Quantum mechanics. Time. Causality. Irrational. Hiding the meaning of life…

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Watch a movie backwards and you’ll likely get confused – but a quantum computer wouldn’t. That’s the conclusion of researcher Mile Gu at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University and collaborators.

In research published in Physical Review X, the international team showed that a quantum computer is less in thrall to the arrow of time than a classical computer. In some cases, it is as if the quantum computer doesn’t need to distinguish between cause and effect at all.

The new work is inspired by an influential discovery (known as causal asymmetry) made almost ten years ago by complexity scientists James Crutchfield and John Mahoney at the University of California, Davis. They showed that many statistical data sequences will have a built-in arrow of time. An observer who sees the data played from beginning to end, like the frames of a movie, can model what comes next using only a modest amount of memory about what occurred before. An observer who tries to model the system in reverse has a much harder task – potentially needing to track orders of magnitude more information.

“If causal asymmetry is only found in classical models, it suggests our perception of cause and effect, and thus time, can emerge from enforcing a classical explanation on events in a fundamentally quantum world”, researchers say. (1)

Look at the cosmos through the lenses of the irrational.

And you will discover a thrilling new perspective.

You are seeing…

Because you used to be blind…

You are alive…

Because you were dead…

You do exist.

Only because you never did…

You are everything.

Just because there is nothing…

Quantum space. Ghostly differences. A calm lake.

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The foundation stone of quantum mechanics doesn’t just describe the behavior of infinitesimal subatomic particles – it also governs the movement of the largest and most massive objects in the Universe, says a prominent astrophysicist.

Planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin was exploring the concept of astrophysical disks – sometimes called accretion disks; massive self-gravitating swirls of matter which form seemingly everywhere. Planets orbit stars forming solar systems, which in turn orbit super-massive black holes at galactic centers…

While these disks may start off with a circular shape, over epic stretches of time they can ripple and warp, exhibiting vast distortions that still can’t be definitively explained by astrophysicists. While investigating an area of quantum physics called perturbation theory to see how it could mathematically represent the forces in astrophysical disk evolution, explaining how these vast objects warp over aeons, Batygin discovered something remarkable.

In the theory, an astrophysical disk can be modeled as a series of concentric wires that slowly exchange orbital angular momentum among one another. “When we do this with all the material in a disk, we can get more and more meticulous, representing the disk as an ever-larger number of ever-thinner wires”, Batygin explains. “Eventually, you can approximate the number of wires in the disk to be infinite, which allows you to mathematically blur them together into a continuum. When I did this, astonishingly, the Schrödinger equation emerged in my calculations”. (1)

Who says atoms are something different than “macroscopic” elements of space? Who defines what is microscopic or macroscopic after all, except our subjective sense of relative size? All our science is based on seeing differences where there are none. And then trying to merge or reconcile these differences through an ‘elegant’ theory which can bring everything together…

A universe inside an atom.

A particle as big as a universe.

Consciousness inside nothingness.

Nothingness inside the mind of a wise man…

The less stones you through into the lake, the calmer its surface will be. And then and only then, will you be able to see the cause of everything in it. Reflected on the quiet surface, you see yourself. On a calm night, you smile.

And somewhere on the pristine surface a galaxy is born…

Why be nice?

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Kindness and selflessness are widespread among both humans and animals. Many people donate to charity and feel significantly happier as a direct result of doing so. In the animal kingdom, many species show kindness by refraining from violence when settling conflicts. Instead they may use comparatively harmless fighting conventions.

The benefits gained from receiving kindness are intuitively obvious. But the motivations for engaging in kindness are much less so. In fact, the very existence of kindness and altruism seems to contradict Darwin’s theory of evolution, based as it is on a competitive process of natural selection in which only the fittest survive.

For example, the selfless behaviour of sterile ants, who protect their colonies from dangerous predators, poses a problem that Darwin himself at first considered “insuperable, and actually fatal to my whole theory”.

So how could kind behaviour have evolved – and why was it not eliminated by natural selection? Many theorists have grappled with this problem over the years. The article reviews the most prominent ideas of science up to now. (1)

In essence, all theories which try to explain kindness actually refute it: in all of them there is some kind of benefit coming out of the kind action. And what scientists don’t understand is that this actually makes the action… not kind!

You are not good when you calculate things.

You are not a nice person when you know why you love someone.

You are not a saint when you can analyze exactly why you are…

Kindness is inherently illogical.

Being good is being insane.

Caring in a cosmos which seems void and dark.

Loving in a cosmos which seems pointless and evil.

And yet this insanity is the warmest thing in this cold universe…

Happy Christmas!

For no (apparent) reason…

Attack when they are stronger…

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Does the time of day matter when our body is infected by a parasite? According to new research from McGill University, it matters a great deal.

Our body works differently at different times of the day following our internal clocks. Researchers from McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute have now established that parasitic infections are also controlled by these clocks. The severity of a microbe’s infection will thus vary whether it is encountered during the day or at night, a discovery that scientists believe could pave the way to new treatment and prevention strategies for parasitic infections.

Scientists who studied Leishmania (a parasite that causes leishmaniasis and that is transmitted at night by the female sandfly) concluded that its infection was more effective in the early night, a time when the immune response to the parasite was the strongest. Simply put, the parasite thrives when it elicits a strong immune response, attracting inflammatory cells it uses to multiply (macrophages and neutrophils) to the infection site. (1)

What elegant mechanisms does nature has to restore balance.

People have always fought to build knowledge.

And yet…

Nature tries to warn us…

The strongest prejudice propagates better through a solid knowledgeable mind.

The darkest dogmas find fruitful ground in the most educated societies.

The more certain you are for yourself, the less you expect that you are wrong.

Knowledge does not exist but in our arrogant minds. And no matter how much we built it, Nature is there to destroy it. To remind us that the only solid knowledge is non-knowledge. That the cosmos is illogical. Full of things only the children see.

Trust the child inside you. Once you knew everything. Once you were in Paradise. And then you tried to learn. And then you tried to understand. And the paradise was lost. And the world became a darker place…

Let go.

And you will have everything within your grasp again.

Credo!

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Tertullian is widely regarded as having originated the expression “Credo quia absurdum” (est) (I believe because it is absurd) and the phrase often appears in contemporary polemics about the rationality of religious belief. Patristic scholars have long pointed out that Tertullian never said this or meant anything like it. (although as I have explained many times in Harmonia Philosophica, there is nothing wrong with the irrational – it is the logical which is unfounded and full of fallacies) However, little scholarly attention has been paid to the circumstances in which this specific phrase came into existence and why, in spite of its dubious provenance, it continues to be regarded by many as a legitimate characterization of religious faith. A new paper shows how Tertullian’s original expression – “It is certain, because impossible” – was first misrepresented and modified in the early modern period. In seventeenth century England a “credo” version – I believe because it is impossible – became the common form of Tertullian’s maxim. A further modification, building on the first, was effected by the Enlightenment philosophe Voltaire, who added the “absurdity condition” and gave us the modern version of the paradox: I believe because it is absurd. These modifications played a significant role in Enlightenment representations of religion as irrational, and signal the beginning of a new understanding of faith as an epistemic vice. This doubtful maxim continues to play a role in debates about the cognitive status of religious faith, and its failure to succumb to the historical evidence against it is owing to its ongoing rhetorical usefulness in such debates. (1)

People once understood the irrationality of existence.

Then they invented Logic.

And they tried to formulate logical ways to believe in God. Let’s not forget that the founder of Logic believed in the Unmoved Mover. And the second greatest logician of all times (Gödel) formulated a renowned proof for the existence of God.

Then came “Enlightenment”.

And tried to convince people that logic has nothing to do with irrational things like religion. That rational people cannot believe in absurd things like the soul, the spirit, Jesus or God.

They were both wrong.

Logic itself is absurd and irrational. Based on axioms selected arbitrarily, without any solid foundation whatsoever. The only thing we know for sure about any set of axiomatic theories – logic included – is that it cannot prove everything.

Life IS absurd and irrational. We exist without reason, we die without reason, we love and hate with no reason, we just Are. Any attempt to rationalize life will hit the wall of reality and collapse as soon as it started.

So believe what you want.

No you are not irrational.

Because there is no such thing as “rational”…