Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Is Nothing Like?


When we as young children begin our journey of consciousness, we discover by about age two the belief that the lonely dark nothing of empty space is something after all. That belief in the nothing of empty space anchors further discovery and helps us discover the way the world of objects works. The discovery that the nothing of space is really something not only anchors further discovery for survival, but provides purpose and meaning far beyond survival.

But we begin life by sensing objects and light, not space, and objects and light are actually what reality is all about, not really space. When we no longer sense an object, we come to believe that an empty space now exists where that object was. This belief in empty space allows us to know that the object still exists and is simply now hidden by other objects or by some distance away from us and that is why we no longer sense the object. We come to believe that space exists even though we never sense space directly and even though empty space is simply the lack of an object that is now hidden from view or sensation.

We sense objects and learn their objective properties like color, texture, mass, time delay, and so on and can agree with others about those objective properties. Each object in the universe exists with a well-defined and measurable time delay from us and various time delays from other objects. These time delays are all equivalent to spatial distances from us and other objects and that is how we keep track of objects. We use particular objects called landmarks to provide reference frames for locating other objects, but there is really never any lack of objects in our perception or even anywhere in the universe. In other words, the notions that we have about continuous empty space and time are just that...convenient notions that help us to keep track of objects.

There is a long history of discourse in philosophy about the nature of the nothing of empty space. Why is there something rather than nothing? is a question in a recent book by philosopher Jim Holt, "Why Does the World Exist?" The history of nothing ranges from Zeno in ancient Greece up through modern times with Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. Since we neither sense nor measure the nothing of empty space, there is actually no way to answer such an inexplicable question and this book simply continues the endless discourse about the nature of nothing. The world is existence and so the question reduces to the identity of existence existing and the nature of this identity is obvious.

Philosophy, after all, is an endless discourse about the nature of the universe. Philosophy asks and attempts to answer many inexplicable questions since it is not always clear which questions we can answer. Why there is something rather than nothing is an existential question that has no answer other than the identity; the universe exists because it exists. There is no sense to a discourse about nothing except that nothing is a convenient way to keep track of a lack of objects. Just like the zero of our number system, the notion of the nothing of empty space provides a way of keeping track of a lack of objects of certain kinds. However, there is simply no sense to the absolute lack of all objects including a universe since the universe is what defines what exists and we are an inextricable part of the existence of that universe.

Reality exists as objects, light, and time and with discrete matter, time delay, and action; from just these three axioms all reality emerges. When we sense a red object, in addition to its red color that many others agree is red, we have feelings about that red object that are unique to us. Our unique lifetime of experience with red objects and unique development mean that the red object results in a feeling about the object that is unique for each person. It could be that the red color is an illusion, for example, or that we may see all objects as red because we happen to lack other pigments in our retina.

So it is very important for consciousness to have some kind of anchor as a belief in nothing, which is simply the belief that objects continue to exist even when we no longer see or sense them. After all, when an object hides other objects or when objects are simply out of our immediate perspective or simply be too far away to sense, we say then that there is empty space between us and some background behind where the object was. However, objects simply do not disappear and reappear according to common classical reality.

In our quantum reality, though, objects as matter waves always exist in superposition states and there is a coherent phase that somehow links their futures together. It is quantum phase coherence that provides a kind of glue that binds the universe of both charge and gravity together. Knowing the state of a matter wave provides information on the complementary coherent states of that matter wave everywhere else in the universe as well.

Although instantaneous information transfer cannot occur, quantum entanglement does make it seem like matter-wave information transfers instantaneously across the universe. However, the information about a matter wave state is simply received or felt by each of two quantum observers across the universe and those quantum observers do not transfer or communicate that information across the universe in a classical and deterministic sense of cause and effect.

If two quantum observers know about each other's complementary matter wave phase coherence, they will feel and come to know the complementary events even across the universe. However, the observers do need to know before hand about the common source that created those two events and have discovered the way the universe really works. In other words, there is a quantum bond between the two observers across the universe as a result of the coherence of a common matter wave. These two observers will then have complementary feelings about those two events that they will simply not be able to understand without a lot of prior knowledge.