Monday, November 1, 2010

Universe to science, and vice versa

We live in our Universe. We all study it and learn about it so that we can live in it.

Human civilization systematized all knowledge into sciences like mathematics (from Greek: learning, study, science), physics (from Greek: nature), biology, chemistry, etc. The system of sciences is helping us understand where we are, but it is also enabling us to influence the World.

The result? We have the Universe and our tiny, dense information structure called sciences. The Universe is "building" the sciences through us and gets influenced by the sciences through us. You can call the sciences, one dimension of our contribution as a society. You can also call the sciences a living organism that moves around and interacts with its environment. Here is an ugly sketch of the pyramid of influences:

All the dots are in the Universe. The black ones are the inanimate objects. The red ones are the people on Earth. The blue ones are the objects of science.

What is interesting to note here is that when people do something (that comes from science) to the World, it usually follows a formula. That action modifies the Universe in a corresponding fashion. It removes imperfections because they are difficult to catch in a formula. It removes noise. Here is an example: for a long time people lived in natural caves but then they started building houses and their walls are all straight. Another one: the Universe created our planet, but then Blizzard created WoW and the faces of the characters are all ribbed.

The last example is a topic of another discussion. The gaming industry will try to simulate the Universe with all its imperfections so that people could live in the simulation without bother. Apart from this particular case that is going for full simulation, the sciences are more into transforming the Universe in an easier to live place. Easy for transportation, easy for energy extraction, ....