Perspectives on Reality, Knowledge, and Science



Reflections on Mathematics as a foundation for Reality





Science wars dvd/notes has good input here, especially on historicity of science


Reality and Knowledge of the Universe in Western Science

(Consciousness addressed in separate papers)



“What is reality” is a perennial  question, and to assume this question is irrelevant only means we subscribe to a particular philosophy of reality.


Sociologist Pitiram Sorokin sees “systems of truth” as a socially agreed upon construct. In his classic Social and Cultural Dynamics[1] he postulates that whole cultures alternate cyclically between a sensate mentality, which perceives only the material, sensate world as real, and ideational mentality, which perceives that reality lies beyond the natural material world. He also identifies an integrated idealistic mentality, which perceives that reality has both sensory and supersensory aspects. He finds that the reason and logic of  rationalistic” philosophy can provide such synthesis.


He sees these three mentalities reflected in the ancient Roman, medieval, and renaissance periods respectively.


Ideational and sensate values can be traced back at least to classical Greek civilization, with the ideational philosophy of Plato on the one hand, and the sensate philosophy of Aristotle on the other. [2]

Sorokin believes that we are coming to the end of a six-hundred-year-long Sensate day, and that the transition to an Ideational period will be tumultuous.[3]



Professor Steven Goldman sees a conflict in western philosophy between two views of the nature of knowledge. One view sees Knowledge as universal, absolute, and certain. The other view sees knowledge as particular, relative, and probabalistic; as in a type of belief.


This conflict was expressed in Plato’s  dialogue The Sophist as a war between the gods, who espoused  Knowledge, and the earth giants, whom Plato identified  as the Sophists, who espoused knowledge.


Plato pointed to mathematics as a body of Knowledge that was universal necessary and certain.

(Aristotle, the father of natural philosophy and western science, emphasized the importance of observation, or experience as the key to knowledge.)


The battle between the Plato and the sophists rages on today, between science and contemporary postmodern philosophy. 


Western Science

From a sensate perspective, science would be considered a valid tool in the study of “reality”. From an ideational perspective, metaphysics would be valid.


Goldman notes that “modern science” inherited several principles from the medieval study of natural  philosophy: natural phenomenon should be explained in terms of natural causes; knowledge of nature must be gained by direct experience or experiment, and mathematics may be useful.


He makes the case that combination of  the (Aristotelian) principle of direct observation or experience and the (Platonic) principle of the universality of mathematics introduced an ambivalence or internal conflict in science. [4]


Initially there was no indication of any conflict. It was only when the two began to diverge, beginning certainly with the Copernican controversy, that the scientific community began to become aware of the conflict.


 The Copernican “paradigm shift”

The term "Paradigm Shift" was introduced by Thomas Kuhn, science historian and philosopher, in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  According to Kuhn a “Paradigm Shift” is a distinctively new way for a society to think about “reality”. A valid scientific idea may exist for years, without a corresponding societal paradigm shift.


Belief in the literal truth of the Copernican concept of the earth revolving about the sun rather than vice versa is often given as an example of a paradigm shift. [5] 


Initial western ideas about planetary motion were based on Plato’s notion of the perfection of the mathematical circle. In support of Plato’s notion, models were developed which described celestial planetary motion in terms of perfect circles by use of epicycles.


By use of epicycles, the Ptolemaic system accounted for retrograde planetary motion, but did not account for the observed changes in the phases of the inner planets, Mercury and Venus.


Copernicus was able to rid himself of the long-held notion that the Earth was the center of the Solar system, but he did not question the assumption of uniform circular motion. Thus, the Copernican model still could not explain all the details of planetary motion on the celestial sphere without epicycles. However, the Copernican system required many fewer epicycles than the Ptolemaic system because it moved the Sun to the center. [6]


Scholars most likely did not believe epicycles were actually in the natural world [7], but considered them a “model” giving a more accurate description of the positions of the planets in the sky.


The Copernican system gave an accurate description of the positions of the planets, including correct prediction of the phases of the inner planets. It also reduced the need for epicycles, the relative simplicity of which has often been assumed to imply correctness. (This view has been challenged. [8])


However, the Tychonic geo-helio centric system was also a viable option, and was at the time observationally indistinguishable from the  Copernican heliocentric system. [9] As there was no clear proof of how the planets “really” moved, the Copernican and Tychonic systems were both legitimately  still seen as alternative  models. [10]


Still, Galileo, who wrote “The Book of Nature is written in the language of mathematics,”   argued for the Truth of the Copernican model, [11] but the Church had a point: how could Galileo KNOW the Truth?


Though contrary to experience, in time, and with additional confirmation, as put forward by Kepler [12] and others,  the Copernican mathematical theory became accepted. [13]


What  appears to have changed  was the increasing credibility of mathematics as not only modeling the world, but representing the reality of it in the face of apparently contradictory evidence of every day experience. 



The seductiveness of math


Up to a certain point, mathematics clearly brings insight into our understanding of the physical world.


Correspondence Between Math and Physical Patterns

Following the lead taken by natural philosophy, scientists in the 20th century acknowledged the important role of mathematics. In 1960,  Eugene Wigner wrote in his book The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, that amazingly, when physicists pick a pattern from mathematics to  represent patterns in the natural world, the mathematical pattern often fits nature  with amazing accuracy.


Mathematics developed for one particular physical application often turn out to be applicable to other physical applications. For example, trigonometry, originally developed in the study of astronomy, finds application in the modeling of a vibrating spring, heat flow, and electromagnetism.

Electromagnetic radiation is transmitted by sinusoidal waveforms. Trigonometric functions are solutions to James Clerk Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. [14]


Math Leads to New Physical Insight

The correspondence between mathematics and “reality” may result in new mathematics as well as deeper insight into reality”.


It was found that Newton's Laws, cornerstone of the “mechanical universe,” had problems. The French Mathematician Henri Poincare found that Newton’s laws only suffice for two point masses. For formal mathematical reasons, Newton’s basic equations become unsolvable for even only three elements of matter; the answer can only be found by a series of approximations. In so doing, Poincare provided the foundations of a new branch of science and mathematics: non-linear dynamics, or “chaos” theory. [15]


Newton’s laws were reformulated by the French physicist Joseph Louis Lagrange and the Irish physicist  William Rowan Hamilton in the 19th century. Hamilton’s work contained an unexpected pointer to quantum theory. He found that the most succinct expression for the laws of motion were contained in a mathematical statement identical to the minimum time principle for light waves. Thus, both material particles and light waves  actually move in similar ways, mathematically. From this alone one might conclude that particles have a wave like property.



Physical Analogs

Correspondence between the mathematical description of different physical systems was discovered.


Maxwell developed his equations from a series of iterations, starting initially with mechanical analogs. These mechanical analogs  predicted two new phenomenon:  a new type of current, which would arise whenever the electric field changes (displacement current), and the transverse character of EM waves, because the changing electric and magnetic fields were both at right angles to the direction of wave propagation. [16]

In his next iteration he suspected that the ultimate mechanisms of nature might be beyond our comprehension, so he set his mechanical model aside and chose to apply Lagrange’s method of treating the system like a black box: If you know the inputs and the systems general characteristics, you can calculate the outputs without knowledge of the internal mechanism. His first assumption is that  EM fields hold energy, both kinetic and potential. Electromotive and magnetomotive forces are not forces in mechanical sense, but act in an analogous way. The result of his new approach was vector calculus.

At a very practical level, systems, or circuits, of electrical, mechanical, fluid and thermal elements are governed by the same differential equations, and the elements of these systems have analogous math descriptions. The electrical analog of mechanical, fluid, and thermal systems  is the basis for the analog computer. [17]



Symmetry is an important concept in mathematical physics.


When Maxwell initially wove the equations of electricity and magnetism together, he  thought they looked unbalanced. He therefore added an equation to make the equations more symmetric. The extra term could be interpreted as creation of a magnetic field by varying an electric field. This turned out to actually exist. Inclusion of the second term allowed trigonometric functions to be solutions to the equations, or electromagnetic waves.


In the broadest terms, symmetry exists when something remains unchanged during a mathematical   operation.


Even though the mathematical symmetries may be hard, or even impossible to visualize physically, they can point the way to new principles in nature. Searching for undiscovered symmetries has thus become a major tool of modern physics. [18]



The Great Schism


Beyond a certain point, being the very small and the very large, it became obvious historically that deduction and direct observation were no longer reconcilable  with what  the logic of  mathematics tells us about the natural world, and in many cases mathematics cannot be “checked” to see if it indeed gives us the “correct” answer.  

There are several perspectives:


For some, the direction of math in the sciences led away from a sensate description of all reality; a dissolution of the sensate world, based on the dissolution of reality at the scale of the very small.  


For others, such as advocates of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, there was an unbridgeable gulf between the reality of macroscopic and quantum worlds.


Others questioned the claim that mathematics was telling us about “reality” at all at the scale of the very large or small.  


Still others questioned the claim that the logic of science could tell us anything about reality in even our macroscopic everyday world.


The result has been not only uncertainty and disputes within the scientific community [19] , but also a backlash  hostility toward science in a significant portion of the non-scientific community.




Theory of Everything (TOE)

Physicists now believe that all forces exist simply to enable nature to maintain a set of abstract symmetries.


They have come to understand that the known universe is governed by the four mathematically expressed forces of gravity, electromagnetism (EM), and the weak and strong nuclear forces. The strong nuclear force holds the protons and neutrons of the nucleus together; the weak nuclear force allows neutrons to turn into protons, giving off radiation in the process. The atomic bomb releases the power of the strong nuclear force. Physicists since Einstein have been trying to understand gravity, and to reduce the expressions for the four forces of the universe to a single equation. [20]


Einstein’s General Theory, today’s standard  theory of gravity, deals with large spaces and demands smooth variations in space time. Currently science has no equations that can be used to describe something that is both very massive,  where normally the General Theory would apply,  and very small,  where normally quantum mechanics would apply. [21]


The search is on to develop the Theory of Everything (TOE),  and some think a primary contender is the next iteration in particle physics: “String,”  or “Super String” theory.


In 1967, Murray Gell-Mann was lecturing on the striking regularities in data pertaining to the collisions of protons and neutrons. An Italian grad student, Gabriele Veneziano, became intrigued, and found a simple math function that would describe the regularities. Why this function worked was presented  in 1970 in the work of Leonard Susskind and Yoichiro Nambu. They found that Veneziano’s mathematical function would arise from the underlying theory if you modeled the protons and neutrons not as points, but as tiny vibrating strings. [22]


In 1984, John Schwarz and Michael Green resolved the last major inconsistency in string theory. This did not make the theory any easier to solve, but it convinced  many leading physicists- especially Edward Witten- that the math based theory had too many miraculous properties to ignore.   String theory then jumped from laughingstock to hottest thing in physics. [23]


Edward Witten showed that the original 5 different versions of string theory were merely different perspectives on the same thing. His mathematical theory, called “M” theory,  requires 11 dimensions, and also predicts multiple universes, [24] all quite inconsistent with our observed reality.


What is so alluring about String Theory? Its mathematical elegance; its aesthetics; some scientists think that certain relationships are so appealing that they must be correct. [25]


Interestingly, in the esoteric tradition, as represented by Charles Leadbeater, Annie Besant, and the Theosophists in the book Occult Chemistry (1919), the most fundamental particles were described as positive and negative stringed vortices of energy, called “Anu”; the “ultimate atom”. The word Anu is Sanskrit for atom or molecule, and a title of Brahma. Needless to say, this concept of stringed vortices was not the product of advanced mathematics.


Description: theory of everything


Anu”; the “ultimate atom” [26]



The hydrogen atom was said to consist of 18 Anu units; 9 positively charged, and 9 negatively charged (antiparticles). Contemporary Anu proponents suppose the positive and negative spiral allow a transfer of energy to and from the zero point field [27]

These purported structures  would correspond to the hypothetical constituents of quarks, given the “Russian doll” nature of matter. [28] In 1974, physicists Jogesh Pati and Abdus Salam speculated that a small family of particles they called preons could explain the proliferation of quarks and leptons.

Although not currently in favor with many physicists, the preon idea has not been ruled out. In 1999, Johan Hansson and his coworkers proposed that three types of preons would suffice to build all the known quarks and leptons. [29]


The alternative physics community has developed a mathematical concept strikingly similar to the Anu concept: B.G. Sidharth, of the Centre for Applicable Mathematics & Computer Sciences in India, writes: “The physical picture is now clear: A particle can be pictured as a fluid vortex which is steadily circulating along a ring (or in three dimensions, a spherical shell) with radius equal to the Compton wavelength and with velocity equal to that of light.” [30] The topic is quantum black holes, the name is the Compton Radius Vortex, described as another recent electron model by Richard Gauthier. [31]



Dissolution of  the Sensate World View


A Grand Unified Theory (GUT), as opposed to a TOE, does not include gravity in its definition. Physicists willing to avoid unification of gravity see in Quantum Mechanics, and alternatively the Holographic Universe, and Zero Point Field, mathematics which dissolves the material universe at one level, but then unifies it at a deeper level.  All three theories tend to produce similar results, account for biological processes to varying degrees,  are sympathetic with the idea of consciousness, accommodate “information” as a fundamental unit, and are ultimately related to one another.

Is there something in ZPF and HU that could correspond to non-locality in QM?

They very likely may be thought of as three mathematical “lenses”, each of which reveal different aspects of our reality.



Quantum Mechanics

Quantum Mechanics, based vigorously in mathematics,  was developed in the 1920s, and has been highly successful at explaining many phenomena, including spectral lines, the Compton effect and the photo electric effect, where electromagnetic radiation (photons)  causes a current of electrons. [32]


Multiple logically consistent mathematical representations of Quantum Mechanics help to cement it’s (mathematical) credibility. [33]


Scientists went through a crisis period in trying to determine what quantum mechanics meant to macroscopic reality. Particles, electrons, quarks etc. – cannot be thought of as "self-existent", as they pop into and out of existence in an apparently random way.


Erwin Schrödinger, originator of wave quantum mechanics, was not happy with Max Born's statistical / probability interpretation of waves that became commonly accepted in Quantum Theory. He believed waves were real, and the “particles” in wave-particle duality were merely an artifact. 


Werner Heisenberg, originator of matrix quantum mechanics, argued that what was truly fundamental in nature was not the particles themselves, but the symmetries, or patterns that lay beyond them. These fundamental symmetries could be thought of as the archetypes of matter and the ground of material existence. The particles themselves would simply be the material realizations of those underlying abstract symmetries. These abstract symmetries, normally only ascertainable through mathematics,  could be taken as the scientific descendents of Plato’s ideal forms. [34]


The dominant perspective resulting from what many termed “quantum weirdness” was the Copenhagen interpretation, which asserted that Quantum reality does not yield a description of objective reality. On the other hand, quantum weirdness is not restricted to the quantum world.


Renown quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger, of U of Vienna, found that objects, not merely sub-atomic particles, exhibit wave particle duality. To show this he used a Talbot Lau interferometer in a variation on the double slit experiment to show that large and asymmetric molecules up to 100 atoms, created an interference pattern with itself. ie., exhibited wave-object duality. Even molecules need some other influence to settle them into a completed state of being. [35]


Further, non locality, or entanglement, has been proven to be macroscopically physically real, and forces a reconsideration of our most fundamental notions of space and causality. [36]


One consequence of quantum entanglement is the recognized fact that there is no such thing as an independent observer in quantum experiments.[37]

Spin is a property possessed by most subatomic particles, and experimenters have long accepted that the spin of a particle will always be found to point along whichever axis is chosen by the experimenter as his reference, defined in practice by an electric or magnetic field.  If the experimenter readjusts his apparatus to a different reference angle, he will find that the spin will again point in the direction of the new reference angle.  It is a property which completely undermine any attempt to make sense of the concept of direction in the quantum domain. [38]

Experimental outcome  is also affected by the act of observation. Where there is a wave, when observed, becomes a particle .



Zero Point Field

Quantum Mechanics and the Zero Point Field are the most obviously related, as they are mutually interdependent for their existence.


To quantum physicists attempting to model the electron mathematically, the vacuum, or Zero Point Field was seen as an annoyance which introduced infinities into their equations. In Paul Davies words: “The presence of infinite terms in the theory is a warning flag that something is wrong, but if the infinities never show up in an observable quantity we can just ignore them and go ahead and compute.” [39]


The hidden mechanism which prevents atomic collapse appears to be the Zero Point Field. In 1987, Hal Puthoff  was able to demonstrate in a paper published by Physical Review, that the stable state of matter depends on the dynamic interchange of energy between the subatomic particles and the sustaining Zero Point Energy field. [40]


In quantum field theory, the individual particles are transient and insubstantial. The only fundamental reality is the underlying entity- the Zero Point Field itself . [41]


Interestingly, Timothy Boyer and Hal Puthoff showed that if you take into account the Zero Point Field, you don’t have to depend on Bohr's Quantum Mechanical model. One  can show mathematically that electrons loose and gain energy constantly from the ZPF in dynamic equilibrium, balanced at exactly the right orbit. Electrons get their energy to keep going because they are refueling by tapping into these fluctuations of empty space


Puthoff showed that fluctuations of the ZPF drive the motion of subatomic particles and that all the motion of all the particles generates the ZPF. 

Timothy Boyer showed that many of the weird properties of subatomic matter which puzzled physicists and led to the formulation of strange quantum rules could easily be accounted for in classical physics, if you include the ZPF: uncertainty, wave-particle duality, the fluctuating motion of particles all had to do with interaction of the ZPF and matter. [42]


Holographic Universe?

Peter Russell has pointed out a few of the paradoxes of light. In relativity theory, at the speed of light time stops, which means for light there is no time whatsoever. Further, a photon can traverse the entire universe without giving up any energy, which in effect says for light there is no space. [43] Light has other interesting properties, including the capability of producing optical holograms.


The physics and physical process of constructing a 3 dimensional hologram using two dimensional photographic plates and coherent (laser) light sources  is based on interference and diffraction of light,   and can be “described by” complex Fourier mathematics.  


William Tiller notes: “The entire basis of holography is wave diffraction. Further, the resultant wave intensity diffracted from any kind of direct space geometrical object can be shown to arise from the modulus of the Fourier Transform for that geometrical shape.”  [44]


Vlatko Vedral notes that in the invention of  optical holography, Dennis Gabor showed that two dimensions were sufficient to store all the information about three dimensions. Three dimensions are able to be represented due to light’s wave nature of forming interference patterns. “Light carries an internal clock, and in the interference patterns, the timing of the clock acts as the third dimension.“ [45]


The Fourier transform itself, with both phase and amplitude information, can be used to create the optical hologram, a process called Fourier transform holography. This means that the physical process of coherent light interference patterns and the Fourier transform are interchangeable, which in turn implies they are in some sense identical. The physical process “is” the mathematical Fourier transformation.


University of London physicist David Bohm was among the first to refuse to accept the weird behavior of the quantum as a full description of reality. He suggested that Aspect's 1982 findings of non-locality supported the view that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.


Bohm postulates a “Quantum Potential” which acts on an elementary particle, in addition to the conventional EM, strong, and weak nuclear forces.


The Quantum Potential carries information about the environment of the quantum particle and thus informs and effects its motion. Since the information in the Quantum Potential is very detailed, the resulting particle trajectory appears chaotic or indeterminate. Bohm’s causal interpretation suggests that matter has orders that are closer to mind than to a simple mechanical order.



Bohm made use of the idea of the optical holograph to illustrate the concept of enfoldment of an implicate order,

a holofield where all the states of the quantum are permanently coded. Observable reality emerges from this field by constant unfolding of the “implicate order” into the “explicate order:” These correspond to the holographic plate and holograph in optical holography.


His holographic theory, developed between 1970 and 1980, yields numerical results that are identical to conventional QM, but has not been examined in a serious way by the physics community.


The concept of a “holographic universe” has been supported by the results of an investigation into gravity waves by a German team. Their gravity wave detector had been plagued by an inexplicable noise. According to a  researcher at Fermilab in Batavia Illinois,  the noise is holographic , and leads to the hypothesis of a holographic universe. [46]


Holographic Brain

In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. No one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage. Then in the 1960s Carl Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram.


The brain is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light, sound, etc) into the concrete world of our perceptions. Encoding and decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a translating device able to convert an apparently meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram believes the brain also comprises a lens and uses holographic principles to mathematically convert the frequencies it receives through the senses into the inner world of our perceptions. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists. [47]




Reality and Knowledge reconsidered



Logic, logical analysis  and mathematics only arose as a result of the development of writing: you write it, then you can analyze it. Writing, logical analysis, and mathematics itself is thus a development of increasing availability of information.


Claude Shannon saw that modern  human beings  communicate through codes—strings of letters, words, sentences, dots and dashes of telegraph messages, patterns of electrical waves flowing down telephone lines. Information is a logical arrangement of symbols, and those symbols, regardless of their meaning, can be translated into the symbols of mathematics. From this, Shannon showed that information can be quantified. He coined the term “bit”—indicating a single binary choice: yes or no, on or off, one or zero—as the fundamental unit of information.


In the early 1950s, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered that genetic information was transmitted through a four-digit code—the nucleotide bases designated A, C, G, and T. Biologists and geneticists began to draw on Shannon’s theory to decipher the secrets of life. Physicists, too, started to sense that matter may be nothing more than the physical manifestation of information; that the most fundamental particles may be carriers and transmitters of messages: the bit. John Wheeler said information gives rise to “every it-every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself”


So, once again we have gone full circle, back to the Greek idea of the smallest indivisible unit, this time with out mass, but still not knowing what it even is.



Mathematical Correspondences

Mathematics not only describes, predicts, dissolves, and unifies the material universe. Intriguing correspondences  between nature and mathematics continue to be discovered, whose significance is not yet, and may never be, understood.


For example,  Georg F.B. Riemann added an improvement to an early formula for determining prime numbers which gives the “steps” we see in the actual distribution of prime numbers. The improvement consisted of adding waves at certain frequencies. Rieman’s guess of frequency values needed is called “Rieman’s hypothesis”,  and also “the music of the primes” as well as the “zeros of the Rieman Zeta function”. These waves are the key to the successful prediction of prime numbers. Quantum systems have discrete energy levels, corresponding to waves vibrating at certain frequencies. Likewise the distribution of prime numbers is encoded in a discrete set of wave frequencies: the “magic frequencies” Amazingly, Rieman’s frequencies look like the frequencies of a “quantum chaotic system”.


There is some undiscovered chaotic system whose quantum counterpart would hold the secret to the music of the primes. Chaos, atoms, and prime numbers all  connected. The Prime numbers of our mental world are connected to the atoms of reality, and the link between them is chaos. [48]


Although mathematics can describe, predict, dissolve, and unify aspects of our material universe, or offer tantalizing hints of connection, some mathematics appears to offer no connection to the material universe. 



We have observed polar views of reality and knowledge. Reality can be viewed as physical or metaphysical; knowledge can be viewed as absolute or relative. Can these polarities be resolved?


Goldman has noted that science, as opposed to math, has a historicity; that is, it changes iteratively and inevitably through time.


Quantum Mechanics, the Holographic Universe, and the Zero Point Field show how the physical world dissolves into what might be called metaphysics at the level of the Planck length.


This dissolution is paralleled by the diversity of theories within the scientific community which address problems in various levels of complexity in a description of “reality,” which play out as if the human species has found itself on a featureless plain, where all directions point equally to truth and falsity.


What about knowledge?

As Steven Goldman points out, [49] Immanuel Kant’s 1871 Critique of Pure Reason performed a Copernican revolution on the concept of knowledge. In the old view, knowledge results when mind takes in information from the senses about what is “out there” as  experience. In Kant’s view, experience, including math,  is constructed by the mind, and there is no direct knowledge or experience of  anything “out there”.


Kant’s philosophy is a further development of the earlier notion of primary and secondary sensations, in which  secondary sensations, such as color, taste, and  odor are produced by our sensory apparatus from the “powers” of the primary sensations of size motion and shape which really are “out there”


Kant’s view is remarkable consistent with our understanding of quantum mechanics, as well as the concept of a holographic universe.


Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness  Theorem complements Kant’s philosophy in rendering not only reality, but our mind as unknowable. This theorem states that every formal system contains, at any given time, more true statements than it can possibly prove according to its own defining set of rules. This theorem is normally applied to math, traditionally accepted as being the most complete and universal form of knowledge,  and shows that all logical systems of any complexity are, by definition, incomplete.


Gödel's Theorem … has been taken to imply that human beings will never entirely understand the mind, since the mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself. Although this theorem can be stated and proved in a rigorously mathematical way, what it seems to say is that rational thought can never penetrate to the final ultimate truth. [50]


Going back to Sorokin’s conceptions of reality, we see that contemporary science has allowed us an “idealistic” mentality, as we see that reality at the everyday macro level has sensory qualities, while at deeper levels it has supersensory or metaphysical aspects.




[1] Social and cultural dynamics 4 vols 1937-1941; Social and cultural dynamics 1 vol 1957

[2] Pitirim Sorokin Social and Cultural Dynamics (4 vol., 1937–41; rev. and abridged ed. 1957)

Social and Cultural Dynamics: A Study of Change in Major Systems of Art, Truth, Ethics, Law and Social Relationships (1957 Cloth (reprinted 1970) ed.).

Revised edition: S.M. Stern  Transaction Publishers 1985: p. 226. f.




The main concern of medieval scholasticism, for example, exemplified by the Suma Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, was to reconcile faith and reason.


“Dynamics is filled with data testing Sorokin's hypotheses in a variety of contexts and periods. Patterns of change in art, philosophy, science, and ethics were scrutinized in search of the principles that explained their transformations. In each case Sorokin found support for his theory. For example, his analysis of Greco-Roman and Western philosophical systems showed that up until 500 B.C. these systems were substantially Ideational. By the fourth century B.C. they were Idealistic, and from 300 to 100 B.C. they moved toward a period of Sensate domination. From the first century A.D. to A.D. 400 was a period of transition and crisis followed by a reemergence of Ideational philosophy from the fifth to the twelfth century. This was followed by an Idealistic period and another transition, which brings us to the domination of Sensate philosophy beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing to the present”



[4] Professor Steven Goldman The Teaching Company. Science Wars: What Scientist Know and How They Know It Lecture 1-2.


[5] The idea of a heliocentric solar system was not new in Copernican times. It had been proposed as early as about 200 B.C. by

Aristarchus of Samos


[7] According to Duhem, a 19th century French historian and philosopher of science, it is thought that no one actually believed the deferents and epicycles of Ptolemaic astronomy were real; they were considered mathematical constructs (what we would call a model) model to “save the phenomena”.


[8] argues that reliance on simplicity, or parsimony, is not conducive to guaranteeing the correctness of a theory


[9] In the Tychonic system, the sun, moon, and stars circle a central Earth, while the five planets orbit the Sun.


[11] Galileo also  ignored  Kepler’s math results showing orbits were ellipses, insisting the orbits had to be circles.


[12] Who developed his laws of planetary motion from Tycho Brahe’ data.



By the late decades of the 17th century, most specialists, but far from all, were advocates of a sun-centered model. 

It is far from clear what the so-called 'reading-public' at this time believed, much less what other inhabitants of Europe thought about the Great Debate over the World System.


[14] Davies Superforce p.57f


[15] Newton’s law was also incorrect for objects moving very fast or for very small particles, or for particles moving with  non-uniform (ie accelerated) motion.


[16] He found that pressure difference and flow velocity in incompressible fluid flow was an accurate analogy for voltage and field strength in static electric charges and magnets, providing the mathematical framework for Faraday’s lines of force and force field concept.

The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, by Basil Mahon. Wiley 2004.  p.56 f.



He modeled the dynamic behavior as spinning mechanical cells. He developed a mechanical analog for Faraday’s electrotonic state: it was the effect at any point in the field of the angular momentum Of the spinning cells. Like a flywheel, the cells would act as a store of energy, reacting with a counterforce to resist any change in their rotation. This takes the form of an electromotive force which would drive a current. P. 103


The next iteration in his theory came when he added elasticity to the cells/spheres. The softer the spring, the greater the electrical displacement for a given potential difference. Electrostatic energy was potential energy; like a spring; magnetic energy was rotational, like a flywheel, and both could exist in empty space. A change in one always resulted in a change in the other. This new “elastic” model  predicted displacement current), and the transverse character of EM waves, P. 105


[17] If Z is impedance,

Impedance for electrical elements are:

Z resistence = R

Z capacitance = 1/CD

Z inductance = LD


Impedance for mechanical elements are:

Z damper = B

Z spring = 1/KD

Z inertia = MD


Where D represents the differential operator d/dt


So force is a mechanical analog of voltage

Velocity is a mechanical analog of current

A dashpot or damper is a mechanical analog of resistor

A spring is a mechanical analog of a capacitor

A mass is a mechanical analog of an inductor


System Dynamics: Modeling and Response EO Doebelin Merrill, 1972


[18] Davies Superforce p.57f


[19] See the Paradigm Shift Now paper Scientific Dissidence

[20] According to Leonard Susskind, by the 1950s, Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, Sin-Itiro Tomanaga and Freeman Dyson had laid the foundation for a synthesis of special relativity and quantum mechanics called Quantum Field Theory. [Leonard Susskind, The Black Hole War p. 7].The first and most successful expression of QFT was Quantum Electrodynamics (QED).


[21] In preparing groundwork for such equations, and a TOE, Nobel prize winner Sheldon Glashow and colleague Andrew Cohen, of Boston University in Massachusetts, have proposed a  tweaking of Special Relativity  to produce a“Very Special Relativity,”(VSR). This approach suggests that Lorentz symmetry (from SR)  might be broken at the Plank scale, 10-35 meters, allowing QM and gravity to interact. Although such a theory might explain how neutrinos  have mass but only single direction spin, no experimental evidence has been found to support it. On the other hand,  if VSR  were verified, it would signal serious problems for General Relativity. (GR) New Scientist 20 January 2007 Spinning Einstein by Amanda Gefter:


[22] Leonard Mlodinow Feynman’s rainbow Warner books 2003, p. 99.


[23] Feynman’s Rainbow p. 169.


[24] Paul Davies Superforce



[25] Filippenko lecture 89 Interestingly, Susskind, with the publication of his latest books, The Cosmic Landscape and The Black Hole War is at the epicenter of current thinking about the nature of the universe. The Cosmic Landscape review:


[28] Atoms are made of protons and neutrons (together called hadrons), along with lighter electrons. In turn, hadrons consist of particles called quarks, of which there are six varieties. In addition, there are six varieties of fundamental particles related to the electron, called leptons.



[31]  See PSN paper Scientific Dissidence for more detail.


[32] For the difference between the Photoelectric and Compton effects, see



[33] Matrix Quantum Mechanics was proposed by Werner Heisenberg, who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics
for creation of "Quantum Mechanics". Heisenberg also postulated the Uncertainty Principle:
The more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known.

If the variability of particle position is represented by del p, and the variability of particle momentum is represented by del m, then (del p) * (del m) is greater than or equal to Plank’s constant, h. A corollary is that if the variability of particle energy is represented by del e, and the variability of particle time at that energy is represented by del t, then (del e) * (del t) is greater than or equal to Plank’s constant. Plank's constant, h, specifies the amount of discreetness of space. If h were equal to zero, then nature would be continuous and we could measure both position and momentum exactly. Experimentally it is not zero, so although nature is largely continuous, it is also a bit discrete, and therefore uncertain.  [Heinz Pagels The Cosmic Code; Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature.  Bantum Books  1983. p. 69 f.]


[34] F. David Peat Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind p. 94 f.


[35] The Intension Experiment p16f.


[37] James Gleick The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood Pantheon Books 2011


[38] Superforce by Paul Davies, Touchstone books, 1984 p 22 f


[39] Paul Davies  Superforce p. 109 f. also The Field p. 109


[40] The Field p. 24, also note 14 p.230: Physical Review D 1987, 35: 3266-70


[41] The field p 23 Fritjof tao of physics


[42] ???


[43] Mysterious Light by Peter Russell, IONS Noetic Sciences Review number 50, Dec 99-Mar 00.


[44] reviews.

[45] Vlatko Vedral Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information  Oxford University Press 2010:


[47] Michael Talbot, from The Holographic Universe


[48] Steven Strogatz Chaos DVD The Teaching Company 2008

[49] Professor Steven Goldman The Teaching Company. Science Wars: What Scientist Know and How They Know It Lecture 7