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Tomic realm the galaxy spangled cosmos and the dark nergy and dark matter that as we saw in Chapter makes up % the dark nergy and dark matter that as we saw in Chapter makes up % our xternal realityConsensus RealityIn the first two parts of this book weve seen how our physical world can be remarkably well described by mathematical Loyal to His Lies euations fueling the hope that one dayuations can be found for a theory of The Favorite Daughter everything perfectly describing ourxternal reality on all scales The ultimate triumph of physics would be to start with the Fitness for Geeks external reality from the bird perspective of a mathematician studying theseuations which are ideally simple nough to fit on her T shirt and to derive from them her internal reality the way she subjectively perceives it from her frog perspective inside the xternal reality To accomplish this would clearly reuire a detailed understanding of how consciousness works including illusions omissions hallucinations and other complicationsHowever between the xternal reality and the internal reality theres also a third and intermediate consensus reality as illustrated in Figure in the book This is the version of reality that we life forms here on Earth all agree on the D positions and motions of macroscopic objects and other veryday attributes of the world for which we have a shared description in terms of familiar concepts from classical physics Table summarizes these reality descriptions and perspectives and how theyre interrelatedEach of us has our own personal inner reality perceived from the subjective perspective of our own position orientation and state of mind and distorted by our personal cognitive biases in your inner reality dreams are real and the world turns upside down when you stand on your head In contrast the consensus reality is shared When you give your friend driving directions to

your place you 
place you your best to trans form your description from one involving subjective concepts from your inner reality such as here and in the direction Im facing to shared concepts from the consensus reality such as on Vassar Street and north Since we scientists need to be precise and uantitative when we refer to our shared consensus reality we try Winter Sunshine extra hard to be objective we say that light has a nanometer wavelength instead of orange color and that something has CHCOOCH molecules instead of banana flavor The consensus reality isnt free from some shared illusions relative to thexternal reality as well Naked Choke elaborate on below forxample cats bats and robots also xperience the same uantum randomness and relativistic time dilation However its by definition free from illusions that are uniue to biological minds and therefore decouples from the issue of how our human consciousness works The internal reality may feel teal deficient to me black and white to a seal iridescent to a bird seeing four primary colors and stilldifferent to a bee seeing polarized light a bat using sonar a blind person with keener touch and hearing or the latest robotic vacuum cleaner but we all agree on whether the door is openThis is why Ive changed my mind although understanding the detailed nature of human consciousness is a fascinating challenge in its own right its not necessary for a fundamental theory of physics which need only derive the consensus reality from its uations In other words what Douglas Adams called the ultimate uestion of life the universe and Murder at the Mansion everything splits cleanly into two parts that can be tackled separately the challenge for physics is deriving the consensus reality from thexternal reality and the challenge for cognitive science is to derive the internal reality from the consensus reality These are two great challenges for the third millennium Theyre Healing Souls each daunting in their own right and Im relieved that we need not solve them simultaneously Chapter is continued in the bookOur Mathematical Universe is nothing if not impressive Brilliantly argued and beautifully written it is never less than thought provoking about the greatest mysteries of ourxistence New York Times An amazing ride through the rich landscape of contemporary cosmology Physics could do withcharacters like Tegmark an imaginative intellect and a charismatic presence Clive Cookson Financial Times Tegmark is one of the rock gods of cosmology a select group of thinkers who are using their mathematical prowess to tear up all our cherished notions about the universe and replace it with a cosmos that is so bewilderingly weird that it makes the plot of most science fiction novels look like an Ikea instruction leaflet Telegraph Our Mathematical Universe boldly confronts one of the deepest uestions why is mathematics so spectacularly successful at describing the cosmos Through lively writing and wonderfully accessible xplanations Max Tegmark one of the world s leading theoretical physicists guides the reader to a possible answer and reveals how if it s right our understanding of reality itself would be radically altered Brian Green.

Max Tegmark ñ 9 free read

Chapter Internal Reality External Reality and Consensus RealitySweet xists by convention bitter by convention color by convention atoms and void alone Seductive Surrender (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, exist in realityDemocritus ca BCNooooo My suitcase They were already boarding my flight from Boston to Philadelphiawhere I was supposed to help with a BBC documentary about Hugh Everett when I realized that my hand wasnt holding a suitcase I ran back to the security checkpointDid someone just forget a black roll on bag here No said the guard But there it isthats my suitcase right there Thats not a black suitcase said the guard Thats a teal suitcase Until then Id never realized how color blind I was and it was uitehumbling to realize that many assumptions Id previously made about realityand my wardrobewere dead wrong How could Iver trust what my senses told me about the outside world And if I couldnt then how could I hope to ver know anything with certainty about the xternal reality After all verything I know about the outside world and my untrustworthy senses Ive learned from my senses This puts me on the same shaky pistemological footing as a prisoner whos spent his whole life in solitary confinement whose only information about the outside world and his untrustworthy prison guard is what his prison "guard has told him More generally how can I trust what my conscious perceptions tell "has told him More generally how can I trust what my conscious perceptions tell about the world if I dont understand how my mind works This basic dilemma has been louently xplored by philosophers throughout the ages including titans such as Plato Ren Descartes David Hume and Immanuel Kant Socrates said The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing So how can we make further progress in our uest to understand reality So far in this book weve taken a physics approach to The Deepest Sin exploring ourxternal physical reality zooming out to the transgalactic macrocosm and zooming in to the subatomic microcosm attempting to understand things in terms of their basic building blocks such as lementary particles However all we have direct knowledge of are instead ualia the basic building blocks of our conscious perception For introductions to the vast literature on consciousness by psychologists neuroscientists philosophers and others I recommend the books about the mind in the Suggestions for Further Reading section xemplified by the redness of a rose the sound of a cymbal the smell of a steak the taste of a tangerine or the pain of a pinprick So dont we also need to understand consciousness before we can fully understand physics I used to answer yes thinking that we could never figure out the lusive theory of verything for our xternal physical reality without first understanding the distorting mental lens through which we perceive it But Ive changed my mind and in this brief interlude chapter I want to tell you whyExternal Reality and Internal RealityPerhaps youre thinking Okay Max but Im not color blind And Im looking at the xternal reality right now with my own yes and Id have to be paranoid to think its not the way it looks But please try these simple xperiments Experiment Turn your head from left to right a few times Experiment Move your yes from left to right a few times Experiment Move your yes from left to a few times without moving your headDid you notice how the first time the xternal reality appeared to rotate and the second time it appeared to stay still ven though your Le valeureux guerrier eyeballs rotated both times This proves that what your mindsye is looking at isnt the xternal reality but a reality model stored in your brain If you looked at the image recorded by a rotating video camera youd clearly see it move as it did in Experiment But your yes are a form of biological video camera so Experiment shows that your consciousness isnt directly perceiving the images formed on their retinas Rather as neuroscientists have now studied in great detail the information recorded by your retinas gets processed in highly complex ways and is used to continually update an Wrathful Chaos: Five Books of Satanic Philosophy elaborate model of the outside world thats stored in your brain Take another look in front of you and youll see that thanks to this advanced information processing your reality model is three dimensionalven though the raw images from your retinas are two dimensionalI dont have a light switch near my bed so Ill often take a good look at my bedroom and all the obstacles littering the floor then turn off the light and walk to my bed Try it yourself put down this book stand up look around and then walk a few steps with your yes closed Can you see feel the objects in the room moving relative to you Thats your reality model being updated this time using information from your leg movements rather than from your yes Your brain continuously updates its reality model using any useful information it can get hold of including sound touch smell and tasteLets call this reality model your internal reality because its the way you subjectively perceive the xternal reality from the internal vantage. Point of your mind This reality is internal also in the sense that it xists only internally to you your mind feels as if its looking at the outside world while its actually looking only at a reality model inside your headwhich in turn is continually tracking whats outside your brain via Humanism: The Greek Ideal and its Survival elaborate but automatic processes that youre not consciously aware ofIts absolutely crucial that we dont conflate this internal reality with thexternal reality that its tracking because the two are very different My brains internal reality is like the dashboard of my car a convenient summary of the most useful information Just as my cars dashboard tells me my speed fuel level motor Temperature And Other Things Useful and other things useful a driver to be aware of my brains dashboard reality model tells me my speed and position my hunger level the air temperature highlights of my surroundings and other things useful for the operator of a human body to be aware ofThe Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the TruthOnce my cars dashboard malfunctioned and sent me to the garage with its CHECK ENGINE indicator illuminated Love 2.0 (A Cates Brothers Book, even though nothing was wrong Similarly there are many ways in which a persons reality model can malfunction and differ from the truexternal reality giving rise to illusions incorrect perceptions of things that do xist in the
external reality omissions 
reality omissions of things that do xist in the xternal reality and hallucinations perceptions of things that dont xist in the xternal reality If we swear under oath to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth we should be aware that our perceptions might violate all three with illusions omissions and hallucinations respectivelySo metaphorically speaking the CHECK ENGINE incident was my car hallucinatingor xperiencing phantom pain I recently discovered that my car also suffers from an illusion based on its speedometer reading it thinks its always driving two miles per hour faster than it really is Thats not bad compared to the vast list of human illusions that cognitive scientists have discovered which afflict all our senses and distort our internal reality If your version of this figure is in color rather than black and white youll probably see the lower dot in the left panel as orange and the upper dot as somewhat brown Figure in the book shows two Desire in Seven Voices examples of optical illusions where our visual system creates an internal reality different from thexternal reality In the xternal reality the light from both of them has identical properties with a wavelength around nanometers If a spotlight beamed out such light it would be orange light What about brown Have you ver seen a spotlight or a laser pointer produce a brown beam Well you never will because theres no such thing as brown light The color brown doesnt The Casa Mono Cookbook exist in thexternal reality but only in your internal reality its simply what you perceive when seeing dim orange light against a darker backgroundFor fun I sometimes compare how the same news story is reported online by MSNBC FOX News the BBC Al Jazeera Pravda and lsewhere I find that when it comes to telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth its the second part that accounts for most of the differences in how they portray reality what they omit I think the same holds for our senses although they can produce hallucinations and illusions its their omissions that account for most of the discrepancy between the internal and xternal realities My visual system omitted the information that distinguishes between black and teal suitcases but ven if youre not color blind youre missing out on the vast majority of the information that light carries When I was taught in lementary school that all colors of light can be made up by mixing three primary colors red green and blue I thought that this number three told us something fundamental about the xternal reality But I was wrong it teaches us only about the omissions of our visual system Specifically it tells us that our retina has three kinds of cone cells which take the thousands of numbers that can be measured in a spectrum of light see Figure in Chapter and keeps only three numbers corresponding to the average light intensity across three broad ranges of wavelengthsMoreover wavelengths of light outside of the narrow range nanometers go completely undetected by our visual system and it came as uite a shock when human built detectors revealed that our xternal reality was vastly richer than wed realized teeming with radio waves microwaves x rays and gamma rays And vision isnt the only one of our senses thats guilty of omissions we cant hear the ultrasound chirping of mice bats and dolphins were oblivious to most faint scents that dominate the olfactory inner reality of dogs and so on Although some animal species capturevisual auditory olfactory gustatory or other sensory information than we humans do theyre all unaware of the sub Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality