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A theory of everything?

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A theory of everything (ToE) is a proposed theory which combines consistently the two well known and well verified theories in physics of general relativity and quantum field theory. If one could find such a theory, it could help understand questions of dark matter and black holes, as well provide the most fundamental description of our universe. There are two major candidates for a ToE, string theory (or M-theory) and loop quantum gravity. Both, however, still have issues, even after being worked on for 30+ years.

My thoughts are that there are three possible reasons why such a ToE has not been discovered. Either scientist are not trying hard enough (doubtful), we need to wait for more data (could take a generation), or more interestingly, such a ToE is fundamentally impossible. This is the question I wish to discuss here:

Is a ToE fundamentally possible?

I propose there is something fundamental about the universe which is unknowable. Given we live in the universe, and take measurements within it, we interact with the universe. The only completely closed system is the universe itself. Thus one could only completely understand the universe by observing it from outside the universe. Since this is not possible, neither is a ToE.

Or is it that a current candidate for a ToE will get closer and closer to the physical reality of the universe as it gets modified and changed, but only reach an exact description as time goes to infinity?


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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25 minutes ago, Someone here said:

there is something fundamental about the universe which is unknowable.

The universe is knowable. Completely.

Theories and concepts are smaller than the universe. There will never be a theory encompassing the whole Existence, except if you would call the whole Existence a "theory."

Best toe I know:

Reality is One Infinite Singularity that is fundamenally identical to nothingness. Nothingness has no limits and is therefore infinite. This nothingness / infinity is one unified thing and can only create the illusion of separation but never be actually seperated.

It creates this illusion because through this illusion many beautiful experiences become possible, like sharing love with an "other."

 

Edited by Michael Jackson

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5 minutes ago, Michael Jackson said:

The universe is knowable. Completely.

Theories and concepts are smaller than the universe. There will never be a theory encompassing the whole Existence, except if you would call the whole Existence a "theory."

Best toe I know:

Reality is One Infinite Singularity that is fundamenally identical to nothingness. Nothingness has no limits and is therefore infinite. This nothingness / infinity is one unified thing and can only create the illusion of separation but never be actually seperated.

It creates this illusion because through this illusion many beautiful experiences become possible, like sharing love with an "other."

 

No, this is simply not true. A knowledge of the Whole (cosmology) will never be arrived at solely by studying all the details of the Universe, no more than a knowledge of the ecosystem of the entire forest and how it works can be arrived at solely by studying all the details of the trees. And this is exactly what modern science is trying to do --- trying to understand how the forest works by studying all the veins and serrations of some of the leaves on some of the trees.


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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53 minutes ago, Someone here said:

A theory of everything (ToE) is a proposed theory which combines consistently the two well known and well verified theories in physics of general relativity and quantum field theory.

The most mysterious thing is the connection between no time and time | and the connection between nothing and something. Thats the easy part to say, that "ohh from the ultimate perspective there is no difference between the two, because all differences collapses, when you look it at from a certain level of conscioiusness".

Thats fine, but to actually try to make sense of the no time - time connection and try to explain it how and why it works and why it doesn't work other ways, but this particular way.

Edited by zurew

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4 minutes ago, Someone here said:

A knowledge of the Whole (cosmology) will never be arrived at solely by studying

I am talking about knowledge in a higher sense than conceptual / theoretical knowledge.

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I think the problem between general relativity and quantum mechanics is getting experimental evidence for the relationship between the two. They both work at vastly different scales and because gravity is so incredibly weak at the quantum level, its influence (at the subatomic scale) is hard to work out experimentally.

The one thread that links the two is light and the speed of light. Both QM and GR involve or affect light, although in different ways. If a TOE is going to be found I reckon it will have to be there.

You can only understand the universe in generality, you could never know the specifics of every single particle etc. So theories aim to be as general and wide ranging as possible - theories get ever more general with time as connections are found and experiments get carried out. In that sense maybe eventually there will be a TOE. But my own intuition is that no theory will ever be complete, because there is infinite nuance to nature.

Edited by LastThursday

Each of us is a unique mix of the same things.

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7 minutes ago, LastThursday said:

But my own intuition is that no theory will ever be complete, because there is infinite nuance to nature.

;)


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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9 minutes ago, LastThursday said:

I think the problem between general relativity and quantum mechanics is getting experimental evidence for the relationship between the two. They both work at vastly different scales and because gravity is so incredibly weak at the quantum level, its influence (at the subatomic scale) is hard to work out experimentally.

The one thread that links the two is light and the speed of light. Both QM and GR involve or affect light, although in different ways. If a TOE is going to be found I reckon it will have to be there.

You can only understand the universe in generality, you could never know the specifics of every single particle etc. So theories aim to be as general and wide ranging as possible - theories get ever more general with time as connections are found and experiments get carried out. In that sense maybe eventually there will be a TOE. But my own intuition is that no theory will ever be complete, because there is infinite nuance to nature.

looking for repeating fractals was only touted as a possibility. Nonetheless, if you don't learn about the details you don't gain an understanding either. Taking a top-down approach lacks basis without some kind of theoretical underpinning gained from science's bottom-up approach. Without a body of knowledge attained through a bottom-up approach one's assumptions about the big picture gained from a top-down approach will be built without foundations. Many conflicting myths arose throughout history because people tried to gain an overview without having done much spadework.

The universe has phenomenal effects at all scales and the behaviour at each scale should at least tell us something about the other scales, not to mention being fascinating and important in its own right. Finding related fractals won't tell us everything about phenomena we can't observe directly, but perhaps nothing will. We don't know yet. Ask in ten thousand years' time and see how we're going.


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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32 minutes ago, zurew said:

The most mysterious thing is the connection between no time and time | and the connection between nothing and something. Thats the easy part to say, that "ohh from the ultimate perspective there is no difference between the two, because all differences collapses, when you look it at from a certain level of conscioiusness".

Thats fine, but to actually try to make sense of the no time - time connection and try to explain it how and why it works and why it doesn't work other ways, but this particular way.

 

29 minutes ago, Michael Jackson said:

I am talking about knowledge in a higher sense than conceptual / theoretical knowledge.

Science has no theoretical underpinning of how the Universe works as a Whole. It simply doesn't exist. And I never said anything about assuming. I'm merely saying that studying details gives no knowledge of how everything works at the most "macro level". How a knowledge of the Whole could be had is a separate issue entirely. I'm merely saying that it cannot be arrived at using the methodology of modern science, otherwise they would currently have more to offer than just saying that most of the Universe is unknown, i.e. is "dark matter" and "dark energy".


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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15 minutes ago, Someone here said:

Nonetheless, if you don't learn about the details you don't gain an understanding either.

Sure I'm with that. You do the spadework and look for connections and generalities which emerge out of that. Maxwell realised that light was an electrogmagnetic wave off the hundreds of detailed experiments done by others.

15 minutes ago, Someone here said:

The universe has phenomenal effects at all scales and the behaviour at each scale should at least tell us something about the other scales,

I don't think this holds in general because of emergence. For example the laws of thermodynamics emerges from the individual behaviour of atoms moving around - or spiral galaxies emerge from the interaction of gravity, angular momentum and matter. The thing about emergence is that it's hard to predict the behaviour of systems with a large number of interacting parts. The three body problem for example is the best that can be done exactly using mathematics, after that you have to use statistics and you start getting emergent behaviour.

Personally, I think general relativity is an emergent phenomenon because all mass comes down to subatomic particles and their forces: so whatever gravity means at the subatomic level, then emerges at a bigger scale as general relativity. It could be that the distortion of spacetime by mass emerges out of the interaction by a large number of entangled particles at the subatomic level.

Edited by LastThursday

Each of us is a unique mix of the same things.

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You are too scientifically driven. If you raise in consciousness you will understand that you can gain knowledge intuitively. That means without having to study or conduct research you can understand the nature of something. So could a TOE actually be created? Yes. Would it be complete? Yes and No. From a general sense it can be complete. But from a nuanced point no, because all nuance collapses into an infinite loop because the true nature of reality at its core is an infinite paradoxical loop that is ever expanding. So a TOE on the absolute and general level can be created, but from a relative level...NEVER because it would be infinite.


The same strength, the same level of desire it takes to change your life, is the same strength, the same level of desire it takes to end your life. Notice you are headed towards one or the other. - Razard86

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8 hours ago, Razard86 said:

If you raise in consciousness you will understand that you can gain knowledge intuitively.

Thing is, science has been more succesful than just using intuition alone. That's why science is done. The problem with gaining knowledge intuitively is you don't know if you're deceiving yourself.


Each of us is a unique mix of the same things.

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What a ToE seeks to do is to ground current theories in the same reduction base (a shared paradigm), along with the hope that some new answers will pop out from it (but that is not necessarily the case). To me, it looks like physicists have to learn from fields like psychology that having multiple paradigms is OK.


Intrinsic joy is revealed in the marriage of meaning and being.

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44 minutes ago, Carl-Richard said:

To me, it looks like physicists have to learn from fields like psychology that having multiple paradigms is OK

This is very true. Probably in the far future (probably not in our lifetime) science will evolve into a state where multiple different kind of epistemic foundations will be used to make sense of reality.

I know there are different kind of fields already, however they still have almost the same epistemic foundation.

For example, if they want to find out if aliens exist or not they will be open to explore it from multiple angles.

One angle could be the materialistic angle where we physically try to find evidence for life in the universe using physics, chemistry, biology etc.

One other angle could be to explore the same "question" or problem using different states of consciousness.

We could build infinite different kind of starting points, and go forward infinitely, and then we could combine all the insights together and see how many contradicts each other and how many could correlate.

 

Not being attached to any epistemic foundation or not being attached to any state of consciousness would be really really interesting to see in science.

Edited by zurew

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I think We cannot ever achieve a theory of everything because all we can do is to attempt to understand what we can see and measure. In my theory of the universe, I have many coexisting universes. In addition I have many different light speeds up to light speed infinity. A theory of everything can only be the theory of what we can see and measure and not a theory of everything.

Do you guys fundamentally agree or not ?


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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4 hours ago, Carl-Richard said:

What a ToE seeks to do is to ground current theories in the same reduction base (a shared paradigm), along with the hope that some new answers will pop out from it (but that is not necessarily the case). To me, it looks like physicists have to learn from fields like psychology that having multiple paradigms is OK.

 A ToE under my definition tries to understand the universe at the most fundamental level. I.e. the foundation on which all physics is built. After that complexity increases all the way up to human psychology and the physics of the laundry process to help explain why your mom cannot find your socks.


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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5 hours ago, LastThursday said:

Thing is, science has been more succesful than just using intuition alone. That's why science is done. The problem with gaining knowledge intuitively is you don't know if you're deceiving yourself.

All science and technology that actually functions is gained through intuition.  You don't know this because you are not conscious of it.

In the words of Nikola Tesla. "“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

Its fine, one day you will learn the truth. 


The same strength, the same level of desire it takes to change your life, is the same strength, the same level of desire it takes to end your life. Notice you are headed towards one or the other. - Razard86

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18 minutes ago, Razard86 said:

All science and technology that actually functions is gained through intuition.

And intuition can be wrong, that's why science does experiments and gains consensus. It's not either/or. The process of science is a combination both. You need intuition to tell you what experiments to do and to come up with theories. You need experiments and consensus to tell you if you're deceiving yourself or not - or at least to get rid of as much bias (deception) as possible.


Each of us is a unique mix of the same things.

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I'm reading a book on the Process Relational Philosophy of Alfred North Whithead right now.

Which, by the way if you're a fan of Ken Wilber, I'd highly recommend Whitehead as a much of Wilber's Four Quadrants Theory is built upon Whitehead'a dialectical process philosophy. But I digress...

I happened to come across a concise and illuminating analysis on both the utility and limitations of a 'Theory if Everything', that I thought I might share:

"The true activity of understanding consists in a voyage to abstraction which is in fact a voyage to the system in which the fact is enmeshed.

When a given systematic context is taken as fact, it demands a voyage to a still  wider context for its comprehension. Thus there is a dialectical movement in understanding, a movement encompassing the exploration and explication of wider and wider contexts, each step of which further enriches the knowledge of the original fact.

The task of philosophical understanding is to criticize these contexts in the sense of constructing a conceptual macro-system capable of elucidating their interrelationships.

However, no philosophical system can completely formulate the ultimate context, because it is still abstract. Therefore the philosophical voyage can never reach it's destination; the perfect system is unattainable. The object of trying is not stability but progress.

Not is philosohic enterprise an end in itself. Rather it is to render human life and the experienced world meaningful.

A philosophy is successful when it expresses the general nature of the world as disclosed to human interests."

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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3 hours ago, DocWatts said:

I'm reading a book on the Process Relational Philosophy of Alfred North Whithead right now.

Which, by the way if you're a fan of Ken Wilber, I'd highly recommend Whitehead as a much of Wilber's Four Quadrants Theory is built upon Whitehead'a dialectical process philosophy. But I digress...

I happened to come across a concise and illuminating analysis on both the utility and limitations of a 'Theory if Everything', that I thought I might share:

"The true activity of understanding consists in a voyage to abstraction which is in fact a voyage to the system in which the fact is enmeshed.

When a given systematic context is taken as fact, it demands a voyage to a still  wider context for its comprehension. Thus there is a dialectical movement in understanding, a movement encompassing the exploration and explication of wider and wider contexts, each step of which further enriches the knowledge of the original fact.

The task of philosophical understanding is to criticize these contexts in the sense of constructing a conceptual macro-system capable of elucidating their interrelationships.

However, no philosophical system can completely formulate the ultimate context, because it is still abstract. Therefore the philosophical voyage can never reach it's destination; the perfect system is unattainable. The object of trying is not stability but progress.

Not is philosohic enterprise an end in itself. Rather it is to render human life and the experienced world meaningful.

A philosophy is successful when it expresses the general nature of the world as disclosed to human interests."

Pretty heavy stuff. Thanks for sharing :)

 


all that matters is the quality of the present moment. Because that's all there is to reality. A present Moment 😇

 

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