Saturday, December 01, 2012

Is it possible to learn TGD?

In an earlier blog discussion Hamed asked about some kind of program for learning TGD in roughly the same manner as I did it myself. I decided to write a brief summary about the basic steps leaving aside the worst side tracks since 35 years means too flat learning curve;-).

I wrote a summary about the very first steps, that is the steps made during the four years before my thesis and related to classical dynamics mostly. I could not avoid mentioning and even briefly explaining notions like the "world of classical worlds" (WCW), quantum TGD, Kähler action, modified Dirac equation, zero energy ontology, etc... since I want to relate the problems that I encountered during the first years of TGD to their solutions which came much later, some of them even during this year. I hope that I find time to write similar summaries about later stages in the evolution of TGD and add them to this text.

This summary does not provide any Golden Road to TGD. I do not even know whether it is possible to learn TGD. And certainly it is much more difficult to passively assimilate ideas of others than to actively discover and develop ideas by one self. The authority of the original discoverer - such as that of Witten's - can help enormously but I do not possess this kind of authority so that I must trust only on the power of the ideas themselves.

Since the text consists of five pages it is more practical to give only a link to the pdf file containing it.


Ulla said...

I have stranded on the spacetime itself. I cannot decide which is the most easy way into TGD, and I think today it is wrong to start with introducing the classic concept of spacetime. There is clearly an interest in this, because my small 3 texts has got quite many visits. I have 30 texts written, but because of the uncertainty I have not published them yet.

Maybe the intro of some important problems would be a more logical way? As the three body problem?
Zero Energy Ontology etc. To link these to mainstream physics is also difficult for me.

matti Pitkanen said...

The fact is that understanding of TGD requires understanding of basics of physics and mathematics. As a referee I have read so many unified theories by people who have read a couple of popular science books and got the impression that building a theory of everything requires just "creativity" that unified theories cannot be built in garage.

Physics and theoretical physics are disciplines, whose development has taken a about 500 hundred years, a life work of totally devoted brilliant people. Nowadays these 500 years can be compressed to 3-4 years in university classes. This is wonderful but during this time one of course gets only some important impressions, not much more. There is no hope of compressing 500 years to a couple of web articles. This would be however needed as a background to develop introduction to TGD for dummies;-).

Anyone can learn macro-economics but theoretical physics is a REALLY difficult discipline. Think only that the best mathematical brains have worked for 28 years in vain with superstring models. They did not get anywhere. We still have Einstein's theory as THE theory of gravitation.

The following old saying still applies. "God give me the wisdom to see what I cannot do and give strength to do what I can;-)". In my case this means that I cannot write a five page essay leading the reader to enlightment but I can improve endlessly the articulations of TGD so that who have the needed background can easily understand it when the Zeitgeist allows them to read an article about TGD in presence of colleagues.

Ulla said...

I did not talk of a 5 page essay. I talked about the basic questions leading to TGD. It is so enormously complex by itself. I have met so many questions now that need explanation in terms of mainstream thinking. The implicit part of TGD is one big obstacle. Also the different parts are so intwined in each other that it is almost impossible to start somewhere simple. This made me stop for a while, and now I have so little time for this. My aim is to continue, but I need advice what the best path would be. To simply repeat what you have said is nonsense. I need to UNDERSTAND it. As Hamed said, the most interesting part is the biology, but to reach there I need the physics first. Without university physics and most of the math :) I have only the words. And it is only an intro.

One thing that maybe went wrong is the Kaluza-Klein thinking about the cosmological constant? It led to string theory, but are there other ways out? Or is the try to mathematize the unknown wrong in itself?

I know you have the hierarchy.

Matti Pitkanen said...

Unfortunately words are not enough when one is trying to talk about quantum physics or mathematics. In mathematics words are only a shorthand - program calls initiating processes in the brain of mathematician but not in brain of a layman. This mathematics is sometimes very simple but difficult to grasp without background. There is no concept so boringly simple as finite-D Hilbert space, but when you try to understand quantum theory without it you encounter mission impossible. Quantum superposition, quantum entanglement, and quantum jump: here are three notions whose understanding without Hilbert space is exceedingly difficult.

Complexity is very relative notion. Basic principles are simple but once you start to really develop and apply the theory, things become complex. So it is also with TGD: TGD is a TOE covering everything form CP_2 length scale to cosmology and one cannot expect simplicity at the level of implications.

The theory of von Neumann algebras is excellent example of this: the axioms look trivial but the mathematics generated by them looks formidable and fascinating at the same time.

If you look about text book about QED, something relatively simple by recent standards, you get absolutely scared by the complexity of the formulas. And they are only for electron-photon system!

I am sorry, but this is the situation. It is very very lonely here and also the air is very cold and thin;-). And it took 35 years to climb here;-). Maybe I should have thought twice.

Santeri Satama said...

Matti and Hamed, a learning strategy suggestion: to my knowledge there is no better way to learn a thing than to internalize it by trying to teach it to somebody else, "learn one thing, teach one other" as the saying goes; so if Hamed finds suitable "victim" at some stage of this process he could start trying to teach TGD - while simultaneously learning it with the help that Matti can can provide.

Good to see thins happening. The real test of TGD is can it be communicated to other theoreticians and even laymen, or will it remain the "Lonely God". ;)

PS: it's becoming almost impossible to post on this blog by passing the "not a robot" test. Which is both sad and funny.

Leo Vuyk said...

Dear Matti,

Did you think about future experiments to support or falsify your TGD?

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Santeri:

You are right about learning. Unfortunately too often only the teacher learns;-).

Matti Pitkanen said...

To 11:

Experimental tests are very important. TGD makes a lot of predictions. Many of them are acutally successfully tested already. Mention only p-adic mass calculations which are based on extremely general assumptions.

a) No standard SUSY is one prediction but no one takes this as interesting because standard SUSY is already excluded in practice.

b) My hope was that the absence of Higgs and identification of Higgs like state as pion of M_89 physics could provide a killer test. It however turned out that TGD is consistent with Higgslike state allowing at QFT limit effective description of particle masses: this follows more or less from the existence of QFT limit. Experimentally the situation is still unsettled. Decays in two-gamma channel and to fermion pairs are both decisive.

c) An excellent candidate for a breakthrough prediction is M_89 hadron physics. The prediction of entire new hadron physics is sensational. The recent observations from LHC (made for the first time already two yeas ago and commented also here) have simplest interpretation as decay of string like magnetic flux tubes to partons.

This kind of objects should not appear at ultra high energies since they relate to low energy hadron physics. The only possibility is that hadrons of new hadron physics with large mass scale are in question. M_89 hadron physics is of course the natural candidate for this hadron physics.

Already RHIC observed these events and QCD definitely does not predict them. Therefore the notion of color glass condensate was introduced to save the situation but it is not QCD prediction if we are honest. Quark gluon plasma is the prediction of QCD.

More generally fractal copies of hadron physics and also leptohadron physics predicting pion like states consisting of color octet charged leptons are predicted. These states have been observed for all lepton families but since they do not fit with standard model the observations have been put under the rug.

Also "infrared" Regge trajectories for ordinary hadrons are possible and there is recent evidence in case of ordinary hadrons for them: the scale of mass splittins is about 20-40 MeV.

d) TGD explains family replication in terms of the topology of partonic 2-surface and this also means predictions of new physics. Do gauge bosons have analog of family replication meaning an exotic octet of mesons besides singlet for dynamical symmetry SU(3) assigned to the 3 families? And how massive are the fermions corresponding to higher genus: here there is a good argument supporting the guess that they are massive.

These are just few predictions and related to particle physics. There are myriads of predictions in cosmology and astrophysics and also in biology. This because TGD Universe is fractal. Basic quantitative tool is p-adic length scale hypothesis predicting a hierarchy of length scales coming as powers of sqrt(2).

The problem is the communication barrier due to the extremely arrogant attitudes of the academic researcher. For this I cannot do much. It would be a job of psychiatrist.

◘Fractality◘ said...


Noble attempt at helping us laymen out in cultivating understanding of TGD. It is much appreciated.

Do you think you could do something similar for TGD theory of consciousness?

L. Edgar Otto said...


This post is an excellent attempt at trying to communicate these frontier ideas. I downloaded it in hard copy of 8 pages and read it carefully. If you are interested in my impressions where we may share some evolution in our approaches I have stated it there.

Professors, like Hoyle when I had tea with him- well he said students are always coming to him to comment on their theories-of course we talked about other things, down to earth and I mentioned supporting him briefly if I did not have other directions but certainly not the new Big Bang cosmology.

Still feel free to comment on my system if I have in discussing yours made it a little easier- then you can get down to maybe something more useful from my own.

I mentioned the scientific american article ulla had posted in facebook- there was a time when I did break from just those two ways to apply and see dimensions and it was an awakening moment.

I think your more careful formal approach is much more difficult than freely allowing the intuition and poetic magic to flow.

But where you say you cannot understand some things even in the asking clearly that is an achievement and perhaps some things in the context were not an error (holographic stuff and surfaces for example) but the context is such an error.

As to why the advanced culture of Finnish science does not support your project that is like some form of economics it would take another Gauss to begin to phantom although I made meager suggestions.

All in all a great posting, thank you. I do wish I had the training in the exponential type notations but perhaps they slow us down.

The Pe Sla

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Fractality:

I hope I can find time and energy to continue the summaries, also about TGD inspired theory of consciousness and quantum biology.

Thanks for Pesla for encouraging comments.

◘Fractality◘ said...


Excellent. You are inducing quantum jump to the order of Einstein ;)

Have you ever theorized as to the roles of biologically active compounds like serotonin and certain tryptamine alkaloids?

Matti Pitkanen said...

Not seriously. Just some general ideas about what makes information molecule information molecule.

Santeri Satama said...

Not sure how relevant this is to above questions, but watching this vid about psychological time and internal "clock" so far unexplained (
gave the idea that internal clock or time-sense could be based on Shnoll effect. Through "information molecules"?.

Would that be the expectation of your general view about the relation of geometric times and psychological times?

Matti Pitkanen said...

Thank you for asking. I cannot answer without bringing in magnetic bodies.

One of their basic tasks is go generate EEG rhythms which define the ticks of clocks with different basic units of time. It has been observer that the period of EEG decomposes to two parts such that during first half there is coherence and second half non-coherence.

Maybe this means that during the first half period "alpha" subself with say average lifetime/wakeup time of .05 seconds wakes up and dies in the beginning of second half period (roughly). We ourselves would do the same in time scale of 12+12 hours. Wake-sleep cycle would define a universal clock.

In standard picture one tries to understand basic EEG rhythms in terms of various brain circuits. I see this as hopeless project as trying to find standard SUSY at LHC;-) but modern Big Science is full of this kind of desperate projects.

I have talked in about the recent views concerning the generation of the arrow of time. I do not bother to type the recent view about time.

Perhaps it is enought to say that in zero energy ontology the analog of clock pendulum emerges at very abstract level. The state function reductions at upper and lower boundary of causal diamond take place alternatively. This has as an analog the motion of clock pendulum: the highest position at right- that at left- that at right-..... This would correspond at the level of self sleep-wake-up cycles which would be universal aspect of consciousness.

As always I think that the understanding is rather satisfactory now;-) . I must of course confess that the understanding of the arrow of time has been an Odysseia similar to the understanding of the nature of possibly existing Higgs in TGD Universe;-).

Ulla said...

Matti, fortunately I have absolutely no intention to make things more complex than they need to be. I only try to make some introduction, nothing else.

I have seen enough of nonsense to realize this is difficult, and that's why I usually ask. I WANT to do this because TGD is really a good way to understand things. But the details necessary are troublesome, and they force me to read lots and lots of articles. I don't write for experts, but for common people with common knowledge. For them words like math phrases are just garbage and say absolutely nothing. I have to 'translate' TGD.

Cold and thin air is good for the brain. Why on Earth did you have to come in my way? You should not have had, if things worked well, as T said. Dammit.

I have no problems with the test, which maybe says something about me?

Zephir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ulla said...

Can I publish this discussion on my TGD Lessons?

Hamed said...

Dear Matti, and the readers,

When I see the posting I encounter with many comments. I know more of these persons are very interested to understand TGD, but there is a big problem for them that are a lot of physics and mathematics for those that don’t know about basic physics and mathematics.
I have some suggestions for the readers and I request from Matti if anything between them is wrong, he correct and complete it.

Generally learning science is a process that needs patient but it is very enjoyable ;-). About TGD this seems hard, because TGD is not only a theory but a program, a lot of mathematical and physical ideas and principles had evolved more than 30 years. Although learning TGD is hard but it is possible if one has enough patient.
I encourage everyone even laymen that are working in other fields of science to learn TGD. Because the worldview of TGD makes deep influence on their thinking and this leads to progress and evolution in other fields of science too.
How the laymen can learn TGD? I try to answer it.
in learning consciousness and biological parts of TGD, although at first it seems that these parts doesn’t need mathematics or physics but as I tried it, when one goes further and asks some whys in the bases of them, at end it will be Revealed that it needs understanding Quantum TGD. Similarly understanding the bases of Quantum TGD without classical TGD is impossible.
But for a beginner it is useful at first to understanding the definitions of concepts of TGD from classical to Quantum and after it to biology and consciousness at the introductory level without going further. For this the overview articles of TGD is very good.
After this, I encourage them to learn basic concepts of physics and mathematics. For laymen I think it is possible to learn them without calculations because it is enough for their purposes. Unfortunately it is not enough for me ;-). The book “The road to reality” of Penrose is very good for this purpose.(for example it gives some good mathematical intuitions about Hilbert space for learning Quantum too) The prerequisite for learning the book is physics and mathematics of high school. The physical intuitions in this book are very useful even for teachers in physics.

Santeri Satama suggested to me to teach for better understanding. Yes, It will be useful for my learning and I will try as I can. I remember the quoting of Einstein “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” ;-). I am certain that I can’t explain anything of physics to my grandmother ;-) but I think I can do it at least for the readers of the blog and request from Matti to correct it.

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Ulla:

Nothing against your proposal.

To Hamed:

Thank you for a perspective of a person who is really working hard to understand the ideas of TGD. It would be nice to have the "Road to Reality" in bookshelf. This kind of books are God's gifts to human kind. Maybe someone writes someday this kind of book explaining hyperfinite factors, Kac Moody algebras and all that stuff which makes me feel unpleasant;-).

I feel that technical side is not terribly important but maybe this is illusion: to learn the conceptual thinking one must perhaps learn first the basic techniques such as the mathematics learned in theoretical physical classes during first few years.

Maybe this relates to basic fact about language: words as such have no meaning, they only induce self-organization patterns giving rise to the experience of meaning. The meaning of the word is quite different for a person with and for a person without the adequate background.

Ulla said...

Thanks Matti,

Hamed is right in the fact that consciousness needs the physical background to be right understood. Also every biological event need a physical explanation, and that is alone a huge task. We have as instance with Matti discussed the meaning of endorphins and serotonins, but without the physical background his explanations seems meaningless, even nonsensical. This is exactly what ordinary physicists encounter too, and this is why they say TGD is rubbish. They simply have not the patience to learn it from basics. Many times I feel I know more than them when I have tried to discuss things, but then again I have too many empty boxes of knowledge. The mainstream physicist have maybe what seems a coherent knowledge, but when I ask deep enough it turns out they too know very little. This is why I asked for a list of problems that show TGD as a possible solution.

Hamed is really very good for TGD. I hope time is ripe for it now, and he is not marginalized for it.

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Ulla;

Every generation of scientists plays again the evergreen "Emperor's new clothes" by H. C. Andersen.

Ulla said...


Hamed said...

Thanks Matti and Ulla for the encouraging.

donkerheid said...

Greetings Hamed,

If you'd like to teach or talk, I'm willing to listen, but I don't know higher mathematics and physics. My university conditioning very successfully destroyed my once-existing confidence with physics and maths that I'm now considering to reclaim. (I learned biology.)

There is another guy who was once interested in TGD, Dhananjay Ravikumar, since then a physicist. Maybe has not yet gone too mainstream and respectable at Cambridge University. I haven't heard of him for some time.

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Donkerheid:

Dhananjay is now a student of particle physics in some english university. Maybe the recommendation letter from me need not always destroy the career of the victim;-) I think he made is MsC thesis or some time ago.

Hamed said...

Well donkerheid,
This can be seen as discussions between students in the virtual class to learn TGD and their teacher, Matti, guide them. ;-)

I will try as soon as i can.

Ulla said...

Hamed, you can learn me too :)

donkerheid said...

You can write to my address:

Santeri Satama said...

>>>Perhaps it is enought to say that in zero energy ontology the analog of clock pendulum emerges at very abstract level. The state function reductions at upper and lower boundary of causal diamond take place alternatively. This has as an analog the motion of clock pendulum: the highest position at right- that at left- that at right-..... This would correspond at the level of self sleep-wake-up cycles which would be universal aspect of consciousness. <<<

This is very deep in many ways. I'm reading Ivar Ekeland's 'Paras mahdollisista maailmoista' and learned about Galileo's Pendulum ( which launched the modern notion of time, based on continuous invariant swings of pendulum as units of time. Also the dynamics of square and square root so important in TGD comes also from Galileo's key finding that swing period squared is proportional to the length for a pendulum. Sounds like all post-Galilean physics is at root about building idealized mathematical pendulums of increased complexity and finesse of "labyrinth" of various dialectic and dynamic symmetries<->chiralities. The link from comments in the earlier blog may be also worth recheck:

Last but not least, Pendulum Waves:

Matti Pitkanen said...

This pendulum metaphor is both amazing and amusing. Encourages me to consider the possibility that I might be on right track.


Santeri Satama said...

The amazing video of fractal pendulum waves with raises the question of the wave undulations created by causal diamonds - figure that's what and how we sense this world if your theory holds. But the richness and fullness of sensual world more than just series of squared CD's? The relation of CD's and "pendulum" of p-adics and reals remains unclear to me.

Ulla said...

There is an old file (2003) on Sidoroffs site, - is this useable any more?

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Ulla:

The illustrations are still usable although the picture about elementary particles has become much more detailed and more complex: it however contains the basic idea of the original vision: particle as 2-surface and its genus as characterizer of fermion family.

To Santeri:

The pendulum waves are really cute. One can wonder what is behind the coherence of motion. Precise choice of initial values cannot be it since identical penduli would oscillate in unisono for same initial values.

Could interactions via air induce the coherence in a manner (whatever it is!) similar to a spontaneous synchronization of clocks?

What comes also in mind is Fermi's discovery of solitons in 1-D lattice: the initial pattern recurred.

Or is it macroscopic quantum coherence at some level of dynamics?

The relationship between CDs and p-adics remains unclear to me too. CD sizes should come as integer multiples of CP_2 size for number theoretical reasons: also U-matrix or rather, a hierarchy of them integrating to larger structure favors this.

Primes would be favored and especially favored would be primes near power of two. I have talked many times about electron, Mersenne prime M_127 and 10 Hz as fundamental biorhythm.

A time scale related to the field body of particle would be certainly in question would correspond to proper time. This means that CDs can be Lorentz boosted and in given coordinate system their temporal size scale can be arbitrarily long: time dilation.

Questions: Do the time scale of CD and lifetime of particle (very long -much longer than .1 seconds, of infinite for electron) relate to each other? Does CD relate to the field body of the particle? Does it represent kind of spotlight of consciousness even at elementary particle level? Can the space-time sheets inside CD continue outside it?

Santeri Satama said...

>>>Questions: Do the time scale of CD and lifetime of particle (very long -much longer than .1 seconds, of infinite for electron) relate to each other? Does CD relate to the field body of the particle? Does it represent kind of spotlight of consciousness even at elementary particle level? Can the space-time sheets inside CD continue outside it?"<<<

For the solution of the inside-outside problem (holography pendulum?) my hunch is to go through the portal of Quantum Math Hilbert spaces and TDG as generalized number theory, stay there to vision the p-adic etc. natural length scales and how they relate to CD's in quantum math space, and if "eppur si muove" and holomovement panta rhei, what kind of pendulums the number theoretical length scales are? I just had the idea that the QM as such is an (or the) zero energy state, but if and when the whole structure vibrates...

PS: next hint from pendulums is cycloid (, the curved space solution (and proof!) to the brachistochrone problem. And tautochrone problem.

Dream the dream, friend! :)

Santeri Satama said...

PPS: The cycloid pendulum had link to evolute:

Nice graph of cycloid ellipse creating a diamond shape evolute of two arrows.

Santeri Satama said...

>>>I have stranded on the spacetime itself. I cannot decide which is the most easy way into TGD, and I think today it is wrong to start with introducing the classic concept of spacetime. There is clearly an interest in this, because my small 3 texts has got quite many visits. I have 30 texts written, but because of the uncertainty I have not published them yet.<<<

There are many paths, which is fine, to suit different backgrounds, those disciplined in modern physics and those with other approaches. And the various paths dance and play like pendulum waves. I dream of some day comprehending QM of Hilbert spaces as the number theoretic zero energy space where energized pendulum like curving time-spaces take place. As for number theoretic energy source, transcendentals like pi seem to do the job well enough for the scope of a TOE, IMHO.

A very important linguistic point, while zero energy state of QM can be a noun of infinite potential, curving pendulum like dynamic space time is a verb, not a noun.

Santeri Satama said...

Just found these about solving mystery of Ramanujans death bed formulas:

The coin metaphor reminded me of pendulum waves.

Santeri Satama said...