Reality - Thoughts & Reflections.
Reality is a very strange thing.
But no surprise, we are strange things, and
consciousness is a very strange thing.
And we can't
really observe reality without also observing ourselves?
We are a part of the
world, and the world is a part of us?
Maybe, the connection is even deeper?
Indeed, does reality exist without us?
Does the Moon vanish if noone is looking at it?
Certainly, over the years, it has not been easy to write the observer, and
the act of observation, out of Quantum Theory, and Physics.
See more here.
Reality is simply not an easy thing to describe..
Certainly, things gets weirder still in Richard A. Mullers great book ''Now, The Physics of Time''.
See my review here.
- - -
In the end, we might never be able to fully understand what reality is. But
good models might be able to tell us something about the characteristics, behaviors and functions
of the world we live in.
And further insights might come from Simulations, based on these models.
Just as games, sometimes, can tell us more (about the world we live in) than years of actually being
in our world...
I.e. most people find it hard, and counter-intuitive, to understand the probability laws
that governs our world. - Understanding the very fabric of our world, spacetime, is even harder,
and even more counter-intuitive, for most.
Luckily, games and simulations can sometimes help us understand just a little bit more.
E.g. see the Monty Hall for an
insight into the strange world of probability theory. The Space Travel Quiz
(inspired by Julian Bagginis Space Travel Quiz) might also make us
a little wiser about
(our minds and) the strange world we live in?
Reality- and the measurement problem.
Before observation, quantum objects are said to be in superposition of all possible
All allowed outcomes remains possible.
Then act of measurement, of observation, then reduces all of these outcomes
The quantum wave function collapses...
Whatever that means...
I.e. is the collapse a real physical process, or
is it the entire Universe that splits into each of the possible outcomes?
Or something else?
Whatever the case, the act of observation seems to be very important here.
Consciousness apparently has the capacity to collapse the
If consciousness is some sort of information pattern (see Physics and Consciousness,
and Consciousness as Integrated Information),
where Φ tells us how much consciousness a pattern has,
Φ (phi, pronounced fi) is a systems capacity for integrated information
(and thus for consciousness): ''It can be measured by asking how much information
the system contains above that possessed by its individual parts.
then we should be able to make such (simple) Φ components and
throw them into a quantum experiment.
For the level of Φ to be high, a system must be made of parts
that are specialized and well integrated - and do more together than they can alone.''.
Where the introduction of
such Φ components, in an experiment, would collapse the wave-function, and
destroy the quantum wave-like inteference?
Or so at least according to Kelvin McQueen, Chapman University in California
(NewScientist, November 11th 2017).
Markus Müller, Univeristy of Vienna, takes the measurement problem of reality one step further,
when he claims, that our brains might be able to make a ''simple''
model of reality, characterised by regular and comprehensible laws,
even when there is actually (only) randomness out there.
If you have an observation X, the laws of physics might give
you the next observation Y. Or, according to
random experiences and events might stack up and
push us (our internal model) towards an Y observation.
The world might look the same, but it would be
constructed in a vey different way.
''Reality? It's what you make it''.
by Philip Ball, NewScientist, November 11th, 2017.
Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).
Reality and the Aether.
Amazon review (4 stars out of 5)
of Richard A. Mullers book Now, The Physics of Time.
Nothingness is a hard thing to grasp.
The Earth is moving through Space, but is that
kind of space really nothingness?
19th century science wasn't so sure, and believed
that the Earth moved through an Aether.
The Michelson-Morley experiment then tried to determine the velocity of the Earth through the Aether.
The publication of their result in 1887, the null result, proved
that something was seriously wrong with the Aether concept.
The Aether had been proven unnecessary and irrelevant, and had been abandoned.
Now, we know that there is no Aether, and
that space is really nothingness?
Well, in the book, Richard A. Muller reminds us that things are not that
Actually, the Aether never disappeared from physics. Rather,
it was renamed. These days it is called the vacuum.
Which is a far more complicated thing that the old Aether.
- You can't detect moving through it, there is no wind.
Yet, it contains energy, and it can exert a force on metal plates,
the Casimir effect.
It constantly produces matter and anti-matter. It can expand, and thereby
move Galaxies away from each other.
It contains a Higgs Field,
responsible for giving particles their mass.
As well as Dark Energy.
And, probably, much more.
Things with zero rest mass, gravity waves, light, neutrinos (perhaps),
can all move fast through space (at the speed of light),
whereas stuff that
the Higgs field gives mass are slowed down.
In the middle of this we have black holes. Or rather, black holes forming,
as it takes forever (from an outside perspective) to fall into a black hole.
All we can do is to measure.
collapses a strange reality out there, and creates our world.
Still, the world we measure is a strange world, where particles are connected,
even though they
might be separated by time and vast distances.
Talking about time in such a world is clearly not an easy thing.
According to phycisist Feynman, positron particles might actually be
electrons moving backwards in time.
Look at it from a slightly different perspective and electrons inside
us could actually also be positrons,
now doing some forward-in-time
calculations, but perfectly capable of moving backwards in time also?
Muller is certainly no fan of Eddingtons idea that the arrow of time
is a property of Entropy.
Thermodynamics tell us that we are moving from an ordered Universe,
near the Big Bang,
and into a increasingly less ordered, more random Universe.
And that it is this movement that gives us time?
Sounds ''plausible'', still Muller rips it apart:
But relativity say that time is affected by gravity. Shouldn't local
entropy then affect time?
The entropy of the surface of Earth
surfaces decreases at night, shouldn't that affect time, yet it doesn't?
Indeed, is it even ''physical'' to say that there is relation between
time and Entropy, if no experiment can verify it?
Instead Muller moves us towards a world where at every moment, new
New time is created Now.
From nothing, just as space is being created from nothing,
in the strange vacuum world.
Mullers ends by saying that there will always be something outside
of physcis (by the very nature of physics).
So, our understanding (of physics)
will never be complete.
Even something as simple as the irrational number
is actually outside the physical world.
It isn't measurable,
yet it is real.
Physicalism can only go so far.
No book would be complete without some thoughts about free will.
And it should come as no surprise that Muller also finds that
there are plenty of things that we don't know, and can't know in a physical world,
that allow us to
be perfectly logical and still believe in free will and virtue,
as real things (not Darwinian by-products).
It is only, if we ignore what we know to be true, and
ignore the (obvious) observation that there is something outside the physical
world (that we observe with our senses) that we blinds ourselves to
the bigger, more mysterious, world out there beyond the physical world.
Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).