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Metaphysics & Psychology

Our Mysterious Existence; Is the Universe a Conscious Mind? 

Our Mysterious Existence; Is the Universe a Conscious Mind?  86

Phlip Goff
Aeon

In the past 40 or so years, a strange fact about our Universe gradually made itself known to scientists: the laws of physics, and the initial conditions of our Universe, are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. It turns out that, for life to be possible, the numbers in basic physics – for example, the strength of gravity, or the mass of the electron – must have values falling in a certain range. And that range is an incredibly narrow slice of all the possible values those numbers can have. It is therefore incredibly unlikely that a universe like ours would have the kind of numbers compatible with the existence of life. But, against all the odds, our Universe does.

Here are a few of examples of this fine-tuning for life:

  • The strong nuclear force (the force that binds together the elements in the nucleus of an atom) has a value of 0.007. If that value had been 0.006 or less, the Universe would have contained nothing but hydrogen. If it had been 0.008 or higher, the hydrogen would have fused to make heavier elements. In either case, any kind of chemical complexity would have been physically impossible. And without chemical complexity there can be no life.
  • The physical possibility of chemical complexity is also dependent on the masses of the basic components of matter: electrons and quarks. If the mass of a down quark had been greater by a factor of 3, the Universe would have contained only hydrogen. If the mass of an electron had been greater by a factor of 2.5, the Universe would have contained only neutrons: no atoms at all, and certainly no chemical reactions.
  • Gravity seems a momentous force but it is actually much weaker than the other forces that affect atoms, by about 1036. If gravity had been only slightly stronger, stars would have formed from smaller amounts of material, and consequently would have been smaller, with much shorter lives. A typical sun would have lasted around 10,000 years rather than 10 billion years, not allowing enough time for the evolutionary processes that produce complex life. Conversely, if gravity had been only slightly weaker, stars would have been much colder and hence would not have exploded into supernovae. This also would have rendered life impossible, as supernovae are the main source of many of the heavy elements that form the ingredients of life.

Some take the fine-tuning to be simply a basic fact about our Universe: fortunate perhaps, but not something requiring explanation. But like many scientists and philosophers, I find this implausible. In The Life of the Cosmos (1999), the physicist Lee Smolin has estimated that, taking into account all of the fine-tuning examples considered, the chance of life existing in the Universe is 1 in 10229, from which he concludes:

In my opinion, a probability this tiny is not something we can let go unexplained. Luck will certainly not do here; we need some rational explanation of how something this unlikely turned out to be the case.

The two standard explanations of the fine-tuning are theism and the multiverse hypothesis. Theists postulate an all-powerful and perfectly good supernatural creator of the Universe, and then explain the fine-tuning in terms of the good intentions of this creator. Life is something of great objective value; God in Her goodness wanted to bring about this great value, and hence created laws with constants compatible with its physical possibility. The multiverse hypothesis postulates an enormous, perhaps infinite, number of physical universes other than our own, in which many different values of the constants are realised. Given a sufficient number of universes realising a sufficient range of the constants, it is not so improbable that there will be at least one universe with fine-tuned laws.

Both of these theories are able to explain the fine-tuning. The problem is that, on the face of it, they also make false predictions. For the theist, the false prediction arises from the problem of evil. If one were told that a given universe was created by an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful being, one would not expect that universe to contain enormous amounts of gratuitous suffering. One might not be surprised to find it contained intelligent life, but one would be surprised to learn that life had come about through the gruesome process of natural selection. Why would a loving God who could do absolutely anything choose to create life that way? Prima facie theism predicts a universe that is much better than our own and, because of this, the flaws of our Universe count strongly against the existence of God.

Turning to the multiverse hypothesis, the false prediction arises from the so-called Boltzmann brain problem, named after the 19th-century Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann who first formulated the paradox of the observed universe. Assuming there is a multiverse, you would expect our Universe to be a fairly typical member of the universe ensemble, or at least a fairly typical member of the universes containing observers (since we couldn’t find ourselves in a universe in which observers are impossible). However, in The Road to Reality (2004), the physicist and mathematician Roger Penrose has calculated that in the kind of multiverse most favoured by contemporary physicists – based on inflationary cosmology and string theory – for every observer who observes a smooth, orderly universe as big as ours, there are 10 to the power of 10123 who observe a smooth, orderly universe that is just 10 times smaller. And by far the most common kind of observer would be a ‘Boltzmann’s brain’: a functioning brain that has by sheer fluke emerged from a disordered universe for a brief period of time. If Penrose is right, then the odds of an observer in the multiverse theory finding itself in a large, ordered universe are astronomically small. And hence the fact that we are ourselves such observers is powerful evidence against the multiverse theory.

Neither of these are knock-down arguments. Theists can try to come up with reasons why God would allow the suffering we find in the Universe, and multiverse theorists can try to fine-tune their theory such that our Universe is less unlikely. However, both of these moves feel ad hoc, fiddling to try to save the theory rather than accepting that, on its most natural interpretation, the theory is falsified. I think we can do better.

In the public mind, physics is on its way to giving us a complete account of the nature of space, time and matter. We are not there yet of course; for one thing, our best theory of the very big – general relativity – is inconsistent with our best theory of the very small – quantum mechanics. But it is standardly assumed that one day these challenges will be overcome and physicists will proudly present an eager public with the Grand Unified Theory of everything: a complete story of the fundamental nature of the Universe.

In fact, for all its virtues, physics tells us precisely nothing about the nature of the physical Universe. Consider Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation: F=G(m1m2/r2)

The variables m1 and m2 stand for the masses of two objects that we want to work out the gravitational attraction between; F is the gravitational attraction between those two masses, G is the gravitational constant (a number we know from observation); and r is the distance between m1 and m2. Notice that this equation doesn’t provide us with definitions of what ‘mass’, ‘force’ and ‘distance’ are. And this is not something peculiar to Newton’s law. The subject matter of physics are the basic properties of the physics world: mass, charge, spin, distance, force. But the equations of physics do not explain what these properties are. They simply name them in order to assert equations between them.

If physics is not telling us the nature of physical properties, what is it telling us? The truth is that physics is a tool for prediction. Even if we don’t know what ‘mass’ and ‘force’ really are, we are able to recognise them in the world. They show up as readings on our instruments, or otherwise impact on our senses. And by using the equations of physics, such as Newton’s law of gravity, we can predict what’s going to happen with great precision. It is this predictive capacity that has enabled us to manipulate the natural world in extraordinary ways, leading to the technological revolution that has transformed our planet. We are now living through a period of history in which people are so blown away by the success of physical science, so moved by the wonders of technology, that they feel strongly inclined to think that the mathematical models of physics capture the whole of reality. But this is simply not the job of physics. Physics is in the business of predicting the behaviour of matter, not revealing its intrinsic nature.

Given that physics tell us nothing of the nature of physical reality, is there anything we do know? Are there any clues as to what is going on ‘under the bonnet’ of the engine of the Universe? The English astronomer Arthur Eddington was the first scientist to confirm general relativity, and also to formulate the Boltzmann brain problem discussed above (albeit in a different context). Reflecting on the limitations of physics in The Nature of the Physical World (1928), Eddington argued that the only thing we really know about the nature of matter is that some of it has consciousness; we know this because we are directly aware of the consciousness of our own brains:

We are acquainted with an external world because its fibres run into our own consciousness; it is only our own ends of the fibres that we actually know; from those ends, we more or less successfully reconstruct the rest, as a palaeontologist reconstructs an extinct monster from its footprint.

We have no direct access to the nature of matter outside of brains. But the most reasonable speculation, according to Eddington, is that the nature of matter outside of brains is continuous with the nature of matter inside of brains. Given that we have no direct insight into the nature of atoms, it is rather ‘silly’, argued Eddington, to declare that atoms have a nature entirely removed from mentality, and then to wonder where mentality comes from. In my book Consciousness and Fundamental Reality (2017), I developed these considerations into an extensive argument for panpsychism: the view that all matter has a consciousness-involving nature.

There are two ways of developing the basic panpsychist position. One is micropsychism, the view that the smallest parts of the physical world have consciousness. Micropsychism is not to be equated with the absurd view that quarks have emotions or that electrons feel existential angst. In human beings, consciousness is a sophisticated thing, involving subtle and complex emotions, thoughts and sensory experiences. But there seems nothing incoherent with the idea that consciousness might exist in some extremely basic forms. We have good reason to think that the conscious experience of a horse is much less complex than that of a human being, and the experiences of a chicken less complex than those of a horse. As organisms become simpler, perhaps at some point the light of consciousness suddenly switches off, with simpler organisms having no experience at all. But it is also possible that the light of consciousness never switches off entirely, but rather fades as organic complexity reduces, through flies, insects, plants, amoeba and bacteria. For the micropsychist, this fading-while-never-turning-off continuum further extends into inorganic matter, with fundamental physical entities – perhaps electrons and quarks – possessing extremely rudimentary forms of consciousness, to reflect their extremely simple nature.

However, a number of scientists and philosophers of science have recently argued that this kind of ‘bottom-up’ picture of the Universe is outdated, and that contemporary physics suggests that in fact we live in a ‘top-down’ – or ‘holist’ – Universe, in which complex wholes are more fundamental than their parts. According to holism, the table in front of you does not derive its existence from the sub-atomic particles that compose it; rather, those sub-atomic particles derive their existence from the table. Ultimately, everything that exists derives its existence from the ultimate complex system: the Universe as a whole.

Holism has a somewhat mystical association, in its commitment to a single unified whole being the ultimate reality. But there are strong scientific arguments in its favour. The American philosopher Jonathan Schaffer argues that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement is good evidence for holism. Entangled particles behave as a whole, even if they are separated by such large distances that it is impossible for any kind of signal to travel between them. According to Schaffer, we can make sense of this only if, in general, we are in a Universe in which complex systems are more fundamental than their parts.

If we combine holism with panpsychism, we get cosmopsychism: the view that the Universe is conscious, and that the consciousness of humans and animals is derived not from the consciousness of fundamental particles, but from the consciousness of the Universe itself. This is the view I ultimately defend in Consciousness and Fundamental Reality.

The cosmopsychist need not think of the conscious Universe as having human-like mental features, such as thought and rationality. Indeed, in my book I suggested that we think of the cosmic consciousness as a kind of ‘mess’ devoid of intellect or reason. However, it now seems to me that reflection on the fine-tuning might give us grounds for thinking that the mental life of the Universe is just a little closer than I had previously thought to the mental life of a human being.

The Canadian philosopher John Leslie proposed an intriguing explanation of the fine-tuning, which in Universes (1989) he called ‘axiarchism’. What strikes us as so incredible about the fine-tuning is that, of all the values the constants in our laws had, they ended up having exactly those values required for something of great value: life, and ultimately intelligent life. If the laws had not, against huge odds, been fine-tuned, the Universe would have had infinitely less value; some say it would have had no value at all. Leslie proposes that this proper understanding of the problem points us in the direction of the best solution: the laws are fine-tuned because their being so leads to something of great value. Leslie is not imagining a deity mediating between the facts of value and the cosmological facts; the facts of value, as it were, reach out and fix the values directly.

It can hardly be denied that axiarchism is a parsimonious explanation of fine-tuning, as it posits no entities whatsoever other than the observable Universe. But it is not clear that it is intelligible. Values don’t seem to be the right kind of things to have a causal influence on the workings of the world, at least not independently of the motives of rational agents. It is rather like suggesting that the abstract number 9 caused a hurricane.

But the cosmopsychist has a way of rendering axiarchism intelligible, by proposing that the mental capacities of the Universe mediate between value facts and cosmological facts. On this view, which we can call ‘agentive cosmopsychism’, the Universe itself fine-tuned the laws in response to considerations of value. When was this done? In the first 10-43 seconds, known as the Planck epoch, our current physical theories, in which the fine-tuned laws are embedded, break down. The cosmopsychist can propose that during this early stage of cosmological history, the Universe itself ‘chose’ the fine-tuned values in order to make possible a universe of value.

Making sense of this requires two modifications to basic cosmopsychism. Firstly, we need to suppose that the Universe acts through a basic capacity to recognise and respond to considerations of value. This is very different from how we normally think about things, but it is consistent with everything we observe. The Scottish philosopher David Hume long ago noted that all we can really observe is how things behave – the underlying forces that give rise to those behaviours are invisible to us. We standardly assume that the Universe is powered by a number of non-rational causal capacities, but it is also possible that it is powered by the capacity of the Universe to respond to considerations of value.

How are we to think about the laws of physics on this view? I suggest that we think of them as constraints on the agency of the Universe. Unlike the God of theism, this is an agent of limited power, which explains the manifest imperfections of the Universe. The Universe acts to maximise value, but is able to do so only within the constraints of the laws of physics. The beneficence of the Universe does not much reveal itself these days; the agentive cosmopsychist might explain this by holding that the Universe is now more constrained than it was in the unique circumstances of the first split second after the Big Bang, when currently known laws of physics did not apply.

Ockham’s razor is the principle that, all things being equal, more parsimonious theories – that is to say, theories with relatively few postulations – are to be preferred. Is it not a great cost in terms of parsimony to ascribe fundamental consciousness to the Universe? Not at all. The physical world must have some nature, and physics leaves us completely in the dark as to what it is. It is no less parsimonious to suppose that the Universe has a consciousness-involving nature than that it has some non-consciousness-involving nature. If anything, the former proposal is more parsimonious insofar as it is continuous with the only thing we really know about the nature of matter: that brains have consciousness.

Having said that, the second and final modification we must make to cosmopsychism in order to explain the fine-tuning does come at some cost. If the Universe, way back in the Planck epoch, fine-tuned the laws to bring about life billions of years in its future, then the Universe must in some sense be aware of the consequences of its actions. This is the second modification: I suggest that the agentive cosmopsychist postulate a basic disposition of the Universe to represent the complete potential consequences of each of its possible actions. In a sense, this is a simple postulation, but it cannot be denied that the complexity involved in these mental representations detracts from the parsimony of the view. However, this commitment is arguably less profligate than the postulations of the theist or the multiverse theorist. The theist postulates a supernatural agent while the agentive cosmopsychist postulates a natural agent. The multiverse theorist postulates an enormous number of distinct, unobservable entities: the many universes. The agentive cosmopsychist merely adds to an entity that we already believe in: the physical Universe. And most importantly, agentive cosmopsychism avoids the false predictions of its two rivals.

The idea that the Universe is a conscious mind that responds to value strikes us a ludicrously extravagant cartoon. But we must judge the view not on its cultural associations but on its explanatory power. Agentive cosmopsychism explains the fine-tuning without making false predictions; and it does so with a simplicity and elegance unmatched by its rivals. It is a view we should take seriously.

This essay was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust to Aeon and a separate grant from the Templeton funded ‘Pantheism and Panentheism‘ project to the author. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton Religion Trust.

Philip Goff is associate professor in philosophy at the Central European University in Budapest. His research interest is in consciousness and he blogs at Conscience and Consciousness.

Phlip Goff
Aeon

Metaphysics & Psychology

The woman who died of cancer and came back from another dimension

The woman who died of cancer and came back from another dimension 99

Anita Moorjani, experienced something that most of us will never experience. She was diagnosed with cancer, lived with it, died of it, then came back to life and returned home healthy.

Moorjani had been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma for four years when she woke up one morning and couldn’t move at all. Her husband rushed her to the hospital and was diagnosed with grade 4B lymphoma. Her organs were shutting down, and doctors believed she had only 36 hours to live. She eventually passed out.

However, she was still aware of what was happening around her. She could hear her husband in the lobby and observe his conversations with the doctors. She could see her brother desperately board a plane in India so that he could come and see her one last time at a Hong Kong hospital. Besides, she realized something completely different.

“… I actually ‘passed’ into another dimension. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of complete love. I also felt extraordinary clarity about why I have cancer, why I came into this life at all, what role all members of my family played in my life in the general scheme of things and how life in general works. “

“The clarity and understanding I received in this state is almost indescribable. Words cannot describe the experience. I was in a place where I realized how much more there is that we can imagine in our three-dimensional world. “

“I realized what the gift of life was, and that I was surrounded by loving spiritual beings who were always around me, even when I didn’t know it.”

She died, then came back to life. And there were even more surprises. The cancer left her body and she left the hospital healthy. The doctors did not believe it.

“The doctors were very confused, but told me it must have been a quick reaction to chemotherapy. Since they themselves could not understand what was happening, they made me pass test after test, and I passed all this with honor.

Passing each test gave me even more options! I had a full body scan and since they couldn’t believe they hadn’t found anything, they made the radiologist do it again! “

Many people who have experienced near-death experiences describe something similar to what Murjani tells, but it seems that she traveled somewhere that many of us will never get until we change ourselves.

When you learn to love and appreciate yourself, you can experience a piece of heaven! In this video, Anita Moorjani talks about her experience of near death with lymphoma and how it helped her understand what our diseases can teach us and what really matters most in our lives.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Human biocomputer. Is it true that thought is material?

Human biocomputer. Is it true that thought is material? 100

Recently there have been reports that American researchers have been able to calculate the weight of human thought. It ranges in their opinion, from 10 to 30 grams. 

What is Consciousness?

Consciousness is our ability to think, reason, determine our attitude to reality. It reminds our muscles how to ride a bike or drive a car, tells us that we have a business meeting next Monday, and participates in many decisions. Consciousness can be imagined as a large organizer right in our head, in which we keep all the information we need.

But does consciousness belong to us? Scientist say that the brain is a kind of “being in being”. It seems to live and act within us, but according to its own laws, unknown to us. There are thousands of documented cases from medical practice, when people live and retain their mental abilities with complete or partial absence of a brain or with complete cerebral hydrocephalus.

Such facts and evidence make scientists recognize the fact that consciousness exists independently of the brain. So, John Eccles, the largest neurophysiologist and Nobel Prize winner in medicine, believed that the psyche is not a function of the brain. Together with his colleague, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, who has performed more than 10,000 brain surgeries, Eccles wrote the book ‘The Mystery of Man‘. In it, the authors explicitly state that they have no doubt that a person is controlled by something outside his body.

Two more Nobel Prize winners, neurophysiologists David Hubel and Thorsten Wiesel, have repeatedly said in their speeches and scientific works: in order to assert the connection between the brain and consciousness, you need to understand what exactly reads and decodes the information that comes from the senses. However, as they emphasize, this is not yet possible.

A research team led by Dr. Sam Parnia conducted an experiment for 4.5 years with 2060 patients in 15 hospitals. Scientists have collected evidence that the human consciousness is still working, even if the rest of the body (including the brain) can already be considered dead. 

“The brain, like any other organ of the human body, consists of cells and cannot think. However, it can work as a device that detects thoughts – like a television receiver, which first receives waves, and then converts them into sound and image “, – this was the conclusion of Sam Parnia.

A person can be compared to a biocomputer participating in the exchange of information on the “Internet” of the noosphere. The fact that our brain is a transceiver of electromagnetic signals is a reliable fact, but modern methods of registering them are not yet sensitive enough. And our consciousness is just an instrument that is given to us for the perception of this world. And his activity has a creative power. 

Scientists from the Canadian Queens University conducted an experiment in which volunteers were seated in the center of a room and another person’s gaze was periodically directed to the back of their heads. Approximately 95% of the subjects noted that they clearly felt the effect of the gaze on themselves as “passing pressure on the back of the head.” 

Human biocomputer. Is it true that thought is material? 101

Can thought change reality? 

Modern science has evidence that thought is material. With our thoughts, we create our own personal reality, which is formed on the basis of our beliefs and beliefs. And this reality can be changed. How? With the help of all the same thoughts! 

American researcher in the field of neurophysiology and neuropsychology Joe Dispenza was one of the first to study the influence of consciousness on reality from a scientific point of view. It happened after the tragedy. Dispenza was hit by a car, doctors suggested that he fasten the damaged vertebrae with an implant, which could subsequently lead to lifelong pain. But only in this way, according to doctors, he could walk again. However, Dispenza decided to challenge traditional medicine and restore his health with the power of thought. Just 9 months later, he went again. 

The key discovery made by this scientist is that the brain does not distinguish between real and imagined experiences. For example, Dispenza conducted such an experiment. Its members were divided into two groups. People from the first group pressed the spring mechanism with the same finger every day for an hour. People from the second only had to imagine that they were clicking. As a result, the fingers of the subjects from the first group strengthened by 30%, and from the second – by 22%. So, Joe Dispenza proved that for the brain and neurons there is not much difference between real and mental experience. This means that if we pay attention to negative thoughts, our brain perceives them as reality and causes corresponding changes in the body. For example, illness, fear, depression, outburst of aggression, etc.

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How to rejuvenate with your imagination? 

The idea that thoughts and emotions generated at the same time by several people can affect reality has been expressed for a long time. But this idea belonged more to the sphere of esotericism than science. In the 1990s, scientists at Princeton University decided to test it with an experiment. 

They worked with a random number generator. It usually outputs roughly equal numbers of zeros and ones. During the experiments, the operators had to “inspire” the machine to produce more zeros or, conversely, ones. To do this, they intensely thought about the desired. And the results that the generator showed exceeded the probabilities. The experimenters also noticed that when two people participated in the experiment, their “influence” on the generator increased. However, the result looked more impressive if there was a strong emotional connection between the participants.

Imagination is one of the most dynamic human capabilities. In the UK, scientists have proven that the power of thought can even rejuvenate. In a study of volunteer participants, older men who had crossed the 70s, they were asked to change their way of thinking. They were asked to think and act as if each of them suddenly “dropped” 20 years.

The subjects followed the recommendations by changing their way of thinking, daily routine, and their usual activities. Less than a week later, the authors of the experiment noted the first changes, and they were physiological, and therefore easily amenable to elementary checks. In tests and analyzes, it was found that all participants who began to think and act like younger men had improved vision and hearing. Their joints became more flexible and coordination of movements improved. And these changes were by no means short-term: they were “entrenched” in those who, even after the end of the study, continued to think and act like a young man. 

In conclusion, we will mention one more experiment, or rather, an interesting experience. A Chinese physicist, head of the department of Tsinghua University, Bohai Dui, once asked the students to whom he was lecturing to mentally wish him ill. This happened in a lecture. 300 people got down to business at once. Someone imagined terrible situations with the professor, someone inwardly swore at him. And what? The next day he was unable to go to work! The results of the blood test, which he donated for verification, were close to critical. 

The professor was treated on the principle of “like like”. This time, 300 students mentally wished him well. The scientist regained strength, the analyzes returned to normal. By the way, Bohai Dui later wrote a book on this topic. In it, he popularly explained that man is not the king of nature at all, but only an electromagnetic system.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Back to the future: Five concepts of time travel, reflected in pop culture

Back to the future: Five concepts of time travel, reflected in pop culture 103

We have collected five concepts of time travel, reflected in pop culture, and try to explain if they could ever become reality.

Turn back time, like in Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”

The plot of the “Tenet” is based on the artistic assumption of the creators of the picture that time can be inverted. That is, to move along the same time axis, but in a different direction. It is not a parallel dimension or a return to the past. An inverted person does not get younger, but all processes around him are going in the opposite direction. For example, oxygen is exhaled and carbon dioxide is inhaled – therefore an oxygen mask is needed. In the inverted time axis, the explosion cools objects, rather than ignites them – the opposite entropy occurs. 

Despite the fact that Nobel Prize laureate in physics Kip Thorne contributed to the creation of the film, upon careful analysis, the concept of time inversion does not stand up to criticism. The theoretical scientific basis of the film is based on several concepts: antiparticles, CPT invariance, one-electron universe. 

Ilya Deriy, an employee of the Center for Nanophotonics of the National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, explains: An antiparticle to a particle is the same particle, the moduli of the main parameters of which – mass, charge – are equal to the moduli of the particle parameters, but differ in sign. If particle “a” has mass m, then “anti-a” will have mass -m.

CPT invariance implies the symmetry of physical laws when changing a particle to an antiparticle and changing the sign of time. The theory of a one-electron universe is a hypothetical model of the universe in which all electrons are one electron located alternately at different points in space.

Without going into the details of complex mathematical calculations and equations, it can be said that there are at least three main obstacles on the way back to the future or forward to the past. Speaking about “Tenet”, one can recall one of them – the principle of causality. It consists in a simple question: “If I kill my grandfather, will I die too?” Nolan’s film responds elegantly, “How do I know?” 

The director decided not to flirt with unpleasant logical paradoxes. Another plus in Nolan’s piggy bank – people in inverted time just go towards us, changing, for us – the past, for them – the future, but we do exactly the same thing, just the opposite. Moreover, at a certain point in time, we always have the same result. This is similar to how films were played on film in old cinemas. 

Whatever it is, the picture at 12:05 will always be the same. In order not to break the logic, it is necessary to accept the requirement that “everything” exists “always”. Plus or minus does not contradict anything if we take it for granted that there is a time loop that has always existed, because in this case the principle of causality is not violated. 

We just walk in a circle and everything is arranged in such a way that the starting point always coincides with the ending point. Model,

Technology portal to the past, like in the novel “11/22/63” by Stephen King

English teacher Jacob Epping learns that in the back room of an ordinary diner there is a portal to the past, which operates according to several strict laws. A person always moves at the same time, on the same day – 11:58 on September 9, 1958. Regardless of the duration of the trip in the past, in the present it will take only 2 minutes. 

It is possible to influence and change events that have already occurred in the past, but if you use the portal again, this will cancel all changes. By the way, the past resists change – the larger the traveler’s influence on events, the more it resists. Jacob uses the portal to try to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

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Photo: Reddit

In this case, one can recall the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. He says that quantum particles do not have a specific momentum and coordinate. These two characteristics simply take on a value in a certain interval. And the smaller this gap for one of the variables, the larger it is for the other. 

The following conclusion suggests itself: even if it turns out to turn the past backwards, this principle will not change. And various quantum processes will always happen with a certain degree of randomness. That is, the past will no longer be the same as it was before we remember it. And the further in time we go, the more we will feel this effect. 

It is somewhat similar to the butterfly effect, when a minor impact on the system can cause unpredictable consequences not only in the system itself, but also in a completely unexpected place.

Creation of a temporal field, as in the novel “The End of Eternity”, Isaac Asimov

The book describes the organization “Eternity” existing outside of time and space, which gained the ability to travel in time after breakthrough research in mathematics and physics was carried out on the basis of the temporal field generator. 

Based on these studies, it was possible to stretch a negligibly narrow temporal field into the future, when the sun turned into a supernova. It was the use of supernova energy that allowed “Eternity” to expand the field and place members of the organization in different centuries in order to keep an eye on “time” – ordinary people and prevent catastrophes. 

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Photo: Pinterest

Theoretically, the use of supernova energy is possible provided that it can be integrated into the developed device. You also need to remember about banal energy considerations. 

Let’s say there is a ball that is rolling down a hill. To return it to the top, it must first be stopped, and then also rolled to the peak. What if the same ball is not just rolling down a hill, but flying at a breakneck speed in outer space? It is necessary to spend energy not only to stop it, but also to stop all the processes that occur inside, the existence of many of which we do not even mean. This will have to spend a huge amount of energy, which, in my opinion, humanity does not yet have. 

Temporality is a special characteristic of temporal processes, which consists in the assumption of the temporal nature of phenomena. In the novel, this is an intertemporal cavity formed by an inexplicable paradox. 

Timeloop like in Duncan Jones’s “Source Code”

US intelligence agencies have developed the Source Code program . It allows you to place the consciousness of the agent in the body of any person in the last eight minutes of his life. The task of the main character Colter Stevens is to prevent the train explosion that happened the day before, destroying the bomb, and find out who created it. This will help find and neutralize another explosive device that has not yet been activated. 

The program is a skillful imitation, which means that it is impossible to change the course of events and evacuate the train. In this case, the activation of the “Source Code” leads to the creation of new timelines due to manipulations with quantum physics.

The time loop is a favorite plot move for many screenwriters and writers. The most striking example of this is the cult film Groundhog Day, where the hero is forced to live the same day over and over again. In real life, this term owes its appearance to the Austrian scientist Kurt Gödel. 

He wrote a paper on general relativity, where he proposed a solution to the Einstein equation by considering the role of the gravitational potential. It follows from Gödel’s solution that the universe can have a special structure, where the flow of time is looped. In theory, this could lead to time travel. Modern physicists believe that this solution has no practical meaning. 

If we add to the assumption about the temporal looping of the theory from quantum physics that there are parallel realities, then theoretically, time travel to alternative realities gets rid of all paradoxes. However, scientists did not even try to develop a mathematical apparatus that would take into account such an assumption. 

A natural portal to the past, as in the TV series “Dark”

The series takes place in the fictional city of Winden, located next to a nuclear power plant. Below it is a system of caves where a wormhole is found, allowing time travel 33 years into the past and into the future. 

In Dark, the approach to time travel and its consequences is quite realistic – it is impossible to change the course of history. Once in the past, a person cannot change destiny, only contribute to the predetermined future. 

All events will happen, and time loops will continue to exist. This is due to the  principle of causality , which was also used in “Tenet” – if event A caused event B, then A happened before B. The principle of the wormhole under Winden resembles the Einstein-Rosen bridge. The show also features a “particle of god” as a must-have for time travel. In reality, this concept resembles the Higgs boson. 

The Higgs boson is an elementary particle responsible for inert mass. It serves as a measure of the body’s inertia, that is, it determines the degree of its resistance to external influences. The more inert body mass, the slower and weaker the body reacts to the action of external forces.

The Einstein-Rosen Bridge is a wormhole, a hypothetical time travel vehicle that connects two points at any distance from each other in time and space. The implication is that space and time in this concept have neither end nor edge. That is, a particle trapped in a hole can continue its path to the future or past as far as desired. 

The concept of wormholes is consistent with general relativity, but no practical study or scientific work has proven their existence in real life. So far, they exist only on television screens. 

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