sdze (sdze) wrote,

Tackling the Big Questions

Yasha just finished reading an article in the last issue of Wired called: "WHAT WE DON'T KNOW: 42 of the Biggest Questions in Science." The article was actually a conglomeration of forty shorts, each one dealing with something that scientists can't really explain.

That, of course, got Yasha thinking... He was sure that the big answers to the big questions had to lie on the very surface of knowledge, right under our noses. After all, the most outrageous scientific ideas of the past, such as Copernicus' revelation that the Earth actually rotates around the Sun or Einstein's Relativity seem pretty obvious in retrospect.

So, Yasha decided to tackle the biggest question of them all: What is the nature of reality? Just like relativity and Giordano Bruno, it had to be obvious enough. The answer had to lie right there, out in the open, hidden from the perception by static - meaningless information that obscured it from elucidation. Being unable to mentally concentrate for longer than a few minutes, he decided to highlight the parts of the article that spoke of reality and then write them out next to each other. Yasha hoped that thus concentrated, the answer will yield itself to him without too much mental effort. Highlighting the relevant sentences, he even started to feel a glimmer of something like understanding. Arranging the sentences together, he couldn't wait to read them and discover the answer. This is what he got:

"All things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe. What we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions... The real problem is what this so-called observer effect does to reality. It raises the mind-boggling prospect that unless we observe an event or thing, it hasn't really happened... In order for entanglement (a pair of subatomic particles being able to affect each other faster than the speed of light) to square with relativity, either we have no free will or reality is an illusion... Past, present and future are merely figments of our imagination, constructs built by our brains so that everything doesn't seem to happen at once... The brain seems to create an internal model of the physical world, then, like some super-sophisticated neural joystick, traces intended movements onto this model... What is consciousness? It's perception, but it's also reflection - summoning up visual and verbal constructions, imaginary or real..."

...After reading the resulting concoction twice, Yasha no longer felt a glimmer of understanding. He knew that there was a much greater probability of finding his answer in the paragraph above, but, being unable to mentally concentrate for longer than a few minutes, he gave up pretty quickly. After writing it out, he felt that he now understood reality even less than before.

Of course, what Yasha didn't realize was that an act of writing always shuts down most of the mental capacity of a writer. There was no way around it - it was involuntary, a sort of a gag reflex. It was one of the more obvious aspects of reality - but obviously, not to a writer himself. The reality would have to remain inscrutable a little while longer.
Tags: хрень
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