Many Matrix-fans tend to believe that the physical universe is not merely described by mathematics, but is mathematics (specifically, a mathematical structure). They adhere to the ‘mathematical universe hypothesis’ or ‘mathematical monism’ , a theory denying that anything exists other than mathematical objects: even conscious experience is composed of ‘self-aware’ mathematical substructures. According to this view, mathematics is not merely the best guide to reality, it is reality. Humans are nothing but a self-aware substructure living in a relational reality; a reality made up from mathematical relations.

It’s true that mathematics enables us to quantitatively describe the Universe. It’s an incredibly useful tool when applied properly. But the Universe is a physical, not a mathematical entity, and there’s a big difference between the two. Even the Matrix masterminds resorted to an underlying physical reality to explain the purpose of their creation.

Developing a mathematical framework to describe spacetime (and gravitation) required more than pure mathematics, but the application of mathematics in a tweaked way that would agree with observations of the Universe. It’s the reason why we all know the name “Albert Einstein,” but very few people know the name “David Hilbert.”

Cryptomathician artists are finding most of their inspiration in paradoxes: where the reality and the theory are colliding, or at instances where the theory provides for certain unexpected outcomes that, due to technical issues, cannot be confirmed by observations.

Humanity may eventually have no choice but to design the planet for our survival. But we need to find a fit with nature and not fit nature through the totalizing narrative of “ecological security.” That humans often choose to limit the extent of our changes suggests that we, as a species, want to find a fit with nature and not fit nature through a totalizing narrative (The Paradox of Security).

Our world is better off now than at any point in human history, but at the same time things have never been worse. As American philosopher Noam Chomsky so aptly put it, fossil capitalism can only persist “as long as it’s possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.” That paradox puts a time bomb under most economic models. In a sustainable world powered only by solar and wind energy, vast swathes of our planet would, economically speaking, become too distant to reach.

2 thoughts on “The Cryptomathic Paradox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.