Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!



Deep Discussion II with Basil Hiley



Comments on Peter Mutnick 24/4/01

[Basil Hiley, prev.]
He did not 'discourage' it. He argued that it was not possible 'in principle'.

His exact quote is, "Even if such an attitude might seem well balanced in itself, it nevertheless implies a rejection of the whole argumentation exposed in the preceding, aiming to show that, in quantum mechanics, we are not dealing with an arbitrary renunciation of a more detailed analysis of atomic phenomena, but with a recognition that such an analysis is in principle excluded." From Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist. The Library of Living Philosophers, Evanston, Illinois, Vol. 7, p. 199.

[Peter, prev.]
Well, a more detailed analysis in the old classical terms may not be possible, but a more detailed analysis in terms of some other new and previously unknown parameters may be possible. I think Bohr was only talking here about attempts to return to the Newtonian-type clock-like determinism, which just runs itself out irrespective of the experiences of organisms (observers).

[Basil]
This is not the way I read Bohr. It is certainly true that you often see statements like "...observations regarding the behaviour of atomic objects obtained with different experimental arrangements cannot in general be combined in the usual way of classical physics." (Bohr p. 19, "Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge.")

But Heisenberg is much more explicit. He writes, "We must keep in mind this limited range of applicability of the classical concepts while using them, but we cannot and should not try to improve them." (Physics and Philosophy, p. 46)

But in another essay he develops the theme "...the very word experiment refers to a situation where we can tell others what we have done and what we have learned. However the fundamental difference with respect to the analysis of the phenomena in classical and quantum physics is that in the former interaction between objects and the measuring instruments may be neglected or compensated for, while in the latter this interaction forms an integral part of the phenomena. The essential wholeness of a proper quantum phenomenon finds indeed logical expression in the circumstances that any attempt at its well defined subdivision would require a change in the experimental arrangement incompatible with the appearance of the phenomenon itself." (p. 72 ibid)

For Bohr "...it is more appropriate to use the word 'phenomenon' to refer to observations obtained under circumstances whose description includes an account of the whole experimental arrangement." (p. 73 ibid)

This is why he concludes "...we are not dealing with an arbitrary renunciation of a more detailed analysis of atomic phenomena, but with a recognition that such an analysis is in principle excluded."

I take these together to mean not only does he rule out 'Newtonian-type clock-like determinism' but ANY form of analysis.

[Niels Bohr]
"At this occasion I shall, therefore, only remind of the new lesson regarding our position as observers of natural phenomena, which the development of atomic physics has impressed upon us, and point to the bearing of this lesson on our attitude to fundamental problems in biological and medical sciences.

"This development originates from PLANCK'S epoch-making discovery of the elementary quantum of action which disclosed an unsuspected limitation of the ideas of natural philosophy relied upon since the birth of science. In fact, we have learned that the accustomed pictorial representation of physical events applies only to phenomena in the analysis of which all actions involved are large compared with the individual quantum. In elementary atomic processes, however, we meet with a novel feature of wholeness which even prevents unambiguous separation between the behaviour of the objects under investigation and their interaction with the measuring instruments necessary for the fixation of the circumstances under which the phenomena appear.

"In this situation, it is not surprising that atomic phenomena, observed under different experimental conditions, cannot be combined in a single picture and, at first sight, may even appear as contrasting with each other. Still, such phenomena represent equally important parts of the accessible evidence regarding the objects and are therefore adequately referred to as complementary. FAR FROM IMPLYING ANY ARBITRARY RENUNCIATION ON DETAILED ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL PHENOMENA, THIS VIEWPOINT OF COMPLEMENTARITY REPRESENTS A WIDER FRAME FOR THE DESCRIPTION, ALLOWING US TO EMBRACE REGULARITIES BEYOND THE SCOPE OF ORDINARY PHYSICAL EXPLANATION." (Niels Bohr, "Address at the Opening Ceremony: Seventh International Congress of Radiology", 1954, in TPWNB, Volume IV, p. 162) [Caps mine]

[Peter Mutnick]
Need I say more? This covers all the bases. It shows that by renunciation of visualization is meant only reduction to a "single picture", not the holding in the mind of complementary pictures. The latter is enabled, not disabled, by the new philosophy of complementarity. Moreover, a whole new type of thinking is involved that will open new vistas, beyond the limits of previous physical theory. I believe these vistas are metaphysical and lead to the integration of physics with the subject matter of phenomenological philosophy, including its epistemological and ontological dimensions.

[Basil]
All of this is Bohr. In my last e-mail I gave a partial quote of Heisenberg concerning the 2x2=5. What I did not add was the following bit of the quote.

"For it would not be fundamentally unimaginable that, for example, a future extension of mathematical logic might give a certain meaning to the statement that in exceptional cases 2 x 2 = 5, and it might even be possible that this extended mathematics would be of use in calculations in the field of economics. We are nevertheless actually convinced, even without cogent logical grounds, that such changes in mathematics would be of no help to us financially."

If you interpret that as a metaphor then it seems to be telling us that they (WH and NB) are "convinced" that even trying to look for non-classical type of pictures is doomed to failure.

[Peter]
No, I think they are talking about something very specific here. What they reject is the notion that the probabilistic character of quantum theory, as revealed in the the Born interpretation, will somehow be subsumed in the new quantum potential that projects this character onto an objectively real system in nature. This is also what Henry Stapp dislikes about the Bohm theory. Probability in physics has always meant the ignorance of the observer vis-a-vis the causal determinants of the system under observation. In quantum theory this ignorance is unavoidable, due to the very restrictions on knowledge in relation to being at the very microcosmic level, but the founders of quantum theory saw no reason to suppose that the source of the probability was any different in character than in the classical case. It is still presumed to be a property of the observer in relation to the observed, not of the observed in itself.

What the Bohm theory apparently says is that the ignorance of the observer not only exerts a force on the observed, but it does so unconditionally, in a way that has nothing to do with any volition or action on the part of the observer or his extensions in measuring devices. Still, why could Pauli not regard this as a manifestation of the collective unconscious? Possibly because Bohm never framed it in those terms, but always implied he was circumventing subjectivity altogether. The founders did not want to go back to an alienating subject-negating conception of objective reality.

[Basil]
Let's move on to the Bohm causal approach and see if it helps. First note that because the quantum potential carries the information about the experimental arrangement we see exactly why the behaviour changes. So once again looking at the quantum formalism as we suggest, we see once again that we have a mathematical expression of what Bohr was saying in words. Yes the phenomenon does change when the experimental conditions change. This change does not result through interaction using classical potentials alone. There is an additional quality of energy, the quantum potential that carries information about the experimental arrangement.

I take this as demonstrating not that you cannot analyse, but the analysis is necessarily non-classical. Heisenberg dismisses all talk of the quantum potential because it is ad hoc (as do most Bohmians!). But it is not ad hoc. It emerges right out of the Schrodinger eqn. and takes some of the mystery out of Bohr's words. But of course it leaves another mystery, what is the reason for the appearance of this potential. Please read quant-ph/0005026 for my latest take on all this.

[Peter]
I have looked at your paper, but I don't see how you are explaining in a fundamental way the quantum potential. Just because it comes out of a manipulation of the mathematical algorithm, as Bohr would say, does not reveal anything about its meaning or reality. Perhaps you are suggesting that it comes out of a representation-free causal matrix, having to do with an interaction of the various levels of the observational situation and existing in the causal world as an immediate extension of the implicate order. In other words, you are suggesting that the 'potentia' character of the quantum system is expressed by the quantum potential, but this exists primarily as a causal structure rather close to the phenomenal reality of the actual observer, which means also close to the implicate order, since our actual experience according to Bohm is in terms of the implicate order.

[Basil]
Bohm was not an 'adherent of the Copenhagen Interpretation'. Although Bohm and Bohr did meet on one occasion, it did not go well.

[Peter, prev.]
I am basing my statement mostly on Bohm's textbook, "Quantum Theory", which clearly endorses the Copenhagen Interpretation, and also later statements interspersed throughout books like "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", which indicate his ongoing endorsement. I could dig them up for you, if you insist, but I have already quoted them many times. Could you tell us more about this meeting with Bohr?

[Basil]
I only have a vague recollection of what Bohm told me. Bohm was trying to explain his ideas and Bohm got the feeling he was not really paying attention. He kept lighting his pipe the way pipe smokers do. Then at one stage he dropped the matches all over the floor! He started to pick them up. This upset Bohm and as far as he was concerned it was the end of the discussion. I tried to press Bohm on the substance of the discussion, but it was not forthcoming. Bohm simply replied that they failed to communicate and we left it like that.

[Peter]
Oh, but don't you see the lesson in this? Bohr used to demonstrate a lesson with his cane. He would hold it either loosely or tightly, thus demonstrating that a measuring device might to a certain extent be regarded either as part of the quantum object or as part of the observer. In the case of Bohm's theory, Bohr feels that the observer has lost control completely - the very probabilistic viewpoint of the observer has been given over to the objective reality in nature, in the form of the quantum potential. This was actually a very sincere reaction, and it is a shame that Bohm took it the way he did.

[Peter, prev.]
The Copenhagen Interpretation, in my view, was ontological in the true modern sense of the word, but it did not comprehend the phenomenological realm which pertains to the essential nature of consciousness itself. That is coming into play only now, with the new programs of consciousness studies, such as the one at the University of Arizona. Actually, the take-off seems to be a little rough, and I am not sure the programs are really going to take advantage of the phenomenological foundation laid by Descartes, Husserl, and the successors to Husserl. If not, at least they have raised the problem. I have the solution. :-)

[Basil]
In his essay "The Unity of Knowledge" (1954) Bohr did discuss the role of 'consciousness' (Bohr uses the term 'psychical experiences') and argued that it had no role to play in the description of 'atomic physics'. In the same essay he goes on to discuss whether QT will play a role in our understanding of life and our psychical experiences. His answer is 'no'. "Although the results of atomic physics have found a multitude of applications in biophysics and biochemistry, the closed individual quantum phenomena exhibit, of course, no feature suggesting the nature of life."

Heisenberg also does not need 'consciousness' although he does talk about 'a subjective element in the description of atomic events.' However careful reading of Chapter 3 in his "Physics and Philosophy" shows that the atomic 'happening' is not 'subjective'.

Henry Stapp is very clear on this in the last chapter of his book "Mind, Matter and Quantum Physics." He calls the Copenhagen interpretation 'a half-way house'.

[Niels Bohr]
"A clear example of psychological situations of mutually exclusive character we meet in the problem of free will, which through the ages has given rise to eager debate. The decisive point is here the recognition that a state of consciousness, in the description of which words like "I will" find application, is complementary to a state where we are concerned with analysis of motives for our actions. It is on this background that we may speak in a rational manner about volition as an indispensable element in any attempt at an exhaustive description of consciousness." (Niels Bohr, "Medical Research and Natural Philosophy", 1951, in TPWNB, Volume IV, p. 153-4)

"Moreover, the problem of free will, so pertinent in the philosophy of religions, has received a new background by the recognition, in modern psychology, of the frustration of attempts to order experience regarding our own consciousness as a causal chain of events, originally suggested by the mechanical conception of nature.

"Actually, ordinary language by its use of such words as thoughts and sentiments, admits typical complementary relations between conscious experiences implying a different placing of the section line between the observing subject and object on which attention is focussed. We are here presented with a close analogy to the relationship between atomic phenomena appearing under different experimental conditions and described by different physical concepts, according to the role played by the measuring instruments. In fact, the varying separation line between subject and object, characteristic of different conscious experiences, is the clue to the consistent logical use of such contrasting notions as will, conscience and aspirations, each referring to equally important aspects of human personality." (Niels Bohr, "Physical Science and the Study of Religions", 1953, in TPWNB, Volume IV, pp. 159-60)

[Peter]
This doesn't sound like "a half-way house" to me. This sounds like the deep approach, beginning with an analysis of the archetype of subject and object, that I know and love so well. It is the mystery school of Maitreya.

[Peter, prev.]
Your rooms were opposite - perhaps you [and Bohm] were opposites. :-)

[Basil]
There were differences, significant differences, social and cultural. But then you would expect that from two people with totally different backgrounds. One grew up in a mining town Pennsylvania and the other on the maidans of the Punjab and the kuds of the Himalayan foothills!

[Peter, prev.] Seriously, I did not mean to insult you, but my point was that Bohm seemed ready to go deeper into a new archetypal model of what reality might be, one that I believe I am channeling from Maitreya, for whom Krishnamurti was the forerunner and who has now come and is living in the Hindu/Muslim slums of London - you might have seen Him standing on a street corner - a tall man with turban.

[Basil]
I do not know where "the Hindu/Muslim slums of London" are.

[Peter]
Neither do I. :-(

[Peter, prev.]
The Bohmians and perhaps yourself to some degree seem to me highly resistant to this new archetypal model of reality, which is the correct way to *picture* what is really happening. This fits with my recollection, that you did not in general see the relevance to physics. I feel that there is such a relevance, because Krishnamurti is functioning on the archetypal level that has to do with this new vision of reality that I am talking about. He was trying to convey in many subtle ways the new vision and experience of archetypal reality.

[Basil]
It is not a 'new' vision of reality. It has its roots in a very old and venerated tradition of which Schrodinger was very aware. I grew up with a cacophony of new visions from the same traditions. I encountered sadhus galore, poonghies, lamas on their way from Tibet to Dharmsala, all with very deep and sincere visions of reality. I saw the religious, cultural and social consequences of these visions at first hand. Perhaps I am 'too' familiar with the traditions that I cannot see the wood from the trees.

But please do not get me wrong. I am not rejecting their insights into the deep problems of the world in which we live. They bring insights into the way man thinks about Nature that are as equally as suggestive as those from the Judeo-Christian traditions.

[Peter]
No, you are getting me wrong. I am NOT talking about your run of the mill sadhu. I am talking about the Cosmic Christ, the Guru and Father of Jesus Christ. What is new about it is that Maitreya is Himself a cosmic religious event of the highest order. He is about to become a fully enlightened Buddha, which happens only once or twice every five thousand years. A Buddha is not just an individual, but has transcended so completely his own individuality in working for others that He is literally One with all sentient beings. His enlightenment is our enlightenment, if we will but accept it.

[Basil, concerning closeness with Bohm]
I know I was asking for trouble with my claim; that is why I added the rider 'as exactly as anyone can be of another's point of view'. Even that sounds too strong on reflection. All I wanted to do was to put on record that Bohm and I had endless discussions across a whole range of topics and we probed the very deep questions together. I saw the way his ideas developed and I saw the struggle to "get it straight". I saw the false trails. I saw the hopes for the future trails. I saw many ideas germinating, ideas that were never written down. I was very honoured to be party to these insights. I think that puts me in rather unique position to make comments on historic facts. So much so that when someone claims Bohm was coming from a particular direction which is clearly articulated then I am in a unique position to offer an opinion as to whether it was in line with Bohm's thinking or not.

[Peter, prev.]
Where I am coming from is that I have from an early age sacrificed my career as a physicist to pursue single-mindedly the revelation that I was getting from an out-of-body enlightenment experience of absolute or pure consciousness. It is even harder to try to translate mystical notions into the language of modern science when you have suspended (put in phenomenological brackets) the methods of modern science. What I have going for me, however, is that I have a very developed vision of what the mystical reality is. I would like to cooperate with well-trained physicists in translating this vision into a new theory of physics.

[Basil]
If there is anything that I have learned in my life it is that if you want a particular thing done you have to do it yourself.

[Peter]
Well, I think there is something to be said for the notion that a really major advance cannot be accomplished by the individual - it requires a collaborative effort, where individuality is submerged in a common goal greater than the individual. Where is that Jack the Baptist?

======================================================================
b.hiley@bbk.ac.uk

Theoretical Physics Research Unit
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX

Telephone Direct (44) 020 7631 6347
www.bbk.ac.uk/tpru/RecentPublications/
======================================================================

Later Discussion:

[Basil]
Again I do not know what is troubling you. Sorry.

[Peter]
What is troubling me is that I see very clearly that the classical potential does not act on the "particle" (or even on the same "part" of the "particle") in the same way as does the quantum potential.

So, when you treat Q and V on the same footing, that does not seem correct or accurate to me. V is a different kind of beast from Q.

[Basil]
I have tried to make it clear in all my writings that we do NOT put Q and V on the same footing. Q is TOTALLY unlike V. As you say "V is a different kind of beast from Q".

[Peter, now]
Yes, but how does that manifest in your treatment? What I am suggesting is that Q and V act on different metaphysical bodies of the particle. Thus only Q acts on the noumenal physical body, while V acts on either the emotional body (in the x-rep) or the meta-physical body (in the p-rep) of the particle. In my system, reality is a complicated construct derived from the interpenetration of at least seven worlds spanning the spectrum from quantum to classical. There is a binding problem for the particle, insofar as its different bodies, which may express different kinematical properties, must be synthetically bound into a unified entity. Just as Bohm decomposed the wave, Psi, into R and S parts, expressing as quantum potential and phase, so the particle must also be decomposed into acceleration and velocity parts. The *assumption* of an inherently unified particle is what is false. The position part is what remains to be actualized by a position measurement, which is the preferred basis, according to John Bell. This occurs, however, in one of the nomological systems of worlds (one is for particles, the other is for fields), rather than in the ontological system of worlds. The de Broglie/Bohm postulate is that there is a transformed physical body, existing really in the higher worlds (between the etheric and the mental, between the acceleration and the velocity aspects of the particle). On this occult level, the particle aspects bind together into a unified entity, having actual existence.

[Peter]
The fact that it (V) is easily transformable into the momentum representation in the conventional way, while Q is not (at least according to Bohm), should be a clue.

[Basil]
But we have written down Q in the momentum representation. Have you not had a chance to read quant-ph/0005026 yet? You will see there exactly what role Q is playing.

[Peter, now]
First of all, Bohm does not say exactly what you say he says. You say: "Bohm replied agreeing that a new causal interpretation could possibly arise..." What he actually says is: "In the momentum representation, the potential energy, e^2/r, takes the form of an integral operator which cannot be expressed as a convergent series of the operators, x_i = ihbar d/dp. As a result, when the wave function is expressed as a product, Re^iS/hbar, it does not seem to be possible to obtain the equivalent Hamilton-Jacobi equation for S, and the conservation equation for R^2.... A new causal interpretation could come from such a procedure *only if*... [what you say]. *But* such a linear transformation does *not* seem even in the simplest cases to lead to an acceptable causal interpretation [for the reason given above]. It would appear, therefore, that a causal interpretation of the quantum theory can be obtained *only if* we use the space-time representation of the wave function as a basis." I don't see where you have given a direct counter-argument to Bohm's argument here.

Secondly, you admit that the second guidance condition, grad S = p, does not generalize to the p-rep. Why does the first guidance condition, -grad Q = dp/dt, generalize, either? All you seem to claim is that the equation for the probability current, dx/dt = j(x)/P(x) -> dp/dt = j(p)/P(p). Just writing down a form that looks like a quantum potential does not mean that it is a quantum potential, does it? I mean, it would have to act in a very different way, correct?

[Peter]
My vision tells me that the "particle", like ourselves, is not a metaphysically simple entity - it exists on many levels of reality.

[Basil]
That is what we have being trying to get across for ages now although we have a different take on this from you. (See quant-ph/0010020). Unfortunately we have not been helped by some of our 'friends' who have been seduced by the apparent simplicity of the acceleration equation.

[Peter, now]
Would it be too much to ask for you to clarify in plain English what your new vision of the particle is? I have tried to convey mine.

Basil Hiley.

======================================================================
b.hiley@bbk.ac.uk

Theoretical Physics Research Unit
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX

Telephone Direct (44) 020 7631 6347
www.bbk.ac.uk/tpru/RecentPublications/
======================================================================



Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000


Home