We confuse identity and existence. Existence is relative, say I as an immaterialist.
That's not the impression we have. We suppose that existence is absolute, as unthinking materialists.
Who is to say that a universe exists, if it contains no sapient beings? Or, even if it did, once it is gone? No, existence is relative to what? The buck has to stop somewhere. Where can is stop, short of an eternal, singular being? This would account for our natural proclivity to posit such a being.
Don't sentient animals have such a proclivity? Can they doubt their own existence? The problem is whose existence do they not doubt? We tend to suppose that our existence is singular and personal. Do they? If they don't, who does, for them?
We suppose that rocks and trees exist absolutely, unto themselves, independent of us or anything else. But is that a justified true belief?
Relativity and quantum theory call that unsupported notion into question.
I notice that a particular tree exists. But, actually, I generally note no such thing, only as an independent abstraction. We notice personhood, just instinctively.
We note treeness, along with some degree of familiarity. Sigularity, such as it is, is ours to confer. Treeness does not, of itself, confer absolute existence.
The tree, the rock, the mountain exist only in temporality. I can say that presence partakes of eternity, and so is absolute. But that eternal presence has to be present to some eternal, singular being, otherwise it is all too easily relativised. By what, exactly? The unstated premise is that relativity is natural, which is rather equivalent to relationalism. Which is what I am, naturally.
Well, are we ready for prime time? Where is my achilles tendon? What do I have to stand on? Other folks may have difficulty imagining the frailty of existence. What's a body w/o a CNS? We understand in theory, but it's something else in person.
Other folks probably won't get it, if they haven't already.
Field theory speaks to this. Relativity requires field theory. How so?
Fields and particles don't mix. Does the psi field require relativity? Or is it the other way around? Point particles are ok, sort of. Infinte self-energy, unless probabilized.
Date: August 3, 2015 at 10:59:01 AM EDT
Subject: Shut up and calculate...... what....exactly?
Funny you would wonder about what's real. I've been wondering, myself.
Physicists have brought existence into question, practically, with various forms of (existential?) technology, and theoretically with modern physics. But they just shut up and calculate, and leave the rest of us to ask the stupid questions. When we do ask those 'stupid' questions, they demand that we shut up and let _them_ calculate...... but what do they calculate?
Now that I'm, rather suddenly, perceptibly closer to non-existence, I figure that I've earned the right to have a dog in this fight, namely, myself.......
You would think that every calculation would begin and end with the question of reality. But, no. Calculation is relative..... to what?
We ran into this problem a while back. Ruth, I believe, pointed out that Bohm's 'beables' were notoriously non-relativistic. Jack had been calculating a non-existent. Time wasted?
I would like to point out that this problem of existence is rather more general and fundamental than we usually want to suppose. Besides being an immaterialist, I'm also a relationalist, which may amount to the same thing.
The question could start with Wigner's friend. Where does the observation buck stop? Ruth suggests that it rests with advanced 'reactions'. The whole universe, past, present and future, necessarily involves itself in every 'measurement'. Wow! That's Wigner's friend on steroids.
But then what about unobservable universes? Is that an oxymoron? Suppose we're the only observers, and we blow ourselves to smithereens? Surely, we did exist. Says who? Where? When? In which universe? The one that was three universes over there, to the left? Oh, that one!
What is to backstop existence? Relativistic probability waves? Not so sure about that.
Who or what confers existence? If it is something finite, where, exactly does the buck stop? If not finite....... hmmm......
Shut up, Smith..... just calculate. But how do I calculate my own existence? I should have been an existentialist. I guess I missed my calling.
On Aug 3, 2015, at 5:50 AM, Deepak wrote:
Today's San Francisco Chronicle
Yes, we tend to take existence for granted. All of it!?
Well, yes. Because where does existence stop? It's all or nothing. What about the little green men, LGM's? Other folks wonder the same thing, but if you wonder too much you are considered to be crazy or to have too much spare time.
I suggest that reality is relative to sapience, where sapience is postulated to be non-finite. Sapience, by my definition, partakes of eternity. That's what a soul is about.
But are those ice chunks on Pluto any less real than the ice cubes in my Pellegrino?
Was the Moondust any less real than Earth dust....... after we brought it back?
Would the dust and ice chunks be any less real on the exo-planets? What do we mean by 'real'? That involves questions of potentiality or of the hypothetical. How real is an electron? Under what conditions?
'Presumably', exo-planets do not exist in s-, p- or n-waves, before or after we measure them. Objects on Earth do not fuzz-out when we're not looking. It is not clear that it would be logically possible. What would a fuzzy pencil look like? The air molecules collapse it's wave function, presumably. In a vacuum? It measures itself.
What does a hypothetical planet look like? How would we find out? It would look like how we would think it would look, barring a surprise or two. Would it be blank? Not clear what 'blank' would look like? Not sure that's even a possible way to look.
Behind reality is logic. No blanks or blindspots, allowed. No square circles. A planet in a distant, unihabited galaxy? That is more than a little hypothetical. But we seem not to allow gradations. It's all or nothing.
Trees fall unobserved in the forest. Required by logic, more or less. We can observe them, after the fact. Is a galaxy like an unobserved forest. How could it be different? We might even posit ET's. We can observe supernovas in them. Are all stars thereby reified? Planets? Ice chunks? ET's?
It could be a virtual reality, either way. What difference could it make? How might we observe any difference? We create the virtual reality, in the future. How could we outwit our future selves? Pretty hard to do.
This would be co-Creation. It could all be based on our final models. But what do we base the models on? Computer simulations, plus fractals of various sorts. Why not feed the simulations directly into the telescopes? Would't somebody notice? Where do we put the simulations? In our collective minds. How do the photons get into the telescopes? They don't.
It is a coordinated dreamscape. Coordinated from the collective uCs of the future. We are the projection back in 'time'.