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Memorable Events

Outline

Anaxagorean Sensations

Events are characterized by the sensations they encompass. And describing events can be very intricate. So to limit complexity, we start making descriptions using just eighteen Anaxagorean sensations.

Anaxagorean SensationsIcon
visualachromaticwhiteAn icon for up seeds.
blackAn icon for down seeds.
inorganicyellowAn icon for negative seeds.
blueAn icon for positive seeds.
organicgreenAn icon for northern seeds.
redAn icon for southern seeds.
thermaldangerousburningAn icon for top seeds.
freezingAn icon for bottom seeds.
safecoolAn icon for strange seeds.
warm
An icon for charmed seeds.
somaticrightAn icon for ordinary seeds.
leftAn icon for odd seeds.
tastesourtartAn icon for acidic seeds.
soapyAn icon for basic seeds.
saltybrackishAn icon for ionic seeds.
potableAn icon for aqueous seeds.
sweetsugaryAn icon for dextro seeds.
savoryAn icon for levo seeds.

These privileged sensations are simple, common and unmistakable. We name them after the ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras of Clazomenae because he started connecting them to European physics. To be definite, we say that a sensation is Anaxagorean if it is white, black, red, green, yellow, blue, burning, freezing, warm, cool, left, right, tart, soapy, potable, brackish, savory or sugary.

EthnoPhysics depends on making binary descriptions of sensory experience. And binary analysis reduces all detail and subtlety to just two contrasting possibilities. So Anaxagorean sensations appear in opposing pairs.

Initially, sensations that are complex or ambiguous are not considered in this descriptive scheme, even if they are common and important. For example, the colour orange is not unmistakably red or yellow, it is a bit of both. It is not perfectly distinct from both red and yellow, so it cannot be included in the set of Anaxagorean sensations.

The theory of EthnoPhysics is built-up from mathematical sets of sensations. Arithmetic and algebra are also based on set-theory. And the founder of set-theory Georg Cantor says that a set is “a collection into a whole, of definite, well-distinguished objects.”1E. Kamke, Theory of Sets, page 1. Translated by Frederick Bagemihl. Dover Publications, New York, 1950. Or in another translation as, “definite and separate objects.”2Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, page 85. Translated by Philip E. B. Jourdain. The Open Court Publishing Company, La Salle Illinois, 1941.

Moreover, distinguishability is required3Wolfgang Pauli, General Principles of Quantum Mechanics, pages 117 and 123. Translated by P. Achuthan and K. Venkatesan. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1980. to develop Wolfgang Pauli’s exclusion principle.

Anaxagorean sensations are like these painted building-blocks.

Anaxagorean sensations are building-blocks we can use to describe more complicated sensations. They must be distinct so that we can accurately count them, use mathematics to analyze the results, and thereby scientifically describe events.

Sensory Events

An event is a discrete bit of consciousness; an occurrence, experience or incident. Not all happenings occur in the realm of the senses. But for physics, most events are sensory events.

Indeed reference sensations are selected for consideration exactly because experiencing one is a very common sensation for most people. So we assert the first hypothesis by defining a physical event as a mathematical set of Anaxagorean sensations. This definition formally limits the scope of EthnoPhysics.

Events are generically noted using a letter, usually  \mathsf{P}, together with a subscript like this:  \mathsf{P}_{k} . Here are some examples that are expressed using the icons for Anaxagorean sensations. If an event called  \mathsf{R} _{a} was experienced as a burning red sensation, we could write

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{a}} =

{

,

}

\mathsf{  =  \{ A, T \} }

Another incident that felt like a freezing red sensation on the left could be represented as

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{b}} =

{

,

,

}

\sf{  =  \{ A, B,  \overline{O}  \} }

As a third example, the occurrence of a tepid red sensation on the right might be expressed as

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{c}} =

{

,

,

,

}

\sf{  =  \{ A, C, S, O  \} }

The characteristic that all these examples share is the visual sensation of redness. So we use the letter  \mathsf{R} to label all of them. The descriptive method of EthnoPhysics combines sequences like these to build-up an account of more complicated experience.

Chains of Events

Events are often arranged in ordered-sets called chains of events. Then the subscript in an event-name is used to indicate location in the ordered-set. In general any sensation can be used to organize order. And to be put in order, happenings must be somewhat different from each other.

But grouping phenomena together in a chain also implies that they have some common characteristics, at least enough to establish membership in the set. We often use the letter  \mathsf{P} without a subscript to represent these common attributes. The chains themselves are usually referred to using the Greek letter  \Psi as in

\Psi^{\mathsf{P}} = \left( \mathsf{P}_{1}, \, \mathsf{P}_{2}, \, \mathsf{P}_{3} \; \ldots \; \mathsf{P}_{k} \; \ldots \; \right)

Events may be ordered, but not linear, as illustrated in this chromolithograph of Trachomedusae by Ernst Haeckel.
Trachomedusae (detail), Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur. Chromolithograph 32 x 40 cm. <br>Photograph by D Dunlop.

For a specific example, we can organize the red events described above into an ordered-set where they are ranked by their thermal character; from burning to cold

\Psi = \left( \mathsf{R}_{a}, \, \mathsf{R}_{c}, \, \mathsf{R}_{b} \right)

And here is another example where events are arranged by their somatic attributes, left to right

\Psi^{\prime} = \left( \mathsf{R}_{b}, \, \mathsf{R}_{a}, \, \mathsf{R}_{c} \right)

Please notice that ordering sets in these ways does not depend on any preconceived notions of space or time. Events are arranged using just their sensory qualities. But later we will use \Psi as a mathematical way of representing chronologically ordered experiences. Then as we go from discussing individual-events to chains-of-events our reports get animated. Chains may be called histories or processes. We can even think of them as little movies.

These chains may repeat some sequence of events over and over again, like a movie loop. That makes them easy to recognize and remember. So next we focus on these sorts of recurrent happenings.

Orbits

Orbits are sequences of events that are repeated over and over again in some longer chain of events. Chains like these are used to mathematically describe phenomena that are repetitive or cyclical. Repetition is important so that these events are easy to recall. They are memorable events. More exactly, let  \mathsf{\Omega} be some finite selection of events written as

\mathsf{\Omega}^{\mathsf{P}} = \left( \mathsf{P}_{1}, \, \mathsf{P}_{2}, \, \mathsf{P}_{3} \; \ldots \; \mathsf{P}_{N} \right)

Let this selection be repeated over and over again to establish a longer chain of events called  \Psi as

\Psi^{\mathsf{P}} = \left( \mathsf{\Omega}_{1}, \, \mathsf{\Omega}_{2}, \, \mathsf{\Omega}_{3} \; \ldots \; \right)

where \mathsf{\Omega}_{1} = \mathsf{\Omega}_{2} = \mathsf{\Omega}_{3} etc. The repeated sequence of events  \mathsf{\Omega} is called a single orbit or an orbital-cycle of P. The longer chain  \Psi is generically called an orbital chain-of-events. And sometimes,  \mathsf{\Omega} is also called a bundle of sensations because physical events have been defined from sensations.

Orbits and cycles are exploding from a student's head in this 17th century engraving.
Robert Fludd (1574-1637) Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphisica. Oppenhemii 1619.

Earlier it was suggested that a chain-of-events could be thought of as something like a movie. To illustrate this notion, here is an example of using repetitive sensations to make a boring movie. Consider that  \mathsf{P}_{k} might be a somatic sensation, and perhaps that  \mathsf{\Omega} is a single-frame within the motion picture. The first thing that happens in this example is some sort of sound that is heard on the right-side

\mathsf{P}_{1} =

{

}

Then the next event is a somatic sensation on the left

\mathsf{P}_{2} =

{

}

These two sensations are bundled together into an orbit

\mathsf{\Omega^{P}} =

(

,

)

= \left( \mathsf{P}_{1} , \mathsf{P}_{2} \right)

and then repeated, over and over again

\Psi ^{\mathsf{P}}

=

(

,

,

,

,

,

... )

= \left( \mathsf{\Omega}_{1}, \, \mathsf{\Omega}_{2}, \, \mathsf{\Omega}_{3} \; \ldots \; \right)

Right, left, right, left, right, left and so on … nothing else happens. So this movie is called The Almost-Dead March. Chains like this might seem a little tedious, but as we add more detail, they provide a basic structure for describing more complicated happenings in space and time.

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References
1E. Kamke, Theory of Sets, page 1. Translated by Frederick Bagemihl. Dover Publications, New York, 1950.
2Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, page 85. Translated by Philip E. B. Jourdain. The Open Court Publishing Company, La Salle Illinois, 1941.
3Wolfgang Pauli, General Principles of Quantum Mechanics, pages 117 and 123. Translated by P. Achuthan and K. Venkatesan. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1980.