After Einstein’s Mollusk
I’m beginning to realize that Multisense Realism is an extension to the absolute of the approach that Einstein took in developing General Relativity. In doubting the existence of gravity as a product in space, he opened the door to a simpler universe where physical things relate to each other in an ordered way, not because some particular propulsion system is in place, but because the frame of reference of physical order itself is not rigid as we assume. He actually calls this new, flexible relativism of space co-ordinates ‘mollusks’:
“This non-rigid reference-body, which might appropriately be termed a “reference-mollusk,” is in the main equivalent to a Gaussian four-dimensional co-ordinate system chosen arbitrarily. That which gives the “mollusk” a certain comprehensibleness as compared with the Gauss co-ordinate system is the (really unqualified) formal retention of the separate existence of the space co-ordinate. Every point on the mollusk is treated as a space-point, and every material point which is at rest relatively to it as at rest, so long as the mollusk is considered as reference-body. The general principle of relativity requires that all these mollusks can be used as reference-bodies with equal right and equal success in the formulation of the general laws of nature; the laws themselves must be quite independent of the choice of mollusk.”
– Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory. 1920.
XXVIII. Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity
Einstein’s transcendence of ‘rigid reference bodies’ with flexible and independent inertial frames captures the essence of relativity but only scratches the surface in exposing the rigidity of physics, which, even in the post-Einsteinian era reduces the participant to a zero dimensional vector generic ‘observer’. While this adherence to rigid simplicity is critical for ‘freezing the universe’ into a static frame for computation purposes, it introduces an under-signifying bias to all matters pertaining to subjectivity – particularly emotion, identity, and meaning. In its drive for simplicity and universality, physics inadvertently becomes an agenda for the annihilation of the self and psyche.
Part of the genius of Einstein was to glimpse the tip of the iceberg of this confirmation bias and challenge it successfully through his mastery of field equations. In my view, Einstein’s vision was only partially understood, just long enough to develop a kind of Empire Strikes Back counter-revolution. After the initial flush of Bohr and Heisenberg’s relativistic-probabilistic interpretations of Quantum Mechanics in the 1920’s (The Spirit of Copenhagen), physics seems to have sought out a new level of reductionism. Information science has dissected Einsteins Mollusk into bits and strings, and re-imagining flexibility and independence as phantoms of a Multi-World Matrix. Einstein’s cosmological animism has been transformed into a cosmological animation – a simulation of matter-like information (that doesn’t matter) in a vacuum virtual sea of Dark Energy.
Rather than seeing this as a sign that we have come to a bold new understanding of cosmic existentialism, I see this as a black octagon sign of having mistaken the cul-de-sac for a highway. We have failed to understand ourselves and our universe and need to turn the whole thing completely around. The way to do this, I propose, is to go back to Einstein’s mollusk and pick up where he left off, questioning the rigidity of physical reference bodies.
In a way, I am suggesting that we relativize relativity itself. Not in the pop culture appropriation of relativism as merely the principle that ‘everything is relative’, but to understand how relation itself is the principle through which ‘everything’ is realized, and that that principle is identical with ‘sense’, i.e. subjective participation and perception of self and other.
While physical science is perfectly content to predict and control matter, I have no doubt that pursuing this goal exclusively should carry the kind of warning which science fiction has been giving us from the start: We should be careful of developing technology that we can’t handle and the way to handle technology is to evolve our own humanity.
It is for this very reason, that purely mathematical approaches to understanding the universe as a whole and consciousness are ultimately doomed. Their rigidity arises from a reference frame which is intrinsically incompatible with the floridly eidetic and creative frame of human privacy. Where General Relativity envisioned a flexible reference body of spacetime coordinates which contrasted with Galilean-Cartesian uniformity, this new reference frame that should be explored contrasts against both the Classical, Einsteinian, and Quantum frameworks. Multisense realism provides a Meta-Relativistic framework which honors the canonical conjugates of general relativity in proprietary privacy of subjectivity. The universe within, like Bohm’s implicate order, is as alien to spacetime relativism as Einstein’s mollusk was to Newton. The new mollusk is not one of space and time united, but of time and ‘time again’, of literal and figurative significance, symmetry and meta-juxtaposition. The new framework begins with no beginning, but rather an infinite centripetal involution which is accessed directly through intra-corporeal participation and inter-corporeal perception.