I've found it helpful to keep an open mind about what I think of as reality,
because it keeps me from taking obstacles too seriously. As I said in
another post, this has more to do with psychology than with any branch of
physics. And yet, since mathematical models are products of the human mind,
they do seem to be proper subjects of psychological studies.
I've just finished reading some articles by N.I. Vavlilov, along with a
biography. Vavilov died of starvation in a Soviet prison in 1943 because he
refused to accept the "mainstream" genetic science of that time and place,
which was Lamarkian (basically, Larmark's theory was that evolution occurs
as a result of abilities or characteristics acquired by parents and passed
to their offspring, the usual example being the giraffe who reaches its neck
up to eat leaves from trees and then gives birth to a baby with a long neck.
Another part of the theory as it pertained to botany was that you could, for
example, grow winter wheat in the summer, and the offspring of this wheat
would be spring wheat.) As far as I can tell, many of the scientists
educated in Soviet universities of the times took Larmakian genetics quite
seriously, and their observations and experiments supported their beliefs.
Surely, some of these men and women suppressed what they truly believed in
order to stay alive. But my impression is that many, if not most, of them
truly believed, and the results they saw when they performed scientific
experiments conformed to their beliefs.
To a great extent, people see only what they believe is possible. When a
person begins to extend his or her concept of what's possible, life
definitely changes. I can say this from personal experience as well as from
what I've heard and read from other people.
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2000 4:39 AM
Subject: Re: The Matrix
The thing to remember when you get into this kind of metaphysical
speculations is to ask yourself: does this really matter? Does this
have any relevance beside the intellectual pleasure of imagining
complex or bizarre ontologies? If models with many "levels of reality"
do not have any impact on how we live our lives, our ethics or our
physics then they are rather irrelevant.
In the Matrix, there was a very real effect on life once you
discovered it. Is there any evidence whatsoever for something similar
in the real world? A certain amount of fuzziness (be it memory of
Heisenberg) is not enough.
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