Is Our Reality Absolute?

Have you ever took a nap in a crowded space and had a dream? If you have, some of the times, you might have noticed that our subconscious dreaming brain tries to translate or connect the noise outside with what’s going on in our dream. For example, you hear the sound of a police siren on the streets, and suddenly you are the police officer in your dream chasing the bad guys with a siren on top of your car.

The human mind is designed or evolved in a way that it is always trying to translate the external stimuli we receive from our surroundings and make mental models that best explain them. Fear of the unknown is a basic survival instinct, and our brains are trained in a way to reduce the number of unknown or unexplainable variables around us.

But, is what we see is the reality? How can we be sure that the reality we perceive is absolute and universal?

Consider your ‘real’ life (the one you experience while awake) as a projection of your model based realism and consider the fields & forces like Gravity and Light as the external stimuli. Your conscious brain is always trying to come up with explanations as to why things behave the way they do (like the way your dreaming brain explaining to itself the reason for police siren).

But the thing is, most of the times we are not right. We translate or tend to translate any stimulus based on the model of the reality we are already perceiving. Example: Gravity is an external stimulus. We are well aware of its effects (attractive force, directly proportional to masses, inversely proportional to distances), but a quantum theorist will attribute Gravity towards a totally different phenomenon compared to a physicist who snuggles with Einstein’s relativistic equations.

Why? Because both perceive different models of reality.

In Einstein’s reality, Gravity is caused by warpage of space-time by the concentration of energy (and mass) and things fall towards each other not under any force but because they are following the shortest possible path(geodesic) in the curved space-time. This model of reality totally makes sense and has been proved to the utmost degree of accuracy over the period of more than 100 years.

On the other hand, in Quantum Mechanics, Gravity is a force much like the other three fundamental forces. It has its own field, the gravitational field. Massive bodies interact with each other in the field by exchanging particles called Graviton( much like the electromagnetic field which uses photons). This paints a totally different version of reality compared to Einstein’s and is accepted by a large community of Quantum theorists. Although not very well understood but like Einstein’s laws, the Quantum version of gravity also agrees with experimental data.

So, there can be two different explanations for a single external stimulus, and as long as they fit your model of realism, they are scientifically acceptable.

However, the important thing here is that Reality itself is not absolute. Our reality is the sum of all the external stimuli put together by our primordial brain in a picture that makes sense to us. It can well be twisted or altogether wrong. Example: Before Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, even Einstein thought that we live in a static and unchanging universe. He modified his relativistic equations to fit his falsely perceived reality by adding an anti-gravity cosmological constant. He even fine-tuned the value of the constant to match his reality. Later, when Edwin Hubble discovered the irrefutable evidence that the universe is expanding, Einstein retracted the cosmological constant calling it the biggest blunder of his career.

In summary, we live in a world modeled by our brain, and it’s an evolutionary trait always to try to find an explanation for things that don’t usually agree with our version of the reality. But sometimes, our model can be wrong as well and might need an upgrade instead of modifying the nature of the stimulus to fit our model.

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