VERTIGO! That’s how I feel now, after reading these mini-articles in the latest issue of Wired Magazine. It seems like after all the scientific advances in the last few centuries, all we have done is answered some little questions. Plus, we have actually made those big old questions sound even harder (sometimes impossible) to answer thanks to Quantum Mechanics and Neuroscience. I though I was the only one not to get it in my neuroscience classes, but it seems like people who call themselves “neuroscientists” are even worse off!
Here are only a few of the things that may blow your mind:
The mind-boggling prospect that unless we observe an event or thing, it hasn’t really happened, that all possible futures are quantum probability functions waiting for someone to notice them – trees falling unheard in a forest. Maybe this article wasn’t even here until you turned to this page.
Now the whole universe is seen as a computer – a cosmic processor of information. When photons and electrons and other particles interact, what are they really doing? Exchanging bits, transmitting quantum states. Every burning star, every silent nebula, every particle leaving its ghostly trace in a cloud chamber is an information processor. The universe computes its own destiny.
Our understanding of time, Einstein said, is based on its relationship to our environment. Weirdly, the faster you travel, the slower time moves. The most radical interpretation of his theory: Past, present, and future are merely figments of our imagination, constructs built by our brains so that everything doesn’t seem to happen at once.
Just go and read the whole thing, it’s great!