The Hub of Being – Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

The picture of Nature that physics can paint will always be a dubious sketch. The incompleteness begins with when the cosmos came into being.

According to the conventional modern cosmogony story, a singularity – with all the energy that the universe would ever have – mushroomed into untold lumps of matter and detectable energies (notably light), eventuating with life to make the multimedia presentation worthwhile. How the singularity transformed into a vast diversity of ordered energies has not been addressed, as deducing the source of this multitudinous coherence is beyond empirical examination.

It is impossible for anything to come to be from what is not. ~ Greek philosopher Empedocles in the 5th century BCE

The current cosmos had to have come from somewhere. Following an ancient idea of cyclic cosmology, some think the extant universe is a reincarnation of an earlier one (and so on, for an unknowable eternity).

Electromagnetism is the force of everyday existence. A telling sign that our experience of Nature is minuscule comes from the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges far astray from the tiny bandwidth we observe as visible light. The electromagnetic spectrum is even broader and stranger than can be measured by the most advanced devices. Wavelength (as shown) is just a coarse measure. Energy seems infinite in its extent and variety: energetic expressions beyond conception.

Then there is an even more fundamental conundrum: the proverbial soil from which phenomena blooms. The foundation upon which Nature is built was long thought energetically barren. It is anything but.

The Ground State

Quantum mechanics teaches us that the vacuum is not empty at all, but, on small scales, contains virtual particles, their antiparticles, and the quanta of their interactions. ~ Italian particle physicist Alessandro Bettini

Physics teaches that existence emerges from a ground state. Classical physics portrayed the ground state as a void, lacking any energy. According to quantum theory, the ground state is the lowest energy state, commonly called the vacuum state, or simply vacuum.

But vacuum as void is not so. Supposedly full of nothing, the ground state instead is nothing but fullness: seething with infinite energy.

An endless foam of virtual particles incessantly streams from ed. Without the virtuosity of these virtual particles, existence simply would not exist. 3d-resident bosons and fermions are all defined through their interactions with virtual particles.

Nothing comes from nothing except everything. What the wildly energetic vacuum means is that the actuality we think we know is a chimerical slice of a larger reality.

The original state is unconditioned, without attributes, without form, without identity. Indeed, that state is nothing but fullness (not empty ‘void’, but plenum), so that it is impossible to give it any adequate name. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

In the foregoing quote, Maharaj sounds as if he was referring to the ground state, but he was talking about nonexistence (noumenon). The implications are tantalizing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Cold Running Hot

By the classical laws of thermodynamics, the void of vacuum must be infinitely cold. The 0th law posits an absolute temperature, which is conventionally expressed by the Kelvin scale.

Scottish mathematical physicist William Thomson, better known as Lord Kelvin, imagined a temperature so low as to be absolute zero. That chilling concept sets the floor of the Kelvin temperature scale.

The notion of drop-dead thermodynamics at 0 K was upturned when minus-K was discovered: add more energy after maximum entropy and a quantum system shifts into negative temperature, where a high-energy state is the only way to accommodate the extra energetic input.

In an environment with negative temperature, the laws of thermodynamics work in reverse: particles prefer to populate high-energy states instead of low-energy ones. In minus K, the laws of physics are completely overturned.