11. Episodic and Dynamic Well-existence and Sem-looping

The first chapter asked why things repeat, and we determined that the question was different for physical primitives as for sympositions. I said that “there is something in the nature of certain arrangements of the Dust that make them good at being in the World,” and we can refer to that good-at-being-in-the-World of those “arrangements” as well-existence. Well-existence by construction applies only to sympositions and not to primitives, and although there may be some conceptual cross-over, this book will not explore it.1 There are three types of well-existence; the first two are differentiated by their reckoning of time, and they combine to produce the third, which will be introduced in Part II.

In our discussion of time, we’ve explored the concepts of “parallel” and “serial.” We can attempt to apply these, and we come up with parallel well-existence and serial well-existence. The temporally-reckoned split of well-existence into its two types thus begins to take shape as good-at-being-in-the-World over many places at once versus good-at-being-in-the-World over a series of moments. Both sides of this split retain time as a dimension different from the three spatial ones, but I’d rather apply a distinction one side of which throws all four dimensions together and the other side of which retains the uniqueness of time. This can be done with the “synchronic” versus “diachronic” distinction, which is temporal like the parallel versus serial distinction but in that different sense. In synchronic well-existence, a symposition is good-at-being-in-the-World by occupying many different points in four-dimensional spacetime, and not necessarily all “at once”; in diachronic well-existence, a symposition is good-at-being-in-the-World by stretching out its presence specifically in the temporal dimension over many moments.

I think the term “episode” is useful in interpreting synchronic well-existence. If there are many episodes of something, there are many of it in spacetime, without any regard as to their duration. Thus I call synchronic well-existence episodic well-existence. With a similar intent, a symposition being diachronically well-existent indicates that it is good at withstanding the dynamics of the Universe, and thus I call it dynamic well-existence. If a symposition is episodically well-existent, it is good at springing into the World, and if it is dynamically well-existent, it stays around a while after springing into the World. How often a symposition is encountered in the World by another symposition like you or me depends on both of these well-existences; a symposition that is less episodically well-existent than another may be encountered just as often if it is more dynamically well-existent.

Let’s imagine putting a symposition on an arbitrary potential energy landscape. It will roll around and eventually fall into a potential energy well or valley. If the landscape is pockmarked with wells, it is more likely to fall into one that is nearby than one that is far away. The distillations encompassing those regions of the parameter space at nearby wells are episodically well-existent, and the ones encompassing those far away are not. The histogram over the same parameter space as the potential energy landscape will have modes at the episodically well-existent locations if there is a multiplicity of individuals marauding in analogous parameter spaces. As the Universe developed, the first potential energy landscapes were the nuclear and electromagnetic ones at the lowest levels upon the Dust. The episodically well-existent sympositions were very small nuclei and atoms. Large ones were not episodically well-existent then. Celestial bodies of gravitationally collapsed Dust were also episodically well-existent sympositions, and it is only within the ones massive enough for fusion that larger nuclei also became episodically well-existent.

Imagine in the pockmarked landscape that some of the wells are much deeper than others. Then sympositions that fall into those will remain stuck for a long time, if not indefinitely, making them dynamically well-existent. This may be independent of how far the wells are from the symposition’s initial location in the parameter space. Thus the depth of the wells is another factor affecting the resulting histogram over that parameter space, with deeper wells having more populated modes. In the two-dimensional parameter space for nuclei of mass and charge, or almost equivalently of number of neutrons and number of protons as in Figure 1, there is a ray of dynamic well-existence along the direction where the number of protons equals the number of neutrons.2 The ray is bounded above and below by the “nuclear drip lines” beyond which alpha particles (helium-4 nuclei) or positrons or electrons and their associated neutrinos drip out of the nucleons via the weak force, or beyond which nuclei just fission altogether, repartonomizing the nucleus and making it ever more dynamically well-existent. Further, there is a region far off along the ray known as the “island of stability” whose members are predicted to be dynamically well-existent, but we’re not sure yet since they aren’t episodically well-existent enough to study.


Figure 1. The dynamic well-existence of nuclei. The number of protons is the y-axis and the number of neutrons is the x-axis. http://www.nuclear-power.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/nuclide_chart.jpg?11abca

Perhaps I am continuing to commit the error of ignoring the fact that parallel sympositions are also serial. Let’s consider the exact moment an episodically well-existent symposition, Jupiter perhaps, came into the World. If we try to do so, we quickly see that the exercise is rather arbitrary and probably futile; as recently as 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 sank into Jupiter, increasing its mass as many others had before it since the primordial nebula of the Solar System. Instead, this exercise once again highlights the fact that the serial symponents of an individual fade in and fade out of the World, and a start and an end to its episode may not be identifiable even if the episode itself clearly is. It may not be clear when a symposition began rolling into a well, unlike whether it did so at all.

Sympositions can be further divided into two classes based on repetition inside their serial partonomy. Frozen sympositions clearly do not have any repetition inside their serial partonomy.3 Unfrozen sympositions with frozen parallel partonomies may, however. Take the Earth-Moon system; its parallel partonomy is frozen as {Earth, Moon}, but every month there is a cycle of poses that repeats itself. I call a sequence of serial symponents that repeats itself a sem-loop and refer to the symponents as being sem-looped or having a sem-loop. Incidentally, the Earth-Moon system is caught in a potential energy well; it is merely cycling around the bottom rather than being stuck there. The Earth-Moon system has a continuous sem-loop, but some sem-loops are discrete, and I will explore that more in Part II.

Since sympositions stack on each other up the levels through the Logos, the ones that are both episodically and dynamically well-existent will be the symponents of those that are well-existent on higher levels. But as with gravity creating nuclear-fusing stars, higher level sympositions can also affect well-existences on lower levels. This is true in general: sympositions in partonomic neighborhoods can modify each other’s well-existences based on their interactions both vertically and horizontally. Sympositions that encourage each other’s well-existence can be called cooperative, and sympositions that inhibit each other’s well-existence can be called competitive. It’s better to ascribe cooperation and competition to the well-existences themselves since they may differ in the episodic and dynamic cases. For instance, supernovae affect the episodic well-existence of large nuclei, but do nothing for their dynamic well-existence.4 When the dynamic well-existence of one symposition cooperates with the episodic well-existence of another, it could be stated in more conventional terms that the former causes the latter, in a sense of “causation” that is continuous from non-causation to causation rather than binary between the two extremes.

The last point is that well-existences don’t mean the same thing for each of individuals, populations, and distillations. The original definitions were inspired by the distilled case. A distillation can have degrees of episodic well-existence based on how many individuals matching it that there are, where those degrees lie on one dimension because counting happens on the one-dimensional number line. A distillation can also have degrees of dynamic well-existence, and those degrees similarly lie on one dimension but instead because time is one-dimensional. An individual, on the other hand, does not have degrees of episodic well-existence but either is or isn’t episodically well-existent, depending on whether it did or did not come into the World. Dynamic well-existence operates the same for individuals as for distillations. For populations, however, to be dynamically well-existent is to continue having new episodically well-existent individuals, even if none of them are relatively dynamically well-existent themselves. For populations to be episodically well-existent is to have a first individual in the population that is episodically well-existent, and is again binary as for individuals unlike distillations. Thus distillations and individuals are alike in the dynamic case, and individuals and populations are alike in the episodic case.


1. An exploration of that would require quantum mechanics. If you’re curious, look up Feynman diagrams.

2. The ray is actually slightly deviated so as to favor slightly higher numbers of neutrons than protons. The deviation would be less if electromagnetism was even weaker compared to the residual strong force than it actually is.

3. Well, there is the moment-by-infinitesimal-moment repetition, but nothing on a higher level in the serial partonomy.

4. It’s also possible that one symposition’s well-existence can affect another’s while not having its own affected it all. Such interactions where only one benefits are commensal and where only one is harmed are amensal. The last case is parasitism, where one is harmed by the well-existence of the other while the other simultaneously benefits from the well-existence of the first.


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