The Universe as an Analog Circuit

We intuitively describe an object’s ‘tendency’ to remain as it is, in terms of how it was before. Talking of Time and memory, we perceive the past, but in a physically objective world outside of us, if everything is transformations, then Time is bogus – illusory. We only perceive it as a ‘rate of change’, but a change-per-change is all that really exists, and so our notion of Time is relative, obtained by comparison between two rates of change.

Our┬ámemory is dependent upon our ability to compare. Reality, the objective physical world outside our minds, doesn’t have any ‘memory’ – a transformation is a transformation, it does what it does without any form of ‘memory’ of how it was previously. But what is memory if not a locally ‘stuck’ (repeating) set of transformations? Like a sort of echo chamber, transformations happen, and happen, and happen and … eventually fading out. But some transformations can be permanently ‘locked-in’, like long-term memory. Our brains’ neurons realign themselves and form a sort of receptacle for a long-term memory. Configured as they are, it takes a mere boost of energy to fire-up those neurones and retrieve that memory. As though the echoing cavern’s walls were deformed by the sound which it echoed for so long, giving any sound a characteristic ‘timbre’, so that, millennia later, one shout would bring back that exact ‘timbre’. Or, let’s take the bistable flip-flop in electronics: That is a looped pair of ‘not’ logic gates which are continually transforming the signal (1 to 0, 0 to 1) in such a way as its state is ‘locked’ in a very very tight loop. Another, forgive me for this, electronic analogy that we can use to understand how long-term memory might work (in terms of neurons re-aligning themselves, strengthening connections due to iterative ‘passings-over’ that neural firing pattern) would be how an analog computer works: Typically analog computers are designed to answer one question – and do it fast, repeatedly, every time. You build an analog circuit and ‘input’ a voltage (it’s amplitude represents the input ‘number’ you’re handing to the function) and immediately on the output you see a different voltage (whose amplitude then represents the ‘sum’ or ‘integral’ or ‘differential’ of whatever you gave at the input). Biological memory ‘reconfiguring itself’ can be seen as an analog computer ‘configuring’ a one-off task – here, a specific memory – such that the next time you fire a neural pulse into that arrangement, you get the immediate and exact memory ‘result’ as output.

Memory is an emergent phenomenon of repeating transformations. So ‘past’ is retrievable if transformations were to somehow remain in lock-step.

So now think of a photon bouncing off a mirror: At the exact point of impact, where the photon’s velocity is exactly zero (because it’s about to change directions and bounce back), where, or how, does that transformation ‘know’ that it ‘came from there‘ so that it ‘must now go over there‘? What factor, what ‘memory’ imbues that transformation so that it now travels in a direction different from its previous one? In atomic theory, a photon has a rest mass and from this we find out its momentum etc. but my theory of transformations would imply that the mirror imparts the resting photon (which is itself a transformation) with a transformation, thereby changing the ‘photonic’ transformation so that it travels in a different direction. But we’re not simply talking of reflecting the direction of the translation, but also the line of action. In a previous post I talked of how ‘circularity’ could be achieved by two consecutive reflections of an ‘incoming’ vector. Look at that diagram, in particular the bottom vector labelled as the ‘actual ray’ (now I know why I called them ‘rays’ not vectors – I was thinking of this very problem of rays of light bouncing off a mirror!). If we say that’s the ‘arriving photon’ against the mirror (the horizontal dashed line), then that reflection produces the ‘not-cancelled ray’. A second reflection (the vertical dashed line) produces the ‘cancelled ray’ which effectively annuls the incoming ray – both are annulled. This leaves only the ‘not-cancelled ray’ which ‘exits’ the reflection unscathed to pursue its path. This ‘seems’ to be our original photon as it has bounced off a mirror…

I am so completely out in the deep end with all this – I know the physics (the ‘geometrical optics’ with angle of incidence and angle of reflection etc.), and the maths of that physics – but here I’m trying to imagine a different physics, one of transformations. I can’t deny that I’m completely making this stuff up, which is why I’m so dissatisfied with this work. I can’t just wave a magic wand and ‘say it’s so’. Nevertheless, a mirror is still somewhat like an analog function – it does the exact same thing every time, in ‘real time’, to any photon you ‘give it’…

Funny, right now, off-the-cuff, my mind is playing with photons as we use electrons in circuits – what if photons were the ‘current’ of reality’s ‘circuit’? Everything off which a photon bounces is a ‘component’ in the circuit. That would make suns and stars the “-” of a universal power source and black holes the “+”. And the Cosmic Heat Death of the Universe is simply our ‘reality circuit’ ‘running out of juice’… heh. We’re observers inside this circuit trying to figure out what the hell is going on… I can’t be the first to have thought of this analogy. I’m going to have to search for ‘The Universe as a circuit’ or something… see what else is out there. Of course, this is just musing – and is utterly inconsistent with a ‘reality as transformations’ ontology, so don’t expect to see much more of this idea on this blog…

4 thoughts on “The Universe as an Analog Circuit

    1. Hi Eilish,
      Thanks for reading!
      I have heard of Wheeler, and the much-overused ‘it-from-bit’ meme. To me, digital and quantum are the same thing when it comes to discreteness vs continuity. I haven’t read any of his work so I can’t really say anything about it. Thanks for mentioning it though ­čÖé
      All the best!

  1. See Synergetics by R. Buckminster Fuller
    1133.01 Information Control System of Universe
    427.00 Nuclear Computer Design
    427.11 Invisible Circuitry of Nature

    Use of symmetric Green’s function by Mendel Sachs
    Life Computer (Conway)

    1. Hi Paul and again, thank you for these milestones! Bucky Fuller was a very creative fellow and I’ve come across some of his ideas before (other recommendations). Oh… I’m an idiot – it was you! Your recommendations on Google Plus… how daft of me. Well thank you again for these pointers!

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