In the New Scientist of January 17, 2009, there appears an article about what could be the most important physics experiment in history, one that could, by revolutionizing our understanding of reality, enable us to much more accurately know who and what we are.
And that may be radically different from what we appear to ourselves to be--solid, physical beings living out our lives in a predictably linear reality. We may actually be part of an entirely different reality, and understanding this might lead to dramatic changes in the way we see our world and our lives--not to mention how we change them.
There is a physics experiment taking place in Germany called GEO600 that seeks to detect gravitational waves thrown off by super-dense object such as neutron stars and black holes.
So far, the experiment hasn't detected any such waves, but it has quite possibly made what the New Scientist calls possibly "the most important discovery in physics for half a century."
This is because of a noise that is disturbing the experiment. Until recently, it had not been isolated or identified, but now the director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, physicist Craig Hogan, thinks he may have the surprising solution to the enigma.
He believes that GEO600 has found the limit of space-time, which is the place where it dissolves into a granular pattern, rather than being the smooth structure predicted by Einstein, and that the noise is generated by this process.
This may sound rather esoteric, but what follows is completely incredible. Hogan says, "If the Geo600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a cosmic hologram."
This means that our entire experience may be a side effect of processes that actually take place on a two-dimensional surface at the edge of the universe.
What this might mean to philosophers has not yet been addressed, of course, but if the findings prove correct, this must become a central aspect of philosophical discussion in the future. The questions of who and what we are will have to be opened in entirely new ways.
Hogan says that there "could still be a mundane source of the noise," and until all possible sources are ruled out, we cannot be certain that we are detecting the grains that make up a hologram that comprises reality.
However, if that's true, it might explain a lot to those of us who have found ourselves living at the indeterminate edge of experience. The reason is that the very graininess of reality may be drawn into consciousness in the form of perceptions that reflect reality in unique ways. And the issue of how individual 'grains' of the holographic universe may relate to the whole will need to be addressed by physics, and it is possible that the attempt to do so itself will affect our place in, and perception of, reality in ways that we can scarcely now imagine.
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