August 22, 2019

Is Anything Real?

“Science is a consistent tradition of discoveries, each of which shows, in its own way, that reality is radically different from the way we perceive it. Physics is the most sophisticated conspiracy theory. At one time, for example, we thought the Earth was flat, because that’s what it looks like. We were similarly convinced by appearance that our planet is at the center of the cosmos and that the stars orbit around it. Or that highly complex organs such as wings and eyes did not develop randomly.

The great insights of science repeatedly contradict our common sense. Moreover, the more we know, the more acute the nonsensicalness becomes. According to modern science, solid matter is actually empty, a particle can leap from one point to another without passing through what’s in between, there are influences that come from the future to the present, and so on and so forth.

Three new propositions – deriving from the study of cognition, from theoretical physics and from the philosophy of science – stretch to the limit our perceptual horizon. One maintains that reality is necessarily different from the way we perceive it; the second, that the laws of nature themselves are only an invention; and according to the third, reality, the laws of nature and we, too, do not even exist. It’s advisable to hold on tight while reading – except that there seems to be nothing to hold onto.”

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