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Author Topic: How does reality emerge from unreality?  (Read 5132 times)

Offline Musicforawhile

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How does reality emerge from unreality?
« on: 03/11/2014 13:18:52 »
1. Particles on a quantum level come in and out existence, quantum physics and general relativity don't marry up completely, concepts that we use in our physical world (for rocket science) don't really exist like infinity,  therefore the basis of reality seems very elusive, quicksand-like and unstable yet out of this we experience reality and our physical world. How does reality come out of something so shaky and so unreal?

This may or may not be comparable to other things like:
2. language
3. money

How do consonant and vowel sounds create words and a whole language so that the words seem to extend or emerge from objects rather than just being labels i.e if you break down the word 'bottle' - 'boh tuhl' you see how it is meaningless, but the word itself 'bottle' intensely evokes the actual object even to the point where the word looks like the object and the object looks like the word. Or maybe that's just me being weird? Or, regarding money how did a system become so integral to our existence and so 'real,' when it itself is just a concept and not worth the paper its written on literally - a £20 note is worth much less than £20 regarding the paper and ink. And yet the unreality of money has extremely real, life or death, implications.

The language and money examples might not have been applicable to my point...I'm not clever enough to know. But just how does reality emerge from unreality and how can we trust reality if it has such a shaky foundation? For me reality never felt very real anyway.


 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #1 on: 03/11/2014 13:26:18 »
Quote from: Musicforawhile
1. Particles on a quantum level come in and out existence,...
Yep. I agree.

Quote from: Musicforawhile
.. quantum physics and general relativity don't marry up completely, ...
What do you mean by this? Do you mean the theories as we currently know them or what they really are, i.e. what we'll eventually come to understand them as?

Quote from: Musicforawhile
..concepts that we use in our physical world (for rocket science) don't really exist like infinity,...
Infinity does actually exist. For example it's currently accepted in mainstream cosmology that the universe is probably flat. Given that and the cosmological principle which states that the overall density of matter on a very large scale is uniform throughout the universe then the universe is both infinitely large and has an infinite amount of matter in it.

Quote from: Musicforawhile
How does reality come out of something so shaky and so unreal?
Because you're confusing nature as it really is with nature as we currently understand it in addition to your incomplete understanding of it.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #2 on: 03/11/2014 16:51:50 »
...therefore the basis of reality seems very elusive, quicksand-like and unstable yet out of this we experience reality and our physical world. How does reality come out of something so shaky and so unreal?

There is nothing unreal about something that has the ability to maintain itself in a form that enables itself to postpone the point where it simplifies down into one of a number of more stable forms. The problem only comes into it when a species evolves that only sees stable forms of things and which develops a language to express that world view before it realises that there's a little more to it than that, and then it tries to adapt its language to the more complex explanation of reality and comes out with confusing talk of things being in more than one place at the same time when the thing is not actually fully in either place. We also talk about things appearing out of nothing and then going back to being nothing, but again this is just language being misused - the "nothing" is not a nothing, but we can't access it in any way that can tell us what it really is.

Quote
How do consonant and vowel sounds create words and a whole language so that the words seem to extend or emerge from objects rather than just being labels i.e if you break down the word 'bottle' - 'boh tuhl' you see how it is meaningless, but the word itself 'bottle' intensely evokes the actual object even to the point where the word looks like the object and the object looks like the word. Or maybe that's just me being weird?

It's simply a mapping of a symbol (or set of symbols) to a concept, and you have learned to link the two things. If I teach you a new word for "bottle" in a language you don't know, such as "bin" (Japanese), you will initially find it hard to relate that word to the idea of a bottle because there is no real connection between the word and a bottle (unless it's onomatopoeic, which is possible in this case as it may come from the sound made by hitting a bottle, though I suspect the word was actually borrowed from the Chinese "ping" which again could be onomatopoeic). Whatever the case, you link the word to the idea of a bottle rather than to the sound of someone hitting a bottle, so it's just a learned association. In writing you could replace the word with a single symbol in the same way as the symbol "£" represents the idea "pound". It's a learned association, and it's easy to miss its origin in the letter "L" (for "lb") when it looks more like an "f", and even if you know that it's "lb", you still may not know the connection between that and "weight" and the connection between weight and money. It all comes down to representation, where anything can be chosen as the standard way to represent a specific idea in a system.

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Or, regarding money how did a system become so integral to our existence and so 'real,' when it itself is just a concept and not worth the paper its written on literally - a £20 note is worth much less than £20 regarding the paper and ink. And yet the unreality of money has extremely real, life or death, implications.

The original money was stuff of real value, and this soon became precious metals like gold and silver. Later on, cheap alternatives were used while the bank which issued notes and coins kept the real gold and silver in vaults, and they only issued tokens to represent the actual amount of wealth they held in those vaults. It isn't quite so easy to maintain that link now, so the system is less robust than it used to be. Your bitcoins might become useless within the space of a minute, or they might double in value in a few weeks.

Quote
But just how does reality emerge from unreality and how can we trust reality if it has such a shaky foundation? For me reality never felt very real anyway.

You can only trust reality to have a fixed history of events where those events have crystalised out of a cloud of possibility, but even then you could be fooled into thinking something has crystalised into a certainty when it is actually still uncertain - one version of you may be seeing one thing as becoming fixed while another version of you is seeing something else which is incompatible with that, but both versions of you are being maintained at the same time in a cloud of possibility and the universe has yet to decide which version of events it will continue with. (This is an extreme view of things as it assumes that you aren't complex enough to collapse the wavefunction (to simplify reality) and force the universe to deside much sooner.)
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #3 on: 03/11/2014 18:56:57 »
The universe happens. We try to describe and predict it by various scientific means. Nobody claims to have a complete description or a universal means of prediction. So what? It's hardly surprising since the universe is a very big place full of very small things, and we have only been doing recognisable science for a few hundred years, during which we have at least convinced ourselves that the universe is inherently not infinitesimally predictable.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #4 on: 03/11/2014 22:29:23 »
The universe happens. We try to describe and predict it by various scientific means. Nobody claims to have a complete description or a universal means of prediction. So what? It's hardly surprising since the universe is a very big place full of very small things, and we have only been doing recognisable science for a few hundred years, during which we have at least convinced ourselves that the universe is inherently not infinitesimally predictable.
Very well said my good man. I couldn't have said it better myself! :)
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #5 on: 05/11/2014 00:12:13 »
Quote from: Pete
For example it's currently accepted in mainstream cosmology that the universe is probably flat. Given that and the cosmological principle which states that the overall density of matter on a very large scale is uniform throughout the universe then the universe is both infinitely large and has an infinite amount of matter in it.

Pete, obviously you believe this, and I am certainly not qualified to challenge your belief.  However, it does appear that not all cosmologists are of the same opinion.  Janna Levin, for example, says:

“Is the universe finite only if it is positively curved?  Is the universe infinite if it is flat or negatively curved?  The answer is no.”

Obviously this does not explain why she believes this, but the point of quoting it was to demonstrate that professionals differ on this matter.

This does leave those of us who are not experts wondering what to believe, who to follow.  Possibly this is why we tend to try out our own ideas, with the attendant risk of being dubbed “crackpots”.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #6 on: 05/11/2014 01:34:29 »
Quote from: Bill S
Pete, obviously you believe this, and I am certainly not qualified to challenge your belief.  However, it does appear that not all cosmologists are of the same opinion.
I expressed myself very poorly when I said that. I incorrectly gave you the impression that 100% of all cosmologists believe that the universe is flat. When I said
Quote from: PmbPhy
For example it's currently accepted in mainstream cosmology that the universe is probably flat.
I meant that most cosmologists agree with that belief. I apologize for expressing myself so poorly.

On subjects like that I explain things with the unspoken assumption that the other person knows that we all know that there is hardly anything in physics, other than the exact form of the laws of physics, that 100% of all physicists agree upon.

Please also note that I said that the universe is probably flat. Where there is a probability less than exactly 100% it is almost guaranteed that there will be physicists who believe elsewise. :)

Let me clarify exactly what I meant to say. I'll use, as an example, what Ned Wright has to say about this. Ned Wright is with the UCLA Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics. See: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html
Quote
The current best fit model is a flat ΛCDM Big Bang model where the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, and the age of the Universe is 13.7 billion years.

Now let's see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
Quote
The primary goal of these experiments was to measure the angular scale of the first acoustic peak of the power spectrum of the anisotropies, for which COBE did not have sufficient resolution. In 2000–2001, several experiments, most notably BOOMERanG[53] found the Universe to be almost spatially flat by measuring the typical angular size (the size on the sky) of the anisotropies.

Now let's see: http://www.universetoday.com/84485/cosmology-101-the-end/
Quote
Scientists believe that we live in a spatially flat universe whose expansion is accelerating due to the presence of dark energy; ..

Quote from: Bill S
This does leave those of us who are not experts wondering what to believe, who to follow.
Why do you feel a need to believe something like that is definitely true or not. What you can rest assured on is that there is a very large probability that the shape of the universe is flat.
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #7 on: 05/11/2014 23:57:04 »
Quote from: Pete
Why do you feel a need to believe something like that is definitely true or not. What you can rest assured on is that there is a very large probability that the shape of the universe is flat.

Pete, it seems very easy to be at cross purposes, with the best will in the world.  I have no problem with any idea of the shape or topology of the Universe; nor do I look for certainty, where cosmological theories are concerned.  The question I raise is just this:
If the Universe is flat; given that it appears to be homogeneous and isotropic; does that necessarily mean it is infinite?  If so, why?

OK, that’s 2 questions, but whose counting?   :)
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #8 on: 06/11/2014 16:02:41 »
If the universe is actually globally homogeneous and isotropic, that means that each point is equivalent to every other point within the universe. This type of symmetry can easily be attained by a sphere, in which any point can be transformed into any other point by a simple rotation of the sphere. If we accept that the universe is flat, it cannot be spherical. A flat plane can also satisfy these conditions (homogeneous and isotropic), but only if it is infinite--in this case any point can be transformed into any other point by translation.

As a chemist, though, I have to point out that this is analogous to our theoretical models of crystals. There are 219 (or 230) space groups--the types of symmetry a crystal structure can have. In each there is an assumption that the entire crystal can be translated in one direction or another to line up with itself again. These models are extremely accurate in their predictions of the properties of all types of crystals. However, the models assume an infinite crystal lattice, which we know is not an accurate depiction of any crystal ever observed/characterized (most of those studied are less than 1mm on a side, >1000000 atoms across, though there are single crystals as large as a meter on a side, and possible even larger). It also turns out that while the models work very well at predicting what goes on inside a crystal, they are very poor models of the boundaries of crystals, which we invoke other models for.

My point is, from the viewpoint of an atom near the center of a crystal, the whole universe is an infinite perfect crystal--the model works perfectly as far as the atom can "see" and beyond. But eventually there is a boundary that is completely inexplicable given a perfect crystal model.

The observable universe appears to be flat, homogeneous and isotropic. But in my opinion, there could very well be inhomogeneity, anisotropy or curvature beyond our observable bubble.
 

Offline jeffreyH

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #9 on: 06/11/2014 22:24:51 »
The universe may be stranger than we think. There are peaks and troughs in time dilation so that time has its own waveform that is governed either partly or wholly by gravitation. Time is also quantized and has the properties of the wave and the particle. Just sit down for five minutes with a cup of tea or coffee and think about that one.
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #10 on: 07/11/2014 13:46:32 »
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Time is also quantized and has the properties of the wave and the particle.


Jeffrey, do you know something we don’t?   :)
This is something I would love to have more information about, but most of what I can find seems to be a clear "don't know".

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-time-quantized-in-othe

Is time quantized?

“The brief answer to this question is, 'Nobody knows.' Certainly there is no experimental evidence in favor of such a minimal unit. On the other hand, there is no evidence against it, except that we have not yet found it.”
 

Offline jeffreyH

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #11 on: 07/11/2014 21:39:34 »
Quote
Time is also quantized and has the properties of the wave and the particle.


Jeffrey, do you know something we don’t?   :)
This is something I would love to have more information about, but most of what I can find seems to be a clear "don't know".

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-time-quantized-in-othe

Is time quantized?

“The brief answer to this question is, 'Nobody knows.' Certainly there is no experimental evidence in favor of such a minimal unit. On the other hand, there is no evidence against it, except that we have not yet found it.”

The statement was not as it seems. The dilation is a standing wave with the peak at the surface of the mass generating it. The only way these waves in time can move is with the mass that generates them. Think of the electron as a standing wave around the nucleus. It is similar to that. Except I don't believe in time particles because that would be really silly. Is time actually quantized. Well particles are and they move at quantized rates. That is all I can really say. I am not qualified to give an official answer. Like you I am a layman.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #12 on: 12/11/2014 11:58:58 »
Finite or infinite. Define it locally, assume there to be local constants and properties. Then assume something created through those joining one 'locality' to another. Exchange finite for 'bounds', 'binding' it into a measurable universe. Does it matter for this if we find a 'flat' universe or 'curved'? Why? If it created locally, then those definitions are questionable, becoming a 'illusion' to me. I totally agree in that the universe is infinite, isotropic and homogeneous.

As a counter argument, if it now would matter how we find it to be 'bent' measuring from a inside, then, isn't that just another proof of the above being correct? As it is found to be very close to 'flat' on a 'cosmic' scale. But the real argument is how you want to define the 'thing', joining one locality to another, doesn't matter how we then find it to be, measuring inside it. You can then define this universe as being a construct, having a way of communicating giving it bounds, but only from this inside.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #13 on: 12/11/2014 12:09:24 »
But that wasn't what I wanted to write about :)

It's a very good question Musicforawhile. If we move it to an abstraction, which you did, then I think that the universe is just the stamping ground from where emergences are created. And they are all 'abstract' even though they use what laws, rules, constants, properties and statistics proving them. So what is the universe about?
 

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Re: How does reality emerge from unreality?
« Reply #13 on: 12/11/2014 12:09:24 »

 

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