Reality 101….

Posted on April 7, 2011


Fig 1 Reality?

Jenny: ” Tell me Professor, what’s all this nonsense about what’s real and what isn’t?”

Peter: : “Simple, you can tell if something is real if it kicks back, or if you punch it and it breaks or bruises your knuckles!”

Professor Wiggly; ” Not bad Peter. What’s REAL depends on what you throw at it and what bounces back. So what’s real  if you shine a flash light at it – say at your friend’s chest – is a different kind of real than if you shine an x-ray  at it, and it isn’t even there if you throw gamma rays at it – they go right through – no bounve back!. So when you want to talk about what’s real you have to describe who or what is throwing what , and what they’re catching the rebound  with – if there is one. When most people talk about reality they’re talking about what normal people with all their senses detect from light and sound waves bouncing back from a particular direction. But notice a dog, a cat or a bat will detect more ‘reality’ from bouncing back light and sound waves that you or I – so some aspects of their reality is larger than ours. Also, an x-ray plate detects more bounce back – a different reality than our eyes do… There may be other universes where different bounce back and detector systems produce different realities.”

Jenny: ” So what’s your saying is that what’s real – including what we call physical objects like rocks and furniture and teeth – may kickback different signals, or no signals at all?.”

Peter: ” Hey prof – on another planet they might even see ‘spirits’ rising from dead bodies – some floating or flapping up into the sky and others, down through man-hole covers to a Hell, a hell that happens to be invisible to us?”

Jenny: ” Oh come on Peter … get real!”

Professor Wiggly: ” Jenny, when you say ‘Get real’  by who’s definition? In principle Peter is right – what’s real depends on the bounce back detector system you use. To gamma rays most of  the world is empty – nothing there. So not only political and psychological reality and beauty lie in the eye of the beholder (the detector system) , but so too does ‘physical’ reality.”

Jenny: ” Yes but…..”

Posted in: Sciencing