Reality is an Emergent Phenomenon

Philip K Dick said; “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

IMO, this is a misleading statement. Belief has nothing to do with it. What actually does happen is that physical reality does go away when there is no one to observe it.

It just occurred to me that like the wave/particle phenomenon , reality itself has a duality aspect and is an emergent phenomenon to the observer.

An insect has a completely different emergent realty from humans, a fish has a completely different emergent reality than an insect.

Does a falling tree in the forest make a sound when there is no one to hear (observe) it? No, a falling tree creates waves and only if that wave is observed does it collapse into a sound. Sound emerges when the sound wave collapses.

Does a fundamental particle exist in reality while in transit? No, it is a wave until it is observed and the wave function collapses into a quantum of kinetic energy. A particle (energy) emerges upon the collapse of the wave function.

Seems to me that all observation (measurement) is causal to a wave function collapse and the emergence of a specific translation in physical reality.

This post emerged in to my reality when I looked at it. Now, I can come back and observe it as much as I want.

Atm that it emerged for me, I take it that it had not emerged in to any of the other participants reality, who had not yet observed it?

So I ask, does this mean that each of us have our own separate reality?

Yep, and only when we are in agreement with each other’s personal perspective, do we call it reality. Empathy is the close personal sharing of reality.

But often reality is experienced differently by each “observer”, due to our relative dimensional POV.

Have you ever considered how different reality is when people are facing each other? Everything is the exact opposite of what we expect from our POV and we have to translate what presents to our POV. Your left is my right, my left is your right. You may see a house behind me, I may see a tree behind you.

Consider how different observational reality is from each POV in say a living room. This is why we closely observe a room we have never been to, so that we can orient ourselves to the POV of the inhabitant and we can agree with his reality.

It’s really weird when you think about it. It is one of the causes of feeling disoriented and uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.

 

 

Very strange. I just responded to another post and it showed up nicely until I made an edit and reposted it. It completely disappeared from reality, even as the menu showed that I made a post a few seconds ago. A perfect example of a wave function interference and the disappearance of that which was once reality.

Saved the post for later.

A perfect “example of” OR a perfect “metaphor for”?

I loved this segment, when you said, “Have you ever considered how different reality is when people are facing each other? Everything is the exact opposite of what we expect from our POV and we have to translate what presents to our POV. Your left is my right, my left is your right. You may see a house behind me, I may see a tree behind you.”

This likely explains, the seemingly ludicrously juxtaposed differences in political beliefs that can exist.

For example, when I am conversing with Sree, he sees behind me, Nancy Pelosi throwing fetuses in to a woodchipper, while Shifty Schiff is covertly trying to set up a deal with the POTUS’s favorite fast food franchise. And AOC is sexily convincing Colonel Sanders (who for some reason, resembles Bernie Sanders) to purchase the masses of pinkish slurry being produced by the woodchipper. And a thought bubble from the Colonel shows a picture of a billboard, on which Sree sees, The New KFC Nuggets!!! Tastier Than Chick Fill A’s! All Profits Go to Support Planned Parenthood!!!

And I see, behind Sree, unsupervised toddlers, who are randomly banging each other in the heads with old school metal Tonka Trucks.

LOL…!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO0nXXGRkM

I can relate to all of that, except I didn’t know about the impossibility of simultaneously sneezing and peeing. I do both quite a lot, but I don’t remember ever having an urge to sneeze while peeing.

CAUTION: HIGH LIKELYHOOD OF DUMB QUESTIONS AHEAD!

  • Does the fact that stuff happens (Big Bang to now) which eventually produces the 'reality' we experience, not mean that reality exists regardless of whether or not it is experienced?
  • If a mind is necessary for anything to exist then nothing could exist before us (or any other mind), and if we're necessary for the existence of the universe that produced us, then we could never exist. Doesn't that make the idea of reality only existing if it is experience, illogical?
  • Why does there have to be a mind interpreting something to make the something real?
In my mind the universe is as real as us and exists with or without us. But like the caution note indicates, I might not understand the question and/or answer enough to even participate here.

We all have our personal ‘reality’, but there is still an absolute one that each of us samples to create our tiny personal one that only exists between our ears.

The, “Does a falling tree make a sound if there is nothing there to hear it?” question makes sense if we define ‘sound’ to mean ‘experienced sound waves’, but it makes those sound waves regardless of who or what is there to experience them- the ‘experienced’ part is irrelevant to their existence and is only required when defining the word ‘sound’.

I guess I just don’t see the necessity of experiencing something in order to consider it to exist. Seems like a fabricated answer to a non-question that is only there to make humans appear necessary for the universe to exist.

Good question!

3point14rat said: Does the fact that stuff happens (Big Bang to now) which eventually produces the ‘reality’ we experience, not mean that reality exists regardless of whether or not it is experienced?
I agree. Reality exists regardless of how we "experience" it. However, experience of reality is a relative ability of living organisms.
If a mind is necessary for anything to exist then nothing could exist before us (or any other mind), and if we’re necessary for the existence of the universe that produced us, then we could never exist. Doesn’t that make the idea of reality only existing if it is experience, illogical?
A mind is not necessary for reality to exist. A mind (brain) is an evolved survival mechanism of living organisms within reality.
Why does there have to be a mind interpreting something to make the something real?
It is the only known mechanism which is consciously aware of reality.

IMO, the ability to experience of reality is an graduated evolved ability of living organisms, starting with purely mathematical potentials and their interactions, such as in chemistry and mineral evolution, to a gradual emergence of awareness of interactions and the ability to adapt and respond to the mathematics of reality, such as the self-organization of microtubules, a dynamic chemical process which allows for motility and the increased ability to search for food, to human science, the mental ability to use the mathematics of reality for our own motivated purposes, i.e. Copying flight discovere long ago by lowly insects.

Think of the evolved ability of flowers to “follow the sun”, the awareness and maximum use of evolved sensitivity to infrared waves.

Then consider the honeybee, a nearly brainless organism able to lift itself into the sky and travel enormous distances, safe from predation, in search of flowers rich in pollen, then returning to the hive and transmitting the coordinates of where a rich food source may be found, through a “mathematical dance”.conveying the coordinates where that rich food source is located.

Sentience is an hierarchical evolved ability, each stage allowing for greater knowledge and use of the mechanical unfolding of physical reality

Reality is an emergent phenomenon. Awareness of reality is also an emergent phenomenon.

Write4U: What actually does happen is that physical reality does go away when there is no one to observe it.

Also Write4U: A mind is not necessary for reality to exist.


There’s some nuance to your writing that’s throwing me for a loop. My understanding of those two quotes is that they contradict each other.

I still don’t know if you think reality exists external to a mind (or at the very least an entity that can sense things.)

There is nothing more amazing that life. Minds, instinct, and sense organs (even in plants, fungi , prokaryotes, etc.) are all wonderful ways evolution has combined matter into forms that allow the universe to interact with and understand itself. That may be a conceited view of life that’s influenced by me being alive, but I fully accept that criticism and will defend that position. It’s the idea that reality doesn’t exist without observation that seems (to me) too ‘conceited’ (not the perfect word, but I think you know what I mean) to accept.

 

Write4U: What actually does happen is that physical reality does go away when there is no one to observe it.

Also Write4U: A mind is not necessary for reality to exist.

3point14rat : There’s some nuance to your writing that’s throwing me for a loop. My understanding of those two quotes is that they contradict each other.


You’re right , that sounds contradictory. Let me try explain, Maybe I might talk myself out of one of those statements… :slight_smile:

I think I was making a distinction between the definitions of a “mind” and an “observation”

The mind is the set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory, which is housed in the brain (sometimes including the central nervous system). It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness.[3] It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind

Therefore a mind is not required for a thing to exist

However

In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse occurs when a wave function—initially in a superposition of several eigenstates—reduces to a single eigenstate due to interaction with the external world. This interaction is called an "observation". It is the essence of a measurement in quantum mechanics which connects the wave function with classical observables like position and momentum. Collapse is one of two processes by which quantum systems evolve in time; the other is the continuous evolution via the Schrödinger equation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function_collapse

I think I was trying to justify that without a wave function collapse (observation) everything remains in a wavelike state without collapsing into a physical pattern.

The mistake I made is that I wrote “when there is no one to observe it”, which specifies an sentient (mind) observer rather than an impersonal physical interaction (as defined in physics)

It was poorly worded and confusing. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

This is how I’ve always thought about this stuff:

  • An electron has characteristics. We can measure one at a time. Our inability to measure more than one characteristic doesn’t mean the electron only has that one characteristic, it means we can only determine one characteristic.

  • We say ‘collapse’ and ‘eigenstate’ and infer that things don’t exist outside of observation, as a way of communicating what we know and don’t (can’t) know. But those words only relate to our knowledge of a particle, not the particle itself.

Am I wrong in thinking that the particles we observe/measure continue to exist beyond our observation/measurement of them? Does the wave function actually collapse, or are they merely interpreted by the observer as to have collapsed into a single eigenstate? (In other words, does an electron really collapse, or are we saying it collapses as a simple way of saying ‘we got what we could from it and now it’s gone”?)

What actually does happen is that physical reality does go away when there is no one to observe it.
I HATE statements like this! Many people (those less educated in the ways of science) don't realize that this is more along the lines of "thought experiment" than "the way things are", so people mistakenly believe that when a human being isn't there to see it, reality literally doesn't happen. Like if you automate the train and there are no people riding on it then it simply vanishes once it's out of sight and then reappears at the other end of the tunnel as it approaches people.

And yeah, I know it’s “emergent” reality, but still, that subtlety is often lost on the masses. Shcrodinger’s Cat is confusing for people who don’t realize that he’s not saying that the cat is not actually both alive and dead until we look at it. And that old question, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? YES! Variations in air pressure occur whether I’m there to witness them or not!

I just realized this may be one of my irrational pet peeves; one of the things that drives me nuts for no particular reason.

@Widdershins

In post # 319529, I explained (with definitions) in what context I used the term “observe” and corrected my poor wording of the original post.

I used the term “observation” in context of quantum mechanics which has nothing to do with personal observation .

Widdershins, it’s a bit of a peeve for me too, because I don’t know what the person saying it really thinks. Do they understand that the train is there regardless of anyone or anything experiencing it, or do they mistakenly think that the train doesn’t exist for the time it’s out of sight?

Write4U, I’d bet a ton of cash that you see it the same way I do. It would be strange if I agree with you on everything and then this comes up and I don’t. You can look at my pedantic questioning as a way to make sure you say it in a way that prevents anyone from coming and misinterpreting you.

(Also, I don’t study these kind of ‘out there’ ideas, so it is possible that legitimate, main-stream scientists do claim that reality only exists when experienced in some way.)

3point14rat: Am I wrong in thinking that the particles we observe/measure continue to exist beyond our observation/measurement of them? Does the wave function actually collapse, or are they merely interpreted by the observer as to have collapsed into a single eigenstate? (In other words, does an electron really collapse, or are we saying it collapses as a simple way of saying ‘we got what we could from it and now it’s gone”?)
I am no expert in QM either, but as I understand it, we cannot measure light as a bunch of photons in transit as physical objects, but only as a wave of energetic quanta which collapses into particles (with kinetic force) when it hits a wall or the retina of an eye and ceases to be a travelling wavelike quantum.

I think your question can be answered that you cannot observe a “passing” photon in its wavelike state. When you see light it means a quantum wave has collapsed on your retina and decays as it expends its observable (measurable) energy .

When we see a lightning bolt it appears to be far away and that we are watching it pass us by, but that’s not how it works. What we see are some of the dispersed energetic quantum waves from that lightning bolt which collapse on our retinas, where they register as points of light and then decay.

When we turn on a light bulb the emitted electric quanta collapse into photons and light up the room, but when we turn the light off the energetic quanta it has expended all decays after their wave function has collapsed and the room turns dark again.

I must admit that solids are of a different breed because their particles carry lots of mass and the energy they expend is miniscule except for radio-active or very unstable molecules (radioisotopes) which decay very fast.

I believe we get into thermodynamics at that point.

Quantum Thermodynamics

Quantum thermodynamics [1][2] is the study of the relations between two independent physical theories: thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. The two independent theories address the physical phenomena of light and matter. In 1905 Einstein argued that the requirement of consistency between thermodynamics and electromagnetism[3] leads to the conclusion that light is quantized obtaining the relation {\displaystyle E=h\nu } .

This paper is the dawn of quantum theory. In a few decades quantum theory became established with an independent set of rules.[4] Currently quantum thermodynamics addresses the emergence of thermodynamic laws from quantum mechanics. It differs from quantum statistical mechanics in the emphasis on dynamical processes out of equilibrium. In addition there is a quest for the theory to be relevant for a single individual quantum system.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_thermodynamics

Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that deals with heat and temperature, and their relation to energy, work, radiation, and properties of matter. The behavior of these quantities is governed by the four laws of thermodynamics which convey a quantitative description using measurable macroscopic physical quantities, but may be explained in terms of microscopic constituents by statistical mechanics. Thermodynamics applies to a wide variety of topics in science and engineering, especially physical chemistry, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering, but also in fields as complex as meteorology.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamics

If we there are any knowledgeable scientist out there reading this, I would love to be corrected if my fundamental perspective is way off. What I posited here is my intuitive understanding and speculative logic in view of my very limited knowledge of quantum mechanics.

 

@ 3point14rat

I love to be challenged and corrected if warranted. I readily admit my limited knowledge on many subjects and a lot of my statements are actually more probative than declarative, although I do try to avoid pure and “out there” speculation. I am a realist at heart and I seldom question mainstream science I would not presume to know more than scientists who have spent lifetimes studying these subjects in minute detail … :slight_smile: