“Entity X“ and The Limits of Empirical Observation: Deconstructed

There are more questions than answers, more theories than facts, and there is a world beyond observation. There is so much we don’t understand, despite all our scientific developments, though we endeavor to understand, and sometimes even pretend to. I’m no scientist, but it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that there are so many unseen factors at play around us, although he had some very compelling ideas. With this post, I recommend checking out the sources first, they’re so much more fizicks-y, more concise than I could ever be in this subject. If you already know this stuff feel free to skip to my breakdown, I’m sure it’ll be a good laugh. Otherwise, these YouTube videos will definitely have the best and most understandable information, plus they’re all pretty short considering how much information they pack (big s/o to Crash Course… seriously what an incredible resource I don’t even care). What follows the video sources is my bumbling, liberal arts brained attempt at explaining the fizziks concepts behind the science presented within the first “Entity X” installment. Why? Because I am dedicated to holism despite how it makes my head hurt and transports me back to humiliating high school days of being violently confused whenever science started being math. Okay whatever, let’s get to these fixzichs sources. 

  1. The Electromagnetism and Waves
  1. Light Structure/ Human Eye and Ear Structure

Okay I hoped you watched these videos or at least read the descriptions because the rest of the post builds off the information in the sources, and is not nearly as comprehensive. If you want more information there are entire Crash Course series for Physics and Anatomy, all available on YouTube for free, plus more content than anyone could ever consume. Again, this an armchair endeavor, and there are career experts who have studied these topics their whole lives. I’ve provided some of these more classically academic sources at the end of this post.

Okay here goes nothing… I’m going to start with defining some key terms in my own words and in relation to the “Entity X” story,  which if you haven’t guessed by now, is a direct metaphor to humanity, so the presented biology is applicable. 

Electric Fields: The space near or around a charged particle which exerts force on the particles around it. Depending on the charge of the main particle, it will either repel or attract the particles and electric fields which are around it. An electric field is always present on any charged particle.

fig.1

 

Magnetic Fields: An occurrence in the space around a long-standing magnet (such as the earth’s liquid metal core) where magnetic currents extend beyond the magnet proper when there are two poles present.

fig.2

Electromagnetism: Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental forces of nature. It is the study of the way electric fields and magnetic fields interact, as well as the connections between the two, and the various trends and consequences associated with said interactions. The Earth is one giant electromagnet, due to it producing a natural magnetic field originating from the liquid metal core, and a subsequent electric field which inevitably interact with each other to form one big electromagnetic field. This phenomena protects the living beings on it from most of the harmful radiation in space, (i.e. high frequency electromagnetic waves that cannot be empirically experienced due to environmental evolution and limited biology).

fig.3

Electromagnetic Spectrum: The electromagnetic spectrum encompasses all of the known categorizations of electromagnetic energy and radiation released from stars, including host stars such as the sun, categorized by wavelength and energetic potency. One on end of this spectrum are the low frequencies: radio waves, radar waves, microwaves, and infrared waves, in the middle is visible light, and on the other end are high frequency, high energy forms, referred to as “rays” rather than waves: UV rays, x-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays. 

Electromagnetic Waves: Electromagnetic waves are transverse waves which illustrate the interactions between a given electric field and a given magnetic field. All electromagnetic waves are inherently radiation waves due to the nature of their movements. Other than a small amount of visible light waves, all other electromagnetic waves are essentially invisible to the human eye. Low frequency waves (those lower than visible light) can be registered through other empirical senses such as hearing (when used in tandem with certain technologies), and kinesthetic touch (the necessary relationship between light, heat, and human kinesthetic experience will be further addressed in the near future). High frequency waves, (those higher than visible light), are invisible, inaudible, and are able to pass through the human body, meaning these types of waves cannot not be empirically experienced by humans, though their structure and effects can be theoretically interpreted and limitedly utilized through scientific means. Basically, low frequency electromagnetic “waves” can be empirically experienced in one way or another by human facilities, while high frequency electromagnetic “rays” are impossible to directly observe with human facilities.

fig.4

Visible Light: Light is electromagnetic radiation travelling in waves. Visible light is a very small section situated in the middle of the larger electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light can be experienced and interpreted by the anatomy of the human eye. In addition to the colors present on the visible light spectrum (R.O.Y.G.B.I.V.),  humans are also able to collect and interpret white light, the absence of light, grayscale, and to a limited extent, “black” or ultraviolet/UV light. While we can technically experience UV light, direct or prolonged exposure is not recommended as it can severely damage skin and vision, and therefore is not considered visible. 

Lenses: Lenses allow for the reshaping of light waves with obstacles. The lens structure present in the human eye allows for advanced collection of data from visible light sources, as well as advanced memory and interpretation of said light, thanks to the attached nervous system (almost 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes, and visual experiences are considered the dominant sensory experiences for humans). The wave nature of light inherently limits the use of lens technology, however scientific innovation has allowed for many technologies to be developed such as corrective lenses, polarized lenses, telescopes, and cameras.

fig.5

Sound: Sound consists of relatively low frequency longitudinal waves caused by vibrations which interact with the ear, rather complexly, to experience sound phenomena. Sound experience for humans is generally limited to pitches of 20 p/s – 20,000 p/s. Low frequency radio waves, when used in conjunction with technologies such as radios, mobile phones, and televisions can be registered as sound experience by the human ear and brain.

fig.6

fig.7

There’s something very important I did not take into account when I first described the evolutionary environment responsible for the creation of “Entity X”: Electromagnetic fields. The electromagnetic field surrounding the planet deflects most of the harmful radiation (or intense manifestations of light) that come off of the host star… (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). The factors keeping this planet safe enough to facilitate complex lifeforms physically made certain types of light and energy very rare and unlikely to be naturally encountered in registerable amounts. I maintain that this factor plays a major role in the evolution of “Entity X”’s empirical facilities. If they evolved to effectively interact with the environment, it stands to reason that their evolution would lead to strong senses for efficiently and effectively interpreting regular energy occurrences (i.e. low frequency electromagnetic waves) . Since the majority of harmfully potent energy occurrences (i.e. high frequency electromagnetic “rays”) are, naturally, barred from the environment due to the planet’s magnetic field, therefore lacking in the environment, it also stands to reason that biological evolution would not bother taking these into account when developing empirical facilities.

Speaking of said facilities, they are marvels of their own, despite their shortcomings in viewing or registering all of the possible electromagnetic radiation levels. The complex sensory structures coupled with the awesome computing power of “Entity X’s” brain has allowed it to feed its curiosity beyond its biological ability to collect hard data. Through strict scientific and mathematical processes and heavy pedagogy, a sector of theoretical sciences has emerged. While this practice is responsible for the creation of many extraordinary developments and technologies, the science behind these developments is still all theoretical. For example, science has proved that manufacturing and application of “x-ray” waves is useful for seeing behind opaque surfaces. When you go through airport security or get those squares shoved in your mouth at the dentist, you are experiencing the effects of these rays, but not experiencing the rays directly or empirically. However, the potential consequences of employing x-ray waves or long term exposure to x-rays are not entirely understood, due to the theoretical understanding behind these technologies. This supports the point I made in the first “Entity X” installment: incomplete empirical experiences cannot lead to complete understanding or sciences. I am in no way trying to discredit science or downplay the effects it has on the world at large, I am simply urging that we employ a healthy amount of holism and academic skepticism when exploring topics that are strictly theoretical, or ones that rely on evidence that is not purely empirical. When it comes to the nature of the universe, there is definitely more that is unknown than that is known to be certain. We can make fancy approximations all day, but the questions seem to always outweigh the answers within the theoretical sciences.

Allow me to elaborate on some the most elusive phenomena encompassed in the theoretical sciences. Most of these phenomena play expansive and important roles in the establishment and sustaining of the universe and therefore life, however our understanding of them is incomplete at best. How about gravity? Another one of the fundamental forces of the universe, an undeniable force that holds the universe together. Can anyone say for sure how it works? There are some excellent guesses out there, including the theory of general relativity.

fig.8

This theory states that space and time are inherently connected, which Einstein represented as a fabric-esque or malleable sheet like plane, and that massive celestial bodies have the ability to warp this plane in a way that creates the phenomena of gravity. I find this theory is best explained in an image (fig. 8). Einstein’s math, I’m told, is sound, and so is his logic, but general relativity must remain a theory because human beings lack the biological ability to empirically prove its validity. Now what about dark matter? Experts believe it out numbers regular matter exponentially even though its presence and composition is empirically impossible to experience or prove. What sort of effects, and what caliber of effect, does this ample and unseen…stuff, goo, I don’t know…have on the universe? On life? On the relationship between the two? What mysteries could be solved by an empirical understanding of this phenomena? Is it the opposite of matter, a lack of matter, or something else entirely? See what I mean? More questions than answers. Although theories and guesses surrounding the nature of dark matter are everywhere, it’s well established that none of these are truly facts, and we continue to live under the consequences of dark matter without having any true understanding of it outside of the theoretical. Lastly, let’s discuss black holes.

fig.9

Black holes are celestial phenomena categorized by a lack of light, extreme gravitational force, plus they largely ignore any established rules, and evade the general human scientific framework and understanding of physics. Humans have no need to understand black holes, as encountering one would permanently cease our curiosity (and existence), so it makes perfect sense that our biology would not account for understanding them. However this has not stopped our insatiable curiosity from attempting to understand. Despite all the time and energy placed into researching this endeavor, our understanding of black holes remains rudimentary at best, and still completely theoretical. As with dark matter, the possible ramifications of being able to empirically understand black holes could unravel unimaginable quantum and cosmological secrets, but for now we must continue to live with the lack of answers, and an incomplete understanding of the powerful phenomenon that ultimately control us.

In summation, electromagnetic physics is complex and confusing, and largely theoretical when it comes down to it. Despite the inherent lack of absolute understanding in this field, mathematics and logic has led to the development of several theories that perhaps point us in the right direction, but ultimately cannot be fully factual. Due to the physics of the earth, mainly our electromagnetic field, human biology has not developed the ability to empirically confirm any aspect of theoretical physics, therefore we purely rely on theories to provide any semblance of understanding about the very forces and phenomenon that have allowed us to live long enough to question them. Like I said, this is not a diss to science- I just think maintaining a certain level of academic skepticism is necessary when considering the theoretical sciences, because there is obviously a disconnect between human biology and full electromagnetic experience. Additionally, I think that the answers we seek live inside those lapses of understanding, and possibly this is by design. But that’s just me.

Okay y’all thank you for indulging me… I know I’m no scientist so please don’t be too hard on me. I did my best, and I feel like my understanding of physics has improved immensely because of the research I did for this post. Like always, use the provided sources (and any other sources you want), perform your own research on these matters, and remember that one person’s opinion or theory cannot be absolutely true, especially when it comes to the theoretical sciences. Don’t let ego or arrogance keep you from an open mind. An open mind is a very powerful tool for understanding, especially when your empirical facilities fall short. The only thing I think anyone can know for certain is that the truth changes and is reliably fluid, and that mindset is the most useful I can imagine. Trying to force understanding when lacking proof is counterintuitive and counterproductive, and if an outside party is attempting to do such a thing to you, know that there is likely another agenda which would be hindered by practitioners who are able to think for themselves and perpetuate their own personal truth, hence the necessity of violent dogma. But, once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. So take a look at these final sources if you so please, and I’ll be back soon with the next “Entity X” installment.

SOURCES

1. Electromagnetic Spectrum:

https://www.britannica.com/science/electromagnetic-spectrum

https://youtu.be/7eutept5h0Q

https://youtu.be/jjy-eqWM38g

  1. Black Holes

https://youtu.be/qZWPBKULkdQ

https://youtu.be/rMk-_t5ls50

https://youtu.be/t-O-Qdh7VvQ

https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-a-black-hole-k4.html

  1. Sound Waves 

https://youtu.be/qV4lR9EWGlY

https://youtu.be/c38H6UKt3_I

https://youtu.be/IhzZAoSYDLE

https://physics.info/sound/

  1. Einstein and General Relativity

https://youtu.be/NgVSHXOz3jI

https://youtu.be/AInCqm5nCzw

https://youtu.be/ERgwVm9qWKA

https://www.britannica.com/science/special-relativity

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