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THE True REALITY OF NATURE?
Theory, literature, anthropology, quantum physics and humanities connection to
nature.
By Adam Mahardy
THE TRUE REALITY OF NATURE?
THEORY, ANTHROPOLOGY, QUANTUM PHYSICS, AND HUMANITIES
CONNECTION TO NATURE.
Adam Mahardy (96630752)
ARC515: Sustainable Systems I
GSI: Sarah Munchow
October 13, 2016
1
Is nature dependent or independent of Humanities intervention upon it? Do we
currently see an illusion or fabrication of what nature really is? Does nature itself adapt,
or is nature fundamentally static, unaffected by our human perceptions and actions.
The question of, “what is the true reality of nature?”, is one that has been studied by
some of the greatest minds throughout our short existence as intellectually superior
organisms. It remains unanswered though. In the following texts I will attempt to
reevaluate this question using information from previous attempts within the particular
fields of Theory, Literature, Anthropology, and Quantum Physics. Through these
explorations I hope to find unusual connections between fields not conventionally
connected.
EINSTIEN AND TAGORE: AN EXPLORATION OF TRUTH AND SCIENCE
In 1930 Albert Einstein (Nobel prize for physics, 1921) and Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel
prize for literature, 1913) met to discuss the ‘nature of reality’. Through the revelations
these completely different philosophical thinkers, I hope to uncover similar or
completely inverse revelations regarding the ‘true realities of nature’. Dimitri
Marianoff, Einstein’s son-in-law, captures the atmospheric notion of this monumental
meeting perfectly when he is quoted saying, “It was interesting to see them together —
Tagore, the poet with the head of a thinker, and Einstein, the thinker with the head of a
2
poet… Neither sought to press his opinion. But it seemed to an observer as though two
planets were engaged in a chat.”1
Einstein’s approach to nature, throughout the
discussion, is comparable to the Eco-Technic logic of sustainable architecture.2
His
argument suggests that the human is independent of the reality of nature, which would
in turn remove any responsibility from Humanity regarding nature’s destruction or
survival. Tagore personifies the Eco-Centric logic, comparing the reality of nature and
humanity as a single entity equally responsible for the current consciousness we dwell.
Einstein begins the conversation with an intriguing declaration:
Einstein: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe —
the world as a unity dependent on humanity, and the world as a reality
independent of the human factor.
Tagore: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as
truth, we feel it as beauty.
Einstein: This is the purely human conception of the universe.
Tagore: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the
scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of
reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose
experiences are through our experiences.
Einstein: This is a realization of the human entity.
Tagore: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and
activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations
1
Rabindranath Tagore, Krishna Dutta, and Andrew Robinson,Selected Letters of Rabindranath
Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 529.
2
Simon Guy and Graham Farmer. Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology
(Taylor and Francis, Ltd on behalf of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2001), 141
3
through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to
individuals; it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these
truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of
truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know
this truth as good through our own harmony with it.3
Tagora suggests that our interactions with nature work harmoniously to fabricate a new
truth— one eternal truth. Whereas Einstein clings to his physics based ideology of
dynamical locality. The understanding that if there is distance between two physical
things, there cannot be action-- asserting that kinematic and dynamical notions of local
physics must agree.4
Utilizing this logic one would assume, that if nature exists at a
distance (from humanity), it would still exist if humans did not, and that they certainly
could not interact. Therefore, humanity must be independent of nature.
Einstein reiterates this logic through a statement much later in their conversation:
I cannot prove scientifically that truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid
independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the
Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true,
independent of the existence of man. 5
3
D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the
Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint Academic, 1999),
167.
4
Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field
(Ann. Henri Poincaré, 2012) 13: 1675.
5
D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the
Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint Academic, 1999),
167.
4
PERCEPTION OR REALITY?
We have covered the scientific theories of the systems that govern our perceived reality
of nature and the known physical and atomic laws that still exist in a world independent
of humanity and human intervention. Let’s look at what the relationship between
nature and humanity can tell us thorough out history. Social Anthropologist Tim Ingold
discusses the scenario of a reindeer being hunted by wolves, which we will call nature,
in contrast to being hunted by the regions indigenous people, which we will call
humanity. Ingold then views the reindeer’s behavior from the different perspectives of
(1) nature effecting nature and (2) humanity perceiving itself to affect nature. “When
pursuing a reindeer, there often comes a critical point when a particular animal
becomes immediately aware of your presence. “It then does a strange thing. Instead of
running away it stands stock still, turns its head and stares…”6
From the perspective of nature effecting nature, the reindeer is stopping to rest in
preparation of the final sprint from the wolf. The wolf is part of the same natural reality
as the reindeer, and therefore would be required to abide by the same laws of nature
and physics as the reindeer. The chase would be long and the winner uncertain until the
very end. If we add humans into the equation, like the indigenous population, the hunt
becomes less fair as humanity is not required to adhere to the same natural laws as the
6
Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill (London:
Routledge, 2000), 315.
5
reindeer, because of the development of technology. “But the deer’s tactic, that gives it
such an advantage against wolves, renders it peculiarly vulnerable when encountering
human hunters equipped with projectile weaponry.”7
The indigenous people hunting
the deer rationalized this mysterious disparity (distance) in power by embracing
spirituality—something as equally confusing as the original question regarding the
connection between humanity and reality of nature. “They say that the animal offers
itself up, quite intentionally and in a spirit of goodwill or even love towards the hunter.
And it is at that moment of encounter, when the animal stands its ground and looks the
hunter in the eye, that the offering is made.”8
The indigenous people found a rational that removed moral responsibility from
themselves as the hunters, because spiritually, the deer wanted to be hunted. This is
comparable to when Einstein removes responsibility from humanity’s ability to effect
nature by arguing that ‘the human is independent of the reality of nature’. Why does
humanity feel so out of place when we compare these two hunts? If nature and
humanity are indeed dependent of each other, one entity as Tagore suggests, why have
we evolved so much quicker? Perhaps we are independent of nature, but still have the
ability to communicate and act upon it. This would mean Einstein’s theory of
Dynamical Locality, proclaiming that action over a distance is impossible, is false. And
7
Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill, 315.
8
Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill, 315.
6
that quantum mechanics and nonlocal particle theory is possible. That with the case of
nature and humanity, humans have evolutionarily distanced themselves from nature,
which is not technically ‘physical distance’, but who said quantum mechanics deals in
conventional distance measurements? Einstein called this phenomenon, “Spooky action
at a distance.”9
With this in mind one may say, with slight confidence, that humans and
nature are both responsible parties for the natural reality we see and that, that reality is
truth. In 1964 John Bell disproved Einstein’s theory, that particles could never interact
over a distance, through the first laboratory tests of quanta.10
Things that at first seem
disconnected, may not actual be so. Humanity is certainly an oddity when viewed
amongst nature as whole, but we have distanced ourselves in every way except space
and time. The idea that physical things can interact across a distance is spooky, but not
impossible. This means that no matter what, nature is dependent of humanity, and that
even from an evolutionary distance, the decisions that we make can affect it on a
molecular level-- on a quantum level. This revelation influences how we intervene into
nature, that much more important.
9
Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field
10
John S. Bell and Mary Bell, John S. Bell, The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Singapore: World
Scientific, 2001).
Bibliography
John S. Bell and Mary Bell, John S. Bell, The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Singapore:
World Scientific, 2001).
Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field
(Ann. Henri Poincaré, 2012)
Simon Guy and Graham Farmer. Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of
Technology (Taylor and Francis, Ltd on behalf of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture,
2001), 141
D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the
Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint
Academic, 1999)
Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill,
(London: Routledge, 2000)
Jack Kendall, University of Florida. PlasmaChip.
Rabindranath Tagore, Krishna Dutta, and Andrew Robinson,Selected Letters of Rabindranath
Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

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ARC515_F16_gthun_maigretj_amahardy_A1

  • 1. THE True REALITY OF NATURE? Theory, literature, anthropology, quantum physics and humanities connection to nature. By Adam Mahardy
  • 2. THE TRUE REALITY OF NATURE? THEORY, ANTHROPOLOGY, QUANTUM PHYSICS, AND HUMANITIES CONNECTION TO NATURE. Adam Mahardy (96630752) ARC515: Sustainable Systems I GSI: Sarah Munchow October 13, 2016
  • 3. 1 Is nature dependent or independent of Humanities intervention upon it? Do we currently see an illusion or fabrication of what nature really is? Does nature itself adapt, or is nature fundamentally static, unaffected by our human perceptions and actions. The question of, “what is the true reality of nature?”, is one that has been studied by some of the greatest minds throughout our short existence as intellectually superior organisms. It remains unanswered though. In the following texts I will attempt to reevaluate this question using information from previous attempts within the particular fields of Theory, Literature, Anthropology, and Quantum Physics. Through these explorations I hope to find unusual connections between fields not conventionally connected. EINSTIEN AND TAGORE: AN EXPLORATION OF TRUTH AND SCIENCE In 1930 Albert Einstein (Nobel prize for physics, 1921) and Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel prize for literature, 1913) met to discuss the ‘nature of reality’. Through the revelations these completely different philosophical thinkers, I hope to uncover similar or completely inverse revelations regarding the ‘true realities of nature’. Dimitri Marianoff, Einstein’s son-in-law, captures the atmospheric notion of this monumental meeting perfectly when he is quoted saying, “It was interesting to see them together — Tagore, the poet with the head of a thinker, and Einstein, the thinker with the head of a
  • 4. 2 poet… Neither sought to press his opinion. But it seemed to an observer as though two planets were engaged in a chat.”1 Einstein’s approach to nature, throughout the discussion, is comparable to the Eco-Technic logic of sustainable architecture.2 His argument suggests that the human is independent of the reality of nature, which would in turn remove any responsibility from Humanity regarding nature’s destruction or survival. Tagore personifies the Eco-Centric logic, comparing the reality of nature and humanity as a single entity equally responsible for the current consciousness we dwell. Einstein begins the conversation with an intriguing declaration: Einstein: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe — the world as a unity dependent on humanity, and the world as a reality independent of the human factor. Tagore: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty. Einstein: This is the purely human conception of the universe. Tagore: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences. Einstein: This is a realization of the human entity. Tagore: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations 1 Rabindranath Tagore, Krishna Dutta, and Andrew Robinson,Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 529. 2 Simon Guy and Graham Farmer. Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology (Taylor and Francis, Ltd on behalf of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2001), 141
  • 5. 3 through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know this truth as good through our own harmony with it.3 Tagora suggests that our interactions with nature work harmoniously to fabricate a new truth— one eternal truth. Whereas Einstein clings to his physics based ideology of dynamical locality. The understanding that if there is distance between two physical things, there cannot be action-- asserting that kinematic and dynamical notions of local physics must agree.4 Utilizing this logic one would assume, that if nature exists at a distance (from humanity), it would still exist if humans did not, and that they certainly could not interact. Therefore, humanity must be independent of nature. Einstein reiterates this logic through a statement much later in their conversation: I cannot prove scientifically that truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. 5 3 D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint Academic, 1999), 167. 4 Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field (Ann. Henri Poincaré, 2012) 13: 1675. 5 D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint Academic, 1999), 167.
  • 6. 4 PERCEPTION OR REALITY? We have covered the scientific theories of the systems that govern our perceived reality of nature and the known physical and atomic laws that still exist in a world independent of humanity and human intervention. Let’s look at what the relationship between nature and humanity can tell us thorough out history. Social Anthropologist Tim Ingold discusses the scenario of a reindeer being hunted by wolves, which we will call nature, in contrast to being hunted by the regions indigenous people, which we will call humanity. Ingold then views the reindeer’s behavior from the different perspectives of (1) nature effecting nature and (2) humanity perceiving itself to affect nature. “When pursuing a reindeer, there often comes a critical point when a particular animal becomes immediately aware of your presence. “It then does a strange thing. Instead of running away it stands stock still, turns its head and stares…”6 From the perspective of nature effecting nature, the reindeer is stopping to rest in preparation of the final sprint from the wolf. The wolf is part of the same natural reality as the reindeer, and therefore would be required to abide by the same laws of nature and physics as the reindeer. The chase would be long and the winner uncertain until the very end. If we add humans into the equation, like the indigenous population, the hunt becomes less fair as humanity is not required to adhere to the same natural laws as the 6 Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill (London: Routledge, 2000), 315.
  • 7. 5 reindeer, because of the development of technology. “But the deer’s tactic, that gives it such an advantage against wolves, renders it peculiarly vulnerable when encountering human hunters equipped with projectile weaponry.”7 The indigenous people hunting the deer rationalized this mysterious disparity (distance) in power by embracing spirituality—something as equally confusing as the original question regarding the connection between humanity and reality of nature. “They say that the animal offers itself up, quite intentionally and in a spirit of goodwill or even love towards the hunter. And it is at that moment of encounter, when the animal stands its ground and looks the hunter in the eye, that the offering is made.”8 The indigenous people found a rational that removed moral responsibility from themselves as the hunters, because spiritually, the deer wanted to be hunted. This is comparable to when Einstein removes responsibility from humanity’s ability to effect nature by arguing that ‘the human is independent of the reality of nature’. Why does humanity feel so out of place when we compare these two hunts? If nature and humanity are indeed dependent of each other, one entity as Tagore suggests, why have we evolved so much quicker? Perhaps we are independent of nature, but still have the ability to communicate and act upon it. This would mean Einstein’s theory of Dynamical Locality, proclaiming that action over a distance is impossible, is false. And 7 Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill, 315. 8 Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill, 315.
  • 8. 6 that quantum mechanics and nonlocal particle theory is possible. That with the case of nature and humanity, humans have evolutionarily distanced themselves from nature, which is not technically ‘physical distance’, but who said quantum mechanics deals in conventional distance measurements? Einstein called this phenomenon, “Spooky action at a distance.”9 With this in mind one may say, with slight confidence, that humans and nature are both responsible parties for the natural reality we see and that, that reality is truth. In 1964 John Bell disproved Einstein’s theory, that particles could never interact over a distance, through the first laboratory tests of quanta.10 Things that at first seem disconnected, may not actual be so. Humanity is certainly an oddity when viewed amongst nature as whole, but we have distanced ourselves in every way except space and time. The idea that physical things can interact across a distance is spooky, but not impossible. This means that no matter what, nature is dependent of humanity, and that even from an evolutionary distance, the decisions that we make can affect it on a molecular level-- on a quantum level. This revelation influences how we intervene into nature, that much more important. 9 Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field 10 John S. Bell and Mary Bell, John S. Bell, The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Singapore: World Scientific, 2001).
  • 9. Bibliography John S. Bell and Mary Bell, John S. Bell, The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Singapore: World Scientific, 2001). Fewster, C.J. & Verch, R. Dynamical Locality of the Free Scalar Field (Ann. Henri Poincaré, 2012) Simon Guy and Graham Farmer. Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology (Taylor and Francis, Ltd on behalf of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2001), 141 D. Home and A. Robinson, Journal of Consciousness Studies: Controversies in Science and the Humanities, Einstein and Tagore: Man, Nature and Mysticism (Thorverton: Imprint Academic, 1999) Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling & Skill, (London: Routledge, 2000) Jack Kendall, University of Florida. PlasmaChip. Rabindranath Tagore, Krishna Dutta, and Andrew Robinson,Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)