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Micro and Macro

Pine needle. Light micrograph of a transverse section through a leaf (needle) of a pine tree (Pinus sp.). The leaves are needle-like in order to present a large surface area for photosynthesis but prevent too much water loss (transpiration). They have an epidermis (orange) of thick walled cells covered with a thick layer of cuticle. The mesophyll layer (green) under the epidermis is made up of parenchyma cells with in-folded walls, in-between these are resin canals (white circles). The vascular cylinder (centre) is surrounded by the endodermis (blue) which regulates water and mineral movement. Under the endodermis are two vascular bundles made up of phloem sieve cells (blue) and xylem tracheids (red). Magnification: x46 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

Dead Stars

This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the scattered remains of an exploded star named Cassiopeia A. Spitzer’s infrared detectors “picked” through these remains and found that much of the star’s original layering had been preserved.

In this false-color image, the faint, blue glow surrounding the dead star is material that was energized by a shock wave, called the forward shock, which was created when the star blew up. The forward shock is now located at the outer edge of the blue glow. Stars are also seen in blue. Green, yellow and red primarily represent material that was ejected in the explosion and heated by a slower shock wave, called the reverse shock wave.

The picture was taken by Spitzer’s infrared array camera and is a composite of 3.6-micron light (blue); 4.5-micron light (green); and 8.0-micron light (red).

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Minn.

A good visual representation of my hyperconjecture that the development of significance is an accumulation through time and entropy is a dispersal across space. In the case of significance, I think that it originates both at the ‘beginning’ of time and feeds forward (standard causation) as well as originating at the ‘end’ of time and draws backward (retrocausation). I suspect that standard causation is literal and factual, and that retrocausation is actually figurative and ‘fictional’ (both more and less real than fact – foreshadowing, memory, etc).

From these two anchor points of singularity/totality, everythingness is divided and multiplied by nothingness, which can be seen in the division of nuclear-isomorphic/radial symmetric patterns. Multiplicity tends to propagate outward from unity.

Note that these patterns only suggest significance to us because we are conscious human beings who can see them. They may not be very significant to a cat. I would say that is because humans are further up the chain, working with a larger curd of significance that gives us access to the thinner air of esoteric mysteries and technical precision which exist (really insist) higher up the food chain toward the singularity.

In contrast, dead stars, even though they take time to die, could not explode if they were confined to a single space. An explosion occurs in an instant (in star time – ie a single moment in a star’s inertial frame, a scale I’m saying ticks off in terms of events that matter to the experiencer rather than a universal indexical scale like seconds or millenia).

With the pine needle cross section, even though we are only seeing a relatively meaningless moment in time, we can infer something of a biological narrative, building this idiosyncratic, private history which is purposeful-teleological and negentropic. With the pine needle, it seems to us that something cares about what it is doing, while the images of exhausted stars blasting into an oblivion of infinitesimal fragments has more of the sense of release and randomness – a scattering into the void. This is a pattern which seeks the perpendicular axis to the singularity-everythingness. It seeks a-signifying, generic, nullification.

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