor points out in speaking of 'variable frequency'; i.e. these absolute forms do not fit into our observations of nature, yet we tend to continue to let such discrepancies 'get by'. At any rate, Kepler's cocoon imagery was correct (though Mercury only completes its cocoon in some millions of years and the other planets all take longer).

Ok, here's what came to mind re Kepler's third law, .... both R**3 and T**2 are measures of volume of the same thing, kind of, .... (or at least proportional to such measures) since 'T' the orbital period, by Kepler's second law, is proportional to the area swept out by the orbital radius. So his third law is kind of like taking a ratio of two means of measuring the volume of 'revolution' which is being 'cocooned' by the planetary radius, the first measure is fully relativistic in that it doesn't rely on the euclidian geometry-forced abstraction of time (as in the orbital period 'T' measured in 'absolute time'). So 'T**2' is proportional to the 'Euclidian area of orbital cross-section squared' ((euclidian area)**2) while R**3 is the virtual radius without any hard dependence on euclidian space and absolute time ('R' can be inferred from curvature or geometric relationships rather than having to be dependent on absolute measure.)

So if the radius between planets and sun is as flexible thing as the radius between two codynamical vortices in a common flow substance (the 'magnetic field rivers of Kepler', for example), then this is what R**3 will be taken to be (Don't forget, Kepler insisted on dropping the absolute orbital travel measures in favour of the azimuthal 'shape' measures which put relational shape (curvature and harmony) into the primacy over structure. He reasoned that the simultaneous harmony of whole and part had to be in the primacy over all other local harmonies and structures in the system. This is the same as saying that if space is like a flow, then Mars' vortex will be the starting point for the Earth's vortex etc.; i.e. the motion of the earth will be 'grounded' or 'referenced to', Mars vortex, and so on, from outer to inner, bass to soprano. And if that's the case, each planet is in an accelerated reference frame relative to the next so the laws of Newton cannot be applied consistently across all the frames.

Ok, now R**3/A**2 starts to look like the ratio of ('relativistic volume')/('euclidian volume') of the orbitals, and since the general theory of relativity says that there will be a local 'deepening' of space, wherein the radius of a local region of space is lengthened by the amount of energy (including the energy equivalent of matter) which is contained within that sphere of space, Kepler's third law is starting to look kind of like the same type of curvature indicating quantity; i.e. maybe the extension of the radius of space would be given by the cube root of (R**3/A**2), ... and this might give the profile of the curvature of space distribution in the region of the solar system, ... and relate it to the harmony of the multisphere codynamics.

In any case, my point in recounting this 'gear-turning story' is not to develop the relationship between solar system harmony and the general theory of relativity, but to point to some 'skeletons in the closet of mainstream science' which keep coming to mind.

Newtonian theory stops with the 'flat' euclidian orbital ellipse, because it can only deal with and build bottom-up from two bodies (flow-features) at a time (three-body codynamical solutions cannot be solved analytically, ... most likely because, as 'everybody knows', ... the notion of absolutely discrete bodies is absolutely bogus.). So, science says, ... well, its 'God playing dice' who put all these planets together in this nice whole-and-part harmonic bundle, .... yeah, sure, ... just a case of probabilitistic cooincidence!

In any case, Newtonian science, or more generally, 'discretist science' has to stop there, at the flat euclidian ellipse, because it only deals with 'forces' on 'bodies' (two-body based combinations) and the kinetic trajectories which are associated with this ad hoc inquiry [1]. It can say nothing about the tendency for space to 'suck things' into coherent patterns such as is implied by the notion of relativity and 'field theory'. Space-sucking tendency is all about flow and, raises imagery like the freeway cars in the 'immersed flow' view, ... slipping like fishes into the evolving holes in the shape of space and opening up new hole-shapes in the process.

So science has continued to say, .... sorry, but the answer to why multiple discrete bodies come together in such interesting patterns is simply a matter of probabilities, ... of 'God playing dice'.

But wait a minute, .... what about this 'Tycho's Illusion' thing? It says that space is more like a powerglide than a standard gearbox, ... with the outer orbitals being like flow-vortices in which the inner ones are, in an inclusionary nested fashion, successively grounded (relativistically referenced), with everything being relative to everything else in a codynamical sense.

I once had an old Chevy with one of those early 'powerglides' or 'turboglides' or whatever, and I hated it. I much prefer the solidity of a standard shift to an automatic, myself , so I can understand the resistance to pulling this skeleton out of the closet, ... but the progressive clashing of gears (and gnashing of teeth) in our western euclidian culture seems to demand that we 'own up to it'.

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[1] i.e. if we invent the notion of a particle and 'kinetic trajectory' to explain motion (instead of motion being an inductive property of space which induces change in the geometric configuration of the constituents (constituent features) of space, for example), then we must invent 'force' to explain what 'is moving' the particle.


Epilogue to 'Skeletons in the Closet of Science'

Knoxville - Dallas, August 28, 2000

The 'Skeletons in the Closet of Science' essay included the remark that we could look at a busy highway as a flow of cars, with the cars slipping into available 'holes' like fish swimming upstream in a river crowded with fish.

This view opens the door to another view, that the 'holes' the fish are slipping into, the 'unbounded' shapes of space which are 'swimming' downstream, the reciprocal imagery, are the dominant aspect of the motion. They are the dominant aspect in the sense that the motion of the 'fish' is induced by the shape of the opportunity space 'openings', ... and as the fish move into these opportunity spaces (local openings or 'holes' in the unbounded shape of inter-feature space), they simultaneously change the shape of opportunity space for all others (in the universe). This ability to transform our containing space by our pattern of motion relative to our fellow constituents seems like an important responsibility that one might want to consciously 'manage'. One of the challenges, is that topologically, this 'shape' is 'unbounded and thus is always in motion somewhere as long as any constituent feature anywhere is moving, .... so we cannot classify it as an object which exists independently of time, ... so this 'opportunity landscape' is unlike other landscapes we know, in that it is essentially a 'space-time shape' which is continually transforming. In fact, it is not really unlike other landscapes since they are also purely relational features rather than 'objects', but our anthropocentric view, based on our limited lifetime compared to that of a mountainous landscape, for example, would have us think even of landscapes as 'bounded objects' rather than geometric 'shape of space' relationships'.

From this partly sensory and partly imaginary experience on the highway, ... seeking to understand the way the world works and forgetting for the moment about Newton's laws, we can cognitively model our experience, instead, 'from scratch' ('bootstrap' our model). When we do this, it seems as if we can have two very different types of view of the same phenomena; (a) the 'observer-centric' view where we exclude our self-as-observer from the picture, and see things in terms of what looks like discrete 'things' moving all around us along trajectories relative to us. This view, on its own, does not gives us a fullblown geometric 'shape' of space view, the relationship between the brushstrokes on the canvas of space and the 'holes' between the brushstroke.

But, looking out at another, similar situation, when we crossed over an intersecting freeway, and saw things in terms of an upstream flow of DISCRETE fishes and their kinetics and reciprocal downstream flow of fat spaces in the enveloping containing space, ... i.e. 'opportunity holes' which were in a continual state of emerging (opening) and subducting (closing down), ... we brought into connection in our mind the notion that the situation which we were now 'centered' in was similar to that one that we had looked out upon as we crossed the other freeway. That is, we could exercise not only the option of 'looking out and seeing the world 'as it is?', in terms of the kinetics of discrete objects, from our ego-centric perspective, but we could also exercise the option of 'looking at ourselves as others see us', swimming like fishes in the opportunity space flow and simultaneously transforming the opportunity space flow.

Now, equipped with access to two views of the same situation, one 'real view' 'from the inside looking out' and another 'imagined view' 'from the outside looking in', and since we know these two views can be applied to the 'same phenomenon', we could then, using information accumulated over time, 'bootstrap' them into connection in our mind so that we had both an appreciation that we were (a) moving into opportunity holes which opened up for us as we and our fellow constituents of space moved, and, by this same motion, opening up opportunity holes for others, ... and, (b) moving kinetically along an independent trajectory amongst a collective of other 'material objects' similarly moving kinetically along their own independent trajectories.

Since the 'shape of space' or 'opportunity holes' view of things comes from bringing all of our available information into coherent connection in our mind, the 'shape of space' view, informationally, INCLUDES the material kinetic trajectory views.

Having these two different size story-views into the same phenomena, ... the informationally more comprehensive 'fish-in-flow' view and the included smaller story of 'material kinetics', gives us alternative ways to guide our own behaviour. In real practice, if I am riding a motorcycle, I move according to the patterns of opportunity shape which I transform with my movement. What I continually seek is patterns which are 'opening up' rather than 'closing down' and I move so as to co-create such patterns. I do this because I feel vulnerable amongst the cars and trucks which participate with me in co-creating the shape of opportunity space. Rules (e.g. rules of the road) are secondary to me in this mode of 'motion management', and key directly to 'shape'.

If I were driving a large semi-trailer, I might well key to 'the rules' and 'manage my actions', ignoring the gnat-like motorcycles around me and the patterns which they and I co-create. I know I can 'bull my way through' any conflict, .... so even though, in this truck-driving capacity, I have the 'fish-flow' modeling capability, I may not choose to use it, but to instead 'play to the rules', 'managing action' instead of 'managing opportunity'.

There is, perhaps, a general principle here, .... that whether one keys one's movements to abstract rules and 'action management' or whether one keys one's movements to 'flow patterns' and 'opportunity management' (i.e. 'management' which keys to patterns that one is an immersed co-creative constituent of), ... depends on one's feelings of trust and vulnerability relative to one's fellow constituents of space (fellow co-creators of the flowing shape of opportunity).

For example, the child on the nature trail allows his movements to be guided by the co-created patterns between himself and speeding bicyclists (he moves so as to open up space), while the bicyclist, more and more today, simply 'plays by the rules' and expects people to 'get out of the way'. Meanwhile, on the roadway the bicyclist allows his movements to be guided by the co-created shape of space patterns between himself and the cars around him, and it is the car drivers who 'play by the rules' and expect the bicyclists to 'manage shape'.

To inject a 'community as complex system' note here: - A culture which 'keys movement' to the rules and to 'action management' rather than to cooperatively co-creating the opening up of opportunity space for each other, will encourage all bicyclists to upgrade to semi-trailers and thus make 'the little guy' (the disopportunized) worry about 'the shape of space'. Of course, if the culture governs and manages itself on the basis of 'rules' and 'action management' of constituents seen as independent entities, it will induce its constituents to acquire more power and invulnerability with respect to his fellows. Rather than having an ethic of 'conflict avoidance' by the cooperative co-creation of opportunity, the ethic will be conflict avoidance by recognizing and giving way to the inflexible subjective judgements of the powerful.

So, while Newton's laws, or more generally, 'discretist' laws of science based on material kinetic trajectories, exclude information on the 'flow-shape of opportunity space'. The material kinetics view is the 'little story' from our self-centered view of the world, and it is necessary to 'see ourselves as others see us', in order to get the 'big story' wherein we can become conscious of how we are co-creators in the continually flowing 'shape of opportunity space'. Opportunity space is what induces material kinetics, on the level of basic particles on up to human beings, and as these constituents of space move, they simultaneously transform their enveloping opportunity space in a continuing process of 'evolution'.

Ok, that's the 'bootstrapped view' of 'the way the world works' which is a 'bigger story' than discretist scientific laws which deal only with 'material kinetics' and exclude the influence of 'the shape of opportunity space' on phenomena. When scientific experiments are performed, they look only at the 'material kinetics' involved in the experiment and not the transformative effects on the 'shape of opportunity space'. The genetic crop technology producing plants which kill the bugs which inhibits crop productivity, does not take into account that these bugs are cultivating opportunity in their circles of activity within the ecology, .... thus killing them amounts to killing opportunity for other plants and organisms and such 'action management' as is the essence of 'biotechnology', is 'an ecology killer'. The same holds true for human community; i.e. to put 'action management' into the unnatural primacy over 'opportunity management' is to induce all bicyclists to become semi-trailers, to live by 'brute force' rather than co-creation of opportunity, and thus 'kill the ecological aspect' of the flow of life we call community'.

Now, with the above 'bootstrapped' view of 'the way the world works', one can return to the notion of a 'skeleton in the closet of science', ... 'Tycho's Illusion'.

Current scientific opinion is 'astounded' that everyone, for four hundred years, 'missed' understanding this illusion of the Tychonian model of the solar system which tries to honour both the Copernican and the Ptolemaic models. An observer says that what this 'cognitive illusion' illustrates is that one cannot combine two reference frames in the same model, ... the 'geocentric' and the 'helio-centric' reference frames.

But, wait a minute, ... are we not really talking about two different 'observer views' of the same solar system dynamics?, .... the 'earth observer' view and the 'sun observer' view? And if we believe, as discretist science does, that there is a 'single reality' which can be seen by any observer, ... then why should these two observer views, the earth-observer view and the sun-observer view, of the same multi-body codynamic, not 'give us back' the same 'single reality'?

In other words, is this not a basic violation of our whole notion of a single objective reality observable by multiple observers?

In reflecting on the geometry of the 'geocentric' and 'heliocentric' models, one can see that former is our 'self-centered' view and the latter includes us in the view, ... it our view of ourselves as others see us. We can thus apply the relational geometric thoughts developed in the context of freeway traffic, to this 'cognitive illusion' issue with respect to solar system models.

It is hard to 'think of' our natural thoughts about how we observe celestial bodies, since we are not all astronomers and even if we were, we would tend to take the knowledge developed by Copernicus and Kepler 'for granted' and build on top of it. But if we go back to what they would have been looking at, ... to look out at Mars and the other planets and their material kinetics, gives the same sort of self-centered picture as when we look out from our car on the freeway, ... we are missing the information on 'how others see us' which together with what we see, holographs a view of the 'shape of space'. The Copernican model 'includes' us within it, and gives us a relational 'shape of space' view, while the geocentric view is an information-excluding disretist view. The 'simultaneous harmony' view of the sun and planets is 'not available' to the geocentric 'material kinetics' view, ... only to heliocentric view which shows us how the 'shape of space', the shape of the overall configuration, is being simultaneously effected by the movement of each planet-sun pair. Kepler was fully cognizant of this difference, and discussed it at great length in 'Harmony of the World'.

So 'Tycho's Illusion' is a 'skeleton in the closet of science' because it refutes the notion that when we look out upon the world, we all have access to seeing a 'single objective reality'. Instead, our self-centered view is limited to material kinetics which is a 'personal reality' keying to our unique space-time positioning. In order to arrive at a coherent and shareable view of our containing world, we must, at the same time, see ourselves as others see us. In other words, all 'real realities' are personal, and it is only an 'imagined reality', a holographic reality which brings into connection both the self-centered inside-outward looking view and the 'other-centered' outside-inwards view, which can give us consistently shareable view.

Our cultural habitude is, instead, to debate whose 'personal reality' is the 'correct reality' and this leads to unresolvable political conflict (except by the 'survival of the most powerful') since there is no 'correct personal reality', .... all personal realities are valid but unique, and, being based solely on 'material kinetics', they exclude information on 'the shape of space' which is needed for 'coherent sharability' of the view. Hence the 'sharing circles' of the autochtone culture, .... a culture which recognizes the inclusionary 'container- constituent- cocreative' opportunity space geometry of our enveloping, natural world.

Tycho's Illusion exposes the information-excluding nature of the self-centered observer view, a view which is limited to material kinetics and which ignores the co-creative role of the observer in transforming the 'opportunity space' which induces movement, as he moves. The 'shape of opportunity space' which induces 'material kinetics', and the observer's cocreative role in shaping it, is the 'bigger story' which includes the 'little story' of material kinetics. In other words, there is a 'bigger reality' than one's personal 'self-centered' reality, ... a reality visualizable on the scale of the encompassing opportunity space which induces material kinetics, .... but it can only be 'reached' by bringing multiple 'personal realities' into connection in the mind, ... by seeing 'oneself' as 'others' see one; i.e. as the 'whole' or 'collective' sees its 'parts', ... a view which is holographically 'imaged' by bringing into connection in the mind, multiple views of the 'whole' as seen by the 'parts').

The view of the 'shape of space' cannot be seen from a constituent of space, but must be seen through 'the eyes of the containing space', and it is this view which holography gives, by bringing space-time relational interference information into a coherent pattern. Since it is a view 'by the whole' and 'of the whole', it is a view which is seen consistently by each 'part' as they look through 'the eyes of the whole collective'. It is a view which acknowledges the co-creative role of the observer in determining the 'shape of space', ... the bigger, purely relational (non-discretisti) story within which discretist material kinetics is an included feature.

Discretist science limits its view of reality to material kinetics and Tycho's Illusion shows that this 'self-centered' observer-excluding view is not a view of a consistent 'single reality' in codynamical terms, but is unique for each observer (the geocentric observer, the mars centric observer etc.). This in turn says that 'space' is not like a zero viscosity medium of perfect gearworks, but is instead, more like a relativistic viscous flow where the inner vortical flows key to the next outermost vortical flow in a nested, inclusionary manner. One's nested positioning greatly effects one's 'self-centered' view of the 'material kinetics' 'out there' since it does not take into account one's codynamics. The euclidian model assumes, instead, a rigid space which cannot behave as things on earth, such as atmospherics, behave; i.e., as the meteorologist L. F. Richardson says;

"Big whorls have little whorls,
Which feed on their velocity;
And little whorls have lesser whorls,
And so on to viscosity.''
---L. F. Richardson

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