Deconstruction of Henry Stapp's Paris Talk
Henry Stapp's Paris Talk, May 21, 2001, in its entirety is at: http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/stappfiles.html
The first point is the new idea of "matter".
By this new idea of "matter" I mean the new idea of the "stuff" out of which the physical universe is made.
The properties of this stuff are radically different from the properties of matter postulated by Isaac Newton and his successors. The properties of "quantum matter" lie "mid-way" between those of classical matter and mind: "matter" has moved toward "mind".
I believe it is more correct to say that quantum matter is mid-way between classical matter and spirit, although by spirit I just mean the thought attribute as opposed to the extension attribute in Cartesian philosophy. This is a technical issue, but I believe it is a better terminology, as I will explain.
But how can that possibly be? It seems at first inconceivable that anything could lie between mind and classically conceived matter: the two seem too utterly different to be combined. Indeed, it was only with great difficulty that this new idea of the nature of the physical universe was hammered into the minds of physicists by the incessant beating of the empirical data.
The two aspects are joined as follows.
The classical-matter aspect arises from the fact that the quantum universe can be described as a cloud of "virtual" classical-type universes that evolves "almost always" in accordance with the Schroedinger equation. This equation is the quantum analog of Newton's equations of motion. Thus many features of the Newtonian idea of the universe are transferred to the quantum universe by the fact the latter is a cloud of "possibilities" for the former.
The classical world of matter is actuality, the classical world of spirit is reality, the quantum world of matter is potentiality, which can be conceived as possibility. As to what is cloud-like, I think it is potentiality, rather than possibility. Potentiality is like white light, while possibility is like infra-red and ultra-violet against a background of black, where the infra-red and ultra-violet represent the complementarity of conjugate variables.
Henry's metaphor of cloud-like possibilities seems to ignore complementarity and suggest a truly classical set of possibilities, which would not necessitate the real transcendence of the classical order that is in fact required. Henry does not seem to realize that when he talks about classical matter and classical spirit (which he calls classical mind), he is in the classical order of Cartesian philosophy, which is now, since quantum physics has displaced classical physics as a description of the physical world, meta-physical. Defining in that context quantum matter does not alter the fact that we are still in the classical order, originally defined by classical physics. The essence of quantum theory is that we must go beyond that classical order both in our objective understanding and in our thoughts and consciousness.
The mind-like features then enter through the cracks opened up by the words "virtual" and "almost always".
The word "virtual" signifies that the copies are not fully real: they are real only as "potentialities for an 'event' to occur".
What kind of Event?
A Psycho-Physical Event!
What is that?
It is the occurrence of a "Mental Event" that grasps a whole unit of structural information, and injects it into the quantum state of the universe.
Yes, and where is that? It is in the mental subworld of the meta-physical world, rather than in the physical subworld. The former is the quantum implicate order or the true Mind of the Observer, while the latter is the classical Observer and his internal objective reality. The point is that so far Henry's view seems completely solipsistic, existing only in the seventh or meta-physical world of the ontological system of worlds.
The quantum order that is immediately juxtaposed to the classical order is the quantum implicate order. With respect to the ontological system of worlds, the quantum implicate order and the quantum explicate order are structurally identical, except that one is the internal Mind of the Observer and the other is the external relationship of the Observer to the Observed as a noumenon in nature. The additional difference between them is that the quantum implicate order contains, in addition to the ontological system of worlds, all other systems of words, as well, while the quantum explicate order is limited to the ontological system of worlds, which expresses the parameters of observation and quantum measurement theory.
This injection is called by physicists "the reduction of the wave-packet", or "the collapse of the wave function." It converts the existing physical world of potentialities or possibilities to a new form that incorporates the newly grasped structural information.
This thumb-nail description is enough to reveal the huge difference between the classical and quantum descriptions of the universe: the former is in terms of LOCALIZED BITS OF "SUBSTANCE", whereas the latter is in terms of NONLOCALIZED BITS OF "INFORMATION", which are mentally grasped as wholes, and physically represented by changes in an evolving cloud of virtual classical universes.
Von Neumann's work associates each Psycho-Physical event with the mind/brain of an observer/participant, and ties the mental event of grasping a new bit of information to the brain event that incorporates that bit of information into the physical universe.
The Potentiality, which bridges classical matter and classical spirit, becomes in the quantum implicate order a Potential for an Actual Event, an I for an IT. The second Event is associated with a THOU and a THOUGHT, which is a circuit that links the mental world to the physical world via the transcendental oroboric world between the physical world and the meta-physical world. The circuit begins with the mental, reaches the physical via the transcendental, and then returns to the mental via the emotional. I must say that I see no explanation in Henry's presentations of why this THOUGHT should be a brain event.
There is, however, a rather arcane reason that the THOUGHT *should be* a brain event, and it is that the position representation, which Henry seems to employ, since he is considering the Wave Function in a noumenal sense, is basically a direct projection of the classical subject and the classical object contained within the classical order onto the lower worlds of the (in this case) quantum implicate order. The abstract "ego" of von Neumann is the classical Observer of last resort, which means that it is an essential psychic element of the classical order. It is just the part of the brain that must necessarily be described classically - you cannot push the cut further into the brain. And yet this abstract "ego" is specifically an element in the classical *subject*, which is projected onto the physical world to form the
This brain event "actualizes", or saves, precisely the "neural correlate" of the mental event, and eliminates from the cloud of virtual possibilities all contributions that are incompatible with the information grasped by the mental event. This reduction of the cloud of virtual possibilities constitutes a direct action of mind on matter.
Still, there is no obvious connection to the real noumenal physical world. It seems that all of this is going on in the classical order, as inclusive of the spirit, and the quantum implicate order. There seems to be no obvious reason that it involves anything explicate at all. Perhaps that is Henry's point, and perhaps it is indeed amazing, but one wonders how one shows the relation to the explicate order and the actually observed system itself, von Neumann's I. In other words, how is it that our experiences are coordinated to what really exists in nature? Is it just by virtue of the fact that the Mind *is* nature? Is there no distinction between the quantum implicate order of the Mind and the explicate order, which expresses a relationship of the Observer to the Observed noumenon in nature? If there is such a distinction, how is it implemented in Henry's theory?
One clue to an answer is the bewildering fact that Henry's stated philosophy is physicalist, which means that he believes everything is physical with mental and material-like attributes. And yet he has started here from an in fact meta-physical perspective by considering the classical order, wherein exist the classical Matter and classical Spirit (which he calls classical Mind). This is in fact the correct starting point for quantum theory according to both Bohr and Bohm, but it is in contradiction to a physicalist philosophy. We now know for certain that classical theory does NOT describe the physical world, and yet it is retained as an essential feature in the theory and in the metaphysical structure of our reality. It must therefore be regarded as describing something in a meta-physical world, quite distinct from the physical world. This is called by Pauli "the separation of subject and object" and by Heisenberg "the overall connection". The meta-physical classical world is subjective or spiritual and the physical quantum world is objective or material. This is the essential structure of observation and of quantum measurement theory.
So, Henry's philosophy, which has nothing to do with his theory, so far, seems to play the role of anchoring the experiential element he has described so far by his theory in the physical world. This is paradoxical and more than a bit confusing in that the physics so far is entirely meta-physical, while it is the philosophy that involves the physical. The physicalist perspective starts from bottom-up causation of the atomic (and sub-atomic) elements. It then requires some top-down causation to bring closure to the otherwise incomplete laws of the microcosm. This top-down causation must come from the large aggregates and the consciousness property of the large aggregates, which is presumably outside the domain governed by the Schrodinger Equation.
So, as I have stated before there is just an assumption at this point that the THOUGHT, in the quantum implicate order, is a COGITO, in the oroboric domain between the meta-physical world and the physical world, that implies an aggregate identity, SUM, in the physical world. COGITO ERGO SUM just means then that because I am having an experience in the meta-physical world it must correspond to something happening to my physical identity in the physical world. EGO, as in EGO SUM, is in this case just an expansion of von Neumann's abstract "ego" which has been projected along with the whole subject onto the physical world in the form of the
Another sense in which the explicate order may be implied by Stapp's theory is that it depends on coherent states of the electromagnetic field. Since he is using quantum field theoretic methods, that implies already an ontological perspective involving the explicate order. Actually, this is not so obvious, because the classical electromagnetic field, which now must be regarded as phenomenological and meta-physical, can probably be ontologized or quantized in a purely internal sense, connecting only to the quantum implicate order, which is the Mind of the Observer, and not necessarily to the quantum explicate order of the noumenon in nature.
Henry's approach so far, as we have deconstructed it, bypasses the phenomenal realm of posited or intentional reality, which means the intentional attempt to relate to an external noumenon in nature through its phenomenal appearance, and operates only through solipsistic and transcendental modes. To bring in the phenomenal reality, we must also consider, in addition to the COGITO ERGO SUM, the ESSE EST PERCIPI, which is the outer glance of the abstract "ego" through the psychic apparatus of ANIMA, SHADOW, and PERSONA. This involvement in the phenomenal object, in the fifth or phenomenal world, will involve the gravitational force rather than the electromagnetic force, and some mechanism like that of Penrose will take the place of the selection of coherent states, which Stapp employs.
In Stapp's solipsistic and transcendental approach, one relates to the external noumenon of the explicate order only from above. One is not in a position therefore to see the noumenon in relation to the higher orders of complexity which supervene upon it as a unified quantum system. The view from above would seem to be limited to the extensive continuum, which is essentially topological, as opposed to the spacetime continuum, which is metrical. It is paradoxical that Einstein objected to the ESSE EST PERCIPI character of quantum theory, but that is the very principle that not only involves gravity but may establish the connection of quantum theory to objective reality.
The phenomenal possibilities in their indeterminate state are called Apeiron and they are brought into actual determination, Peras, through Metron, or measure. Apeiron and Peras are in the lower and higher phenomenal world, respectively, while Metron is in the higher etheric world. So, the form of general relativity is in fact a way of unfolding the quantum explicate order.
In addition to this, the other questions I pose involve the two asymmetries:
1. the superficial one of saying classical Matter and classical Mind, instead of classical Matter and classical Spirit. In German, Geist can be translated either way, but in English, I think it is important to use the word Spirit here, and not Mind. This reserves Mind for the domain wherein exists Henry's Psycho-Physical event. This is obviously a quantum realm and not a classical realm, but it seems that it is the quantum implicate order in Henry's theory, which never does unfold into the quantum explicate order. At least, no mechanism is given for this unfolding.
2. the possibly more serious one of saying mental Actual Event and second Event as the collapse of the Wave Function, without specifying that the Potential Actual Event is symmetrized by the State Vector Substance and the extension of the I-IT to the I-THOU and the THOUGHT is symmetrized by the State Vector Reduction, accompanied in radically unified QFT by the breakdown of the State Vector into Destruction, Ideation, Reduction, Affection, and Creation Operators.
The question is, does the THOUGHT as the second Event merely realize the quantum object in a narrow range of its subjective possibilities, which would be the collapse of the Wave Function in the context of the position representation, or does it bring the quantum object as a noumenal reality into accord with the change in our knowledge of it, which would have to do with the State Vector Substance = Wisdom + Knowledge + Understanding as a self-reflective quantum object in relation to change itself (the Delta Operator) as the quantum subject? Henry Stapp has at times suggested this latter alternative, although in this Paris Talk, he expresses only the former.
The latter alternative is based on the ontological character of the State Vector as the thing-in-itself. Since the thing-in-itself is the thing-in-its-idea, it is mental, while the noumenon is physical. The State Vector is hence distinct from the noumenon, but when we talk about the change in the State Vector we indeed invoke the oneness of the thing-in-itself with the noumenon by regarding the State Vector Substance whose alteration we are considering *to be* the noumenal quantum object. This is an object that is not a projection of the classical object, which was Potentiality, but is the broader quantum object (Substance) considered in the narrow context of a physical noumenal quantum object. First we consider the change (Delta) in the *State Vector* Substance, as a quantum object, and then we bring the State Vector *Substance* into accord with the change (Delta) in our knowledge of it. The THOUGHT accomplishes this latter process.
The THOUGHT, as the second Event, cannot then be equivalent to the State Vector Reduction. We must have a clear order of progression from the State Vector Substance to the Potential Actual Event to the State Vector Reduction, which is the change (Delta) in the *State Vector* Substance, to the second Event, which brings the State Vector *Substance* into accord with the change (Delta) in our knowledge of it. Heisenberg in his book, "Physics and Philosophy" actually suggests that there is such an order of progression, although at the same time it all happens at once, as soon as there is interaction between the quantum system and the measuring device.
So, on the one hand, the State Vector Substance and the Potential Actual Event represent the interaction of the measuring device with the quantum system. The State Vector Substance is the action of the measuring device on the quantum system, while the Potential Actual Event is the back-action of the quantum system on the measuring device. This is a metastable condition and it spills over into the State Vector Reduction, on the one hand, and the second Event on the other hand, simultaneously. Hence, in this sense, the second Event is the collapse of the Wave Function, which is fully equivalent to the State Vector Reduction, and we are talking only about the position representation.
On the other hand, there is the orderly progression mentioned earlier. The second Event or THOUGHT is then involving non-classical elements. It is getting involved with the quantum reality itself and not just with the projected classical elements extraneous to the Mind of the Observer. Since all this is ostensibly taking place in the quantum implicate order, which is the Mind of the Observer, we can say that the Mind is having thoughts that involve the Mind itself and not the classical elements extraneous to the Mind. Even the Observer himself is such an extraneous element to his own Mind.
It is this latter kind of THOUGHT that is causally efficacious, and hence it is very important to distinguish between the all-at-once mode of presentational immediacy and the progressive mode of causal efficacy.