~ refresh page to generate a new universe ~

The above simulation is the result of some very...


As with Conway's Game of Life, we see that, from these simple rules, complexity arises––and specifically, we see gravitational forms and patterns that feel like bodies, cells, or atomic oscillations.


What you are about to read is no doubt a stunning example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. That is, that I have done so little actual study of theoretical physics that I am unaware of the extraordinary magnitude of my ignorance on the subject. Nonetheless, I will go forth with the confidence of a tone-deaf X-Factor participant.

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe” - Carl Sagan

Gravity is a key missing piece in the quest for a Grand Unified Theory. And indeed, I stumbled on this subject not out of burning curiosity about gravity, but by trying to conceive of a logically coherent model where something could come from nothing––how order could arise from chaos; the philosophical materialist’s foundational dilemma.


As mentioned, I was trying to develop this idea with no physics education. So, I enrolled the help of Lawrence Krauss, in as much as I watched some of his lectures on YouTube. In his talk A Universe From Nothing he makes a nod to the problematic nature of nothing stating...

"... philosophers and theologians know a lot about nothing and require you to talk about it in the way they like." - Lawrence Krauss

If you are feeling masochistic and want to know how philosophers talk about nothing, try Heidegger’s essay What is Metaphysics?

A quantum field

It turns out that the nothing of physics; that being the emptiness of space is in fact a bubbling brew of quantum fluctuations. This actually aligns with the philosophical nothing––better described as chaos, something immeasurable, God's dark materials*.

"... A dark
Illimitable Ocean without bound,
Without dimension, where length, breadth, and height,
And time and place are lost..."

- John Milton (Paradise Lost)


The void, nothing, chaos by definition is not limited (as any limit would be an assertion of order) and so can create anything, in fact given infinite time scales it can create incredibly complex things. Something (some order) might well be inevitable.

Complex forms forming


Something, in order to be distinguishable from nothing, needs to be measurable, and so needs to accumulate in some way, whether it's by combining with other "things", or replicating, or developing consistent properties. What we are looking for is the simplest form of self-ordering, because as soon as we have any simple self-ordering process, order can grow indefinitely.

So, what is the simplest thing that might self-order? How about a very weak force that draws points together… Wait, that’s cheating, right? That’s simply positing the thing we’re trying to explain (Gravity). To explain that, we need to find something even simpler.

How do we make something simple even simpler? We eliminate specifications.

  1. Gravity requires particles with mass, so let’s do away with that.
  2. Gravity sucks, so let’s do away with that.
  3. Gravity has one particular measure of force, let's lose that.

So, what are we left with?

  1. A field of randomly positioned zero-dimensional massless points
  2. ... that move toward or away from each other
  3. ... with arbitrary relative force

These are the conditions of the simulation at the top of the page. The simulation was essentially a proof of concept that, given random relative forces, gravitational bodies will emerge, and the results confirmed what I'd expected. What it seemed to show was that as these simple rules created complex structures, the apparent attributes of gravity arose simultaneously, as an aggregate of individual particle forces (particular forces?).

It was exciting, but I had a sneaking suspicion that there might be one of those annoying "facts" or "observations" in physics that made my position untenable.


It turns out perhaps - I found that physicist Erik Verlinde, in his talk Gravity Doesn’t Exist, held a similar contention that gravity is not actually a force but a byproduct of multiple different micro-forces, in the same way as the force of a magnet is a byproduct of the alignment of the magnetic fields of the particles.

Verlinde relates gravity to temperature, which is a byproduct of the average kinetic energy of particles. He says that while we cannot measure the temperature of a single particle at the microsopic scale, we can measure the temperature of a group of particles and other macroscopic phenomenon such as pressure. Also, we can predict, based on the law of entropy - explored in Emergence Vs Entropy, that gas will flow from a high pressure area to a lower pressure area, and the temperature will transfer from hotter areas to cooler areas. He suggests that in the same way, gravity is a byproduct of the alignment of the quantum particle fields.

Gravitational bodies forming


Imagine a world where heat did not transfer in a predictable way; you dress for a nice day out, in your t-shirt and shorts, only to find that two steps out of your door, the temperature drops to -30 degrees, then another step to find you are roasting to a fiery death. Of course, given there is no heat transfer, the idea of roasting ceases to make any sense at all. But you get my point; if we did not have an entropic process that created consistently temperate environments, there would be no place we could live, at least not as we know it.


The Law of Entropy actually turns out to create the predictable, consistent conditions on which the ascention of life depends. It forms a substrate of uniformity, eking out a niche for a new phenomenon or dissipative structure that, through its contribution to entropy creates a new substrate on which further phenomena can arise. This mechanism of emergence will be the subject of the next part.