So tonight I want to talk about physical significance.

      Physical significance is the model we build of the world according
to the evidence we receive from it via our senses.

      For example, say I put a Rubiks Cube on a glass table under a lamp, 
and in the background is a clock telling the exact time and date and also 
the GPS coordinates of the building I am in.

      Then at some point I have two different people take two different
pictures of the cube from two different viewpoints at different
distances and angles to the cube.  Each picture has a view of the cube
and the GPS clock in the background as a space time stamp.

      After the pictures are taken they are developed and handed to us as
'evidence' about the nature of the cube.

     The first thing we notice is that each picture of the cube has an
implied viewpoint, something which is missing from the cube itself.  An
implied viewpoint means you can tell where the picture was taken FROM by
looking at the cube in the picture.

     There is no way to tell where the pictures were taken from by
looking at the cube itself, because objects do not contain the data of
where they are being looked at from.

     But the picture of the object certainly shows data not only about
the object but also about the viewpoint the picture was taken from.

     The cube is ALL OF IT, from all angles and distances at once, each
of the two pictures however is a picture from only one angle and one
distance.  Thus by looking at the picture alone one can tell WHERE the
picture was taken from.

     As an aside, the fact that the picture has the quality of an
implied viewpoint and the original cube doesn't, means that the picture
of cube and the cube itself are two different objects.

     The next thing we want to notice about the two pictures is they
show the same time and location on the clock in the background.

     The last thing we notice about the two pictures, is that although
both are of a cube, the images are very different.

     The one taken from the left can see parts of the cube that the one
on the right can't and visa versa.  Since the cube has 6 sides with 6
different colors, each picture will contain an image of 3 sides and 3
different colors, but each picture has A DIFFERENT set of 3 sides and

     While one picture may show top, front and left, the other will show
top, front and right.

     Thus the evidence from two different viewpoints is conflicting.

     So what is the physical significance of this set of evidence
contained in the two pictures?  What does it all mean about what is
*ACTUALLY* out there?

      We call the pictures the LOOK LIKE, and the 'actually out there'

      More formally the look-like is the reality, what is real to the
observer, and the is-like is the actuality, the true truth of the

      The process of building up evidence (look like) into a physical
significance (is like) is the ability to compute back from the many look
likes to the implied is like.

      For a person who only has contact with the pictures, he has no
direct contact with the cube itself, so must compute backwards from the
pictures, the look like, to what the cube must actually be like, which
is the is like.

      So this is pretty easy, we see from the clock on the wall in each
picture that the pictures were taken at the same place and time, so we
establish that it is probably the same cube that is being photographed
in both images.

      This is a trust issue after all, the clock on the wall could have
been messed with between pictures, but for the moment we assume it
wasn't.  Thus if the clock says that the time and location are the same
for each picture, then we assume they are.

      Secondly, although the images are different, they are consistent
with a cube that has 6 sides and 6 different colors.  The left picture
can only see the top, front and left, and they are red, green and blue,
and the right picture can only see the top front a and right, and they
are red, green and yellow.

     From this we can integrate the two pictures and come up with a more
complete whole, although we still can't see the bottom or back.

     On the other hand if we were allowed to take multiple pictures of
the cube, multiple angles at the same time including from underneath the
glass table, we could get images of all sides that would agree with each
other where they overlapped, and finally compute back that the cube
indeed had six sides colored red, green, blue, yellow, orange and white.

     This last analysis is what we derive from the photographic
evidence, namely that there is an actual cube out there in space and
time, and we can tell exactly where it is, how many sides it is, and
what colors they are.

     Life is very much like this, we see the physical universe through
the pictures of our consciousness, and as we move around we get to see
it from many different viewpoints.

     In this sense reality or personal 'truth' is relative to our
viewpoint of the moment, but integrating over all the viewpoints we can
come up with a complete picture is not relative.  That means anyone
doing the same thing should come up with the same final analysis, even
if they never visited the exact same viewpoints that we did.

     All it takes is 3 different viewpoints on the cube to determine the
whole cube, and it doesn't matter exactly what those 3 viewpoints are as
long as they are widely enough separated from each other.

     This makes 'sense' to us because we believe there is one and only
one actual space and time out there, and there is one and only one
actual specific cube in that space and time with one and only one set of
colors on it in specific locations, and anyone viewpointing around that
cube had better come up with the same integration of evidence, the is
like, as everyone else, or else that someone is crazy, lying,
hallucinating or simply wrong.

      In an actual objective external physical universe, it is not
true that everyone's computed actuality is as good as everyone
     Anyone who doesn't come up with the same is-like is clearly broke
and probably dangerous to himself and everyone else.

     This universe depends on people being right about it, because it is
an eat or be eaten world, and if you see a ball where there is
'actually' a lion, and you go to play with the ball, it will be the lion
having the ball.

     Thus this universe tends to weed out those who are 'mind broke'
either because they can not perceive correctly, take accurate snapshots,
or because they can't integrate the snapshots properly into a complete
and CORRECT whole, all of which are forms of 'mind broke.'

     Their learning machine isn't working properly, either from errors
in the processes of perception, objectification, cognition, logic,
motivation or execution of action.

     You see the whole idea of 'CORRECTNESS' implies that there is one
and only one answer to the question 'What is it?', and anyone coming up
with the wrong answer is on their way out.

     You want to know 'what is it?' because you want to know what it can
do, and how it can help or harm your survival, and what you can do about
it.  People that misidentify things are a serious source of trouble.

     In an eat or be eaten universe, one can surmise that those that
have survived for a very long time, have done so because they were more
often right than wrong, everyone else has long since been eaten usually
before breeding, so their broken genetic lines have died off.

     That means after 4 billion years of evolution, survival machines
are pretty right about things most of the time.

     For those genetic lines that have developed being eaten AFTER
breeding tend to benefit their own species BY being eaten.

     The grass benefits from being eaten by the cow because of the

     Sometimes someone will be found to be surviving but not on his own
merits, that is.  he is being taken care of by others who can think
correctly for him.
     However these are an exception and if allowed to breed, will
eventually swamp the world with beings that can not take care of
themselves, and eventually are also being taken care of by beings who
can not take care of themselves!

     As soon as welfare is cut from a deeply welfared society, the whole
thing just dies over night.  Only the able remain standing and there may
not be enough of them to survive themselves.

     Sometimes the very fabric of civilization, its institutions,
machines, working processes, the accumulated built in wisdom of the
ongoing structure itself, is enough to keep everyone going.  Take
civilization away and its abilities, and all the people in it wonder
what to do?

     But if the power goes out so no one can read the manuals on
how to bring it back, then the whole system is dead.

     LOTS of people wear eye glasses who haven't clue one how they work
or why, nor how to build them should eye glass factories suddenly cease
to exist.  Worse many of these people couldn't survive at all without
their glasses in the wild.

     Thus civilizations can become 'effete' where the vast majority
stand on the shoulders and insight of a very few.

     We call that the John Galt syndrome after Any Rand's book, Atlas

     John Galt talked the very few really able beings in society to go
on strike so the rest couldn't suck them dry of the blood of their

     People who are working properly, not mind broke, will in fact tend
to quarantine people who aren't, because if a person is mistaking a lion
for a ball, he might mistake you for a lion!  That wouldn't be good for
you, and so you and society make sure to weed out those who can't come
to solid agreement as to how things are.

     Thus the one and only objective world comes to make sense to
everyone and everyone has pretty much the same physical significance
attached to the external world derived from properly integrating their
many viewpoints and snapshots.

     Wrongnesses will tend to grow but only where being right or wrong
doesn't really affect survival, in which case who cares?  Some people
think the world was created 10,000 years ago, and others think it was 12
     Who cares?

     Who cares if vast subsets of civilizations can't think straight as
long as they are taken care of by those that can.

     One has to be careful with this though, as subtle wrongnesses may
not have an effect on immediate survival in present time, but suddenly
come to a head down the road pushing the person or civilization itself
into a cataclysmic non survival.

      Survival is most greatly guaranteed by affluence of rightness, and
correct functioning of the learning machine, even if it seems to be in
areas of apparent no interest to survival itself in present time.

     Watch out for those that are proud of their mental inabilities, and
who consider having the affluence to be dumb a sign of their social
status.  If civilization fails, they will be the first to succumb.


     Now let's go back a moment to where we had two people taking two
photos of the cube at the same time, and this time let's place a third
person between the two who also takes a picture at the same time.

     Let's say when we compare all three snapshots, the left and right
one's agree that the top is red, but the middle one says the top is

     Again we compare the clock and location in all 3 pictures which
claims they are all at the same time of the same cube in the same place,
but there it is, the middle one says the top is white, and the other two
say it is red.

     Before we even try to ask which picture is right, we must ask, how
can this be?

     It is easy to assume that the minority report is wrong and the
majority report is right, perhaps the middle person has a faulty camera
or something.

     Surely it is more likely that one camera failed at that instant
than that two did.

     But if the two cameras on left and right failed, then the middle
one, the minority report, is right.

     If all one has access to is the look likes provided by the
pictures, then there is no way to know!  One can only bet.

     Worse what happens if we inspect the cameras to within an inch of
their lives, and in fact swap them so the middle is now on the left, and
we take 3 more pictures, and still the new middle one says top is white
and the other two say its red.


     What is the physical significance of these evidentiary facts?

     They don't make 'sense', which means that we are used to those
things which we sense about the world to integrate into a SINGLE version
of how things are out there, namely a cube is a cube, and it's top can't
be both red and white at the same time.

     But couldn't it look red from two viewpoints and white from

     What would we conclude if EVERY picture take of the cube from a
different viewpoint showed it had completely different colors.

     How would we integrate our evidence then into a sensible physical

     Is it possible that the nature of the cube depends on what
viewpoint we are viewing it from?

     That would explain it, but how can we reconcile that with the idea
that there is one cube out there that is as it is independent of anyone
looking at it.

     It is fine for all the LOOK LIKES to be different, but how in
nature's name can the IS LIKE be dependent on the LOOK LIKE?

     The IS LIKE is supposed to be cause and the look like is effect.

     How can it be that the is-like is effect and the look like is

     How can the nature of WHAT IS VIEWED, change according to WHERE IT

     Worse say that photos from different viewpoints not only disagreed
as to the color, but disagreed as to the shape!  Some showed a cube,
others a rectangle, and others showed a rhomboid?

     Holy cow batman, which is it?

     Chaos would reign, unless we were willing and able to live with the
idea that a cube by itself is meaningless, and that an object only has
specific definition or qualities in relation to the viewer of the
object, and WHAT object it ends up looking like depends on the viewpoint
of that viewer.

     Worse we have assumed a stable space and time in which this chimera
of an object exists.

     Imagine that when every photograph was taken at the same time, not
only did a different object show up, but the clock read a different time
and different location!

     Well how could the pictures have been taken at 'the same time' if
the clock in the picture was reading 3 different times?

     Could it be that 'what time it is' ALSO depends on where you are
looking at AND where you are looking from!

     And if perceptions of space and time are relative to where you are,
then concepts of how much space or time separate two different events,
and whether things happen at the same time or not, become relative to
the viewpoint from which they are seen.

     Does this not imply that each viewpoint has its own universe to

     Do we not have to give up the concept of a common universe?

     Wouldn't that mean we are all alone to our selves and our viewpoint
and its 'minority report'?

     If so how could anyone ever communicate to anyone else, and share
their interactions within a 'common universe'.

     Is it possible that even though the exact where and when of events
in the universe change from viewpoint to viewpoint, that there may still
be a common thread conserved across all viewpoints?

     But if where and when are not the common connecting thread, what

     Doesn't where and when DEFINE WHAT IS?

     Apparently not, but if things are not defined uniquely by space and
time, what are they defined by then?

     How about causality, FOLLOWINGNESS, ORDER in space and time.

     And so we enter the world of special relativity.

     If the where and when of things can change dramatically with
viewpoint, and what does NOW mean anyhow?

     There are two kinds of relativity, the second is actually easier to
understand the physical significance of it, and that is general

     General relativity deals with how gravity affects the reported
where and when of events depending on where you are relative to a mass
like the planet Earth.

     The first kind of relativity is special relativity, and it deals
with how wheres and whens are affected not only by where your viewpoint
is, but by how fast it is moving relative to the where and when you are
trying to take a picture of.

     This would be very much like two observers taking a picture of the
cube from the exact same spot, but one observer is motionless relative
to the cube, and other is moving very fast.  Even though the pictures
are taken at the same time and the same place relative to each other,
the pictures OF the cube will show different wheres and whens for the

     In truth not only will the PICTURES show different things, but when
one computes back to the IS LIKE, the moving observer gets a whole
different answer than the motionless observer about the nature of the

      To be continued...


Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY    In the Line of Duty
Fri Feb  6 14:31:57 EST 2009