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Is quantum mechanics the melting point of reality?

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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27 March 2018 12:04
 

Is quantum mechanics the melting point of reality?  By that I mean, is it the boundary between what our brain evolved to comprehend and what our brain did not evolve to comprehend?  Can we be compared to Homo erectus sitting in a classroom trying to understand language and Newtonian physics?

(Homo erectus existed ten times longer than we have so far).

 
 
EN
 
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27 March 2018 14:58
 

Since we are understanding it more and more all the time, perhaps reality is not quite melting yet.  We don’t know the limit of our capacity at this time.  Like on election night - “too early to call.”

 
burt
 
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27 March 2018 15:10
 

“I’m melting, I’m melting…” WW of W after Dorothy threw Schrodinger’s equation at her.

 
jdrnd
 
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27 March 2018 18:45
 
burt - 27 March 2018 03:10 PM

“I’m melting, I’m melting…” WW of W after Dorothy threw Schrodinger’s equation at her.


ahem,
that was primordial soup.

 
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28 March 2018 10:53
 
EN - 27 March 2018 02:58 PM

Since we are understanding it more and more all the time, perhaps reality is not quite melting yet.  We don’t know the limit of our capacity at this time.  Like on election night - “too early to call.”

Some scientists talk about a universe, or multiverse, of infinite possibilities.  Does this mean that somewhere a talking snake really is tempting a woman to eat an apple?  At least, an intelligent creature resembling a snake tempting a creature resembling a woman who is, say, shipwrecked on the snake’s island and is wondering what fruits are safe to eat.

Snake:  Go ahead, it won’t hurt you.

Woman:  But where I come from squirrels eat raw acorns, but we have to cook them first.  Tannin.

Snake:  Just nibble it and spit it out if you don’t like it.

Woman:  Where I come from there are flowers that are so toxic . . . one whiff and you keel over.

Snake:  OK.  So starve.  I’m just trying to help!

 

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28 March 2018 11:40
 
unsmoked - 28 March 2018 10:53 AM

Some scientists talk about a universe, or multiverse, of infinite possibilities.  Does this mean that somewhere a talking snake really is tempting a woman to eat an apple?  At least, an intelligent creature resembling a snake tempting a creature resembling a woman who is, say, shipwrecked on the snake’s island and is wondering what fruits are safe to eat.

Is it possible that something like a snake developed intelligence somewhere else?  It’s possible. Beyond that, I don’t have a clue. I’m dealing with enough infinite universes in my own head.

 
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28 March 2018 12:41
 

“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson


“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 
 
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28 March 2018 15:14
 

I don’t think qm is beyond our ability to understand.  Maybe it just doesn’t fit into the model of reality we have been taught to perceive.  We are limited by what our culture tells us is logical and possible.  But I trust we’ll comprehend more someday.

 
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31 March 2018 12:11
 
Cheshire Cat - 28 March 2018 12:41 PM

“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson


“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Suppose we say that Homo erectus (upright man) lived for a million years before going extinct.  Whatever his intellectual abilities were, I think we can assume that he knew about psychotropic plants and used them.  https://www.britannica.com/list/9-mind-altering-plants

Whatever his everyday reality was like, Homo erectus probably knew about the ‘separate reality’ induced by imbibing certain plants and fungi.  (fungi are now considered closer to animals than to plants).  If 96% of the physical universe is imperceptible/unknown to us (dark energy and dark matter so called), is it possible that altered states of consciousness are needed to ‘see’ or ‘sense’ the missing 96% part of reality?  Homo erectus must have had daily association with other animals and in altered states of consciousness I suspect he had ‘Castaneda’ like visions/experiences/communications/identity with them and their powers of perception.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/dogs-sense-of-smell.html

I have virtually no experience with hallucinogens, including marijuana, but wonder if we’ll need an altered state of consciousness to understand quantum mechanics, or be able to explore beyond the 4% of the universe that we presently ‘see’.  (explore the missing 96% presently called dark energy and dark matter by physicists).

“We are men and our lot in life is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds.”
Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda  (I realize that many doubt the authenticity of Castaneda’s anthropology).

 

[ Edited: 31 March 2018 12:24 by unsmoked]
 
 
Chaz
 
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07 April 2018 13:59
 
unsmoked - 31 March 2018 12:11 PM

 

I don’t think hallucinations are necessary, but obviously can be a useful tool to breakdown the expectations of reality that life gives us.  For example it’s not easy to wrap your head around light and sound, because we can only detect a very small amount of the spectrum that’s possible and qm just shows the same is true for the physical aspects of reality.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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07 April 2018 17:04
 

In a way… but not really. There are always current and local thresholds. There is always a smallest and largest scale we can comprehensibly describe. There is always a top down and bottom up structure of explanation resting at the edges of our understanding. Given the exponential acceleration of technology I think it would be pretty myopic to declare than any current model is final or absolute even in the sense of understanding. I feel like there have always been declarations of finality with regard to the substrate of knowledge and they have always been premature.

That’s how it looks to me anyway.

 
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07 April 2018 22:51
 

Do you think we evolved to understand Special Relativity - which debunks the intuition of simultaneity?

Admittedly, QM seems stranger in that it debunks locality, ie spatial and temporal separation. I think what’s a struggle here is that up until QM, science could always explain things in terms of breaking things into smaller pieces and putting them together like clockwork. But the attitude that everything can be explained like clockwork is a modern concept. I am not sure to an Egyptian the ideas behind QM would seem any stranger than Special Relativity or even Electromagnetism.

Maybe we are surrounded by equally strange things that we choose to ignore, or just assume could be explained like clockwork.

 
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08 April 2018 21:51
 
unsmoked - 27 March 2018 12:04 PM

Is quantum mechanics the melting point of reality?  By that I mean, is it the boundary between what our brain evolved to comprehend and what our brain did not evolve to comprehend?  Can we be compared to Homo erectus sitting in a classroom trying to understand language and Newtonian physics?

(Homo erectus existed ten times longer than we have so far).

Also… isn’t there a fallacy lurking in the proposition that we are evolved for any specific purpose? Parrots didn’t evolve ‘in-order-to’ mimic speech and crack nuts. They evolved those abilities because of how evolutionary processes funnel chaotic circumstances into particular arrangements. If the butterfly zigged left we would have some other sort of bird entirely.

Similarly we didn’t evolve for the purpose of understanding physics. We understand physics because our abstract reasoning and social cooperation emerged from a species that couldn’t compete physically… or whatever the consensus view is on those functions. The fact that we understand anything is just an accident of history.

Begging your pardon if that’s overly semantic.

 
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09 April 2018 09:50
 
Brick Bungalow - 08 April 2018 09:51 PM
unsmoked - 27 March 2018 12:04 PM

Is quantum mechanics the melting point of reality?  By that I mean, is it the boundary between what our brain evolved to comprehend and what our brain did not evolve to comprehend?  Can we be compared to Homo erectus sitting in a classroom trying to understand language and Newtonian physics?

(Homo erectus existed ten times longer than we have so far).

Also… isn’t there a fallacy lurking in the proposition that we are evolved for any specific purpose? Parrots didn’t evolve ‘in-order-to’ mimic speech and crack nuts. They evolved those abilities because of how evolutionary processes funnel chaotic circumstances into particular arrangements. If the butterfly zigged left we would have some other sort of bird entirely.

Similarly we didn’t evolve for the purpose of understanding physics. We understand physics because our abstract reasoning and social cooperation emerged from a species that couldn’t compete physically… or whatever the consensus view is on those functions. The fact that we understand anything is just an accident of history.

Begging your pardon if that’s overly semantic.

About a thousand years ago a Zen master said, “Reality basically has no explanation.” 

Scientist to cosmos:  “What are you?  (Exodus 3:14)

 
 
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09 April 2018 10:13
 
unsmoked - 09 April 2018 09:50 AM
Brick Bungalow - 08 April 2018 09:51 PM
unsmoked - 27 March 2018 12:04 PM

Is quantum mechanics the melting point of reality?  By that I mean, is it the boundary between what our brain evolved to comprehend and what our brain did not evolve to comprehend?  Can we be compared to Homo erectus sitting in a classroom trying to understand language and Newtonian physics?

(Homo erectus existed ten times longer than we have so far).

Also… isn’t there a fallacy lurking in the proposition that we are evolved for any specific purpose? Parrots didn’t evolve ‘in-order-to’ mimic speech and crack nuts. They evolved those abilities because of how evolutionary processes funnel chaotic circumstances into particular arrangements. If the butterfly zigged left we would have some other sort of bird entirely.

Similarly we didn’t evolve for the purpose of understanding physics. We understand physics because our abstract reasoning and social cooperation emerged from a species that couldn’t compete physically… or whatever the consensus view is on those functions. The fact that we understand anything is just an accident of history.

Begging your pardon if that’s overly semantic.

About a thousand years ago a Zen master said, “Reality basically has no explanation.” 

Scientist to cosmos:  “What are you?  (Exodus 3:14)

I feel like we had a reasonable consensus on this from other threads. I believe we agree that mechanistic or causal relationships are only described in terms of how rather than why. Agency is a separate issue. For the hard sciences its mostly a null set. There may be agency in physical systems but I don’t see that we have access to speak about it yet.

 

 
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09 April 2018 18:28
 

There is no consensus among quantum physicists on the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics.  The Copenhagen interpretation holds a plurality of about 42%, but there are many other interpretations.

 
 
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