Notes Information Apocalypse

Multimathematical Immaterialities

The abnihilization of the etym by . . . the first lord of Hurtreford expolodotonates through Parsuralia with an ivanmorinthorrorumble fragoromboassity amidwhiches general uttermost confussion are perceivable moletons scaping with mulicules . . . Similar scenatas are projectilised from Hullulullu, Bawlawayo, empyreal Raum and mordern Atems.

James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

The explosion of new ideas in physics spreads through Europe like the explosion of an experiment itself, and this is poetically realized within the explosion of the English language in Finnegans Wake. Here, imperial Rome represents classical space, which is unfolding under the new ideas of relativity and quantum physics. On the surface, Joyce seems to be relying on the subjective perception of his readers to form their own view of substance in the text, but his exploration of correspondences within entymological sub-structures reveals certain common historical synchronicities. Etym, Atems, Adam - the idea that there exists a fundamental indivisible atomic unit at the root of all matter has been broken down by the new physics, and Joyce parallels this by annihilating atomic units of language in order to construct new forms of associative meaning. Indeterminacy and confusion are important themes in Finnegans Wake, where the ubiquitous motif of fog is used to communicate a lack of certainty about reality - both for characters in the novel, and the readers themselves.

Many string theorists believe that they have hit on the "best approach yet" for a unification of quantum field theory with the most fundamental force in the universe we know - gravity. The mathematics is elegant and as close to beautiful as it may be possible to get in terms of commutative algebraic forms. But even as non-physicists, it's easy to wonder whether a theory of everything might not merely be a theory of nothing. There is scant observational evidence for the most important aspects of string theory, and it is becoming more and more obvious that we require an unimaginably vast conceptual shift to better understand these aspects of the universe. Our present systems of dualities, matter, and energy are not complete, and string theory is desperately clutching for certainty on the very borders of human understanding. Progress will not be about trying to find where the extra dimensions might be - it will be about totally transcending our previous conceptions of what the dimensional universe is. We need something other than just pure mathematical thought to accomplish this. If Joyce gives us any clue, such a scientific revolution would be intricately entangled with unprecedented artistic and poetic expansion.