specularium

Rebel Physics

Peter J. Carroll

Latest Blog Post

  • The Occultaris

    Eight years have elapsed since my last book. Correspondents and publishers have started to ask if I have anything else in the pipeline. I most certainly do, although I wonder if the world can or will entertain its exceptionally challenging hypotheses. Herewith the provisional introduction and contents.

    The Occultaris. Magic and Natural Philosophy.

    By Stokastikos, Peter J Carroll.

    Ch1. (Intro) Natural Philosophy, and the Occluded Universe.

    Natural Philosophy used to mean the investigation of the natural universe and all its secrets by any means possible. It used to include anything natural that we could observe from mechanical, celestial, biological, medical, to even apparently ‘occult’ phenomena.

    The great quest of Natural Philosophy lasted from classical antiquity until modern times and its remit included the study of all things, although it tended to avoid the pitfalls of applying reason to Theology and Religious ideas.

    Then beginning in the early modern period, Natural Science began to assert itself and ended up by just calling itself Science from the latter part of the 19th century onwards.

    What distinguishes Science from Natural Philosophy?

     “All Science is either Physics or Stamp Collecting.” -  Ernest Rutherford.

    With this bold statement one of history’s greatest scientists asserted that the scientific understanding of anything depends on developing an explanatory mechanism that we can do some maths and measurement with, and check against experiment or observation.

    Chairs of Natural Philosophy still exist at some venerable old universities and today Physics Professors usually occupy them.

    Despite doing a great deal of Natural Philosophy, including speculative metaphysics and alchemy on the side, Isaac Newton managed to put optics, and terrestrial and celestial mechanics into the fold of (Natural) Science and then much else followed and The Enlightenment blossomed. Eventually even the study of living organisms grew from the mere phenomenology of Natural History into the Science of Biology with the discoveries of Evolution, Biochemistry, and Genetics.

    These developments tended to leave Natural Philosophy with all the phenomena, ideas, and questions that we could not develop mechanistic explanations or descriptive mathematics for, often because we could not concisely define or measure them. Thus metaphysics, consciousness, teleology, essentialism, and subjective experiences tended to remain there largely ignored or dismissed by Science.

    Enlightenment thinkers dismissed Alchemy and Astrology, probably quite rightly, as proto sciences that did not work. Religious ideas and practices became viewed as having social and psychological functions only, with nothing useful to tell about the Natural Universe on the basis that nothing Supernatural exists. Anything that really exists falls into the category of Natural, no matter how astonishing or hidden, or improbable it may seem.   

    Magical ideas proved particularly resistant to mathematical quantification and description by testable mechanisms. Magic thus tended to become regarded as an Unnatural Philosophy concerned with phenomena that do not exist because we cannot readily measure them or easily perform repeatable experiments on them.

    However, the far reaches of Physics in the Cosmological and Quantum domains do not yet conform to Rutherford’s ideals. Both fields remain at the stamp collecting phase, we have collected masses of observations, but we have no convincing and testable theories of mechanism, we just have a series of conflicting and often mutually contradictory ad hoc explanatory schemes. Cosmologists present extreme speculations as established facts. As Landau quipped “Cosmologists are often in error but seldom in doubt.”

     Quantum physicists argue constantly about the nature of the underlying reality or whether an underlying reality even exists or even has a nature that we can perceive.

    Magic suffers from its own problems; in antiquity, magical theorists tended to borrow heavily from Religious ideas for a metaphysic and a vocabulary to describe their ideas and practices. Today, analogies to science often become employed. As Ramsey Dukes observes; Pseudoscience has become the language of choice for modern magical thinking. ‘Quantum’ has replaced ‘Astral’ in the magical lexicon. Yet that does not seem entirely inappropriate because as the great quantum physicist Richard Feynman asserted, “Nobody understands quantum physics” either.

    This book aims to advance the cause of Natural Philosophy, the great quest to understand the secrets of the Natural Universe, by combining insights from the Unnatural Philosophy of Magic with insights from the increasingly Unnatural Philosophies of Cosmological and Quantum Physics.

    In the cause of rendering all three of these disciplines less Unnatural and more consistent with each other, this book will advance many radical proposals and unusual hypotheses with supporting evidence, mathematics, and some proposals for experiments and observations.

    Two magical experiments performed within the last thirty years gave very strange results and initiated the lines of enquiry that led to this book. Over the course of a career one becomes accustomed to Enchantments (making things happen by magic) going awry, sometimes solid objects in the vicinity shatter spontaneously, or teleport unbidden, sometimes unwanted metrological or seismic events have occurred, but these two experiments relate to Divination (finding information by magic).

    In one of the two experiments a group of about forty magicians gathered in an Austrian castle and after a week of varied rituals and preparations set out to scry the Big-Bang event in a coordinated mass dreaming experiment. At the time, the so called Big-Bang had very much captured the popular imagination and become the officially sanctioned scientific answer. Many paperback books and documentaries had appeared on the subject and some of the Chaos Magic practitioners present had even gone so far as to identify Chaos Magic as ‘Big-Bang mysticism’. Despite expectations, all those who reported a result reported that the universe of 13 odd billion years ago looked much as it does now on the large scale. This provoked a quarter century quest to understand why almost all Cosmologists thought otherwise and whether they might have misinterpreted their observations, and whether a better interpretation exists.

    Magicians have always made maps of the cosmos to guide them in their endeavours. For a long while they remained content with the solar system of the sun and most of its surrounding planets, and kabalistic schemes which derive from or relate to that, with maybe a nod to the surrounding celestial sphere. The magician Giordano Bruno went to the stake in 1600AD partly for asserting that other stars had planets orbiting them and that those planets carried other life forms.

    In the other experiment conducted in the West of England, a group attempted to scry the results of horse races using a modified Ganzfeld procedure. Experimenters would first set up an array of unusual or surprising objects unknown to the test subjects. These objects would all bear numbers that corresponded to the race numbers of horses due to participate in a specific race in the near future. The test subjects would then enter a sensory deprived Ganzfeld state with opalescent lenses placed over their eyes and soft light shone into them, and with white noise played into their ears by headphones. Test subjects strove to achieve a vision of whatever object an experimenter would dramatically present to them after the race, the object chosen would correspond to the winning horse. The test subjects had no clues about what such objects might consist of or what races they related to.

    Fortunately, we wasted no money on betting because it rapidly became apparent that test subjects frequently achieved false positives. They managed to scry unknown objects in the array, but these often did not correspond to the winning horses.

    These results raised profound issues of indeterminacy, psychism, and the nature of time which led to several decades of research into the properties of the quanta which supposedly underlie the whole of natural reality.

    Magicians have always made maps or models of how natural reality works. Early ideas about the Platonic essences of things and elemental classifications of phenomena as relating to earth, air, fire, and water gave way to models based on the rays and emanations and the luminiferous aether of pre relativistic physics.

    If we have almost got to the underlying fundamentals of Nature with our investigations of the quantum realm, then perhaps we can attempt the final leap which will necessarily include accounting for magical phenomena in rigorous rather than pseudo-scientific terms.

    The final leap almost certainly implies that we abandon two long held popular ‘privative’ concepts. A privative concept means an idea defined by the absence of something. Thus ‘Death’ does not consist of anything except the absence of life (except perhaps in Discworld). We commonly regard ‘Space’ as merely the absence of anything between separated objects, and ‘Time’ as merely the intervals between events.

    When Newton proposed the concept of gravity, the idea of action at a distance without physical contact remained problematical to many including Newton himself. The later addition of the idea of a ‘gravitational field’ merely buried the problem until Einstein realised that what we call gravity means curved spacetime. As Wheeler later neatly summarised it, “Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.”

    In Einstein’s General and Special Relativity, space and time do not exist separately but always in the combined form of Spacetime. Moreover, spacetime has a definite geometry, structure, and properties, it can become stretched or compressed or curved or stressed by the presence of mass and energy. These principles underlie both the conventional Big Bang Cosmology and its alternative - the Hypersphere Cosmology that chapter 2 will explain.

    In some approaches to quantum fundamentals, the mass and energy of the quanta themselves consist of geometric distortions in the fabric of spacetime. Chapter 4 will explore the idea that the existence and all the properties and behaviours of fundamental particles may arise from the geometry of spacetime if it has just two more natural dimensions than commonly realised.

    Magical theories also require some sort of a medium for effects which extend across space and time. Traditional ideas about ‘spiritual forces’ or astral planes or ethers have never proved particularly useful or satisfactory and the more modern idea of ‘magical energy’ implies little more than some substance that sometimes does what someone wants it to.

    This book will attempt to show that a (curved) six-dimensional spacetime could account for the structure and behaviour of the entire macrocosmic universe, the existence and properties of all fundamental particles of the microcosm and their quantum behaviours of superposition,  entanglement, and apparent indeterminacy, in addition to accounting for the probabilistic nature of enchantment and divination in magic.

    Our most astute futurologist provokes us with the thought that the quest of Natural Philosophy may lead us to dark places: -

    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

    The Call of Cthulhu --- H.P. Lovecraft - 1927

    Yet only a Promethean response to the Indifferentism and Hostility of the Cosmos towards our randomly evolved species seems to offer it any long-term chance of survival. To this end we must attempt to correlate the contents of our minds and voyage far.

     

    Ch2. (Physics) The Macrocosm, Hypersphere Cosmology.

    Ch3. (Magic) The Occult Universe.

    Ch4. (Physics) The Microcosm, Hypersphere Mechanics, Reversible and Transverse Time.

    Ch5. (Magic) Practical Metaphysics.

    Ch6. (Psychology) The Anthrocosm.

    Ch7. (Magic) The Human Condition.

    Ch8. (Outro) A Life.

    And now for something completely different - Circe’s Children.

    It all began with seed provided by the Greek wizard Xarisal. After seven years slow growth in the chilly British climate, Circe, the largest of the three Mandrakes (Mandragora Autumnalis) at Chateaux Chaos, has produced a mandrake apple, a seed pod. I shall offer some of her children for adoption at the next Druidical Eisteddfod with a view to their widespread reintroduction to Southwest England and Wales over the next century.

    Lastly, another addition to the lockdown sci-fi creations, a major upgrade to the Frontier Space War game system with multiplayer and solitaire options and multiple backstory possibilities including neo-modern political and culture war, Alien encounter, and a Dune-style neo-feudal conflict. See below in the games section.

    Written on Friday, 17 July 2020 20:50 in Blog Read 599 times

Latest Games Post

  • Frontier Space War 2.

    Frontier Space War 2. Multiplayer or Solitaire.

    Outline. This strategy game models a possible future in which various groups have colonised the nearest habitable star systems and then started to dispute territory, economics, ideology, and alliances. It can accommodate up to five players or alternatively a single player can play each faction in turn to evolve a narrative and perhaps put names to all the star systems and major warships.

    The structure of the game can support a variety of backstories. Backstory ‘A’ relates a geopolitical expansion of various human factions into space. Alternative backstories appear at the end.    

    Backstory A. In AD 2050 humans discover a warp-drive mechanism that can enable ships to travel to star systems within 20 light years in about 3 months. This fortuitous discovery came at a time when ecological, climatic, population, and political crises on Earth had almost reached breaking point. European backed missions settled large numbers of people on habitable planets in six nearby star systems forming what became known as the Terran Sphere governed according to Synarchist principles by a vast self-perpetuating bureaucracy.   

    Over the following decades various factions dissatisfied with the philosophy and politics of the Terran Sphere of seven worlds ventured further into space to colonise other worlds.

    Eurasian backed colonists established Vostok on Soviet Neo-Communist principles where hierarchies of endless committees decide everything.

    Colonists backed by the Americas established Kalifornia on Darwinian and Capitalist principles where wealth and power and a certain amount of democracy decides everything.

    Various mystically and religiously inclined groups, particularly the New-Age-Ecumenicists backed the establishment of Nirvana which operates as an Aquarian Theocracy run by those considered the most enlightened.

    Exactly who initially conspired to back the establishment of R’lyeh remains a matter of ongoing debate, but it attracted a mixed consortium of misfits, occultists, illuminati, anarchists, rebels, devils, and chaoists who eventually settled for the collective name of Goths. R’lyeh operates as a Magiocracy run by those considered to have the most magical charisma by popular acclaim.

    Within a century the four splinter factions based on Vostok, Kalifornia, Nirvana, and R’lyeh colonised secondary systems in their vicinities and developed increasingly distinct cultures and slightly divergent technologies. Despite interstellar trade and commerce, tensions over resources and the control of unaligned worlds led first to the Treaty of Terra which recognised spheres of influence and neutral worlds, and then to its breakdown as diplomacy failed and factions started building warships and interstellar struggles began.

    The conflict plays out with each faction using limited numbers of huge and expensive vessels. Factions can also employ specialised command vessels denoted as Flagships which add to the combat capabilities of flotillas of ships and which factions can exchange in alliances. Some backstories attribute the enhancements conferred by flagships to AI computers, others to genetically enhanced human capabilities.

     

     

    Factions.      Philosophy     Colour         Capital World      Flagship AI Capability

    Imperials      Synarchists     Silver          Terra                    Tactical Attack and Defence

    Soviets         Communists    Red             Vostok                 Tactical Defence

    Capitalists    Darwinians     Bronze        Kalifornia             Tactical Attack

    Aquarians     Mystics          Green           Nirvana                Psychic Defence

    Goths           Occultists        Purple          R’lyeh                  Psychic Attack

     

    The following chart shows the ideological relationships of the five factions.

                            

                           Individualist

                                      l

                                      l

           (Goths)               l              (Capitalists)

                                      l

                                      l

    Magical -----------------(Imperials)----- Rationalist

                                      l

                                      l

          (Aquarians)         l               (Soviets)

                                      l

                                      l

                             Collectivist

     

    Types of Vessel.

    Cost   Type                                                                    Dice             Number available/Faction

    5       Fortress                                                           – Icosahedron D20.           4 (all)

    5       Battleship                                                       – Dodecahedron D12         2 (1A, 4I)

    4       B-Cruiser/H-Cruiser/P-Battleship/Monitor.  – Octahedron D8         (2G, 2A, 2C, 2S)

    3       Cruiser (Frigate/Fortress Carrier).                 – Cube D6                           4 (6I) 2I 1

    2       Destroyer                                                       – Tetrahedron D4                6 (all)

    1      Frigate                                                            – Tetrahedron D4                 (10I)                                            

    5      Flagship                                                           – Tetrahedron D4               3 (4I)

     

    Star systems have production values 1, or 2, or 3, or (5, Earth), shown by relative size.

    Sequential turns. Throw for first turn.

     

    1) Count production from all occupied systems. Purchase extra vessels if possible and place at a Fortress. If no Fortress, purchase one if possible and place on a home system. Factions may store unused production as markers at a Fortress. The number of ship pieces provided reflects the maximum that a faction can maintain.

    * Occupied means either a system held by a ship or fortress or a home territory not occupied by a rival.

    2) Move any number of vessels from any star system to any adjoining one connected by a jump route. Frigates and Fortresses can only move if carried in a Frigate or Fortress carrier.

    3) Black holes act as long-range jump ports, 1 turn to move directly from one to any other one.

    4) Settle any conflicts arising. Risk protocols – up to 3 attack dice against up to 2 defence dice. Players may advance chosen ships into a round of combat in a concealed fashion and then mutually reveal them if desired.

    Flagships. Act as combat modifiers to a whole flotilla, (all of a Faction’s vessels at a system).

    Tactical AI, Supercomputer using massive parallel calculation. Attack or Defence.

    Dice                          Tetrahedron   Cube   Octahedron     Dodecahedron     Icosahedron

    Attack or Defence          +1              +2           +3                      +4                       +5

    Psychic AI, Quantum computers with a mysterious degree of prescience. Attack or Defence. Roll each dice thrice. Use the highest of 3 rolls.

    Initial dispositions, numbers and production values of star systems, and total.

    7 Imperials     53 222 11 (16)

    8 Aquarians    3 2 111111 (11)

    6 Goths           3 22 111 (10)

    8 Capitalists   3 22 11111 (12)

    8 Soviets        3 22 11111 (12)   

    14 Neutrals    222 11111111111 (17)         (Total systems, 51)

    Combat Resolution, in each round attacker and defender must put forward at least one piece.

    Attacker puts forward up to 3 units. Defender puts forward up to 2 units. Roll appropriate dice. (Adjust for flagships if present.) Pair off dice, attacker highest against defender highest, defender second highest against defender second highest, to determine casualty numbers, defender wins draws. Each side removes the appropriate number of casualties at will, (irrespective of the ship’s dice scores).

    Flagships do not need to participate in a round of combat to lend their enhancement to all vessels (including themselves) in a flotilla. A flotilla can only use one flagship to enhance it.

    Rounds of combat continue until either all attacking, or all defending forces become eliminated. Or by mutual agreement participants can decline combat. Any non-home territory with more than one faction occupying it does not contribute production.

    Treaties.

    Any Faction may send a Flagship to assist an allied Faction. It then acts under the control of the receiving Faction. However, the Faction which gave it retains two options: -

    a) In its own turn the donating Faction can reclaim it and order it to move.

    b) At any point during combat involving the Flagship, the donating Faction can order it to change sides.

    Special heavy vessels, dice modifications: -

    (Aquarians) Dreadnought – D20 attack or defence, cost 6. (Instead of a second battleship.)

    (Aquarians) Heavy Cruiser - D12 defence

    (Capitalists) Pocket Battleship, (Goths) Battlecruiser - D12 attack

    (Soviets) Monitor – D20 attack, D4 defence.

    (All) Fortress in Carrier – D20 in attack or defence. Fortress Carriers can be scrapped to allow rebuilding elsewhere.

    Starting Positions.

    Each Faction places a Fortress at their capital, and one turns worth of produced ships anywhere on their home-worlds. A second round then begins, and conflict can occur.

    Ships may remain on black holes, but no production can occur there.

    Victory Points. – Control of Earth +1. Control of another Faction’s Capitol +1. Loss of own Capital -1. Ending with more territory +1. Ending with less territory -1.

    The Imperials start with more territory and productive capacity, but rival factions surround them. Alliances prove crucial to the outcome.

    Alternative Backstories.

    B, Alien Powers. The five factions represent Humans plus four other Alien species with advanced technology that all acquired interstellar capability at about the same time.

    C, Neo-Feudalism. The factions represent the five ‘Great Houses’ that developed the biotech that gave them personal dominance over humanity and the ability to devise warp-drive. Flagships represent the personal command ships of senior family members and/or their clones.

    Written on Friday, 17 July 2020 20:41 in Games Read 354 times

Featured Articles...

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • Herewith my Summer Solstice Eisteddfood poem, despite that it consists of a poem by a scientist (groan), it recieved polite to moderately enthusiastic applause, the

    Read More
  • Following a number of heated debates with my eldest who has gone native after marrying a fine Scot, I've taken a lot more notice of

    Read More
  • Higgs or Not?

    Today’s announcement from CERN does not send me scuttling off to eat the relevant pages of The Apophenion and The Octavo as

    Read More
  • Well, it seems like busy week in my absence. Ghadaffi met a well deserved squalid end, hopefully this will serve as a warning to other

    Read More
  • Apophenia’s Official Birthday.

    On this little rock circling a nondescript star in an unfashionable spiral arm of our galaxy Apophenia’s Official Birthday happens tomorrow, Thursday

    Read More
  • The two courses of Semester 6 start on  http://www.arcanoriumcollege.com/ very soon, members can commence participation anytime during the first weeks.

    Semester 6, Jun 6th -Jul 16th

    Sorror

    Read More
  • Arcanorium College announces its program for Semsters 6 and 7. www.arcanoriumcollege.com

    Semester 6. Jun 15th - Jul 28th
    Pete, Elder Gods
    Hyperritual, Measuring Magic

    Semester 7.

    Read More
  • Jose Manuel Barroso, head of some apparently important part of the hydra like EU Totalitarian Synarchy has just said that 'Britain will reduce(?) itself to the

    Read More
  • Eye of Agomotto


    To prepare this most puissant magical amulet let the sorcerer first study the career of The Sorcerer Supreme, the mythical Dr Steven

    Read More
  • For some years I served as Treasurer to the Bristol Branch of UKIP, my first ever membership of a political party. I joined for several

    Read More
  • After a hard days slaving over esoteric and scientific texts in search of the secrets and equations of the universe I sometimes like to do

    Read More
  • Please say NO to AV in the UK on May 5th.

    It will result in the Libdems getting more seats as everyone understands. The UK

    Read More
  • Plenty of good cheer this week, married off my eldest daughter to a fine scotsman, dog bit my sporran mistaking it for a badger, it

    Read More
  • The Book of English Magic. Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate.

    ISBN 978 1 84854 041 5
    550+ pages, now in paperback 14.99.
     
    I felt
    Read More
  • http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/340170/title/Dark_matter_search_turns_up_empty

    Ahem, yes well I did predict that some time ago and wrote it up in The Apophenion and The Octavo.

    Half-crazed wizards can take

    Read More
  • Firstly a number of interesting items from some of my friends and colleagues: -

    Dave Lee’s new novel, The Road to Thule. A rollicking tale of

    Read More
  • Gnostic Marathon.

    Friday evening and I arrive at a secret location and meet people whose identities I have oathed not to reveal, for a semi-surprise

    Read More
  • As you may know, I hold the chair in The Department of Sorcery and Alternative Science at Arcanorium College, www.arcanoriumcollege.com and also act as the

    Read More
  • A few oddments.

    Obama Wins, Apocalypse probably Averted. Let us celebrate the triumph of the lesser of two evils, barking mad religious nut case backed by financial- military-industrial

    Read More
  • The Greek government's threat to offer its people a referendum on the euro-bailout package before the finalisation of that package may yet lead to another

    Read More
  • Semester 4 of our 7th glorious year begins TODAY on Arcanorium College. www.arcanoriumcollege.com  You can join up for it anytime this week.

    Semester 4, 11th

    Read More
  • Well that stirred up a reply or two, herewith my response....

    There are perhaps 100m people on this planet in various conflict zones who could

    Read More
  • Just a few odds and ends that have caught my attention this last week or so: -

    The mandrakes I unearthed about 2 months ago, these

    Read More
  • Thanks for your messages.

    Herewith some further and rather more metaphysical thoughts on the previous paper.

     

                                                           Local Indefiniteness
             

    Read More
  • Halloween, rather like Christmas, seems an essentially modern and rather American innovation. Trick or Treat seems to follow the Sicilian-American business model of extortion with

    Read More
  • The hunt for the origin of U, the ubiquity constant of about 6 x 10 60 , which relates the Planck mass, length, and time to

    Read More
  • Hi, Yog-Sothoth here again...

    With a bit more on those pesky quarks...

    Consider the flowing data in support of the idea that within baryons, u

    Read More
  • The Perfect Cosmological Principle.

    Copernicus overturned the Ptolemaic astronomical assumption that the earth lay at the centre of the universe, and did, like the other

    Read More
  • So at vast expense we now have a rather higher resolution map of the CMBR, the cosmic microwave background radiation, than that already provided by the COBE

    Read More
  •  

    I note with great joy the enormously deserved death of the News of the World 'newspaper'.

    Gerald Suster (he was a friend and colleague)

    Read More
  • Back to school and college for many of us now that we get to the end of the holiday season, you can almost feel the

    Read More
  • I remain unconvinced by the possible sniff of the Higgs at Cern. If they have found that they can make something fleeting which decays into a

    Read More
  • Arcanorium College, the Worlds Premier Cyberspace Academy for the Magical Artes, Proudly Presents: -

    For Semester 6 beginning on June 24th.

    Nikki Wyrd, Transmogrification

    Andriehvitimus, An introduction

    Read More
  • St George's day will probably pass more or less unnoticed as usual, since our phyrric victory in WW2 and our loss of empire and superpower status we

    Read More
  • Seasonal Greetings for the Mayan end of the world on 21/12/12, and for the festive season thereafter on 25 th December to mark the birthdays

    Read More
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all