Identity

  [I’m throwing out lots of ideas and questions here that I hope to clarify in later postings.]  What if it’s not how we got to be us, but our unique configuration that determines our unique consciousness?  So, does the shape, independent of anything else, determine our unique perspective?  The above idea might make sense, …

Who Are We?

Where did we come from?

How did we form?

And what will become of us?

Strange that a little droplet of water expanding into sluggish oil should give us some insights into ourselves, into our birth, life, and death. Here goes:

Before our droplet can change shape, before information can cross its boundary and endure as a change in that boundary, there must be a 100% probable Here and Now for it to sample. But, for man or droplet, such does not exist at this early stage. Nothing makes sense–there is no recognizable sequence in the samples.

We’re starting with one puzzle piece of information, and nothing we’re sampling connects up to it. That’s what making sense (also making space and time) looks like. Our system must first sample possible locations to create the sequence of locations we call space. Our system must sample sequences of logical next steps to create its own time. It must sample its environment at regular intervals in order to become aware of its own duration. (The natural vibrational frequencies of tuning forks are good examples of a regular sampling rate at a boundary.)

The only boundary configuration that works for longterm thought and memory is complex. One might think of it as the product of the natural selection of creating duration in space and time. At first our droplet’s boundary is too curved to interact, then it becomes so flat that random perturbations from its environment can change it, but the changes will not endure. Only when boundary shapes change for good can sequences in space and time form. The experiment ends when again the boundary becomes so curved no new information can be acquired and the droplet can no longer respond to its environment. We would no longer be aware of our existence.

Next, we’ll explore how similar is the birth, life, and death of the human brain and how, as a complex system, its end might differ from the droplet’s.

Focusing, Imaging, and Configuration

When starting from the human side, the spiritual side, the side of the mind in working our logic—when we talk about life, death, and what may, or may have existed before life and after death—we must consider the three words that are title to this piece.

From the scientific language, the philosophy growing from our fluid experiment, we are brought to the realization that Krishnamurti’s “What Is,” the virtual reality of our minds, is where we exist and that we become aware of reality from birth by representing our boundary, our difference, our change, our sampling of “What Is Behind What Is” and then generalize that information into the fleshed-in, virtual world of our minds, the multifaceted world we call “What Is.”

We say that the boundary we represent seems to condense or collapse out of “What Is Behind What Is,” each time we reach out to sample it.

The question important to me is not “Do we exist after death?” nor is it “Are we aware of our existence?” but “What happens to the configuration, the boundary, that was uniquely us, after we die?”

The conclusions we hope to come to will be that no matter how improbable, all perspectives exist, just not always here and just not always now. They live on, perhaps until the time two or more such perspectives can collapse across a boundary to create the essence of an existence, an existence in the here and now. The awareness of awareness (How we become watchers instead of simply responders).

But what is the nature of perspectives as they statistically and momentarily bump into and separate from one another? What causes them to hook up in the first place? (For those possible answers, see menu items “Sampling and Statistics” and “Space and Time.”)

So, our main question might be “If we cannot know the nature of What Is Behind What Is—how it operates in the arenas of the before and after lives—how can we possibly predict the chances of a before life or after life based on this life? (the one we’re in the process of constantly sampling in the here and now)

As an analog our expanding-droplet experiment can tell us what is possible to describe using our mathematical language (solutions to the general energy equation) that illuminates both the change in energy across a boundary and the experience of that change, The Flow.

Here and Now: 100% Probable

To discover how experimentalists, as observers, generalize anything about their worlds, visit the Sampling and Statistics topic under the MENU on the RHS of this HOME page.

Basically, all anyone can sample is what is Here and what is Now. That seems obvious, but is it? When we reach out in any number of ways to sample our universe, what if nothing is there? Is there nothing because there really is nothing to be sampled? Or, is there nothing only because it is not right here, but somewhere else. It is not here because, it exists, but not now, not at the moment we tried to sample it.

We all know when we interact with anything that it exists. But does it exist if we attempt to sample it, as it eludes us?

If every time we sample something, we find it, then we say it is 100% probable. What we don’t always say is: it’s 100% probable here and now.

But what happens when it isn’t here and now? What are its chances, or its likelihood of existing then?

Many times we categorize such improbable events as nonexistent or figments of the imagination, especially in scientific inquiry where they need to be reproducible–able to be sampled over and over again. For how long?

High Curvature “Relationship”

A high curvature relationship occurs at the beginning and the end of our two-fluid experiment.

A tiny bubble has such a high curvature/small radius that it is difficult for random vibrations to deform it.
As the water-based fluid flows into the oil-based fluid, into the crests (fingers) of the unstable waves at the boundary, their tip radii get very small and their curvature very large, thus damping out vibrations there.

In both cases (beginning and end), the curvature at the boundary of the two-fluid system is so large that the boundary cannot be made to deform. In this case, there exists no relationship across the boundary. Therefore, no recognizable existence there.

Four Basic Kinds of Relationship

In our two-fluid experiment, where a water-based fluid tries to push an oil-based fluid out of the way across a boundary, we can describe four basic relationships. The first three relationships require a certain amount of interfacial tension at the boundary to carry interactive information from one fluid to another. The fourth and last relationship has little or no tension on the boundary. Molecular diffusion occurs and therefore we call it a degraded relationship, where, because of the static at the boundary, little information gets through. [continued]

Primitive Relationships

The experiments Suresh Advani (University of Delaware) and I performed were classified as two-fluid problems. In such problems there are two thermodynamic systems (fluid 1 and fluid 2) that relate to one another across a boundary between the two fluids.

Thermodynamics (thermo) is a well-organized and descriptive language scientists use to examine what happens when two systems (objects in specified spaces) come together. The language of thermo specifies what is exchanged across boundaries when two or more systems interact or relate.

In our two-fluid experiments, an expanding circular droplet of a less-dense, water-based fluid is pushing a more-dense, viscous oil out of the way. This relationship is considered unstable, because the water flows easier than the sluggish oil. Because the oil cannot move fast enough out of the water’s way, the boundary between the two fluids buckles (adopts a wavy pattern like a sine wave).

At the trough of the wave, the watery fluid sees a concave-upward boundary. The oily substance sees a concave-downward one. So, not only are the fluids flowing against one another, exchanging the momentum of movement at their boundaries, but they see this exchange in starkly different ways. Each with its own perspective or point of view (POV).

For this example, then, we see that primitive relationship does not just involve the energy exchanged across a boundary between relating systems, but, also, the unique perspectives of each.