If someone asked you to explain consciousness, could you provide a coherent answer?
Many philosophers have argued that it is a unitary concept that is understood intuitively. Others, though, have argued that the word indicates that it either means different things to different people, or it encompasses a variety of distinct meanings with no simple element in common. Despite millennia of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial.
There is this idea that identity is continuous. Each person alters over time piece by piece, and so, eventually, you are a completely different person as the one you started out as. Because your body keeps replicating cells and changing things, you could ask the question “Am I still the same person that I was 10 years ago, or am I someone completely different?”
If that was not mind boggling enough for you, let me introduce you to the Boltzmann brain.
Imagine the universe in a far-flung future. Due to entropy and the expansion of the universe, everything will one day no longer exist. The universe will have unraveled from itself, leaving nothing but an infinite amount of empty space, except it will not be entirely being empty. Space will experience random thermal fluctuations.
So if the universe is infinite, then that means every possible configuration of fluctuation happens. And as bizarre as it might seem, sometimes these fluctuations will perfectly recreate a temporary version of ourselves. Those are called Boltzmann brains. I wonder if this is our consciousness.
Regardless, if the Boltzmann brains exist, it is mathematically likely that we are currently living inside one of these fluctuations. That means we are a strange temporary approximation of people who once lived perhaps billions of years ago. So you are you, but you are also someone else that was you, but you are that person, but you are only you….(sigh)…. never mind I will let myself out.
With Retired British Murder Squad Detective Trevor Marriott
In the autumn of 1888 a series of brutal murders in the East End of London lit a flame that sent shockwaves reverberating around the civilized world and caused a scandal that struck right at the heart of the British establishment.
During the 1880s, the city of London was in parts a dirty, rotten, festering maze of slums replete with wandering gin addicts and foul-mouthed harlots and was experiencing a population explosion, with immigrants from around the world coming to the great city to find work.
But it wasn’t exactly the land of hope and glory for everybody, and some of the streets in the poorer East end of the city were a long way from being a yellow brick road.
This is where our man Jack the Ripper chose to ply his trade.
I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet” and this week I am speaking with retired British murder squad detective Trevor Marriott about what drove this serial killer nabbing mostly working girls from the streets and brutally killing them in 1888 and… did he figured out this mystery of who Jack the Ripper was?[Top]
With SETI’s senior astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak
According to some history books, our species was one of the dumbest kind roaming this globe but if we were really in the possession of a so called daily dementia, then how is it that we, since the beginning of time, were looking up to the skies, seeking answers to the questions; …. What is out there? … Are we truly alone in the universe? … and, can we conquer it?
After millions and millions years the universe, and some of its content, is still one of the greatest unexplained wonders in human history.
It seems we cannot wrap our minds around this black ‘thing’ we are swirling in.
So, what is it that is out there and… was there something or someone providing the first specimens of our species with the needed information for us to think in a creative manner what, over time, evolved in an advanced technological era?
I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet”, a weekly podcast in where scientists and citizen scientists speak about their incredible research, awe-inspiring theories and mind dazzling paradoxes for you to explore the connections between accepted and noetic science.
This week I am speaking with SETI’s senior astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak about which secrets still lies beyond the limits of our understanding regarding to our cosmic freezer.[Top]
By Catherine Offord, www.the-scientist.com
In one of the University of Sheffield’s physics labs, a few hundred photosynthetic bacteria were nestled between two mirrors positioned less than a micrometer apart. Physicist David Coles and his colleagues were zapping the microbe-filled cavity with white light, which bounced around the cells in a way the team could tune by adjusting the distance between the mirrors. According to results published in 2017, this intricate setup caused photons of light to physically interact with the photosynthetic machinery in a handful of those cells, in a way the team could modify by tweaking the experimental setup.
That the researchers could control a cell’s interaction with light like this was an achievement in itself. But a more surprising interpretation of the findings came the following year. When Coles and several collaborators reanalyzed the data, they found evidence that the nature of the interaction between the bacteria and the photons of light was much weirder than the original analysis had suggested.[Top]
Throughout history, humans have committed horrific crimes, which seem to reflect a primordial and animalistic behavior in human survival. But what exactly makes someone a serial killer? Are they the product of bad genes, environmental factors, or something even worse?
What is it that triggers someone to follow a path of violence and committing horrible crimes? Is it possible to unravel the mind of a serial killer and unlinking the many narrow alleys of their entangled labyrinth?
Honestly, I have no concrete answer for what drives these ‘celebrity monsters’ as Prof. Scott Bonn refers to them in his article “What Drives Our Curious Fascination With Serial Killers?” on his blog of Psychology Today.
Reading his article, among others, I tried to find a clear/logic explanation for my personal fascination with these human predators. I have to admit that it was not easy to do so due to the fact that this ‘little voice’ in my head kept saying, “It is wrong to feel this fascination for these ‘actors’ playing one of the most horrifying roles!” I cannot say otherwise then Prof. Bonn being absolutely right about the fact that many of us are experiencing some form of guilt in the moment of expressing our fascination for these man and woman who are, apparently, feel a ‘powerful rush’ while running around in a violent and (un) controllable manner.
However, as I wrote Prof. Bonn in a Face Book comment, “I guess my personal interest would lie in having a brief opportunity of unraveling their way of thinking as well as trying to grasp the world in which these people apparently live. Does this breaking down of the glass walls in the labyrinth of their (insane) minds provide me a certain pleasure? Hum…I like solving complex puzzles and so, I think one can call it so. In this I would say that my fascination for these people, not their acts, lies in ‘cracking’ their ‘personal code’ what let me understand their motive.”
While trying to analyze my personal interest for these ‘humanoid predators’, this question of what it is that makes these killers so appealing to us, lay in front of me like an open and abandoned piece of dry desert. And, can we say, with some caution, that deep down inside of all of us a little serial killer…or two…is hiding? Perhaps we can divide ‘us’ into two main groups… group A are the people who are asking the question of “Why?” Their fascination lies in unraveling the mind of a (serial) killer from a psychological point of view. And group B is asking the question of “How?” what indeed sounds like a macabre fascination for these humanoid predators. Although they may look nothing like Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, but I think there is a possibility a (serial) killer could spawn from group B, seeking the thrill behind the question of ‘How?’
The truth is that no one really knows, and despite the efforts of modern criminology to decode the brain of a typical serial killer, a concrete explanation has not reached yet. However, the one thing that is known is that many serial killers have suffered early childhood trauma, such as sexual or physical abuse.
The articles in this issue of The Next Truth could provide a clearer answer to some of these quest-ions but I have to put out a WARNING in advance. Some of the articles contain disturbing content and shocking photographs![Top]
Welcome to the very first publication of The Next Truth; Young People Science magazine. I am very excited to present this new, bimonthly publication to you and hope that it provides you with compelling content and inspiring and thought-provoking topics. https://www.magcloud.com/browse/magazine/1512517
Young People Science is focusing on the next generation male and female doctors, engineers, teachers, psychologists, chemists, physicists, among others, to unlock their fiery enthusiasm and thus their brilliant minds. In other words, we have created this magazine for…YOU…to let your imagination roll free, to explore the wonderland of science and to let your inner genius escape.
The first “Young People Science” contains articles dealing with a few of the many different scientific fields out there and are written by scientists and citizen scientists in a funny and understandable language. These brilliant minds are showing you that this idea of science being boring is (obviously) a superficial surface level thought. How can science be boring when by, for instance, simply using an equation written in a single line, you can predict that ‘stuff’ can happen?! Science is definitely not boring. The most interesting people I have come across are these brilliant man and woman who are known worldwide, working hard and are conducting jaw-dropping research, and experiments, out in the field or in laboratories. Some of them even conduct research on the North Pole, on the bottom of the Ocean or in a space station…that is soooo cool! Unfortunately the fact is, like it or not, the majority of people consider it to be so. But that is not what you are thinking…right?
Our goal with The Next Truth; Young People Science is to let your excitement and curiosity explode every two months when you read your next issue. And, as we continue to evolve the magazine, we ask you to email us when you have conducted a super fun experiment with your classmates, when you have visit an amazing exhibition with your school or maybe you have met a very famous scientist, just to name a few examples, so that we are able to meet and exceed your expectations.
Email The Next Truth your experiences, stories and photo’s via email@example.com and we will publish it for you to show your parents, teachers and friends.
As you open your first inaugural issue of The Next Truth; Young People Science, it is my sincere hope that you are inspired by the diversity science has to offer. Enjoy this magazine which is created just for you.[Top]
2019 has been an amazing year! Yes, it was an emotional rollercoaster but it challenged my thinking and most of all, 2019 gave me the opportunity to learn from all who where so generous to contribute their incredible work to The Next Truth.
Thank you for your support, comments, guidance and turning The Next Truth into an international magazine, it means the world to me. It blows my mind that it is viewed in so many different countries.
2020 is going to be even bigger and better as The Next Truth is launching a second magazine, “The Next Truth; Young People Science” of which the very first issue is ready to be published.
Enjoy the Christmas celebrations and create beautiful memories with those around you. https://youtu.be/Dg_RvO8jXEE[Top]
By Maria Anna van Driel, www.nextttruth.com
Theseus’s ship is a thought experiment designed to make you question your identity.
Theseus was a great hero in ancient Greek mythology. On his adventures, he sailed on a famous ship. Traveling the high seas and battling monsters and gods caused wear and tear on the ship. So over time, Theseus replaced parts of his ship which had worn out. After many years, Theseus had replaced every single part of the ship piece by piece. So the question is, if every piece has been replaced, is it still the same ship?
Now here is what is really going to knock out of your chair. Imagine someone kept all of the discarded pieces and put them back together. Now you have two Theseus’s ships, so the question is which is the real one? The idea here is that identity is continuous. Each person alters over time piece by piece, and so eventually you are a completely different person as the one you started out as. So because your body keeps replicating cells and changing things, and your body sheds and whatnot, are you still the same person that you were 10 years ago, or are you someone completely different.
If that was not mind blowing enough for you, let me introduce you to the Boltzmann brain. To understand what a Boltzmann brain is, imagine the universe in a far-flung future.
Due to entropy and the expansion of the universe, everything will one day no longer exist. The universe will have unraveled from itself, leaving nothing but an infinite amount of empty space, except it will not be entirely being empty. Space will experience random thermal fluctuations.
So if the universe is infinite, then that means every possible configuration of fluctuation happens. And as bizarre as it might seem, sometimes these fluctuations will perfectly recreate a temporary version of ourselves. Those are called Boltzmann brains.
If they exist, it is mathematically likely that we are currently living inside one of these fluctuations. That means we are a strange temporary approximation of people who once lived perhaps billions of years ago. So you are you, but you are also someone else that was you, but you are that person, but you are only you….oh God…. never mind, I will let myself out.[Top]
By Maria Anna van Driel, www.nextttruth.com
Is it possible that we are not real, and we do not even know it? This present moment what you are experiencing right now, is this consciousness and is this as close as you get to reality?
What is reality? Scientists from all over the world are trying to wrap their minds around this question of what this foggy state of the mind is. But is it really a foggy state we seem to be stuck in? Is it a strange kind of overlapping of different frames of space-time in where energy is forming its own density and, for us, recognizable objects? If our current understanding of physics is correct, then, it is impossible to simulate the whole universe, with its trillions and trillions of things. But we do not actually need to. We only need enough universe to fool the inhabitants of our simulation, or simulations, into thinking that they are real.
Who needs billions of galaxies, we only need the space to explore. The vast universe could just be a flat projection, and we would have no way to know it. Your body might feel like it is filled with bubbly things, but it might be empty, until you open it. The minimum requirement for our simulation is only the consciousness of the ‘virtual human’ and for this to ‘think’ the simulation is real. So, is our reality being simulated? Well, that is one hell of a tricky question! It is probably one of the deepest questions you have ever asked in your life and believe it or not, it is not entirely impossible to answer this question although the answer is so radical that it cannot be communicated with (written) words. But let me try to do so anyway.
Imagine a large mirror. As soon as we stand in front of it, we start making strange and funny faces. Why do we do so? Is this an attempt for self-recognition due the fact we cannot see our own image (face) that often as we see that of others? Or is it more an expression by means of a slight shock after the bubble of a false self image has burst and an actual self-recognition occurs?
Some of you may say, “Why bother, it is just a reflection. It is not even real!” But if the reflection of a dens object is an illusion, it would mean that the original object, in this case you, should be an illusion either. In other words, you are an illusion. Does this mean that, as we are standing in front of a mirror, we try to recognize of what we really are? I mean, is this behavior a natural reaction, or reflex, to make it easier for our brain to correct what it is registering and combining this visible image with what it is it ‘thinks’ of its self to be. Hum, reality as we have become so familiar with is slowly starting to be a scary realm.
It seems that we humans are unable to experience the true nature of the universe in an unfiltered manner. Our senses and brains are yet not evolved enough and can only process a fraction of the world. So we have to use concepts and tools, to learn about the true nature of reality. Unfortunately, technological progress has not only widened our knowledge about the universe, it also made us aware of unsettling possibilities in e.g. quantum entanglement.
Is there is something deeper to ‘reality’ than just what we have been told? Is there is something we have missed, something we cannot quite put our finger on what it might be. But there has to be something there…right?
Questions what makes the mind wrestle with itself yet the possibility of what you consider to be ‘reality’ might not be real at all. You might be simulated by yourself.
Okay, okay… all of this is based on a lot of assumptions that science cannot really test right now what makes many people disagree with this thought experiment. Nevertheless, I would not recommend for you to burn your house down to test if there will be glitches. You might be on a small planet speeding through eternal nothingness, or a simulation inside a computer.
All that we can do is hoping that, if we actually are simulations in a supercomputer, nobody trips over the power cable.[Top]
Of course we only see one minute of a long story but let’s imagine that the information of this journalist being quickly taken care of by concerned medical staff after he was hit by a rubber coated bullet has not given to you in front, what would be your instant thoughts by watching this one minute clip?
If I may throw in an idea…I think many would have drawn the conclusion that this journalist was being brutally besieged by an angry crowd. Right?
Beside trying to bring your attention to the, sometimes harrowing, world issues, we journalists are human too and also have a personal opinion concerning the topics we work with each day. Opinions and thoughts we, like you, do like to express every now and than!
Personally I am working with bright and open minded scientists and citizen scientists from all over the world and…honestly…it is immensely annoying when again someone is walking up to me, telling me that science is destroying faith, peoples believes or even humanity in general. Please, do not confuse the scientists with the science. Scientists are people too!
My respect for this journalist ( Jürgen Todenhöfer) for expressing his thoughts on the job. https://twitter.com/i/status/1140570302411366400[Top]