Is there an Objective Physical Reality

©Fernando Caracena 2021

The old science imagined that there was a physical reality that existed independent of the observer, which was not only universal but local--that the whole existed as the sum of its parts and all interactions proceeded locally. The picture of the universe that scientists took for granted was that it was like a giant clock. To try to understand it, you were to take it apart until you had one of its fundamental parts acting on another fundamental part, then you studied the interaction of the two. This picture was good enough for the development of clocks. It was good enough for rocket science. But it turns out that it is an inadequate model for the kind of science that we are doing today.

Today, physics has grown in sophistication to the point in which we can turn the most abstract thinking into an experiment. The latest test was a thought experiment by Eugene Wigner, which allowed him and a hypothetical friend to both test a physical situation quantum mechanically and come up with independent assessments of an 'objective' physical reality. Such an experiment has been done and it suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality [at least, physical reality]. Reality is really much more complex and deeper that was imagined in the past.

What the latest quantum experiment seems to be implying is that each scientist exploring the nature of "physical reality" will see a rational structure that is a logical, subjective picture, which is not a piece of objective reality--that objective reality itself cannot be grasped by putting together all our subjective observations of the physical universe. In the final analysis, at the bottom of everything is just you and an ultimate reality that you see through a self-consistent, logical construct that is your personal reality. The ancients saw that ultimate reality faced by every single person as an Infinite, Single Person, whom they called God. So far,there is no satisfying, competing picture of the nature of ultimate reality.

At the moment I have no thoughts to add to the latest quantum experiment that demolishes the notion of an objective physical reality. I can only point back to some of the earlier thoughts that I have had on the subject: The Physical World and the Human Mind, The Mind-Body Connection Part1, On the Nature of Physical Reality—A Mental Construct, The Human Mind and Physical Reality, Consciousness and Quantum Physics, Do Our Eyes Deceive Us?, and The Computational Brain.

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