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As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today-Oh, how I wish he'd go away!
- W. H. Mearns
Modern Scientific Reification
Reification is treating spiritual realities, mental constructs and
abstractions as if they were tangible or had the properties of material
objects. Imagine putting freedom, zero and angst in a bucket, in order
to weigh them together, or blend them, or dump them in a certain
location. Absurd? Of course, but this is an easy or extreme example.
Other common reifications are more subtle, but nevertheless just as
wrong and damaging to our conceptual framework.
The Reification of Nothing
There is no such thing as nothing. It doesn't exist! Obviously since
we have something, there never was a time when there was nothing,
because even the potential for something is not nothing. The word
nothing stands for a mental construct and is essentially equivalent to zero.
The Reification of Time
"The universe is not in time, time is in the universe."
- Philosopher Michael Armstrong.
See a video presentation on the true nature of "time" -
What is Time?
Humans experience time as a directional series of sequential events, the
smallest, of which we are generally subconsciously aware, being that of
our heartbeat, essentially equivalent to a second. Seconds to minutes
to hours to days to weeks to months to years to decades to centuries to
millennia–all mechanically determined cyclical series of events.
Events or series of events distinguishable from one another and in
sequence provide for the reality of our experience, including our
experience of what we call time. We use cyclical, non-relevant
events–such as the ticking of a clock or the vibration of an atom or the
motions of the solar system–that mark out small increments of duration
to help us better keep track of the sequence of more important, relevant
events that affect our lives. Do we not say that a clock ticks–an
event–60 "times" a minute? Put very straightly, without events to
demarcate periods there would be no such thing as time.
All any clock does is to provide some mechanical cycle of events and
then to keep track of the number of these events. A sequence of events
has a certain order and the events can be labeled and counted with the
ordinal numbers 1,2,3, etc. The order of events can no more be changed than
we can think that 3 comes before 2 or has a lesser value. Probably the
very concepts of which we are most certain are causality and sequence, and if
sequence can be changed or reversed, there is no meaning to order, logic, or the
stability of reality. Even
though a clock can be speeded up relative to some other clock, time
cannot be accelerated or melded with space.
The Reification of Space
"The universe is not in space, space is in the universe."
- Philosopher Michael Miller.
The term "Space" as used by theoretical science is literally a
projection from the 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, and as
such is just a mental construct. It is not tangible and cannot be
treated as being material. It cannot be warped or reified in any other
The Reification of Magnetic Field Lines
Magnetic field lines are mental or graphical constructs that help us
visualize magnetic fields. They cannot break or reconnect.
The Reification of energy
"Many popular accounts maintain that E = mc2 describes the conversion
of matter into “pure energy,” often construed as a kind of matterless
motion. Today, “dark energy” and “dark matter” are spoken of as if they
were two different “things.” Some even hypothesize that the universe was
filled with pure energy before it became filled with matter. This
estrangement between matter and motion (separability) is common in
popular culture and underlies the 20th century regression from realism
to false idealism in modern physics. There will be no fundamental change in
modern physics until we adhere to the opposing assumption,
INSEPARABILITY (Just as there can be no motion without matter, so there
can be no matter without motion). Without it, it is impossible to
explain the physical meaning of the equation. Like all equations
involving aspects of reality, E=mc2 simply refers to the transformation
of one kind of matter in motion into another kind of matter in motion
and/or the transformation of one kind of the motion of matter into
another kind of the motion of matter. The experimental success of the
equation led to the increasing objectification of energy. However, being
a matter-motion term like momentum and force, energy neither exists, nor
does it move. It is simply an idea, a concept, a mathematical
description of the motion of matter. Matter does not “contain” energy,
for matter only can “contain” other things in motion. Energy is simply a
mathematical term necessary for describing and relating the various
forms of the motion of matter. A speculative illustration involving
electron-positron annihilation demonstrates how matter (electrons and
positrons) appears to be converted into motion (EM radiation) without
violating INSEPARABILITY. In essence, E=mc2 describes the conversion of
internal matter in motion to external matter in motion, and vice versa."
–Glen Borchardt, NPA Proceedings paper