Monday, January 30, 2023

Why More Physicists Are Starting to Think Space and Time Are ‘Illusions’

Picture a perfectly calm, glassy sea on a windless day. Now ask yourself, how can such a plane be produced by overlaying two individual wave patterns? One possibility is that superimposing two completely flat surfaces results again in a completely level outcome. But another possibility that might produce a flat surface is if two identical wave patterns shifted by half an oscillation cycle were to be superimposed on one another, so that the wave crests of one pattern annihilate the wave troughs of the other one and vice versa. If we just observed the glassy ocean, regarding it as the result of two swells combined, there would be no way for us to find out about the patterns of the individual swells. What sounds perfectly ordinary when we talk about waves has the most bizarre consequences when applied to competing realities. If your neighbor told you she had two cats, one live cat and a dead one, this would imply that either the first cat or the second one is dead and that the remaining cat, respectively, is alive—it would be a strange and morbid way of describing one’s pets, and you may not know which one of them is the lucky one, but you would get the neighbor’s drift. Not so in the quantum world. In quantum mechanics, the very same statement implies that the two cats are merged in a superposition of cases, including the first cat being alive and the second one dead and the first cat being dead while the second one lives, but also possibilities where both cats are half alive and half dead, or the first cat is one-third alive, while the second feline adds the missing two-thirds of life. In a quantum pair of cats, the fates and conditions of the individual animals get dissolved entirely in the state of the whole. Likewise, in a quantum universe, there are no individual objects. All that exists is merged into a single “One.”

1 comment :

  1. I majored in physics at YU, senior 1967. Awful post “Why More Physicists Are Starting to Think Space and Time Are Illusions” No. See
    Vast Maya Kingdom Is Revealed in Guatemalan Jungle. Archaeologists identify a sprawling network of ancient ruins using laser mapping technology. Can we talk about this week’s parsha, Beshalach?
    A friend asked me yesterday. The Torah is teaching us to lie, Heaven forbid. Moses asks Pharaoh for Pharaoh to let all the Jews and all their animals go for 3 days in the desert to hold a feast and make sacrifices. Did Moses Lie? Some Egyptians believed Moses wanted freedom for 3 days and then return.. Rashi 14:5 says: It was told to the king of Egypt – [Pharaoh] sent supporters with them (Mechilta). Once they arrived at the conclusion of the three-day period which they had set to go to worship in the wilderness and to return (see Exodus 5:3) and [the supervisors] saw that [the Israelites] were not returning to Egypt, they came and told Pharaoh on the fourth day about Israel’s departure etc.
    Imagine. If Pharaoh would’ve allowed all Israelites to leave with all livestock to go to Mount Sinai---would the Israelites afterwards march 40 years in the desert, return to Egypt, go to Israel? My theory. If Pharaoh would become good---the full redemption, much as if Yishamel, Esau, Laban---the full redemption.
    God promised Moses at the Burning Bush there will be feasts and sacrifices on Mount Sinai. Our leaders always prayed and sought for the full redemption speedily in our time. This is what drove Abraham to care so much for Yishmael, Isaac for Esau, and Jacob for Laban. Moses was so distraught at the constant murmurings of the people. Why? Not ready for full redemption. Moses felt the people might stone him to death. In this week’s parsha Beshalach the battle with Amalek. We’re still battling with Amalek today.


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