Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Physics As Performed By Abbott & Costello – Part 1

Posted in Who's On First? by Huckleberry on May 16, 2014

So we have this conundrum in our understanding of the nature of the universe.
Before you read this, please see Giraffe’s question/video first, because this is a direct response to both:

I am re-reading Schroedinger’s Kittens. According to that book, photons, traveling at speed c, don’t experience the passage of time. So from our frame, a photon hits the first detector before the other has to make it’s decision on whether or not we will know the path information. But from the frame of the two photons, they both arrive at the same instant they left. So there is no “back history” between the time they left and the time they arrive from the frame of the two photons. I don’t know what that means, but damn if it ain’t confusing, since there is a passage of time from our frame between the first photon arriving and the second.
But I find it shocking, that apparently the universe reacts to a conscious observer.


The basic problem that results from the Wheeler experiment shown in the video is that in a sense, the future informs the past, which flips over one of the foundations of our reality – causality – which topples the apple cart of our idea of time as a one-directional and linear. Other experiments in what is termed Quantum Field Theory also lead in this direction.
First, I need to clarify a couple of things in Giraffe’s comment, then I’ll lay out the “mainstream” nuts and bolts before going into my own brand of crackpottery on the subject. This may go for a couple of posts, though, because I don’t want to foist 5,000 words on the unsuspecting like some kind of asshole.

But from the frame of the two photons, they both arrive at the same instant they left. So there is no “back history” between the time they left and the time they arrive

This is true. Technically massless objects traveling at the speed of light really aren’t traveling at all. Think about it. Travel is some permutation of distance versus time – but if your velocity is a fixed constant that nothing else can exceed, you may as well be standing still, from your perspective. For our two erstwhile photons, it’s not even so much that they don’t have a ‘back history’ it’s that they have no history at all because there is no temporal and virtually no spatial dimension to their existence at all.
Basically, everything that the entangled photons were, are and will be exist simultaneously without differentiation — from their perspective. This is part of the supersymmetric model that I’ll touch on in a bit. Beyond the photons’ frame, distance and time are provided by the observer in the experiment. This is why there is no such thing as a completely passive experiment, because there will always be some measure of observation bias when an observer is present. So the presence of the observer with his own perspective locked squarely in an arena where even objects traveling at the speed of light can move painfully slow at celestial distances changes the game. While the observer’s “forcing” each photon to flip its switch while choosing its path matters not a bit to the photons, it still travels a distance in a span of time from the perspective of everything else.
So the back history of each photon, to us, and the implications that spring from the fact that the course of the successor sometimes determines the course of the predecessor, leads us to question our literally lyin’ eyes, and ask questions that our resident astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson “doesn’t have time for.”
Part of the issue is the randomness that rules at the quantum level. There is enough probability at play at the sub-atomic level that it brings into question the independent nature of the universe. Many quantum interactions simply don’t take place until they’re observed, which is a frightening idea if you stop and think about it for a second, instead of following our resident astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson across the street, because he still “doesn’t have time for that.”
Next, I’ll go over supersymmetry, why just about everything that happens at the quantum level is a result of collapsing probabilities, what this means for the nature of time, how perspective drives basically everything, then delve into the seldom-explored area of temporal mechanics known as Backward Time Interpretation.
Then I’ll take it a step further and explain my perverse perspective on the whole tableau.

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2 Responses

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  1. El Borak said, on May 16, 2014 at 12:46

    Keep it coming, baby.

  2. Giraffe said, on May 16, 2014 at 17:28

    awesome. Thanks for doing this.


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