Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Things Are Not As They Seem

Do you think that every physical object in the universe is made out of solid stuff, in the same way that a tree is made out of wood?

This is for you.

The view that all things are made out of a fundamental substance is called materialism.

And a materialist makes a clear separation between: thing and nothing, or stuff and space.

But physical reality is more than just a collection of different shaped lumps—made out of universal, smaller lumps—sitting in empty space.

For starters, we have never found empty space. One reason being, every time we try to find empty space, there is a lumpy human trying to discover it.

What’s more, physical objects are not as solid they seem.

If you put something solid under a microscope, you see that it’s full of holes.

Which seems to imply that anything solid is both solid and space.

But if the microscopic view of solids is simply a reflection of our everyday view—only on a smaller scale—the idea of a solid being separate from space can remain unchanged.

In other words: if Newton’s laws—which explain the behaviour of macroscopic objects—can also explain the behaviour of solids on an atomic level, materialism does not need to be abandoned.

The world of atoms, however, is of such a different nature than the world of solids that Newton’s laws and, thus, materialism, fall apart.

For at the atomic level, solids seem to behave very differently than the solids we see with the naked eye: atomic solids are (as far as we can tell) able to dissolve into nothing and back.

What we consider stuff is far less solid and much more space than we once thought.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach