Monday, August 6, 2012

We Love Each Other. Or We May Just Be Opposite Sides of The Same Bird

This is a deep one but it is probably the largest thought that has occurred in my tiny brain.

I'm a math and science nerd. I have a B.S. in Statistics and Mathematics with a minor in Biology from the University of South Alabama to prove it. I'm a nerd with credentials.

My bookshelf at home is littered with about 90% physics and other science books. It's more than a hobby for me. I am addicted.

Well my love for math and science goes back as far as I can remember and it is alive and well today.

I watched the reports of the Mars Curiosity's successful touchdown with excitement.

Well everytime I see science advancements in the news it puts my brain in motion. It makes me think about how that event affects others events and how those events are possible. I think about the materials used , etc and it eventually leads me back to some elemental question or truth about the universe. It leads me back to the "big questions". These questions like: What is the basic fabric of the universe?, or How did it begin?, or Can the Speed of Light be broken?,.....

Well one of these questions that has always been profound to me is the concept of forces. There are lots of forces in the universe. For the Mars Curiosity trip, scientists had to adjust for gravity and magnetism. This gets my wheels spinning. What is magnetism?

When I think about the Mars Curiosity being shot towards Mars I can't help but think of the billions upon billions of calculations that had to be made to determine its trajectory alone. Many millions of these calculations had to deal with gravitational and magnetic forces which would be interacting with the Mars Curiosity along its path.

The shear volume of calculations boggles my mind, but it is obvious that these calculations got done properly because landed on its target.

This part of science and math is very very impressive but not profound. The volume of calculations and the fact that someone initially generated the equations used is phenomenal but the act of calculating it is what we'd call "plug and chug".

Where I've always been the most amazed has been one step deeper. What is magnetism? Not what are the effects? What is it?

We understand that magnetism occurs and over the almost 3000 years we've been actively observing it , geniuses have slowly but surely evolved our mathematical understanding of it to an incredible degree.

We have a grasp of the effects of magnetism to the point that we can shoot a tiny projectile 350 million miles and not only land on Mars but specifically land at the exact spot on Mars we want to. Obviously we can adjust for the affect of a myriad of variables to an impressive degree.

But that doesn't tell me exactly what is going on during the attraction and repulsion of objects during magnetism.

Well during the reading of one of those nerdy physics books on my bookshelf, I had an epiphany.

It was the single biggest thought I have ever formulated in my mind.

Let me pause here and say I by no means AT ALL think I am the first to conceptualize the concept I'm about to describe nor would it be impressive to any scientist. But the idea was completely foreign to me and the concept wasn't explained to me, my brain took the pieces it had and it formulated the concept.

For the first time I felt like a real scientist. I figured this out by myself. It felt good.

Now let's see if I can explain it.

Imagine a 3 dimensional object. For this example let's use an animal. Let's say a bird.

This is a cartoon bird and we will not be damaging it in any way.

Imagine that we split the bird directly between its eyes straight back all the way to its tail (like a sagittal section MRI). Let's look at one side

Ok. Because we are able to view the 2D slice of the bird from distance in a 3rd dimension of space we can see that it is obviously a slice of a 3D creature, namely the bird. We can also guess that the empty section in the middle is actually a tube (digestive tract) and therefore it connects the top part of the bird and the bottom (in the third dimension).

This is OUR perception of it. But imagine for the sake of this example you and I were scientists, living in 2D world. In the 2D world the upper part of the 3D bird is in no way connected to the bottom part. 

This means that as we observe these two parts, they would seem to be linked: when one section moved the other section moved although we never saw them touch, when one section got sick so did the other section although they never touched, and eventually when one section dies the other immediately dies although they are seperated by space. 

Of course we know (as 3D people looking in at the 2D slice of the bird) that the bird is a 3D object and it is 100% connected physically, which explains all the connectedness in the 2D world.

Once this concept sinks in it is a quick leap to thinking about our interactions in the 3D world and how some of the "strange forces" that act upon us, like gravity and magnetism, are actually a physical connection on a higher dimensional plane. 

I understand that conceptualizing physical space in any order beyond the 3 dimensions our brains interact in is not just difficult, it is pretty much impossible. We can't conceptualize the 4th, 5th, 6th, spatial dimension. Our brains don't work that way. 

I find this very interesting: Math is the language or matrix from which the universe is understood. As we progress through time we keep getting a better grasp on this math and therefore a more accurate idea of what the universe is and how it works. And our most current theories of physics ALL insist that our universe is constructed of more than 3 spacial dimensions. All of them. M Theory, S Theory, etc may have differing opinions on number of dimensions but they ALL agree there are more than 3.

Because of this, visualizing the 2 dimensional slice of the bird really cleared up a ton of things for me.

Our scientists understand what happens when a huge magnet of size X is put a specific distance away from magnet of size Y. We can calculate the outcome very very accurately. But that doesn't tell us why two rocks are pulling toward each other.

The two dimensional slice of the bird also doesn't explain what is going on with the magnets, BUT it gives clues as to why we CAN'T understand the connection fully.

Just like when we were imagining being the 2D scientists, looking at the slice of the bird, all we see is strange motion and force at a distance. 

The scientist in me always wants to ask, "But Why?", "But Why?" so reaching a result that is a question mark would seem to be unsatisfying. But it isn't.

To me it is beautiful in this case. 

Since the dawn of time mankind has had various versions of the feeling "we are all the universe", "we are all one".
We have all had Deja Vu in some sense. We have all felt love.  We have all felt a connection to a place or person that seems oddly more than it should be. 

I'm not proclaiming that these feelings mean we physically have a connection with these people or places in the 6th spacial dimension.

But the fact that it is possible makes me smile.

The first civilizations of man understood that there is a connection between us that supercedes this physical 3 dimensions and now after 10,000 years of development our incredibly advanced science........well, it says the same thing.

In conclusion I will try to explain why this matters to me so much. Being a man of science, I
always wanna think everything is
understandable with enough
tinkering. The problem came in
when (much like everyone else)
l experienced things that don't
work as if it were made in a laboratory (like love).
To me, the revelation about the 2D view of the 3D bird and how it relates to magnetism (for example) let me know
that the "magical" things in life are
also (probably) understandable with
the right tinker toys (scientific instruments). However We will just never
have those tinker toys at our disposal.
That's powerful. That means life can
still have the magical moments. AND ....(here's the kicker)
can do so without limiting the power of science. That is Beautiful.

<meta name="title" content="We Love Each Other. Or We May Just Be Opposite Sides of The Same Bird" />
<meta name="description" content="A theorhetical philosophical explaination of love and magnetism" />
<meta name="keywords" content="love, magnetism, physics, dimensions, forces of nature, magnetic force explained, love explained" />
<meta name="author" content="Eric Erdman" />
<meta name="owner" content="Eric Erdman" />
<meta name="copyright" content="(c) 2012" />


  1. I love this. Great writing, Mr. Erdman.

  2. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I love em all but this one is close to my heart.

  3. takes me straight back to a wonderful dinner in west mobile ... and wells up a bunch of feelings .... just gonna have to put it down to that "OSOTB" theory xx

  4. Julz- I have no doubt you and I are connected in the next dimension. I feel that we are much more penguiny than my illustrations however.

    And yes that was a wonderful night of conversation and food. We should repeat soon and often. December at your spot if not sooner.

  5. That IS beautiful. Well written, thought provoking and profound. Just as these things should be.