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Stapp Begins To Explain His Theory, ...
But There Seems To Be a Problem



From: "Peter Mutnick"
To: hpstapp@lbl.gov
CC: hpd@mppmu.mpg.de, c.isham@imperial.ac.uk, schu@stanford.edu
Subject: Re: Your novel use of the quantum formalism
Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 21:02:13 -0800

From: stapp@thsrv.lbl.gov Reply-To: hpstapp@lbl.gov
To: Peter Mutnick
Subject: Re: Your novel use of the quantum formalism
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 09:00:23 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 4 Feb 2004, Peter Mutnick wrote:

> Dear Professor Stapp,
>
> Based on what you explained to me yesterday, I have come to the conclusion
> that you really are saying something new, which no major physicists has
> emphasized or even stated, namely that the quantum formalism can be used for
> another purpose than external observation based on laboratory experiments.
> It can be used as well to explain human activity and actions and free will.

[Stapp]
I have been strongly emphasizing this point in my writings for many years now. That is exactly the point of all my emphasisis on von Neumann's process 1 and how it allows us to control our bodily actions.

[Mutnick]
The decisive point, however, is the distinction between reduction to a state that is an observable and a state that is a doable, as distinct from either an observable or a beable. That is what makes what you say reasonable - otherwise it is not, imho, and it is no more than an attempt at sleight-of-hand based on a deceptive manipulation of the formalism. The truth is plain - only operators that are Hermitian and have real eigenvalues can be observables. Your coherent states are eigenvectors of the destruction operators, which are not Hermitian and do not have real eigenvalues. There is no such thing as a physical quantity X + iP, which could be the result of an observation. It is obviously nonsense, is it not?

> The model you have chosen for this is based on coherent states of the
> electromagnetic field. You use the displacement method to define these
> states, but by using the other method involving the eigenvectors of the
> destruction operators, one comes fully to the novel conclusion, since the
> eigenvalues of the coherent states are not real numbers and therefore they
> cannot represent observables in the ordinary sense.

[Stapp]
The conclusion is not novel, and the fact that eigen value of a destruction operator is a pair of numbers that locates the position in phase space of the classical analog of the coherent state does not mean that this pair of numbers cannot be an "observable".

[Mutnick]
That goes strongly against the simplest premises of the formalism, that observables must be Hermitian operators with real eigenvalues. You are much more knowledgeable than me about the formalism, but I strongly suspect sleight-of-hand deception in what you are saying and doing here. You mentioned to me on the phone that ordinarily a representation is in x or p space, but in this case it is in both simultaneously. Frankly, I don't believe it. If you are right in these incredible statements, can you prove it? The proof is in the pudding. Proffer an experiment that will measure with verifiability the groups of coherent states in the brain, the reduction to which you would correlate with human experience. I am 99% certain that you cannot do it. If you could do it, you would overthrow the combined wisdom of all the founders of quantum theory, who insisted that the formalism in its present primitive state could NOT be applied to the human organism, at least in the ordinary use of the formalism, which is to observe and measure with verifiability an atomic reality in nature. I do believe that MY interpretation of what you are doing could be a valid exception to the exclusion established by the founders.

> You choose groups of coherent states for your projection operators because
> they are stable and classical-like and actually correspond to classical
> states and will therefore allow the selected states to be efficacious, thus
> allowing for a conscious selection via quantum mechanics and efficacious
> follow-through via classical mechanics and electromagnetism. You also
> employ the theorem of von Neumann that all states can be uniquely decomposed
> into coherent states on a lattice whose points are separated by h-bar, even
> though these "basis states" are not orthonormal and their eigenvalues are
> not real numbers.

[Stapp]
The eigenvalues of the projection operator onto any coherent state are plus one and zero.

[Mutnick]
Yes or no to a question in general does not constitute a legitimate observation. It depends on the underlying operators, on the states that are being selected. It is a question of whether the question you are asking is properly framed so as to constitute the result of a measurement. Yours are not, since the underlying states are not observables. They could, however, be something else, as I claim, namely doables, that are internally causal but not externally verifiable in vivid and definite terms. My interpretation is a new application of complementarity, as the founders felt would be necessary.

> This does indeed lead to the extraordinary conclusion that the quantum
> formalism can be used for this alternative purpose, which we might call
> perception in the mode of causal efficacy, as opposed to perception in the
> mode of presentational immediacy. These definitions seem to fit *exactly*
> with Whitehead's uses of the terms. Perception in the mode of
> presentational immediacy is of course just the ordinary use of the quantum
> formalism to make definite observations of external nature, usually in the
> laboratory, under well-controlled conditions. Whitehead in fact believed
> that this ordinary use is illusory and that perception in the mode of causal
> efficacy is much closer to the reality, since he viewed all of nature as
> essentially subjective and endowed with self-determination, including its
> atomic parts.

[Stapp]
I have been stressing this active part for years. The passive part is process 3, the witnessing of nature's feed back.

[Mutnick]
For years you have been conflating the ordinary use of the formalism with the extraordinary one to which you are putting it, without making the necessary distinction - that has added immensely to the quantum muddle, in terms of both the physics and the philosophy. It has impeded progress toward the discovery of a truly organic, i.e. subjective, quantum theory. The present quantum theory is NOT that, as Heisenberg stated with exquisite clarity in "Physics and Philosophy" (there are no genuinely subjective elements - the mind of the observer does not enter into the atomic events and cannot therefore be conceived of in terms of them - it must be conceived of as detached, as Bohr averred and Bohm and von Neumann understood perfectly well, but Pauli failed to understand). This limitation was by no means an ideal, but a realization that the present theory fell far short of the ideal towards which they all were striving - it was no more than a primitive prototype of the theory yet to come, which you are impeding by mistaking the present theory for the future and complete theory.

We may conclude that the present quantum theory has two uses: to explain external observation of nature and to explain human sensuous activity. The present theory does not contain beables, although the subjective use of the present theory does point in that direction, since all being is ultimately grounded in consciousness itself as the eternal existent. The 1952 Bohm theory is the objective shadow and non-relativistic approximation to the ultimate unified field theory of being and beables, which is the full implementation of the Whiteheadian and Gestalt program for an organic and subjective relativistic (relative to the observer) conception of reality. "Relativistic" does not mean "watered-down" or "wishy-washy", iff one postulates the subjective observer to be the ultimate existent, grounded in the eternal existent, which is consciousness itself. I do so postulate, based on my personal experience that the postulate is true for this human reality in which we find ourselves. (Of course, I am extrapolating here from my own experience to the experience of all humans, which I believe is a fairly safe extrapolation to make in such a fundamental and universal matter.)

Mere subjectivism of the unscientific variety is avoided by adopting Whitehead's process theory, in which the subjects create their own objectivity in the process of becoming or coming to be. Whitehead's rejection of the importance of consciousness is avoided by recognizing (with Sartre) two kinds of being: etre pour-soi (from the first) and etre en-soi (what is produced). Sartre's dilemma regarding these two types of being is avoided by interpreting them as above, in accord with Whitehead's process theory and the actual experience of consciousness itself, aka enlightenment or satori. This is the sane program for physics and philosophy - in any other direction, madness, catastrophe, and utter annihilation are assured.

> Thank you very much for your explanation yesterday, and I hope you can make
> some comments upon this letter, perhaps that you can share with others by
> posting it on your website, where I am sure it will be of interest. Thank
> you again.
>
> Sincerely,
> Peter Mutnick



Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000


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