10 de julho de 2010

The void of feelings

(Illustration: Greg Bryan et al.)

In classical physics the void is a ‘nothing’, a simple absence of all matter and energy. Quantum theory tells a different story and states that the void is definitely a ‘something’. It is a seething mass of ‘virtual’ particles that fleetingly appear into and disappear from our observable universe.
I spent last night thinking about the definition of void and if it could be used to describe a trivial but utterly complex human situation. I started wondering if the word void could be used to describe the absence of non-physical feelings...

Non-physical feelings are conscious subjective experiences of emotions. Although they are said to be non-physical in the direct sense (like feeling of touch, cold, pain) , the drivers causing the non-physical feelings are in fact physical. Chemical reactions and electric transfers occurring in our brain determine much of the non-physical feelings we experienced. If in the base of each emotion is a physical process or entity then we can certainly use the word void according to classical physics to describe the absence of emotions...

But what if we use void according to quantum physics?

Its hard to imagine how a virtual mass of particles might look like and how it could be connected to the production of non-physical feelings. Nevertheless this is not the most interesting part of the definition of void that I'm interested. I focused my attention to the second part of the definition, this is: "that fleetingly appear into and disappear from our observable universe".
If this is true then a void of feelings in quantum mechanics does not imply the absence of emotions. In fact, since the void is actually something, the non-physical feelings are definitely present, although they may not be observable.

The word "observable" appears now to the the constrain in evaluating the usefulness of applying the word void to feelings. We encounter now a paradox. Since the person can not observe the virtual mass of chain reactions leading to feeling it can only "observe" the feeling once this is manifested. To sum up, it all boils down on the ability of the observer to observe something that cannot be observed without actually occurring...

How long can a void last?

5 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

If you add here an "observer effect" that is that the act of observation changes the system, then the situation will become even more complex)

Luis Carvalho disse...

Good point...
I thought that the "observer effect" would only apply if the observer is external to the system under analysis and not when the observer is the system.

Anónimo disse...

When the observer is observing him/herself then maybe its more appropriate to introduce the formalism of the "thing-in-itself" as defined by Kant...
:))

Luis Carvalho disse...

I think we are getting somewhere...

So... the "thing-in-itself" cannot be known since knowledge is limited to possible experience. But according to Kant it can be thought if it satisfies the condition of a possible thought which is not to be self-contradictory :)

Anónimo disse...

now things are getting too complicated :))

Trans - Siberiano