If you’re familiar with the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox, then you know that science grapples with the question of what reality is and, therefore, whether anything that you believe in is real.

In that regard, Einstein said that reality was an illusion. Philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that time and space were not inherent qualities of the physical world but rather a reflection of the way the mind operates. In other words, time is a function of consciousness. Astronomer, physicist Arthur Eddington summed it up pretty well when he wrote that, “In the world of physics…the shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper…the frank realization that physical science is concerned with a world of shadow…”

Despite this, people think that they can discern reality with their physical senses, or at least they only acknowledge that which they physically experience. I guess that they never read Lincoln Barnett who wrote, in The Universe and Dr. Einstein, “Along with philosophers’ reduction of all objective reality to a shadow-world of perceptions, scientists have become aware of the alarming limitations of man’s senses.” People simply ignore what science has been trying to tell them and focus only on what their physical senses experience. They think that their physical senses can tell the difference between what is real and what is an illusion. Never mind that the brain cannot tell the difference between what is ”real” and what is vividly imagined.

So to better understand what the average person thinks about the world around him, I asked a number of people what a desk was made of. They generally answered wood. So, I asked where did the wood come from and they answered that it came from a tree. So, I inquired what a tree was composed of and a few said molecules… and the molecules were composed of atoms. Now, here’s where thinks get a little murky.

Science says that atoms are 99.99999999% empty space! So, what is a desk really made of? The answer is almost exclusively empty space.  Your senses cannot cannot tell you that the desk is really empty space. Well, almost-empty space since there is no such thing as empty space.

Aside: It is the quantum field that physicist David Bohm said is the true source of our reality. Our physical world, according to Bohm, is projected from another realm which is beyond space and time. A projection you understand.

It is said that perception is reality. That’s somewhat true but woefully incomplete. Perception is what we use to define that which we “think” is real. However, we cannot perceive the true reality (the quantum field) and so our beliefs are based upon an illusion as Einstein would have it, an illusion created by our physical senses. Theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg elaborated on our inability to perceive reality in his now-famous Uncertainty Principle for which he received the Nobel Prize in physics. However, why would people want to study Heisenberg when they believe that they understand what is real (based on their own personal sensory experience). In fact, the smarter that a person is the less likely that they will question their own physical senses.

The famous Double-Slit Experiment forever changed the way that science viewed the way that things work. Prior to the experiment, objects were deemed to be separate from human consciousness. Afterwards, it was clearly understood that the observer was an integral part of the experiment and affected the outcome. As physicist John Wheeler put it, “The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.” Try understanding that with your physical senses.

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