What it is, man?



There were three links on the chain and every link was a form corresponding to the name of Jesus:

Universal Father = Universal State Vector;
Infinite Son of Man = <bra|ket> = the Universal State Vector transformed into an Atomic State Vector and unfolded into an appropriate representation (which turns out to always be the Local Position Representation);
Eternal Spirit = Density Matrix.

An Atomic Element = pure being contracted to a point = a holographic image of the Mind of the Observer as the subjective implicate order transformed into an objective implicate order and described by the Atomic State Vector as a |ket>.

Now, the Atomic Element is not exhausted by its unfolding into the Real Element described by the Local Position Representation - the whole, holographically contained in the part, is ejected and becomes the State of the World in search of a representation.

It chooses, as its natural representation, its own relation to the part of itself that *was* previously unfolded into its appropriate representation. The ejected part, the part that was previously unfolded, and the emergent basis for the synthesis of the two are the three fully unfolded parts of the Atomic Element.

The new <bra| and |ket> that represent empirical or phenomenal Nature are Body and World, respectively, as elements of the the Body-World Schema, which encodes both of its dipolar elements in the quantum Brain as a mental world entity.

It is within the Body that the natural representation for the State of the World is established as the basis for the reconstruction of the quantum description which constitutes the noumenal reality of the thing-in-itself within the phenomenal experience of the Observer as an Organism.

The State of this reconstructed noumenal reality simultaneously describes the phenomenal representation of the noumenal reality, and it has its actualization in the World, even as the State of the World has its actualization in the natural representation established within the Body.

These wild speculations were inspired by the following attempt of Henry Stapp to begin to fathom the real relations implied by quantum theory from the more conventional starting point:


[Henry Stapp, from his webpage]

4. THE OBSERVER.

From the time of Newton to the beginning of the twentieth century science relegated consciousness to the status of passive viewer: our thoughts were excluded from the action. The decisive move of the founders of quantum mechanics was to recognize that "in the drama of existence we ourselves are both actors and spectators." [Bohr, Essays 1958/1962 on Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge]. After two hundred years neglect our thoughts were suddenly thrust into the limelight This was an astonishing reversal of precedent because the successes of the prior physics had been deemed due in large measure to the policy of keeping idea-like qualities out.

What sort of calamity could have forced scientists to this wholesale revision of their idea of the role of mind in Nature. The answer in brief is "quantum jumps!''. These events are sudden shifts in the size, shape, and structure of a physical system. At one moment the form as represented in our theory extends over miles, but an instant later it is reduced to the size of a speck. How can we understand such precipitous leaps in our mathematical description of the physical world? The resolution proposed by Heisenberg, Bohr, Pauli, and the other founders of quantum theory was a bold one: bring our thoughts, unshackled, into the dynamical Interplay.

Einstein described a simple example that displays the shocking character of these quantum jumps. Suppose a radioactive atom is placed in a detecting device that responds to the decay of this atom by sending an electrical pulse to a graphical recording instrument that draws a line on a moving scroll. A blip in this line will indicate the time at which the electrical signal arrives. Next, suppose some scientists are observing the instrument and reporting to each other where the blip is located on the scroll. What we know is that these observers will more or less agree amongst themselves as to the position of the blip. But quantum theory has stringent laws that governs in principle the behavior of all physical systems. If one applies these rules to the entire system under consideration here, which consists of the radioactive atom, the detecting device, the electrical pulse, the graphical recording instrument, the bodies and brains of the human observers, and all other physical systems that interact with them, then one arrives at a contradiction. What we know is that the blip seen by the observers occurs at a fairly definite location. But according to the equations the full physical system will be a smeared out blur encompassing equally all of the alternative possible locations of the blip. In particular, for each one of the infinity of possible locations of the blip on the scroll there will be an entire world in which all of the observers report seeing the blip occurring at that particular location. Thus the rule that governs the behavior matter generates a whole continuum of possible worlds of the kind that appear in our streams of conscious experiences. The empirical world of experienced facts is just one tiny slice of the full world generated by the mathematical equations of quantum theory.

This clash, which lies at the heart of quantum theory, is a discord between the two disjoint parts of science, the theoretical and the empirical: it is a contradiction between theory and fact. These two components of science are extremely different in character. Each fact comes as a chunk of somebody's experience. But these chunks are related to each other. At one moment you see a chair, then look away. Upon looking back you see a chair that resembles the one you saw before. You were alone in the room, hence no human experience bridged the gap. Yet the two experiences are obviously linked.

To explain the connections between the disjoint empirical facts we concoct theories. We create ideas about persisting realities exist even when no one is watching them, and that bind the fragments of our consciousness together That is just what our physical theories do. As Niels Bohr puts it: "The task of science is both to extend the range of our experience and reduce it to order.'' . [N. Bohr. Atomic Physics and Human knowledge, p.1]

Contemporary science teaches us that this enduring structure is composed of atomic particles and physical fields. Laws governing the behavior of that physical reality were proposed by Isaac Newton James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein. Those "classical" laws work well in cases where the detailed nature of the elementary parts is unimportant, but fail absolutely in other cases. Specifically, they fail in cases where the "quantum of action" discovered and measured by Max Planck in 1900 becomes important. This quantity, called Planck's constant, enters into Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which says that atomic particles can never reveal themselves to be the tiny moving objects that they had been imagined to be since the time of Isaac Newton. Nor is there any reason to believe that tiny objects exist at all. Each "particle", insofar as we can ever know it, must be pictured as a cloud-like structure that has a strong proclivity to spread out over ever-larger regions.

The important and amazing thing is that the older classical laws, built on the notion of miniscule objects, become automatically converted into unique new quantum laws when the value measured by Planck is consistently introduced. This "quantization" procedure automatically converts the notion of a particle as a minute point-like structure into the notion of a "particle" as an extended cloud-like structure. Physicists had imagined for more than two hundred years that nature was made up, in part, out of entities resembling miniature planets, but Nature herself apparently has an altogether different sort of constitution.

These unique quantum laws make predictions that are accurate to as much as one part in a hundred million, and they correctly describe various features of the behavior of systems of billions of particles. But Einstein's example shows that this quantum law also generates physical states that are totally at odds with our actual experiences.

You might think that this huge disparity between the mathematical theory and the empirical facts would render the theory false and useless. However, the creators of quantum theory found that all of the successes of classical physics and a great deal more could be explained, without any contradiction ever arising, by the adopting the following rule: assume that the natural quantum laws do indeed hold, but if they lead to a physical state that disagrees with your empirical observation then simply discard the part disagrees, and keep the rest. This sudden resetting of the physical state is the "quantum jump." By itself it would yield nothing. But it is accompanied by a statistical law that produces all of the wondrous results.

You, like all of us, are continually creating, on the basis of the best information and ideas available to you a theoretical image of the physical world around you: you have an idea about the status all sorts of things that you are not currently experiencing. But every time you gain more information you revise that picture to fit the new facts. Quantum theory instructs the scientist to do the same. That simple rule, together with its statistical partner, generate incredibly accurate predictions, every successful result of the earlier classical physics, and all of the thousands of successes of quantum theory where classical physics fails. These impressive results are achieved by simply allowing the beautiful, internally consistent, and unique natural generalization of the old classical laws to hold whenever we are not observing a physical system, but incorporating promptly any knowledge we acquire. This close connection to what we know underlies Heisenberg's assertion that the quantum mathematics ``represents no longer the behavior particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior."

The shocker, however, is that Bohr and the other founders have argued persuasively that no other description can be more complete, in the scientific sense of telling us more about relationships between human experiences. Thus this fantastically coherent generalization of the older laws seem to generate everything that is knowable about reality: any attempt to add something more may please some philosophers, but it carries us outside of science.

Those arguments make plausible the conclusion that there simply is no classical-type or quasi-classical-type reality lying behind our thoughts, and that searching for one is a futile endeavor. The presumption that such a reality exists is therefore a gross philosophical blunder. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that rationally supports the notion that there is a physical reality out there that is better defined than what quantum theory allows. Assuming that such a quasi-classical type reality exists is not justified by the scientific evidence, and is likely to produce a conception of reality, and of human beings, that is fundamentally incorrect.

Let us, however, be clear about one thing. Although quantum theory is built upon human experience, it does not assert that thought is the only reality, and matter naught but an invention of mind. The founders did not espouse the philosophy of idealism. Their position was the more conservative one that science is about what we can know, and that our theories must be judged not by concordance with intuition, but rather by rational coherence and capacity to order the empirical facts. This view liberates theoretical creativity: it allows science, unfettered by prejudice, to build its idea of reality upon empirical evidence, rather than on antiquated categories and concepts.

This philosophical retrenching did not satisfy everyone, Einstein and Schroedinger being the most notable hold-outs, but it did allow the scientists who accepted it to get on with the business of developing, testing, and using this immensely successful practical formulation of the theory.

Quantum theory brings your consciousness into physics in two distinctly different ways. The first is as a passive stream of conscious thoughts that constitutes a growing reservoir of knowledge: each waking moment adds something new to what you knew before. The second is as an active agent endowed with a free will that can influence both how your body moves and how your thoughts unfold. It is this second role that makes you a moral creature. But to understand yourself as active participant you must first appreciate yourself as an expanding collection of knowings.

"The observer" as understood in the original "Copenhagen" formulation of quantum theory differs from what one would normally mean by this term.. For one thing, it involves an extension of the human observer outside his physical body. Bohr mentioned several times the example of a man with a cane: if he holds the cane loosely he feels himself to extend only to his hand. But if he holds the cane firmly then the outer world seems to begin at the tip of his probing cane.

In analogy, the quantum "observer" is considered to include not only the human experimenter himself, but also the measuring devices that he uses to probe what is outside his extended self Thus the world is imagined to be cleaved into two parts, which are described in different ways. The outer "observed system" is described in terms of the quantum laws, whereas the inner "observing system'' is described as a collection of empirical (i.e., phenomenal or experiential) facts. This way of dividing the world reflects the point, stressed already above, that quantum physics --- like all of science --- rests on two disparate kinds of descriptions, the first being of conscious experiences that we can record, remember, and communicate to our colleagues, and which form the empirical database, and the second being of a theoretical structure that we have invented for the purpose of extending the range of our experience and reducing it to order.

Copenhagen quantum theory regards the measuring instruments as part of the observer because these devices are described not in terms of their atomic constituents but rather in terms of our conscious knowings. Bohr repeatedly points to this key feature of quantum theory, in statements such as:

"The decisive point is that the description of the experimental arrangement and the recording of the observations must be given in plain language, suitably refined by the usual terminology. This is a simple logical demand, since by the word `experiment' we can only mean a procedure regarding which we are able to communicate to others what we have done and what we have learnt." (Essays 1958/1962.p.3)

You might think that since the key realities in quantum physics are descriptions of experiences pertaining to measuring instruments we ought to eliminate the observer altogether and consider instead the devices themselves, regarded as objectively existing realities, and dispense with all the mumbo jumbo about observers. But then the quantum jumps, which are now neatly placed at the interface between the two parts of science --- which must always be linked by some sort of rule --- get shifted into the physical world, which is supposed to be enduring and stable. Such a move would bring in a host of questions as to how, when, and why the natural quantum generalization of the classical laws of physics should fail in the physical world. The most simple, natural, and parsimonious assumption is to retain the physical laws in the entire physical universe, but rescind the banishment of mind from the workings of nature.



Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000


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