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Regarding the photon

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avatarUdut, Kenneth -- on Aug. 10 2008, from Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.

uncertainty principle, particle wave, wave function collapse, does reality require observation to exist, consciousness, tree falling in a forest, nature of time

Regarding the photon Yes, it's an electron that gets used in the experiment. I skipped over a lot because I was on a bit of a rambling high when I was writing the other day, which is why I didn't make much sense.

What I was referring to with the photon is two things: 1) that the uncertainty principle asks, "Is it a particle or a wave? Is it both? When does a wave become a particle, or a particle become a wave?" This is the famous "wave-function collapse" -- where the series of probabilities (all the potential places that a particle/wave in the quantum state might potentially be) "collapses" down to one, single possibility. It collapses upon observation. BUT *what* is "observation"?

2) The photon comes into play because of this:

To observe, to measure, a photon is required.

Why is a photon required?

A photon is the tiniest flashlight. Light must be reflected off of something for it to be seen. But in the process of seeing it, it changes its direction or forces it to reveal just one possibility, rather than the large set of probabilities it had BEFORE measurement took place. Pre-measurement=wave form. Post-measurment= particle form. It knocks the baseball out of its arc.

What it means, to me, is the experiments themselves are not the correct type of experiments that are required in order for the particles to be seen as waves and particles at the same time. We don't know how yet, and perhaps it isn't possible to really measure, except indirectly through quantum entanglement (where two particles share the same quantum spin. They continue to share that same quantum spin no matter where they are in the universe. Observe one as a particle and the other as a wave, and you have an approximation of location AND direction at the same time.

The idea of a conscious observer being required for the universe to work is absurd. Many-worlds theory (which is one of the most popular interpretations of quantum uncertainty) gives us great TV shows like Sliders and the like, but doesn't make any sense. Every possibility that COULD happen, DOES happen, creating a new universe each time a decision is made? That puts US FIRMLY at the center of the universe - a giant ego trip. Why should our decisions be so darned important?

If all humanity or even all conscious beings - or even if all LIFE ITSELF was to be extinguished in the Universe right now, would the universe continue without it?

Yes. I believe so

Here's the same question posed in a different way a long time ago:

"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"

Well, does sound require a listener? I used to answer that question, thinking I was so clever, by saying, "Ah, but what if you make a recording of it remotely and listen to it later?" I thought I was clever until one day someone pointed out, "Someone DID listen to it eventually. Do you think it didn't make a sound until someone pressed "Play"?"

If we don't observe something, does it happen? In one sense, no, it does not happen, because we did not observe/record it. There is no proof.

BUT who said something needed PROOF in order to be real? (actually, lots of people say that!)

We have "faith" that that tree made a sound in the forest, because a million times before, when someone was around to hear a tree falling, it made a sound, so we -assume- that trees ALWAYS make a sound when they fell, even if no one is around to hear it.

It is akin to the nature of time.

Does time continue without consciousness?

Is conscious observation required for reality to exist?

Does the room disappear when I walk out of it?

Another perspective on the nature (or lack thereof) of time: Imagine a being from a higher dimension, from a perspective BEYOND time. For that being, ALL THINGS HAPPEN AT ONCE - there is no break between events. It's as if all the "Nows" occur in a single moment. Or that being could easily see the beginning and the end and the middle of time as easily as we can read a newspaper.

And if that being can see all things at once, does it really see anything? Or nothing?

In that way of seeing things, there IS no time, "time is irrelevent" (my favorite expression as a teenager of the 80's). Merely existance or non-existance.

"Is" or "Not Is".

What would you look like if your birth, life and death were all collapsed into a single moment? (actually, there would BE non "moment" as we know moments, because they'll all be collapsed into a higher level of "now" that we cannot perceive and hardly capable of imagining).

And if there is no time, there is no motion. Time and space are irrevocably linked, according to Einstein - and that was one of his great breakthroughs, for before him, most people thought that time was steady. But add enough gravity to time and it slows down - or appears to, according to an observer who is *not* caught up in the severe gravity well.

Crap. Back to the observer problem. I love the twin paradox, how a twin travelling near the speed of light comes back home to find his twin brother old or long since dead, even though they started off at the same age. A good "thought experiment', like Shroedinger's cat is.

I've got to stop touching on 7 different things in a single posting. I confuse myself.

Ken ______ Kenneth Udut Webmaster of Junkie of "who-am-i" and "what is it, fundamentally" philosphies


Regarding the photon  uncertainty principle, particle wave, wave function collapse, does reality require observation to exist, consciousness, tree falling in a forest, nature of time