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edited April 2006 in Nature
if entropy increases with time then it follows that the big bang was the moment of lowest entropy. what does order mean if the primal singularity is its most perfect expression?


  • edited May 2006
    Your wonderful question became relevant to my most recent blog post:

    Perceiving Infinity: Schematic Portals into The Mind of God

    I'd love to see how people extend both these starting points...


    To answer your question directly though I believe would require a knowledge of exactly what composes the entire system of reality. Entropy can only be measured, and understood, in closed systems. If the universe extends only to the point of singularity you mention then distinct philosophical problems arise (perhaps), yet if there is an external realm beyond the singularity, entropy and order can once again find their balance (perhaps).

    Some modern interpretations of reality (such as M-theory) posit universes beyond/before the singularity. The whole nature of your question changes from that perspective.
  • I'm not sure I'm quite up with all this talk of infinity and entropy and stuff, while studying in Edinburgh I looked quite heavily at the work of Robert Smithson...

    not sure I quite understood it all, but he has an interesting take on entropy, and produced some amazing works of art...

    He was a bit of a nutter generally!

    Robert Smithson - Entropy And The New Monuments
  • Thanks for that, looks like a fascinating topic. I'm off on a wee holiday today. I look forward to reading up on this somemore when I get back . I wish my art history knowledge was better, I plan to do a night course or two when I get back to the UK, refresh my (non-accumulative) memory.

    By chance, do you know much about the topic of simulacra in art? I reckon it must be the concepts natural home.
  • i have read a bit about entropy and have come to a few conclusions.

    if what you say is correct, that the universe is becoming more entropic (if that is a real word) as time passes then it would be correct to assume that the universe was more ordered nearer the big bang and that it was in a state of perfect order in the instance just before the big bang. therefore if we accept this, we can also assume that many of the rules and laws that we believe govern will either not apply or work in a different way.
  • On the perceiving infinity point I would offer that neither zero nor infinity can actually exist within a Newtonian universe. Zero, the non-existance of a 'thing', is a contradiction while no 'thing' can be infinite as the existance of something - anything - else means that original 'thing' cannot be infinite.

    However both zero and infinity can exist outside our Universe. In fact I offer that zero and infinity are all that exist outside our universe because Number as we know it can't exist outside our Universe for if it did, it would be part of our Universe and therefore within it.

    So OUTSIDE our Universe is both Zero, ie nothing which includes nothing in the way of rules or 'laws', and Infinity because in the absence of rules anything - anything at all - is possible. In short Zero is nothing with the potential to be anything while Infinity is everything without the ability to be anything.

    So esentially Zero and Infinity are the same thing. No 'thing'.

    The Big Bang was Something - so it was not Zero. Yet neither was it Infinite for had it been the density of our Universe would have been infinite and thus gravity would be infinite. It was in its first moment a perfect, homogenious 'thing'. It was in the terms of Eastern philosophy - personally I don't regard Zen as a religion - One. It was the beginning of our Universe as Number. It still is, ultimately, One but a One which is capable of subdivision into a regression of parts based on its ultimate discrete component, the quantum, which is ultimately the basis of Number. And the number of quanta in the universe is finite.

    Entropy is the process of the dissolution of the (quantum-sized) One of the Big Bang to the moment TS Elliot might have called the Big Whimper, when each individual quantum is so alone in the quantum vacuum (the Zero and Infinity outside Number) that the last of the fundamental forces militating their interaction breaks down, the original 'One' ceases to exist and it becomes a One in its own right - and a new Universe of Number is born.

    Or perhaps not.
  • My brain is tired today... Look forward to replying in the extreme soon

    Thanks for your thoughts....
  • Pythagoras is delighted, I do not doubt...This is the way the world ends.....But best of all, 'I'ts Alive!'.......should anyone ever google 'Plotinus'?
  • edited May 2006
    Endymions thinking on the nature of number stikes me as very Pythagorean...whose legacy we find in the symbolic meaning of the sword, that implement that divides reality up into pieces that may then be analysed..a process which begins with counting....once we say zero, one is implied, 0&1 now give us two ENTITIES , which gives us three by the neat conceit of counting three sets...0,1,and 0&1... tselliot= this is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper Nothing exists that does not participate in the process of life, therefore all the creatures of our imagination (ie. numbers for instance) are alive. Plotinus is the archetypal new age hippie freak pseudoguru loveable loonie and is a useful anodyne to hubris......................what? aka michael the obscure
  • This is getting very Quantum Physicsy again. 1,0 and 1&0 - it's as close to the infinite as any controlled system will ever need to be. Plotinus lives in the quantum realm:
    There, our Self-seeing is a communion with the Self, restored to purity. No doubt we should not speak of "seeing," but, instead of [speaking of] "seen" and "seer," speak boldly of a simple unity. For in this seeing we neither see, nor distinguish, nor are there, two. The man is changed, no longer himself nor belonging to himself; he is merged with the Supreme, sunken into It, one with It; it is only in separation that duality exists. This is why the vision baffles telling; for how could a man bring back tidings of the Supreme as something separate from himself when he has seen It as one with himself?
    If Plotinus were around today he'd revel in a chaotic universe which appears affected by the consciousness contained therein. The 'seer' determines the 'seen' of the quantum realm.

    Perhaps, in consciousness, the universe is processing itself a solution to entropy. Perhaps thermodynamics is not the only supreme. David Deutsch:
    Think of all our knowledge-generating processes, our whole culture and civilization, and all the thought processes in the minds of every individual, and indeed the entire evolving biosphere as well, as being a gigantic computation. The whole thing is executing a self-motivated, self-generating computer program. More specifically it is, as I have mentioned, a virtual-reality program in the process of rendering, with ever-increasing accuracy, the whole of existence.
  • HELLO1
  • edited May 2006
  • I can see why you chose your screen name now

    What are you talking about?

    If you're looking for order you won't get it with block capitals.
  • sorry, in extremis, never the less, or nevetheless, i dont know for typeface etiquette, i really do not. i only know that this is it.........what are you made of....? think and write



    tell me dr, i struggle to do this much....tell me people, what do you want?
  • edited May 2006
    I am lost here in a sea of confusion (capitalised or not). There are not enough question and exclamation marks in the entire universe:
    i only know that this is it.........what are you made of....? think and write ... oh ... tell me dr, i struggle to do this much....tell me people, what do you want?
    Please backtrack, I'm all for stream of consciousness rantings, but there's a lot to be said for plain old English sentences. Hell, why not write a few.

    Sorry if this is all a bit sarcarstic and condescending, but forum etiquette sometimes demands it. Temporally extended, text based conversations can become riddled with confusion very easily.
  • most tolerant and also positive....i should keep my mouth shut when drunk...i have a troubled relationship with coherence, i am tempted to attempt to explain myself.
  • It's been a quiet weekend on the forum. Explosions welcome
  • Be careful what you wish for
  • Always so short and sweet. What happened to extended discussion?
  • edited July 2006
    I've been wondering where to put this. What can I do but continue, I've not been so creative in a long time. There is something gentle and quiet about this place. Other forums seem cluttered and confused, not that I've seen many.
    Why should I want to contribute to the noise made by six billion yammering heads, so very few of them make any sense...but a few do...and the curse of this incarnation is that apes are such Social creatures.
    So I'll continue to hang my hat here, after all the living web is electronically omnipresent. It can hear me anywhere, can't you. Just keep talking to it...what about a name?
    To start a religion we need an avatar, in the original sense of the word. An embodiment of who? What god lurks in this machine? I'm fond of Vishnu, the preserver, but I don't know.
    Time will tell, one dimension in which we are not free to move. Not even The Doctor if you think about it.
  • Mr What? asks:

    what does order mean if the primal singularity is its most perfect expression?

    This question arouses me from my war and rumor of war imposed torpor (all I'm seeing now, are falling missiles, burning buildings and bodies torn asunder).

    Of course, I turn to Wikipedia (one of our new gods) for help...

    from the Entropy article:

    The role of entropy in cosmology remains a controversial subject. Recent work has cast extensive doubt on the heat death hypothesis and the applicability of any simple thermodynamic model to the universe in general. Although entropy does increase in the model of an expanding universe, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly and leads to an "entropy gap," thus pushing the system further away from equilibrium with each time increment. Complicating factors, such as the energy density of the vacuum and macroscopic quantum effects, are difficult to reconcile with thermodynamical models, making any predictions of large-scale thermodynamics extremely difficult.


    So even amongst the professionals, such a query would inspire (perhaps heated) debate; it's not a settled matter when applied to the realm of the very large.
  • edited July 2006

    Wikipedia; a God I can relate to.

    What ghost doth inhabit this machine? An oracle without a hidden soothsayer in its catacombs; with no need to deposit your gold bullion at the oracle's entrance.

    Did you ever read the short story 'The Last Question' by Isaac Asimov which takes place over the entire future history of the computer?

    Read it in full here... God, entropy and computers in one of my all time favourite sci-fi stories. Asimov speaks:
    This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.

    After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won't tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

    It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything -- and I'm satisfied that it should.

    Read 'The last Question'
  • Wow, that was a really great story. I think Asimov must have had a read of Star Maker, huh? Ah, the expansion of life and mind throughout the universe… Biocosm is all about that, and The Last Question presents some thoroughly similar/modern ideas! I love stuff like this.
  • Third time lucky, the mind parasites are attacking in force...all I want to do is mention the movie 'Dark Star'...
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