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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/27/18 at 5:35am UTC, wrote Dear Victor, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Steven Andresen: on 2/23/18 at 13:25pm UTC, wrote Dear Victor If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

John Merryman: on 2/12/18 at 1:42am UTC, wrote Victor, That is both an accessible and deep description of our cognitive...

George Gantz: on 1/31/18 at 16:59pm UTC, wrote Victor - I really enjoyed reading your essay, thanks. Clearly this is a...

Joe Fisher: on 1/31/18 at 16:27pm UTC, wrote Dear Fellow Essayists This will be my final plea for fair treatment., ...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 1/30/18 at 22:51pm UTC, wrote Hi Dr.Victor Usack Wonderful analysis… “It seems to me the more...

Victor Usack: on 1/26/18 at 2:52am UTC, wrote Marcel You are right. I admire your work and think the world would do...

Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 1/25/18 at 19:13pm UTC, wrote Well Done Victor! Wonderful arguments about the knowability of the real...


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FQXi FORUM
May 26, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Fundamentally Complicated, and apparently mostly unobservable, or, trying to squirm out of Paul Davies mental straight jacket inherited from evolutionary happenstance. by Victor Usack [refresh]
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Author Victor Usack wrote on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 21:55 GMT
Essay Abstract

FXQI administrator Brendan Foster taunts us with impossible resolution of the mind. The author labors under the illusion there will ever be a consensus to such a philosophical question. Why is that? Could it be the problem lies in the mind and not in some missing observation in the external reality? In this essay I abandon the realist credo of separate observer holding a (more or less) accurate reflection of the actual external reality. No doubt this has worked well to effect technology and we may like to extend this scope to the big ontological questions posed by the essay theme. However, consensus we have not, and the divide between fact and opinion bears witness to something more. Although fully half of me takes this question seriously, I pray the reader shares in my amusement. Let us begin with understanding the question. It seems to me the more fundamental the question is, the more difficult is unequivocal answer. Hmm. This inversion of fundamental simplicity and the knowable vexes my mind. As if fundamental questions were not difficult enough, Mr. Foster would have us evaluate the fundamental itself. This speaks of his diabolical nature. I must retort! Game on!

Author Bio

Vik Usak is a retired technical specialist from Brookhaven National Laboratory. He participated in the construction, maintenance, and operations of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, G-2 measurement, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and the National Synchrotron Light Source 2. He retired in 2015 to pursue private studies and pray.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 03:04 GMT
Dear Victor Usack,

You say "the myth of empirical science, accurately reflected in reason, started dying a hundred years ago." I will avoid the "(uncomfortable) awareness of the subjective component to this business." I will avoid even the realist versus idealist aspects. But you then say

"Like time, we have firm intuitive grasp of its meaning."

But over 100 years ago Einstein presented two axioms from which he concluded the "relativity of simultaneity" completely in conflict with our intuitive grasp of time! You mention other "philosophical tailspins", concluding "like the Papacy, the Bureau of Standards is not open to certain types of inquiry." [I like that!]

You note that "the consensual trend seems to be toward the constancy of time as the fundamental reference. The number of oscillations defines the second, [and the second defines the number of oscillations.]" You then ask "is the definition of time a rate or interval?" and then stipulate that the observer's clock and the oscillator are not moving relative to each other.

You extend this "contingency" argument to a number of fundamentals, all of which you do well, but I'll jump off here to blow my own horn. My essay treats the historical development of Einstein's "relativity of simultaneity" in a way that I hope will catch your interest. I would appreciate any comments you might give me.

My best regards, and congratulations on a very well-written essay.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Anonymous replied on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 17:06 GMT
Ed

Your avoidance is an example of the way we navigate around the philosophical problems. Correct to say relativity assaults the firm intuitive grasp (inherited from evolutionary happenstance). As you can see, I have abandoned myself lost in a conceptual landscape. I allow myself nothing to hold on to except the comfortable providence granted me. SRT works. Synchrotron timing requires SRT. The way I see it, length contraction, time dilation, and relative mass are all ways of looking at the same phenomena. In any description something gets fixed. In the conventional case it is the observer frame. Seconds, meters, and kilograms have fixed meaning at rest in the observers frame. They are variables outside the given frame. My assertion is that we can choose to fix anything we want and write a description. I have not yet found time to digest your essay. But at a glance it seems you would choose to fix the time dimension. Fixing the time dimension seems a sensible realist approach. I have no doubt that would work. At this point I don’t know what advantage it has. The mathematics of SRT is not bad, but GRT is. My challenge to you is to write a description of space – gravitation without the bloody Einstein field equations. Help me out. Where is the simple calculation for the correction factor to keep the clock on a geostationary satellite synchronized with my watch? I suspect some preconceived notions are preventing us from convenient description. Perhaps the conundrum of ether, background dependent-independent descriptions, relativity of motion, in short the mystery of space, is not yet understood. I harp on the realism thing because I suspect it prevents us from the stroke of imagination needed to write convenient theories. I have much more to say concerning time but not enough space here.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 07:54 GMT
Hi Victor,

Quote "I look for problems with the perceptual, instead of the actual. The “observer – observation system” is a step in the right direction, but still maintains the realist distinction; an appeal to a third person perspective i.e. “I’m looking at myself look at it.” VU. Absolutely a step in the right direction.

Quote "The actual reality beyond observation, that must exist, is reconciled with the directly observed by selective thinking." VU. Yes a very important point. they are not the same, I have made a list of differences to demonstrate they are absolutely not the same thing.

Quote "Ultimately, I think, the idealist must call into question the distinction between the observer (or self) and the observation."VU. Very important point. Measurables are relative, not sole properties of the entity investigated. The measurement the observer obtains or what he sees is relative to his particular viewpoint, orientation or state of motion or the procedure he used to obtain a limited, fixed state, or fixed value, measurement outcome. If it is a visual product of observation it is in his mind not external to him.

Thoroughly enjoyable essay. I love that you openly express your frustration and puzzlement through well considered discourse. I like the open questions. For some of which I have answers and others are food for thought. Right brain at end? Kind regards Georgina

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 09:37 GMT
By the way, there is an FQXi blog page about the poor old kilogram. You said re. retiring "Le Grand K artifact", "This would seem to alleviate the philosophical problems" VU. I think it somehow severs that intuitive feeling for what mass is. Comparing like with like seems right, even if a dirty (or over cleaned) old school method. Muddling material objects and electromagnetic phenomena caused the category error in Relativity. Georgina

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Heinrich Luediger wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 16:34 GMT
Hi Victor,

You say: “My inability to distinguish the way it is from the way I’m looking at it drives me to schizophrenic madness” and: “One of the fundamental philosophical conundrums is the nature of space as a self-subsistent entity, or instead something that is only real in relation to matter.”

The problem has already been solved by Felix Klein: Klein defined space as properties conserved under a transformation group. The Euclidean group is defined as the group of transformations conserving distances and angles (reflection is of no point here). Now, objects like blocks of stone had been manipulated long before Euclid, and it was already then general knowledge that objects don’t break when (if so carefully) translated or rotated. ‘Not-breaking’, however, is equivalent to the ‘conservation of object distances and angles’. So, the ‘space’ of our operations in the world is no geometrical space at all, but defined by operations and relations. Then Euclidean space is that geometrical space NOT CONTRADICTING our operations in the world. And since we have no experience concerning ‘spaces’ in which e.g. a left shoe can be transformed into a right shoe without tearing it up (4D), any speculation about other than Euclidean spaces is in vain.

Your headache results from trying to be an idealist AND a positivist. How about rationalism?

Heinrich

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 17:23 GMT
Victor,

“I once tried to construct a theory of gravity by invoking an artificial and variable unit of volume.”

I did so too. Here it goes..

Time slows down as we get closer to the ground. Then an object falls toward a slower time. A slower time means “longer seconds”. So, in order for c (meter/second) to remain constant, the meters must grow as much as the seconds get longer. In other words, an object falling toward the ground actually falls into larger space. And, falling into larger space is dispersion a.k.a. the essential of thermodynamics.

So you have gravity is an entropic event or vice-versa. ???

-- Interesting and readable interrogations essay ... But short of the metaphysical answer. All models, numbers etc. are on a need to know basis only. The Universe need not to know any of it in order to happen. So, the universe is what IS and Happen before we look or think about it....

Marcel,

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Author Victor Usack replied on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 12:42 GMT
Marcel

Thank you for the generous response. Most replies are expressions of agreement or disagreement. You provide rare contribution. I find your comments valuable as I try to develop my ideas. You are correct that my essay is short on answers. It is not intended to be an answer but rather a question. We assume unlimited scope to our logic. All these essays, in my estimation, point to the absurd belief that the ultimate questions posed by FQXi can be unequivocally answered on the basis of established facts and absolute distinctions. For me, the medley of opinions points to a personal truth as opposed to a universal truth. A sort of extreme relativity. But this leads to the self-referential paradox; the fact that ultimate truth is personal then becomes the ultimate truth. We could suppose the ultimate rules do not apply to themselves but I will leave you to follow that philosophical tailspin. I should expect my fellow human beings to reject notion that identifying the most significant fundamental is futile. Most of them know what it is. I do not.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel replied on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 17:33 GMT
Victor,

I define truth as an absence of choice for anyone. The moment we choose, it can`t be a truth.

We don`t have a choice about how we perceive/construct our reality .. So, our reality is a truth system defined by a number of impossibilities.

Impossibility to see beyond UV and IR, to hear above 15k Hz..etc.. These impossibilities define the specific window of our reality.

On the other hand, our intellect has no impossibilities other than those we are accepting. A choiceless logical argument will constitute a truth system in itself. All we have to do is consider the right concepts i.e. existence (substance) and spontaneity (cause).

All the bests,

Marcel,

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Author Victor Usack replied on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 02:52 GMT
Marcel

You are right. I admire your work and think the world would do better with thoughtful people like yourself. However your response is an invitation to the philosophical tailspin. From my vantage this is a futile exercise since I can neither prove nor disprove your assertions and vice versa. I see this as exemplary of the human condition. I claim the ultimate truth unknowable. But if...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 20:03 GMT
Dear Victor,

I think FQXi.org might be trying to find out if there could be a Natural fundamental. I am surprised that so many of the contest's entrants do not appear to know what am fundamental to science, or mathematics, or quantum histrionics.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Jan. 25, 2018 @ 19:13 GMT
Well Done Victor! Wonderful arguments about the knowability of the real world, about the impossibility of determining the primary between the ideal and the real world, to limit the judgment of the person only his experience, his programming from communication with other people.

You write: "The equivalence of material and spatial volume may seem like a simplifying assumption, but perhaps it behooves us to exotic geometry to effect a viable description of gravitation" is built On this New Cartesian Physics and if we believe Descartes that space is identical to matter, its quantity it is necessary to measure not mass, but volume. Take a look at my essay in which I try to make the space Foundation for fundamental theories. Let for yourself if it is not perceived by others. It'll make me feel more fundamental.

With great respect, Boris Dizhechko Semyonovich

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 22:51 GMT
Hi Dr.Victor Usack

Wonderful analysis… “It seems to me the more fundamental the question is, the more difficult is unequivocal answer. Hmm. This inversion of fundamental simplicity and the knowable vexes my mind.”…… dear Dr Victor Usack…. With the same analytic mind…. If you can analyse my essay also….

I hope you may please spend some of the valuable time on Dynamic...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 16:27 GMT
Dear Fellow Essayists

This will be my final plea for fair treatment.,

FQXI is clearly seeking to find out if there is a fundamental REALITY.

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe must consist only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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George Gantz wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 16:59 GMT
Victor - I really enjoyed reading your essay, thanks. Clearly this is a difficult journey, for you and for many, as the goal of comprehending the universe continues to slip away even as we seem so close. You and Hawking! We believe the universe is comprehensible - but find empirical, rational thought inadequate to the task of comprehending it. We are, at last and at the first, pushed into mysticism.

Cheers - George

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 01:42 GMT
Victor,

That is both an accessible and deep description of our cognitive circling.

If I have a particular point of disagreement it would be that space is virtual. In the preceding paragraph you observe that zero is a recent mathematical addition, but that modern math would be inconceivable without it. I would argue space is the physical equivalent to mathematical zero.

If...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 13:25 GMT
Dear Victor

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please?

A couple of days in and semblance of my essay taking form, however the house bound inactivity was wearing me. I had just the remedy, so took off for a solo sail across the bay. In the lea of cove, I had underestimated the open water wind strengths. My...

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:35 GMT
Dear Victor,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

Your essay allowed to consider us like-minded people.

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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