Truth and The Universe We Think We Know

I’ll be the first to admit that my understanding of the universe is as to a single electron compared to a galaxy of countless stars and particles.  What I think I know but really don’t is also nothing to brag about.  What I know to be true is a myth.  I recently saw a TV documentary about how we all  live in the past.  It takes some milliseconds for our senses to send signals to our brain and very complex things such as sight take a few hundred milliseconds to process and interpret.  So all events we think we experience real-time are a few hundred milliseconds old.  Even the light of stars we see in the sky may come from stars or galaxies that are thousands or even millions of light years old from possibly no longer existing heavenly bodies.

Some very fast events such as an explosions we may actually not see so fast do they occur.  We only remember the aftermath of the actual event.  But not only do we live in the past but we often misinterpret what our senses tell us either because we are in denial of what is happening or because events are often too complex so our minds play tricks on us giving an approximation of what transpired which could be faulty.

So is life all an illusion?  In a way it is.  Most certainly it is not exactly as it seems.  Man is teaching computers to recognize images and interpret sounds and recognizes feeling and taste.  But we must interpret sensory inputs to our brain all the time as well and learn to focused upon what is most important at the time.  Sight is the most complex of all our senses.  How do we recognize all the elements of images as they rapidly play in our mind.  How do we recognize a car, a person, a dog, a sidewalk, a tree and the hundreds of things we constantly see and process in our brain?  The devil is always in the details and those trying to design computer code that not only identifies the many objects in a constantly changing landscape and learns new patterns but also focus upon what is most relevant about what the program wants to achieve is no simple matter.

So how does this relate to the topic at hand?  I think I have amply illustrated how Truth is really an illusion.  We only think we know the truth.  The universe seems rational because of patterns we learn to help us adapt to daily life on this planet.  Science is the rational search for quantifiable truth.  Since science exists and plays such a major role in society it seems to support a basis for a rational universe.  But science is only an approximation upon which to quantifiably model truth.  It must go through peer reviews but we have seen how peers often disagree with one another.  As a matter of fact in all new scientific endeavors it usually takes years for a concept to gain broad peer acceptance.  But even this knowledge is always later challenged with a better model.  So science is only an approximation or sometimes erroneous view of truth.  That does not necessarily invalidate it since the alternative is mythology.  But it is not perfect.  It quantifies what is observed and understood at the time as an approximate model of truth, not truth itself.  So Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle remains true so far.  Well we ever learn what is Truth and recognize it as such?  That is a loaded question with no apparent answer.

So the truth of the universe and everything we take so much for granted is only an interpretation of what our senses, knowledge, and reasoning tells us.  We are creatures of patterns and habits so we respond to the world we perceive by following those patterns that we have adopted and trust that all will go well.  We obey the traffic light and trust that when it tuners green cross traffic will stop and let us by.  But we are creatures of habit in trying to stretch a yellow light as well so we often run a yellow light that tuners red.  And if crossing traffic does not have a habit of keeping a look out for yellow light runners an accident may ensue.  Soldiers learn to respond quickly to situations by repeated training so that their minds do not have to spend much time processing a rapid and life threatening engagement but respond reflexively.  But mistakes can and do occur when innocent people are killed because the soldier thought they were combatants.  Events simply occur too rapidly in such circumstances for the brain to fully process and comprehend.

We live in an illusionary world that seems real because what our senses perceive seems familiar.  We react to these sensory perceptions based upon patterns we have learned throughout life.  This also explains why we all see life differently from one another.  It is very subjective.  We have an adaptive brain so we can gradually create and hone in new patterns from new experiences as long as we survive the experience.  The more practice our brains have at adapting to new situation the better and faster we can adapt because we have built up a larger library of patterns and responses.  There is a pattern and process to everything we do even if we are not aware of it.  Even creativity does not come from a vacuum.  There is a basis for it to start with and the creator simply experiments with variations in their mind to come up with something apparently new.  Habits are essential because we cannot constantly be evaluating every situation in life from scratch.

So we live in the past as well as live in a world of our own making and respond to it out of habits and learned patterns.  We are also creatures not that different from other animal species except for the degree of sophistication our minds are able to learn new patterns to adapt to new experiences.  Patterns for survival are often genetically programmed into lower animal species to aid early survival.  We’ve also developed writing that helps us pass on knowledge to others but reading and writing are relatively new inventions of perhaps 7,000-10,000 year in our existence of perhaps 500,000 years.

So Truth is an illusion and the Universe too vast for us to even start to really comprehend.  Our knowledge of what is true is like a huge vacuum bottle full of close to nothing.  Yet amazingly we are able to function in a virtual vacuum.  It is like matter which is mainly full of space yet still coherently exists.  One teaspoon full of pure matter would weigh more than 100 tons and would be so dense it would be a black hole.

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