We are us and our circumstances

Wednesday, 11 June 2014
The first word in the Odyssey is “Andra”, which means man, human. In a previous post I already mentioned Prigogine's Tanner lecture "Only an Illusion" with reference to the problem of time and Homer´s works the Odyssey and the Iliad. 

The Odyssey can be viewed as a big ring composition when first Athena, a goddess, foresees Odysseus´ homecoming. For the gods, past and future are the same, and the two moments are together in Athena´s point of view. It is as if she was remembering Odysseus hardships. The main binary opposition in the poem is between mortality and immortality, how gods and humans see time. This ring composition strengthens the idea of endless time, of atemporality. 

Odysseus starts the poem in an island with the goddess Calypso, in a world that doesn´t change, apart from the human world, with no connections with it. In another previous post I mentioned the link between time and quantum entanglement, and I concluded that “time has no meaning outside the universe, and it is embedded in the relationship between its elements”. The relationships we establish with our environment determine what life is. We are us and our circumstances, as Ortega y Gasset said. 

Today I came across with an article where they explain how “The arrow of time is an arrow of increasing correlations”, as Seth Lloyd pointed out about 30 years ago. 

In another post I also mentioned how it has been proven that by using a definition of information stating which properties it should have, quantum mechanics can be derived from said properties. Seth Lloyd , by using an approach to quantum mechanics where information units are treated as the basic building blocks, ended up realizing that as the particles became increasingly entangled with one another, the information that originally described them would shift to describe the system of entangled particles as a whole. The particles gradually lost their individual autonomy and became pawns of the collective state. Eventually, the correlations contained all the information, and the individual particles contained none. At that point, Lloyd discovered, particles arrived at a state of equilibrium, and their states stopped changing. 

As Lloyd says, “the universe as a whole is in a pure state, but individual pieces of it, because they are entangled with the rest of the universe, are in mixtures.” So, does it mean that the Universe knows everything?

It is very interesting to see how physics slowly gets to the heart of the question of what means to be human. Our experience of time is intimately linked to the relationships we develop along our stay here. Physics is getting to the core of human experience, already sung by poets and philosophers.

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