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    Postmodern Physics As Description Relativity
    By Sascha Vongehr | September 24th 2012 12:23 AM | 46 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    While many fields realize that modernity comes to an end like any epoch eventually does, the “hard sciences”, especially physics, still rest in relatively naïve stages, still proud of their “modern” status like a teenager loving his first car. Attempts to advance beyond adolescence are countered with references to the Sokal Affair, although that affair has long since been understood in more enlightened ways and even Alan Sokal himself in the end concluded that the affair proved the enormous bias due to pure status in all sciences, news perhaps to the physicist Sokal, but certainly not to social constructionists.


    Modern physics is in a crisis of its very own (different from the publish-or-perish problems and suchlike more general crises). Ever more humongous experiments find nothing but confirmation of a quite unnatural seeming standard model as it is already known for half a century, while there is no experimental indication about how to resolve quantum mechanic’s clash with general relativity. It is well known, but unsurprisingly little advertised, that high energy experiments are unlikely to find anything but that they on principle cannot resolve that question, for example because the energy density required always hides behind event horizons (like a black hole). On the other hand, ever more theoretical physics points towards what postmodernism is all about: Description relativity!


    The most severe blow is perhaps the AdS/CFT Correspondence, also known as Maldacena duality, i.e. the fact that gravity, meaning curved space-time inside a volume in one description, is mathematically precisely(!) dual, i.e. the exact same physics as observed by physical observers, as a description via a physics that happens on the boundary of that volume which has no gravity! Establishment scientists and philosophers are almost silent about the true implications, because this is a slap into the face of all the high and mighty lecturing, a black eye right where it hurts most: the almost religiously defended interpretation of the general theory of relativity as fundamental is revealed as being a doctrine enforced by power games that destroyed countless careers, something “modern physics” will be known for in history, something consistent and somewhat explaining the utter impotence of philosophy of physics today.


    Physics knows precisely nothing about how far its descriptions are fundamental rather than emergent! While physicists the world over still fight about whether it is one or the other, people who are less sure about being better than all other sciences have long moved on even beyond the multiverse compromise (where facts can be this way and that way simultaneously, depending on which universe you happen to find yourself in): The difference between emergent and fundamental is possibly verification transcendent! Not only are we perhaps cognitively closed toward lower (and higher emergent) strata via the technicalities of emergence, but there cannot be anything other than different descriptions that are ultimately constrained by being descriptions, because there is nothing else that you can describe!


    Most physicists have yet to realize that “postmodern” is not an F-word insult against those sciences, especially social sciences, which they do not grasp. “Postmodern Physics” starts to become serious business. Slowly but surely, wiser people dare to come out of the closet. Cathryn Carson’s 1995 Who Wants a Postmodern Physics? [1] is still rather concerned with the social aspects of science, for example the social constructionist aspects that physicists as much deny as profit from. More toward embracing postmodern maturity as something physicists need to actively adopt in order to make progress in physics proper is for example Hans J. Pirner’s The Semiotics of “Postmodern” Physics [2]. I am perhaps insisting most clearly [3] on that postmodern physics is a vital step that must be taken in order to advance physics through its present stalemate (see also articles on dualities in black hole descriptions, space-time dimensionality and so forth), which promises that philosophy could become useful for physics once again, as it traditionally was.


    It is an uphill struggle against charges of pseudoscience and outright cultural relativism corrupting the Western pseudo-democratic doctrine. The endeavor is also discredited as “German pseudo-profundity”. It is perhaps German profundity, period: True paradigm change, which by definition requires novel terminology, requires careful reading instead of fast-food like consumption of yet another Anglo-Saxon pragmatism inflating the sheer volume of your bookshelf.


    In my view, Postmodern Physics is well defined by the realization of Describer/Description Relativity in precisely the same way in which the hallmark of Modern Physics is to take Observer Relativity seriously into account:

     

    From draft [4]


    Describer/description relativity has strict consequences for self-descriptions of totality, for example ultimate limits on such descriptions that eclipse today’s uncertainty and complementarity relations, likely for example making solipsist dual descriptions a necessity, but sadly perhaps also being themselves indescribable.


    While some still think that ultra modern physics simply becomes yet more subjective via pulling back further onto the observer as a conscious individual “now”, thus pushing magic quantum consciousness, I say that the next step is instead pulling back onto the describer/description (for example me the author over long times, needing consideration of finite time resolution), which is completely consistent with Dennett’s elimination of regress error type “phenomenal consciousness” via reported consciousness (self-descriptions) and B. Libet's results. I claim that understanding quantum self-creation of totality is only possible if such a fundamental description is understood to be constrained by being self-description, and this is the profound connection between physics and consciousness!


    I will next discuss why quantum solipsism (e.g. local patch descriptions like R. Bousso’s) and other solipsist versions are an expected dual description of any description of totality. This will clarify once more differently why Wittgenstein is so relevant to (post)modern physics [3], also via his “private language” anticipating the Myth of Jones, and thus the resolution of consciousness as a sort of illusion. Stay tuned.


    ------------------------

    [1] Cathryn Carson: Who Wants a Postmodern Physics? Science in Context, 8, pp 635-655 (1995) doi:10.1017/S0269889700002222

    [2] Hans J. Pirner: The Semiotics of “Postmodern” Physics. M. Ferrari and I.O. Stamatescu (Eds) Symbol and Physical Knowledge Springer Verlag 2002, pp 210

    [3] S. Vongehr: “Realism escaping Wittgenstein’s Silence: The Paradigm Shift that renders Quantum Mechanics Natural”. 4th FQXi Essay Contest http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1483(2012)

    [4] S. Vongehr: “Towards Naturalness of Einstein and Everett Relativity in the Fundamental Description”. (2012)

    Comments

    "I claim that understanding quantum self-creation of totality is only possible if such a fundamental description is understood to be constrained by being self-description, and this is the profound connection between physics and consciousness!"

    Does this mean the fundamental description is the nature of totality to describe only all the possibilities of itself, and our nature to describe our self, which we call consciousness, is totality's natural fundamental description emerging as manifestations of those possibilities (no god required)?

    vongehr
    I don't quite understand your question. What I meant, for example, is that the self-creation of a multiverse (say via QM inflationary cosmology) will always be misunderstood as flawed for being circular, at least as long as we do not realize that the fundamental description could not possibly make sense otherwise. The description must satisfy those who insist on that the very fundament of physics is the phenomenally experienced (being precisely the phenomenology of the theory of everything). So, consciousness and fundamental physics are "the same" in this way, we always knew that, but this is only non-mystical if we describe it both as one coherent self-description that at most differs in its differently flavored versions (e.g. solipsist). What Dennett talks about, i.e. the meaning of reported consciousness, is a different version of the phenomenology being accounted for in the description called fundamental physics. We should not dismiss this as being useless philosophising. Those who dismiss are the same kind of block heads that would have dismissed modern physics with "so what if observation is interaction, that does not matter to physics". It mattered to physics like nothing mattered before.
    You've understood my question quite well. You could have just answered "no, it does not mean this", and you would have answered satisfactorily. It was I that was confused. So, thank you for your very good explanation of what you did mean. I do understand how your idea "will always be misunderstood as flawed for being circular", but hopefully not forever. I agree at least that it "could not possibly make sense otherwise", and perhaps this sense will speed things along. Yes, this is far from being "useless philosophizing" and does matter to physics "like nothing mattered before."

    Thanks for this comment Sascha, now I understand the article (and your FQXi Essay) much better!

    Sascha
    I'm struggling with you and will read more (i.e. follow your links and references).
    But I'm not understanding you.

    For comparison Yau is understandable in:
    The Shape of Inner Space (string theory and the geometry of the universe's hidden dimensions) by Shing-tung Yau and Steve Nadis, 2010 (i.e. the mathemetician Yau of Calabi-Yau manifolds

    And my problem with understanding you begins with simple things that you assume that I should understand or that you assume that you have explained well enough (directly or through links). Needless to say, I'm not getting it yet.

    On particular word that I have had trouble with is your use of the word "totality". I mean is there such a thing? If I ask, does it include this, this and this, you say yes. But does "totality" include "totality"? Yes, isn't obvious.

    I mean, we need to use the language of mathematics. So is there a set that contains all other sets and contains itself. Not being an expert in transfinite numbers and such: I as is there a top transfinite number, and ultimate infinity of infinities. If not then there is no set = "totality" that contains itself; because clearly there is no top set of all sets.

    But I really don't know what the mathematicians have proven about infinite sets or not, ie. a set = your "totality".
    As well I don't know what Godel's proofs have to say about the consistency of a concept like your "totality"

    So there I'm stuck even in your use of a simple word like "totality."
    And then when I read you paragraph 3 above I don't really understand the point you are making in the first sentence.

    And reading your link to black hole duality is helpful and get me part of the way to understanding your idea but not all the way. I mean is your article Black Hole Duality: General Relativity Without Singularities the whole point. I mean I say very nice, a second equivalent description.

    But you say, "The difference between emergent and fundamental is possibly verification transcendent!"
    And I say well maybe. But let's find out how far we are far from the limit of observable distinctions in physics.

    And you say, "Ever more humongous experiments find nothing but confirmation of a quite unnatural seeming standard model as it is already known for half a century" And I say that we will see. As well even null experiments may serve to narrow our understanding and may eliminate some apparently dual theories. And maybe the best experiments to understand emergence are hot high energy but solid state.

    I mean maybe some experiment will mean that only theories with such and such extra-dimensions can work or that theories with such and such extra dimensions can't work. Or that totaly new phenomenon and explanations work better than standard models to explain categories of idifficult observables Ie.g. dark matter).

    I mean theorizing and philosophizing, without the feedback of verification; may be something but is it science or mathematics. I mean are you suggesting that duals are not even like mathematical conjectures (like the continuum hypothesis) which was shown to be undecideable?

    So if I don't understand and I seriously want to; please teach me. Please give me the necessary black eye. Oh ouch, now I get your point.

    One particular word that I have had trouble with is your use of the word "totality". I mean is there such a thing? If I ask, does it include this, this and this, you say yes.
    I believe "totality" does not mean totality in a trick verbal sense leading to a Russell paradox in verbal logic or to an application of a Godel theorem. Sascha is a physicist taking on the radical task which will ultimately bridge from pure tautological logic to the physics that we call quantum mechanics. En route he will be forced to do a lot of things traditionally assigned to philosophy: namely jettisoning "metaphysics". Sascha rarely uses that word. I would suggest this is because he is not interested in sorting out the philosophers and their self-induced agonies. (Is that right, Sascha?) Rather than becoming ensnared by traditional philosophical wrangling he is looking for a language to describe what we see  - or rules for using existing language consistently for that purpose. I don't think his interest is linguistics or philosophy for its own sake.

    Thus I would suggest a priori that Russell-type paradoxes are not implied by Sascha's term "totality". On the contrary, as a describer of the physical totality, Sascha requires a term to label "the whole lot". There is no implied heirarchy (or other well-defined separation) of observer over system as is assumed throughout classical science. Sascha has been at pains to distinguish observation from description and he is formulating a way of describing "the whole lot" which does not drag in assumptions. The really difficult bit is deciding what we mean by "the whole lot". It is not the unconstrained set which includes "all sets" and thus itself. It is about the physical system. But we do not know whether what we can see, in the classical sense, is "the whole lot". Thus the descriptive language does stand apart from the system - but only in the very straightforward sense that it is a single level language referring to physics, not to abstractions such as itself nor to metaphysical baggage. Unfortunately in order to start from scratch we have to question what we mean by the physical world. Metaphysics includes ontology: as Kant so famously reminded us, existence or non-existence is not just a property that we can add to a description. If we stick to describing the woobly-wobble or whatever you want to call "the whole lot", we may end up unable to answer "but does this world exist, is it real?" And not in some stoned solipsist sense but in the sense of the very question of whether Schrodinger's cat is dead already makes the metaphysical assumption that the dead cat has the property of existence, the live cat does not - or vice versa. So, backing off from metaphysics entirely leaves us describing total "reality" without asserting that it is real nor asserting that one particular possibility is real. Again this is not mysticism, it's just not saying more than is warrented by the model - the description. Because, of course, Schrodinger saw the implications the moment he wrote his equations. And it did his head in.

    But Sascha is starting further back than [grappling with de Broglie waves and Planck quantization and cats in boxes and trying to fit them into a paradigm that only allows one "physical" world at a time]. He's starting with all possibilities - all specific worlds - within some basic physical paradigm. I recently goaded him about the inclusion of Hamlet's Denmark in "totality" - clearly it does not belong because it does not, in fact, fit in the as-yet-undefined fundamental description. To put it another way, Sascha would like a language which makes Shakespearian worlds "meaningless" - in physics of course: we can still enjoy a play as long as we "willingly suspend our disbelief".

    I am sure Sascha will want to correct 99% of what I have said here but my take is that totality is "all physical possibilities" - simple as that.
    Thor Russell
    I don't know that Shakespearian  worlds would be meaningless, they just aren't fundamental. The game of life etc can be meaningful by being emergent, but still can be ignored in a fundamental description because they aren't fundamental. 
    Thor Russell
    Shakespeare will always be meaningful under the willing suspension of disbelief!
     
    Quentin Rowe
    Sascha is a physicist taking on the radical task which will ultimately bridge from pure tautological logic to the physics that we call quantum mechanics. 
    Yes, and it via his FQXi Contest Essay that I'm finally realising the magnitude of the task Sacha is taking on. Not my cup of tea to pioneer at such a fundamental level, but I'm sure enjoying the benefits of his articles.
     ...my take is that totality is "all physical possibilities" - simple as that. 
    This is a bit presumptuous, no? There is nothing in principal to bar the expression of energy in a non-volumetric form. Otherwise, you are by definition constraining totality by your definition, which isn't a good start.


    my take is that totality is "all physical possibilities" - simple as that.
    This is a bit presumptuous, no? There is nothing in principal to bar the expression of energy in a non-volumetric form. Otherwise, you are by definition constraining totality by your definition, which isn't a good start.

    You may be right. However, a totality that contains every wild fantasy that is syntactically permitted in natural language would not appear to be particularly useful to anyone. In fact avoiding the illusion that certain things are possible and others not possible just because you can say them is the point of defining a descriptive language that cannot talk nonsense. But how it avoids importing *physical* assumptions is another matter. Pass the popcorn.
    Quentin Rowe
    However, a totality that contains every wild fantasy that is syntactically permitted in natural language would not appear to be particularly useful to anyone. 
    With the above in mind, I thought you might find this link useful. Describes SOAPS:
    Everythingforever.com - SOAPS

    You would need to study the other pages to get the full gist of it, but some very interesting ideas regarding the issue of possibilities vs realities.

    Gevin Giobran also assumes volumetric expression, and because I've no idea just exaclty what non-volumetric expression could possibly be, I'm happy to stay with the physical domain myself.
    While physicists the world over still fight about whether it is one or the other, people who are less sure about being better than all other sciences have long moved on even beyond the multiverse compromise (where facts can be this way and that way simultaneously, depending on which universe you happen to find yourself in).

    Please tell me you're high. That's the most ridiculous mumbo jumbo I've read in a while.

    'people who are less sure about being better than all other sciences' WHAT THE FUCK? A person(you know, a living breathing human being, with a pulse and everything) does not compare itself to a science(an abstract collections of ideas and approaches to knowledge about a certain topic). As a programmer would say; you have a horrible type-error and are not making sense!

    If your point was valid it would be a category error not a type error. This is English, not C++, leet anonymous dude. But it's not a logical error at all, it is merely ellipsis or at worst a case error in grammar. A pedant would have said 'people who are less sure about their speciality (physics) being better than all other sciences' or 'people who are less sure about being better than all other scientists' or 'people who are less sure about being better than people in all other sciences'. Or some such. It really isn't at all difficult to understand what Sascha meant and most people would not have even noticed if you hadn't pointed it out.


    He seems to claim that the fact that the same mathematics have different day-to-day world analogies is somehow important. The rest is mostly incomprehensible. Complete overuse of 'big words', that makes him come of as pretentious. The goal of real scientists is to relate information, not to impress. The few things I do understand are either flat out wrong or trivial. Magic quantum conciseness? Finite time resolution? Quantum self-creation? What the?

    He claims it's well known that it's likely that high energy experiments on principle are unable to help us bring QM and GR together. It's certainly not 'well known'.

    As I said, it's mostly nonsense to me, but I do understand enough for my BS detector to go off.

    I don't recognise half the topics you refer to as anything to do with Sascha so I'll leave him to deconstruct you however he likes. I would like to say Sacha is not one for BS, but I'm not going to go that far. What I would say is that if it's BS, it's damn good quality BS - even when his Crackpot Alarm hoists him by his own petard.

     
    Derek, thanks. That helps.
    And I agree, if it is BS it is damn good BS and well work the effort to ponder and understand.

    Now I need to reread and better understand your answer to me.

    My intention is to pace my learning (with other stuff as well).
    My intention is not to debate; but to learn and understand.
    So this is enough to digest for now.

    MikeCrow
    I haven't been able to tell whether Sascha is an annoying nutcase, or one of the most insightful/brilliant people in human history(well of the ones I know of anyways).

    If he wasn't so annoying at times, eventually we'd know, as his theories would propel him into the Einstein sphere of science giants (if he's the genius he might be). But since he usually goes out of his way to piss on the gatekeepers to that level of recognition it's possible we'll (I'll) never know for sure.
    Never is a long time.
    I shall decide whether he is brilliant or just a PITA when I see how/whether his tautological quantum manages to acquire phase...

    Hello Sasha:

    "the almost religiously defended interpretation of the general theory of relativity as fundamental"

    If AdS/CFT is dual, does that mean that relativity has a dual in the no gravity dual? If yes, does it have a name?

    "The difference between emergent and fundamental ... nothing else that you can describe!"

    Getting lost here. If I read this right, there are fundamental limits to what we
    may ever know about physics. We are limited to descriptions because that is the
    best we will ever be able to do?
    Is this related at all to Hawking and Mlodinow's model-dependent realism? In
    chapter 3 of their book (The Grand Design) they say:

    "According to model dependent realism (MDR), it is pointless to ask whether a
    model is real, only whether it agrees with observation. If there are two models
    that both agree with observation, ... then one cannot say that one is more real
    than the other."
    "Realism ... (is) difficult to defend."
    "... Dualities are consistent with MDR ... Regarding the laws that govern the
    universe ... there is no single mathematical model or theory that can describe
    every aspect of the universe. There is a network of theories called M-Theory ...
    each theory is good at describing phenomena in a certain range ... (M-Theory) is
    acceptable in the framework of MDR."

    I feel like I'm standing at the bottom of a cliff. Sasha, the able mountain
    climber is at the top yelling down to me, "The view up here is spectacular!"
    Cool. I'd like to see the view too. Then I look at the cliff more closely:

    - "....social constructionist aspects ... embracing postmodern maturity"
    - "cultural relativism corrupting ... “German pseudo-profundity” ... Anglo-Saxon pragmatism..."
    - "...solipist ... inter-subjective (social) constructivism"
    - "...tautological emptiness (eliminativism), circularity of self-aware descriptions..."
    - "... self-description of totality ... solipsist dual descriptions..."
    - "... observer as a conscious individual “now” ... regress error type “phenomenal consciousness” ... reported consciousness (self-descriptions) ... profound connection between physics and consciousness!"
    - "... quantum solipsism ... Wittgenstein ... “private language” ... Myth of Jones ... consciousness as a sort of illusion."

    My amateur knowledge of physics is the wrong tool for this climb. Actually, it's irrelevant. To be able to follow this I'm going to need a social-science climbing kit.

    So I tried to read the social constructionist, postmodern, cultural relativism, solipsist, solipsist dual, etc. entries in Wikipedia:

    It's funny there isn't an entry for tautological emptiness - somehow Zen.
    I was hoping for two different, but equivalent descriptions of solipsist dualism. Sadly the topic was tautologically empty. (No entries.)
    Similarly I couldn't adequately localize 'quantum solipsism' and had to settle for an article on the 'Quantum mind–body problem.' I think I read it.
    I actually read the entire Wikipedia entry on Wittgenstein. I'm guessing his great idea had something to do with his Tractatus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittgenstein#Publication_of_the_Tractatus

    At this point the other me screamed and jumped off the cliff. He hasn't been seen since. I feel like I've read profound things that when I try to concentrate on them evaporate into nothingness. Hopefully you can provide some more descriptions of the social-sciencey stuff as you go along.

    Thanks,

    David.

    vongehr
    If AdS/CFT is dual, does that mean that relativity has a dual in the no gravity dual?
    I do not understand this question.
    We are limited to descriptions because that is the best we will ever be able to do?
    No, more like because fundamental physics is a description. That is what we want to do.
    Is this related at all to Hawking and Mlodinow's model-dependent realism?
    Yes, this sounds similar, but I like to ever more avoid mentioning the term "realism", because it is a very emotionally charged term for many.
    My amateur knowledge of physics is the wrong tool for this climb. Actually, it's irrelevant. To be able to follow this I'm going to need a social-science climbing kit.
    Good point about physics being mostly irrelevant, as it should be if we want to derive most of it from a more fundamental point of view, like for example deriving quantum mechanics from modal realism. However, I do not see that we need social science either. I am not an expert on any particular social science.
    So I tried to read the social constructionist, postmodern, cultural relativism, solipsist, solipsist dual, etc. entries in Wikipedia
    Gosh - was that useful? I more or less just mention them here because pseudoskeptics use these as truncheons against my and similar ideas. I have no idea in how far solipsism in philosophy has even been updated by noticing the similarity to cutting edge quantum descriptions like the "local patch" approach. Mostly, "solipsist" has the same meaning as "postmodern", namely "go away, I don't want to hear what you have to say because I don't like you".
    At this point the other me screamed and jumped off the cliff.
    I thought you said you were at the bottom of the cliff? ;-)
    blue-green

    Please note, he says, “the other me”. This (and lucid dreaming) was all covered in a popular fiction book in 1974 without using physics words like quantum and relativity. [begin quote]

    A sorcerer may certainly notice afterwards that he has been in two places at once. But this is only bookkeeping and has no bearing on the fact that while he's acting he has no notion of his duality.
    Think of this, the world doesn't yield to us directly, the description of the world stands in between. So, properly speaking, we are always one step removed and our experience of the world is always a recollection of the experience.

    The world of objects and solidity is a way of making our passage on earth convenient. It is only a description that was created to help us. We, or rather our reason, forgets that the description is only a description and thus we entrap the totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime.

    The first act of a teacher is to introduce the idea that the world we think we see is only a view, a description of the world. Accepting that seems to be one of the hardest things one can do; we are complacently caught in our particular view of the world, which compels us to feel and act as if we know everything about the world. A teacher, from the very first act he performs, aims at stopping that view. Sorcerers call it stopping the internal dialogue, and they are convinced that it is the single most important technique that an apprentice can learn.

    I would say that sorcerers, by using their will, have succeeded in enlarging their views of the world. Some though are not men of knowledge. They never brake the bounds of their enormous views and thus never arrive at the totality of themselves.

    Only if one pits two views against each other can one weasel between them to arrive at the real world. That is, one can arrive at the totality of oneself only when one fully understands that the world is merely a view, regardless of whether that view belongs to an ordinary man or to a sorcerer.
    What matters is not to learn a new description but to arrive at the totality of oneself.

    [end quote]

    We, or rather our reason, forgets that the description is only a description and thus we entrap the totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime.

    What matters is not to learn a new description but to arrive at the totality of oneself.
    Very pretty words but I don't suppose there's the slightest point in asking what on earth you're on about now, is there? ;-)
    blue-green

    Well yes, I would like to go into this further. What would peyote say? The book being quoted ends with the protagonist leaping from a cliff and reaching the totality of himself, so this was a most opportune time for me to re-introduce it.The book and series was originally called “non-fiction”. Professors (not mine) used it in their classes in the 1970s. It was later classified as a hoax and “fiction”. There is no way that one can be at two places at the same time … or have a double (doppelganger) … however more than a few people swear it is possible. They also believe in ghosts. The whole series is slightly believable because it is well written and peppered with self-evident tautological truisms like how every explanation is simply a description or view. If Sascha comes up with its core without having read the series, does that make his "next level" more acceptable? What do you think or have to believe?

    There is no way that one can be at two places at the same time or have a double (doppelganger)
    Is there not? I should be interested to see your proof of that. With or without empirical QM.
     
    Well, I don't know the book but it sounds suspiciously like someone coat-tailing a rapidly-fading folk memory of LSD enlightenment... I'm content with being forced, kicking and screaming, into rejecting naive reality for the simple reason that physics demands it. That done, I'm happy to see where we go and, as far as I can tell, "There is no way that one can be at two places at the same time … or have a double (doppelganger)" is not it. YMMV.


    blue-green

    I am a little surprised, or not at all, that only you are responding to these allusions to Carlos Castaneda. Allow me a feeble attempt to dovetail into a concurrent thread here in Science 2.0 on the grounding of symbols. Castaneda even tried in his last years to join in with Phenomenology, Hurserl and heterophenomenology, so he's relevant here. I am guessing that peyote offers a lot more grounding than LSD … and mushrooms are somewhere in between. Back when I was debunking Casta-nada, the dim bulbs that claimed they had evidence of a double were proof enough that it was a delusion. You would be better off following Tolkien's lead.

    Back in 1973:http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19730305,00.html

    Google now sends up: http://nhne-pulse.org/the-dark-side-of-carlos-castaneda/

    Ah, light dawns. I didn't recognise the allusions at all. Yes, I remember reading *some* of Casteneda when I was using mescaline in the early 70's. At the time he sounded like the worst sort of spiritual dilletante, messing around with magic tricks when psychedelics were, I then believed, offering insight into the very nature of reality. I guess I am lost with the term "grounding" in this context as my only understanding of the term is an idea which is grounded in experience. And I have no idea where Tolkein comes into it. Are you just trying to lead us/me in a verbal dance?  I find Sascha's blog here 100% impenetrable but I see no reason to clutter up the comments with facile junk in retaliation :-)
    MikeCrow
    My experience was mostly with lsd. After awhile what I thought might be enlightenment, I came to realized wasn't.
    Maybe, just maybe there is more to it, and I would consider more exploration, but I suspect it'd freak a lot of people out (tripping around the family).

    But what I really wanted to do is bring up a book I read, that somehow seems to fit into what you and Blue-Green (and the reality that Sascha is making me believe exists) are discussing. Smile on the Void.
    Never is a long time.
    I don't think I have anything to offer this discussion.
    So why don't I shut up?
    Good question. No, honestly, I have no time for mystical experiences which are dressed up as magic. Who the hell cares if someone has a "waking dream" that they are a kangaroo or a top quark?  Even practitioners of so-called "magick" who boast about altering the structure of reality (casting spells which, they say, actually work) are, in their own estimation, merely manipulating things according to rules, just as surely as you or I do when we drive a car. Where's the profound insight in that?
    the reality that Sascha is making me believe exists
    Sascha shows a marked aversion to terms
    like "reality" and "exist" these days :-)

    For myself, I am obliged to go to known physics and bite the bullet. Sascha may be comfortable with living in a massive superposition, Schrodinger was not and neither am I, but I would rather accept what nature tells me than make up silly stories to explain it away.  To cut to the chase, I'm still "me" whether there is just one or a googolplexian of us. (More work for God, but, hey, He's infinite, He'll cope.)
    MikeCrow
    Sascha shows a marked aversion to terms
    like "reality" and "exist" these days :-)
    lol

    For myself, I am obliged to go to known physics and bite the bullet. Sascha may be comfortable with living in a massive superposition, Schrodinger was not and neither am I, but I would rather accept what nature tells me than make up silly stories to explain it away.

    I've kind of accepted the MWI as my choice for the magic behind the curtain, in part because it was the coolest one. If I'm following along (and I'm really never quite sure if I am or not), Sascha's views isn't quite MWI, but let's call them cousins to each other.
    Never is a long time.
    blue-green

    As I have demonstrated, Castaneda has many paragraphs that fit very well into Sascha's program to derive some of the lessons of the quantum and relativity without directly using physics. Even though Castaneda lifted without attribution much material and then gave it his artistic twist, it can still resonate with what is true. That's what a con-artist does. People have speculated on his original sources and the books he might have read while in the UCLA library where most of his field work actually occurred.

    Smile on the Void noted by Mi Cro(w) is a real possibility (although this is the first time I've seen it mentioned).
    Another source which I have not read directly would be The Third Eye by con-master Lobsang Rampa. It is interesting that these books came out in 1955 and 1956.

    I wonder if our reticent Mr. Potter delved into the The Third Eye.

    With the exception of the “kicking and screaming”, I too am “content with being forced, kicking and screaming, into rejecting naive reality for the simple reason that physics demands it.”

    There is a lot of hard Bell-inequality physics to learn and respect between saying there are “separate realities” and managing the correlations that make these realities neither separate nor real.

    I think Sascha is skating on thin ice, however, he will do just fine, even if he has to dodge some odd company while keeping one foot inside academia and two hands and a foot on the outside with nutmeg, potters et al.

    Wiccapædia notes that “Lobsang Rampa went on to write another 18 books containing a mixture of religious and occult material. One of the books, Living with The Lama, was described as being dictated to Rampa by his pet Siamese cat, Mrs Fifi Greywhiskers.”

    MikeCrow
    Too funny, I mentioned SotV without knowing anything about Castaneda, but reading some of his web site, its like he read SotV, and decided it'd be a fun life. Or vise versa, it looks like SotV was published in 83. He also reminds me of Michael Valentine Smith which was written in 61, curious......
    Never is a long time.
    vongehr
    There is a lot of hard Bell-inequality physics to learn and respect between saying there are “separate realities” and managing the correlations that make these realities neither separate nor real.
    Yes, especially "nor real" is a problem.

    Like I said: you show a marked aversion to the word "real" these days :)

    I think Mike's problem here is one I share - lack of familiarity with the mathematics: it's not immediately obvious that Bell inequality violation in an EPR set-up is a manifestion of multiple worlds interfering. It would be nice to see how it all fits together... some day when I have time.

    However, depending on what you want to look at, it may not be necessary. Multiple worlds is a more fundamental idea: it is NOT merely an interpretation, it's what the Schrodinger equation states unambiguously. 

    Schrodinger tells us that a |system with an observer> very rapidly becomes a superposition of |system+observer> 's. That is observer-relative reality. 

    What possible get-out is there left?

    vongehr
    All agreed - but people like to use "real" differently. You are satisfied with the Schroedinger cats in parallel, others insist on some physical interaction in order to accept anything as "real". This is where the EPR Bell violation comes in and leaves no longer any way out even to the more careful ones: the worlds are all "real" because they do correlate ("interact") stronger than classically (with only one world being real, all others dead) possible.
    it's not immediately obvious that Bell inequality violation in an EPR set-up is a manifestion of multiple worlds interfering.
    This I tried to describe in my EPR paper on the archive, which I should revise to make it easier some day when I have time (= never). As far as I see, of course after some preparation with the silly sausage model, it is immediately clear that the Bell inequality being violated is a direct consequence of the different worlds inside the sausage growing new world branches according to their interaction where they meet. If they do not, Bell cannot be violated ever, because it stays to be a classical model (simply because the actualization arrow "DR" points to the one real world). If they do interact to violate Bell, the arrow becomes useless and the thing is necessarily modal realistic (actualization spreads to all cats - this did not have to be the case before!) and quantum.
    If AdS/CFT is dual, does that mean that relativity has a dual in the no gravity dual?

    "I do not understand this question."

    Fair enough. Hmm... my thinking was something like this:

    ADS is dual to CFT
    # dimensions D + physical theory T is dual to # dimensions Q + physical theory R
    4-dim spacetime (D) + general relativity (T) is dual to spherical surface (Q) + ????? (R)

    My question was, if this reasoning makes sense, what is R?

    "Gosh - was that useful?"

    Probably not. 'Tautological emptiness' has become a favorite of mine though.

    "I thought you said you were at the bottom of the cliff? ;-)"

    It was a small hill. I didn't notice my shoelace was undone :(

    vongehr
    ADS is dual to CFT
    # dimensions D + physical theory T is dual to # dimensions Q + physical theory R
    4-dim spacetime (D) + general relativity (T) is dual to spherical surface (Q) + ????? (R)
    Q is one or more spatial dimension less (it still has the t-direction). R is here the theory on the conformal boundary, with "CFT" standing for conformal field theory, which is explained on the wiki page for example. I don't like throwing around fancy names, so think about the black hole duality: Being made from open strings dancing with each other while attached to the event horizon feels like being made from closed strings and membranes etc. that fall into the black hole.
    Concerning solipsism, Bertrand Russell dealt appropriately and definitely with it when he wrote:
    "As against solipsism it is to be said, in the first place, that it is psychologically impossible to believe, and is rejected in fact even by those who mean to accept it. I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others. Coming from a logician and a solipsist, her surprise surprised me."

    Well, I dare say humour is a social construct and a witticism from 50 years ago might be lost on today's po-faced internet hecklers :-)
     
    Nevertheless, I fail to see how Russell could assert so confidently what can and what cannot be believed. The rider "psychologically" seems to imply that he thought he knew everything that could ever be known about the human mind and what it's capable of believing and yet I don't think he was so arrogant as to have meant that. But if he thought that solipsism is logically impossible and he was crediting human beings with being consistently logical, that's even worse. Somewhere between these two extremes must lie the hoi polloi who think they believe it but, if we are to believe Russell, do not really. My Infinite Recursion Detector, which I freely admit I stole from Sascha, is already twitching with anticipation. I suppose it is possible to believe that you believe something and be wrong - if the criteria for belief in the two cases are significantly different. But in a simple sense, belief is just mental assent to a proposition, and to assert that one is a solipsist is generally intended to assert solipsism itself, not something about one's belief system. I believe that I believe that I believe that I believe... So what the hell did Russell mean? Who on earth should a human mind be incapable of holding the idea that they are dreaming? I do WHEN I'm dreaming (I'm a lucid dreamer). Russell must have meant that even when I'm really dreaming and know it, and believe that I believe it, I cannot really believe it. Actually that may be true - I'm rather skeptical about lucid dreaming. Perhaps Russell regarded solipsism as, at best, a lucid dream in which one deludes oneself that one knows one is dreaming but in fact the illusion of believing is part of the dream and one does not really believe that one is dreaming but merely dreams that one is lucid and dreams that one believes that one is dreaming that... Which is a charitable spin on the quote. Or, of course, he may have been talking crap.

    vongehr
    That is why I never liked Bertrand Russell. He knows how to make other self-righteous people feel warm and fuzzy, but fails to contribute insight (apart from a few math tricks). What is the fundamental difference between saying that the person I was yesterday was me and is not a different, other person, and describing all persons as different memory contents that can be related to one and the same "me" feeling (i.e. solipsism)? None but terminology. In classical physics, multiple realization of supervening minds is a given, but in QM, you can always pull back onto quantum states that are indistinguishable and then call that the system that is actually vital, while the rest is "environment". The description of all minds as one quantum supperposition of one mind is parsimony of the description.
    Quentin Rowe
    While some still think that ultra modern physics simply becomes yet more subjective via pulling back further onto the observer as a conscious individual “now”, thus pushing magic quantum consciousness, ...
    I don't see how this approach pushes into "magic quantum conciousness", whatever that may be.


    For example, even though I gain many insights from taking into account the 'conscious observer' at the macro-human level, I recognize that this approach doesn't directly predict interference or wave-like behaviour. Your essays address interference at the macro level - this is why I find your efforts to bridge the seeming separate quantum levels so insightful and worthwhile.


    SynapticNulship
    While some still think that ultra modern physics simply becomes yet more subjective via pulling back further onto the observer as a conscious individual “now”, thus pushing magic quantum consciousness, I say that the next step is instead pulling back onto the describer/description(for example me the author over long times, needing consideration of finite time resolution), which is completely consistent with Dennett’s elimination of regress error type “phenomenal consciousness” via reported consciousness (self-descriptions) 
    Proving postmodernism via heterophenomenology? Trying to beat Dennett with his own weapon?
    vongehr
    Not "prove postmodernism" - whatever there is of use inside PM as far as I can tell (and there is crazy stuff identifying with that label), description relativity is the closest in physics. BTW, others started calling me postmodernist. I can change my opinion and terminology, did it a lot lately actually. Tell me why not.
    I do not try to beat Dennett either. I have little respect for big names, but Dennett is one of the better ones who I still have a lot of respect for.
    Heterophenomenology: I am not seeing this term as fully applicable considering physics. I should think about it. Thank you for bringing it up.
    vongehr
    Heterophenomenology: Still not 100% sure on how you mean your comment. Phenomenology in modern physics is about how it seems to the observer, and the reported observation being relative to the observer is a fact that leads to some "distrust" of the reported. So "heterophenomenology" is just plain phenomenology. Dennett writes almost litterally that heterophenomenology is no more but proper phenomenology. I focus on the time scale over which the description (the report) emerges and distinguish fundamental descriptions over large timescales that have intersubjective inputs. There is some "distrust" involved (the conscious animal is always only a half second bit of reading its own description as a writer). Is that "heterophenomenology"? A big word for sure - it better be necessary.
    SynapticNulship
    My comment was tongue in cheek because Daniel Dennett is anti postmodernism (e.g., http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/postmod.tru.htm). Your use of the term is of course not condoning all things that could be attributed to postmodernism; in fact you are using it more specifically in the support of science as opposed to an alternative to science.
    colinkeenan
    What is Bell's fifth postulate? 
    I briefly tried a google search and didn't easily find something. Also didn't read the above comments yet, but the word "postulate" does not appear on this page (other than in Postmod Phys JPG.JPG where I saw it).
    vongehr
    Bell's fifth position, not "postulate".