It is a sensible question: What does it feel like to be a bat? Although we can never really know the answer (because we can never be bats), we know that there is an answer. It feels like something to be a bat. 好, at least we think it does. We think bats have 意识 and conscious feelings. 另一方面, it is not a sensible question to ask what it feels like to be brick or a table. It doesn’t feel like anything to be an inanimate object.
由于我的文章开始出现在不同的杂志和报纸， 常规列, 我想收集他们在一个地方 — 随着互联网的一种选集, 因为它是. 这是我的博客是如何诞生. 继续写博客的动机来自于如何我的第一本书的记忆, 虚幻宇宙, 初具规模出来的散记，我开始写在废旧书. 我认为，跨任何人的脑海里时常被人遗忘和丢失，除非它们都写下来的想法. 博客是一个方便的平台把他们失望. 和, 因为博客是相当公开, 你采取一些照顾和精力来表达自己好.
我会继续写博客, 大约在一个星期一个职位左右的速度. 我没有对博客本身有什么大计划, 但我确实有一些其他的互联网的想法，可能春天从我的博客.
哲学通常被视为一个非常高的概念, 知识产权主题. 你认为它可以在整个世界的影响更大?
这是一个问题，困扰了我一段时间. 我写 上一个帖子, 它可以回答这个问题，尽我的能力. 重复自己有点, 哲学只是什么知识的追求，我们尽情享受的说明. 这只是我们不经常这么认为. 例如, 如果你正在做物理, 你认为你是很远从哲学中删除. 那你把物理学理论的哲学自旋主要是一种事后的想法, 据信. 但有些情况下，你其实可以 应用 理念，以解决物理问题, 并提出了新的理论. 这的确是我的书的主题, 虚幻宇宙. 它要求的问题, 如果某个对象飞过比光速更快, 会是什么模样? 随着最近的发现，即 固体物质确实比光更快, 我觉得自己平反，并期待着在物理学的进一步发展.
在今天的世界, 恐怕理念是超级无关. 因此，它可能很难让我们的青少年对哲学感兴趣. 我觉得我们可以希望通过指出任何的是，我们做的和互连的智力方面背后，以提高其相关性. 这会让他们选择主修它? 在这个世界上被过度驱动, 它可能是不够. 然后再, 它是世界上清晰度常被误认为是成就. 也许，哲学能够帮助你更好地表达, 听起来真的很酷，打动了女孩，你已经经过 — 说句不好听.
更为严重的是, 虽然, 我所说的关于哲学的不相关性可以说一下, 说, 物理学以及, 尽管它给你的电脑和iPad. 例如, 当哥白尼提出了这样的观念：地球围绕着太阳，而不是倒过来, 深刻的，虽然这个启示是, 以什么方式是改变我们的日常生活? 你真的需要知道这条信息给你的生活? 这种深刻的事实和理论这无关困扰科学家，如理查德·费曼.
我通过物理开始了我的道路走向哲学. 我认为哲学本身是其他任何东西，你不能真正开始使用它太超然. 你必须找到自己的方式向它无论你的工作包括, 然后从那里展开. 至少, 这就是我是如何做到的, 而这种方式使得它非常真实. 当你问自己这样一个问题 什么是空间 (这样就可以了解它的意思是说，太空合同, 例如), 你得到的答案是非常相关的. 他们不是一些哲学乱码. 我想类似的路径相关性在各个领域存在. 例如参见如何 Pirsig 带出了质量的概念在他的工作, 不再是一个抽象的定义, 但作为一个全消耗 (并最终危险) 痴迷.
In my view, 哲学是围绕人类努力的多个孤岛包装. 它可以帮助你看到各种看似不相关的领域的联系, such as 认知神经科学与狭义相对论. 什么实际的用途是这方面的知识, 我不能告诉你. 然后再, 什么实际用途是生活本身?
虽然我们讲的空间和时间同日而语, 它们在许多方面是完全不同的. 空间是我们认为在我们身边的东西. 我们看到它 (rather, 在它的对象), 我们可以通过它把我们的手, 而我们知道，如果我们的膝盖试图占据同一空间, 说, 茶几, 它会伤害. 换句话说, 我们的感官关联到我们的空间概念, 从我们最宝贵的视线感开始.
时间, 另一方面, 有没有直接的感觉后盾. 由于这个原因, 它变得相当困难得到一握在它. 时间是什么? 我们间接地感觉到它通过改变和运动. 但是，这将是愚蠢的使用变化和运动的概念来定义时间, 因为他们已经包括了时间的概念. 该定义是循环.
假设, 目前, 没有定义是必要的, 让我们尝试另一个可能更容易处理的问题. 哪里这种强烈的时间感从何而来? 我曾经推测它来自我们我们灭亡的知识 — 这值得怀疑的礼物，我们都拥有. 所有的持续时间，我们都知道同我们的寿命的尺度, 也许并不总是有意识地. 我现在不知道这个假设是不够坚定, 而在这个问题上进一步沉思使我确信，我是很无知的这些事情，需要更多的知识. 啊。. 只有当我有更多的时间. 🙂
在任何情况下, 即使时间原点的这个更受限制的问题似乎不是，易于处理, 毕竟. 物理学与时间的另一个深层问题. 它必须做的方向性. 它不能轻易地解释为什么时间具有方向性 — 一个箭头, 因为它是. 这个箭头不展示自己在管理物理相互作用的基本规律. 所有的法律的物理现象是可逆的时间. 万有引力定律, 电磁或量子力学都是不变的相对于时间反转. 也就是说, 他们看起来是一样随着时间向前或向后. 因此，他们不提供任何线索，为什么我们经历的时间之箭.
然而，, 我们知道，时间, 当我们体验, 具有方向性. 我们能记住过去, 但不是未来. 我们现在做会影响未来, 但不是过去. 如果我们倒退播放录像带, 事件序列 (像片玻璃破碎走到一起，为一个花瓶) 会显得滑稽我们. 然而, 如果我们用带子把行星的运动在太阳系, 或电子云在一个原子, 并发挥它向后一个物理学家, 他也不会发现什么有趣的序列，因为物理定律是可逆.
物理学认为时间之箭统计数据的收集的涌现性. 为了说明这个时间热力学解释, 让我们考虑一个空的容器，我们把一些干冰. 一段时间后, 我们希望看到的二氧化碳气体在容器中均匀分布. 一旦传出去, 我们并不期望在容器中的气体，从而凝结成固体干冰, 我们等待无论多久. 二氧化碳在容器均匀地扩展的视频是一个天然. 向后播放, 二氧化碳气体的容器中凝结成固体干冰在一个角落里的顺序看都不看自然流露，因为它违反了我们的时间之箭感.
CO 2在容器的表观均匀性是由于我们放置在那里的统计学显著量的干冰. 如果我们能够把一个小数量, 例如五分子二氧化碳, 我们完全可以期望看到的分子聚集在一处过一段时间. 因此，, 时间之箭表现为一个统计或热力学性质. 虽然时间的方向性似乎从可逆的物理定律浮现, 其在基本法律没有看起来不尽如人意哲学.
大家都看得见，摸得着的空间, 但什么是真的? 空间是这些基本的东西，一个哲学家可以考虑一类One “直觉。” 当哲学家看什么, 他们得到了一点技术. 是空间关系, 如, 在对象之间的关系来定义? 一个关系的实体是像你的家人 — 你有你的父母, 兄弟姐妹, 配偶, 孩子们等. 形成你认为你的家人. 但是，你的家庭本身就不是一个物理实体, 但是关系只有一个集合. 空间是否也类似的东西? 或者是更喜欢在这里驻留的对象，做自己的事情物理容器?
您可以考虑两个只是一个又一个的哲学hairsplittings之间的区别, 但它确实是不. 什么空间, 甚至什么样的实体空间, 拥有物理学产生巨大影响. 例如, 如果它是关系型的性质, 然后在不存在物质的, 没有空间. 很像在没有任何家庭成员, 你有没有家人. 另一方面, 如果它是一个容器状实体, 如果你拿走一切物质存在的空间，甚至, 等待出现的一些事.
所以呢, 你问? 好, 让我们的半桶水和周围旋转它. 一旦捕获内的水, 其表面会形成抛物线形状 — 你知道, 离心力, 重力, 表面张力和所有. 现在, 停止斗, 和自旋整个宇宙围绕它而不是. 我知道, 它是更困难. 但是想象一下，你在做什么. 请问水面抛物线? 我认为这将是, 因为没有铲斗转动或整个宇宙围绕它旋转多大区别.
现在, 让我们想象一下，我们清空宇宙. 没有什么，但这个半满桶. 现在，它打转. 恰好水面什么? 如果空间关系, 在不存在的宇宙, 有铲斗之外没有空间，就没有办法知道它正在旋转. 水表面应平整. (事实上, 它应该是球形, 但忽略了第二。) 如果空间是容器状, 旋转桶应导致抛物面.
当然, 我们没有办法知道哪一种方式将是，因为我们没有办法排空宇宙和旋转桶的. 但是，这并不妨碍我们猜测的空间和建筑理论的性质基于它. 牛顿的空间容器状, 而在他们的心脏, 爱因斯坦的理论有空间关系的概念.
所以, 你看, 理念确实很重要.
What is so special about light that its speed should figure in the basic structure of space and time and our reality? 这是一个已经唠叨许多科学家自从爱因斯坦发表论动体有关的电动力学问题 100 几年前.
为了了解光的特殊性在我们的空间和时间, 我们需要研究我们如何看待我们周围的世界和现实如何在我们的大脑中创建. 我们用我们的感官感知我们的世界. 感官信号，我们的感官收集，然后传递到我们的大脑. The brain creates a cognitive model, a representation of the sensory inputs, and presents it to our conscious awareness as reality. 我们的视觉现实是由空间很像我们的听觉世界是由声音.
正如声音是一个感性经验，而不是物理现实的基本属性, space also is an experience, or a cognitive representation of the visual inputs, not a fundamental aspect of “世界” 我们的感官正试图检测.
Space and time together form what physics considers the basis of reality. 我们可以理解在我们的现实的限制，唯一的办法就是通过研究我们的感官本身的局限性.
At a fundamental level, how do our senses work? Our sense of sight operates using light, and the fundamental interaction involved in sight falls in the electromagnetic (EM) category because light (or photon) is the intermediary of EM interactions. EM相互作用的排他性不限于视线我们的远程感; 所有的短距离感 (touch, taste, smell and hearing) are also EM in nature. To understand the limitations of our perception of space, we need not highlight the EM nature of all our senses. Space is, 大体上, the result of our sight sense. But it is worthwhile to keep in mind that we would have no sensing, and indeed no reality, in the absence of EM interactions.
Like our senses, all our technological extensions to our senses (such as radio telescopes, electron microscopes, 红移测量，甚至引力透镜效应) use EM interactions exclusively to measure our universe. 因此，, we cannot escape the basic constraints of our perception even when we use modern instruments. The Hubble telescope may see a billion light years farther than our naked eyes, but what it sees is still a billion years older than what our eyes see. 我们感知的现实, whether built upon direct sensory inputs or technologically enhanced, 是电磁颗粒和相互作用的子集仅. 它是电磁颗粒和相互作用的投影到我们的感官和认知空间, 一个可能是不完美的投影.
这种说法对电磁相互作用，我们认为现实中的排他性往往是遇到了一点怀疑, 主要是由于误解，认为我们可以直接感受到的重力. This confusion arises because our bodies are subject to gravity. There is a fine distinction between “being subject to” 和 “being able to sense” gravitational force.
这种差别是由一个简单的思想实验示: 想象一下，一个人的主体放置在对象面前的宇宙暗物质完全由. 有没有其他可见物质的任何位置的主体可以看到它. 鉴于暗物质施加引力的主题, 他是否能够感知它的存在? 他将朝着它拉, 但他怎么会知道，他是被拉到或者说，他正在? 他都不可能设计一些机械玩意儿探测暗物质物体的重力. 但随后他将重力感应的作用，对使用电磁相互作用的一些事. 例如, 他也许能看到他的不明原因的加速 (重力对他的身体影响, 这是EM事) 相对于参考的对象，如星. 但这里的传感部分 (看到明星) 涉及电磁相互作用.
它是不可能设计任何机械精巧检测重力是缺乏的EM物质. 重力感应再次在我们耳边测量重力对EM问题的影响. In the absence of EM interaction, it is impossible to sense gravity, or anything else for that matter.
电磁相互作用负责我们的感觉输入. 感官知觉导致了我们所说的现实，我们的大脑的代表性. 任何限制，在这条产业链会导致相应的限制，在我们的现实感. 从感官到实际链中的一个限制是光子的有限速度, which is the gauge boson of our senses. The finite speed of the sense modality influences and distorts our perception of motion, 空间和时间. Because these distortions are perceived as a part of our reality itself, the root cause of the distortion becomes a fundamental property of our reality. 这是怎样的光的速度变得如此重要的恒定在我们的空间时间. 光的神圣的尊重只是我们感知的现实.
如果我们相信不完善的看法，并尝试来形容我们感觉到在宇宙尺度, 我们最终的世界观，如大爆炸理论在现代宇宙学和一般和相对论的特殊理论. 这些理论都没有错, 而这本书的目的不是要证明他们是错的, 刚指出，他们是一个感知的现实的描述. 他们没有说明背后的感觉输入的身体的原因. 物理原因属于超出了我们的感觉是绝对的现实.
绝对的现实，我们的看法它之间的区别，可以进一步开发和应用，以一定的 具体天体物理 和 宇宙现象. 当涉及到这种情况远远超出了我们的感官范围的物理, we really have to take into account the role that our perception and cognition play in seeing them. 正如我们所看到的宇宙只是创造出落在我们的视网膜上或在哈勃太空望远镜的光传感器的光子的认知模式. Because of the finite speed of the information carrier (namely photons), our perception is distorted in such a way as to give us the impression that space and time obey special relativity. They do, but space and time are not the absolute reality. 它们的仅一部分 虚幻宇宙 这是我们的看法是不可知的现实.
这听起来像一个奇怪的问题. 我们都知道空间是什么, 这是在我们身边. 当我们打开我们的眼睛, 我们看到它. 如果眼见为实, 那么问题 “什么是空间?” 确实是一个奇怪的1.
说句公道话, 我们没有真正看到的空间. 我们只看到我们假定物体在空间. 宁, 我们定义空间，不管它是持有或包含的对象. 这是竞技场里的物体做他们的事, 我们的经验背景. 换句话说, 经验预先假定空间和时间, 并提供了基础背后的科学理论目前流行的解释的世界观.
虽然不是很明显, 这个定义 (或者假设或谅解) 空间配备了一个哲学的行李 — 即现实主义. 现实主义者的观点是占主导地位的Einstien的理论目前的了解，以及. 但爱因斯坦自己可能没有盲目地接受现实. 否则为什么他会说:
为了从现实的抓地力打破, 我们要切向接近问题. 做到这一点的一种方法是通过研究神经科学和视线认知基础, 它毕竟提供了有力的证据，以空间的真实性. 空间, 大体上, 与视觉体验相关. 另一种方法是研究其他感官体验相关性: 什么是声音?
当我们听到的东西, 我们听到的是什么, 自然, 声音. 我们经历了基调, 强度和时间变化，告诉我们很多关于谁说话, 什么破等. 但是，即使剥离后，所有的额外财富增加了我们的大脑的体验, 最基本的经验仍然是一个 “声音。” 我们都知道它是什么, 但我们不能在条件比这更基本的解释.
现在，让我们来看看负责审理的感官信号. 正如我们所知道, 这些是在由一个振动体使压缩和凹陷在周围的空气产生的空气压力波. 就像在一个池塘中的涟漪, 这些压力波传播的几乎所有方向. 他们拾起我们的耳朵. 通过巧妙的机制, 耳朵进行频谱分析和发送电信号, 这大致对应于波的频谱, 我们的大脑. 注意, 到目前为止, 我们有一个振动体, 聚束和空气分子扩散, 和的电信号，它包含有关空气分子的图案信息. 我们没有还音.
声音的经验是神奇的大脑进行. 它转换编码的空气压力波图案以色调的表示和声音的丰富度的电信号. 声音是不是一个振动体的固有性质或倒下的树, 这是我们的大脑选择代表振动或方式, 更精确, 编码该压力波的频谱的电信号.
没有有意义调用声音我们听觉的感官输入内部认知的表示? 如果你同意, 那么现实本身就是我们的感觉输入我们的内部表示. 这个概念其实是更深刻的，它第一次出现. 如果声音是代表, 所以异味. 那么，空间.
|图: 插图的感觉输入大脑的代表性的过程. 气味是化学成分和浓度水平我们的鼻子的感官的表示. 声音是由一个振动物体所产生的空气压力波的映射. 在望, 我们表示是空间, 并可能时间. 然而, 我们不知道它是什么的代表性.|
我们可以对其进行检查并充分理解的声音，因为一个明显的事实 — 我们有一个更强大的感, 即我们的视线. 视线使我们能够理解听觉的感官信号，并把它们比作我们的感官体验. 实际上, 视线，使我们能够做出一个模型描述是什么声音.
为什么我们不知道后面的空间物理原因? 毕竟, 我们所知道的气味的经验背后的原因, 声音, 等. 究其原因，我们无法看到超越视觉的现实是感官的层次, 最佳地示出使用示例. 让我们考虑一个小规模的爆炸, 像鞭炮去关闭. 当我们经历这次爆炸, 我们将会看到闪光灯, 听到报告, 闻到了燃烧的化学品和感觉热, 如果我们足够接近.
这些经验的感受性都归结到同一个物理事件 — 爆炸, 其中的物理很好理解. 现在, 让我们，如果我们能骗过感官到具有相同的经历来看看, 在不存在真正的爆炸. 热和气味是相当容易重现. 也可以使用所产生的声音的经验, 例如, 一个高端家庭影院系统. 我们如何重建爆炸的视线的经验? 家庭影院的体验是一个再现真实的东西差.
至少在原则上, 我们能想到的未来场景，如在星际旅行的holideck, 当视线的经验可以重现. 但是，在该点处的视线也重新, is there a difference between the real experience of the explosion and the holideck simulation? The blurring of the sense of reality when the sight experience is simulated indicates that sight is our most powerful sense, and we have no access to causes beyond our visual reality.
Visual perception is the basis of our sense of reality. All other senses provide corroborating or complementing perceptions to the visual reality.
[This post has borrowed quite a bit from my book.]
This unpublished article is a sequel to my earlier paper (also posted here as “为无线电源和伽玛射线暴管腔围油栏?“). This blog version contains the abstract, introduction and conclusions. The full version of the article is available as a PDF file.
Light travel time effects (LTT) are an optical manifestation of the finite speed of light. They can also be considered perceptual constraints to the cognitive picture of space and time. Based on this interpretation of LTT effects, we recently presented a new hypothetical model for the temporal and spatial variation of the spectrum of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB) and radio sources. In this article, we take the analysis further and show that LTT effects can provide a good framework to describe such cosmological features as the redshift observation of an expanding universe, and the cosmic microwave background radiation. The unification of these seemingly distinct phenomena at vastly different length and time scales, along with its conceptual simplicity, can be regarded as indicators of the curious usefulness of this framework, if not its validity.
The finite speed of light plays an important part in how we perceive distance and speed. This fact should hardly come as a surprise because we do know that things are not as we see them. The sun that we see, 例如, is already eight minutes old by the time we see it. This delay is trivial; 如果我们想知道现在是怎么回事太阳, 所有我们需要做的就是等待八分钟. We, nonetheless, have to “正确” for this distortion in our perception due to the finite speed of light before we can trust what we see.
令人惊讶 (而很少强调) 是当涉及到敏感的议案, 我们不能后台计算看不到太阳，我们采取了拖延的方式相同. 如果我们看到一个天体运动以罢课高速, 我们无法弄清楚它是如何快速和方向 “真” 移动未做进一步的假设，. One way of handling this difficulty is to ascribe the distortions in our perception of motion to the fundamental properties of the arena of physics — 空间和时间. 另一个途径是接受我们的感知和底层之间的断线 “现实” 并处理它以某种方式.
Exploring the second option, we assume an underlying reality that gives rise to our perceived picture. We further model this underlying reality as obeying classical mechanics, and work out our perceived picture through the apparatus of perception. 换句话说, we do not attribute the manifestations of the finite speed of light to the properties of the underlying reality. 相反，, we work out our perceived picture that this model predicts and verify whether the properties we do observe can originate from this perceptual constraint.
空间, the objects in it, and their motion are, 大体上, the product of optical perception. One tends to take it for granted that perception arises from reality as one perceives it. In this article, we take the position that what we perceive is an incomplete or distorted picture of an underlying reality. Further, we are trying out classical mechanics for the the underlying reality (for which we use terms like absolute, noumenal or physical reality) that does cause our perception to see if it fits with our perceived picture (which we may refer to as sensed or phenomenal reality).
Note that we are not implying that the manifestations of perception are mere delusions. They are not; they are indeed part of our sensed reality because reality is an end result of perception. This insight may be behind Goethe’s famous statement, “错觉是光的真理。”
We applied this line of thinking to a physics problem recently. We looked at the spectral evolution of a GRB and found it to be remarkably similar to that in a sonic boom. Using this fact, we presented a model for GRB as our perception of a “luminal” boom, with the understanding that it is our perceived picture of reality that obeys Lorentz invariance and our model for the underlying reality (causing the perceived picture) may violate relativistic physics. The striking agreement between the model and the observed features, 然而，, extended beyond GRBs to symmetric radio sources, which can also be regarded as perceptual effects of hypothetical luminal booms.
In this article, we look at other implications of the model. We start with the similarities between the light travel time (LTT) effects and the coordinate transformation in Special Relativity (SR). These similarities are hardly surprising because SR is derived partly based on LTT effects. We then propose an interpretation of SR as a formalization of LTT effects and study a few observed cosmological phenomena in the light of this interpretation.
Similarities between Light Travel Time Effects and SR
Special relativity seeks a linear coordinate transformation between coordinate systems in motion with respect to each other. We can trace the origin of linearity to a hidden assumption on the nature of space and time built into SR, as stated by Einstein: “In the first place it is clear that the equations must be linear on account of the properties of homogeneity which we attribute to space and time.” Because of this assumption of linearity, the original derivation of the transformation equations ignores the asymmetry between approaching and receding objects. Both approaching and receding objects can be described by two coordinate systems that are always receding from each other. 例如, if a system is moving with respect to another system along the positive X axis of , then an object at rest in at a positive is receding while another object at a negative is approaching an observer at the origin of .
The coordinate transformation in Einstein’s original paper is derived, in part, a manifestation of the light travel time (LTT) effects and the consequence of imposing the constancy of light speed in all inertial frames. This is most obvious in the first thought experiment, where observers moving with a rod find their clocks not synchronized due to the difference in light travel times along the length of the rod. 然而, in the current interpretation of SR, the coordinate transformation is considered a basic property of space and time.
One difficulty that arises from this interpretation of SR is that the definition of the relative velocity between the two inertial frames becomes ambiguous. If it is the velocity of the moving frame as measured by the observer, then the observed superluminal motion in radio jets starting from the core region becomes a violation of SR. If it is a velocity that we have to deduce by considering LT effects, then we have to employ the extra ad-hoc assumption that superluminality is forbidden. These difficulties suggest that it may be better to disentangle the light travel time effects from the rest of SR.
In this section, we will consider space and time as a part of the cognitive model created by the brain, and argue that special relativity applies to the cognitive model. The absolute reality (of which the SR-like space-time is our perception) does not have to obey the restrictions of SR. 特别是, objects are not restricted to subluminal speeds, but they may appear to us as though they are restricted to subluminal speeds in our perception of space and time. If we disentangle LTT effects from the rest of SR, we can understand a wide array of phenomena, as we shall see in this article.
Unlike SR, considerations based on LTT effects result in intrinsically different set of transformation laws for objects approaching an observer and those receding from him. More generally, the transformation depends on the angle between the velocity of the object and the observer’s line of sight. Since the transformation equations based on LTT effects treat approaching and receding objects asymmetrically, they provide a natural solution to the twin paradox, 例如.
Because space and time are a part of a reality created out of light inputs to our eyes, some of their properties are manifestations of LTT effects, especially on our perception of motion. The absolute, physical reality presumably generating the light inputs does not have to obey the properties we ascribe to our perceived space and time.
We showed that LTT effects are qualitatively identical to those of SR, noting that SR only considers frames of reference receding from each other. This similarity is not surprising because the coordinate transformation in SR is derived based partly on LTT effects, and partly on the assumption that light travels at the same speed with respect to all inertial frames. In treating it as a manifestation of LTT, we did not address the primary motivation of SR, which is a covariant formulation of Maxwell’s equations. It may be possible to disentangle the covariance of electrodynamics from the coordinate transformation, although it is not attempted in this article.
Unlike SR, LTT effects are asymmetric. This asymmetry provides a resolution to the twin paradox and an interpretation of the assumed causality violations associated with superluminality. 此外, the perception of superluminality is modulated by LTT effects, and explains ray bursts and symmetric jets. As we showed in the article, perception of superluminal motion also holds an explanation for cosmological phenomena like the expansion of the universe and cosmic microwave background radiation. LTT effects should be considered as a fundamental constraint in our perception, and consequently in physics, rather than as a convenient explanation for isolated phenomena.
Given that our perception is filtered through LTT effects, we have to deconvolute them from our perceived reality in order to understand the nature of the absolute, physical reality. This deconvolution, 然而，, results in multiple solutions. 因此，, 绝对, physical reality is beyond our grasp, and any assumed properties of the absolute reality can only be validated through how well the resultant perceived reality agrees with our observations. In this article, we assumed that the underlying reality obeys our intuitively obvious classical mechanics and asked the question how such a reality would be perceived when filtered through light travel time effects. We demonstrated that this particular treatment could explain certain astrophysical and cosmological phenomena that we observe.
The coordinate transformation in SR can be viewed as a redefinition of space and time (或, more generally, 现实) in order to accommodate the distortions in our perception of motion due to light travel time effects. One may be tempted to argue that SR applies to the “实” 空间和时间, not our perception. This line of argument begs the question, what is real? Reality is only a cognitive model created in our brain starting from our sensory inputs, visual inputs being the most significant. Space itself is a part of this cognitive model. The properties of space are a mapping of the constraints of our perception.
The choice of accepting our perception as a true image of reality and redefining space and time as described in special relativity indeed amounts to a philosophical choice. The alternative presented in the article is inspired by the view in modern neuroscience that reality is a cognitive model in the brain based on our sensory inputs. Adopting this alternative reduces us to guessing the nature of the absolute reality and comparing its predicted projection to our real perception. It may simplify and elucidate some theories in physics and explain some puzzling phenomena in our universe. 然而, this option is yet another philosophical stance against the unknowable absolute reality.
Abstract: The Western philosophical phenomenalism could be treated as a kind of philosophical basis of the special theory of relativity. The perceptual limitations of our senses hold the key to the understanding of relativistic postulates. The specialness of the speed of light in our phenomenal space and time is more a matter of our perceptual apparatus, than an input postulate to the special theory of relativity. The author believes that the parallels among the phenomenological, Western spiritual and the Eastern Advaita interpretations of special relativity point to an exciting possibility of unifying the Eastern and Western schools of thought to some extent.
Key Words: Relativity, Speed of Light, 现象学, 不二.
The philosophical basis of the special theory of relativity can be interpreted in terms of Western phenomenalism, which views space and time are considered perceptual and cognitive constructs created out our sensory inputs. From this perspective, the special status of light and its speed can be understood through a phenomenological study of our senses and the perceptual limitations to our phenomenal notions of space and time. A similar view is echoed in the Brahman–Maya 区别 不二. If we think of space and time as part of Maya, we can partly understand the importance that the speed of light in our reality, as enshrined in special relativity. The central role of light in our reality is highlighted in the Bible as well. These remarkable parallels among the phenomenological, Western spiritual and the 不二 interpretations of special relativity point to an exciting possibility of unifying the Eastern and Western schools of thought to a certain degree.
Einstein unveiled his special theory of relativity2 a little over a century ago. In his theory, he showed that space and time were not absolute entities. They are entities relative to an observer. An observer’s space and time are related to those of another through the speed of light. 例如, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. In a moving system, time flows slower and space contracts in accordance with equations involving the speed of light. Light, 因此, enjoys a special status in our space and time. This specialness of light in our reality is indelibly enshrined in the special theory of relativity.
Where does this specialness come from? What is so special about light that its speed should figure in the basic structure of space and time and our reality? This question has remained unanswered for over 100 年. It also brings in the metaphysical aspects of space and time, which form the basis of what we perceive as reality.
Noumenal-Phenomenal and Brahman–Maya Distinctions
在 不二3 view of reality, what we perceive is merely an illusion-Maya. 不二 explicitly renounces the notion that the perceived reality is external or indeed real. It teaches us that the phenomenal universe, our conscious awareness of it, and our bodily being are all an illusion or Maya. They are not the true, absolute reality. The absolute reality existing in itself, independent of us and our experiences, 是 Brahman.
A similar view of reality is echoed in phenomenalism,4 which holds that space and time are not objective realities. 他们只是我们的感知中. 在此视图中, all the phenomena that happen in space and time are merely bundles of our perception. Space and time are also cognitive constructs arising from perception. 因此，, the reasons behind all the physical properties that we ascribe to space and time have to be sought in the sensory processes that create our perception, whether we approach the issue from the 不二 or phenomenalism perspective.
This analysis of the importance of light in our reality naturally brings in the metaphysical aspects of space and time. In Kant’s view,5 space and time are pure forms of intuition. They do not arise from our experience because our experiences presuppose the existence of space and time. 因此，, we can represent space and time in the absence of objects, but we cannot represent objects in the absence of space and time.
Kant’s middle-ground has the advantage of reconciling the views of Newton and Leibniz. It can agree with Newton’s view6 that space is absolute and real for phenomenal objects open to scientific investigation. It can also sit well with Leibniz’s view7 that space is not absolute and has an existence only in relation to objects, by highlighting their relational nature, not among objects in themselves (noumenal objects), but between observers and objects.
We can roughly equate the noumenal objects to forms in Brahman and our perception of them to Maya. In this article, we will use the terms “noumenal reality,” “absolute reality,” 或 “physical reality” interchangeably to describe the collection of noumenal objects, their properties and interactions, which are thought to be the underlying causes of our perception. 同样, we will “phenomenal reality,” “perceived or sensed reality,” 和 “perceptual reality” to signify our reality as we perceive it.
As with Brahman causing Maya, we assume that the phenomenal notions of space and time arise from noumenal causes8 through our sensory and cognitive processes. Note that this causality assumption is ad-hoc; there is no a priori reason for phenomenal reality to have a cause, nor is causation a necessary feature of the noumenal reality. Despite this difficulty, we proceed from a naive model for the noumenal reality and show that, through the process of perception, we can “派生” a phenomenal reality that obeys the special theory of relativity.
This attempt to go from the phenomena (空间和时间) to the essence of what we experience (a model for noumenal reality) is roughly in line with Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology.9 The deviation is that we are more interested in the manifestations of the model in the phenomenal reality itself rather than the validity of the model for the essence. Through this study, we show that the specialness of the speed of light in our phenomenal space and time is a consequence of our perceptual apparatus. It doesn’t have to be an input postulate to the special theory of relativity.
Perception and Phenomenal Reality
The properties we ascribe to space and time (such as the specialness of the speed of light) can only be a part of our perceived reality or Maya, 在 不二, not of the underlying absolute reality, Brahman. If we think of space and time as aspects of our perceived reality arising from an unknowable Brahman through our sensory and cognitive processes, we can find an explanation for the special distinction of the speed of light in the process and mechanism of our sensing. Our thesis is that the reason for the specialness of light in our phenomenal notions of space and time is hidden in the process of our perception.
We, 因此, study how the noumenal objects around us generate our sensory signals, and how we construct our phenomenal reality out of these signals in our brains. The first part is already troublesome because noumenal objects, 顾名思义, have no properties or interactions that we can study or understand.
These features of the noumenal reality are identical to the notion of Brahman 在 不二, which highlights that the ultimate truth is Brahman, the one beyond time, space and causation. Brahman is the material cause of the universe, but it transcends the cosmos. It transcends time; it exists in the past, present and future. It transcends space; it has no beginning, middle and end. It even transcends causality. For that reason, Brahman is incomprehensible to the human mind. The way it manifests to us is through our sensory and cognitive processes. This manifestation is Maya, the illusion, 哪, in the phenomenalistic parlance, corresponds to the phenomenal reality.
For our purpose in this article, we describe our sensory and cognitive process and the creation of the phenomenal reality or Maya10 as follows. It starts with the noumenal objects (or forms in Brahman), which generate the inputs to our senses. Our senses then process the signals and relay the processed electric data corresponding to them to our brain. The brain creates a cognitive model, a representation of the sensory inputs, and presents it to our conscious awareness as reality, which is our phenomenal world or Maya.
This description of how the phenomenal reality created ushers in a tricky philosophical question. Who or what creates the phenomenal reality and where? It is not created by our senses, brain and mind because these are all objects or forms in the phenomenal reality. The phenomenal reality cannot create itself. It cannot be that the noumenal reality creates the phenomenal reality because, in that case, it would be inaccurate to assert the cognitive inaccessibility to the noumenal world.
This philosophical trouble is identical in 不二 以及. Our senses, brain and mind cannot create Maya, because they are all part of Maya. 如果 Brahman created Maya, it would have to be just as real. This philosophical quandary can be circumvented in the following way. We assume that all events and objects in Maya have a cause or form in Brahman or in the noumenal world. 因此，, we postulate that our senses, mind and body all have some (unknown) forms in Brahman (or in the noumenal world), and these forms create Maya in our conscious awareness, ignoring the fact that our consciousness itself is an illusory manifestation in the phenomenal world. This inconsistency is not material to our exploration into the nature of space and time because we are seeking the reason for the specialness of light in the sensory process rather than at the level of consciousness.
Space and time together form what physics considers the basis of reality. Space makes up our visual reality precisely as sounds make up our auditory world. Just as sounds are a perceptual experience rather than a fundamental property of physical reality, space also is an experience, or a cognitive representation of the visual inputs, not a fundamental aspect of Brahman or the noumenal reality. The phenomenal reality thus created is Maya. 该 Maya events are an imperfect or distorted representation of the corresponding Brahman events. 自 Brahman is a superset of Maya (或, equivalently, our senses are potentially incapable of sensing all aspects of the noumenal reality), not all objects and events in Brahman create a projection in Maya. Our perception (或 Maya) is thus limited because of the sense modality and its speed, which form the focus of our investigation in this article.
In summary, it can be argued that the noumenal-phenomenal distinction in phenomenalism is an exact parallel to the Brahman–Maya 区别 不二 if we think of our perceived reality (或 Maya) as arising from sensory and cognitive processes.
Sensing Space and Time, and the Role of Light
The phenomenal notions of space and time together form what physics considers the basis of reality. Since we take the position that space and time are the end results of our sensory perception, we can understand some of the limitations in our Maya by studying the limitations in our senses themselves.
At a fundamental level, how do our senses work? Our sense of sight operates using light, and the fundamental interaction involved in sight falls in the electromagnetic (EM) category because light (or photon) is the intermediary of EM interactions.11
The exclusivity of EM interaction is not limited to our long-range sense of sight; all the short-range senses (touch, taste, smell and hearing) are also EM in nature. In physics, the fundamental interactions are modeled as fields with gauge bosons.12 In quantum electrodynamics13 (the quantum field theory of EM interactions), photon (or light) is the gauge boson mediating EM interactions. Electromagnetic interactions are responsible for all our sensory inputs. To understand the limitations of our perception of space, we need not highlight the EM nature of all our senses. Space is, 大体上, the result of our sight sense. But it is worthwhile to keep in mind that we would have no sensing, and indeed no reality, in the absence of EM interactions.
Like our senses, all our technological extensions to our senses (such as radio telescopes, electron microscopes, red shift measurements and even gravitational lensing) use EM interactions exclusively to measure our universe. 因此，, we cannot escape the basic constraints of our perception even when we use modern instruments. The Hubble telescope may see a billion light years farther than our naked eyes, but what it sees is still a billion years older than what our eyes see. Our phenomenal reality, whether built upon direct sensory inputs or technologically enhanced, is made up of a subset of EM particles and interactions only. What we perceive as reality is a subset of forms and events in the noumenal world corresponding to EM interactions, filtered through our sensory and cognitive processes. 在 不二 parlance, Maya can be thought of as a projection of Brahman through EM interactions into our sensory and cognitive space, quite probably an imperfect projection.
The exclusivity of EM interactions in our perceived reality is not always appreciated, mainly because of a misconception that we can sense gravity directly. This confusion arises because our bodies are subject to gravity. There is a fine distinction between “being subject to” 和 “being able to sense” gravitational force. The gravity sensing in our ears measures the effect of gravity on EM matter. In the absence of EM interaction, it is impossible to sense gravity, or anything else for that matter.
This assertion that there is no sensing in the absence of EM interactions brings us to the next philosophical hurdle. One can always argue that, in the absence of EM interaction, there is no matter to sense. This argument is tantamount to insisting that the noumenal world consists of only those forms and events that give rise to EM interaction in our phenomenal perception. 换句话说, it is the same as insisting that Brahman is made up of only EM interactions. What is lacking in the absence of EM interaction is only our phenomenal reality. 在 不二 notion, in the absence of sensing, Maya does not exist. The absolute reality or Brahman, 然而，, is independent of our sensing it. 同样, we see that the Eastern and Western views on reality we explored in this article are remarkably similar.
The Speed of Light
Knowing that our space-time is a representation of the light waves our eyes receive, we can immediately see that light is indeed special in our reality. In our view, sensory perception leads to our brain’s representation that we call reality, 或 Maya. Any limitation in this chain of sensing leads to a corresponding limitation in our phenomenal reality.
One limitation in the chain from senses to perception is the finite speed of photon, which is the gauge boson of our senses. The finite speed of the sense modality influences and distorts our perception of motion, 空间和时间. Because these distortions are perceived as a part of our reality itself, the root cause of the distortion becomes a fundamental property of our reality. This is how the speed of light becomes such an important constant in our space-time.
The importance of the speed of light, 然而，, is respected only in our phenomenal Maya. Other modes of perception have other speeds the figure as the fundamental constant in their space-like perception. The reality sensed through echolocation, 例如, has the speed of sound as a fundamental property. 事实上, it is fairly simple to establish14 that echolocation results in a perception of motion that obeys something very similar to special relativity with the speed of light replaced with that of sound.
Theories beyond Sensory Limits
The basis of physics is the world view called scientific realism, which is not only at the core of sciences but is our natural way of looking at the world as well. Scientific realism, and hence physics, assume an independently existing external world, whose structures are knowable through scientific investigations. To the extent observations are based on perception, the philosophical stance of scientific realism, as it is practiced today, can be thought of as a trust in our perceived reality, and as an assumption that it is this reality that needs to be explored in science.
Physics extends its reach beyond perception or Maya through the rational element of pure theory. Most of physics works in this “extended” intellectual reality, with concepts such as fields, forces, light rays, 原子, 颗粒, 等等。, the existence of which is insisted upon through the metaphysical commitment implied in scientific realism. 然而, it does not claim that the rational extensions are the noumenal causes or Brahman giving raise to our phenomenal perception.
Scientific realism has helped physics tremendously, with all its classical theories. 然而, scientific realism and the trust in our perception of reality should apply only within the useful ranges of our senses. Within the ranges of our sensory perceptions, we have fairly intuitive physics. An example of an intuitive picture is Newtonian mechanics that describe “正常” objects moving around at “正常” speeds.
When we get closer to the edges of our sensory modalities, we have to modify our sciences to describe the reality as we sense it. These modifications lead to different, and possibly incompatible, theories. When we ascribe the natural limitations of our senses and the consequent limitations of our perception (and therefore observations) to the fundamental nature of reality itself, we end up introducing complications in our physical laws. Depending on which limitations we are incorporating into the theory (e.g., small size, large speeds etc.), we may end up with theories that are incompatible with each other.
Our argument is that some of these complications (和, 希望, incompatibilities) can be avoided if we address the sensory limitations directly. 例如, we can study the consequence of the fact that our senses operate at the speed of light as follows. We can model Brahman (the noumenal reality) as obeying classical mechanics, and work out what kind of Maya (phenomenal reality) we will experience through the chain of sensing.
The modeling of the noumenal world (as obeying classical mechanics), 当然, has shaky philosophical foundations. But the phenomenal reality predicted from this model is remarkably close to the reality we do perceive. Starting from this simple model, it can be easily shown our perception of motion at high speeds obeys special relativity.
The effects due to the finite speed of light are well known in physics. 我们知道，, 例如, that what we see happening in distant stars and galaxies now actually took place quite awhile ago. A more “advanced” effect due to the light travel time15 is the way we perceive motion at high speeds, which is the basis of special relativity. 事实上, many astrophysical phenomena can be understood16 in terms of light travel time effects. Because our sense modality is based on light, our sensed picture of motion has the speed of light appearing naturally in the equations describing it. So the importance of the speed of light in our space-time (as described in special relativity) is due to the fact that our reality is Maya created based on light inputs.
Almost all branches of philosophy grapple with this distinction between the phenomenal and the absolute realities to some extent. 不二 Vedanta holds the unrealness of the phenomenal reality as the basis of their world view. In this article, we showed that the views in phenomenalism can be thought of as a restatement of the 不二 postulates.
When such a spiritual or philosophical insight makes its way into science, great advances in our understanding can be expected. This convergence of philosophy (or even spirituality) and science is beginning to take place, most notably in neuroscience, which views reality as a creation of our brain, echoing the notion of Maya.
Science gives a false impression that we can get arbitrarily close to the underlying physical causes through the process of scientific investigation and rational theorization. An example of such theorization can be found in our sensation of hearing. The experience or the sensation of sound is an incredibly distant representation of the physical cause–namely air pressure waves. We are aware of the physical cause because we have a more powerful sight sense. So it would seem that we can indeed go from Maya (声音) to the underlying causes (air pressure waves).
然而, it is a fallacy to assume that the physical cause (the air pressure waves) 是 Brahman. Air pressure waves are still a part of our perception; they are part of the intellectual picture we have come to accept. This intellectual picture is an extension of our visual reality, based on our trust in the visual reality. It is still a part of Maya.
The new extension of reality proposed in this article, again an intellectual extension, is an educated guess. We guess a model for the absolute reality, 或 Brahman, and predict what the consequent perceived reality should be, working forward through the chain of sensing and creating Maya. If the predicted perception is a good match with the Maya we do experience, then the guesswork for Brahman is taken to be a fairly accurate working model. The consistency between the predicted perception and what we do perceive is the only validation of the model for the nature of the absolute reality. 此外, the guess is only one plausible model for the absolute reality; there may be different such “solutions” to the absolute reality all of which end up giving us our perceived reality.
It is a mistake to think of the qualities of our subjective experience of sound as the properties of the underlying physical process. In an exact parallel, it is a fallacy to assume that the subjective experience of space and time is the fundamental property of the world we live in. The space-time continuum, as we see it or feel it, is only a partial and incomplete representation of the unknowable Brahman. If we are willing to model the unknowable Brahman as obeying classical mechanics, we can indeed derive the properties of our perceived reality (such as time dilation, length contraction, light speed ceiling and so on in special relativity). By proposing this model for the noumenal world, we are not suggesting that all the effects of special relativity are mere perceptual artifacts. We are merely reiterating a known fact that space and time themselves cannot be anything but perceptual constructs. Thus their properties are manifestations of the process of perception.
When we consider processes close to or beyond our sensor limits, the manifestations of our perceptual and cognitive constraints become significant. 因此，, when it comes to the physics that describes such processes, we really have to take into account the role that our perception and cognition play in sensing them. The universe as we see it is only a cognitive model created out of the photons falling on our retina or on the photosensors of the Hubble telescope. Because of the finite speed of the information carrier (namely light), our perception is distorted in such a way as to give us the impression that space and time obey special relativity. They do, but space and time are only a part of our perception of an unknowable reality—a perception limited by the speed of light.
The central role of light in creating our reality or universe is at the heart of western spiritual philosophy as well. 宇宙缺乏光线的不只是您已经关掉了灯的世界. 这的确是一个宇宙缺乏自身, 一个不存在的宇宙. It is in this context that we have to understand the wisdom behind the notion that “该地是, and void'” 直到神使光线是, 说 “要有光。” Quran also says, “Allah is the light of the heavens.” The role of light in taking us from the void (虚无) to a reality was understood for a long, 很久. Is it possible that the ancient saints and prophets knew things that we are only now beginning to uncover with all our advances in knowledge? Whether we use old Eastern 不二 views or their Western counterparts, we can interpret the philosophical stance behind special relativity as hidden in the distinction between our phenomenal reality and its unknowable physical causes.
- Dr. Manoj Thulasidas graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (个人所得税), 马德拉斯, 在 1987. He studied fundamental particles and interactions at the CLEO collaboration at Cornell University during 1990-1992. After receiving his PhD in 1993, he moved to Marseilles, France and continued his research with the ALEPH collaboration at CERN, 日内瓦. During his ten-year career as a research scientist in the field of High energy physics, 他与人合着过 200 出版物.
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- Electromagnetic (EM) interaction is one of the four kinds of interactions in the Standard Model (Griffths, 1987) of particle physics. It is the interaction between charged bodies. Despite the EM repulsion between them, 然而，, the protons stay confined within the nucleus because of the strong interaction, whose magnitude is much bigger than that of EM interactions. The other two interactions are termed the weak interaction and the gravitational interaction.
- In quantum field theory, every fundamental interaction consists of emitting a particle and absorbing it in an instant. These so-called virtual particles emitted and absorbed are known as the gauge bosons that mediate the interactions.
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