Axiom: The more general a statement is, the less it means.

Hypothesis: A most general statement is a quantum of meaning (a most general statement means “the least”).

Methodology to find a most general statement:

For any word or group of words, say it to or at everything. If it does not describe every thing, then it is not a most general statement.


Tree. Say, “tree” to everything. Not everything is a tree. “Tree” is not a most general statement.

Everything. Say, “everything” to every thing. While all things are part of everything, each thing is not everything (“every thing” vs. “everything”).

We can expand the definition of “everything” to be “a thing and/or everything”, to encompass individual things (“a thing”), groups of things (a group of things being a thing), and the class of all things (everything).

While “a thing and/or everything” describes every thing separately and everything all together, things in and of themselves do not describe change over time. When I ski down a mountain, a sequence of “a thing and/or everything” does not describe my change in potential energy over time, unless we add a comparison between me in a lower position relative to me in a higher position over the change in time. A similar analysis can be applied to the word “it”. We have a concept of change that is not captured by a static thing.

Expand “every thing” to be: “a thing and/or everything relative to i) the same ‘a thing and/or everything’ at a different time or ii) a different ‘a thing and/or everything’ at the same and/or a different time”.

This can be summarized (with implicit terms) as, “Every thing and everything is relative”.

“Every thing and everything is relative”, is a very general statement. It can seemingly describe every thing, everything, and change over time. Every thing except for the phrase, itself. If it is true, the meaning of the phrase is not relative. The phrase, itself, is constant. The phrase, itself, is always one thing. The phrase, itself, is not relative. The phrase, if it is true, creates its own counterfactual.

There are other examples of “most general phrases”. They all suffer from this problem. They all embody their own counterfactual. In the example above, if the phrase, “every thing and everything is relative” is true, the meaning of the phrase is not relative.

Conclusion: Quanta of Meaning

If a most general statements is i) true and ii) embodies its own counterfactual (after an infinite or very large period of time is allowed to pass and the “true” nature of the phrase is tested against every thing), then the most general statement includes at least two quanta of meaning, two components that are not the same. There is not one quantum of meaning, there are two quanta.

One quantum is the fixed reference, the universal, order, one thing that can be compared to another, “it”, the self-referential counterfactual meaning of the most general statement. The other quantum is change, relativity, difference over time, the non-self-referential, “true”, straight-forward meaning of the most general statement. In this example, the “change” or “energy” quanta converts to the “order” quanta after the “change” quanta is compared to every thing, is found never to change, and then becomes order, a fixed reference.

We find these quanta in the basic units of all language: nouns, verbs, and time. We cannot make a meaningful statement without all of these components. In math, meaningful statements contain numbers (nouns), functions (verbs), and sequence (time). In physics, meaningful statements contain mass and order (nouns), energy (verbs), and time. We only understand meaning through a historical lens, when we observe one quanta convert to the other, over time. A pure isolation of either quanta, one that does not convert from one quanta to the other over time, is meaningless.

In terms of the double-slit experiment and the observer problem in quantum mechanics, the more an observer knows about position (order), the less is known about energy. A complete isolation of either quanta is meaningless or unknowable unless and until the isolated quantum is perturbed, collapsed, or is otherwise interacted with. When interacted with, quantum A “collapses” and converts to the other quantum, quantum B, and, in the conversion process, is measured and destroyed. The new quantum, quantum B created from quantum A, so long as it remains isolated, is meaningless and unknowable unless and until it converts back into quantum A. We only observe a quanta when it converts and we only then get a historical view of what it was. We do not know its future state until we see that state convert, at which point it is a new state.

The observer problem in quantum mechanics occurs because quantum mechanics tries to isolate the quanta. Isolated quantum are meaningless and cannot be known until they convert. When a quantum converts, its past state can be measured and known, but not the future state of the quantum into which it converts. This future state, in turn, cannot be known until the future state is perturbed, interacted with, or is collapsed, at which time its past state is measured and known.

Meaning and time are related. Meaning and time occur when the quantum, order and energy, convert over time. Determination of meaning through conversion between the two quanta over time can be seen in Claude Shannon’s definition of communication.

Because energy and order are extremely local, time is also extremely local. Time is a function of the ratio of energy and order. As energy increases for an amount of order, time goes down for the order. When a clock circles the Earth rapidly, with high energy, the clock experiences less time. There is no “universal” time or, if there is, it would involve a pure isolation of one of the quanta and it would be meaningless to us.

Quantum mechanics is created using language. Like all language constructs built using these quanta, quantum mechanics is meaningless without both quanta and conversion between them over time.

This argues that the observer problem in quantum mechanics will never be fixed. If we fix it, the result will be meaningless to us.

Hypothesis for future testing: Propagation of order across time or across space-time (including mere existence of order over time, “a thing, relative to itself, over time”) requires conversion of order into energy to propagate the order across time or across space-time. Even transmission of photons (order) through space over time (or in the same space over time, if photons stand still and everything else contracts) results in red-shift of the photons, which is a conversion of energy into order, whether due to gravity or expansion of the Universe.

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