Presenter: Mark Ehsani
There have always been times in the ascent of man when we must begin from a complete unknown--and uncontemplated--new truth, and build entirely new mindsets and words to explain our new reality. When we discovered a new continent, we named it with a familiar name, “West Indies”. This was the closest thing that language could point to, regarding this new discovery. This said that the new continent as part of India from the west. This was the best that the mind of the people, even the discoverer himself, could comprehend in the 14th century. In fact, this was far from the truth and the language was misleading. It took many decades before people realized that the discovered land was totally new and had no relation to the familiar lands. Following this new understanding language came up with new words with which we could describe the reality. Today, when we hear the words “North America” we immediately know what the words are pointing to. We know it is a large continent, quite apart from other old continents. The words immediately invoke in our minds the entire knowledge set that goes with the new continents of the Americas. In other words, since we have an understanding of it, we have words for it.
There are an increasing number of modern scientific experiences that defy both the mind and its language. We have even discovered that coming to know something changes the nature of that thing, and that as we seek more refined and subtle truth, this effect gets more dominant.
For example, if we want to know the location and energy of a particle, we will change one or both of them. So, even though we know a particle has its location and energy, we know that we can never know them both at the same time. So, we call this “uncertainty principle”. Note that language is pointing to a negative and is not pointing to an affirmation that we can understand.
Modern physics is riddled with such observed paradoxes for which both the mind and the language are stupefied. For example, we know that physical particles can go across other physical objects without ever going through them! They just appear on the other side. The language calls this the “tunneling effect”. Tunneling is when we bore through an obstacle and make a path. In fact we know that this is not what is happening. But both our understanding of this new experience and our language cannot handle this and points to the wrong direction, using its inventory of familiar symbols. We really do not understand this proven mystery.