Are the beginning and end of the Universe connected?
Ethan Siegel
829

Ethan, here’s an idea: Ethan: From an artist’s perspective, theoretical physics is victim of a categorical error: assuming you can reduce a physical system to a single entity meaning a monism. The space-time continuum is a monism, so is every leading contender for a theory of everything: strings, general field theory/relativity, multiverse, quantum gravity, even infinity is one big thing. But where in the universe do we see a monism = completely closed system? If it existed of course we wouldn’t know it, least of all if we were a part of it, but that’s no reason to assume it must exist.

Exist itself means to stand out from a background. Artists take for granted an essential dualism: line/space, form/background, sound/silence, the two-body problem as start point. The common denominator is contrast which requires irreducible dualism (not just duality). Even nothing is a dualism of opposite charges, as in particle annihilation and wave interference (to answer your earlier question about the physics of nothing; those are just a Dirac toggle, but the ultimate dualism would probably be space as dark energy, mass as dark matter, global conjugates probably in a Majorana seesaw configuration).

Artists aren’t dumb but they lack intellectual discipline by stereotype and theorists lack imagination by job security, so what can we learn from each other? How about a round-table free-for-all, food fight, good-natured Snow-ball fight between scientists & artists? RESOLVED: EXISTENCE REQUIRES DUALISM. Moderators: you and Jerry Saltz, New York magazine. Let’s break physics out of assumption jail, harness the energy of art and get a good show on the road with a good time had by all. Quants & quals, bring it on!

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