by Dr Gonzo
Think this a silly question? I put forth that we may not exist, at least, not how we think
|When we look into a mirror, we THINK the person looking back is independent of this universe. The fact that we have consciousness and the ability to think about if we exist or not, should be another clue in favour of our existence. |
Rene Descartes said in the late 1500s, "I think therefore I am." But this very apt statement begs the question, I am what?
Finding conclusive evidence affirming our existence is not easy to do…obviously, or the question itself would be redundant.
When we think about the universe, and all that it is, what do we know?
It's big, with immense distances purported. And it is getting larger, expanding outwards at the speed of light. And to put these numbers into perspective is mind-boggling.
But I question, does the universe, and therefore, do we, exist?
And if so, why?
Why does matter exist at all?
We see matter everywhere we look, much of which appears to be solid, but in reality (if this is in fact, reality), nothing is solid. From bricks to our own bodies, everything is made up of matter. Matter being atoms that clump together. Tiny particles that have space in between.
How much space?
Looking at it from our perspective, this space appears to be very small, but how do we define what is small or large when dealing with space?
Is it a selling point for real estate salespeople? Or the gap between sub-atomic particles? Or the distances between stars?
Is a flea aware of the dog on which it rides? Or the dog of the universe and what lies beyond?
Reality and perceptions blur when we try to understand the big (or the small) picture.
One theory is that the composition of biological matter on Earth began when elements, amino acids and other sub-atomic particles arrived here because of the growing size and so, increasing gravitational pull of a young Earth. This planet we call home was once just pieces of iron, rock, and other material gathered from the asteroid belt, that conglomerated at the perfect location, near the perfect star to sustain life as we know it.
And when this young planet cooled, water in the form of ice made the trek through the cosmos, hitchhiking its way through space on asteroids, and then surviving the descent through Earth's atmosphere to eventually become our oceans.
And perhaps with the ice, came nucleobase...amino acids, uracil, amines and carboxylic acids, which are found in proteins and metabolism, respectively, and are necessary compounds when forming the building blocks of life...RNA. Travelling the solar system in search of a home just like our Earth. Whether these compounds travelled to Earth or formed here from elements to become strands of RNA, these building blocks of life became organisms, and over millions of years, developed into more complex and more widely distributed lifeforms. They then either adapted and survived to produce more viruses and bacteria and later, more complex multicelled organisms, or they perished...as is the way of evolution.
The ones which did survive evolved into all life we see today. Evolutionary trial and error saw complex species thrive, eventually becoming mammals that are the forefathers of modern human beings.
When we look in the mirror, we see a human being, and yet, the highest number of cells in the human body are in fact, bacteria.
I am not out to prove we don’t exist because that is about as difficult to do as proving that we do. But to just assume we do exist (independent of the universe) without proof, is premature. We might as well admit we know little about the universe around us. Science and religion may argue otherwise, but both are guilty of filling in the blanks with a lot of guesswork, storytelling, and conjecture.
Entanglement isn't magic, or as Einstein put it, "Spooky physics at a distance." But it certainly goes against the known laws of physics and brings into question what we understand about this universe.
In 1989, physicist John Archibald Wheeler theorised that the universe is fundamentally mathematical...emerging from information. And from this theory came the aphorism, "It from bit." Nowadays it is quite common for physicists to accept that we may very well be part of a computer simulation.
A weird glitch happens within the human brain, which can sometimes be seen when an EEG maps brain activity...and looks remarkably similar to a computer rebooting.
Temperature emerges from the movement of atoms and yet, fundamentally, no single atom has temperature. This leads to the possibility that everything we see, touch and feel, including ourselves, may, in fact, be a simulation.
If I could see you right now, I imagine there would be many eyes rolling at these statements. But when you think about it, is it any less likely than the idea that we were created by a higher power? And I put it to you...is there much difference between the two theories?
If it isn't already happening, it soon will be where AI is designing and creating even better AI. Is it possible that artificial intelligence might one day believe itself to be real…that it exists?
Programming so advanced, those bits of information within it see, feel, and KNOW the world around them exists. And if this IS possible, couldn't we be fooled in the same way?