Reality

The Invisible Science, And The Imaginary.

Well, how many Higg's Bosons ARE there in a spoonful of sugar?
How many Higg’s Bosons do you want in your coffee?

Frauds and their Behaviour, Part 7

“Even if modern physics or other branches of science declare that behind the colours there is vibrating etheric substance, it soon becomes obvious that what is thus assumed to lie behind the colours is something added by thought. Nobody can actually perceive what physics declares to be vibrations, movements, of which colour is merely an effect; nor can anybody say with certainty whether there is reality in what is alleged to lie behind the sense-impressions.”

Rudolf Steiner, 22nd March, 1910.

The point of this short post is to discuss the nature of reality. In the course of my life, I occasionally  meet scientists of various flavours: physicists, botanists and International Relations Managers. Well, the latter wasn’t actually a scientist, and he hadn’t studied it beyond school, but because of the way he thought, he reckoned that I couldn’t be a scientist because I wasn’t saying the things he wanted to hear. Anyway, my point is that when speaking with real scientists, if the subject should wander to the likes of atoms, I ask them to point to one – which is absurd, but nevertheless, it shouldn’t be a problem to actually point to one, given the fact that scientists believe that the world is made of them, and that there are so many of them.

The problem is that they’re so tiny, you just can’t see them… which is of course, is the crux of the problem. Whilst chemists and physicists actually point to some very real phenomena, their manner of describing what is going on is by no means as real. In other words, there are other ways to describe what is taking place before one’s eyes. More importantly still, because all these people have been trained in the scientific mode of thinking, they all believe the same things. Oh, and my International Relations Manager thinks he thinks the same things too, even if he doesn’t because he doesn’t understand the mathematics that they do, and so can’t solve the equations (which, by the way, I can).

You can begin to see that the scientists agree with each other because, well, it’s kinda nice to be in the club, and the International Relations Manager would be happy too, if he could understand what they were talking about. I mean, as a trained scientist, I had a few problems understanding what a few guys were nattering about – they were chatting about the new (and now defunct) LEP tunnel at CERN. That’ll tell you how long ago I was lunching there, but that really is another story. The point is that not all scientists understand the same science.

Well, if we did, physicists would understand botany and botanists would understand International Relations. Well, she claims to, because the International Relationship Manager is buying her Martinis, and if she agrees with him and tells him the things he wants to hear, he’ll buy her another.

So, they all share a common ability to believe in things they can’t see because it’s been proved mathematically, on paper. The evidence is there. What’s more, in the same lecture (see above), Dr Steiner gave us a clue about materialistic thinking, when he said “We perceive the red of the rose; delight in the rose is an inner experience; perception of the red colour is an outer experience”. In the terms of this post, the evidence that is written down for the scientist – even the evidence the scientist writes down for himself – is an outer experience. In other words, it is ‘objective’.

Put this the other way around, and the scientist who is objective in this way is not being reflective. He isn’t employing his soul to delight in the boring black biro jottings on his work pad. It might evoke some kind of enthusiasm, but what quality does this have? After all, the whole point about one’s soul is to perceive the quality involved in the things one perceives. The scientist simply doesn’t have to because it’s Unscientific. What’s more, our International Relations Manager, who can’t understand what’s being said isn’t there to disagree because he’s in the bar downstairs with the botanist.

Using alcohol to dull the perceptions of the outside world rather than delight in them.

It is the external nature of the perception involved that is the important element; after all, if it’s outside one, one cannot have any control over it. Well, you can if you are recording the data yourself, but if someone else has done it for you, then you are at their mercy. Well you’re not because he’s a friend, and we all trust our friends when they all share the same terminology. And the International Relations Manager is a friend even if he doesn’t understand the terminology, because he buys the drinks.

More importantly, it is the externality of that evidence that is the problem: it has to be perceived by the senses. And nothing more. The scientist is cold and apathetic because he hasn’t engaged his soul – but then, he can’t because he can’t prove his having a soul. You can begin to see that he’s driven himself into the cleft of a stick, or he’s up a creek and he’s forgotten that he has a paddle.

Now when he hasn’t any inner reflections on the things he sees, there can be no real opposition to them. In short, there’s nothing to stop him from looking into the mathematics, creating another intricate set of equations and proving that the moon is made of cheese use statistics to prove the Higg’s boson exists. Well, it amounts to much the same thing in the end, doesn’t it? I mean, how many teaspoonfuls of Higg’s bosons do you want in your coffee?

If these things are real, they do need to be a real part of the world we live in – and this is where it kinda gets problematic. The scientific community have satisfied themselves that the boson belonging to Mr Higg does actually exist, but we have done so using a sleight of hand and some deftly notated mathematical formulae. The problem of how many there actually are in a spoonful of sugar that you’re going to put in your coffee simply doesn’t arise because you can only isolate one of these bosons using a colossal piece of equipment several times bigger and vastly more powerful than the now defunct LEP accelerator.

Because you don’t need a Large Hadron Collider – which is the new toy at CERN – because reality can be detected by using one’s own ability to reflect on the things that one sees oneself. This activity in itself will lead one to a self-imposed limitation. That is to say, the more one is able to reflect on the reality surrounding one, and the more one delights in it and the less one needs to know how many Higg’s Bosons there are in a spoonful of sugar. You’ll be enjoying the sugary coffee instead.

Related:

 

An Inconvenient Antimatter.

Infinity From A Different Perspective.

In our modern day and age, scientists have a concept that they call anti-matter. The sort of stuff that has positive electrons and negative protons, that kind of thing. In short, it is a very neat – indeed, exact – “turning around” of the scientist’s thoughts.

Read more…

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4 thoughts on “The Invisible Science, And The Imaginary.

  1. Ah, I can see that there are not that many people able and willing to engage with Physics and Philosophy at the same time. I will admit to an unfair advantage here — a first degree in Physics and Philosophy. (By the way, the date of this reply is due to my only today having discovered your blog… 🙂 )

    My guess is that you would like to go beyond the normal scope of academic ontology and epistemology as well.

    A starting point for a conversation might be that we can consider “reality” from different points of view. Higgs bosons belong to the reality of the particle physicist, I would conjecture — and how we like our coffee belongs to a reality shared between us. The two are quite distant, but, to me, none the less “real” for that.

    And perhaps that extends also to meaningfulness? I’m guessing again, that the locus of meaning shifts for you as it shifts for me, as we reflect on our accruing life experience. The search for the Higgs might have brought a young physicist a deep sense of meaning. Whether I drink coffee at all may slump into an abyss of meaninglessness, as deeper things come to prominence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou for your reading my post with such care, along with your comment.

      Now: “Higgs bosons belong to the reality of the particle physicist, I would conjecture — and how we like our coffee belongs to a reality shared between us.” Reality – if it is to be real in any meaningful sense – needs to be real for everybody. I’ll put that better: it needs to be real for all those who seek the realities of our world.

      That is to say, ten gazillion Higg’s Bosons in one’s teaspoon of sugar will make the coffee taste sweeter. The sugar makes a difference – the Higg’s Bosons are irrelevant. If they are such a fundamental part of our universe, they will be everywhere and be both part of the coffee, the water and the sugar… they are in that respect, everything … and nothing. You can’t see them, you can’t distinguish them, and there is no trace of them save for a statistical slant in a mountain of data.

      If something is going to be meaningful, it needs to be more meaningful than analyzed data – the provenance of which is riddled by subjective assumptions that the scientists are largely unaware of. That’s not exactly good science, is it? In this respect, meaningfulness needs not only to be subjective – but it needs to be consistently subjective for all those who meet it. Whether they like it or not!

      That is to say, sugar makes coffee taste different, and does so in the same way for everybody. Even if you yourself don’t like putting sugar in your coffee.

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  2. Well, I’m sure you would agree that there are many people in the world for whom sugar in coffee is a foreign concept. There are perhaps people who would be unwilling, if not unable, to investigate the difference that sugar makes to the taste of coffee. And that’s not counting children…

    As far as I can make out, there are extremely few things, if any, for which, strictly, the experience is the same for everyone. And if this is the case, then why draw the line at the relatively low numbers of physicists? Any number you may set as a threshold for qualifying as “reality” is, in the end arbitrary — I could say, subjective.

    Sure, the way in which a physicist experiences a Higgs boson is generally rather different from the way in which you experience sugar in your coffee. Again, where is the line?

    Tricky thing, this “reality”…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now! You say “As far as I can make out, there are extremely few things, if any, for which, strictly, the experience is the same for everyone.”

      Yes, there are cultural differences – and to a lesser degree, individual differences in experience. Sugar was an example I pulled out of a hat, as it was reflecting a discussion I had with a friend and we’d just bought some coffees at the railway station before embarking. I only wanted to know how many Higg’s Bosons he wanted in his coffee…

      Now, if we are to explore reality, we have to look for the cruder examples in life. The things that really are obvious – rather than the more trivial aspects such as sugar in coffee.

      Take Vindaloo curries, they are unremittingly hot. Spicy. Now I added a little too much cayenne pepper to my chilli con carne… and believe me, it is spicy. It is true that if one tastes this for long enough, the impact does wane: nevertheless, Vindaloo curries and cayenne pepper are best avoided if one’s tongue is on the tender side.

      But this brings me to an important point, and that is that if we are to experience reality, we can’t just dismiss it with casual remarks about everybody experiencing the world differently. We have to use ourselves as our own baseline, taking our own individual nature into account, and in thus knowing our own sensitivities, we can then determine what the reality of the situation actually is.

      As to my taking down physicists, I’ve had a go at psychologists, painters, authors and businessmen amongst others. Those who have taken the trouble to understand themselves tend to come out rather better than those who haven’t.

      I’ve even poked fun at the military…

      https://gemmasponderings.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/a-war-in-a-very-green-land/

      Like

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