# Not everything is physics - Inverted Passion

## 🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the author's journey of exploring fundamental questions about reality, physics, and the limitations of reductionist thinking. It covers the author's perspectives on the primacy of intuition in mathematics, the existence of multiple "worlds" beyond the physical universe, and the contextual nature of truth. The article argues against the idea of a single, unified theory that can explain everything and advocates for embracing the richness and diversity of different domains of knowledge.

## 🙋 Q&A

### [01] The Brief History of Time and the author's journey

**1. What impact did The Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking have on the author as a young boy?**

- The book made a lasting impression on the author, making them fall in love with ideas such as the arrow of time, black holes, entropy, and the Big Bang.
- Reading the book sparked the author's interest in exploring the boundaries of knowledge and the spirit of science.

**2. How did the author's goal to understand all currently unsolved problems in physics during a sabbatical impact their understanding of physics?**

- The author brushed up on quantum mechanics, general relativity, cosmology, and the standard model, which allowed them to move beyond a pop-science level of understanding physics.
- By the end of the sabbatical, the author was able to understand quantum mechanics equations and their meaning.

### [02] Limitations of reductionist thinking

**1. What insights did the author gain from the book Mathematica by David?**

- The book challenged the author's assumption that mathematical ability is primarily about the computational procedure of exploring logical consequences of axioms.
- Instead, the book suggested that professional mathematicians often glimpse "truths" intuitively and then use step-by-step logic to prove what they already know to be true.
- The example of the mathematician Ramanujan, who wrote highly non-trivial formulas without proofs, further highlighted the limitations of a purely logical approach to mathematics.

**2. How did the book Why the World Does Not Exist by Markus provide a fresh perspective on the relationship between the universe and the world?**

- The book differentiated between the universe (the physical "stuff") and the world (the universe plus the domain of ideas).
- It argued that the world contains ideas, such as Harry Potter, that have real effects on the universe, even though they are not physically present in the universe.
- The book also highlighted how different "worlds," such as the world of morality or the world of mathematics, exist independently and are not necessarily connected to each other.

**3. What insights did the author gain from the Cyc project's experience in developing a unified, connected web of logical statements?**

- The Cyc team initially tried to bake in a large number of common sense "facts" into a logical system, but soon realized that a general-purpose reasoning algorithm probably doesn't exist.
- Instead, the Cyc team pivoted to developing thousands of micro-domains, each with its own web of facts and a customized reasoning engine, to enable context-dependent reasoning.
- This experience highlighted the limitations of reducing everything to "fundamentals" and the need for domain-specific tools and knowledge to solve problems effectively.

### [03] Embracing the richness of different domains

**1. How does the author view the relationship between physics and other fields of study?**

- The author argues that physics is very useful for certain problems but is absolutely useless in other domains.
- The author questions the idea of a hierarchy of sciences, where physics is seen as more "fundamental" than other fields, and suggests that any such hierarchy is entirely hypothetical.
- The example of microprocessors, which require knowledge from various domains beyond just physics, challenges the notion of physics as the base layer for understanding reality.

**2. What is the author's perspective on the drive for a single, unified explanation of reality?**

- The author acknowledges that they have long been obsessed with finding a neat, compact, single explanation of reality.
- However, the author now believes that this drive might be misguided and that the world might be better understood as a "big city with different areas, each having its own vibe."
- The author suggests that it might be more worthwhile to study consciousness, meaning, and the humanities on their own terms, rather than trying to reduce them to fundamental particles.
- The author concludes that reality being a disjoint collection of domains seems infinitely more rich than it being a single equation.