The physics of life and civilization

Raymond E. Gangarosa MD, MPH, MSEE

Life serves as a platform for development of “higher-level thought” by permanently regaining historically lost coherency. Civilization creates technological “ratchets” for doing so through human creativity: “hardware” recovers lost coherency to make that “higher-level thought” possible, and “software” injects new coherency to facilitate that “higher-level thought”.  

The multilevel structure of life recasts the unsolvable (nonhomogeneous partial differential) Schrödinger’s equation that describes life’s chemical driving forces into solvable (homogeneous ordinary) differential equations in either time or spatial structure alone, as a framework for performing life-critical biological processes reliably. Multicellular organisms differ from more primitive unicellular life in having memory for the system’s past history and current structure, allowing its development to track multilevel changes within the medium of its existence. From there, a universal developmental process for multicellular evolution and embryogenesis arises, involving 3 or 4 stages of increasing complexity, developing at each of three adjacent levels:  [1] Life serves as a platform for development of “higher-level thought” by permanently regaining historically lost coherency. Civilization creates technological “ratchets” for doing so through human creativity: [2] “hardware” recovers lost coherency to make that “higher-level thought” possible, and [3] “software” injects new coherency to facilitate that “higher-level thought”.

  • There are four interacting moieties in the universe — charges, masses, photons, and spins — which generate chemical affinities that propagate hydrodynamic analogues of Schrödinger’s equation to every-higher levels of structure (and, with life, function). 
  • As a critical design feature, multicellular designs incorporate an integral over time for the potential function, which represents the system’s awareness for its past, setting up the basis for physiological and conceptual “ratchets” that establish resilient irreversible transformative stages for biological and civilizational evolution. 
  • That resilient series of infallible ratchets, which keep progress from unraveling and going backwards, have made the human body an evolutionary platform for the development of thought and civilization — and now provide humanity the opportunity to craft the same capabilities into human civilization, as we embed the body of Christ in it and make it a structure for making real the mind of God! 
  • The terms of that equation for multicellular-like life processes relate to those four moieties, respectively, as the system’s 

past | present | future | and irreversibility 

  • viz., respectively, 1. the time integral, 2. the structural nabla squared term, 3. the partial derivative term, and 4. (not shown for this spinless single particle) the irreversible interaction effects that lead to wave function collapse or its hydrodynamic equivalent. By the way, there’s a fifth noninteracting moiety, neutrinos, which God must use for a different purpose (a cosmic CT scanner??). 
  • To solve the intractable partial differential equation above, life uses an embryological clock to set up traveling waves that establish equivalencies between time and structure. Alternating substitutions for time and structure set up a series of steps, each of which is governed by an ordinary differential equation — which can be solved readily with the quadratic equation! 
  • As a matter of utmost concern, successive embryological orbits lay down the different body segments — head, thorax, abdomen, pelvis — in a prescribed, highly time-sensitive manner. If we don’t follow the same trajectory of orbits in civilizational design, the body of Christ will exhibit the equivalent of birth defects that will forever document our lack of insight and/or negligence.
  • Interactions that sustain life have to be simple enough to maintain reliable operation over the stepwise process of development: 3-step (trinitarian!) resonant processes that stop short of irreversible change, 4 + 3 = 7-step processes that represent developmental transitions across two successive organizational levels, and 4 x 3 = 12-step processes that anneal design defects from interacting “technologies” across two-level development. 

We can diagram the 7-step process that spans two adjacent levels as follows: 

Life presents design defects, which coherence-recovering hardware and coherence-injecting software can anneal with the following series of steps embedded within the steps shown above: 

anticipatory linear system with feedforward modeling (the stage to which Trump has regressed) → 

bilinear interacting system based on sigmoidal tradeoff functions (like my MRI scan setup expert system) → 

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multilinear interacting systems that develop sharp, digital-like switching characteristic to avoid timing errors → 

general toolboxes for advancement to the next stage
Life’s succession of developmental and operational levels is closely tied to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

By the way, taking into account that the Bible did not recognize rights for slaves or fetuses, life’s developmental and operational hierarchy highlights that the still-oppressed descendants of slaves must be represented in the resonant triads of the body of Christ, and any consideration of “fetal rights”, which have been weaponized to undermine God’s kingdom, must be deferred until humanity’s development allows that further refinement at a later stage of moral advancement. 

  • These universal principles form the basis of life across all organizational levels, from the cells of our body to God Himself. God is now commissioning us to build all the intervening structures between us and Him, starting with the body of Christ (as human civilization) and ending with His kingdom (which He will use to vanquish evil). We can see from this picture the starting fallacy of biblical literalism: life is not about us, but rather about the structures we create for God’s use at much higher organizational levels, upon which all of His creation will stand or fall, according to the robustness and resilience that we build into them. 
  • Bernard Lonergan’s epistemological framework (pasted below) is a prototype for historical orbits using these principles (also shown), illustrating how the processes by which life works can mesh with those by which we come to learn what we know. On that basis, we can envision retracing humanity’s “sleepwalking” path through history since the early Christian era, only this time with knowledge and experience by which we can anneal the vast and incoherent kludge of countless design defects that have been embedded in our civilization through all the irreversible steps taken so far. 
  • By analogy with embryonic segmentation described above, this third orbit beyond the Judaic and Christian cycles involves laying down another segment in the body of Christ — the first one involving human analysis and synthesis — upon which the whole future of human civilization will be exquisitely sensitive to our design foundations! 
  • God needs for us to design a solid foundation for our civilization and His kingdom, so He has conjured up a transition with maximum dysfunction in the Republican party’s race-to-the-bottom culminating in the Trump administration. God especially needs for us to see the hazards to His kingdom of dictatorship, so we can eradicate it from our civilization at the start of our intentional design process. We can do so by holding dictators’ personal fortunes accountable for damages in civil lawsuits by the people they have oppressed; by flouting democratic norms, dictators abrogate the protections against personal liability normally afforded to government officeholders acting in official capacities. 
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  • The Judeo-Christian tradition forms two cycles of this modified Lonergan history loop, wherein human actions (by living people) and legacies (after their deaths) establish soliton channels in the self-amplifying medium of human civilization.
  • The bouncing oil droplet experiment by Suzie Protière et al. (“Particle-wave association on a fluid interface”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 554, 85-108, 2006) demonstrates how hydrodynamic analogues of quantum behavior can manifest at visible macroscopic levels, which reflect (in both quantum and hydrodynamic realms) the Schrödinger and (equivalently) Madelung equations. My theory suggests how those waves can propagate at civilizational levels in historical soliton waveguides under the direction of human networks. 

Empowering Trump was the civilizational equivalent of letting a virus take over a person’s body. Medical science will learn more about pathogens and their attacks by studying Trump’s actions and effects than we can by peering into pathophysiological processes, because the data is much more accessible, and the same scale-invariant mathematical models apply. 

Incidentally, herein lies a soteriological theory of how our legacies propagate in the channels of future human actions, a constructive theory of how we can design our civilization to function as the body of Christ, and a theological theory of how we can make of our civilization a gift to God by which He can vanquish evil. 

  • Jesus’ crucifixion represents the inversion pulse in a vast historical inversion recovery pulse sequence, where God’s moral compass plays the role of the bias magnetic field in an NMR experiment and the role of gravity in the bouncing oil droplet experiment; 

Triadic (trinitarian) interactions among relevant subpopulations relate to resonant phenomena, under some kind of magneto-chemical relationship between the Schrödinger and Bloch equations (which I haven’t worked out yet); and 

Fundamentalists’ denial of reality, starting with opposition to Darwinian evolution and proceeding to distorted conservative media, establishes a dephasing gradient before the readout phase in our era; 

Humanity’s collective actions over historical timescales exert lensing effects like refocusing gradient fields. 

Moore’s law of hyperexponential increase in computer performance precisely established the timing for the emergence of social media in our era, whereby the denial of reality and truth could give rise to an existential civilizational threat — a self-documenting charlatan who points out at this critical inflection point everything that humanity is doing wrong. 

Significantly, the hydrodynamic model acting over historical timescales should be quite resistant to noise at the level of human interactions. God configured a remarkable resonance spectrometer out of human history! 

  • Calling attention to Trump’s contempt for God’s kingdom would provide a sharp transition for this imaging-like experiment, potentially redesigning the crude soliton-channel loop described above into a precision “resonant truth spectrometer” that would be ideal as a foundation for intentional civilizational design! The stages of life’s development also establish a hierarchy of civilizational sins — ignorance | stupidity || corruption | exploitation || duplicity | treachery || and existential threat — which Trump conspicuously exhibits more than any other figure in history! We could have picked a better leader with a phone book and a dart, but God made sure this charlatan would come to humanity’s attention at precisely this critical inflection point! His tweets and other pronouncements, juxtaposed on a timeline of what really happened during his administration, will serve as a self-documented warning to future generations never again to let such a swindler jeopardize God’s kingdom. 
  • God has shown his wrath for Donald Trump’s contempt of His kingdom, which we now understand to occur when misguided actions elicit corrective feedback, especially in the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic depression. And yet still fundamentalists support him! Withdrawal of that support could make a profound difference in the 2020 election, with the result of Trump getting soundly trounced. 
  • Foundationally, this model of human civilization establishes a way to prove that biblical literalism is no longer valid in transformational eras — because it does not account for all the living that went on in the intermediate time, and therefore generates huge phase artifacts within this vast historical “resonance truth spectrometer”. 
  • God is showing by fundamentalists’ support of Trump proves independently that their hermeneutic approach has empowered an existential civilizational threat and therefore must be abandoned as humanity proceeds beyond this transformation to use scientific methods to redesign civilization and steer its trajectory. 
  • Furthermore, the amazing correspondence between Christian doctrines (especially 1. God’s creation, 2. the body of Christ, 3. the Holy Spirit, 4. the Trinity, 5. God’s kingdom) and the dynamics of human civilization (respectively, 1. our corner of the universe, 2. human civilization, 3. the interdependent web of existence, 4. resonant, reversible, potentiating processes, and 5. our co-creative responsibilities in partnership with God) suggest how all faith and nonfaith traditions can accept life’s principles and differentiate into different cell types and organs in the forming body of Christ. There will be no need for proselytizing when everyone sees how God’s kingdom plays out as the reality of the world that we design and create. 
  • The triadic interactions I propose for minorities, progressives, and conservatives resembles the signaling and interactional processes by which the mesoderm, endoderm, and ectoderm in a human embryo coalesce into a multicellular form at 16 to 18 days after fertilization. Significantly, the next step in the embryo’s unfolding is the development of a circulatory system — starting, in the case of our civilization, with a prototype distribution system that humanity needs to provide material security and Internet connectivity to all people in the world to purge the human population of coronavirus through synchronized worldwide lockdowns. Such an intervention would be simple and straightforward if and when we simply took the initiative of caring for each other — and would prevent saddling God’s kingdom forever with a mutable pathogen that has inserted itself int the global human economy. 

God’s purposive setup of a historical experiment and device formed from human civilization provides a proof of the existence and nature of God and a much-sharpened understanding of God’s purpose for human civilization. 

A mathematical induction argument establishes that life must have always used this system architecture and 12-step developmental sequence across all overlapping levels — from instantaneous intercellular biochemical reactions to civilizational processes over (hopefully) evolutionary timescales — to develop the corresponding span of life’s multilevel retrieval of coherency (“thought”) over all corresponding timespans.

Our top-down perspective of lower-level pathophysiological events that have affected our own bodies (health and illness that we as individuals have experienced) and our bottom-up perspective of our own personal participation in higher-level cultural, societal, and civilizational processes (our experience with citizenship and sensitivity to the legacies we are leaving to future generations and human civilization) set the stage for establishing those same perspectives across all organizational levels ad infinitum, anticipating a science of theology and a theology of science.

Harmful and disorienting effects that we are seeing (all too well) during the leadup to and outset of the coronavirus era have been pointing out (the hard way) at many organizational levels the functional defects introduced into life’s designs in each of the stages described respectively above by 1. delayed actions and chaotic dynamics (as with the logistic map, which involves the same bilinear nonlinearity as sigmoidal tradeoff functions, but pertaining to delays that individuals introduce through lack of awareness of interaction dynamics, generating a zoo of chaotic phenomena from the phasing errors of bouncing off gradual, “sloppy” transitions), 2. pathogenic interactions (which may involve opportunists attracted to the resulting chaotic dysfunction), 3. echoing disinformation (e.g., conspiracy theorists, rightwing media, fundamentalists, and foreign hackers intent on propagandizing the denial of science and planting doubts even that truth exists), and 4. the existential threat of potentially fatal destabilization (now involving a coronavirus that has taken residence in our collective airway like Ripley’s terrifying foe in the Alien series!).

The COVID-19 pandemic has used the mathematics of viral infection at a higher level to “click” into an infection of the global human economy. That action puts it in position to “anneal” (heal) the tension between human economic activity and the earth’s ecosystem, which has been reeling under our onslaught. It is providing corrective feedback, through the physics of life and civilization, that human civilization is behaving like a pathogen in the biosphere — but we have to get the message for that feedback to work! 

The confusion that humanity has experienced over about the last 60 years has resulted from the wrenching separation of technological development from the trajectory that life on earth must follow, turning up the amplification until it elicited, respectively. the screeching, toxic effects of 1. delays and chaos, 2. opportunistic and harmful commercial enterprises, 3. tribalistic ideological echo chambers, and the 4. resurgence of dictatorships over democracies. My theory provides physical models for interpreting these uncomfortably familiar dysfunctions in feedback terms involving both the hardware and software analogues of human civilization!

From a scientific standpoint, the specificity of the mathematical models described above suggests that the corresponding physical and engineering concepts might play new roles in biological, medical, and epidemiological sciences. From a spiritual standpoint, the criticality of civilizational design for wise self-governance and prevention of large-scale harm reconnects with theological themes developed intuitively over the history of religious thought. Although the concepts I’ve outlined can be framed in terms of first principles, their correspondences with preexisting beliefs is reassuring — and could play an important role in reconciling the squeaky wheel of religious fundamentalism to a new paradigm of transformative civilizational design that humanity must develop to coexist peacefully with the dynamics and future of all life. However, fundamentalists might have to experience a lot of grief before they’re willing to give up their toxic practice of preconceived beliefs that has gotten us stuck in this civilizational trap with a diabolically well-designed coronavirus that is now strangling humanity’s global economic system!  

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