Are We Really Finite?

*Ken Wais*

*2/10/12*

*Keywords: membrane theory, Riemann manifolds, production, theory*

We are characterized by our finite existence. We only live so long and can say or write a
limited set things during our lifetimes.
What is much greater than this fact, is all that we create and cherish
in our complex world is finite too.
Still, there is something odd and most appealing to consider in this
issue of finitude and human beings. We
have processes and machines that run our world today that seem to be
constructed to be permanent appurtenances of ourselves. I have been thinking about this now for a few
days going to and from work and it started me on another
conveyer belt of related reflections.

Take computer servers for a start.
These machines never shutdown permanently, they must be up and running
for all the networks the world over to communicate. When one ages, starts to fail, we replace
it. Its finite lifetime is picked up by
another, and then another, and another in this way, the process continues to infinity.
As long as the process of network switches, routers and their attendant
e-devices are kept going, any one component may be finite but the process seems
infinite. We can apply this idea to
human genetic reproduction. While we as
individuals die, our species through long generations of sexual reproduction
seems to be an infinite process. The
only supremum on this process is the destruction of our spatial world or our
self-destruction, through nuclear war.
Astrophysicists have calculated the fusion process going on inside our
Sun will eventually, due to gravitational pressure building inside it, cause an
explosion of the mass of the Sun, destroying our Solar System. In
the future, space engineers (the famous rocket scientists) project they can
provide an escape for us to other worlds that are inhabitable. So, this long genetic chain of reproduction
elsewhere could continue, conceivably.
Of course then we must consider that the spatial universe may collapse
on itself or infinitely expand. In
either case no form of life like ours could exist. So, we’re back to finitude again. I will reconsider this later. Let’s go back to the finite nature of our
everyday world.

Everything we make and use in this global economy seems to be based on the idea that all is
finite. We make and consume
continually. We buy new cars, computers,
clothes, cleaning products, pills, appliances, and even body parts. And our production is well enormous!
I am amazed in my internet research work, every day, how many firms make and produce things. Greater yet, others that contribute to these firms
that produce. Not to mention those that are go-betweens for others that make products for other products or parts of products that make final products and it all goes on and on. Take the simple cigarette lighter I used just now. To make this simple thing, at least 4 different production firms must be involved. One to make the gaseous mixture that ignites the flame, a plastics maker to create the holder, another producer must make the malleable steel header, and there must a label maker. Of course, this could all be done by one firm, but not the processes. Then add the thought that these little things are being made in their millions day in and day out! Stop and think of cars, gas turbines, MRO scanners, beds, condoms, shoes, desks, planes, bedsheets, etc and their component parts. You get my point? I worked for an engineering firm as a statistical/database analyst about 10 years ago, and found that to make a working gas turbine, there were 50,000 drawings involved. This translates to hundreds of thousands of components parts which many different firms make. Imagine that! The things we make as a species go well into the trillions and this production is going on all the time! I am more mind-boggled by
the number of things that are recycled and casted in other forms. The numbers or productive processes reach
into the billions! The life of
anything human or otherwise is finite, but not the processes that keeps making
things. All of our advanced economies
are based on this finite-to-infinite process of use and production. Let’s look at the computer network example
again. Any node on the network can shut
down, but the network itself can never do this unless there a catastrophic
power failure and even then, we restore power.
The idea behind the network engineering scheme is to keep the support
elements of the nodes (by which I mean workstations) running with a system that
reproduces itself continuously. So, disk
drives are backuped weekly, daily monthly and then archived to storage
discs. But what about the source of this
process: electrical power. Well our
smart electrical engineers have an answer for this too. Plan new power plants all the time; retire
one, start another. They even project
power supply years into future. So, in the end the idea of a continuous
uninterruptible system is obtained. The
parts are not important, the system is what matters. It is like what we do naturally through
sexual reproduction. No one individual
matters in the chain of life, just the process of genetic reproduction. With this similarity, some thinkers have
begun to theorize about the human race achieving infinite existence.

It seems that we human beings have come to believe we can break the
necessary finitude to which life has succumbed.
Developments in physics, specifically mathematical physics indicate that
the universe is multi-dimensional and has never had a beginning and won’t have
an end in all dimensions. The theory
goes by the strange name of *Membrane
Theory* or *M-Theory* for short.

In M-theory we have an infinite number of spatial dimensions each of
which are divided by being layered one upon the other. I won’t go into the technical details of
M-Theory in mathematical physic here, but encourage interested readers to
review this PDF document by Robbert Dijkgraaf:

http://www.mathematik.uni-ielefeld.de/~rehmann/ECM/cdrom/3ecm/pdfs/pant3/dijkgr.pdf

He is a mathematician and
lecturer at Korteweg-de Vries Institute for
Mathematics in Amsterdam, Holland. So,
to go back to the story, we have layers of dimensions each made of extremely
small strings in one dimension. *Strings* are the smallest things that
exist. They are one-dimensional elements
of space not things in space. They can
connect to higher spatial dimensions like 2-dimensions, 3-dimensions,
4-dimensions up to N-dimensional manifolds.
It is this connectedness that makes space-time one big membrane. Now for the problem, we know that any living
being on one membrane of this infinite connected spatial system can’t get out
its own section to another. In this case
those living things become finite beings living in a trapped section of the *Brane* (as it has been dubbed). But what if we could travel between layers of
this vastly connected spatio-temporal system?
Then our life-sustaining processes could truly become infinite; as
infinite as the Membrane itself. We must
explain this outcome by diving into the world of cosmology.

M-Theory
conjectures that the Brane has always existed and always will. It rules out non-existence leading to spatial
existence from the Big Bang theory (BB).
BB posits that at the quantum level of matter and space, events are
unpredictable. There is good evidence
for this too. For instance radioactive
isotopes of some elements decay in a random fashion. Even the basic elements of an atom are
subject to decay over time randomly. Thus,
BB posits that this unpredictability is inherent to existence itself. There is no reason to doubt that at some
unknown time a point of extreme density simply occurred; uncaused, out of
nothing. And there you have it, our
initial substratum for the Big Bang.
This is where M-Theory demurs. As
stated above, it assumes spatio-temporal existence is infinite. Both theories must make one or the other
assumption to even get started.

Now, we can explain how M-Theory
has solved one of the most difficult problems that String Theory addressed in
quantum mechanical analysis (QM). In so
doing we will see that it may just possibly allow us to achieve infinite
existence.

M-Theory makes use of the idea
from Bernhard Riemann of connected geometries known as Riemann Spaces. That is, all of space is coordinative in that
any elements say x,y,z of the usual spatial variables are indivisibly related
to each other. This means 2-dimensional
geometry is bounded to 3-dimensional geometry and 3-dimensional to
4-dimensional and so on. In quantum physics this means they are *entangled*. So, if you shorten length of an object you
must change its other dimensions too. Take a square if it’s 3 x 3 and you make
it 2 x 2 you shorten both the length and height and preserve the square. If you only change one dimension you change
the shape of the object. The same would
apply if the object were 3-D. Clearly
dimensions are connected but not the things within in them. We don’t grow or
shrink if dimensions change or to be more precise if the manifold changes. Manifolds are the classes of dimensions. It is axiomatic way of categorizing
dimensions in topology. In topology, mathematicians are concerned with shape and form but not measurement. So, in the next example, I'm not talking about actual spatial measurements but the form of the structure. If the dimensions of a room shrink, the
objects within it don’t. This is
important, because while manifolds are connected we are not as objects within
them. A problem in QM is that light
seems to defy is the notion in General Relativity that it must take time to
displace in space. Quantum Entanglement
observes that if one photon of light is displaced from another, they seem to be
connected in such a way that whatever happens to one simultaneously happens to
the other. Experimentation has confirmed
that two separated photons when perturbed from each other (that is acted upon)
each share the perturbation, though this action should take time to travel the
distance from one to the other. Why is
this? The answer comes from this idea of
connected geometries. By the way,
connected geometries has the formal name of Riemann Spaces in topology, just to
introduce another arcane term for your enjoyment.

Light is a dimension
transcending phenomenon. What do I mean
by this? This requires some more physics
to explain. Suppose we add another element
to our dimensional model of space described by x,y,z elements and called it T for time, then we have connected
manifolds that occur in discrete instances of time. We have a spatio-temporal
system that can be described by differential equations at discrete intervals. Below I give a simplified version of a
configuration space for a particle called p, in a spatio-temporal system.

D(p)
= dz + dy +dz +dt = 0

This would represent the starting point
(called initial conditions) for a particle p at time 0. The particle p would be described by these elements
and all would be 0 and thus the equation would sum to 0. Now, if this particle p was displaced the
equation if were a light particle would still sum to 0! This means moving a light particle around
doesn’t change the differential equation from its initial condition. Light which is not a part of space-time
itself is not affected by changes to the system. This means it, like space-time can grow or
shrink with its changes. It can
transcend space-time. So, to go back the
M-Theory model, there is at least one part of the Brane that can go from one
dimensional manifold to another.
Physicists have found that gravity too can do this. If gravity is parameterized to be discrete
particles of attractions called gravitons, they too can transcend space-time. Thus, light and gravity go from one
dimensional space to another while other objects of matter, like things, and us
can’t. But what if we could? Well, that’s next.

I must say that the theoretic ideas
I’ve discussed apply at the very small level of quantum mechanics. But, the conception can just as well apply
macroscopically. Finally, after many
digressions into cosmology, physics and topology, I can state why all this
leads to our infinite existence. It
comes in one long sentence I’ll present and end the article. I know it’s been a long journey and hope you
have stayed with it.

*If
M-theory is right, and we do have infinite spatio-temporal realities, then we
might be able to exploit this to carry on continuous reproduction of our
species in infinite 3-D universes on the Brane.*