THE BRIEFEST CHAPTER
OF THE BRIEFER COURSE
[William James, "Psychology", Chapter 14, p. 237-9]
All consciousness is motor. The reader will not have forgotten, in the jungle of purely inward processes and products through which the last chapters have borne him, that the final result of them all must be some form of bodily activity due to the escape of central excitement through outgoing nerves. The whole neural organism, it will be remembered, is, physiologically considered, but a machine for converting stimuli into reactions; and the intellectual part of our life is knit up with but the middle or 'central' part of the machine's operations. We now go on to consider the final or emergent operations, the bodily activities, and the forms of consciousness consequent thereupon.
"Purely inward processes" are phenomenal. They do not occur in the noumenal worlds of the quantum reality, von Neumann's extended I - mental, emotional, and physical worlds - but rather in the higher phenomenal worlds of the meta-physical classical observer and its phenomenal object, von Neumann's extended III - meta-physical, causal, and phenomenal worlds. The noumenon itself is physical, and the *noumenal* description, which is a thing-in-itself (or thing-in-its-idea) according to Max Born, is in the mental and emotional worlds.
The neural organism refers especially to the quantum brain, and the neurons thereof, which constitute the neural correlates of consciousness. This is likened to a machine - it works according to noumenal (more or less physical) laws. If one does not see beyond the mental and physical noumenal world, the world of earth and sky, then one has reduced man to a machine and denied the real experience and consciousness of man.
Von Neumann's Princeton interpretation is based on a physical reduction according to the principle of the psycho-physical parallelism, while Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation is based on a phenomenal reduction, involving the reconstruction of the noumenal reality within the phenomenal experience of the observer. Even the quantum reality *as we actually know it* is and can only be this internal reconstruction of noumenal reality. The actual world of nature, according to the Princeton interpretation of von Neumann and Einstein, is entirely an inference, knowable only as an abstraction that is a free creation of the human mind.
Henry Stapp has claimed for some time now to have a theory of human experience based on von Neumann's approach. I frankly view this as an extreme example of the intense confusion known as the quantum muddle. The correct approach, IMHO, is to acknowledge two distinct realms, the noumenal realm of nature and the phenomenal realm of human experience and consciousness, as James clearly does in the above quote and throughout his work. It is possible to reduce everything to either - von Neumann reduced to the noumenal, Bohr reduced to the phenomenal. However, it is not possible, upon reduction, to account fully for the other realm. You cannot use von Neumann's noumenal (physical) reduction to explain human experience, any more than you can use Bohr's phenomenal reduction to explain what really happens in nature, although it is Bohr who had the more comprehensive vision, and that is why all the other founders consented to his unquestioned leadership.
There is a reason that Bohr was more comprehensive, which has to do with the phenomenological reduction, where the noumenon actually becomes the internal foundation for the transcendental ego, rather than an external foundation in nature. However, by this very process, the noumenal description of von Neumann, spawned in the ontological context, where it is physical, could be transported into the realm of the transcendental noumenon in the phenomenological system of worlds. Indeed, von Neumann's idea of the state vector reduction, his process 1, seems to involve consciousness and the phenomenal realm, as Wigner claimed, even as Bohr's idea of the "closure" of the experiment seems to be a Gestalt concept that involves the noumenal realm. So, the two interpretations are limits or others to each other, which of course they are, metaphysically speaking.
There is in fact a great deal of confusion about what the difference is *in practice* between von Neumann's interpretation and Bohr's interpretation. It would seem likely that the mathematics employed by von Neumann are uniquely applicable to his philosophical approach, and it is not so clear what the mathematics that would be uniquely applicable to Bohr's approach even are, since to my knowledge no one has ever written a "Grundlagen" from Bohr's point of view. This would seem to be a research project of almost infinite potential. It has not been done only because no one has hitherto been able to understand what Bohr was talking about. I hope my recent efforts help to shed some light on that subject.
[William James, cont.]
...Using sweeping terms and ignoring exceptions, *we might say that every possible feeling produces a movement, and that the movement is a movement of the entire organism, and of each and all of its parts*.
What is this but Bohm's holomovement in the context of the first-person case?
[William James, cont.]
...In short, *a process set up anywhere in the centres reverberates everywhere, and in some way or other affects the organism throughout, making its activities either greater or less*. It is as if the nerve-central mass were like a good conductor charged with electricity, of which the tension cannot be changed at all without changing it everywhere at once.
Considering that the "neural organism" is a noumenal reality, it is a quantum reality, according to our new quantum theory of nature. This process James is describing here, when viewed in that way, would seem to be a good description of the *non-local* "state vector reduction".
Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000