タグ別アーカイブ: 哲学


All great books have one thing in common. They present deep philosophical inquiries, often clad in superb story lines. Or is it just my proclivity to see philosophy where none exists?

中に 1984, the immediate story is of a completely totalitarian regime. Inwardly, 1984 is also about ethics and politics. It doesn’t end there, but goes into nested philosophical inquiries about how everything is eventually connected to metaphysics. It naturally ends up in solipsism, not merely in the material, metaphysical sense, but also in a spiritual, socio-psychological sense where the only hope, the only desired outcome of life, becomes death.

I think I may be giving away too much of my impressions in the first paragraph. Let’s take it step by step. We all know that totalitarianism is bad. It is a bad political system, we believe. The badness of totalitarianism can present itself at different levels of our social existence.

At the lowest level, it can be a control over our physical movements, physical freedom, and restrictions on what you can or cannot do. Try voting against a certain African “president” and you get beaten up, 例えば. Try leaving certain countries, you get shot.

At a higher level, totalitarianism can be about financial freedom. Think of those in the developed world who have to juggle three jobs just to put food on the table. At a progressively subtler level, totalitarianism is about control of information. Example: media conglomerates filtering and coloring all the news and information we receive.

At the highest level, totalitarianism is a fight for your mind, your soul, and your spiritual existence. 1984 presents a dystopia where totalitarianism is complete, 取り返しのつかない, and existing at all levels from physical to spiritual.

Another book of the same dystopian kind is The Handmaid’s Tale, where a feminist’s nightmare of a world is portrayed. ここに, the focus is on religious extremism, and the social and sexual subjugation brought about by it. But the portrayal of the world gone hopelessly totalitarian is similar to 1984.

Also portraying a dark dystopia is V for Vendentta, with torture and terrorism thrown in. This work is probably inspired by 1984, I have to look it up.

It is the philosophical points in 1984 that make it the classic it is. The past, 例えば, is a matter of convention. If everybody believes (or is forced to believe) that events took place in a certain way, then that is the past. History is written by the victors. Knowing that, how can you trust the greatness of the victors or the evil in the vanquished? Assume for a second that Hitler had actually won the Second World War. Do you think we would’ve still thought of him as evil? I think we would probably think of him as the father of the modern world or something. もちろん, we would be having this conversation (if we were allowed to exist and have conversations at all) in German.

Even at a personal level, the past is not as immutable as it seems. Truth is relative. Lies repeated often enough become truth. All these points are describe well in 1984, first from Winston’s point of view and later, in the philosophically sophisticated discourses of O’Brien. In a world existing in our own brain, where the phenomenal reality as we see it is far from the physical one, morality does lose a bit of its glamor. Metaphysics can erode on ethics. Solipsism can annihilate it.

A review, especially one in a blog, doesn’t have to be conventional. So let me boldly outline my criticisms of 1984 も. I believe that the greatest fear of a normal human being is the fear of death. 結局, the purpose of life is merely to live a little longer. Everything that our biological faculties do stem from the desire to exist a little longer.

Based on this belief of mine, I find certain events in 1984 a bit incongruous. Why is it that Winston and Julia don’t fear death, but still fear the telescreens and gestapo-like police? Perhaps the fear of pain overrides the fear of death. What do I know, I have never been tortured.

But even the fear of pain can be understood in terms of the ultimate fear. Pain is a messenger of bodily harm, ergo of possible death. But fear of rats?! Perhaps irrational phobias, existing at a sub-cognitive, almost physical, layer may be stronger than everything else. But I cannot help feeling that there is something amiss, something contrived, in the incarceration and torture parts of 1984.

May be Orwell didn’t know how to portray spiritual persecution. 幸いにも, none of us knows. So such techniques as rats and betrayal were employed to bring about the hideousness of the process. This part of the book leaves me a bit dissatisfied. 結局, our protagonists knew full well what they were getting into, and what the final outcome would be. If they knew their spirit would be broken, then why leave it out there to be broken?

認知, 物理学と哲学の光の役割

現実のもの, 私たちはそれを感じるように, 非常に本物ではない. 私たちは夜空で見つ星, 例えば, 実際に存在しない. 彼らは、私たちがそれらを見ることを得る時間で移動、あるいは死亡した可能性があり. この非現実は、それが私たちに到達するために遠くの星や銀河からの光のにかかる時間に起因している. 私たちは、この遅延を知っている.

私たちはとてもよく知っていても太陽は私たちがそれを見るまでにすでに8分古いです. この事実は、特に深刻な認識論的な問題を提示していないようだ – 私たちは今、太陽で何が起こっているかを知りたい場合は、, 私たちがしなければならないすべては8分間待つことです. 私たちは、正しい 'に持っている’ 光の有限速度のために私たちの知覚の歪みを私たちが見るものを信頼することができます前に、. 見ることに同じ現象は、私たちが移動物体を感知する方法で、あまり知られていない症状があり. 彼らは何度か光の速度を移動しているかのようにいくつかの天体が表示されます, その「本当のに対し、’ 速度はそれよりもはるかに少ないでなければなりません.

何驚くべきことである (そしてめったに強調表示しない) それが来るときの動きを感知することである, 私たちは逆算することはできませんように、同じ種類の中で私達ができるように修正するために、太陽の観察の遅れのために. 私たちは本当とは思えないほど高速で移動する天体が表示された場合, 私たちはそれが本当に 'がいかに速いかさえ何の方向に計算することはできません’ 最初の特定のさらなる仮定を加えることなく移動する.

アインシュタインは歪んだとして知覚を処理することによって、問題を解決することを選んだと物理学の分野で新たな基本的な性質を発明 – 空間と時間の説明において. 特殊相対性理論の一つは核となるアイデアは、時間のイベントの順序立ての人間の概念は放棄する必要があることです. 実際には, それが私たちに到達するために離れた場所でのイベントからの光のために時間がかかるため, そして、私たちのためにそれを自覚する, 今」の概念’ もはや意味がありません, 例えば, 私たちは天文学者がそれを撮影しようとしていただけで瞬間に、太陽の表面に現れる黒点の話をするとき. 同時性は相対的で.

アインシュタインは、代わりに私たちがイベントを検出時に瞬間を利用して同時性を再定義. 検出, 彼はそれを定義されている, レーダー検出と同様の光の往復移動を伴う. 私たちは光の速度で移動する信号を送出する, と反射を待つ. 二つの事象からの反射パルスは、同じ瞬間に私たちに到達した場合, それらは同時である. しかし、それを見てのもう一つの方法は、呼び出すことが単純に二つのイベント '同時’ それらからの光は、同じ瞬間に私たちに到達した場合. 言い換えると, 私たちは、むしろそれらに信号を送信し、反射を見ているよりも、観察下のオブジェクトによって生成された光を使用することができます.

この違いは、髪分割専門性のように聞こえるかもしれない, それは私たちが作ることができるの予測に非常に大きな違いを生むん. アインシュタインの選択は、多くの望ましい特性を有している数学的な画像になり, さらなる理論展開を作ることを含む、よりエレガント. しかし、その後、, アインシュタインは信じ, 信仰の問題として、それは思われる, という宇宙を支配する規則は、「エレガントでなければなりません。’ しかしながら, それが動いているオブジェクトを記述することになると、他のアプローチは、利点があります. なぜなら, もちろん, 私たちは運動の星を見にレーダーを使用しないでください; 私たちは、単に光を感知 (または他の放射線) それらから来る. しかし、感覚パラダイムのこの種を使用して、, むしろレーダーのような検出」より,’ 醜い数学絵でユニバースの結果を記述するために. アインシュタインは承認しないだろう!

数学的な違いは、異なる哲学的スタンスを生成します, 今度は現実の私たちの物理的な画像の理解に浸透. 実例として, 私たちが観察したとし, 電波望遠鏡を通して, 空に浮かぶ二つのオブジェクト, ほぼ同じ形状の, サイズとプロパティ. 私たちは確かに知っている唯一のことは、空に、これらの異なる2点からの電波が時間的に同じ瞬間に私たちに到達することである. 波が彼らの旅を開始したとき私たちは推測することができます.

私達は仮定した場合 (私たちは日常的にそうであるように) 波は時間的に同じ瞬間に大体の旅を開始したことを, 私たちは2つの「本当の絵で終わる’ 対称ローブは、多かれ少なかれ方法は、それらを参照してください. しかし、もう一つあります, 別の可能性とそれが波が同じオブジェクトから発生したことである (その運動している) 時間内の2つの異なる瞬間で, 同じ瞬間に望遠鏡に到達する. この可能性はさらに、対称的な電波源のいくつかのスペクトルおよび時間的な特性を説明するであろう. だから私たちは本物のように、これら二つの絵のどちらを取る必要があります? 私たちはそれらを見るように、2つの対称的なオブジェクトや私たちにそのような印象を与えるような方法で1つの動画オブジェクト? それは本当に「本当の」であるかは重要ではない? ない「現実’ このコンテキストでは何の意味?

特殊相対性理論は、この質問に明確な答えを与える. 二つの物体を模倣するように数学は、このような方法で移動する単一のオブジェクトの可能性を除外. 本質的に, 私たちが見ることはそこにあるものです. まだ, 私たちが知覚するものによって、イベントを定義した場合, 理にかなっている唯一の哲学的スタンスが感知されるものの背後に横たわっている原因による感知した現実を切断するものです.

この切断は、思想の哲学学校では珍しいことではありません. 現象論, 例えば, 空間と時間は客観的な現実ではないという見解を保持している. 彼らは単に、私たちの知覚の広さ. 空間と時間で起こるすべての現象は、単に私たちの知覚のバンドルです. 言い換えると, 空間と時間知覚から生じる認知構築物である. このようにして, 私たちは、空間と時間に帰する全ての物理的特性は、驚異的な現実に適用することができます (「物事·イン·ザ·ワールドの現実’ 私たちはそれを感じるように. 根本的な現実 (その私たちの知覚の物理的な原因を保持している), 一方, 私たちの認知届かないまま.

しかし、哲学と現代物理学のビュー間の隔たりがあります. 何のためにノーベル賞受賞の物理学者をしませんでした, スティーブン·ワインバーグ, 不思議, ファイナル理論の彼の本のドリームズ, 物理学の哲学からの寄与はそう驚くほど小さいされていた理由. 物理学は、それが宇宙を見に来るという事実と折り合いをつけるためにまだ持っているので多分それはある, 目の錯覚のようなものは存在しない – 彼が言ったときゲーテは何を意味するのか、おそらくある, 「目の錯覚は、光学真実です。’

区別 (またはその欠如) 目の錯覚と真実の間に哲学の最も古い論争の一つである. 結局, それは知識と現実の区別についてです. 知識は何かについて私たちの見解であると考えられていること, 実際には, 実際には 'ケースです。’ 言い換えると, 知識は反映しています, または外部何かの精神的なイメージ, 次の図に示すように、.


この図で, 黒い矢印は、知識を作成するプロセスを表す, その認識を含み, 認知活動, そして純粋理性の行使. これは物理学が受け入れるようになってきた写真です. 私たちの知覚は不完全であり得ることを認めつつ, 物理学は、私たちがますます微細化実験を通して外部の現実に近づく得ることができることを前提としてい, そして, さらに重要なことには, より良い理論化を通じて. 相対性理論の特殊および一般理論は、単純な物理的原理は執拗に彼らの論理的に必然的な結論を純粋理性の恐るべき機械を用いて追求している現実を、このビューの華麗なアプリケーションの例です.

しかし、もう一つあります, 長い間の周りされている知識と現実の代替ビュー. これは私たちの感覚入力の内部認知表現と知覚の現実に関してである, 下図のように.


このビューでは、, 知識と知覚の現実は、内部認知構築物である, 私達は独立したと考えることになってきているものの、. 私たちはそれを知覚としては何の外部にあることは現実ではない, しかし不可知エンティティは、感覚入力の背後にある物理的な原因を生じさせる. 図では, 最初の矢印は、センシングのプロセスを表し, 第二の矢印は、認知と論理的な推論のステップを表している. 現実のこのビューを適用するためには、知識, 私たちは絶対的な現実の性質を推測する必要が, そのまま不可知. 絶対現実のための1つの可能な候補者はニュートン力学である, 私たちの知覚の現実のための合理的な予測を与える.

要約する, 私たちは知覚による歪みを処理しようとすると、, 私たちは2つのオプションがあります, または二つの可能な哲学的スタンス. 一つは、私たちの空間と時間の一環として、歪みを受け入れることです, 特殊相対性理論は、同じように. 他のオプションは、「より高いがあることを仮定することである’ 私達の感知された現実とは異なる現実, その特性が私たちが唯一の推測をすることができます. 言い換えると, 一つの選択肢は、歪みと一緒に暮らすことです, もう一つは、より高いリアリティのための教育を受けた推測を提案することであるが. これらの選択肢のいずれも、特に魅力的である. しかし、推測パスは現象論で受け入れビューに似ています. また、現実には、認知神経科学で見え方に自然につながる, その認知の背後にある生物学的メカニズムを研究する.

光と現実のこの物語のねじれは私たちが長い間、このすべてを知っているように見えるということです. 私たちの現実や宇宙を作成する際の光の役割は、西洋の宗教思考の中心にあります. 光のない宇宙は、単にあなたがライトをオフにしている世界ではありません. それは確かにそれ自体を欠い宇宙である, 存在しない宇宙. 私たちは地球が形がなかった」という声明の背後に知恵を理解する必要がこのコンテキストにある, ボイド’ 神は光があることが原因とされるまで, そこは光とする '言って。’

コー​​ランにも述べてい, 「アッラーは、天と地の光である,’ 古代ヒンズー教の著作の一つにミラー化されている: 「光に闇から私をリード, 実物に非現実から私を導く。’ 非現実的な空洞から私たちを取るの光の役割 (無) 確かに長い間理解されていた現実に, 長い時間. それは古代の聖人や預言者たちは、今だけの知識のすべての私たちの想定進歩と発見し始めている事を知っていた可能性がある?

カントの実体の、驚異的な区別は、後にphenomenalistsの間に類似点があります, とアドヴァイタにおけるブラーマン-マヤの区別. 精神性のレパートリーから現実の性質に知恵は現代神経科学に再発明されて, これは、脳が作成した認知表現として現実を扱います. 脳が感覚入力を使用しています, メモリ, 意識, 現実の私達の感覚を紡ぎ上げ中の成分として、さらには言語. 現実のこの見解, しかしながら, 何か物理学はまだとの折り合いをつけることができませんされている. しかし、ある程度のこと、そのアリーナ (空間と時間) 現実の一部である, 物理学は哲学の影響を受けていない.

実際には, 私たちは遠く私たちの知識の限界をプッシュするのと同様, 私たちは人間の努力の異なる枝の間で、これまで疑われていないと、多くの場合、意外な相互接続を発見している. まだ, すべての知識は主観的である場合にどのように知識の多様なドメインは互いに独立であることができる? 知識は、単に私たちの経験の認知表現である場合? しかし、その後、, それは知識が外部の現実の私達の内部表現であることを考えるために近代的な誤謬である, それから、したがって、明確な. 代わりに, 認識し、人間の努力の異なるドメイン間での相互接続を利用することは、私たちの集団の知恵を開発する上で、次のステージのための必須の前提条件とすることができる.

ボックス: アインシュタインの電車アインシュタインの有名な思考実験の一つは、私たちは、同時イベントによって何を意味するか再考する必要性を示している. 男はそれをすることによって高速化を見駅のプラットホームの上に立つようにそれは小さな駅を過ぎて直線軌道に沿って急いで高速列車を記述する. 彼の驚きへ, 列車は彼を通過するときに, 2ライトニングボルトは、列車のどちらかの端に次のトラックにぶつかる! (便利に, 後で研究者のための, 彼らは電車の中や地面に両方のマークを火傷しておきます。)

男へ, それは、2つの軽量化のボルトが全く同じ瞬間に打つようです. 後で, 列車のトラックによる地上のマークは、軽量化が襲ったスポットは、彼から正確に等距離にあったことを明らかにし. それ以来、ライトニングボルトが彼に向かって、同じ距離を移動, 彼らはまったく同じ瞬間に起こるの人に見えたので、, 彼はライトニングボルトが全く同じ瞬間に襲ったと結論しない理由がありません. 彼らは同時だった.

しかしながら, 少し後とします, 男はビュッフェ車の中で座っていることがたまたま女性の乗客を満たしている, 正確に列車の中央に, そして窓の外を見て時にライトニングボルトが打た. この乗客は彼女が最初に稲妻がわずかに前方に第1列車の後部に荷物車の横に倒れたときの列車の前部にエンジンの近くで地面を打つ見たことを彼に伝えます.

効果は、光が移動しなければならなかったの距離とは関係ありません, 女性と男性の両方が二点間の等距離あったように、その軽量化ヒット. しかし、彼らは非常に異なった一連のイベントを観察した.

イベントのタイミングのこの不一致は避けられない, アインシュタインは述べています, 女性は、エンジンが離れて雷のフラッシュが次の荷物の車にヒットポイントから - と近くで軽量化のフラッシュがヒットポイントに向かって移動有効であるように. 時間微量では、光線が女性に到達するのにかかる, 列車が移動するので、, 最初のフラッシュは、彼女の収縮までの距離を移動しなければならない, 第二フラッシュが移動しなければならない距離が大きくなる.

この事実は、列車や飛行機の場合には気付かれないことがあります, それは宇宙論的な距離になると, 同時性は本当に何の意味もありません. 例えば, 2遠くの超新星爆発, 地球上で私たちの視点からの同時と見られ, 他の観点から異なる時間の組み合わせで発生することが表示されます.

相対性理論で: 特殊と一般理論 (1920), アインシュタインはこのようにそれを置く:

「すべての参照体 (座標系) 独自の特定の時間を持ってい; 私たちは、時間のステートメントが参照する参照体に語っていない限り, イベントの時間の声明では意味がありません。’

The Story So Far …

In the early sixties, Santa Kumari Amma decided to move to the High Ranges. She had recently started working with KSEB which was building a hydro-electric project there.The place was generically called the High Ranges, even though the ranges weren’t all that high. People told her that the rough and tough High Ranges were no place for a country girl like her, but she wanted to go anyways, prompted mainly by the fact that there was some project allowance involved and she could use any little bit that came her way. Her family was quite poor. She came from a small village called Murani (near a larger village called Mallappalli.)

Around the same time B. Thulasidas (better known as Appu) also came to the High Ranges. His familty wasn’t all that poor and he didn’t really need the extra money. But he thought, hey rowdy place anyway, what the heck? Well, to make a long story short, they fell in love and decided to get married. This was some time in September 1962. A year later Sandya was born in Nov 63. And a little over another year and I came to be! (This whole stroy, by the way, is taking place in the state of Kerala in India. Well, that sentence was added just to put the links there, just in case you are interested.) There is a gorgeous hill resort called Munnar (meaning three rivers) where my parents were employed at that time and that’s where I was born.

 [casual picture] Just before 1970, they (and me, which makes it we I guess) moved to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala. I lived in Trivandrum till I was 17. Lots of things happened in those years, but since this post is still (and always will be) work in progress, I can’t tell you all about it now.

In 1983, I moved to Madras, to do my BTech in Electronics and Communication at IIT, Madras. (They call the IITs the MIT of India, only much harder to get in. In my batch, there were about 75,000 students competing for about 2000 places. I was ranked 63 among them. I’m quite smart academically, you see.) And as you can imagine, lots of things happened in those four years as well. But despite all that, I graduated in August 1987 and got my BTech degree.

In 1987, after finishing my BTech, I did what most IITians are supposed to do. I moved to the states. Upstate New York was my destination. I joined the Physics Department of Syracuse University to do my PhD in High Energy Physics. And boy, did a lot of things happen during those 6 years! Half of those 6 years were spent at Cornell University in Ithaca.

That was in Aug. 1987. Then in 1993 Sept, the prestigious French national research organization ( CNRS – “Centre national de la recherche scientifique”) hired me. I moved to France to continue my research work at ALEPH, CERN. My destination in France was the provencal city of Marseilles. My home institute was “Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille” or CPPM. Of course, I didn’t speak a word of French, but that didn’t bother me much. (Before going to the US in 1987, I didn’t speak much English/Americanese either.)

End of 1995, on the 29th of Dec, I got married to Kavita. In early 1996, Kavita also moved to France. Kavita wasn’t too happy in France because she felt she could do much more in Singapore. She was right. Kavita is now an accomplished entrepreneur with two boutiques in Singapore and more business ideas than is good for her. She has won many awards and is a minor celebrity with the Singapore media. [Wedding picture]

In 1998, I got a good offer from what is now the Institute for Infocomm Research and we decided to move to Singapore. Among the various personal reasons for the move, I should mention that the smell of racisim in the Marseilles air was one. Although every individual I personally met in France was great, I always had a nagging feeling that every one I did not meet wanted me out of there. This feeling was further confirmed by the immigration clerks at the Marignane airport constantly asking me to “Mettez-vous a cote, monsieur” and occassionally murmuring “les francais d’abord.”  [Anita Smiles]

A week after I moved to Singapore, on the 24rth of July 1998, Anita was born. Incredibly cute and happy, Anita rearranged our priorities and put things in perspective. Five years later, on the 2nd of May 2003, Neil was born. He proved to be even more full of smiles.  [Neil Smiles more!]

In Singapore, I worked on a lot of various body-based measurements generating several patents and papers. Towards the end of my career with A-Star, I worked on brain signals, worrying about how to make sense of them and make them talk directly to a computer. This research direction influenced my thinking tremendously, though not in a way my employer would’ve liked. I started thinking about the role of perception in our world view and, consequently, in the theories of physics. I also realized how these ideas were not isolated musings, but were atriculated in various schools of philosophy. This line of thinking eventually ended up in my book, The Unreal Universe.

Towards the second half of 2005, I decided to chuck research and get into quantitative finance, which is an ideal domain for a cash-strapped physicist. It turned out that I had some skills and aptitudes that were mutually lucrative to my employers and myself. My first job was as the head of the quantitative analyst team at OCBC, a regional bank in Singapore. This middle office job, involving risk management and curtailing ebullient traders, gave me a thorough overview of pricing models and, perhaps more importantly, perfect understanding of the conflict-driven implementation of the risk appetite of the bank.

 [Dad] Later on, in 2007, I moved to Standard Chartered Bank, as a senior quantitative professional taking care of their in-house trading platform, which further enhanced my "big picture" outlook and inspired me to write Principles of Quantitative Development. I am rather well recognized in my field, and as a regular columnist for the Wilmott Magazine, I have published several articles on a variety of topics related to quants and quantitative finance, which is probably why John Wiley & Sons Ltd. asked me to write this book.

Despite these professional successes, on the personal front, 2008 has been a year of sadness. I lost my father on the 22nd of October. The death of a parent is a rude wake-up call. It brings about feelings of loss and pain that are hard to understand, and impossible to communicate. And for those of us with little gift of easy self-expression, they linger for longer than they perhaps should.

Unreal Time

Farsight wrote:Time is a velocity-dependent subjective measure of event succession rather than something fundamental – the events mark the time, the time doesn’t mark the events. This means the stuff out there is space rather than space-time, and is an “aether” veiled by subjective time.

I like your definition of time. It is close to my own view that time is “unreal.” It is possible to treat space as real and space-time as something different, as you do. This calls for some careful thought. I will outline my thinking in this post and illustrate it with an example, if my friends don’t pull me out for lunch before I can finish. :)

The first question we need to ask ourselves is why space and time seem coupled? The answer is actually too simple to spot, and it is in your definition of time. Space and time mix through our concept of velocity and our brain’s ability to sense motion. There is an even deeper connection, which is that space is a cognitive representation of the photons inputs to our eyes, but we will get to it later.

Let’s assume for a second that we had a sixth sense that operated at an infinite speed. That is, if star explodes at a million light years from us, we can sense it immediately. We will see it only after a million years, but we sense it instantly. I know, it is a violation of SR, cannot happen and all that, but stay with me for a second. Now, a little bit of thinking will convince you that the space that we sense using this hypothetical sixth sense is Newtonian. Here, space and time can be completely decoupled, absolute time can be defined etc. Starting from this space, we can actually work out how we will see it using light and our eyes, knowing that the speed of light is what it is. It will turn out, clearly, that we seen events with a delay. That is a first order (or static) effect. The second order effect is the way we perceive objects in motion. It turns out that we will see a time dilation and a length contraction (for objects receding from us.)

Let me illustrate it a little further using echolocation. Assume that you are a blind bat. You sense your space using sonar pings. Can you sense a supersonic object? If it is coming towards you, by the time the reflected ping reaches you, it has gone past you. If it is going away from you, your pings can never catch up. In other words, faster than sound travel is “forbidden.” If you make one more assumption – the speed of the pings is the same for all bats regardless of their state of motion – you derive a special relativity for bats where the speed of sound is the fundamental property of space and time!

We have to dig a little deeper and appreciate that space is no more real than time. Space is a cognitive construct created out of our sensory inputs. If the sense modality (light for us, sound for bats) has a finite speed, that speed will become a fundamental property of the resultant space. And space and time will be coupled through the speed of the sense modality.

This, of course, is only my own humble interpretation of SR. I wanted to post this on a new thread, but I get the feeling that people are a little too attached to their own views in this forum to be able to listen.

Leo wrote:Minkowski spacetime is one interpretation of the Lorentz transforms, but other interpretations, the original Lorentz-Poincaré Relativity or modernized versions of it with a wave model of matter (LaFreniere or Close or many others), work in a perfectly euclidean 3D space.

So we end up with process slowdown and matter contraction, but NO time dilation or space contraction. The transforms are the same though. So why does one interpretation lead to tensor metric while the others don’t? Or do they all? I lack the theoretical background to answer the question.

Hi Leo,

If you define LT as a velocity dependent deformation of an object in motion, then you can make the transformation a function of time. There won’t be any warping and complications of metric tensors and stuff. Actually what I did in my book is something along those lines (though not quite), as you know.

The trouble arises when the transformation matrix is a function of the vector is transforming. So, if you define LT as a matrix operation in a 4-D space-time, you can no longer make it a function of time through acceleration any more than you can make it a function of position (as in a velocity field, for instance.) The space-time warping is a mathematical necessity. Because of it, you lose coordinates, and the tools that we learn in our undergraduate years are no longer powerful enough to handle the problem.

The Unreal Universe — Discussion with Gibran

Hi again,You raise a lot of interesting questions. Let me try to answer them one by one.

You’re saying that our observations of an object moving away from us would look identical in either an SR or Galilean context, and therefore this is not a good test for SR.

What I’m saying is slightly different. The coordinate transformation in SR is derived considering only receding objects and sensing it using radar-like round trip light travel time. It is then assumed that the transformation laws thus derived apply to all objects. Because the round trip light travel is used, the transformation works for approaching objects as well, but not for things moving in other directions. But SR assumes that the transformation is a property of space and time and asserts that it applies to all moving (inertial) frames of reference regardless of direction.

We have to go a little deeper and ask ourselves what that statement means, what it means to talk about the properties of space. We cannot think of a space independent of our perception. Physicists are typically not happy with this starting point of mine. They think of space as something that exists independent of our sensing it. And they insist that SR applies to this independently existing space. I beg to differ. I consider space as a cognitive construct based on our perceptual inputs. There is an underlying reality that is the cause of our perception of space. It may be nothing like space, but let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the underlying reality is like Galilean space-time. How would be perceive it, given that we perceive it using light (one-way travel of light, not two-way as SR assumes)? It turns out that our perceptual space would have time dilation and length contraction and all other effect predicted by SR. So my thesis is that the underlying reality obeys Galilean space-time and our perceptual space obeys something like SR. (It is possible that if I assume that our perception uses two-way light travel, I may get SR-like transformation. I haven’t done it because it seems obvious to me that we perceive a star, for instance, by sensing the light from it rather than flashing a light at it.)

This thesis doesn’t sit well with physicists, and indeed with most people. They mistake “perceptual effects” to be something like optical illusions. My point is more like space itself is an illusion. If you look at the night sky, you know that the stars you see are not “real” in the sense that they are not there when you are looking at them. This is simply because the information carrier, namely light, has a finite speed. If the star under observation is in motion, our perception of its motion is distorted for the same reason. SR is an attempt to formalize our perception of motion. Since motion and speed are concepts that mix space and time, SR has to operate on “space-time continuum.” Since SR is based on perceptual effects, it requires an observer and describes motion as he perceives it.

But are you actually saying that not a single experiment has been done with objects moving in any other direction than farther away? And what about experiments on time dilation where astronauts go into space and return with clocks showing less elapsed time than ones that stayed on the ground? Doesn’t this support the ideas inherent in SR?

Experiments are always interpreted in the light of a theory. It is always a model based interpretation. I know that this is not a convincing argument for you, so let me give you an example. Scientists have observed superluminal motion in certain celestial objects. They measure the angular speed of the celestial object, and they have some estimate of its distance from us, so they can estimate the speed. If we didn’t have SR, there would be nothing remarkable about this observation of superluminality. Since we do have SR, one has to find an “explanation” for this. The explanation is this: when an object approaches us at a shallow angle, it can appear to come in quite a bit faster than its real speed. Thus the “real” speed is subluminal while the “apparent” speed may be superluminal. This interpretation of the observation, in my view, breaks the philosophical grounding of SR that it is a description of the motion as it appears to the observer.

Now, there are other observations of where almost symmetric ejecta are seen on opposing jets in symmetric celestial objects. The angular speeds may indicate superluminality in both the jets if the distance of the object is sufficiently large. Since the jets are assumed to be back-to-back, if one jet is approaching us (thereby giving us the illusion of superluminality), the other jet has bet receding and can never appear superluminal, unless, of course, the underlying motion is superluminal. The interpretation of this observation is that the distance of the object is limited by the “fact” that real motion cannot be superluminal. This is what I mean by experiments being open to theory or model based interpretations.

In the case of moving clocks being slower, it is never a pure SR experiment because you cannot find space without gravity. Besides, one clock has to be accelerated or decelerated and GR applies. Otherwise, the age-old twin paradox would apply.

I know there have been some experiments done to support Einstein’s theories, like the bending of light due to gravity, but are you saying that all of them can be consistently re-interpreted according to your theory? If this is so, it’s dam surprising! I mean, no offense to you – you’re obviously a very bright individual, and you know much more about this stuff than I do, but I’d have to question how something like this slipped right through physicists’ fingers for 100 years.

These are gravity related questions and fall under GR. My “theory” doesn’t try to reinterpret GR or gravity at all. I put theory in inverted quotes because, to me, it is a rather obvious observation that there is a distinction between what we see and the underlying causes of our perception. The algebra involved is fairly simple by physics standards.

Supposing you’re right in that space and time are actually Galilean, and that the effects of SR are artifacts of our perception. How then are the results of the Michelson-Morley experiments explained? I’m sorry if you did explain it in your book, but it must have flown right over my head. Or are we leaving this as a mystery, an anomaly for future theorists to figure out?

I haven’t completely explained MMX, more or less leaving it as a mystery. I think the explanation hinges on how light is reflected off a moving mirror, which I pointed out in the book. Suppose the mirror is moving away from the light source at a speed of v in our frame of reference. Light strikes it at a speed of c-v. What is the speed of the reflected light? If the laws of reflection should hold (it’s not immediately obvious that they should), then the reflected light has to have a speed of c-v as well. This may explain why MMX gives null result. I haven’t worked out the whole thing though. I will, once I quit my day job and dedicate my life to full-time thinking. :-)

My idea is not a replacement theory for all of Einstein’s theories. It’s merely a reinterpretation of one part of SR. Since the rest of Einstein’s edifice is built on this coordinate transformation part, I’m sure there will be some reinterpretation of the rest of SR and GR also based on my idea. Again, this is a project for later. My reinterpretation is not an attempt to prove Einstein’s theories wrong; I merely want to point out that they apply to reality as we perceive it.

Overall, it was worth the $5 I payed. Thanks for the good read. Don’t take my questions as an assault on your proposal – I’m honestly in the dark about these things and I absolutely crave light (he he). If you could kindly answer them in your spare time, I’d love to share more ideas with you. It’s good to find a fellow thinker to bounce cool ideas like this off of. I’ll PM you again once I’m fully done the book. Again, it was a very satisfying read.

Thanks! I’m glad that you like my ideas and my writing. I don’t mind criticism at all. Hope I have answered most of your questions. If not, or if you want to disagree with my answers, feel free to write back. Always a pleasure to chat about these things even if we don’t agree with each other.

– Best regards,
– Manoj

Discussion on the Daily Mail (UK)

On the Daily Mail forum, one participant (called “whats-in-a-name”) started talking about The Unreal Universe on July 15, 2006. It was attacked fairly viciously on the forum. I happened to see it during a Web search and decided to step in and defend it.

15 July, 2006

Posted by: whats-in-a-name on 15/07/06 at 09:28 AM

Ah, Kek, you’ve given me a further reason to be distracted from what I should be doing- and I can tell you that this is more interesting at the moment.I’ve been trying to formulate some ideas and there’s one coming- but I’ll have to give it to you in bits.I don’t want to delve into pseudoscience or take the woo-ish road that says that you can explain everything with quantum theory, but try starting here: http://theunrealuniverse.com/phys.shtml

The “Journal Article” link at the bottom touches on some of the points that we discussed elsewhere. It goes slightly off-topic, but you might also find the “Philosophy” link at the top left interesting.

Posted by: patopreto on 15/07/06 at 06:17 PM

Regarding that web site wian.One does not need to ead past this sentence –

The theories of physics are a description of reality. Reality is created out of the readings from our senses. Knowing that our senses all work using light as an intermediary, is it a surprise that the speed of light is of fundamental importance in our reality?

to realise that tis web site is complete ignorant hokum. I stopped at that point.

16 July, 2006

Posted by: whats-in-a-name on 16/07/06 at 09:04 AM

I’ve just been back to read that bit more carefully. I don’t know why the writer phrased it like that but surely what he meant was:(i) “Our perception of what is real is created out of the readings from our senses.” I think that most physicists wouldn’t argue with that would they? At the quantum level reality as we understand it doesn’t exist; you can only say that particles have more of a tendency to exist in one place or state than another.(ii) The information that we pick up from optical or radio telescopes, gamma-ray detectors and the like, shows the state of distant objects as they were in the past, owing to the transit time of the radiation. Delving deeper into space therefore enables us to look further back into the history of the universe.It’s an unusual way to express the point, I agree, but it doesn’t devalue the other information on there. In particular there are links to other papers that go into rather more detail, but I wanted to start with something that offered a more general view.

I get the impression that your study of physics is rather more advanced than mine- as I’ve said previously I’m only an amateur, though I’ve probably taken my interest a bit further than most. I’m happy to be corrected if any of my reasoning is flawed, though what I’ve said so far s quite basic stuff.

The ideas that I’m trying to express in response to Keka’s challenge are my own and again, I’m quite prepared to have you or anyone else knock them down. I’m still formulating my thoughts and I wanted to start by considering the model that physicists use of the nature of matter, going down to the grainy structure of spacetime at the Plank distance and quantum uncertainty.

I’ll have to come back to this in a day or two, but meanwhile if you or anyone else wants to offer an opposing view, please do.

Posted by: patopreto on 16/07/06 at 10:52 AM

I don’t know why the writer phrased it like that but surely what he meant was:

I think the write is quit clear! WIAN – you have re-written what he says to mean something different.

The writer is quite clear – “Once we accept that space and time are a part of the cognitive model created by the brain, and that special relativity applies to the cognitive model, we can ponder over the physical causes behind the model, the absolute reality itself.”

Blah Blah Blah!

The writer, Manoj Thulasidas, is an employee of OCBC bank in Singapore and self-described “amateur philosopher”. What is he writes appears to be nothing more than a religiously influenced solipsistic philosophy. Solipsism is interesting as a philosophical standpoint but quickly falls apart. If Manoj can start his arguments from such shaky grounds without explanation, then I really have no other course to take than to accept his descriptions of himself as “amateur”.

Maybe back to MEQUACK!

What is Real? Discussions with Ranga.

This post is a long email discussion I had with my friend Ranga. The topic was the unreality of reality of things and how this notion can be applied in physics.

Going through the debate again, I feel that Ranga considers himself better-versed in the matters of philosophy than I am. I do too, I consider him better read than me. But I feel that his assumption (that I didn’t know so much that I should be talking about such things) may have biased his opinion and blinded him to some of the genuinely new things (in my opinion, of course) I had to say. Nonetheless, I think there are quite a few interesting points that came out during the debate that may be of general interest. I have edited and formatted the debate for readability.

It is true that many bright people have pondered over the things I talk about in this blog and in my book. And they have articulated their thoughts in their works, probably better than I have in mine. Although it is always a good idea to go through the existing writings to “clear my head” (as one of my reviewers suggested while recommending David Humes), such wide reading creates an inherent risk. It is not so much the time it will take to read and understand the writings and the associated opportunity cost in thinking; it is also the fact that everything you read gets assimilated in you and your opinions become influenced by these brilliant thinkers. While that may be a good thing, I look at it as though it may actually be detrimental to original thought. Taken to the extreme, such blind assimilation may result in your opinions becoming mere regurgitation of these classical schools of thought.

Besides, as Hermann Hesse implies in Siddhartha, wisdom cannot be taught. It has to be generated from within.

Ranga’s words are colored Green (or Blue when quoted for the second time).

Mine are in White (or Purple when quoted for the second time).

Mon, May 21, 2007 at 8:07 PM.

I’m, to different extents, familiar with the distinction philosophers and scientists make in terms of phenomenal and physical realities – from the works of Upanishads, to the Advaitas/Dvaitas, to the Noumenon/Phenomenon of Schopenhauer, and the block Universe of Special Relativity, and even the recent theories in physics (Kaluza and Klein). The insight that what we perceive is not necessarily what “is”, existed in a variety of ways from a long time. However, such insights were not readily embraced and incorporated in all sciences. There is a enormous literature on this in neuroscience and social sciences. So, it is indeed very good that you have attempted to bring this in to physics – by recollecting our previous discussion on this, by reading through your introduction to the book in the website and understanding the tilt of your paper (could not find it in the journal – has it been accepted?). To suggest that there could be superluminal motion and to explain known phenomena such as GRBs through a quirk (?) in our perception (even in the physical instruments) is bold and needs careful attention by others in the field. One should always ask questions to cross “perceived” boundaries – in this case of course the speed of light.

However, it is quite inaccurate and superficial (in my opinion) to think that there is some “absolute” reality beyond the “reality” we encounter. While it is important to know that there are multiple realities for different individuals in us, and even different organisms, depending on senses and intellect, it is equally important to ask what reality is after all when there is no perception. If it cannot be accessed by any means, what is it anyway? Is there such a thing at all? Is Absolute Reality in the movement of planets, stars and galaxies without organisms in them? Who perceives them as such when there is nobody to perceive? What form do they take? Is there form? In applying philosophy (which I read just as deeper and bolder questions) to science (which I read as a serious attempt to answer those questions), you cannot be half-way in your methods, drawing imaginary boundaries that some questions are too philosophical or too theological for now.

While your book (the summary at least) seems to bring home an important point (at least to those who have not thought in this direction) that the reality we perceive is dependent on the medium/mode (light in some cases) and the instrument (sense organ and brain) we use for perceiving, it seems to leave behind a superficial idea that there is Absolute Reality when you remove these perceptual errors. Are they perceptual errors – aren’t perceptual instruments and perceptions themselves part of reality itself? To suggest that there is some other reality beyond the sum of all our perceptions is philosophically equally erroneous as suggesting that what we perceive is the only reality.

All the same, the question about reality or the lack of it has not been well incorporated into the physical sciences and I wish you the best in this regard.