If energy is equated to information just as it is equated to mass, then information and mass must also be equated with each other. This means that mass arises through the same process that we find to be the cause of information, which is through meaningfully ordered associations. Therefore, mass arises through the meaningfully ordered associations between the constituent parts.
Photons and certain other fundamental particles have no mass, but through their interactions with each other, mass arises. When a number of massless particles come together and interact, information is created, as is mass. When they fall into an equilibrious state, where actions are repeated as the particles vibrate together in their ordered manner, the information created (the mass) is stable and maintains its expression as a form, such as a proton, an atom, a molecule, or whatever.
We can consider this in terms of numbers and the mathematical operations that can be performed on them. For instance, the base unit of 1 can be equated with zero mass, and regarded as expressing no information because it is no different than any other base unit. There is also the counterpart of –1’s in the universe that represent antimatter, but in the universe we experience, these do not affect our normal observations, and so do not need to be figured into our discussion. We can conceive of the universe filled with individual 1’s flying around (as well as –1’s). When the 1’s come together in certain ways, they add up to larger units, such as 2’s , 3’s, and 4’s. These conglomerations, while they are stabilized by their unitary order, express information. Thus, units of simple 3’s and 4’s that hold together offer a means for proto-matter to become established, bearing the slightest amount of mass/information. These simple units of proto-matter are stable to a degree, but not stable enough for them to hold together well, and they can easily fall apart again with the slightest disturbance. However, certain of these units, like certain number values, fit nicely together in various ways to build into still larger ‘prime’ units, which are equivalent to the prime numbers in our numerical system. A number such as 24 is built from the components of it’s prime set (2,2,3,3), and so it’s material equivalent can arise whenever the proto-matter of two 2’s and two 3’s come together and stabilize. This is more likely to happen than for a number such as 4620 (2,2,3,5,7,11), because the probability of the units of it’s prime set coming together and stabilizing are not as great. The higher the number we are dealing with, the less chance that it will form out of its necessary component units. Thus, we see a greater amount of the baser elements of matter, such as hydrogen and helium, than we do those rare elements at the high end of the periodic table.
Of course, the smallest amounts of mass that we understand to exist are comprised of units that are smaller than anything we might observe with our measuring devices, and we therefore only understand mass/energy values down to a certain minimum that does not reveal the smaller values of proto-matter. It is only when this proto-matter comes together to form larger stabilized units that we are able to recognize it as a substance (energy/mass/information).
The base units that we understand to be the minimum values of energy (quanta) are themselves divisible even further, but we do not recognize those smaller divisions because we think in terms of the scale of observation that we are currently at, which is predominated by the smallest units we can recognize and understand. But these quantum units we recognize may just be composites of the more primal units of proto-matter which is itself beyond our level of recognition. The information expressed by proto-matter is taken for granted as the underlying ground in which the universe plays out. This proto-matter is so subtle in its formations that it can only be recognized as fundamental aspects such as time and space, which are qualities that are reflected as information but have no apparent substance. Scientists have for the most part taken such fundamental qualities of our universe for granted, and are only now attempting to consider how they might be described as arising in their own right. However, information, mass, or energy can only be recognized when it stands out from this background and can be measured against it. There is nothing that can be recognized without it being defined, at least in part, in terms of spatial and temporal relationships, and anything that might exist in all places and at all times is beyond observability. Thus, although the value of 1 is the basis for all greater whole numbers, as long as we can only recognize multiples of 2’s or 3’s or even 12’s, we will never recognize anything of a subtler nature.
Think of this in terms of ice in relation to water. An ice cube in a glass of water is of the same substance as the water it floats in, except for the ordered configuration of its molecular parts in relation to the baser configuration of the ordinary water that it is immersed in. We recognize the cube as separate and different from the fluid water only because we gain greater information from it than we do its water equivalent.
Experiments involving entangled particles have shown that the quantum states of all the particles within a system of coordinates are superposed so that it is not the property of a single particle that carries information, but rather the state of the system as a whole.1 This can be understood in a numerical sense with the simple addition of numbers that result in a value that is not carried in any of the numbers that were added together. By combining or ‘entangling’ the numbers in this way, we are emulating a system of coordinates with superposed quanta, where the quanta are the grouped 1’s that make up each number being added. Each of these composite numbers is a system in its own right.
Mass is reflected in the complexity of a system in terms of its constituent minimal parts. The greater the number of minimal parts, the greater the mass will be. These parts might be loosely configured and have a high volume, or they might be tightly configured and have a low volume. Information is contained in the order of these configurations, and the more complexity there is in that order, the more information can be derived from it.
Almost all of the mass of an atom is contained in its nucleus, where there is the most complexity. This complexity has become a new source of energy, and promises to be the source for much information as we come to understand the subatomic world more thoroughly.
1 Ervin Laszlo, Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: How the New Scientific Reality Can Change Us and Our World (2008) Inner traditions