Does the brain's perception of time and pH play a role?

katabasis

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Here's something you might want to consider alethea - the perceptions of the human mind are best adapted to survival, not truth. There may occasionally be some overlap between the two, but using the subjective notion of time as a baseline for describing time in its most objective, physical sense strikes me as foolhardy. Our perception of time is a psychological construct, useful only in our very limited niche within the vast expanse of the universe. What 'time' really is (to the universe) is an interesting question, but trying to use direct human experience to answer it is pure anthropocentric conceit. Furthermore, you have deeply misunderstood some concepts such as the holographic principle and the cosmic microwave background, which further muddles whatever point you are trying to make. I can recommend some books if you are interested in actually learning what these things are and their significance to cosmology in general - Brian Greene's 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' is a good one, and doesn't require an understanding of higher mathematics to appreciate.
 
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Thanks so much, katabasis, for taking the time to read and respond. We are in agreement about perception being subjective, and the brain's role in constructing reality; in fact, I highly recommend Donald Hoffman's "Do we see reality as it is?" if you have not already seen it. Time is a construct of the human brain, true. I believe the speeds of time and light—the core metabolic rate and the pH—titrate. You might look also to general anesthesia, if the idea of titration interests you. I realize what I am saying is 'new' (not truly, it has roots in Plato and Descartes, but it seems new) and so I expect pushback. Humanity is not known for shifting our paradigms quietly.
The holographic principle that most interests me is the idea of "the all in the small," i.e. that the part will mimic the whole. If the universe is flat, the earth is flat. If the universe curves, the earth curves. Past, present, and future occur simultaneously (see Einstein). I am applying this idea of simultaneity to the Cosmic Microwave Background. We see the CMB; we are the CMB; the CMB sees us. Today, everything will happen. Tomorrow, everything will happen again. There is a lot of resistance to this idea—the idea that today is eternal, and will happen again tomorrow—though quite a lot of support for it, too. Some use the term 'simulation'.
 
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Greene is not someone I refer to. I would steer you instead to the cognitive scientists and neuroscientists who are studying how perception and the brain really work. This is not balls of matter in a sea of air; nor is it a story that started billions of years ago. It is a story that is happening now. It is present tense. Donald Hoffman, Anil Seth, Beau Lotto, Klee Irwin. "Spacetime is doomed. There is no such thing as spacetime fundamentally in the actual underlying description of the laws of physics." Nima Arkani-Hamed, Cornell Messenger Lecture 2016
Perception is going to replace spacetime, and perception will be shown to have a speed.
 
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katabasis

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Time is a construct of the human brain, true. I believe the speeds of time and light—the core metabolic rate and the pH—titrate. You might look also to general anesthesia, if the idea of titration interests you.
As a chemist, I am very interested in titration, but I feel like you're sort of misusing that term here. I'm assuming that you're trying to say that 'the speeds of time and light' change in small increments (not that we're changing them per se), but in fact the speed of light is the one thing that doesn't ever change, regardless of one's frame of reference. This is supported by relativity, which is supported by a preponderance of evidence.

The holographic principle that most interests me is the idea of "the all in the small," i.e. that the part will mimic the whole. If the universe is flat, the earth is flat. If the universe curves, the earth curves.
I think you're misusing the term 'holographic principle' here - it describes how higher dimensional information can be 'encoded' in lower numbers of dimensions, particularly how the entropy of a black hole appears to scale relative to its surface area and not its volume. The universe and earth differ in size, not in number of dimensions (whether we're talking about the traditional 4 dimensions of spacetime or the 10-11 dimensions of string theory/M-theory).

Past, present, and future occur simultaneously (see Einstein).
It seems like you might be basing this on Einstein's 'relativity of simultaneity', and if so it's a huge misread. The upshot of that theory is that we can't say whether some events occur simultaneously or not, as relativistic reference frames produce different results. It does not speak to past, present, and future as a whole, and in fact only applies to events that are 1) spatially separated and 2) causally unconnected. The vast majority of things we care about here on Earth about are neither of the two.

I am applying this idea of simultaneity to the Cosmic Microwave Background. We see the CMB; we are the CMB; the CMB sees us.
You talk about CMB as being 'the background fabric', but I think are conflating it with the fabric of spacetime. CMB is not spacetime itself, but microwave energy has been emitted by distant parts of the universe. It doesn't really have any direct implications for the laws of physics themselves, but is significant in determining our universe's cosmology (more on that below), which is something you don't seem particularly interested in.

"The distinction between past, present, and future is merely an illusion, however tenacious this illusion might be." —Einstein, March 1955
This quote is taken out of context - it's from a letter Einstein wrote as consolation to the family of a friend who died. You might imagine he was taking some poetic liberty. If anything, it probably references his 'relativity of simultaneity', which as discussed is much less mystical a concept than appears at first glance, especially for things on the human scale and frame of reference.

Greene is not someone I refer to. I would steer you instead to the cognitive scientists and neuroscientists who are studying how perception and the brain really work. This is not balls of matter in a sea of air; nor is it a story that started billions of years ago. It is a story that is happening now. It is present tense.
Actually, when it comes to discussion of the concept of time, cosmology has a massive importance that might be overlooking. You mention in your article that 'some laws of physics work best if we leave time out', but it isn't as though taking time into account causes these equations not to work. In fact, quite the opposite - the equations work just as well regardless of which direction time is flowing. There is actually one phenomenon that does seem to give a 'direction' to time, though which is entropy - strangely, something almost more related to statistics than to physics. However, in order for us to use ever-increasing entropy as the driving force for time, we need to figure out why the universe began in a low-entropy state to begin with. This is the original chain of reasoning which led to major developments in 'big bang cosmology', and to a large extent it is supported by evidence - of which the CMB is one piece.

"Spacetime is doomed. There is no such thing as spacetime fundamentally in the actual underlying description of the laws of physics." Nima Arkani-Hamed, Cornell Messenger Lecture 2016

Perception is going to replace spacetime, and perception will be shown to have a speed.
Very, very out of context. Here, Arkani-Hamed is not talking at all about perception, but rather about this concept called the 'mathematical universe hypothesis' - this is the idea that all of the macro-phenomena in our universe can be eventually boiled down into pure, mathematical objects (in Arkani-Hamed's work, 'amplituhedrons'). To say 'spacetime is doomed' makes for a nice pull quote, but it's dramatic language for what is actually a relatively mundane concept. Einstein didn't say 'Newton's laws are doomed' even though relativity did much the same to those laws as the MUH does to much of relativity. That's because in relativity, Newton's laws are an expected outcome, given certain restraints. And in fact, we still care deeply about Newton's laws because so much physics we do here on earth occurs in a non-relativistic setting. Likewise, if the MUH proves to be true, relativity and spacetime will still be vitally important concepts.

The way I see it, the main flaw in your article is that you're using a layperson's interpretation of lots of different neat physics ideas, when the real meat behind them relies on a robust understanding of the high-level math that was used to prove them. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in physics, but I've encountered enough of the subject in my college coursework to know that if you don't understand the equations, which usually involve at least multivariable calculus, you don't really understand the concept. I'm going to assume you haven't worked through, say Lorentz transformations or time-dependent Schrodinger equations. Because if you had, you'd see that the various concepts with passing surface similarity which you are 'connecting the dots' for have actually next to nothing to do with each other.
 
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Katabasis, I am humbled and genuinely grateful that you would take the time and energy to respond to my ideas like this. Thank you.

I am a layperson and an outsider (as I mention in the article). I make no pretense. But sometimes the eyes of an outsider can provide an advantage. Especially if she is not afraid to say things that might sound "silly" at first glance. Scientists who have tenure and published books on the line are not always the first to take bold imaginative leaps. And yet, in order for science to move forward, bold imaginative leaps are required. When people imply that science is static, it shocks me (not saying this is you, but it has happened lately). Science is a living, changing discipline, filled with surprise and wonder, as plastic and protean as the human mind itself. To suggest that science is changeless is anathema to its true spirit. If humanity is a ship, science is the maiden at the prow.

We have not yet tied everything together. Let's try. If this is a holographic universe, should we treat the frame of reference as zero? Shouldn't the frame of reference in a holographic universe be the speed of light?

If the frame of reference itself is the speed of light, then the perception of light's speed changes.
 
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Let’s say this is less like a vacuum, and more like a speeding train. On a speeding train, we can get up and walk around. The field feels inertial (motionless)—even if it’s not. In fact, there can be different varieties of inertia. If the train is stopped—slowed down to zero from its natural, “cruising altitude” speed—its speed is zero, but it’s a zero that wants to expand; there is hidden tension in it (dark energy). Or, if the train has risen to a wider, higher “cruising altitude,” eclipsing its natural baseline, its speed is also zero, but it’s a zero that wants to contract; there is hidden volume in it (dark matter).
 
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In physics, we say that the information of the universe can be written on a 2D surface. Is this 2D surface acting as an optical barrier, a boundary—the speed of light—that we can see from one side, or the other, but not from both simultaneously?
In the gas giants, we see the explosion, not the [dark] matter at its core. In the rocky planets, we see the precipitate of the explosion, not the [dark] energy that surrounds it. We don’t realize that we’re observing the same light—the same “aquarium” in the words of physicist David Bohm—from different sides of time. Different sides of light’s speed.
 
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What I’m talking about is an idea that has been discussed by Plato and Descartes in the old age, and Nick Bostrom and Donald Hoffman in the new one. It is the world as image. If, moment by moment, the world is being created, then the body is being created, too. The idea that the body is static matter is an illusion. To speak of the planets as balls of matter in a sea of air is illusion. I respect and love Newton, too. His laws are not "invalid;" they simply deal with matter, and I am suggesting—along with everyone else at the vanguard of physics and cognitive science—that matter is not fundamental.

If my central nervous system is using zero as its baseline speed, how do I know it’s the right zero? A dark-energy zero—if my sense of scale is too small—is, sub-clinically, too fast and too salty (Parkinson’s?). When my sense of scale is too small, I am not viewing light as light, train as train. I am viewing light as its passenger.

Conversely, a dark-matter zero—if my sense of scale is too large—is, sub-clinically, too slow and not salty enough (Lou Gehrig’s disease?). When my sense of scale is too large, I am not viewing light as light, train as train. I am viewing light as its track.
 
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What I am talking about, really, is not reality. But rather how reality is being perceived. In a way it is more cognitive science than physics.

Does scale play a role in perception, time, and disease? I don’t know. But this is a photograph of human remains—the Atacama skeleton—whose scale looks off to me. The Atacama skeleton is from a region of the world where the earth’s magnetic field might read differently to our brains. It’s known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.

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What I (and many others; I am not trying to suggest that this idea is original to me) am suggesting is that the world—the image of the world, i.e. what we see—is not static, like a painting. It has a speed, like a movie. And the movie has a proper speed. It is being rendered. This rendering creates restraints, and can lead to metabolic cul-de-sacs. I believe ME/CFS is one such cul-de-sac.
 
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I suspect that, because of the act of rendering, light can exhibit characteristics of paradox. When it eclipses the speed of light, precipitating out of solution, it’s “too cold because it’s too fast.” When it dips beneath the speed of light, burning up, it’s “too hot because it’s too slow.”

Might this type of paradox—of metabolic cul-de-sac—have bearing on human illness? If I’m “too cold because I’m too fast,” how can I slow down? I’m already too cold! If I’m “too hot because I’m too slow,” how can I speed up? I’m already too hot! Time is a veil, and I am trapped to one side.

In these models, matter, light, and energy exist on a continuum. A spectrum. Matter or energy may behave as light, in locus light, as long as allowances are made. When light is denser than light (i.e. energy), it’s too hot, but it’s able to be too hot if time is too slow (Autism?). When light is faster than light (i.e. matter), it’s too cold, but it’s able to be too cold if time is too fast (ME/CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?).
 
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If my brain (my pineal gland) does not understand the speed of light, it will not understand the speed of time. If it thinks light is colder than it is, it will think time is faster than it is. It is reading from the perspective of the past (ME/CFS?).

Or, if it thinks light is hotter than it is, it will think time is slower than it is. It is reading from the perspective of the future (Autism?).

To be too hot while being too slow or to be too cold while being too fast is what I mean by "titrate."

The pineal gland is a tiny crystal at the center of the brain dubbed "the seat of the soul" by René Descartes. What if it's not actually crystal? What if—unless it is under too much or too little pressure—it is light?

There is a question we have not thought to ask: What is the nature of the light that is observing light's speed?
 
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Special relativity requires a frame of reference. What I'm doing is shifting the frame of reference to the speed of light. The past is the station the speeding train departs from. From the perspective of the the departing station, the train will appear to be accelerating and expanding. The present is the train itself, where the train's speed is not perceived and the field is inertial. The future is the station at which the train arrives. From the perspective of the arriving station, the train will appear to contract, viz. the Lorentz contraction. All I'm doing is looking at the speed of light in a new way.
 

katabasis

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Katabasis, I am humbled and genuinely grateful that you would take the time and energy to respond to my ideas like this. Thank you.
It should be clear that I disagree strongly with your ideas but I can at least credit you with being open-minded enough to discuss them.

Scientists who have tenure and published books on the line are not always the first to take bold imaginative leaps. And yet, in order for science to move forward, bold imaginative leaps are required.
While it's true that the most impactful scientists have not always been tenured professors with a long publishing history, they have been, without exception, absolute experts in their field. Which is to say, they have been intimately familiar with all aspects of the science they are studying. The idea that bold, imaginative leaps in the state of science strike with sudden, out-of-nowhere inspiration does a disservice to the other factor - the years upon years of excruciatingly extensive learning and research that create the environment of knowledge necessary for ideas to coalesce into bold leaps. Seeing your misunderstanding of certain concepts makes me thing you have not developed the necessary background to do any leaping. It's possible to disagree with the established science, but your explanation of an alternative should display a deep understanding of what you are disagreeing with.

We have not yet tied everything together. Let's try. If this is a holographic universe, should we treat the frame of reference as zero? Shouldn't the frame of reference in a holographic universe be the speed of light?

If the frame of reference itself is the speed of light, then the perception of light's speed changes.
Can you clarify what you mean by frame of reference? That term has a very specific meaning in physics, namely the set of things that you keep constant (i.e. spatial coordinates, certain types of measurement) in order to standardize the observation of other things which are allowed to vary.

So to say the frame of reference is the speed of light is to imply that the speed of light should be held constant (very reasonable, since all empirical evidence suggests the speed of light is in fact constant). But then you go on to say that the perception of the speed of light changes, which isn't the case. Whenever we observe light, it always appears to be travelling at 3x10^8 m/s. If you want to claim otherwise, where is your evidence for such a claim?

In physics, we say that the information of the universe can be written on a 2D surface. Is this 2D surface acting as an optical barrier, a boundary—the speed of light—that we can see from one side, or the other, but not from both simultaneously?
I couldn't think of a better example of you misunderstanding a basic concept. You ask whether the 2D surface implied in the holographic principle might act as a boundary that can be seen from one side of the other. But saying there is 'one side or the other' to the surface implies a 3rd dimension. If there are only 2 dimensions, there are no sides of a surface, just the surface itself. This is highly unintuitive to people living in 3 apparent dimensions, who have not done the requisite work of understanding and visualizing higher and lower dimensions, and further proof to the idea that you need a robust background in the science to be able to avoid the mistakes that intuition will make for these concepts.

In the gas giants, we see the explosion, not the [dark] matter at its core. In the rocky planets, we see the precipitate of the explosion, not the [dark] energy that surrounds it. We don’t realize that we’re observing the same light—the same “aquarium” in the words of physicist David Bohm—from different sides of time. Different sides of light’s speed.
I don't think enough is known about dark matter and dark energy to be making these sorts of claims about them. What evidence do you have that dark matter, say, is present in the places you claim? Also, in what sense do gas giants explode (do you mean red giants)? And again, there's no evidence of either dark matter or dark energy altering the speed of light, that I'm aware of. Nor is there much reason to think that they even could do so - as dark matter appears to influence things via gravity alone, and dark energy by the expansion (warping) of space. Both gravity and spacetime warping occur in other circumstances as well, and the speed of light still remains unchanged.

What I’m talking about is an idea that has been discussed by Plato and Descartes in the old age, and Nick Bostrom and Donald Hoffman in the new one. It is the world as image. If, moment by moment, the world is being created, then the body is being created, too. The idea that the body is static matter is an illusion. To speak of the planets as balls of matter in a sea of air is illusion. I respect and love Newton, too. His laws are not "invalid;" they simply deal with matter, and I am suggesting—along with everyone else at the vanguard of physics and cognitive science—that matter is not fundamental.
If matter is not fundamental, it is an emergent property of some deeper system - string theory, or other theories that come closer to the mathematical universe hypothesis. At this point, the notion is not new or controversial. However, just because matter is not fundamental does not mean that some deeper system has any bearing on the things made of matter that we care to understand, such as the body.

For all intents and purposes, the body is made of matter, and the idea that matter might actually be types of vibrations in unimaginably tiny strings does not enter the equation at all. As long as protons still act like protons, and electrons like electrons (and as they pertain to the human body, they really do), a conception of matter qua matter is all that is needed to understand the body. The fact that we don't fully understand the body is because matter can be incredibly complicated in its own way.

If my central nervous system is using zero as its baseline speed, how do I know it’s the right zero? A dark-energy zero—if my sense of scale is too small—is, sub-clinically, too fast and too salty (Parkinson’s?). When my sense of scale is too small, I am not viewing light as light, train as train. I am viewing light as its passenger.
I think you really need to go back and do a deep dive into relativity, because what you're saying here makes no sense. In relativity, you speed is only something that occurs relative to something else. In some sense, your baseline speed is always zero because everything else can always be thought of as moving or not moving relative to you. The alternative notion, that someone could have speed in the absolute, not relative to anything, would mean that you'd be able to, at least in principle, speed up enough to 'catch up to' light, which turns out to be impossible, even theoretically. Relativity is how we are able to reconcile the speed of multiple parties with the unchanging speed of light. It's also a mathematically elegant concept, and I think if you really understood it, you would be disabused of your current ideas.

What I am talking about, really, is not reality. But rather how reality is being perceived. In a way it is more cognitive science than physics.
The perception of reality is an interesting topic, but what evidence do you have that suggests that it divorces fundamentally from reality itself? All available evidence suggests that our perceptions are a product of our brains, which are made of matter acting in a totally ordinary way. The fact that you can physically change your brain (through drugs or surgery or whatever) and produce a change in consciousness or perception is just one proof of the 'ordinariness' of the physics of consciousness, and also proof that we can't really trust our perceptions to tell us much of use without rigorously applying the scientific method to them.

Does scale play a role in perception, time, and disease? I don’t know. But this is a photograph of human remains—the Atacama skeleton—whose scale looks off to me. The Atacama skeleton is from a region of the world where the earth’s magnetic field might read differently to our brains. It’s known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.
The Atacama skeleton looks 'off' because it's a fetus with birth defects. There's been some study about that and it is the overwhelmingly likely explanation. Even if we couldn't pin down exactly which biological explanation accounts for the skeleton, what seems more likely to you - that there was some hitherto unknown genetic mutation whose exact identity has been lost to the sands of time (so to speak), or that our conception of physics as a whole has been wrong this whole time?

What I (and many others; I am not trying to suggest that this idea is original to me) am suggesting is that the world—the image of the world, i.e. what we see—is not static, like a painting. It has a speed, like a movie. And the movie has a proper speed. It is being rendered. This rendering creates restraints, and can lead to metabolic cul-de-sacs. I believe ME/CFS is one such cul-de-sac.
I feel like the speed you are trying to describe here is time. And the 'speed of time' can change due to the warping of spacetime. However, this only occurs when you are moving extremely fast or are in an extremely strong gravitational field. Here on earth, neither is the case. To suggest this has anything to do with human biology is, frankly, beyond silly.

I get that ME/CFS is frustrating because we don't know what the pathophysiology of it is. Many of us are desperate for some kind of answer or explanation. But honestly, it's borderline offensive to suggest you understand ME/CFS based on some half-baked, whimsical interpretation of complex scientific concepts that you're clearly not educated about. It's great that you are interested in understanding ME/CFS but a little humility would go a long way. If you want to learn physics, you're going to need to do more than watch a YouTube video about it. For ME/CFS, you'd probably be better off learning about biology or medicine, and even that is going to take a lot of work to understand with any sort of depth.
 
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Yes, I can clarify what I mean by frame of reference. I mean that, since there is substantial evidence that this is a holographic universe, we should treat the frame of reference as the speed of light.

You are speaking about images on a tapestry. All of your examples are grounded in Newtonian language. That is not the state of the art. The world is comprised of images we are creating with our brains. Again, if you were to take a quick dip into books by Donald Hoffman, Beau Lotto, Anil Seth, or the like, it'd go a long way.

You are speaking of the images on a tapestry. I am speaking of the tapestry itself. I believe, in a holographic universe, the tapestry is c. C is the required speed. It can be achieved innately, or via movement. From the frame of reference of matter, c requires speed. From the frame of reference of light, c requires nothing. From the frame of reference of energy, c requires "reverse speed" (contraction). Again, see the Lorentz contraction.

You are only considering the frame of reference of matter. I do not believe that is the frame from which the world is perceived. I believe the pineal gland—like oxalate—is not crystal, but light. We see as light sees.
 
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that our conception of physics as a whole has been wrong this whole time?
Yes. I believe we are mistaken at a fundamental level. I share the view of physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, who said this of the Cosmic Microwave Background:

“But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun—the plane of the earth around the sun—the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe. The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is (s)imply incorrect, or maybe it’s telling us there’s something weird about the microwave background results and that maybe, maybe there’s something wrong with our theories on the larger scales.”
 

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