Essay—QED Baby (Issue 9)

Summary QED Baby presents a complementary view of reality—and argues that the synthesis of this complementary view with the everyday view is necessary for achieving global sustainability. QED is Latin for quod erat demonstrandum (ie. which was to be demonstrated) and is written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Knowledge le savior.

The concept of a theory comes from the ancient Greek idea of detachment as the path to wisdom.  The word theory is the root of the word theatre and is derived from the Greek verb theatai—which means to behold as an action in which the observer is not involved.  In fact, the dirty little secret of all great thinkers is that new ideas are formulated completely outside any everyday view of reality.  Einstein first introduced relativity theory in 1905 as a simple set of algebraic equations.  Yet the theory was largely ignored until four years later when Minkowski presented a geometric view of relativity as characterized by the four-dimensional spacetime continuum.  And even decades after relativity was a well-established scientific fact, Einstein admitted that imagining a four-dimensional spacetime continuum in his mind was just too difficult and not worth the bother.

The Lifecycle of a Theory.  William James (1842-1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who developed pragmatism—the philosophy which calls for ideas and theories to be tested in practice to assess whether claims about truth, knowledge and morality can be verified and put to practical use.  Pragmatism embodies the American faith in practicality and the distrust of abstract theories.  Of course the darkside of this so-called distrust of theories is that rejecting a theory because it is a theory is easy.  The very last thing the Everyman wants is the revelation of a higher truth which could call into question his existing beliefs.  James is perhaps most famous for his depiction of the lifecycle of a theory.  According to James, a theory is first ignored, then attacked as absurd, then admitted to be true, but obvious—and finally seen to be so important that its adversaries claim to have discovered it themselves.

Berkeley–2, Everybody Else–0.  Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was a mathematician and physicist who brought the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century to a head by establishing the principals of science that have since dominated Western thought.  He invented calculus, established the heterogeneity of light and the laws of gravity and motion—as set against a background of absolute space and time.  In 1720 George Berkeley (ie. Berkeley, CA) published De Motu (ie. About Motion) which rejected Newton’s notions of absolute space, time and motion.  In 1905 Einstein published Special Relativity which proved that space, time and motion are relative—and confirmed that Berkeley was right and Newton was wrong.  Berkeley is perhaps most famous for his antimaterialist claim that nothing is real except our minds.  Berkeley’s argued that although we derive knowledge from experience—experience only consists of sensations.  He rightly pointed out that we have no way of verifying the actual existence of any underlying material substance that we assume gives rise to sensations.  Like all great scientific innovations, Berkeley’s argument may seem ridiculous, but is nonetheless irrefutable.  And while it may appear to conflict with commonsense—it is worth noting Einstein’s assertion that commonsense is nothing more than the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.  In 1927 Heisenberg published The Uncertainty Principle which proved that matter is fundamentally indeterminate—and confirmed that once again Berkeley was dead right.

Reality Equivalence.  Niels Bohr (1885-1962), one of the founding fathers of quantum theory, defined the complementary principle as the coexistence of two necessary and seemingly incompatible descriptions of the same phenomenon.  One of its first realizations dates back to 1637 when Descartes revealed that algebra and geometry are the same thing.  In 1860 Maxwell revealed that electricity and magnetism are the same thing—electromagnetism.  In 1905 Einstein revealed that light is both waves and particles, that matter and energy are the same thing, and that space and time are the same thing—spacetime.  In 1915 Einstein revealed that gravity and inertia are the same thing.  In 1920 de Broglie revealed that matter is both waves and particles.  In 1925 Dirac revealed that Schrödinger’s wave-based atomic model and Heisenberg’s matrix-based atomic model are the same thing—quantum theory.  In 1930 Bohr and Heisenberg revealed that the complementary principle and the uncertainty principle are the same thing—the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory.  In 2001 Bek revealed that lightspeed and Planck’s constant are the same thing—the boundary of spacetime.

Actuarial Equivalence.  I moved to Toronto after graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in applied math—and found myself working for The Wyatt Company as an actuarial student.  Actuaries use math to solve business problems.  Whereas accountants look to the past, actuaries look to the future.  It was January 1988 and the results from the November exams were out.  I had taken it upon myself to organize a party for the students.  About half the seventy-five students in the office showed up for the get-together at a bar named The Black Bull on Dundas Street.  My friend Rosario and I were congratulating each other on having passed fifteen credits apiece (out of 450 needed to become an actuary).  One of the other students then piped-up and proclaimed that he had passed fifty credits.  In defiance, I turned to Rosario and said—Yes, but does he know all the characters from the television show Cheers?

Woody and Nothingness.  I owe plenty to my favourite character from Cheers, the uncomplicated bartender, Woody.  One particular episode had Woody’s uncomplicated and wealthy girlfriend Kelly trying to convince him to take her to dinner.  Woody said that they could not go out because he did not have any money.  A perplexed Kelly said they could just stop at a bank machine and get some money.  Woody then explained the concept of no-money to Kelly as such—If you take all the money in the world and put it in one place, and then take it all away—that is how much money I have.  And at that moment, Woody was, without a doubt, Socrates-times-ten, for he had just executed a perfect deliverance of what is possibly the most difficult philosophical concept known to man—that of nothingness.

Qu’est-ce Que C’est Moon?  Einstein asked whether the Moon really exists when no one is looking at it?  The commonsense answer is that it does exist—from which we may conclude that the stars also exist when no one is looking.  Physicists believe there are a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, and there are ten billion galaxies—meaning that there are ten to the power twenty-one stars in the universe.  Our star, the Sun, contains 99.9 percent of the mass in our solar system, and Jupiter and Saturn are hundreds of times heaver than Earth.  Moreover, it only took thirty pounds of matter converted into energy to blow up Hiroshima.  If one assumes that the universe is an energy system for growing our minds, the question is—Why would the universe be so radically inefficient?  The other question is—Where did all those stars come from?  Berkeley would say they are not there.

Simple Cell Division.  Photons are particles of light that travel at lightspeed and exist at the boundary of spacetime.  Electrons are particles of matter when inside spacetime—and particles of antimatter or positrons when outside spacetime.  Relativity is the law of spacetime and is based on lightspeed.  Quantum theory is the law of matter and is based on Planck’s constant.  In 1982 Aspect revealed that all photons are instantaneously connected to one another—confirming the conclusion of relativity—that there is only one photon.  The Aspect experiment also revealed that both electrons and positrons are instantaneously connected to one another—confirming the conclusion of quantum theory—that there is only one electron and one positron.  Imagine a photon named Eve existing in nothingness.  Eve divides into a second photon, which then divides into an electron named Adam and a positron named Elvis.  This violation of nothingness is the big bang that brings both spacetime and the universe into existence.

Qu’est-ce Que C’est Matrix?  Recognizing lightspeed and Planck’s constant as the boundary between spacetime and nothingness reveals the mechanism that allows Adam and Elvis to exit and re-enter the universe at any point in spacetime.  We can also see that the boundary between spacetime and nothingness is the medium that supports both light and matter waves.  Imagine for a moment sitting in a movie theatre watching the Matrix.  As we watch, do we believe it is a production created for our benefit, or do we believe it is real?  As we watch the Moon, do we believe it is a production created for our benefit, or do we believe it is real?  Einstein insisted that spacetime is nothing more than an intuition of the mind.  The Matrix is projected onto the screen, which is then intuitively projected onto our minds.  The Moon is just intuitively projected directly onto our minds.

Conclusion.  Ockham’s razor, the foundation of all authentic scientific reasoning, states that if all things are equal, the simplest theory tends to be the right one.  Paul Dirac (1902-1984), one of the founding fathers of quantum theory, claimed it is more important to have beautiful theories and equations than to have them fit the data.  The theory of one is simple, beautiful and it explains everything.  It unites quantum theory, relativity and Creation.  Moreover, it provides the complementary view of reality that is necessary for achieving global sustainability.  QED Baby.