Santa Cause


On the one hand you've got modern, repeat modern, science - quantum physics - a scientific endeavour which claims to never have been experimentally defied, and accurate to a degree which outstrips all previous scientific approaches, arguing:

- Spooky action at a distance is real (experiments have shown electrons are coupled with, and affect each other over vast distances.)
- The act of observation affects physical behaviour (if you observe an electron it acts differently than if you didn't.)
- The future is unknowable (you can't physically know both the position and velocity of an elementary particle simultaneously, precluding the possibility of determining its future trajectory precisely.)
- Our universe may be one of many parallel universes (elementary particles, such as electrons, elude Schrodinger's Cat - the thought experiment which asks 'can one ever decide the state of an entity at any point prior to actual observation?' and suggests every eventuality is played out in one way or another.)

Scientists don't know all this, they just can't ignore the facts and have to query the implications.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, you've got philosophers arguing:

- What if there's only you? (The only thing you can be absolutely, one hundred per cent certain of is that you exist; the rest could be an illusion. Therefore, if you want to be totally sure, doubt everything except for number one (that's you!))
- What if you're a brain in a vat, or a jar, or a fridge, kept alive and fed sensations by a scientist? (If you go deep enough sceptically, unless you're the next Rene Descartes, you can't totally rule this out.)
- What if, when no-one is around, nothing can be heard? (Arguably, sound is a phenomenon which needs a listener in order to exist - otherwise, what is sound?)

You don't have to believe all this, but a good enough philosopher will prevent you from proving it to be false beyond any doubt whatsoever.


How preposterous can our imaginations be? How far can we take our imaginations in the entertainment of beliefs which we will return to the real world from? Do you remember Santa Claus? You got over that, didn't you? What if there is a Santa Claus out there, in the multiverse? All it would take is a man in a costume flying across the skies with a group of reindeer and a stock of presents. It's not a physical impossibility; or rather, it might not be in the future, and might not be in the locus of some distant star presently. Imagine you could talk to someone thousands of miles away, while looking at their facial expressions? - Oh yeah, you can, with your smartphone. (Just putting our dreams in perspective a little).

How out-there should our imaginings be? Should there be a limit? Perhaps only as far as we are comfortable with. Other than that, surely the sky is the limit. Otherwise how can we abide the scope afforded to film and theatre? If it can be acted out on stage, it has to be conceived beforehand.


According to science, any event is possible.
According to philosophy, any situation is within reason.
And according to freedom of expression, any creation is legitimate.

So don't drift off into a dreamworld. Stay in this one.



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