Friday, January 6, 2017

When I look, The Universe disappears

That famous astronomer Carl Sagan would begin by telling that the Cosmos is everything that was, everything that is, everything that ever will be.

What is this Universe? Every day each one of us experience an unlimited variety of events, things, people and places. 

At times, we do ask, who really are we? what exactly is the world that we see, perceive, experience, enjoy , love and hate. Natural Philosophers, from the beginning of time have pondered over it. Everything has been investigated, questioned, theorized, explanations attempted, debated till this day. 

There is the infinitesimally small to the infinitely large scale of things in this world. Time and space forms the two dimensions of the infinitely large canvas on which an effervescent world is painted. There seems an infinite past, and an equally infinite future, both seem vague, unsure and misty as we move away from the NOW. 

We somehow come to the conclusion that, what I see and perceive alone exists. But what we perceive is so temporal, so transient. There was a time when none of them existed, there is a time when they exist, and then there is always a time when they no longer exist. 

We investigate the world with our perceptive powers. Perception is our only tool. I look at a thing, a stone maybe, I hold it in my hand, I perceive its weight, its texture, its color, I look deeper, I observe its composition, the patterns, the edges, the cracks, the ridges. 

I now want a closer look, a magnifying glass comes to help. I can see the finer details, I can see engaging patters of a finer degree. It appears as if its been very carefully crafted. the stone's surface is coarser than it appeared. I want to see more. I chisel a piece of the rock into a fine little sheet, now I engage a microscope, there is a whole world in that small piece of the rock. I can even see life, where I thought it was totally inert.

I look deeper, magnifying further, the cracks are really huge, the ridges are real deep, am I looking at a mountain range, or a tiny piece chipped off a stone? hard to tell.  I go deeper, more complex tools, I now take a tiny fraction of the chip, I can hardly see it with my eyes, things become vague, I am not sure what I am really looking at.

For a moment I can’t go any deeper. I realize my most trusted tool for perception, vision has reached its limits, it can no longer discriminate. Light cannot help me see anymore! what’s happening! After all when I see a thing, it’s the light bounced off that thing that I see. In fact I see only the impact of that reflected light in my retina. Actually I see only the impulse the retina sends through the nerves to my brain.

I am now looking at a scale so small, light cannot really help me here! I get innovative, I use tiny particles, smaller than an atom, I shoot them at my tiny object, and capture them behind. Based on what I receive it at the other side, I "guess" what is in my object. I see interesting things, the tiny little object is mostly empty. and at vast distances I see an occasional particle. nothing in between.

I build more powerful, scarily humongous gadgets, to see deeper. the more deeper I look, the more empty the object seems to be. No matter what my object of observation is, the result is the same. I want to know what these tiniest of the tiny little particles are. There is a garden of such particles, scientists give them exotic names, quarks, bosons and what not. Now I forget about the rock totally, I am interested in these particles. I want to "look" at them. I really cannot look at them any more. I can only guess.

My devices can only tell me such and such a particle may exist in a given space. When the particle detector "looks" at "a" particle, its gone! When it doesn't look, then a probability exists! The rock solid world collapses into a probability. It can be seen only as mathematical equations!

Sometimes I think the blind spot is a blessing, it helps me NOT to see, and hence makes the existence a possibility.

Knowing this liberates me from endless conflicts that is the result of me giving reality to this illusion.

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