Rollin' Like Sisyphus

No Time For That

The chronological listing of the posts that attempt to explain — in however a limited fashion — the questions posed by this video:

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.


Part I | 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 one-directional and linear…

Part II | It all started with the electron. Once upon a time, we had a pretty coherent model of how the universe worked within the constraints of the Laws of Physics as detailed by Newton. This worked out well for centuries, until some Einstein had the bright idea to reconcile an incongruity between light and motion. What resulted was, eventually, the famous equation E=MC²…

Part III | What does it mean to “observe” something? Usually, we think of it as a passive exercise, where a puffy man in a white lab coat quietly jots notes down on a clipboard while the observed thing takes place with complete autonomy. And it’s not difficult to come away with this impression – consider your five senses; three of them are seemingly passive, with your eyes, ears and nose receiving non-tactile, unobtrusive signals from the observed event…

Part IV | One of the most common mistakes people make is in conflating the concept of Observer Bias with the Uncertainty Principle. While the former is certainly a product of the latter, they are not the same thing. The Uncertainty Principle reveals a fundamental structural feature of our existence – you can’t know everything that you want to know when you want to know it…

Part V | Time is a funny thing. Listen to any physicist opine on what troubles him about cosmology or quantum mechanics, and you’ll hear a lot about gravity – it’s the sexy black box that we can’t even locate, that we just assume is there because while we can extrapolate it’s effects, we don’t know what it is…

Part VI | Like its progenitor, the Wheeler version of the experiment set out to find a specific answer to a long-standing problem, and ended up just reinforcing the original problem with a suggested conclusion that maybe everyone’s correct after all. The problem at question is basically the same thing we’ve already been discussing – to accept quantum mechanics on its face, we have to dismiss at least a couple of the following bedrocks of reality: 1) that the universe is localized, meaning it’s a contained entity immune to the machinations of forces beyond it; 2) that our physical laws are scalable and conform to reality as we know it; and 3) that the universe is a cause-and-effect system…

Part VII | We’ve already covered that time doesn’t work as we know it at the quantum level, and that the Observer Effect operates in a way that should make you shudder if you think too long on it. It would be easy to just dismiss the phenomenon as a quirk of reference framing, but the fact that the observer is clearly seeing verifiable evidence of a result determining it’s cause from the perspective of the observer needs to be reconciled…

Part VIII | Before I get into what I think, let me first preface everything by admitting that I know nearly nothing about how all of this is supposed to work because no one else does either. The giants in the field have a lot of ideas but little to show for it, so don’t expect your old pal Huckleberry, slapping at a keyboard connected to the Internet in a neo-simian manner to have it all laid out for you. Everything that follows is absolutely wild speculation, and I wholly admit to that without equivocation. The ideas are based simply on one drunkard’s cognitive attempts to reconcile experience with math with experiment, all of which contradict each other at various times in maddening ways, and not always consistently…

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