In which she goes completely off the deep end...

May 06 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

There's this theory in physics called string theory (I think it's currently called M-theory and has moved onto multidimensional membranes rather than loops, but whatever, this is close enough for my purposes), which says that when you get all the way down, down past molecules, down past atoms, down past electrons and to the most smallest fundamental particle that makes up our being, everything is made up of tiny loops of energy (the strings) that vibrate in different frequencies to make up the different kinds of particles.

If this is true, we could think of each of our cells as a collection of vibrating strings all playing a different tone: kind of like a big, deep, complex chord in music. All of our cells together, then, making up our bodies, make up this huge piece of perpetual music. It would also mean that rocks, trees, gas molecules in the air, stars and planets are all made up of the same vibrating strings playing their own particular songs, making us all pretty fundamentally similar.

Following along this thought experiment theory, that means that our 'selves' and the movements we make, or thoughts we have, or memories we build would all have two components: one is the strings themselves, and one is their pattern of vibration. Thoughts are essentially ion currents, in a way, and the movements of those currents would be movements of vibration patterns. Are those patterns just traveling and transposing along a fixed matrix of strings? Or are the vibrating strings picking up and moving around, displacing each other? Either way, kind of like how Plato described the "Idea" horse (the template or recipe for a horse) versus the "actual" horse (its physical manifestation), there is the song that is the pattern of vibrations that makes up "US" and there is the actual physical manifestation of that in a particular set of strings in our place and in our time. There is the sheet music of our being and there is our being.

This means that maybe we are all just songs being played on this planet right now. And our songs can be played anywhere that there are strings, and, fundamentally, a song will still exist even if it is not currently being played on strings. After all, time is just another dimension. To dimensionless things, it is just another axis on a plot to track along with occupancy points.

I know this probably sounded really whacked out and crazy, but even though I can't believe in the traditional ideas about life and death, I'm able to feel hopeful about this fantasy right now. It means my cousin's pattern could still be around forever (for whatever forever is worth to dimensioned things like us), even if her body is not.

4 responses so far

  • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    I really like this idea! I'll have to go away and think about it.

  • Ambivalent Academic says:

    So sorry about your cousin...but this is a really elegant idea and it's beautiful how you've related it to our own lives and mortality. This is a very nice way of thinking about it - it sounds like it gives you comfort and I can see why that is true.

  • PhizzleDizzle says:

    Arlenna, you are blowing my mind with the eloquence and beauty of your thoughts. What a lovely remembrance of your cousin, whom I am sure was a beautiful song since it has inspired your beautiful writing.

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    Arlenna, you are truly a magnificent writer. Your readers are fortunate that you have been able to convert pain and loss into beauty.

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