The Present is “Not” – a Transformation Ontology

When you think about transformations, how they exist ‘en soi’ (they are, independent of origin or basis) because to exist is to be different, and to be different is to transform (or be a transformation), and given that Matter is, ultimately, Immaterial ‘Energy’ – which is just another word for transformation (even ‘potential’ energy is just self-cancelling transformations – two collinear but anti-directional vectors of identical magnitude are ‘potential’ vectors, which, if either is ‘rotated’ so that they are no longer collinear, thereby become ‘actual’ vectors, kinetic energy).

As I’ve said elsewhere, the first, ‘basest’ or most ‘atomic’ transformation is the zero-dimensional ‘reflection’, which we humans call “not” – i.e. the logical negation/inversion. This transformation is physically imperceptible to us except in one dimensions – a Rotation. Leptons ‘have’ spin. I’d go even so far as to say they are spin. Even neutrinos are said to “have half-integer spin” –Wikipedia.

But even the ‘self’ is a zero-dimensional ‘reflection’ defined as ‘not’ (“I am not my reflection” or “I am not you”). Thoughts, though I haven’t actually done this yet – but intend to – may well be ‘representable’ as transformations also. If so, they arguably ‘are’ transformations. This is contentious and I’m more than willing to work more on this! Though I am by far not the only one to think of this – just look at Douglas Hofstadter’s “I am a Strange Loop”.

And even further (and this one makes me uneasy), the Present, our ‘now’, is the boundary between Past and Future, and being ‘not’ either one, can be conceived as the transformation (reflection) of the future into the past. Like a single half-twist in a strip of paper travelling along it, what’s ahead is the ‘potential’ future – i.e. ‘unknown sameness’, ‘self-cancelling transformations’ – ‘potential energy’. What is behind the twist is the past, also ‘unknown sameness’, or ‘self-cancelling transformations’ – but being subjected to a reflection, it is forever ‘not’ the future. If the future is ‘zero’ (a digital analogy), then the past is ‘one’. And the present is the transformation ‘effecting’ the past.

All of reality can be broken down to transformations, and the very essence of Time – the quality of temporality – is expressed in the ‘liar’s paradox’ aspect of a self-reflecting ‘not’: “This statement is False (‘not’ true)” can be expressed as a recursive inversion x=-1/x, which resolves into x2=−1 – i.e. the mathematical constant ‘i’. “i” expresses a rotation just as -1 expresses a reflection (where a reflection in a given dimension is a rotation of 180° through a higher dimension). The ‘irresolvability of i’ is temporality. The ‘direction’, or historicity of Time arises in the irrevocable transformation of future into past (where past is not-future and future is not-past).

The past does not ‘exist’ – it has existed. The future does not ‘exist’ – it has not existed. Only the present ‘exists’ because it is the ‘act of existence’ itself – a transformation.

Finally, the old subject-object dilemma is resolved/united via that strange transformation “not” – the subject is not the object; the observer is not the observed. The interaction between the two happens via the reflection “not”. This harps back to the quantum-mechanics problem of the ‘observer effect’ (see the “Quantum Mechanics” sub-heading in this Wikipedia article).

I’m really sorry, but I just can’t make peace with how all-encompassing this damned transformation is! It’s freaking everywhere, and yes, I am aware this smacks of confirmation bias… but I can’t help it! Which is why I need your help. How viable is all of this? Is this utterly nuts? Think about it and get back to me, please!

Thank you for reading.

5 thoughts on “The Present is “Not” – a Transformation Ontology

  1. See Twilight Zone episode March 1963, “No Time Like the Past”

    Phase Conjugate Mirror (Sci. Am. Jan. 1986)

  2. Since I got into philosophy, I’ve had the strong intuition (later reinforced by several terrifying psychosis-like experiences I had while thinking really deeply about Self and time – although I have never taken drugs) that there’s something fundamentally bizarre or alien or paradoxical about reality. I have had strange thoughts, like that nothing exists outside of perception, and perception only exists arbitrarily (whatever that means – like I called myself into existence, as Hofstadter said – that ‘the self pulls itself up by its own bootstraps).

    I was in dissociative fugue / nonspecified ‘psychosis’ several times and each time I had the same perception of reality. I felt like I understood everything that I had been trying to understand, and it was horrifying. I’ve tried to write down what it is that I believed during those experiences, and have gotten a bit close.

    I remember I said “There is only one thing, and I am that thing”, which is a pretty normal idea, but I felt absolutely convinced of it, somehow; it was just absolutely plain to me that there was no distinction between me and the world. The other idea that hit me was that suffering and consciousness is cyclical and neverending. Additionally, I perceived (at the time, it seemed an obvious quality of the second-by-second unfolding of my emotions, movements, word choice, and interactions with others) that every person (in concert with others) is constantly and inexorably engineering their own descent into hell (and then back into heaven, and then back to Earth, and back into hell … )

    But I have no idea how to go about testing these convictions I had.

    This is before I had read or thought much about Buddhism. Later I played with the Buddhist idea the things stay in existence as concomitants of something being ‘wanted’ or ‘attached to’.

    *scratches head* Maybe I should really brush up on my maths. I have read Hofstafter’s Strange Loop, and I am extremely interested in time and the present, but with my current abilities I have hardly any way of verifying whether the math stuff you base your theory holds water.

    1. Hi again Azalea,

      Since I got into philosophy I too have had brushes with frightening insights – a brief but intense feeling of the ‘unrealness’ of it all, etc. Paradox, I have since discovered (i.e. I have a very deep conviction of this truth), is a fundamental and unavoidable property of reality. My only advice is to be very careful of the words you use – look at what you mean when you choose this or that word and ask yourself if it’s the right word to use. For instance “nothing exists outside of perception”: What do you mean by ‘exist’? What do you mean by ‘outside’? How do you understand ‘perception’? I would ask spontaneously ‘If that is the case, then would there not being something to bring about that perception? How does that not exist?’. Again, be careful with ‘arbitrarily’ – I wouldn’t think perception exists arbitrarily but necessarily: it is how things are perceived that is relative (not arbitrary). For example, it may be arbitrary that you perceive how you perceive (i.e. you and not someone else), but what you perceive, or the mere fact that you perceive, is not arbitrary. Perception is subject to interpretation – and interpretation is relative. You can understand things one way, and then maybe understand them another. That astronomers and astrophysicists commonly perceive the Cosmic Microwave Background as being ‘out there’ and that there is no centre of the universe is one way of ‘seeing things’ – but one could also turn it all inside-out and understand the CMB as being the centre of the universe, and us and all the universe as being ‘around’ or ‘outside’ it.

      I don’t know how to help you in finding a way to test your convictions other than recommending the scientific method – observation, hypothesis, experimentation, comparison, conclusion; repeat – Your truths will only remain until you’ve found out where and how they’re false: this is the discovery of their ‘outline’ or the ‘extent of’ their truth – i.e. just how far that truth stretches. You say you’ve tried to write – have you put anything online?

      That being said, yes I agree that maths is an excellent tool to have and sharpening that tool is really really useful and rewarding. I can’t verify the ‘math stuff’ I base my theories on either – I’ve been as careful as possible, and I remain open to correction – in fact, I depend upon it. I do not think that Truth really tells us much – only Falseness tells us where the boundaries lie… So these theories aren’t very interesting to me until I find out just where I’ve gone wrong.

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