November 6th, 2006

breaking bad

Cosmic background weirdness

I posted before about how it is hard to understand how if we each define the universe through private perception we have all ended up in the same shared universe. Why does this shared reality exist, if the basic characteristics of space and time are relative? Why do the laws of the universe seem immutable, if maths itself is provisional? I was talking about how various Sf books have adressed this question in different ways.

A couple of scientists called Jaron Lanier and Lee Smolin have suggested that as different perceptions of reality become entangled they form a real-seeming shared universe, somewhat as a city of rafts could grow up on a trackless ocean to form something like solid land. While underlying reality may be relativistic (with no absolute truth, like the shifting ocean) the city of rafts becomes so big that it starts to function like something permanent. You tie your raft to mine, and so on until we have a huge city of rafts.
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