Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Systems: Indivisibility v. Transcendance

This one once had the respective pleasures of counseling two systems, each of whom were 5C and working on travel technologies. Both were pretty normal: each had a stable star cycle to work with, and the first had three occupied planets (one origin, one established non-origin, one effectively privatized), while the second had one origin, with no intra-system expansion possible. They were trying to go faster, so naturally they faced the issue of infinity cascades, which here is usually known through Zeno's paradoxes (the arrow paradox, Achilles and the tortoise, etc. If you don't remember those, here). The basic issues deal with light and dark, in that you have to transverse the IC in some way before you can "travel at the speed of dark" (sorry, more new stuff; the only way to "exceed" the speed of light is to "travel" at the speed of dark, which isn't really traveling in the way the expression serves here, because light always has to travel, while dark is always already there).

In each case the goal was accomplished, but differently, which feels weird in retrospect. The first system utilized indivisibility, in a throwback to classical Earth's conception of the atom, i.e., a foundational structure which cannot be further divided. And yeah, the atom can be divided, and the quark, etc., but at a smaller point, they found something, don't even remember the name, where they concluded it was impossible to further divide the quantity. Fractions no longer applied, ergo the paradox wasn't a paradox--in order to advance at all, Achilles would have to cover at least that minimum distance, making it impossible for him to not overtake the tortoise, given sufficient time. And they did well with that. All sorts of practical applications. Still, they couldn't get darkspeed, at least while this one was there, because they didn't technically have the right answer. Earth repeatedly tries to follow a similar path, simultaneously and hypocritically adopting hypothetical endless divisibility alongside the "obviousness" of movement.

The second system did it in an entirely different way: by addressing the paradox directly, they did other experiments and determined that there were no indivisible quantities, and that therefore, all movement anywhere, everywhere, was and would remain a paradox.

And it is a paradox. Even to take a single step is a paradox, because before you can move your foot any given distance forward, you have to cover half the distance, then half the remaining distance, then half the remaining distance, etc., which should technically be forever. You can conceptually divide anything, even if you can't physically do it; anything that can exist can have a half, so Achilles can't ever catch the tortoise. Yet he does. However beautiful math can be, it's still a tautology. That should humble us here, but it seems instead to only embolden us (irony, among the more sophisticated of the currently perceivable paradoxes).

Anyway, for the second system, the way they eliminate the dilemma was to conclude that, by overtaking the tortoise (as it were--one of the popular old-timey stories there was a pretty cool one about the impossibility of clapping your hands, due to the infinite distance between them), Achilles was committing an impossible act. The very nature of reality, therefore, was itself paradoxical. Existence was contrary, they maintained, ergo they rather more easily approached the issue of darkspeed. The essence of existence was the generation of impossibility, inasmuch as we might understand impossibility, which is why they did much better much faster. Their computers also got lots better, but this one didn't deal with that part. Anyway, fun.

The impossibility of existence is fundamental to understanding evolution. We're going to do a more detailed overview of that later on, focusing on reality rather than on refuting the hatred-based systems, so this one shared the above anecdote as a setup to that. During the interlude, reflect on the genuine impossibility of life and movement. Take a breath--in order for the air to travel from your nose or mouth to your lungs, it has to traverse half the length of your esophagus, then half the remaining length, then half the remaining length, and so on forever. Did you successfully take the breath? There's no way for it to be otherwise except by conjoining your perception of reality with your perception of impossibility.

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