It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Physical Paradoxes

page: 1
4

log in

join
share:

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:30 AM
link   
Hello.
I have an interest in metaphysics. I believe this to be my first topic on this board. I read a lot about Time and Space and have recently become interested in non-Euclidian geometry. Let me explain...
Space, in Euclidian geometry, is infinitely divisible. This means that between any two points, no matter the distance between them, there can always be a third point. Lets say you have 2 points a meter apart. You can half this distance, now you have a half meter. you can half this to make a quarter meter, you can half that to make an eighth, half that to make a sixteenth, half that to make a 32nd, half that to make a 64th etc and you can go on doing this indefinitely.
Now, Philosophers, lets say, Aristotle, believed that matter was NOT infinitely divisible. He believed in "atoms" (not what WE know as atoms to be now) which were absolutely indivisible. Aristotle did not believe in actual infinities, but he did recognize that logically infinities can exist (as mentioned with the two points).
Time, in our conventional understanding of it, is also infinitely divisible. This means that between any two events, there can (indeed, some will say must) be a third event. There is an interesting paradox pointed out by the philosopher Zeno, known as Zeno's Arrow. The interesting thing about this paradox is that while it makes logical sense, it states that while an object is in motion, it is, at any single 'instant' (undefinable, really) it is really at rest. You can imagine the arrow moving, and you can imagine the arrow moving one 'instant' at a time, but if 'instants' exist (and we have been taught, or at least, I have been taught that they most certainly do) then it must truly be at rest at any instant while it is in motion... the paradox, obviously, is that it is in motion and at rest and the same time.

Now, the obvious solution to this particular paradox is that there aren't really any such things as 'instants' and that time flows constantly without any event happening for a finite period of time. Which puts us back at square one, because that would make time infinitely divisible, which would mean that between any two events there would HAVE to be a third event, and between the first and the third event a fourth, between the first and the fourth a fifth etc etc, on and on infinitely, which would mean that the arrow is, and always was, and always will be at rest. This obviously doesn't make sense at all either. Natural Philosophers have been plagued by these such paradoxes for ages and they are nothing new.

What I am about to propose, however, is not radical at all. In fact, the answer to these questions might be glaringly obvious to some, and that is, as Descartes put it... "I think, therefore I am." And that is the only real, lets say, compass, that any of us have with reality. I cannot speak for your reality and you cannot speak for mine, and they might both be radically different. Where one event seems to take 2 seconds for me, might to a being with faster reflexes and more 'frames per second' it might be 20 seconds. Time may not be a constant, and time may not be a dimension all on its own. or, it might be a dimension. or, it might be more than one dimension. It could be two. Or three. Or four. The truth is that we really don't know and it's pretty much the only truth that I am absolutely sure of.
The answer, if you didn't figure it out, is that nothing actually exists. Neither you nor I, and so any answer we come up with is not really an answer but the illusion of an answer, much like life is an illusion that has realities which are only local, not even to just the observer, but down to the very last, infinitely divisible 'atom'. I'm not talking quarks or anything here. A quark, compared to this infinitely small space is like the Sun to a speck of dust on Earth. Actually that's a bad comparison because an infinitely small space is actually a very logically redundant thing to even attempt to explain because it is quite frankly, unfathomable. But such realities, I figure, must be local to these infinitely small spaces, that are only real for an infinitely short period of time. Actually, again, it's very logically redundant to say 'infinitely short' because it is unfathomable. However I digress. Things MUST exist because I am here, posting this and you are there, reading this. This ought not to be argued because then what is it that is arguing this supposition? Logic dictates (and I do not condone that logic is always correct) that you and I must exist because here we are contemplating things as we often do.

Okay enough talking. In my next post I want to tackle a little bit more of an 'arguable' issue, mainly, that of free will. I just want you to keep the above in mind, because my main argument is that, as complex as the Universe must inevitably seem to us, it MUST be simple in reality (whatever reality is, is up to you to define) because complexity exists only in our perceptions. Whatever my argument for anything is, it must, by definition of the simplicity of the universe, be absolutely wrong. Why? Well, in the next 1378 characters I'll try to explain.

That reality is real makes it so that it exists, and that it exists it must certainly be simple, because we suppose (sorry for generalizing you into my argument) that the chemistry and physics of the universe does not itself have a conscience with which it can contemplate and think itself into arrangements of existance. Gravity, for example, doesn't 'think' that a large boulder such as the moon will gravitate around a much larger boulder such as the earth. of course it can be argued that gravity does indeed think so, but then one would have to ask, well, where is it thinking from then? Physical forced and individual chemicals do not, to our knowledge, think, and that must, I believe, make the Universe as simple as it can get. And so, any argument anyone comes up with to try and explain the arrangement of reality must, i believe, be quite wrong, simply because there was no comprehension when reality came into being, so any amount of comprehension that will try and comprehend it will do nothing but fail miserably at explaining it. This is a very hard point to explain, so I'm really quite sorry for my inadequate explanation and if you have absolutely any questions about this I will be more than happy to TRY and go more in-depth on this, but as the theory dictates, it would be foolish of me to try for I would be wrong.




posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:40 AM
link   
Free Will Ain't So Free
(thanks to Stephen Hawking for his chapter "Black Holes Ain't So Black")

This post will be much shorter and open to much more debate.
Free Will, according to dictionary.com
"free will
n.
The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.

The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will."

I don't believe that free will truly exists, because none of us CHOSE to be born. As soon as we came into conception, we have had no CHOICE but to make choices. We have not had a choice BUT to think. And as we were forced to think, we were forced to contemplate. Certainly, we have all the free will to choose what we contemplate, and we most certainly have the choice to choose different things, but that we must make choices is not a choice. Any living being, whether it be a plant or an animal, does not have a choice but to survive, whether it be only for a short period of time. We even have the great choice of ending our conscious existence if we so choose to, but we have no choice about not HAVING to make that choice at all. As soon as we are born, some may argue, even before that, we are affecting the universe, and this of course, is not a choice we have control over. We MUST affect he Universe and this is simply how it is and I am truly sorry about this lack of choice, because in a world with true free will, I would have the choice of existing or not.

Told you, this would be short... and I'm sure I've given you great ammunition already to flame me and shoot my ludicrous opinions down. I am ready to be called crazy, a quack job, a half-philosopher. I am ready to be told that I do not know what I'm talking about. Do you want to know why?

Because I DON'T have ANY idea what I'm talking about and if I did I would be quite content.



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:34 AM
link   
Your ideas are interesting to consider. As far as "reality" is concerned, we're looking at a combination of the infinitely large and infinitely small occupying the same space. The laws for the very large don't work in the world of the very small, and vice versa. Because of that, I'm not convinced we might never find a unified field theory...I'm not sure such a thing exists. I keep being drawn back to the Principle of Uncertainty.

As far as "free will" is concerned, how do we know that we didn't choose to be born? Sometimes not making a choice is actually making a choice. Seeing as we live IN whatever reality we find ourselves in, isn't it impossible to choose without consideration of what surrounds us?
that is our point of reference. Those choices we make that affect those with whom we live and love cannot be made without consideration of those people. No man, as they say, lives on an island.



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 10:02 AM
link   
Interesting thoughts. I liked hearing the Zeno's Arrow theory.

Good stuff.

Cheers,
Pablo



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 11:42 AM
link   
I enjoyed you trying to confuse yourself. With perspective comes thought. Thought is the creator of all things. Where does it come from? Are you you, or something else?

All things in the universe have consciousness or they would not exist. Consciousness does not originate from the brain but from the sum of what makes you.

Should we really even ask these questions when it's obvious to me that we are never to find the answer in this reality?




posted on May, 8 2010 @ 06:17 PM
link   
reply to post by kbriggss
 


I am glad you are amused by my mental anguish.
Am I me, or am I something else. Me is a very vague thing to try and describe. You are you, and I am I, but you and I are very similar. What seperates you from I is our locality. "You" are experiencing something while "I" am experiencing something else. It's like trying to define "here". Here for me is right here where I am, where as what I define as "here" is actually "there" for you. But to say here cannot be neither here nor there cannot be because here is always here although here can mean something else, most often 'there'.

"Should we really even ask these questions when it's obvious to me that we are never to find the answer in this reality?"

Exactly. Please refer to my last paragraph in my first post. Reality, in my opinion, cannot be defined because it is infinitely simple. So simple, that thoughts cannot comprehend the simplicity of the universe.



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 06:37 PM
link   

Originally posted by LususNaturae
reply to post by kbriggss
 


I am glad you are amused by my mental anguish.
Am I me, or am I something else. Me is a very vague thing to try and describe. You are you, and I am I, but you and I are very similar. What seperates you from I is our locality. "You" are experiencing something while "I" am experiencing something else. It's like trying to define "here". Here for me is right here where I am, where as what I define as "here" is actually "there" for you. But to say here cannot be neither here nor there cannot be because here is always here although here can mean something else, most often 'there'.

"Should we really even ask these questions when it's obvious to me that we are never to find the answer in this reality?"

Exactly. Please refer to my last paragraph in my first post. Reality, in my opinion, cannot be defined because it is infinitely simple. So simple, that thoughts cannot comprehend the simplicity of the universe.


Finding humor is these serious subjects is the only way!!! Here or there? Well, here does not exist because all things are in motion. The Earth, the Sun, the Solar system, the Galaxy and yes even the whole universe may be in motion within another body. Unless we become gods in this life we'll never know for sure.

Sometimes I like the stretching that these unfathomable topics do to my mind but I am such a child in this universe and have to be happy of where I am at. Moving... Always...



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 06:41 PM
link   
Ah-ha! Humor is my best friend as well. Without it I would surely be driven insane!

Neither here nor there. Please read about Zenos Arrow (or Zenos Missile as it is sometimes referred to) We cannot be in motion! We are always at rest, and always in motion at the same time!

Of course. Live life love life!



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 07:02 PM
link   

Originally posted by LususNaturae
Ah-ha! Humor is my best friend as well. Without it I would surely be driven insane!

Neither here nor there. Please read about Zenos Arrow (or Zenos Missile as it is sometimes referred to) We cannot be in motion! We are always at rest, and always in motion at the same time!

Of course. Live life love life!


Yes Zenos Arrow!! Funny thing is I used to play in a band named Paradox! The irony! Thanks for sharing ...



posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:43 PM
link   
Quite good. I liked reading your OP and the one after it.

Let me say you fell victim to the exact same problem that many philosophers fall victim to: the nature of conception.

Our conceptions are representative of reality, but reality is not representative of our conceptions. Let me explain. When you think of the concept of the number 1, you think of a singular thing. When you actually think of a singular thing it should be easy for you.

Let's say you find one leaf, hanging on a tree. It is a single leaf. Yet, once it falls onto the ground in a pile of leaves, your have one pile. Once that pile is blown across the ground with the other piles, you have one carpet of leaves. The entire region at that time of the year suffers from the same affliction, fallen leaves, and so you could also say you have one region. Then one continent, and one planet, one system, one galaxy, one cluster, one Universe.

That boring and stupid example I just gave serves to only prove one thing: the idea of 1 is applied to whatever the crap we want to apply it to. In metaphysics, the concept of individuality parallels this, and it is equally as haphazardly applied.

What does this mean, then?

We apply to the Universe the conceptions that we want to apply to it. These conceptions are representative of things in the Universe in our mind. Concepts like Mathematics don't actually apply to reality, they just represent it. This means that Zeno's idea of always walking halfway to Athens and never getting there is simply a conceptual observation, not actually in reality (people went to Athens all the time).

Time and Space, also conceptuals, are not objects that exist in reality. Thus the idea of an infinite amount of either is a complete conceptual existence, not actually in reality.

I hope that made sense. Feel free to disagree with my opinions with your own opinions.

[edit on 8-5-2010 by Regent Leo]



posted on May, 9 2010 @ 05:22 AM
link   
reply to post by Regent Leo
 


Thank you for your kind words. I agree that Time and Space don't exist. I would, even, go as far to say that they CANNOT exist. I have given a few reasons in my OP but I have yet more to say on the matter.

Time, according to McTaggart, cannot exist because there is an inherent paradox in the way we view events.
He believed, essentially, that there existed 2 seperate ways in which we view events. "A-Series" time and "B-Series" time.
Please read this section of this wikipedia article: The Unreality of Time

This paradox, I have found, is one of the harder ones to truly understand, don't worry if you don't understand. It took me almost a full 2 weeks to really understand what it was that made it so. And even still I cannot really grasp it because of its logical complexity. I suggest reading "Travels in Four Dimensions" by Robert Le Poidevin for it goes in depth about McTaggarts paradox.



posted on May, 9 2010 @ 06:49 AM
link   
reply to post by LususNaturae
 


How would one choose to exist without already existing? Of course, maybe we did choose to exist and we just chose to forget not existing? Ouch! My head hurts. LOL



posted on May, 9 2010 @ 06:57 AM
link   
reply to post by LususNaturae
 


I've read McTaggart, but I don't agree with him; interesting you should bring him up. But please, be more careful in your posts next time, someone might think you're being condescending.


You should read F.H. Bradley, since his work is also British Idealism, but more based in reason, in my opinion. People have criticized him for his side-stepping the Verification Principle (Ayer specifically), but the principle is self-congratulatory in nature anyways. He also has a wikipedia article, if you're comfortable reading that.

But I digress. McTaggart's main problem is instead of addressing the real problem, and pointing out the true flaw in the non-existence of Time, he goes all the way around and only addresses one issue. Like I said, your problem is that you have sacrificed epistemology for metaphysics (or vice-versa); it's simply the nature of conception that is the issue. Please think for yourself in terms of the Kantian aspect of this debate, what is it that's the Categories and what is it that's not? Simple Hegelian Dialectic allows one to evolve from solipsism, then idealism, and into a Synthesis of theories in epistemic existence.



new topics

top topics



 
4

log in

join