Taking as its starting point the

incompleteness results of

Goedel
and

Chaitin, and the

Heraclitian view
of existence as

flux, or a continuously changing process,

process
physics attempts to model

fundamental reality as a Heraclitian Process System (HPS) rather than as the behaviour of a set of discrete objects.

Physics to date has largely followed the intuition of Democritus: that the universe is composed of fundamental particles, with a defined spatial position. This has led to very successful geometrical models (Galileo, Newton) of physical behaviour, culminating in Einstein's General Relativity.

However, it is common to these geometrical models that they cannot account for the difference between past and future events, or the uniqueness of the present. To see this, we need only look at the equations of motion of any of those models. They are static functions, that is you can draw them as lines on a graph with time as one of the axes, and no one point on the line is different in kind from any other point - there is nothing to distinguish the 'now' from the other points on the line. This has lead some to assert that the universe is completely deterministic - in 4-D spacetime, the future 'already' exists.

The formulation of quantum theory, while allowing non-determinism through quantum randomness, gives rise to a different problem. The motion of particles is treated as the evolution of a wave function, but the 'size' of the wave function can be significantly larger than that of the particles whose motion it is meant to model. This was interpreted to mean that the wave function gave a probability distribution for these particle events (for example, the triggering of a detector, *eg* a ccd in a two-slit experiment.) But nowhere in the formalism is there a description of these
events - it deals only with the wave functions.

These problematic events were brushed under the carpet with the Copenhagen interpretation which invoked an extra-systemic element (the observer) to account for them.

As if these problems weren't enough, incompleteness results (such as those of Goedel, Turing and Chaitin) have established that any formalism of sufficient richness to support self-referential statements will necessarily admit of 'random' truths which are not theorems of that formalism. If we wish to describe physical behaviour by means of a formalism (and this is the direction taken by two and a half millennia of physics) then these 'random' truths may be regarded as *uncaused* physical facts - something of an embarassment for a hard science!

In contrast to these approaches, process physics attempts to

*
"model reality as self-organising relational information [... taking] account of the limitations of formalism or logic by using the new concept of self-referential noise."
*

The self-referential noise (SRN) concept seems to be based on the idea that a self organising system (

*cf.* Prigogine) even if closed, may give rise to intrinsic

randomness.

This counter-intuitive idea is justified by considering the Goedelian perspective that truth can not be represented by finite means inside a self-referential system, and Chaitin's demonstration that even arithmetic is subject to fundamentally irreducible randomness.

Taking the view that arithmetic, numbers themselves, even, are emergent phenomena - as numbers are conceptually founded on the flawed and posterior notion of objects - process physicists turn this into an asset and choose to encapsulate the phenomenon as SRN, seeing this as the basis for quantum indeterminacy and the very contingency of contingent truths: the 'measurements' of the Copenhagen interpretation.

Process physics, therefore, seeks to achieve universality by modeling fundamental reality using a fractal (ie. scale-neutral) process-space taking the form of a directed graph, of which the natural measure is the connectivity of pairs of its nodes. The elements themselves (called monads, after Leibniz) are simply similar directed graphs. The fractal nature of these graphs is imparted through their generation by a non-linear iterative process. The SRN appears as a noise term in the iteration.

This represents an attempt to side-step the problem of fundamental constituents (Democritus' atoms, if you like) or, as they put it, 'bootstrap' their description of the universe. The focus on the structure of the *fractal graph* (a directed graph whose every node is itself a a directed graph) is intended to allow the requirement for *objects* (the 'nodes') to drop out of consideration.

**
Oo-o
/||
o o-O
/ \|/
/ O
o-O o / \
|/ / \ O-o
O-o---/---------\----------------o-O
o/|\ / O /O |
Oo-O-O /|\ o-|-o
\ o--Oo / O
\ | |/\ /
\ O O \ /
\ / \ /
\ / \ o /
O-O / o+Oo
/|O-o o
O o_\! OOo
O--------------o-/o+o
O |O
| o
o
**

Process physics web page:

http://www.socpes.flinders.edu.au/people/rcahill/processphysics.html

All quotes from:

http://www.socpes.flinders.edu.au/people/rcahill/0009023.pdf