Friday, May 4, 2012

Quantum Enigma - Physics encounters consciousness

I'm reading the book "Quantum Enigma - Physics encounters consciousness" by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner.  Interestingly enough, this book appears to discuss concepts similar to the previous posts I've written, discussing what consciousness and what our perception of the world is.  At a surface level, it is obvious and therefore "fact" when you consider the building blocks of the "real world", atoms and molecules, that the world is real and exists.  But at the quantum level, these things we call atoms and molecules don't really "exist", and by extension, the world cannot exist as we suppose it does using Newtonian physics, nor according to the "sanitized" version of quantum mechanics.  Anyone who believes in this are shunned and disgraced by the "Official Church of Quantum Theorists" as heretics and ignorant common folk.  When I say "doesn't exist", I'm not saying we do not experience the world.  I'm saying the idea that the world is as it appears is only the end result of our mind.  That is the basic premise and the enigma of quantum mechanics.


To find a book that discusses this from a scientific quantum mechanic's level is quite interesting.  I had assumed all quantum theorists to dismiss the question of perception and reality, knowing what they know about quantum mechanics and the implications.  The book declares that this "enigma" is not very well received by the physics community, but neither is it describing it as fact.  What it tries to do is to present in non-technical terms the enigma of quantum mechanics and consciousness' role and why this presents a challenge to the common beliefs about the world around us.  Here's a video that demonstrates how quick to criticize any kind of inference from quantum mechanics anything that is of a metaphysical nature (Brian Cox mis-spoke about quantum states vs. energy levels, but the other controversy was that some people took the inference that everything in the universe is affected by a small change to mean that we are all connected): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASZWediSfTU&feature=fvwp&NR=1.

It is, so far, quite an interesting read, discussing how Aristotle's early "scientific" reasoning influenced religion, as well as how current scientific beliefs about what is "truth" seems to continue in the tradition of the early scientific reasoning, that is "if something doesn't make sense to the "learned thinker" (meaning the scientific community), then it is unimportant to consider."  This is true of the fallacious, but in the then-scientific, notion that the universe revolved around the Earth and it is true of the fallacious notion that quantum mechanics does not have a philosophical aspect.  It is, and has always been, an individual's desire, need, or want to believe what they believe as truth, not that truth matches their belief.  That is why this book has been an interesting read so far, because it tells me that eventually, what the majority accepts as "truth" must face the real truth: their belief (which is the principle of observation) is what creates "truth".  Because they "see it with their own eyes, it must be true" is the enigma: did the observed occur before the observation, which led to the belief, or (going further than Schrodinger's paradox), did belief (another word would be intent) create the observed, which was then validated through observation?

The Schrodinger's paradox states that observation is what makes something real.  But if observation in terms of visuals means one sees a result, and if seeing is simply the input to the mind, then doesn't that mean that it only takes a thought to make something real?  Doesn't this imply that it is thought or mind that creates reality, since in order to observe, it must go through the mind?  The thing that makes the observed, and thus the beliefs, differ from the truth is because of interpretation (the errors that occur in science when they proclaim a certain truth, which turns out not to be truth, is due to interpretation, just like in religion or anything else).  Our conscious mind must interpret what we observe because we tend to trust what we see, and it is this point that creates the difference between reality and belief.  For those who understand quantum mechanics should know better than to assume what they see is what it is.  Having said that, I'm not trying to suggest that just because we consciously believe something, that that belief will be realized in this reality due to the "laws" we live by (only because we agreed to abide by these laws).  I'm speaking more in terms of metaphysical beliefs, which concerns our true self (the "soul") observing this "physical" self and its beliefs.  We in the physical reality are bound by the laws governing this system, but those laws were agreed upon by our whole selves (our "souls") for us to experience within this specific environment.  If you do not accept the concept of a soul, then of course, it's difficult to accept the enigma.

Just to confuse some more with metaphysical concepts, which many dismiss because they do not accept anything outside of the observed (which I've already explained is merely an after-the-fact act), belief doesn't necessarily mean conscious belief, which is only one aspect of belief.  The idea of mind/consciousness goes well beyond the conscious "known".  We know there are aspects of consciousness that are not observable.  How much of that unobserved consciousness is really driving our observed consciousness, but we just accept it as our own thoughts?  What we call intuition, inspiration, imagination, they all can be considered aspects of our unobserved consciousness, but it could also be said that the unobserved conscious beliefs is what drives the creation of the observed and that the observed consciousness is simply observing the creation of the inner consciousness.  I'm sure this is hard to believe, but although I frame the consciousness as two distinct portions, it is not.  It is only described in that manner to demonstrate the portion that we "know" from the portion that we ignore in our observed consciousness.  You can think of the unobserved consciousness as that portion of you that knows how to act without your "known" consciousness having to do it, such as thinking, breathing, moving, etc.  The unobserved consciousness (or "soul") is what I call the Observer of the quantum state, which creates the physical reality observed and interpreted by the waking consciousness, which is the observer in the physical state.  From this, we live and have our being in this world to experience.  So we (our soul) create the physical reality that we unknowingly create and participate in as physical form.  But it was never meant to be this separation of consciousness where the physical consciousness is unaware of it's whole self.  This only occurs because the physical portion ignores the inner non-physical portion of our consciousness.  We ignore it because we only trust the physical senses.  Science denies or rejects anything that defies commonsense, but consider what it means to be commonsense.  Commonsense means it is common to the physical senses (including physical mind, i.e. the limited knowledge and understanding)!

From a metaphysical point of view, if you accept the enigma, then all of your thoughts and emotions are transmitted outwards into the "world", which then manifests itself.  Everything that is done in the physical world is the physical manifestation of our non-physical thoughts and feelings, such as moving, writing, speaking, building, destroying, etc.  The theory in quantum mechanics that something could be in more than one place at the same time is not only possible, but reality because your physical body is a highly concentrated form of projected thought, having your complete focus in that form.  It's easy to project yourself somewhere else with thought, but most people do not realize this occurs.  For example, if you have strong feelings for someone and desire to see them, you will project yourself to that person and you would feel like you are "imagining" this occurrence, while still at your physical location.  The second "self" would be a non-physical portion of yourself, the same as that which forms your physical form, but the second would not have a physical body.  That doesn't mean other persons would not see your second form.  If they are able to utilize their inner senses, they could "see" you.  That is the basis for the psychic abilities of clairvoyance.  If all things are energy, then this makes sense, since even our physical senses detect energy (in reality, it is our non-physical "body" that senses the energy, but the physical body reacts to this as the nervous system response.  The non-physical body is the "energy" that forms, holds, and propels the physical into motion).

From a Judeo-Christian point of view, the teachings to love and follow rules, although highly restrictive (being told what to do) and not a necessary aspect of spiritual development (all acts, both "good" and "bad", provide development), they do provide a guided means to growth and development because love and rules provide an elementary way to teach people how to control energy.  Specifically, it teaches people how to control their thoughts and emotions.  If thought and emotion is energy that is transmitted, then any positive and negative thoughts would manifest themselves into reality.  Emotion would also manifest itself.  These energies would affect the rest of the world, just as a change in one electron's quantum state affects all other electrons' state.  So in a round-about way, the Christian interpretation of Jesus tries to teach people control over their energy without a metaphysical understanding.

From a Buddhist/Taoist point of view, all eastern philosophies are much closer to understanding the nature of reality, but still lack the fundamental understanding of what "I" is (it isn't something that is caught in karmic cycles that require purging of desire.  Desire itself is the drive that consciousness uses to "be").  Their belief that the lifeforce is a universal energy, or Chi, means for life and health, it must be regulated and maintained.  So meditation and exercise is the main means for controlling energy.  The principle of harmony and peacefulness (or emptiness) means that you (consciousness) controls which thoughts and emotions are sent out into the world.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just as a quick point, although quantum states can exist as a probability of possible states does not mean that everything does exist like that. Quantum states break down into reality. Furthermore, why would you think that you have anymore control over a quantum state than a dog does. You cannot attain a higher level of existence by simply wanting to.

There may well be a world beyond our world, outside of our understanding of the universe, or God may exist in our universe in a way we don't understand, but you have no direct control over your quantum states and you will not find God by searching there.

Simon said...

If you can only see what's in front of you, how do you know what's behind you? To state that a probability exists, but not in the same way as what does exist is the point of observation creating reality. But it does not negate the existence of a probability just because you cannot observe it, just as you know something is behind you, but you can't see it until you look. You might argue "but I can look beind me and see what's there, unlike probabilities", but I would argue that's because all the things you see are in the same probability that exists in reality, but other probable existences does exist but outside of our observational capabilities. This is the premise of String Theory, which I'm not sure if I complete agree with its description, but the premise that probabilities exist as other "strings" means just because you can't see it or find it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist outside of your current reality.

The rest of your comment is, again, stemming from the point of view from the body and your consciousness at this point in time and within this reality. If your body and this reality is the only thing you accept as real, then nothing else outside of this reality is possible to you. As you state, "outside of our understanding..." is the real issue. We do not understand everything even within our universe, how can you know what exists outside or even within the self? We only know what's on this planet, and what little we've learned over time about this reality. Our own potential has not even been examined thoroughly, whether due to fear, dogmas, ego, or indifference. So to state boldly something as being impossible should make you pause about what you know to be able to make such claims.