No, I am not joking. I thought about this a lot, and it seems feasible. I should first clear up that when I say,”learning too much can make you forget everything”, I am not giving you some examination advice, or talking as in general, as an advice while studying. I exactly mean if you store information more than a limit in your brain, it might go blank, and after that no matter what, it wont store any new information and not even remember even a bit of an previously stored information. Why? Entropy-Hidden Information and Black Holes.
I recently read how about black holes, entropy and its relation with hidden information. How that affects our own information limit? That’s exactly what I will explain here. First here are a few crucial things about black holes i would like to mention, because our brain is perhaps an analogy to it. Black hole, is any body-mostly stars fallen to their inevitable doom, whose gravity is so high that nothing, not even light can escape it. Any amount of matter if squeezed into a sphere with radius equal to its scharzchild’s radius(depends on the amount of matter) can become a black hole(since gravity is proportional to the amount of matter at that point, denser the matter, higher the gravity). Now Stephen Hawking mathematically proved that the amount of information inside a black hole is equal to the surface are of the black hole. This information is due to the sucked in matter. Just like a skyscraper is a matter form of the blueprint information, matter around us is also due to information. This last point relating to black holes is critical to this discussion, so remember it.
Now, according to second law of thermodynamics, entropy (or disorder) in a system always increases. It can be shown that entropy is the amount of hidden information about a system. What is this hidden information? Well, it is that information, which if you were to know about the microscopic properties of your system, you would know more about it macroscopically. Like you can know what is the volume, temperature, or pressure of a gas system, but do you know how many atoms collided in the upper-right corner? or in the bottom surface? Such information is called hidden information. Experts and scientists have established that a useful measure of the content of information is the number of yes-or-no questions it can be answered using that information. Now using an example below I will show that the more the disorder, higher is the number of hidden information, and also higher the entropy, and make you believe that they are indeed the same thing. Imagine a stack of 1000 coins. Now if all of the were carefully stacked,with every coin heads up,it would be a very ordered system. Low entropy, and almost no hidden information. Just one question, “Are all the coins heads up?” will tell you all you want to know about the 1000 identical coins orientation, and so hidden information is very very less. Now say if all these coins were to be scattered all around you, it would be a highly disordered system, with a very high entropy. There can be 2¹ººº ways to arrange these coins, (some heads up some tails up). If I was to flip some of them, or change their position, you wouldn’t notice at all. Now according to a formula the entropy instead of being 2¹ººº, is the logarith of 2¹ººº, i.e. 1000. This helps working with manageable numbers. Now in this situation, I need to ask 1000 questions to know about every single coin, because I have no idea which of them have tails up, which don’t, or which have similar faces up. This amounts to 1000 separate yes-or-no questions, and so higher is the hidden information. This excludes the information of their exact positions and other orientations. Thus entropy and hidden information are equal.
The above situation shows that, as the entropy increases, the hidden information increases in any system, including a black hole. A different point of view shows that if theoretically, I could stuff enough matter inside a basketball, so much that the radius of the basketball is equal to the scharzchild radius for that amount of matter, then it should become a black hole. Now as a black hole sucks in an object, all information related to that object is lost, forever. This is thus hidden information for us. We don’t know or cannot know, unlike in the above example, what this information is, and so the hidden information content of a black hole remains constant.Since the hidden information, or entropy, is equal to the surface area of the region surrounding the black hole, it can never be more that this surface area.
Now you must be asking yourself that why the hell did I tell you all of this, right? Because this is where the crazy theory comes. Hypothetically, if we live long enough to gather the required amount of information, I think that according to the surface area of our brains, after a certain limit, when the amount of information just equals the surface area of the brain, it becomes a black hole! Doesn’t it?! Any more information will just increase the surface area, and none of it can be known again, all that was, is lost. All the memories, experiences and knowledge, all of it LOST. But don’t worry, because we don’t live that long to gather so much information. For the curious one, every plank centimeter square of area, stores can store one bit of information. This is the smallest scale at which the term area/distance has a meaning (≈10-99 cm2).
So, what are your thoughts on it? Comment them below. Any suggestions/corrections/reviews ? Comment them below too. Like if you enjoyed, and share the knowledge with your friends, don’t worry it isn’t enough to make your brain a black hole. Happy Reading!
PS: The source of the example, and the thought is the book, The Hidden Reality. Yes I know I have posted quite many topics on this book, but it is amazing, not my fault! And don’t use it as an excuse for poor performance in exams, that’s not how it works.
-The Cosmogasmic Person