Chapter 10 Information and Matter

10.1 Matter.

In the previous chapters we referred to physical space (distance), physical energy, time and even to physical matter without making distinction between indurated information and matter.

There are many reasons to consider matter as indurated information.

Information structures are built by a combination of existing abstract notions because the creation and sufficient induration of new notions would require a gigantic amount of energy.

Material constructions are made by configuring existing matter because the construction of new matter would require a gigantic amount of energy.

Each information element has its opposite. Full interaction between information and its opposite results in what we have called energy.

For every material particle there exist an opposite particle called the anti-particle. Full interaction between a particle and the corresponding anti-particle destroys both particles. All what remains is energy.

A pair of opposites (information) can be generated at any time as a transformation of energy.

A pair of a particle and the corresponding anti-particle can pop up in space as a transformation of energy.

When a pair of opposites (information) is separated, there must be immediate use for the distinction, otherwise the separation will decay. Remember the separation of a part of a political party.

When a pair of a particle and an anti-particle is created, the pair will soon decompose again unless one of them gets trapped in a (useful) structure. In this last case, the use of the structure provides the energy to keep the opposite poles separated.

Information can only indurate when it causes a transformation of other information. When someone has an idea, it will not become more stable and stronger as long it is not applied (tested). This application of information is a conversion, a rearrangement of other information.

Biological life cannot grow when it does not transforms other matter. All (biological) life needs food to grow (indurate).

Information life is propagated by communicating its essence in an encoded form (e.g. language). This encoded information uses indurated conventions for the representation of the information. The actual deployment of the communicated information follows the normal induration process by transforming other information. Some information of the environment has to be converted to provide the necessary energy for the new information being to grow.

Biological life is propagated by communicating its essence in an encoded form (D.N.A in genes). This encoded information uses indurated conventions for the representation of the information. The actual deployment of the communicated information follows the normal growing process by chemical transformation. Some basic chemical matter in the environment must be converted to provide in the necessary energy for the development of the new being.

Through a long evolution of gathering experience, the basic building blocks of information are developed to be very universal. The most basic elements can be combined in almost any combination without conflicts causing the destruction of the basic elements. This is close to the ideal described as the ideal abstract structure which could be instantiated without the use of any stored experience.

Through a long evolution of gathering experience, the basic building blocks of matter are developed to be very universal. The most basic building blocks (particles, atoms) can be combined in almost any combination without conflicts.

Biological molecules are built out of atoms. These atoms are elements which are much more stable than the molecules.

Information structures are built out of more abstract information elements. These elements are much more stable than the constructed complex of information. The energy holding the construction together is small relative to the energy hold in the indurated elements.

Biological life evolves by a never lasting transformation of matter (food).

Information life evolves by a never lasting transformation of information.

Biological life is profoundly based on transformation of matter under catalytic influence. A catalyst is a material structure (a molecule) which acts a a minute machinery grabbing atoms of a specific kind and attracting them in the right configuration to bind with other atoms. The bound atoms (molecules) are released again. By this, very specific molecules are constructed. Some catalyst molecules turn their functioning on or off depending on the presence of other molecules in the environment.

Information life is entirely based on transformation of information under influence of other information. Some information is only active in a specific context.

Atoms are electrically neutral. The nucleus has a positive charge and the electron cloud around has an equivalent negative charge. When approaching an atom on atomic scale, we would feel a strong negative electric field when approaching the electron cloud long before reaching the nucleus.

A pair of opposites (information) is neutral when considered from long distance. When approaching a pair of opposites we would feel one of the poles. Information can be organized in such a way that one of the poles is hidden. This is obtained in a similar way as the positive electric charge in an atom.

10.2 Space, time, matter and energy.

Physics has revealed the close relation between space, time, matter and energy. These things are so closely related that they cannot be considered separately. Depending on the point of view, the same phenomena can be experienced as different combinations of energy, matter, space and time.

By this, we can consider the universe as one large interaction mechanism of information.

10.3 Universe as breeding ground for information.

All what we have learned about interaction and induration of information is applicable to the universe as well. One of the most basic requirements for the existence of information is the possibility of having a configuration of elements insulated from each other in a way which allows still some interaction.

Time and space are indeed ideal ways of insulating elements and still allowing some interaction. Here again we can clearly recognize the inseparability of time and space. Without time, we could not speak about limited interactions. Without space we could not imagine insulation.

We have recognized the organization aspect in information as a complex of insulation between elements. If time-space is the insulating element, information a complex organization of time-space.

In physics, matter is considered as an irregularity in time-space. This confirms nicely that matter and information are the same thing. However, not all information has the same level of induration.

10.4 Gravity.

Insulation between information elements (elements of matter) dissolves unless it causes a useful effect and by this is maintained by an active phenomenon. When no energy is gained to maintain the insulation, the insulation dissolves. From outside, this is experienced as an attraction. This is gravity.

10.5 Life.

Life can be considered as a mechanism in which a set of information expresses itself in a more or less restricted environment (an instantiation). By this some experience is gained.

The beauty of this mechanism is that it allows many elements to gain experience at the same time. At the other hand, all life forms are expressions of more abstract life forms. This shows a strong relation between all life.

10.6 Organs of the Universe.

As every complex of information, the universe is organized. It contains a large number of evolving (living) more or less insulated organs (galaxies) which are again large self organizing systems on their term.

Galaxies organize themselves (by intrinsic information) into a number of stars, star clusters, interstellar gases planets, etc., all more or less insulated from each other.

Stars are breeding grounds for what we consider basic matter. It is remarkable that all atoms upon which biological life is based are the result of an evolution requiring innumerable interactions between particles in stars. This matter is spread over the universe when the stars die (explode). The transformation cannot longer cope with the degrading insulation holding the information in place.

The unfolding of the universe, the big bang (as far as we know it) is similar to the unfolding of any form of life (self organizing system). It does not contain the organs to start with but the organs are created by increasing the insulation between them. Remember that the organization is defined by the complex system of insulation between the organs.

10.7 Evolution.

When considering our universe as a breeding ground for information, it must contain some inherited information packed with stable experience gained in previous expressions.

This initial information expresses itself in many instances. The ongoing instantiation causes interactions to take place and experience related to the initial knowledge to built up. Just as any organism, the universe must come to a stage where further gaining of experience is inhibited by the induration. At this point the universe collapses and the most abstract collected experience is made available for the unfolding of new cosmos.

From the same point of view, it seems perfectly logical that there are many universes in existence and that there is a limited interaction between them.

10.8 Expansion and Collapse of the Universe.

Talking about the "size" of the universe in terms of the universe does not make much sense. I think it is better to consider the "expansion" of the universe as an increasing internal organization of the universe. Increasing organization causes the increase of insulation between the organs. This increasing insulation is experienced by us as an increasing distance (allowing specialization).

In a later stage of the life of the universe, the organization will become so rigid that further gain of experience is blocked by this strong insulation. From this point the insulation will be reduced again. This will be experienced as a (first slow) collapse of the universe.

This collapse must not be seen as a shrinking in size but rather a reduction of the insulation (which we experience as distance).

By removing the insulation inside a complex organization packed with experience, some contradictory information will come in closer contact with each other and will neutralize itself. Only the information which is common to all experience in the universe will remain. All elements specific to one expression will be removed by this and all what remains is very abstract information.

10.9 Distances in the World.

Above we have explained that the evolution cycle of a universe goes through a first increasing then decreasing insulation which is experienced as a first increasing then decreasing experience of distance.

This is true for all self organizing systems. However systems inside the universe have many smaller life cycles within one life cycle of the universe.

On earth, we experience the ever decreasing distances between the different countries and cultures. This could be an indication that the world is in a phase of abstraction of the gained experience.

10.10 Constants of nature.

Physics describes the basic interactions of material particles in a number of formulas. In each of these formulas, there are some constants. These constants determine the quantitative aspect of the interactions between matter. Because they are not derived from other formulas but from experiments, they are called "the constants of nature."

Scientists have been wondering how the universe would look like if these constants where slightly different. This has lead to the amazing discovery that the universe would be entirely different and would be probably not able to hold so much structure (order) if anyone of these constants was slightly different. It seems that these constants are "chosen" as such that the universe could structure itself.

All information we use, and especially the more stable information is the result of a long evolution. The most stable information we know of, are the subatomic particles (indurated information). They have been interacting for such a long time that, practically speaking, all possible combinations have been tried out.

It is important to remark that the evolution of these subatomic particles is also affected by the possibilities they have at larger scale. The experience gained by interactions between for example atoms is abstracted and affects (in the early stage of induration) the properties of the subatomic particles. In general: before the abstract elements are fully indurated, the applications affect the abstract information. The way in which experience at a concrete level affects the more abstract levels is studied in chapter 17.

When considering the basic behavior (interactions) as the result of a long evolution of interactions, it is logic that these interactions have evolved as such that they express a high degree of order. This explains how the interactions have evolved, in other words how the constants of nature have evolved towards the most useful values.

The evolution of this basic interaction dates probably from long before the big bang.

10.11 Cosmos not explained.

What is previously said places the cosmos we experience in a larger framework. However it does not explain at all the existence of the framework. There is no attempt to explain this framework in this book.

10.12 Moving versus copying.

At first view, there seems to be a major difference between information and matter. After communicating information, the information is still available at the origin. When moving matter, the matter is not longer available at the original place.

This apparent difference is related to the rate of propagation (copying) and the availability of the necessary carrier to hold a copy of the information structure. When plenty of carrier is available and the copying of the information structure does not require a lot of energy, propagation will go fast and the information will spread. When the used carrier is scarce and there is a lot of energy required to configure the available carrier to hold a copy of the information, the information structure will rather move than copy itself to work at another place.

A virus using material abundantly available will propagate fast. When a virus spreads, it is still present at the original place.

Copying an elephant requires a lot of material and lot of energy to configure the available material into the right configuration to form an elephant. Therefore, elephants do propagate at a lower rate then virus. When noticing an elephant at one place and later at another place, the elephant has probably moved and is not any longer at the original place.

When a simple production technique is needed at another place, the related information will be communicated and remain available at the original place too.

When a doctor is required at a remote site, a doctor has to go there. Communicating all medical knowledge would take a lot of time and people which are able to carry this knowledge are not abundantly available. Therefore the information is moved rather than copied.

The real nature of this "carrier of information" or "breeding ground for information" will be explained in later chapters.

More in next chapter on Interaction with environment

This is Chapter 10; Information and Matter of Behavior of Information

Author: Luc Claeys. All comments welcome, mail to lcl at this site:

Last updated on Nov 12, 1997