Time and Space as Unpredictable Biological Constructions

Volume 19
Issue 2
John M. Myers, F. Hadi Madjid
Whatever we can say, we say in rhythms of symbols—e.g., words written as
marks on paper. What a mark symbolizes to us or to other agents cannot be
predicted on the basis of measurement and calculation. Without admitting any
explicit notion of an agent, quantum theory implies a role for an unpredictable
symbol-handling agent. To accept agents and symbols into physics is to see
mechanisms, especially clocks, not in isolation but as tools that agents build and
adjust as needed. We model a symbol-handling agent by combining a modified
Turing machine with an adjustable clock, needed to allow communication of
symbols from one agent to another.
To communicate, agents must adjust their clocks so as to mesh their rhythms of
oper- ation. We call this meshing of rhythms logical synchronization and display
its features. While symbols are digital, maintaining logical synchronization
requires something analog, idiosyncratic, and unpredictable, beyond symbols.
Our main claim is that logically synchronized rhythms of symbols need not be
seen as taking place in some externally supplied “space and time,” but instead are
the raw material out of which physicists construct time, space, and spacetime. We
hypothesize that all living organisms employ logically synchronized rhythms of
symbols. We invite collaboration to explore, in a variety of contexts for people
and other living organisms, the situations involv- ing logical synchronization of
rhythms of symbols that differ from those used in physics. Accompanying such
initial study, we would like to see the development of mathematical expressions
of logical synchronization applicable to more complex cybernetic systems than
those we discuss here.