T Nation

The Fundamental Nature of Reality


#1

What is the fundamental nature of reality and existence?

I'm particularly interested in a physicist's take on this. Quantum mechanics is beyond my ken, but from what I can gather, the Copenhagen Intepretation of the primacy of the observer in the breakdown of the wave function is confirmed. That is to say, any system in relation to us is pure potentiality; an abstraction until we observe the system and consequently become "entangled" with the system and alter it by the process of observation.

This has several implications. The Copenhagen Interpretation along with other quantum phenomena, seem to have revived "dualism" even leaning towards actual "mentalism" given the primacy of the observer in existentialism. Paradocially, elements of "monism" are suggested by the "oneness" of all in the singularity and the fundamental "oneness" of the universe.

One of the most startling implications was expressed in Einstein's question to Bohr: [b]Do you really think the moon isn't there when you're not looking at it?" And this is the logical extension of observable phenomena, Schrodinger's Cat is indeed pure potentiality until observed. Reality being essentially, a cascade of wave function collapses contingent upon observation. This adds to the first cause question the first or universal observer problem. If there is a universal observer - ie God, - then the problem of infinite regress; observers all the way down; is solved. The universal observer is the primordial observer. But of course, many inconsistencies and paradoxes then arise from an omniscient observer and His effect or lackthereof in altering and entangling Himself in all systems by virtue of knowing about them. Can God know the exact position and momentum of a particle at the same time; time, not in the everyday or forward and linear sense we perceive it.

Any thoughts?

Edit: My last question is apocryphal as my understanding is, it's not meangful to ask the location and momentum at a "given time" for a number of reasons you're probably aware.

One of the times quantum phenomena reveal is the fact that there is no "ultimate reality" - all systems being relative and contingent. And spontaneous wave function collapse upon observation - giving new meaning to I think therefore I am - reality as we perceive it is a cascade of pure potential coming into existence upon observation. What special properties does the observer have to bring things into existence; to collapse the wave function? What inconsistencies arise in a system without a "first observer" or "ultimate observer" from whom all creation derives?


#2

right~


#3

This is what happens when new age hocus-pocus meets rightwingoverse bible huggery.

Sorry to burst your pious bubble, but observing phenomena doesn’t change them fundamentally like you think it does. You have to interact.

It is a myth similar to “we only use 10% of our brains”.


#4

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
This is what happens when new age hocus-pocus meets rightwingoverse bible huggery.

Sorry to burst your pious bubble, but observing phenomena doesn’t change them fundamentally like you think it does. You have to interact.

It is a myth similar to “we only use 10% of our brains”. [/quote]


#5

This should moved to PWI for the simple fact most GALers will turn this thread into joke


#6

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
This is what happens when new age hocus-pocus meets rightwingoverse bible huggery.

Sorry to burst your pious bubble, but observing phenomena doesn’t change them fundamentally like you think it does. You have to interact.

It is a myth similar to “we only use 10% of our brains”. [/quote]

Depends on what you both mean by observation. In quantum particles, observation IS interaction. Meaning, if you want to see what an electron is doing, you have to bounce a photon off it (or other such methods). The problem is that a photon will change the behavior of the electron And not in just ways of adding energy or changing direction. It fundamentally alters wave patterns (which is what everything is comprised of in quantum). In the dual slit experiment, as long as you don’t observe electrons, one electron will partially go through each slit. But any method of observing the electron at either slit essentially causes the universe to resolve the probability wave to only one slit. It goes through both, but only if you don’t look at it.

Observation makes the universe figure out where something really is, and without any interaction the universe kind of estimates where stuff is and what it’s doing. Things quite literally don’t exist as exact conditions until you look.

But there is even more to it than that, even when you look and force resolution of a particular condition, the universe never fully resolves a system. The full conditions of a particle (position, direction, “speed”) don’t really exist simultaneously. If you find the exact position of an electron, you are limited on how well you can know its’ momentum and vise versa.

All matter, at all times, is at least partially undefined and any method of observation changes what and how those things are defined or left undefined.


#7

[quote]therajraj wrote:
This should moved to PWI for the simple fact most GALers will turn this thread into joke[/quote]


#8

^ Best Toast.


#9

[quote]therajraj wrote:
This should moved to PWI for the simple fact most GALers will turn this thread into joke[/quote]


#10

[quote]therajraj wrote:
This should moved to PWI for the simple fact most GALers will turn this thread into joke[/quote]


#11

okay -

since the mods had moved this thread to PWI, i shall remove my self and git the hell back to GAL where I belong -

sorry, PWI’ers -


#12

That’s a different but related problem that Einstein was concerned with. Einstein believed that there was an ultimate reality that theoretically would be “there” before you measure it if you could measure it without altering it. But the Copenhagen Interpretation says there is no ultimate reality; everything being relative. Also, it’s not just the particle inteference from observing that changes a system; actually knowing information about a system changes it. Indeed, a system only exists as abstract potential until it is known - the act of knowing itself collapses the wave function. This is what I mean by the primacy of the observer.

Edit:

"Physical quantities come in pairs which are called conjugate quantities. Examples of such conjugate pairs are position and momentum of a particle and components of spin measured around different axes. When one quantity was measured, and became determined, the conjugated quantity became indeterminate. Heisenberg explained this as a disturbance caused by measurement…

The EPR paper, written in 1935, was intended to illustrate that this explanation is inadequate. It considered two entangled particles, referred to as A and B, and pointed out that measuring a quantity of a particle A will cause the conjugated quantity of particle B to become undetermined, even if there was no contact, no classical disturbance…


#13

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
This is what happens when new age hocus-pocus meets rightwingoverse bible huggery.
[/quote]

Quantum physics is new age hocus pocus?

Actually, observing things brings them into existence. They didn’t exist before they were observed; they were only abstract potential. The universe only exists to the extent that we have observed it; collapsed the wave function and brought it into existence.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.” - Max Planck


#14

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
What is the fundamental nature of reality and existence?

I’m particularly interested in a physicist’s take on this. Quantum mechanics is beyond my ken, but from what I can gather, the Copenhagen Intepretation of the primacy of the observer in the breakdown of the wave function is confirmed. That is to say, any system in relation to us is pure potentiality; an abstraction until we observe the system and consequently become “entangled” with the system and alter it by the process of observation.

This has several implications. The Copenhagen Interpretation along with other quantum phenomena, seem to have revived “dualism” even leaning towards actual “mentalism” given the primacy of the observer in existentialism. Paradocially, elements of “monism” are suggested by the “oneness” of all in the singularity and the fundamental “oneness” of the universe.

One of the most startling implications was expressed in Einstein’s question to Bohr: [b]Do you really think the moon isn’t there when you’re not looking at it?" And this is the logical extension of observable phenomena, Schrodinger’s Cat is indeed pure potentiality until observed. Reality being essentially, a cascade of wave function collapses contingent upon observation. This adds to the first cause question the first or universal observer problem. If there is a universal observer - ie God, - then the problem of infinite regress; observers all the way down; is solved. The universal observer is the primordial observer. But of course, many inconsistencies and paradoxes then arise from an omniscient observer and His effect or lackthereof in altering and entangling Himself in all systems by virtue of knowing about them. Can God know the exact position and momentum of a particle at the same time; time, not in the everyday or forward and linear sense we perceive it.

Any thoughts?

Edit: My last question is apocryphal as my understanding is, it’s not meangful to ask the location and momentum at a “given time” for a number of reasons you’re probably aware.

One of the times quantum phenomena reveal is the fact that there is no “ultimate reality” - all systems being relative and contingent. And spontaneous wave function collapse upon observation - giving new meaning to I think therefore I am - reality as we perceive it is a cascade of pure potential coming into existence upon observation. What special properties does the observer have to bring things into existence; to collapse the wave function? What inconsistencies arise in a system without a “first observer” or “ultimate observer” from whom all creation derives?[/quote]

That isn’t so inconsistent with Spinozaism, but you still believe that there is a man who exists outside of spacetime, who also influences spacetime which is really mysterious.

If someone existed outside of spacetime how would reality look? Likely our existences having come and gone would be a lot like short paragraphs on a long page which he is ever aware of.

If God exists outside of spacetime, and still influences it, what does that say for our free will? This is more a perspective of a writer penning his own story and isn’t really explainable.

It just goes forther down the rabbit hole, of some sort of God of the gaps.


#15

[quote]Severiano wrote:

That isn’t so inconsistent with Spinozaism, but you still believe that there is a man who exists outside of spacetime, who also influences spacetime which is really mysterious.

[/quote]

This is not a God versus nihilism thread. God as “ultimate observer” is one metaphysical framework that influences how you can interpret quantum phenomena; there are others and I’m interested in all perspectives. However, I’m interested in the implications of different interpretations of quantum phenomenon. Your dislike of organised religion and Abrahamic monotheism is not relevant to the topic…

The answer to that is entirely contingent upon one’s interpretation of quantum phenomena and the b]implications[/b], philosophically, of certain positions. I’m specifically interested in the implications of the Copenhagen Interpretation - one atheist interpretation is that there is no “ultimate truth”; no objective, ultimate reality. Einstein believed there was an “ultimate reality” and rejected the indeterminism in the Copenhagen Interpretation. That’s only of marginal interest to me. Einstein was some kind of mild deist from what the records show; he read and veered towards Spinoza and a impersonal grand architect. Yawn…

As I said, quantum mechanics is beyond my ken. Like most people, I’m hopelessly out of my depth in physics; mathematics and the formalism that underlies systems. I’m left with the implications of known phenomena. But to speak of “existences having come and gone” is to speak of some kind of measurement from your perspective as an observer in one mode of existence or “frame of reference” in/with the system. To speak of “before” and “after” is to speak of measurement and/or expectations in the modes of existence that experience time in a lineal, forward progression - not sure the right expression. As I said, I’m out of my depth with a lot of this stuff. Particularly the formalism. Time as we subjectively experience it is artificial or at best only one “mode” of “reality”. Most philosophical interpretations I’ve come across reject the notion that there is an ultimate reality at all; and most amount to radical subjectivism and relativism. This metaphysical mindset finds its parallel in Eastern religions - in Buddhism and Jainism in particular.

You’re getting way ahead of yourself. You’re speaking of a mode of existence in which there is an ultimate spacetime manifold as opposed to the observer contingency or indeed the observer existentialism of the Copenhagen Interpretation.

[quote]

It just goes forther down the rabbit hole, of some sort of God of the gaps. [/quote]

I’m not sure why you want to turn this into a theism versus atheism discussion. I’ve not even taken a particular stance here beyond endorsement of certain aspects of the Copenhagen Interpretation; aspects the implications could vary wildly depending upon your beliefs(or lack thereof). I’m interested in hearing all opinions and beliefs; atheist and otherwise. I’m hoping someone who knows a bit about physics will drop in and explain where I’ve misunderstood things and help bring me to a better understanding of some of these things.


#16

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#17

[quote]pushharder wrote:
They are absolutely, positively fucking obsessed with stamping out any and all electrons, neutrons, protons and photons that have anything whatsoever to do with an omnipotent God. They’re practically psychotic.[/quote]

As opposed to someone else I could name, who is absolutely, positively fucking obsessed with stamping out any and all electrons, neutrons, protons and photons that have anything whatsoever to do with an omnipotent God whose name isn’t “Yahweh”.


#18

[quote]Edgy wrote:
okay -

since the mods had moved this thread to PWI, i shall remove my self and git the hell back to GAL where I belong -

sorry, PWI’ers - [/quote]

Proving that the direction and position of a thread are changed just by being observed by Edgy.


#19

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]pushharder wrote:
They are absolutely, positively fucking obsessed with stamping out any and all electrons, neutrons, protons and photons that have anything whatsoever to do with an omnipotent God. They’re practically psychotic.[/quote]

As opposed to someone else I could name, who is absolutely, positively fucking obsessed with stamping out any and all electrons, neutrons, protons and photons that have anything whatsoever to do with an omnipotent God whose name isn’t “Yahweh”. [/quote]

Push isn’t obsessed with religion. Or if he is it doesn’t show. The only time he seems to mention it is in response to the arrogant clever dicks(not you) who seem to spend half their time mocking the bible and people of faith. I can’t even recall push starting a thread on religion. In fact, none of the religious posters here are fixated on religion - at least, none of the ones who’ve been posting recently. It’s entirely legitimate criticism from push. Have you not noticed that there are some extremely arrogant and condescending posters who are always ridiculing Christianity? Or do you agree with them that Christians are some kind of threat to the larger society or something?


#20

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Push isn’t obsessed with religion. [/quote]

Nor am I. Nor am I obsessed with irreligion.

True, but he also mentions it when some arrogant clever dick (not always me, but sometimes) volunteers an explanation for something that contradicts his personal understanding of Hebrew mythology.

I am going to let this statement stand, simply because I am not prepared to sift through the fifteen hundred sixty-six index pages of his posting history in order to falsify it.

I take it you are not acquainted with Tiribulus and Kneedragger.

Two points:

One: a lot of Christians will interpret any non-complimentary comment about the scriptures, their characters, their gods or even the concept of gods in general, or even skepticism about a literal interpretation of some of their more implausible fables, as a direct assault on the core principles of their faith. Which I have never understood. I cannot imagine a scenario in which the fate of one’s immortal soul would hinge upon whether or not one believes the literal veracity of every sentence in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis.

and Two: most of what Push and I say to one another is, in Push’s own words, “good natured ribbing”. I’m sure he would love to have me renounce my current belief system (which he considers to be ludicrous, irrational, unsupportable by logic, common sense or evidence, entirely dependent on faith, and ultimately nihilistic) in favour of his own, but that probably won’t happen, any more than Push is likely to give up any of his silly beliefs and adopt any of mine. Nevertheless, we enjoy sparring every once in awhile.

As an aside, Push and I spent a week and a half together, living in the same house, with a man who could read the Tanach, the Mishnah and the Talmud in the original Hebrew and Aramaic, and the topic of religion came up NOT ONCE. We were too busy talking about food, drink, travel, politics and women.

You know, important stuff.