Thursday, 11 December 2014

Reality Isn't Real...

I have always been uneasy about my place in the world. Although I am generally confident, happy and content, I know that something doesn't quite 'fit' and, worse still, that that 'something' is way beyond my understanding, however, I have no doubt that it exists.

Of course my uneasiness does not stem from sensing some mysterious parallel universe or anything of that nature, merely that with what we know of life and the vast universe that surrounds us, I am unwilling to take our 'reality' at face value.

Hence my interest in Quantum Physics. I remember that it came as quite a relief to me when I first read about the Quantum world, as if it explained everything!

Part 1 of an excellent program on Quantum Physics, hosted by Jim Al-Khalili, was recently shown on TV and it did bring home to me once again how weird the world of Quantum Mechanics actually is.

The battle between Einstein and Bohr raged for years. Einstein essentially maintaining that the physical reality that we know, exists more or less as we see it, with Bohr maintaining that this could not be:

"Everything we call real is made up of things we cannot call real."

Bohr believed that in essence we 'summon into existence' reality by seeing it.

'How ridiculous' you might think, except that it has now been mathematically proven, without doubt, that Bohr was correct and Einstein was wrong. Therefore reality (certainly at the sub-atomic level) is, as yet, 'unknowable' and it is certainly not what you think it is, we just don't yet understand what it is.

Later, John Bell (Physicist) effectively streamlined the theory into this:

P(a, c) - P(b, a) - P(b, c) ≤ 1

So what are we? Where are we? It seems that we could just as easily 'exist' in the far reaches of space with our lives here being nothing more than a cosmic projection... every decision we make might create another universe... there are infinite possibilities, in fact virtually anything you can imagine could be true.

For the realists, who perceive the world as it is without question, all I can offer you is the possibility that perhaps the physical world is not as 'fluid' as Bohr would have us believe. Yet equally there will be many more Quantum 'suprises' to come in our future.

The great thing is that it doesn't matter if we 'non-physicists' fail to grasp Quantum Physics - because none of the great minds of our time have fully understood it either. Your suppositions are as good as theirs. So go ahead and theorise!

Don't worry, in my next post I'll be getting back to reality...kind of.

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