Destruction of Information

This article has been in my queue to read for a while. I finally got a chance to finish it earlier today. As usual I did not quite grasp everything nor the total significance of what the new theories could mean for our understanding of the universe, however I did find a few things ideas the article talked about interesting. I also found this one that basically says the same thing but says it in a way that is much more simple to understand, and it is shorter, which is always nice as well.

The basis of the article talks about  what happens when stuff gets sucked into a black hole. Einstein, Hawking, and countless others have argued and put forth theory and new ideas to try and explain what they think happens and what that means for the rest of the universe. I think, or at least this is what I gathered from my reading, that depending on a few things that if they could figure out a certain aspect of what happens to information once it enters the event horizon, the point where nothing can escape the black hole, that it could help bridge the gap between relativity and quantum mechanics. The problem is that black holes offer the ultimate conundrum in that they are relatively small and super massive, meaning there is a lot of gravity surrounding them. This is the major goal of all physicists, to unity both schools of thought, but at the moment seems to be somewhat of a struggle to say the least.

While that is all well and good, and I think it is important, it is fascinating as to what happens to information once it crosses the event horizon. There are a couple of scenarios. The first is that information can never be lost it simply becomes infinitely scrambled. The article equates this to burning a book, while theoretically it is possible to gather all the smoke and ash to reconstruct the book, therefore the info is not lost and cannot be destroyed, but is scrambled to a point where it is near impossible to reconstruct the book back to its original form. But this is highly improbable as you can imagine. The other scenario is that it can be destroyed and the black hole could collapse on itself essentially destroying all information that was captured inside, or once it crosses the horizon it is destroyed. The problem is that quantum mechanics prohibits the destruction of information, thus the problem.

So keeping all that in mind, I want to get back to the idea of the consciousness and if it can be destroyed. First I think we should set down some clear guidelines about what is defined as “information.” From what I have gathered I would assume it is anything that has a substance, anything physical, like a an atom, a photon, a quark, what have you, all would be considered information. So if that is the case then I think consciousness would lie on the other side of this argument, as currently we do not know any physical properties that are attached to it.

Still consciousness is one of the those weird things that seems like it could and should be labeled as information, because that is basically all it is.  Still this is interesting to think about. My overall basic point is that consciousness, in my opinion, is filled with information yet it has no physical properties so can it be destroyed? I suppose time will ultimately tell, and maybe one day we will find an answer to that question.

Now, enough about that let’s talk about something else. I found this article, and let’s just say it made me feel pretty small. After seeing this it is near unfathomable to understand how vast the universe is, not to mention if there is more than one as so many scientists think. The is the real unnerving part of the whole article, just how big everything out there is, pretty remarkable.



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