Is Math The Basis Of Reality?

A fundamental question that went into the formulation of this blog at Pythagoreanism is whether mathematics is, or could be, the fundamental element of reality.

Beyond the atomic level, are we comprised of numbers?

To put it so simply creates unnecessary problems, and the truth is more complex.

Numbers themselves are more like letters in the alphabet — little bits that we can put together to make bigger ideas, and communicate larger concepts.

But to convey something in numbers is to take away real aspects of its natural complexity. And to convey something in words, well, even the best of poets realize that we kill something a bit by inscribing it into language.

Duality and Nonduality

The true issue is the nature of duality — separation.

This separation is represented at the simplest level by a line. A line is what separates something from another thing; lines are human made. There is no line in nature.

Even the only pseudo-line we see in nature, the termination line on the quarter moon, is an artifact of our limited human perspective, and the fact that we can’t see that the moon is a true sphere. The open ocean’s horizon itself is a circle if you pan back far enough. If you were to zoom in close enough, the horizon would become molecules, which again are not at all lines.

Crystals may be the only other example of a naturally occurring line, but still crystals are shapes, so it’s stretching it to abstractly pull a line out of a crystal and hold it independently.

So duality doesn’t exist in nature, and everything is connected. Duality is a creation of our sometimes painfully limited perspective, and it is what potentially separates us from nature. Non-duality is interconnectedness, oneness, and union with the almighty — this is an entirely Buddhist idea, and Buddhism is older than Pythagoreanism. Perhaps Pythagoreanism is a type of Buddhism.

Of course, as we apply nonduality to mathematics, we realize that much in math is dualistic, and much else in mathematics is nondualistic.

To truly answer the question of this article’s title, we must identify that in mathematics which is dualistic, and that in math which is nondualistic.

So dualistic math is a bit more boring and easy to describe away in a few words. Numbers are dualistic. This is because numbers come from the number line, and lines, again, are inherently dualistic, or separating.

All operations on numbers, the kind that a calculator can do, such as addition of positive and negative numbers; multiplication of whole and fractional numbers; derivatives and integration; these are inherently dualistic functions of mathematics. Very much the way that the words of a love poem may describe a marriage, numerical math describes reality — never touching it or even coming close, but serving as a digitally repeatable homage that people socially agree helps achieve our unique goals of genetic survival.

Truly nondual mathematics is far more interesting and complex — so we’ll have to break out pictures to help describe this.

Sound itself, raw vibration, is the first real form of nondual mathematics. Abrahamic religion even pays tribute to this. The opening of the Abrahamic dogma (Genesis 1) reads in English,

“…the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said let there be light…”

Before they have anything, before even light itself, there is the sound of the word of God. Sound comes first in the Abrahamic religions, and sound is vibration.

Vibrations happen as they do — periodic numerical mathematics occurs only because we as people attempt to assume that there is some pattern to the vibration, but that “pattern” is an anthropomorphic assumption. There is always something to the vibration that goes deeper than our assumptions. No vibration could be described completely by a pattern that we put on it — the vibration may only be described sufficiently, relative to our human goals, which are influenced by our arbitrary bias towards survival.

Cymatics itself is the study of vibration, and the form that vibration gives to small particles.

With cymatics, sound gives distinct shape to many tiny particles. Frequency becomes geometry. We see that tones have a shape, and this is a very consistent, repeatable scientific phenomenon.

This is not just something that happens in the laboratory — this happens right in our celestial neighborhood, and science has only known about this for a few decades.

The planet Saturn itself, believe it or not, has a naturally occurring hexagon at each pole.

This hexagon is still only vaguely understood by science, and we know it to be a phenomenon of the complex atmospheric currents and sounds on our solar system’s second-largest gas giant.

Even in nature, the geometry of sound blooms out with no human intervention. We can easily count six sides, and without need for a number line; we realize that there is something natural about this geometrical shape that humans didn’t have to create for it to be real.

Nondual mathematics is very much like Saturn, and the cymatic currents that go into creating this hexagon, which has six sides, whether or not humans are there to create number lines which include the number six.

There are all kinds of ways that mathematics, and what humans could later dualistically call numbers, effervesce out of nature.

Ferrofluids are magnetically charged solutions of microscopic magnetic particles in liquid.

Creating discrete phenomenon out of otherwise homogenous liquid, ferrofluids are here to show us how mathematics reaches out through physics, into our reality.

We don’t need number lines to understand that what is happening with ferrofluids is a rendering of the inherent mathematics of nature into the specificity of time and space. Numbers are only one way of describing what goes on here. Only one language. Mathematics itself is the underlying truth.

The flow of ferrofluids over a coil, for example, stretches the limits of imagination, and that’s what good mathematics is supposed to do.

So in conclusion, and after years of study, it’s at least fair to say that reality’s fundamental properties are not the numbers we have created as humans, not even base ten or base one. Reality is still inherently mathematical, and from ratios of vibrational harmonies to discrete phenomena arising out of the void, mathematics itself is something all life everywhere at any scale will see upon opening their eyes and senses.

Issues to struggle with include the relationship between mathematics and scent, and emotion — clearly both real, but do scent and emotion break down to mathematics as well, or is this just too much of a stretch?

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Not your grandmother’s Ubermensch lifestyle blog // 13thpythagoras.tumblr.com

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