One of the side effects of having studied Physics is the occasional reminder that what we think is real only seems real to us. A “baseline” of reality is probably a bit more than we could realistically comprehend.
Let’s start with one of the basics. Consider the chair you are likely sitting on as you read this. It’s made up of atoms, and that means it’s surface isn’t “really” contiguous. There’s no reason you couldn’t “swim” between the spaces if you were able to flow your own atoms around – and that means what appears to us as solid is no more than very still smoke.
As another example, we don’t see the full spectrum of light and electromagnetic radiation around us – even infrared and ultraviolet mainly elude us. So we aren’t seeing everything – just those parts of things that enhance our survival. There could be structures of X-rays around us that we wouldn’t even notice day to day if they didn’t reflect in the visible spectrum.
Then there’s the whole concept that the Universe is composed of separate things. The Big Bang tells us that at one point everything – and I literally mean EVERYTHING – was just one small ball of energy. At the very beginning everything that makes up you, and everything that makes up me, and everything that makes up that mountain you once climbed, were in a very real sense one and the same. The only real difference is how things have spread out since. To say that you are connected to everything is at least as true as to say you are connected to your mother.
But it’s not just this Universe. Our latest theories tell us that there is a cosmic “tree” of multiverses that is constantly branching and that has buds that suddenly expand – one of which was our Big Bang. So in that sense you are connected to things that you likely will never even know. The image for this article is a painting of Yggdrasil, but it could just as easily represent the great “tree” of all existence.
And if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s the whole question of whether reality is even real. Both Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson have discussed a notion (Simulation Hypothesis) that has been floating around for some time – that if it’s possible to simulate reality, then the odds are that we are in a simulation rather than in some “base” reality.
Something to noodle over when you have time today.