Fields R Us

As we fire quantum level particles(or fields) at each other in the Large Hadron Collider, and witness seemingly unpredictable results – this does not mean that there is no calculation in existence that could ever have predicted these results, it just means we don’t know all the variables and/or functions in play that could determine and predict them.

It is an interesting idea that at the quantum level, the curtain can never be pulled back to have any kind of true prediction powers, since nature (itself) does not know what will happen. It is merely a range of possible outcomes and probabilities somehow impacted by the observer. I raise my eyebrow in a dubious arch at this. Not that I would know better than a physicist, or that the current state of affairs is not everything we know so far – But, whenever (even the most respected minds of their day) someone in history has proclaimed something “unknowable”, “impossible”, or that we’ve reached the final details of any branch of knowledge, they have been proved wrong roughly 100% of the time. To declare anything “unknowable” is yet another link in the unfathomably long chain of lack of imagination and foresight by scientists and philosophers throughout history.

Prop Bet Paradise

Prop Bet Paradise

The distinction between whether we can ever predict these results or not, might only be relevant for philosophical, behavioral, or compassion based matters. It’s kind of like if we were told with 100% certainty that we lived in a computer simulation, but that is just seemed flawlessly real to us, how would that change your day-to-day life? If you are experiencing a computer simulation of an orgasm, and computer-generated euphoria, can’t you still enjoy the flawless simulation of enjoyment? Like the Placebo effect, if it’s real to you, then it can become reality itself.

As far as free will, I believe we have no existence beyond the chemical processes that happen inside our bodies. I would even take it one step further, and say that there is no real delineation between what you consider “you” and what you consider air, or water, or an orange, or a star, or dark matter, or anti matter….. OR whatever has particles or is a field.

At the core level, we and everything we know of are all particles/fields running into each other and reacting to each other. Whatever you consider “you” to be, unless you go with the “soul” theory (which I don’t subscribe to) then there really is no “you”. We are simply part of the mud of chemical processes and particles interacting with each other from an ancient, pre-determined, currently unknown source.

Free will makes no sense – it is obviously the naturally selected cocaine of narratives to get us motivated to procreate, not murder or kill ourselves, and further the species. Math and the scientific method, on the other hand, do make sense. And their best guess is that free will has a <1% probably of being the correct answer. (Insert mild grain of anti-hyperbolic salt here)

Fields of delusion

Fields of delusion

As you move your hand through the atmosphere here on Earth, or come in contact with a table as you touch it with your hand – these are really just particles/fields reacting to each other. You aren’t actually ever touching the table. There is no existing boundary that can define “you” as something separate from all the particles/fields constantly interacting with “your” particles/fields. And the “motivations” or “free will” that make you touch the table, or “believe” you know why you touched the table, stem from a series of chemical reactions that were set in motion eons ago.

We are descendants of the simplest of one-celled life forms. And those are descendants of chemical processes. And those chemical processes are the descendants of chemical processes that happen in star formation and death, etc….. it’s just a long series of reactions reacting to reactions. To separate ourselves from this chain is what we long to do from our psychological Bioevolution. It’s a historically advantageous vestige of natural selection – and it is a complete delusion.

We look for patterns and meanings in EVERYTHING. Even when there’s no pattern at all, we will somehow find it. Constellations, religions, lotto numbers, gambling, superstitions all stem from bad causality assessments that are born from fear, and subsequently hammered with our mental default tools of choice – a propensity for pattern recognition sprinkled with a pinch of demand for order and explanation where there either is none, or the true explanation is currently hidden from our knowledge base.

I operate under the assumption that human beings are mostly fictional narrative generating machines. Even someone obsessed with being introspective and hyper vigilant about correcting for these self delusions like myself, is never really impervious from them. And interestingly enough, sometimes the smartest and most creative problem solvers of the humans are actually the most well-equipped for crafting endlessly creative arguments to defend the lies and biases that our evolutionary biology pushes us toward. We will endlessly gravitate towards the event horizon of whatever philosophies and belief systems that protect our ego needs, and feed our tireless optimism about the future.

I see life as a bunch of equations. Math answers everything. It’s just that the equations are often far too complicated for us to calculate. So, what do we do as a placeholder for our ignorance and fear? We construct narratives.

Placebo/Nocebo shows that “reality” can become Reality.

Zeus, why you are liberal, why you like a certain movie, how the future will look, what happens when we die, Ra, etc …. All narratives. I’m sure you could tell me a great story about why you think you like a certain book better than another. Whatever you told me the reasons were for your preference are unadulterated bullshit.

Just because we can’t say exactly what the weather will be like in 2 months from today, doesn’t mean an equation doesn’t exist that could predict the exact conditions, it just means the variables are too plentiful and complicated for us to calculate. Our actions and chemical processes are no different from that of the earth, clouds, ants or stellar motions of the universe or quantum level processes. We are all a collection of particles/fields that were set on a pre-determined course. We are just passengers along for the ride desperately trying to explain to each other and ourselves how we are in fact, not passengers viewing a pre-filmed movie that is our lives.

We do this for the same reason we do everything: because our evolutionary biology dictates our motivations and narratives. And it has been hard-wired into us over thousands (or billions depending on your perspective) of years of evolution to not want to believe the reality that time is an illusion, that free will is an illusion, that the Earth is not flat, the sun does not revolve around the earth, etc…. It has historically been evolutionarily counter productive to be suicidal, have no drive to reproduce, or not believe a God is keeping a moral scoreboard when no one is watching. We would not reproduce or push to survive or exist very long as a species if we didn’t have blind faith, over optimistic hopes, false ego protections, and ridiculous stories to get us through the day. We NEED the lies to survive and be happy.

Or do we? Those stories got us here. But going forward, maybe we can push through, and find that while truth is stranger and more uncomfortable than fiction, it can ultimately be more fulfilling. Perhaps a new enlightenment would provide a raised level of conscious awakening we never knew we wanted.

Here’s where it gets weird. So, in the double-slit experiment we discovered that the observer somehow interacted with the math going on, and changed the probabilities of the results themselves. This is much like the placebo and nocebo effects.

Like an unanticipated wave of electrons, this fucks everything up.

Like an unanticipated wave of electrons, this fucks everything up.

Despite anticipated chemical reactions that previously produced repeatable results, we have discovered that the observer can actual supersede and interfere with these processes. Our own perception of ourselves and the world around us can determine our physical and chemical states and compositions. So, maybe believing all the lies just enough can make them come true on some level. Uhhh… I guess this means we can mentally conjure whatever states of the universe we want to become true, and they will be. So, in conclusion, free will does exist and it’s AWESOME!!!!

Among the hobbies listed on my E-harmony profile are anilingus, followed closely by changing my world view about previously held fundamental belief sets. My hope is for Barely Conscious to be a catalyst for both.

–  JA

 

WaitButWhy.com (website)

Genius at work.

WaitButWhy.com is a content website, not a blog. Andrew Finn, one of the site’s three principal founders, wants that distinction to be clear. And I think he’s right to push for that clarification. Barely Conscious had never previously reviewed a website before this one, because it would probably go something like this : “Yelp is a worthless collection of obviously corrupted data. The End.” However, after I was referred to the site by the endorsement of an @DamienFahey tweet, Wait But Why has now provided the necessary cerebral blood rush of inspiration to pop that categorical cherry – and prompt a full on posting.

Wait But Why is a collection of articles primarily written by Tim Urban. The broad range of topics mean that one minute you are having your mind blown dissecting “The Fermi Paradox”, and the next, you find yourself learning “How to Name a Baby”. Tim has a keen interest in topics that intersect my own intellectual curiosities, which made me aggressively binge read every article on the site over the course of a week or so. It also inspired this Venn Diagram –

My handwriting and use of crayons is directly corellated to my EQ.

My handwriting and use of crayons is directly correlated to my EQ.

Tim finds clever ways to consolidate and package very complex topics for easier digestion through use of the best teaching tools available : stick figures, intermittent humor, and simple diagrams and graphs. People definitely learn and communicate best through simplified visual imagery peppered with some amusing analogies.

Yup.

Sadly, the world might not even be on Step 1 yet.

I giggled and became sleep deprived reading article after article, squinting in bed on my ANI personal device. You’ll need to go here to understand what “ANI” is.  It was everything I wanted my site to be, and it was inspiring. I began to realize that this site was really similar in tone and spirit to Barely Conscious. There was one graph in particular that was staggeringly close to one that I published for my G.A.S. Index back in 2012.

Note the

Side by side comparison of the relative effort, depth, and quality of our websites. I lost, badly.

 

Even our senses of sarcasm and personality have some striking parallels. Except that Tim seems like he’s a lot less judgmental, more cultured, better at math, less angry, and generally a better writer than I am. Come to think of it, Tim is a full step or two up his consciousness staircase than I am. About the only areas I can hope to compete are soul-crushingly honest introspection, and mustering a couple of smirks in my handful of readers. But alas, this isn’t a competition. The point is to inspire and create conversation, and this very posting is a testament to the success of Tim’s efforts.

I feel like Tim and I share the same goals : Creating a channel to get people interested in often overlooked, important topics that directly impact them and the world around them. Then, to create a dialogue to generate more group think and awareness of the topic. The subjects chosen are often ones people rarely discuss because either people never heard about them in the first place, or the time they did hear about the subject, it was presented via a terrible delivery system(e.g. a terrible teacher or immensely dry text-book). Also, these are topics that most people typically have no time to dedicate to thinking about. This is because most people are mired down in the ever-increasing bureaucracy, and bombardment of mindless distractions that define our modern lives.

Example of a distraction. (Jerkcity.com)

Example of a distraction. (Jerkcity.com)

Perhaps Aristotle and Einstein would have never concocted their greatest achievements if they had access to endless loops of epic nut shot fails on their iPhone, and had to juggle 3 shitty jobs to pay off their student loans. Or, perhaps they would have fared way better. Actually using the internet as a tool to exponentially advance their knowledge base – thus, spawning even more robust revelations. While I sit here as merely a feeble, drooling mammal trying to psychologically justify my raging porn addiction and profound inadequacies.

Wait But Why is a great place to go for the ultimate in perspective on our universe. That’s a general theme on the site, zooming all the way out on our overwhelmingly myopic view of life, so that we can better understand where we actually stand. This can be a scary trip for some. But, I submit it’s worth the journey to achieve that higher level of consciousness, and to become a more informed and empathetic individual.

Overall Rating :   10/10

– JA