Archive of Month December 2009 :

All And Nothing

Physics’ universality is due to extreme generalizations. It searches for the basis of all physical bodies of whatever kind. Such a radical abstraction is always in danger of irrelevance: meant to be good for everything and everyone may eventually mean to be good for nothing and nobody. Reality is squeezed into a fearful one-size-fits-all corset that takes the breath and crushes the life out of the body.

The Measure Of All Things

Originally, the physical body is the measure of the physical reality. Physically real is what we can see, hear, feel. That makes physics actually so interesting, that its subject is quite concrete, perceivable, material. In trying to get a grip on this matter, however, we have killed it. Until finally the completely lifeless body, the dead matter, became the measure of all things.

In reality, matter is not dead at all.

Elementary Reproduction

Since the beginning of mechanics there has been an inherent principle of elementary reproduction. It is implied in the use of differential calculus. Every motion — and even the non-motion, the state of rest — is a series of temporal states; time is devided into infinitesimal moments. So, in order to exist physically, a thing has to reproduce itself — or it has to be reproduced — every moment anew.

In Other Words

In mechanics, the principle of reproduction is often called “inertia”. Today we might instead speak of a “program” that lets a physical body recur again and again in the same manner. This behavior can be modified by forces, which, as a rule, are due to other objects — the execution of the program can be modified by inputs, ultimately by other programs.

Here we generally make use of still another terminology saying that it is the thing’s “space” that lets the thing reproduce itself, maybe influenced — or superposed — by other spaces, spaces of other things.

World Of Things

The notion of thing, as used here, does not necessarily refer to a physical object. Actually, it is rather a concept of logic than of physics. Is is absolutely indispensable for our orientation in the world. That is why we find it always and everywhere — the world must consist of things.

This truth is in no way limited to the physical world. Rather, in associating this notion with logic, we point out that even the things that we recognize as physical objects still have quite another dimension, that they are incorporated in a system of fundamental — namely logical — relations forming an essential part of their nature.


A thing multiplies as a whole. So it can be treated as one. That makes it simple — although, on the other hand, it is complex, comprising other things. Exactly for that reason we need it. We get a grip on what otherwise could neither be handled nor be understood.

Various Types

Generalized in this way, things occur everywhere in physics, naturally, not only in form of physical objects, but also as universal constants, for instance. Even mathematical equations expressing the laws of physics are things in this sense.

So we have various types of things in different fields of physics on different levels (or, as we preferably say here: in different spaces of knowledge) and it is often extremely important not to mix them up. Though, to become aware of how easily this may happen, it ought to be understood that logically all these different things are equal (– that means: one and the same thing!).


Not always is it a mistake to treat different things (from different spaces) as if they were one and the same. Actually, it is often quite natural and inevitable. So, for example, when a physical object is identified by — and with! — its name or symbol. Without such an identity it would be impossible to speak about anything, to comprehend anything, to know anything.

What we do in cases like that is creating — or using — a new thing comprising the others, which by themselves remain what they are: distinct, actually incompatible. But their spaces can penetrate one another. So they can form a new space for the new thing, which is different from the original things, although somehow combining them.

This process is extremely important, it is fundamental for knowledge of any kind. We have called it the central “act of knowing”. It is the process by which we get a mental representation of the physical thing, in combining it with the proper symbol, so to speak.

Mental Thing

Such a “mental representation” is thing because it multiplies, which means that it is used again and again. This usage is primarily a kind of habit, a continually repeated activity: the symbol is associated repeatedly with the respective object. Whether or not this habit is represented by a physical manifestation, as a permanent connection in the brain, for example, does not matter. Although it is pretty well possible.

Characteristic Effects

Not every repeated activity manifests itself physically. But every physical thing is a manifestation of repeated activities.

Every thing is characterized by its activities. These activities, constantly recurring, constitute the thing, they make up its appearances, letting it multiply. The typical effects these activities have on other things indicate the existence of the causing thing.

If there are such characteristic effects, recurring, forming a noticeable pattern, then there is a thing. If the effects are in accordance with certain rules (some of them called “laws of physics”), then the origin of the effects is a physical object.

Nuclear Values

Many things must come together before we speak of a physical object. But once we are sure that such an object is there, not much is needed. In general, slightest signs suffice to recognize a physical thing. Often it is determined by very few measured values, while all the others are included, so to speak. Frequently, they can be computed, derived from the known laws of physics. These laws form the space providing the material that build up a complete physical object in gathering around the nucleus consisting of maybe not more than one single measurement

Another Space (Structured)

A thing is meant to be given at once. It is always the whole thing. As such it appears, each time it appears, at just one moment, marking one point in its space.

On the other hand, every thing is also complex, extensive, distributed. It forms a more or less constant structure in space — which then, however, is another space, not the specific space of that thing.

Endless Aspects

Every thing leaves its traces (some of them forming characteristic structures) in many spaces. Every aspect of a thing is associated with a specific space. And new aspects can be found virtually endlessly.

Not Directly

As we can analyze a thing into its various aspects, so we can also join diverse aspects together. The thing itself is the fusion of all its aspects, so to speak. Yet, it does not show them directly; additional activity is needed, the respective spaces have to be entered in order to get a grip on these aspects.

Manifold Existences

A thing comprises various aspects of itself and so constitutes its own space. Every point of this space is a potential appearance of the thing. The thing appears when it is reflected by another thing. In these reflections (which can be used to enter the other thing’s space) the thing exists.

In general, the plentitude of one thing’s potential appearances allow the construction of manifold existences of it.

Every such existence is an appearance of another thing, a reflection in the space of that thing. This space is made of the existences of many things. All these (individual) existences do not exist but inside that space; they are appearances of the respective (common) thing and may be called functions or embodiments of that community.

Physical Existence

The physical things exist in the physical space. This, their physical existence, is maintained by all other physical existences, only together they are possible. But no thing as such depends on any other. It is just its physical existence, its appearing in the physical world, which is a function of that world.

Every existence is perfectly woven into its context. Every thing, however, exists totally independently of each of its existences.