March 23, 2018 Ultimates No Comments

Talking about ‘things’ may make something look like a ‘thing’. Does that make a ‘fundamental particle’ a ‘thing’?

[This is an ‘Ultimates’ text. Please, don’t take it at face value.]

Mind-games forever

I’m just a curious guy, I guess, who sometimes as a hobby likes to think about different ‘things’ in different ways… as a mind-game.

An electron spins (turns)

either to the left or to the right… or to both at the same time, as explained in quantum physics.

In describing it, the latter is true.

In observing it, the former is true.

Which is not possible

Nevertheless, this is what top-level physicists are struggling with for decades. The quest is still on. Two hypotheses are en vogue:

Copenhagen hypothesis

First proposed by physicist Niels Bohr in 1920.

Observing electron-stuff, the observer changes the reality that he is observing into one of its possible states. One way or another, ‘consciousness’ magically influences the electron.

To be honest, many present-day Bohrians don’t literally revert to ‘consciousness’. However, I see in this a case of no – no – no – no – actually yes.

I don’t think so.

Multiverse hypothesis

First proposed by doctoral student Hugh Everett III in 1957.

There are 2 observers, each in a different universe. In universe ‘L’, the electron spins to the left; in universe ‘R’ the electron spins to the right.

In universe-L, the L-you sees the L-electron.

In universe-R, the R-you sees the R-electron.

And so on and so on , with each ‘you’ doubling into the Multiverse.

I don’t think so.


Scientists speak of electrons and other ‘fundamental particles’ (quarks, leptons, bosons…) as, well, ‘particles’. Are particles ‘things’? Why, at this level, would we speak of something as a ‘thing’?

At the same time, scientists acknowledge that these somethings are not ‘things’. OK. Then, why would we speak of such something as a ‘particle’? Maybe the naming itself is misleading.

The particle’s new clothes

Let’s ‘clothe’ fundamental particles with another name, say, ‘somethings’. OK, but now, don’t think of ‘somethings’ as ‘things’ at all. Yes, electrons have the thingy characteristic of appearing to spin to left or right or both simultaneously. As simple as that. Their appearing to, doesn’t mean they are. Besides, other characteristics of the electron (like quantum leap) are not thingy at all.

No Magic. No Multiverse.

And no ‘things’. Then, what are they?

Simply: ‘something that is not a thing’. It has characteristics that we don’t understand while we want to stick their characteristics to ‘things’. We are wrong in that.

Still, they are what the universe is made of…

Indeed. That’s another characteristic of this something that is not a thing: ‘being what the universe is made of’.

Then what about the different ‘fundamental particles’?

Fact checking: nobody ever saw any of them. Scientists derive their existence from observed… characteristics. It’s almost boring, but – again – these characteristics don’t need to stick to ‘things’. So are there really different ‘fundamental particles’?

I don’t think so.

IF they are not even ‘things’, then why would they be different? Or better: how can ‘it’ be different ‘things’? ‘It’ has the characteristic of appearing to be different things. That’s actually all we know. In due circumstance, it might even also appear to be one thing.

I think so.

My hypothesis: ‘fundamental particles’ are not ‘things’ but ‘events’.

These events, like all events, have consequences. These consequences are observable.

At the thing level (our normal habitat as human beings), events are thing-related, from atoms to the whole universe.

At the sub-thing level, events are not thing-related. They are just naked events.

Note that this doesn’t bring more data. One could also say: this is ignorance given another name. Well, it’s another view. At least it leads us past any ‘thing’ which according to me, is a dead end.

Well, happily I’m not a quantum physicist.

I might already have lost my job by now 😊 .

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