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Physical materialism


Last time I discussed the limitations of science in “Beyond Science”, but in fact due to the limitations of popular education, most people’s understanding of mathematics, physics and chemistry is limited to the basic knowledge taught in high schools. In China, due to the college entrance examination, teachers It is more like a coach than a guide, so it is more difficult for students to see the complete science.

In fact, even pure science is enough to bring us a lot of enlightenment.

Let’s talk math first. Geometry is an important part of mathematics. The geometry taught in high school is called “Euclidean geometry” in the mathematics system. It is the earliest and most basic geometry, but this is not all. There are also “non-Euclidean geometry”. Geometry”, such as “Roche’s geometry”. In Euclidean geometry, two parallel lines never intersect, but in Roche’s geometry, two parallel lines can intersect. This is the result of rigorous mathematical reasoning. Although it subverts common sense, it shows us a more real world.

Compared with mathematics, physics has a more “down-to-earth” feeling. After all, although physics also has theories, experiments are also needed to verify the theories, and those specific experiments can also inspire non-physics experts.

Light has both the physical properties of particles and the physical properties of waves. Physics calls this “wave-particle duality”. Since we currently cannot observe the wave characteristics and particle characteristics of a single photon at the same time, we can only observe them separately. What’s interesting is that when we observe the particle characteristics of light, light exhibits particle characteristics; and when we observe the wave characteristics of light, light exhibits wave characteristics. In other words, what kind of characteristics light displays depends entirely on the observer, which is the “observer effect”.

According to the current mainstream physics explanation, the light in the objective world is in a superposition state and cannot be observed because there is no observer. Once an observer intervenes, the light will show corresponding characteristics according to the observer’s expectations, which is very “behaved”. At least so far, physicists still cannot observe the “objective manifestation” of light.

When I first started studying physics in junior high school, I believed very much in “physical materialism” and believed that physics could describe the objective world. It wasn’t until I learned about the “observer effect” that materialism ultimately manifested itself as naked “idealism”, which made me very Shock. But while I was shocked, it also opened the window of “idealism” for me.

Matter is so idealistic in the microscopic world, but what about in the macroscopic world?

In psychology, there is a term called “placebo effect”: it refers to the phenomenon that although patients receive ineffective treatment, they “expect” or “believe” that the treatment is effective, so that the patient’s symptoms are relieved. There is also the corresponding “nocebo effect”: patients do not believe that the treatment is effective, which may make their condition worse.

In the macroscopic world, this idealistic phenomenon becomes more obvious the closer it is to “people”.

So what is the truth of this world? My answer is: whatever I observe is the truth of the world.

And our beliefs affect our observations all the time, leading to “cognitive biases” described in psychology. Perhaps “objectivity” is the most common and least aware of the “bias” we have.

Maybe each of us is playing our own “cognitive bias” game until we get tired of it and then we make up our minds to recognize and throw away the beliefs hidden deep in our subconscious one by one.

The more you learn, the more you learn, and the more you lose for the Tao.


Reports related to the observer effect: http://www.guokr.com/article/434607/

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