Thursday, June 07, 2012

temporal friction

We came to see the problem as one of material friction, rather than of abstract entropy. Information was still the key, but it was finally clear that what we perceive as information is just the tip of an iceberg.

The resolution of the dark matter problem demonstrated that the deeper structure of reality is anisotropic, made up of tiny needles of entropy - a material structure, now, not a mathematical description. And these needles, they are all pointed towards the past. Whatever part of the universe that moves away from the past is brushed through those needles, which scrape and tear and lacerate the informational structure that we recognize as reality.

That reality we came to see as the product of a long process of selection - some informational structure is torn apart as soon as it forms, while some is hardier, even self-correcting. Life was a structure, we saw, that had adapted to a long path through the deeper universe, even making use of the dark matter anisotropies, to store and convert energy, to drive its own processes of selection and sub-adaptation. But no forms of life could navigate through the darkness. Not until the humans came, and then, for them, it became a prime concern.

We navigated the Earth's surface, its skies and its seas. We navigated the first darkness, of space, and the surfaces of other worlds. All the time, there was that constant abrasion, wearing off man after woman, nation after world, age after eon. All along, we were looking for the way through - the clear way through the darkness. We found it - as I said, we came to see the problem as one of material friction.

Moving against the anisotropy disrupts information. Moving with it smooths information, conforms it, puts it in neat rows and columns, but this has the strange effect of making life uninteresting. If you're adapted to something, then when you lose it you notice it's gone. It's the same with entropy - when you go through life with information conforming rather than disrupting, you go from senselessness to perfection. This can be beautiful, but too often it's just another level of senselessness, on top of the fact that conformative memory processes take a lot of time to install and master, and you find yourself missing the old order of things, no matter how far beyond human you've gone. To have your thoughts and actions gather energy, collect and bind heat, and deliver it into your body... a useful novelty, a tool or practice, but nothing fundamental.

What was interesting was when you could remove the anisotropy altogether. No arrow of time, except for what you choose to arrange. Laws of thermodynamics become adjustable, optional. When we learned not just to navigate through the darkness, but to engineer it to our own purposes, then...

That, more than any other development, was what changed us.

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