The World, Expressed As Math

I studied some physics in undergrad. I was mostly focused on computers, so I didn't take physics beyond the requirements of a computer science degree, which meant things like oscillation, waves, and the very beginning of quantum physics.

We never covered the Double Slit Experiment, so here I am, 15 years out of college, and I recently had my mind blown by it.

Please watch this and then continue reading.

This video says to me that the physical world truly does express itself as math. It's tempting to think about this for a moment and intuitively feel your way towards saying "yes, obviously", but keep thinking. Eventually, it becomes hard to see the universe as bound by the simple laws we observe, because it's precisely when we are not observing that we get the best glimpse at how it makes decisions.

One interesting consideration, is that the physical world seems to avoid making decisions when it doesn't have to. It expresses the probabilities of particular outcomes as probabilities, unless it has to collapse this into some actual answer that can be observed. This is the notion behind Schrödinger's Cat, but that always seemed so theoretical, until I learned about this experiment. I had no idea any of that was actually observable...

I've been somewhere between agnostic and atheist for most of my life because I don't accept truths without some kind of scientific approach to confirming the ideas. And here we see probabilities of physical outcomes literally splattered on a plainly observable wall.

How did it get this way, I have to ask myself. Why would it do this? It's like the thing we're observing knows it is being observed and it changes its behavior...

Questions like this force me to open my mind up to notions of living in a simulation. If we were living in something of a computer program, I could see a lazy model for evaluation, as found in Haskell, as never having a need to observe a particular value and thus it just never does. And then SPLAT, the uncomputed thing hits the wall and the universe's print() function prints the non-computed value, which currently looks likes a probability expression.

Regardless of whether we live in a simulation or a multiverse with multiple concurrent simulations, the abstract math appears to be written on the wall, and this has renewed some of my interest in the bizarre side of the physical world.