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Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at


The Integral Structure of Space-Time Evolution

Joe Corbett

Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Justice are the dimensional and informational patterns encoded on the surface area of the tetrahedral qubits.

A theory of quantum gravity, uniting the microscopic reality of particles and atoms with the macroscopic reality of stars and planets, is the physical equivalent of a theory of everything with which scientists hope to explain how the universe works. A leading approach to such a unified understanding of the small and the large sees space-time as constructed out of tiny pixelated qubits of spin-foam networks.

Spin networks are defined by tiny planck-length lines of area that meet at nodes of planck-volume in the most basic form of triangular shapes (fig. 1) which, when the dimension of time is added, become more complex tetrahedral, cubic, and polyhedral networks (fig. 2) called a spin-foam which constitutes the fabric of space-time. These networks of planck-area and volume are constantly shifting, twisting, and bubbling with respect to one another as new lines and nodes are added with the expansion of space, giving rise to more of the very fluctuations of the vacuum that gave birth to the universe and all the particles of matter we observe.

Indeed, not only does gravity emerge out of this fabric as physicists contend, but everything else must necessarily emerge out of it as well, for space-time is not merely the stage ON which everything happens, it is in fact the stage OUT of which everything happens. Thus, strings and particles (all matter and forces) are the standing wave-patterns that emerged out of the intricate geometries woven into the cosmic spin-foam network during the very first moments or “initial conditions” of the universe, which came out of the angular twistings and turnings of the planck-scale pixelated tetrahedral qubits. Therefore, it is these tetrahedral qubits with their four planck-area surfaces and six planck-length edges, in angular relation to one another in collective networks, that ultimately defines the dimensionality and informational patterning (or, if you will, the self-organizing meaning) of our cosmos.

So what are the tetrahedral qubits? One thing we can say is that their four surfaces and six edges give us ten dimensions in all, four unfolded surfaces and six curled up edges, plus one of time for a total of eleven, as string theory claims. Moreover, the information for the four dimensions of space-time in which we live may be geometrically encoded on the four surface areas of the tetrahedrons themselves, which would be consistent with the holographic principle in which cosmologists speculate that our reality is a 3D projection of information on a 2D surface. It would also be consistent with the four quadrant model of the AQAL in which literally everything emerges out of a tetra-meshing of the four fundamental domains, or in this case the four surface areas of the tetrahedral qubits.

Previously in another essay I claimed that the four quadrants of Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Justice emerged from the four forces of the universe, or from gravity, the weak-nuclear force, the strong-nuclear force, and electromagnetism, respectively. But we could now reverse and flip that claim, by asserting that the latter forces in fact emerge from the former archetypes, insofar as the four quadrants of the AQAL represent the 2D geometric area of space-time on which is encoded the information from which the forms of 3D matter interact and take their shape. In other words, Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Justice are the dimensional and informational patterns encoded on the surface area of the tetrahedral qubits in dynamic relational networks from which all physical reality takes its shape.

Specifically, in terms of the correspondence between the tetrahedral qubit and the AQAL, we might say that the structure of manifest reality consists of physical form in the UR, which would be the Truth of existence, a potential for other forms in the UL, which would be the Beauty of existence, a cyclical or resonant feedback memory of form in the LL, which would be the Goodness of existence, and a relational order of forms organized into ever larger forms in the LR, which would be the Justice of existence, or what Ken Wilber (and Karl Marx) has in fact claimed is Eros or Spirit-in-action (class solidarity and struggle for Marx) at the heart of the evolutionary process.

The claim being proposed here is that the qualia of physical form, the potential for other form, a resonant memory of form, and a relational order of larger or more complex forms are all geometrically emergent from the spin-foam network of the tetrahedral qubits, and that this has a direct correspondence to the four quadrants of the AQAL. Space-time and everything in it are woven out of these relations of qualia, encoded and tetra-meshed into the forms of Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Justice that we have come to know in our own experience of reality through these archetypes.

So if you have ever wondered, or if anyone asks you, why there are four forces in the universe, or why there are four quadrants, or why does the universe evolve and exist at all, now you have a partial answer, as tentative and incomplete as it must always be.

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