Monday, July 06, 2009

Non-locality and the classical notion of matter and form

The concept of non-locality, used metaphysically, is of incalculable importance because it can be used to provide a working theoretical mechanism for hylomorphism, the notion of substance as matter and form. If Thomas were alive today, I am convinced that he would be using non-locality as an integral part of a new Summa.

The forms of Aquinas, unlike those of Aristotle are not just "the first acts of a body having life potential" but are "in act" due to a participation in Being. In other words, all the little be-ings have their existence/life from the big Be-ing. This is, of course, an utter anathema to atheistic science but participation is the inexorable direction that the notion of non-locality, used analogously and metaphysically, points in/to.

The notion of cyber-kinesis (in How to Manage Your DICK)sketches how non-local and multi-dimensional energy patterns might be looked at. All things come from the mind of God and yet God is one with his ideas—even Aquinas taught this. How he could be One with His ideas and yet have these ideas come into being in time has bedeviled philosophers for centuries. This is, of course, the problem of the One and the Many.

There is some critical translation of Be-ing outside of time, into time and into be-ing that has eluded philosophers. Each idea in the mind of God, considered in the abstract, and outside of its original unity might be thought of as a kind of divine DNA floating in a virtual sea of prime matter—these are the essences--but the entire mechanism of essential unfolding and why is unclear. Aristotle’s potency and act in relation to the four causes gets about as close as anyone has come to providing some sort of comprehensive, short and clear analysis of the process but the mechanism, as in a scientifically clear mechanism, eludes us. Aquinas painted a beautiful picture of participation but was also short on details. (He had other pressing problems to address as a whole.) Heidegger tried to understand this translation of Be-ing into be-ing or existence into matter and form in his masterly Being and Time (of which I have only read portions) but he ended up with a reductionist blur. “Why is there anything at all,” he wondered aloud.

The very notion of God creating without movement is a scandal to traditional science but one that the new physics can appreciate, while not taking the divine bait so freely offered. (This is why I love string theory; it has made for theology stamped all over it.)

So, the notion of creating without movement brings us back to a kind of “spooky action at a distance” that in turn led to the development of the notion of non-locality. My own suspicion is that existence is so tightly woven into the fabric of reality that it is (obviously) presently invisible to science but not for too long. Inference leads me to believe that it (existence) is there and will leave defined tracks that science can pick up. Intuition tells me that the mechanism whereby the invisible translates into the visible is likely maddeningly obvious if we could just step outside of the box of space and time for a moment. Whatever it is, it is negentropic and at the root of life. The very old words of the Rig Veda capture both final and formal causality as both Aristotle and Aquinas would have understood it.

“O Vastness, thou art the plenitude that carries us to the end of our way; thou art a multitude of riches spread out on every side…”

In physics, non-locality is a direct influence of one object on another distant object, in violation of the principle of locality. In classical physics, non-locality in the form of action at a distance appeared in corpusculas theories and later disappeared in field theories. Action at a distance is incompatible with relativity. In quantum physics non-locality re-appeared in the form of entanglement. Physical reality of entanglement has been demonstrated experimentally[1] together with the absence of local hidden variables. Entanglement is compatible with relativity; however, it prompts some of the more philosophically oriented discussions concerning quantum theory. More general non-locality beyond quantum entanglement, but still compatible with relativity, is an active field of theoretical investigation but has yet to be observed.

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