“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” – Hamlet I.v
In the first part of this post, I began by explaining the similarities between modern software programming and the fundamental design of the universe. It is no coincidence that these similarities exist, because at the base of everything is the one unifying language — Mathematics. All things can be discussed in terms of mathematics, and all things can be quantified, to some degree, using mathematics. So in order to define the “design” we must look to mathematics.
From this we can draw the conclusion that the architect of the universe is most likely a mathematician, but this is not to say that the architect created mathematics. Mathematics simply exists and does not require creation, just as the fundamental state of existence does not require creation. Mathematics and existence simply “are”. It is very difficult for us to grasp this concept, because everything we see around us was created in some form or fashion, or at least that is the way we see it.
In software development, there arises a need before there is a plan. A customer describes the need to solve a problem, and a program is architected, engineered and coded to meet the need. In all my years as a programmer, I have never seen a program appear out of thin air to meet the need; someone must design it, create it and define its parameters. If we look around us, we see any number of objects lying on the desk before us; pencil, monitor, keyboard, checkbook, house, building, car. All these things we created to meet a need or serve a purpose, and we use them until they are broken or no longer needed. We don’t usually keep things around us, or create things, that serve no purpose. But what is purpose?
The word “purpose” is a very broad term because we can define it so many different ways in the context of day-to-day life. For instance, look at the purpose of a fork as opposed to a work of art. Some would say that a fork has a higher purpose than a work of art because art does not perform a necessary function. We as humans assign purpose to everything, and if something has not collective purpose, we tend to disregard it. So we should turn that discriminate eye on ourselves. What purpose do we as humans serve? This question is what has spurred the millenia long strife of religion. We cannot truly assign a purpose to ourselves, as a result, God has become the purpose, as we identify ourselves as his children. This is not to say that this is wrong, but we must then put ourselves in the same role with our own children. At the base level, children are a drain on our existence. Our time and resources are spent to care for them, to teach them, to prepare them to have their own children. One could argue that a child is no more purposeful than the work of art I mentioned above. However, with a different understanding of purpose, children and artwork provide some level of entertainment and joy. They enrich our lives, allowing us to enjoy the act of existing. But what is existence?
Existence, like mathematics, just “is”. And that is all we know at this point since we cannot define, or unable to ever define, why something like the universe would exist at all. According to everything we know about science, it would have been much easier had nothing ever existed at all — a universe of tranquility, energy in a perpetual state of oneness and still. Everything around us all the time is trying to return to this state of stillness, only instead of becoming more still, it becomes more chaotic and more disorganized. And unfortunately, once you’ve disorganized something, in the perspective of space AND time, you cannot reorganize it. Time disallows us to ever return something to its exact state. How is this, you might ask? That is the realm of entropy.
For today, I leave you with these words to ponder, and I would love to hear comments or observations.