4 Nov 2015
There was a time anything not easily tangible physically or intellectually was once considered spiritual. Now math has revealed many mysteries of the universe – but is it any less spiritual?
Math has brought us into a conceptual awareness of many of the nuances of life. It has brought a confidence in what we had know before, it has brought into new knowledge of many things, and it has brought us theoretical presuppositions that are yet unreachable. Math gives us a measurement apparatus. It permits us to reason through the inner workings of a thing.
Math has benefited man in numerous fields from healthcare, construction, to music, and banking. It has been a dependable ally. But It would be remiss for anyone to claim any claim on all the patterns in our known reality, nor even a grasp all possible mathematical concepts, or even all known mathematical concepts. The fact is, mathematical patterns are the result of discovering that was already there. Some have speculated that it is a language that man has conceived to explain that is there. And maybe that isn’t wrong to some extent, but language aside, patterns clearly had existed for us to write a language to explain them.
Patterns exist in the movements of my fingers across my keyboard, to sound waves reverberating around the room, to the precise measurements of the microchips that run my computer. They further help to inspire logic with the help of a base 2 binary language in which computers exclusively communicate. But mathematics is greater then the numbers explicitly. They quickly become shapes, they become contrasts, they become probabilities. Our mathematical notation includes expressions that are known to us more so then our universe.
The trouble with mathematics is that it deals with what is measurable, or conversely non-measurable (such as dark matter). It doesn’t know how to deal with what it doesn’t have a method to measure. Certain things math has distinct blind spots to, and attempting to use math peripherally to get answers to those questions could mean errors or miscalculations.
It is here that a distinction must be made with math and philosophy. Math must measure, philosophy must speculate. Together they create science. But philosophy reaches realms that may actually have patterns that our latest mathematical formulas cannot presently convey. How much more is out there that is too small (or too large) that our instruments cannot measure it. What if they are simply faster then our scientific notation can contain. How many other “pi” anomalies are out there that we simply don’t know to use with other elementary math principles?
The reality is, we wrote our Arabic-based numerical system to accommodate what we know exists. And we make discoveries and advances by the resulting awareness and tools and formulas. But how many more patterns are we missing? Will we really have the ability to explain every phenomena in existence (or potential existence)? Is it even plausible to give the solution to the symbiotic relationship of math and philosophy? How do we know what we don’t know?
Mathematicians have claimed to have “discovered” many patterns the universe holds to, and many while we may have stumbled our way into a consistent language for recording it, it is still something that represents patterns that were present in our brains before we knew they were there. There is simply something spiritual about these patterns, and to dismiss this fact is to not appreciate an inequality or uncompleted base formula.