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Modern Scientific Reification

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

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.

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 squeezed, warped or reified in any other way.

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 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

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