Are you wirelessly connected to reality?

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Shakespeare famously said, “All the world is a stage”. How do we know if the external world we see and tangibly feel exists independently of us? Imagine you are walking down the pedestrian path and you see a series of cars driving past on the road. How could you verify that if you were not present at that point of time at that location, the same cars would still be driving past just the same way?

There is no way to verify this. The only reason I noticed the cars driving past is because I was there to witness them. In this example, the cars existed at a point of time and space because I existed at the same point of time and space to witness.

This problem is recognised as the central problem of quantum mechanics. Scientists discovered that matter and energy can display the characteristics of both waves and particles. For the quantum mechanics novice, this animated video is a simple but effective demonstration showing that when a camera observed the electrons, they acted as particles. However, when no equipment was used to observe the electrons, they acted as waves and particles simultaneously.

So what’s the reason for this? Does the electron somehow know that it is being watched? It probably does. Reality at the quantum (microscopic) level consists of two kinds of reality, actual and potential. The actual is what we get when we see or measure a quantum entity, the potential is the state in which the object existed before it was measured. The result is that a quantum entity (a photon, electron, neutron, etc) exists in multiple possibilities of realities known as superpositions.

Are we creating our own individual reality inside our brains? The mystics from many ancient lands postulated this at least 5000 years back and the latest evidence in modern science indicates the same duality. We will have to wait for science to come up with an absolute answer one day to bridge the gap between quantum and Newtonian mechanics. Until then, we should all try to have more empathy towards other people for what we care and fight for may not be real after all. We are all hooked to ‘something’ and perhaps it’s not real but just a dream. After all even dreams have sweet highs and utter nightmares.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Love this … right up my street – thank you! 🙂

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