The Conservation of Ontology

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Cosmic Dawn by Harley Katz/University of Oxford

Cosmic Dawn by Harley Katz/University of Oxford

Our planet is still ploughing through the debris of ancient supernovae, and I can’t help but wonder whether a muon shower might have enhanced our ability to see violet midway through the 19th century on Earth.

Allen Tager

The tiny blue planet on which we live, crisscrossed with shades of gray, lies far away from the spatiotemporal boundary of yellow-intensified violet indicative of explosive energy release. At the boundary, time flows to the surface like a river carrying particles from phantom to dust. Waves rise and fall. They are metaphysical specks acting as proto-will. As we experience the world through the blue oceans and the green foliage, our minds connect to the white light of the Sun. The approach of the Unveiled announcing the first lights breaking free from the Shadows and the grip of Nothingness relates to the all-pervading tone caught by Turner in his paintings. It is less about details than the color of light itself.


How and where is tonality staged as an entropic process? Where, and with what force, is the organizing power of tonality breaking down?

Kenneth M Smith, The Enigma of Entropy in Extended Tonality

George Frederic Watts, The All-Pervading (Tate Britain website)

George Frederic Watts, The All-Pervading (Tate Britain website)

I haven’t moved much from the edge of the boundary. While Cosmic Dawn stands as the final frontier of what is out there to observe, I have stalled where the interval has disappeared, neither on one side nor the other of the Janus point, but where darkness precedes and no direction has yet been distinguished. The absence created by the departure of the white-throated sparrows was filled by the mating calls of frogs. The falling catalpa flowers and the tadpoles in the pond signaled the late spring and replaced the pink and purple ground coat of cherry blossoms and redbud flowers. My ethereal essence is seeping through disappearing intervals. 


Disappearing intervals are time-like feelings devoid of quantified mass and without spatial shape. Time washes them away. We believe that if — as in the conception of Minkowski — space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into such mere Shadows, then only the union of the two may preserve an independent reality. But feelings, too, have an independent existence that allows for their rise and fall of their own free will.  At every point of contact, feelings come and go. It is as if a film unrolls a series of scenes by way of which time is mapping out endlessly the spatial coordinates of History. But History is an illusion that the train of time will stop and that every station is capped under the lid of a four-dimensional hypersurface


Modified Table

Modified Table

The scope of reality may be independent but limited. The thing about information is that it is contextual, depending on the circumstances that form the setting of an event. A medium is required for every transfer of information — sound, light, or energy. No message is received faster than the speed of light, even though there is evidence of faster-than-light signaling in quantum superposition,  motion in GW170817 jet, and ejection from the black hole MAXI J1820+070. 


Information was already lost when primordial magnetic fields transferred a significant fraction of their energy to heat the colder intergalactic medium at Cosmic Dawn. The union of time and space was crafted with encoded information to at least 10,000 to 100,000 times more than it is currently known to us. The loss of information involved energy dissipation and decay of primordial magnetic fields. It was as irreversible as time itself.


A four-dimensional reality lies within a higher-dimensional geometry. Shrinking extra dimensions encrypted with information, waiting to be released, could transfer entropy into the four-dimensional Universe, providing a new way to solve the horizon and flatness problems. Entropy isn’t just a probability of change in agency; it refers to the concept of concrescence and implies a linkage of entropy with becoming


Is there then such a thing as a true, ontological state? Gerard t’Hooft argues that the Universe started to be in such a state and its “evolution law is such that, at all times in the future, it will still be in an ontological state”. Regardless of the initial state we started from and what was lost in the past, “the state in the future will be an ontological one”. What we have here, he asserts, is a conservation law, the conservation of ontology.


In geometry, I see the simplicity of forms and the essence of beauty. While a conservation law determines the conservation of the ontological state, suppose, Eddington wrote, that “we were asked to arrange the following in two categories ⎯ Distance, mass, electric force, entropy, beauty and melody,  entropy would be placed alongside beauty and melody and not with the first three”, as if entropy could be perceived intuitively. I would then understand that, in the conservation of ontology within the Universe’s contours of information fluctuation, there is entropy, beauty, and melody

Entropy is only found when the parts are viewed in association, and it is by viewing or hearing the parts in association that beauty and melody are discerned. All three are features of arrangement.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The nature of the physical world

While entropy measures the randomness of the choices but does not care what those choices are, beauty and melody are the qualitative properties necessary for the Universe to feel and be felt. Sounds may have a transcendental nature, outside the boundary of our three-dimensional physical reality. Emerging from the quantum realm, a sound is elicited by any motion of any length even that of an intuitive spark in one’s head. Resonance inside mirrors sounds outside. There exists a sounding field and the field of consciousness is filled with its ringings. The Universe, as I imagined, is a symphony of lights and sounds played on the keyboard of time. 

How could a higher-dimensional Universe be revealed out of a flat surface of reality? The union between time and space appears out of balance, with extra dimensions mostly referred to as length-like potentials of a spatial nature. But if at the dawn of everything, a kind of union of time and space was formed, resulting in the two intertwined entities having independent significance, why then would space be the only compact manifold as if extra dimensions shrink as spatial ones expand, creating a “dynamical” or “cosmological” dimensional reduction?

George Frederic Watts, The Dweller in the innermost

George Frederic Watts, The Dweller in the innermost

It isn’t that higher dimensions are non-existent. They may be empty, rather lacking the physical properties we are familiar with. To catch a glimpse at extra dimensions, there’s a need to zoom in and out and in the process, all things come in and out of consciousness. Our interest in what is not there and how to interpret such absence comes from the understanding that 95%  of the Universe is unseen, made chiefly of hidden dark energy and concealed dark matter. The lack of proximity does not enable us to see the wells from which particles crawl out. 


Our Universe is caught in the illusion of a three-dimensional house whose back door is time. Beyond its three macroscopic spatial dimensions, it is as if it holds a series of big and small geometrical structures, each adding to the multifold reality. Entities and their properties reveal themselves during the inputs and outputs of physical processes. Time, I feel, is the universal constant. 


It is a paradox that something so elusive and intangible as the ontological state of the Universe across time and space is the subject of a conservation law, with the caveat that the ontological states needed to describe the micro world, are likely to differ in many ways from the classical laws we are used to, Gerard t’Hooft concedes. A conservation law selects which quantum superpositions can be allowed and which notSo if a strong correlation between the ontological variables, as a result of their shared past, contributes to the conversation of ontology in the future, could an internal compass or external attractor pulling forward the essence of reality be in the form of a melody?

Such elusiveness is reflected in human endeavors. From Mallarmé’s Throw of the Dice to Scriabin’s Enigma, we feel embedded in the crisscross hatchings of the universal landscape, unable to escape. To borrow Alexander Scriabin’s words, the ontological state of the Universe may be “terribly slippery and evasive, and in this slippery evasiveness,” there is beauty and great coquetry. And there’s no way you’ll ever catch it…So we are bound to the dark side, the Shadows. Even what we have learned to know as the baryonic matter is mainly spread through the diffuse plasma and gas of the intergalactic medium. And then there is us on this tiny blue planet lost in the midst of only ten percent of the star-made baryonic matter, confronted with what we observe and gifted with the ability to dream and reflect. 


George Frederic Watts, Hope 1886

George Frederic Watts, Hope 1886

We carry dreams that will be further shaped by those who follow. Dreams will seed, grow and become fruits reaped by a community of minds.

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