Actually, I’ll probably change that title but I’ve been looking for an excuse to use the concept and this is as good an opportunity to impatiently waste it on an inadequate, barely tangential theme as any.

I’ve not linked to this before, I don’t believe, but, old though it now is, it’s one of the most important books I’ve ever read, because it’s a great one to give to other people and say “Here … read this — then we’ll talk.”

The fact that it was written by the person who achieved more genuinely advanced results than just about everyone else who has tried, in the field of algorithmic implementation of entities exhibiting behaviours observed in living things, makes it all the more interesting.

In particular, his description of cloud formation as a paradigm for the nature of things, as the basis for his contention that “There’s no such thing as a thing anyway”, is perfect …

“Clouds are made from nebulous veils of tiny water droplets that we might expect to be whisked away at the slightest breeze, and yet orographic cloud remains stationary just upwind of the mountain peak […] What happens is that moist air is forced upwards when it meets the mountain’s windward slope, and as it rises it cools. At some point it will have cooled enough for the water vapour to condense out as droplets, which we see as the leading edge of the cloud. These droplets career through the sky at the same speed as the surrounding air and then find themselves tumbling down the other side of the mountain. As they fall, they warm up and re-evaporate, and this event marks the leeward edge of the cloud. Because the points at which the water condenses and re-evaporates remain stationary, the cloud looks like a static, discrete thing. In reality, water molecules are moving from place to place, and momentarily becoming a cloud.“

And that, folks, is how all particulate systems function … whether physical or abstract … because, even if you freeze the system into stasis, it is still an example of a particulate system and the ordering of particles, such that they are in stasis, is simply one possible such ordering of the component elements of a complex, gestalt whole that is greater than the sum of its parts and exhibits emergent properties and behaviour.

There really is no need to look for alternative explanations, because that model describes any and all such behaviour at any scale without the need for bolt-on addendum excuses … sorry, explanations … for why the alternative model does not do so — Occam’s Razor, applied to the issue, requires the simplest explanation be correct … and that model of particulate systems is not only the simplest, but, moreover, is field independent and, furthermore, scales the better than any other.

Any particulate body/entity, no matter its energy level, obeying the laws of Mathematics and Physics as we understand them, is, by definition ordered.

Even if the particles are disordered, such as in a gas, and the body/entity/ (i.e. the gas cloud itself) thus chaotic, the particles obey those laws … are, therefore, in the set of possible orderings of the particles … and are, hence, by definition, ordered.

Despite the fact that quasi-stable subsets of those particles may never coalesce to form smaller bodies/entities within the whole, any chaotic particulate system is, inherently, self-organising … and organisation of any kind is order.

Order and Chaos simply being descriptive of the degree of coalescence of their constituent elements, chaotic systems are, therefore, simply one class of example of ordered systems and vice versa … any attempt to treat them as discrete fundamentally flawed and, thus, of no value to our understanding of the nature of things.

Wave/Particle duality, my arse! You can’t have a wave of any kind without ‘particles’ … no matter how ethereal the bodies or concepts they represent … and a wave is simply a description of the behaviour of particles, not a physical entity in its own right — a wave is a description of the effects particles have on other particles … it does not sui generis have a physical existence.

And, equally, the result of insisting that it does have a discrete existence is a paradox.

Paradoxes are traditionally inadmissible in Western Philosophy/Science — at least since Bertrand Russell anyway. But, in fact, when you stop and think about it, that’s a nonsensical approach. According to Sherlock Holmes, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Popperian scientific method says much the same thing.

In my opinion, paradoxes should not be viewed as valueless, but, quite the opposite … of ultimate value, since they are the ultimate truths that cannot be further subdivided or broken down. They are the ‘No Through Road’ signs of Reality, telling us when further debate or investigation is fruitless and that we would do better to spend our time on something else — everything else is up for grabs, since it could be further broken down into increasingly smaller constituent parts and is, hence, uncertain. Furthermore, they show stability in flux … fixed fluidity … dynamic durability … therefore demonstrating not simply that … but how … it is not the case that one cannot step into the same river twice, because the Thames is the Thames whenever we stupidly try to swim in it, but that our perception of there being a dichotomy between stasis and dynamism is false, since homeostasis … the basis of all stasis … is fluid, dynamic and in flux.

Ultimately, what is useful is whatever someone puts to use and if, instead of dismissing them as worthless for those properties, we came to see them as valuable time-savers, all we would need to do would be to find them all and determine their relative value — a suspension bridge is a useful paradox, as is a roundabout … whereas I don’t really care whether the chicken came first or the egg [1], but whether there’ll be any left at the supermarket by the time I get to the other side of the bridge, take the second exit off the roundabout and arrive at the supermarket.

Useful versus useless is what is important, not intellectual onanism.

And in the case of Wave/Particle duality, the approach is not useful, because it leads to Zeno’s paradox, whereby the Thames isn’t the same river each time you go sailing on it, so you can’t sail on it more than once — which is, as we all know for a fact, complete and utter bollox [2].

But I think my example of Zeno’s Paradox is a good one of what is less than useful, because, were we to take it at face value, we’d all starve, because if you can’t actually catch your food in the first place, there’s no point even trying ; )

We know Zeno’s Paradox to be pointless, because, in Reality, if I shoot a deer with my rifle, I will eat this evening, regardless of the fact that, in theory, it’s still running away from a bullet that will never hit it. Interesting it may be, but, ultimately, Zeno’s assertion does not lead anywhere useful — by definition, it leads nowhere.

As for the Thames, that is my point entirely: it is, simultaneously, both the same river and not the same river — so, any adherent of either point of view is wrong : )

Anyway …

Believe it or not, this is actually part of the thinking that goes with this …

I did say it would appear out of order, be incomplete and, often, leave you wondering what the Hell the two have to do with each other.

And this piece isn’t even the end of my thinking on the matters I’ve broached here.

Moreover, ultimately, when it’s completed, I’ll probably delete this post because it will no longer be necessary.

But I thought I’d up it just in case I never do finish stuff off — also because one/some of you might say something interesting in reply [3].

[1] Although I’d lay good money on it having been the rooster that came first, actually.

[2] If Zeno were correct, I’d’ve starved to death at birth, because I still wouldn’t have drunk the first drop of milk of my life yet.

[3] I won’t hold my breath though [4].

[4] Yes, that was a pointed comment, thankyou for asking.



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