I think, therefore I am.

-- philosopher/scientist René Descartes

Naive realism -- the idea that things are what they seem -- makes sense at first. However, even the most basic scientific understanding contradicts it. Roses aren't red; red arises as an interaction between the rose, our eye, and the light between them. In this sophisticated realism, reality is still there, but one step away from our senses.

Even sophisticated realism is threatened by modern physics. Scientists learned that time can pass slower or faster for different people, and that space and time are fundamentally the same thing. They learned that everything around us is not solid stuff, but pulsating energy that acts one way when we're looking and another when we're not. Not only that, but our entire space-time world may be just a tiny fraction of an unimaginably huge universe.

Science itself is part of the confusion. The universe's inherent uncertainty, the ability of remote events to affect each other instantly, and the equivalence of past and future all raise questions about the scientific method itself.

If something as fundamental as time can be so unlike the way we conceive it, are any of our ideas accurate? Can we trust our minds? How do we tell truth from illusion?

  1. Inquiring Minds Want To Know
  2. I Doubt It
  3. The Ground Floor
  4. It's All Connected
  5. What I Mean To Say Is ...
  6. Is It True?
  7. You've Got Something There
  8. Because!
  9. Where and When?
  10. Logical Conclusion
  11. What Does This Have To Do With Me?
  12. Inside Knowledge
  13. Unlearning
  14. Toolset #2

Next: Mind Over Matter

For Further Exploration

The philosophically minded and curious can browse these sources elsewhere on the Web: