Set theory, Mereology, boundaries and continuity

With this notion of wuji, or apeiron, or continuum, or whatever, the whole idea of set theory never sat well with me. The null set (the set which has no members) doesn’t quite make the cut. Consider the continuum – perfect homogeneous Everything – and you realize, like the definition of apeiron, it is limitless, or has no boundaries. Thus it cannot be contained and so cannot be a member of a Set – ‘the set of Everything’ for example. Then I thought about the boundaries. These boundaries are the only way to distinguish something within the apeiron. So instead of thinking of sets, I thought of boundaries within a limitless whole. Being infinite, the first boundary is actually a bisection, splitting everything in the middle. without actually ‘cutting’ anything.

Think of it like a strip of paper with black on the reverse side, white on the other side facing you. If you give that paper a half-twist, you are now differentiating the strip into half-white, half-black. The first thing in a continuum would be a Point which, in 1D, requires two boundaries So a second half-twist (I would opt for an un-twist actually but I’ll get to that) is needed. Sure enough, you now have a ‘segment’ of the strip-continuum which is clearly black in the middle and white on either side. So what we know about a Point’s position in a line is that it is not the point to its left and not the point to its right. The twist and un-twist is so that you have the truth value ‘within’ the boundaries:

---|>0---0<|---   (my crude graphic of two NOT gates facing each other)

This got me thinking further: What is the smallest number of boundaries required to enclose a 2D region? I realized that three line segments joined as an equilateral triangle was the most basic enclosable region. So a 2D region is enclosed by three 1D regions. Then a 3D region is enclosed by four 2D regions. This was a trend that allowed me to reaffirm my earlier concept: a 0D ‘region’ is ‘enclosed’ by one transformation – the zero-D Reflection, Not.

Let nB = the minimal set of boundaries required to enclose a region in the nth dimension. |nB| is the number of boundaries within that set. nBm where m is the index of nB sets

0B={Not}, |0B|=1

1B={0B1, 0B2}, |1B|=2

2B={1B1, 1B2, 1B3}, |2B|=3

3B={2B1, 2B2, 2B3, 2B4}, |3B|=4

nB={n-1B1, n-1B2, n-1B3, …, n-1Bn+1}, |nB|=n+1

So the smallest 3D region is delimited by four 2D regions. This is, of course, the tetrahedron, which can be made by four planar ‘cuts’. A triangle can be ‘cut’ out of paper using three cuts. A segment of string can be made with two ‘cuts’.

So, also, I discovered another field of study in mathematics called Mereology – the study of wholes and their parts. There is mention of Alfred North Whitehead – a strong proponent of Process Philosophy, which is very strongly similar to the rationale that I’m using on this site. Everything is a process, or act of transformation.

Well, once again, this is a short entry, but more to think about… Hope you enjoyed it!

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