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After Einstein’s Mollusk

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

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.

  1. October 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Reblogged this on msamba.

  2. Thomas Albert Fox
    November 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

    In a Malacological Light

    Angling with an eye to the future
    And swimming in its own light
    What had once seemed very straightforward
    To an over rigid creature
    Ever brimming for a fight
    Now seems merely untoward
    For its least disturbing feature
    Is the sheer refraction of its sight

    Fishing all this doubt with a bent pin
    Knotted to a long thin line of thought
    Cast far out into a deep dark pool
    Where ominous circles a fin
    Waiting to be caught
    But playing out the line according to rule
    And drawing in a brilliant spin
    Proves ultimately somewhat fraught

    Yet beneath it all is the deep blue sea
    Where lies the power of salt
    To puzzle the transmutation of being
    For the malacological trails disagree
    As if there is some considerable fault
    No matter what anyone’s seeing
    In the cast of the sight they see
    For each eye is caught in the way that it’s taught

    A line of thought bent on a big fish
    Plays the reaches of its breaking strain
    And the rod gets the measure of news
    What more could a poet’s line wish
    Than a way out from a brain
    Shell’s internally consistent views
    Consigned to form a perfect match
    With the fin of a fish it has in train

    It seems a catch of colossal scale
    To have got such a thing on a hook
    And to draw it up from its uttermost dark
    To land and tell its tale
    While cut and weighed and ready to cook
    It spoke and made its mark
    For with its words it could not fail
    To build and bake them in a book

    This was a book with a catch in its throat
    Swallowing its words like water
    Where each one in its own light reflected
    A shell like vision of a mind a float
    With speech of unscaleable palter
    Reflecting how light’s inflected
    With visions through the glass bottomed boat
    Of mantled shapes safe in their familiar quarter

    In an exoskeletal frame of mind
    And a vision of drinking in a papular light
    With the visceral power of a mass
    Secreting things of a kind
    In shells of optional sight
    Bringing to light the things in its class
    But the need to be sure that the whole thing rhymed
    Is a case confected by our human plight

    Thus conformed to predictable ends
    All the lines that were cast
    End themselves up fishing in similar schools
    And all of their hauls suffer from bends
    Curving at last for going too fast
    And turning to circular pools
    Filling with sunlight that glittering contends
    Aghast the reach of all conclusion that has passed
    No not the shock of the new but of the old fools


    Note: see Einstein’s “bezugsmollusc”: Albert Einstein, “Relativity: the Special and the General Theory”, 1916, 15th Edition 1920, Folio Society 2004, p118; and after Darwin’s inquiries into the problem of the Transmutation of Species. The twain are met here, inter alia. Thoms Albert Fox, Bangkok, October 2013.

    • November 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Amazing! Thank you. I have to let it sink in with repeated readings…

      also, I did know know…

      “Malacology is the branch of invertebrate zoology that deals with the study of the Mollusca (mollusks or molluscs), the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species after the arthropods.”

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