Sunday, August 3, 2014
The Arrow of Time
Though we sometimes pride ourselves on our high degree of science, culture and our unique individuality within it, there is a legacy from which we cannot yet escape. With good reason we rarely doubt what we are able to observe and confirm against those preconceived ideas that populate our paradigm of reality. For we surely would not have survived the rigors of wild nature without such dependability built into our landscapes. Despite our advances in science and technology, the manner in which we observe the world forms our experiences. However we do this in much the same fashion that our Stone Age ancestors did. This legacy inherited from our primordial past is not in truth very much removed from those of our mammal cousins. For me however a question remains. Was this inherent hard wired dependability a natural product of our environments, or was it rather a manifestation of our uniquely human senses? Will these senses eventually evolve to a point through which the new theories will be readily observable to us? Until such a time we must be satisfied with the knowledge that advances in fields of general and quantum physics that tell us now that all is not exactly as it seems.
The concept of space-time is by no means a new Idea. Although it has been accepted for over a century by most experts it however remains contrary to common sense. It in essence states that what the universe of our experience is a four dimensional object through which an observable particle’s course through it can in theory be plotted at any point in its existence. The past then, once thought to be only a construct of memory could one day in theory be charted as navigable points along the arrow of time. However current ideas on expansion in which it is postulated that at one time the universe expanded at a rate far faster than the speed of light.
Quantum entanglement or what Einstein called Spooky action at a distance describes in essence that a pair of particles separated by great distances can affect each other’s characteristic states instantaneously as if they are entangled. This includes particles separated by distance greater than that which light can travel in that same time. This exchange of information between the pair apparently is contrary to general relativity which sets the cosmic speed limit at the speed of light.
Schrodinger postulated in his famous cat in a box thought experiment that an outcome cannot be known until it is observed and until that moment it can exist in all of its potential states at once. This thought experiment was examined in the equally famous Double slit experiments. Where in evidence was discovered that when unobserved particles behaved as both particles and waves, fixing their states only upon measurement. The same is true of the cat he is both alive and dead until we observe the cat.
Furthermore what we consider to be matter is no more than fields of force conferring their constituent characteristics such as mass onto otherwise nondescript particles or waves. All of these things due to the limitations of our innate senses seem immediately to be counter intuitive or out and out false. All through advanced techniques however are observable, quantifiable and considered by most to be scientifically correct. The question then remains. Will the human race evolve to possess a deeper understanding of the universe and own place in it or shall we go the way of the Dodo?