The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness. – Nikos Kazantzakis

Time

What if we lived in a hypothetical universe? Pt.2

This part is going to take a slightly different, more, dare I say, philosophical view on quantum mechanics and how this applies to the world.

Warning–the following paragraphs contain a staggering amount of mind-bogglement.  If you like having a sense of sanity, some semblance of self-worth, and a cozy, dark, little hole in the ground to live in, do not read on.

The universe as a whole, the Existence as a whole, it’s a thought that nobody likes to think about.  And deep inside, each of us know why.  From a purely scientific standpoint, we don’t matter.  From a philosophical standpoint, it is impossible to comprehend it.  From a religious standpoint, there is so much to doubt and so little to believe in.  From a normal standpoint, it is a sense of loneliness and cold, and we as humans tend to stay away from that.  And to think about it all is overwhelming.  If you don’t think it’s overwhelming, you’re not thinking about it.  When these thoughts flood your brain, there is little else that can function, so this is why we keep it locked away, deep in the crevices of our mind so we don’t have to deal with it.

So you never have to think about it if you don’t want to.  But one must, for it is the question that has haunted all life since its beginning.

“Why do we exist?”

Mind bogglement: What if there were others, just like us, but not in our plane of existence?  What if there was a different me or you going, “Why do we exist?”

Would you like a cold cup of perspective? http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/

It’s an amazing, beautiful universe, and if you don’t think so, that’s pretty short-sighted and narrow-minded of you.  The Existence is a terrible/awe-inspiring, both at the same time, and it transcends every thought that you thought you knew.

Now getting to the point, there is a different interpretation of quantum mechanics that allows for a whole different type of reality, philosophy, time, and choice.  That very interpretation is the Many-Worlds Interpretation.  Its implications are staggering.  If it were proved to be true, then for every moment in our lives, there is an infinite number of different universes that spring from that moment, and the choice we make at the moment is the reality that we live in.  The other infinite choices that we possibly could have made are actual realities in parallel universes.  Sounds sci-fi, right?

Well, put into scientific terms, what happens at the point at which we observe electrons is the key.  The Copenhagen interpretation asserts that electrons undergo wavefunction collapse and become what we see.  Many-worlds interpretation states that electrons do NOT undergo wavefunction collapse and instead split into separate realities.

Each of these realities is as real as the next.  There is another you and another me in another universe, exactly the same except for a minor change in the flow of our lives.  And another you and me in another universe.  And a universe in which we never existed in the first place.  There is a reality for everything.

This is like the equivalent of freaking Sparta in science.

So this universe…it could very well be that it is unremarkable.  Indistinguishable.  One among infinite.  One universe in the entire multiverse.

Many-worlds interpretation tries to explain Schrödinger’s Cat with the idea that in our universe, the cat is dead, but the alternate reality of it living splits off into another universe.  We’d never know because we only exist in one plane of reality.

Most people perceive the flow of life as one continuous river, and maybe determinists see it as the only river.  The introduction of this interpretation means that time and reality is more like an infinitely forked road at every moment in our lives.  So what is time?  Just a bunch of choices that we make that keeps reality in motion?  Does this affirm the existence of free will and choice?  Are those separate universes impossible to reach?  What does this mean for what’s beyond us?

These questions are some that should address the implications of this theory.  Yes, it is a little spine-chilling, yet awesome at the same time.

Well, thanks for reading!  Yes, this is what I read about in my free time.

Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.— R. Buckminster Fuller – Beyond Apathy


Time flows on–an idiom explained

Sorry about the delay in posting!  It’s been a busy past week as most of you well know.  I suppose I’ll miss you all during the summer unless I happen to see you over summer.  In that case, yay for those of you out there.

So!  The topic of this post…yes, you guessed it: time.  One clap for you.

And by delving into time, some philosophy and some physics will be brought in, so leave while you still can.

Or stay.  Staying and reading would be good too.

Time continuum sounds like something to do with scientifiction (nod to Hugo), but really, this is probably the generally most accepted version of time theory out there, the official creation credit going to Mr. Albert Einstein.  As most of you all know, there are three dimensions (in the traditional sense): length, width, and depth.  Now apply Einstein to the world, and voilà, you get four dimensions after adding in time.

Some of you may argue that time is not a dimension.  The tangible world around you, your chair, your desk, whatever you can touch in this reality is length, width, and depth.  If that object, let’s say a pencil, occupies a certain place in this plane, then it is tangible. So if it’s tangible, it must have dimensions.  But what if it’s not there at a certain point in time?  You couldn’t possible touch a pencil if it doesn’t exist in it’s place in space.  This means that time is indeed a dimension, allowing an object to exist in space while the other three dimensions mold its form.

Now that we’ve established that there are (at least) four dimensions in this universe, let’s focus in on the nature of time.  As described by Einstein, when all four dimensions are applied, it is called space-time.  This space-time could be what some call “the fabric of the universe”.  Imagine space infinitely stretching out in all directions.  Trick statement, it’s impossible to even fathom it.  Anyways, think of a table cloth, stretched out parallel to the ground in the air.  This table cloth is our very puny universe.  Drop a bowling ba–no, that’d induce the “Big Crunch” of our universe or rip a hole in its space-time…  Fine, a marble.  That small indentation in the cloth surrounding the marble is what gravity really is–a slight curvature of our universe.  Thus, the large/more mass an object has, the larger and deeper the area of indentation is.  Basically, this is why Jupiter has a truckload of satellites.

In order for space-time to be an accurate representation of the universe, it has to be a continuum.  Continuum in a mathematical sense is: Range = (-∞, ∞).  Discrete on the other hand is: Range = {…-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3…}.  Good if you got that.  If you didn’t…sigh.

What if the universe was discrete?  That is one big “what-if”.  Time would not “flow” as it does in a continuum.  Between two points in time, there would be no essential “middle” that connects the two points in time.  If you’ve ever put a camera on the multi-shot option, discrete time would be somewhat like those pictures.  Snap shots in reality is what time would become with no existence between those pictures.  Really, we would not exist.

And here lies fault with determinism as well.  To the determinist, there is no choice nor reason in this universe for everything happens as it will predestined to.  Predestination indicates some planning, and if there are points in our life that we are to follow with no choice between those separate points in time, then, with the lack of the essential middle ground, one can infer that a determinist inadvertently (or mindfully) believes in the discrete version of time.  Which was concluded to be impossible in the previous paragraph.

Time travel is a tricky thing to envision, but again, only possible in the continuum theory of time.  So say Einstein’s “thought experiments” were not for naught, and that at the speed of light, everything freezes (if what we see is light, and light obviously travels at the speed of light, then we, moving at the speed of light, should see only one point in time, frozen.  This also leads to the conclusion that the speed of time and light are the same).  Go faster and the idea is that it would allow you to go back in time.  Of course, with light being the universal speed limit (for now), this is impossible to prove.

But to go forward in time, that requires a whole new set of rules.  To go forward in time indicates that there is something that already happened in the future, that there is something that exists in the future.  AGH, those darned determinists.

And this is why time theory is all still a theory.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. – Albert Einstein

– Beyond Apathy