Hobbes' Choice wrote:Rubbish. 2D is not real in any meaningful sense. It is a human conceit.

Of course it is. 2D is a space and spaces are mathematical objects, not physical ones. 3D space is no different, as Leibniz tried so hard to tell everybody. The great Persian philosopher/mathematicians knew all about spaces, and although European science imported their tools from the Persians they neglected to import the important philosophy of spaces which was designed to go with them. I guess the cloistered monks in their seclusion felt they needed no instruction in philosophy from a bunch of godless heathen when they had Aquinas to tell them what was what.

Mathematicians and physicists use many different kinds of spaces as reference frames within which they can model certain procedures of thought, which they do with a range of different symbols, placeholders, and other abstract entities. These various abstractions, together with the abstract spaces in which they are applied, collectively form a system of symbolic logic which we generically know as mathematics. This is a rather misleading sort of term because there are a range of different kinds of mathematics which are used to model a range of different procedures of thought.

Since Newton there has been a tendency in science to conflate the abstract symbols which it uses with the underlying truths of nature for which these symbols are being used as descriptive tools. The Persians would have regarded this as a grave metaphysical error, as would have the Pythagoreans if it comes to that. Or Leibniz or Kant or Spinoza or Russell or Peirce or Whitehead or Lao Tsu. Perhaps even the pre-Socratics would have raised a sceptical eyebrow at such a conflation, although this is rather uncertain because these guys didn't really have any mathematics.

The Persians taught us that mathematics cannot be used to model the truths of nature. Mathematics can only be used to model a pre-defined narrative about the truths of nature, a narrative which in the modern parlance is often called a paradigm.When science conflates the map with the territory in this way it unwittingly conflates its paradigm with truth and for the past century this has led to much confusion in the science of physics. This confusion actually dates all the way back to Newton but it was monstrously exacerbated by the insights of Albert Einstein. Newton did what no Persian mathematician would ever have done. Newton modelled his procedure of thought in the 3D space of Rene Descartes and immediately accorded this abstract entity a real and physical ontology. Ever since that time Newton's pre-defined narrative about the truths of nature has slowly but surely burrowed its way into the minds of all the generations who followed him.

We have all been tainted by this flawed narrative and to excise it from our minds is no conceptual bargain in a post star-trek world. However it is most certainly flawed because this narrative describes a universe which makes no sense. What is it? What is so badly wrong with Newton's so exquisitely painted portrait of our universe? The answer to this question is a truth which lies hidden in plain sight. So bloody obvious is this truth that nearly all of the philosophers and poets in history have spoken of nothing else. So bloody obvious is this truth that each of us knows it instinctively within our innermost selves. The elephant in the room of physics is that TIME PASSES.

In our Newtonian confusion we have allowed ourselves to compose a narrative in our minds of the universe as a PLACE, in accordance with Newton's procedure of thought and his subsequent ontologising of the Cartesian space. However the universe exists as a place only in our minds and nowhere else and thus the Cartesian space is a mathematical abstraction which doesn't physically exist. The real universe is an EVENT because reality is that which is continuously coming into existence all around us, exactly as it appears to be. Sometimes we just can't see the wood for the trees and seek to find complications where no complications exist but the fact is that the most fundamental truth of the universe is blindly bloody obvious.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”