The Most Popular Model of Reality Is Wrong

November 20, 2019

It would be ideal if reality and our model of reality merged into the same thing. A model of reality explains how the universe was created and how it operates. You might think that this is a definition of reality itself, but it isn’t, which can be illustrated by looking at the most popular model, known as naïve realism.

In a nutshell, naïve realism says that what you see is what you get. In other words, the reality presented by the five senses is reliable. Such a view appeals to common sense. It rests on experiences we take for granted. There is a physical world “out there” separate from our subjective experience “in here.” The physical world predates human beings by 13.8 billion years, going back to the Big Bang. If both of those things are true, then obviously what we think, feel, and desire “in here” has no effect on reality “out there.”

As unimaginably sophisticated as modern science has become, most scientists accept naïve realism, usually without question, even though each of the common-sense facts just mentioned is known to be false.

•The division of reality into mind and matter has never worked, because it fails to tell us where mind came from or how it relates to the brain.

•The passage of time, whether in milliseconds or the eons since the Big Bang, has no fixed validity. The quantum field, considered the finest level of Nature by physicists, doesn’t exhibit linear clock time, and the source of the quantum field is timeless.

•A longstanding problem in physics, known as the measurement problem, indicates that an observer is needed in order to produce the basic outcomes that create particles. In other words, physical reality has a psychological component that is inseparable from it—we live in a participatory universe.

Leave aside the obvious ways we cannot trust our five senses, which tell us mistakenly that the sun rises in the East, that a thunderclap happens after a flash of lightning, and that there could be no such things as small as bacteria and viruses, since they are invisible to our eyesight.

Naïve realism is wrong at a much deeper level, which has been grappled with by the most eminent physicists. It is wrong about mind; it cannot connect mind and brain; it has nothing to tell us about the origins of space, time, matter, and energy’ it is contradicted by the strange behavior of the quantum field; and it has no chance of linking the microscopic world with the macroscopic world—in other words, the so-called building blocks of reality live in a separate, totally closed-off domain from everyday reality.

Read More