Are We Really Finite?

Are We Really Finite?

Ken Wais


Keywords: membrane theory, Riemann manifolds, production, theory

We are characterized by our finite existence.We only live so long and can say or write a limited set things during our lifetimes.What is much greater than this fact, is all that we create and cherish in our complex world is finite too.Still, there is something odd and most appealing to consider in this issue of finitude and human beings.We have processes and machines that run our world today that seem to be constructed to be permanent appurtenances of ourselves.I have been thinking about this now for a few days going to and from work and it started me on another conveyer belt of related reflections.

Take computer servers for a start.These machines never shutdown permanently, they must be up and running for all the networks the world over to communicate.When one ages, starts to fail, we replace it.Its finite lifetime is picked up by another, and then another, and another in this way, the process continues to infinity.As long as the process of network switches, routers and their attendant e-devices are kept going, any one component may be finite but the process seems infinite.We can apply this idea to human genetic reproduction.While we as individuals die, our species through long generations of sexual reproduction seems to be an infinite process.The only supremum on this process is the destruction of our spatial world or our self-destruction, through nuclear war.Astrophysicists have calculated the fusion process going on inside our Sun will eventually, due to gravitational pressure building inside it, cause an explosion of the mass of the Sun, destroying our Solar System.In the future, space engineers (the famous rocket scientists) project they can provide an escape for us to other worlds that are inhabitable.So, this long genetic chain of reproduction elsewhere could continue, conceivably.Of course then we must consider that the spatial universe may collapse on itself or infinitely expand.In either case no form of life like ours could exist.So, weíre back to finitude again.I will reconsider this later.Letís go back to the finite nature of our everyday world.

Everything we make and use in this global economyseems to be based on the idea that all is finite.We make and consume continually.We buy new cars, computers, clothes, cleaning products, pills, appliances, andeven body parts.And our production is well enormous! I am amazed in my internet research work, every day, how many firms make and produce things. Greater yet, others that contribute to these firms that produce. Not to mention those that are go-betweens for others that make products for other products or parts of products that make final products and it all goes on and on. Take the simple cigarette lighter I used just now. To make this simple thing, at least 4 different production firms must be involved. One to make the gaseous mixture that ignites the flame, a plastics maker to create the holder, another producer must make the malleable steel header, and there must a label maker. Of course, this could all be done by one firm, but not the processes. Then add the thought that these little things are being made in their millions day in and day out! Stop and think of cars, gas turbines, MRO scanners, beds, condoms, shoes, desks, planes, bedsheets, etc and their component parts. You get my point? I worked for an engineering firm as a statistical/database analyst about 10 years ago, and found that to make a working gas turbine, there were 50,000 drawings involved. This translates to hundreds of thousands of components parts which many different firms make. Imagine that! The things we make as a species go well into the trillions and this production is going on all the time!I am more mind-boggled by the number of things that are recycled and casted in other forms.The numbers or productive processes reach into the billions!The life of anything human or otherwise is finite, but not the processes that keeps making things.All of our advanced economies are based on this finite-to-infinite process of use and production.Letís look at the computer network example again.Any node on the network can shut down, but the network itself can never do this unless there a catastrophic power failure and even then, we restore power.The idea behind the network engineering scheme is to keep the support elements of the nodes (by which I mean workstations) running with a system that reproduces itself continuously.So, disk drives are backuped weekly, daily monthly and then archived to storage discs.But what about the source of this process: electrical power.Well our smart electrical engineers have an answer for this too.Plan new power plants all the time; retire one, start another.They even project power supply years into future. So, in the end the idea of a continuous uninterruptible system is obtained.The parts are not important, the system is what matters.It is like what we do naturally through sexual reproduction.No one individual matters in the chain of life, just the process of genetic reproduction.With this similarity, some thinkers have begun to theorize about the human race achieving infinite existence.

It seems that we human beings have come to believe we can break the necessary finitude to which life has succumbed.Developments in physics, specifically mathematical physics indicate that the universe is multi-dimensional and has never had a beginning and wonít have an end in all dimensions.The theory goes by the strange name of Membrane Theory or M-Theory for short.

In M-theory we have an infinite number of spatial dimensions each of which are divided by being layered one upon the other.I wonít go into the technical details of M-Theory in mathematical physic here, but encourage interested readers to review this PDF document by Robbert Dijkgraaf:

He is a mathematician and lecturer at Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics in Amsterdam, Holland.So, to go back to the story, we have layers of dimensions each made of extremely small strings in one dimension.Strings are the smallest things that exist.They are one-dimensional elements of space not things in space.They can connect to higher spatial dimensions like 2-dimensions, 3-dimensions, 4-dimensions up to N-dimensional manifolds.It is this connectedness that makes space-time one big membrane.Now for the problem, we know that any living being on one membrane of this infinite connected spatial system canít get out its own section to another.In this case those living things become finite beings living in a trapped section of the Brane (as it has been dubbed).But what if we could travel between layers of this vastly connected spatio-temporal system?Then our life-sustaining processes could truly become infinite; as infinite as the Membrane itself. We must explain this outcome by diving into the world of cosmology.

M-Theory conjectures that the Brane has always existed and always will.It rules out non-existence leading to spatial existence from the Big Bang theory (BB).BB posits that at the quantum level of matter and space, events are unpredictable.There is good evidence for this too.For instance radioactive isotopes of some elements decay in a random fashion.Even the basic elements of an atom are subject to decay over time randomly.Thus, BB posits that this unpredictability is inherent to existence itself.There is no reason to doubt that at some unknown time a point of extreme density simply occurred; uncaused, out of nothing.And there you have it, our initial substratum for the Big Bang.This is where M-Theory demurs.As stated above, it assumes spatio-temporal existence is infinite.Both theories must make one or the other assumption to even get started.

Now, we can explain how M-Theory has solved one of the most difficult problems that String Theory addressed in quantum mechanical analysis (QM).In so doing we will see that it may just possibly allow us to achieve infinite existence.

M-Theory makes use of the idea from Bernhard Riemann of connected geometries known as Riemann Spaces.That is, all of space is coordinative in that any elements say x,y,z of the usual spatial variables are indivisibly related to each other.This means 2-dimensional geometry is bounded to 3-dimensional geometry and 3-dimensional to 4-dimensional and so on. In quantum physics this means they are entangled.So, if you shorten length of an object you must change its other dimensions too. Take a square if itís 3 x 3 and you make it 2 x 2 you shorten both the length and height and preserve the square.If you only change one dimension you change the shape of the object.The same would apply if the object were 3-D.Clearly dimensions are connected but not the things within in them. We donít grow or shrink if dimensions change or to be more precise if the manifold changes.Manifolds are the classes of dimensions.It is axiomatic way of categorizing dimensions in topology. In topology, mathematicians are concerned with shape and form but not measurement. So, in the next example, I'm not talking about actual spatial measurements but the form of the structure.If the dimensions of a room shrink, the objects within it donít.This is important, because while manifolds are connected we are not as objects within them.A problem in QM is that light seems to defy is the notion in General Relativity that it must take time to displace in space.Quantum Entanglement observes that if one photon of light is displaced from another, they seem to be connected in such a way that whatever happens to one simultaneously happens to the other.Experimentation has confirmed that two separated photons when perturbed from each other (that is acted upon) each share the perturbation, though this action should take time to travel the distance from one to the other.Why is this?The answer comes from this idea of connected geometries.By the way, connected geometries has the formal name of Riemann Spaces in topology, just to introduce another arcane term for your enjoyment.

Light is a dimension transcending phenomenon.What do I mean by this?This requires some more physics to explain.Suppose we add another element to our dimensional model of space described by x,y,z elements and calledit T for time, then we have connected manifolds that occur in discrete instances of time. We have a spatio-temporal system that can be described by differential equations at discrete intervals.Below I give a simplified version of a configuration space for a particle called p, in a spatio-temporal system.

D(p) = dz + dy +dz +dt = 0


This would represent the starting point (called initial conditions) for a particle p at time 0.The particle p would be described by these elements and all would be 0 and thus the equation would sum to 0.Now, if this particle p was displaced the equation if were a light particle would still sum to 0!This means moving a light particle around doesnít change the differential equation from its initial condition.Light which is not a part of space-time itself is not affected by changes to the system.This means it, like space-time can grow or shrink with its changes.It can transcend space-time.So, to go back the M-Theory model, there is at least one part of the Brane that can go from one dimensional manifold to another.Physicists have found that gravity too can do this.If gravity is parameterized to be discrete particles of attractions called gravitons, they too can transcend space-time.Thus, light and gravity go from one dimensional space to another while other objects of matter, like things, and us canít.But what if we could?Well, thatís next.

I must say that the theoretic ideas Iíve discussed apply at the very small level of quantum mechanics.But, the conception can just as well apply macroscopically.Finally, after many digressions into cosmology, physics and topology, I can state why all this leads to our infinite existence.It comes in one long sentence Iíll present and end the article.I know itís been a long journey and hope you have stayed with it.

If M-theory is right, and we do have infinite spatio-temporal realities, then we might be able to exploit this to carry on continuous reproduction of our species in infinite 3-D universes on the Brane.