Thursday, May 25, 2017

Physics and Metaphysics

Measuring what can't be measured.
Since the beginning of time, we have wrestled with the same issues. Like an adopted child we long to find our parents. The issue is every bit as poignant today as it was centuries ago. We desire to know who we are, where we came from and we grow weary of fairy tales. We want the truth, not embellished variations. The problem is, of course, so many conflicting messages about truth all coming from many vested points of view. It’s like trying to find the correct diet without realizing that since we are all unique, a single diet won’t work for everyone. There are many paths but only one destination.

Before physics, there was metaphysics. Science has taken us a long way down the road in answering some basic questions about our beginnings but it will never go all the way since it must, by its very construction, work within measurable dimensions. No one can measure the mind, yet we use the mind continuously. No one can put calipers around essence yet matter could not exist without it. At the heart, we are all connected yet the tie that binds cannot be seen.

For the moment I would like to demonstrate an irreconcilable conundrum between physics and metaphysics using the tools of science to resolve a metaphysical matter. We all firmly believe in the past, present and the future as constructs of time which we accept as real. Furthermore, we are convinced that we exist in the endless present. The past has gone. The present is not yet, so we are left with the present, by definition.

When we look up into the heavens at night we see the twinkling of stars. They appear to be real but when we consider the speed of light we know that what we are seeing is light which began the journey to our eyes from each of those stars many thousands of years ago. Some are said to be millions of light years from us which means that what we are seeing is something that may no longer exist. Said another way, the stars we see may, in fact, be dead but we wouldn’t know they were until millions of years from now. We don’t see what exists in the cosmos now. We see what used to exist, proving that you can’t always trust what you see.

That’s fine for distant stars but how about objects which are closer: maybe the moon, which is not so distant as a star but still far away. The situation hasn’t changed at all. It just takes the light a shorter time to reach us. And the situation is no different when an object is right in front of our faces. We never see what actually exists only what used to exist even if the time lapse is very brief (microseconds). The simple truth is that none of us can change what has already occurred. It is finished—already gone like a speeding bullet—by the time we perceive and process with our brains. And that is on a good day.

What about a bad day (or moment). A bad day (or moment) is when we are asleep at the switch—meaning lost in illusion, up there in our buzzing feedback loops, and don’t even notice what we perceive because we can only perceive something by paying attention, which we can’t do when we are day-dreaming, attached to our thinking processes and fixed beliefs. The absolute best we can hope for is to be awake, accept the fundamental flaws of perception, image processing and move the dial toward an awakened mind—into the metaphysical realm of the nameless.

Have a nice day. Or is it yesterday?
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