It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Pegs and holes: In defense of quantum mysticism

page: 1
9

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 11:14 AM
link   
When Heisenberg first demonstrated his uncertainty principle, disproving classical determinism (the idea that the universe is basically a fully predictable giant 3-D billiards table), he may or may not have had an inkling of the can of worms he was opening up. Mystics of all stripes latched on to this because it seemed to vindicate their sometimes bizarre beliefs.

Others reacted to this uproar, coining the (originally) derogatory term quantum mysticism. They insisted that science does not support any of these fanciful ideas, and that the universe is still mathematical but the math is just different than before. Now properties of particles are described using probability functions rather than absolute values. But it's still predictable in this regard. If a particle has a 40% chance of being measured as being in State A vs. State B, and you have 1000 of those particles, the amount that are in State A has an extremely good chance of hovering around 400, give or take. The more particles you aggregate together, the more likely the overall outcome will coincide with the probability of an individual particle being in one state or the other (this is a law of statistics). Thus, on the so-called "macro scale", where billions of particles are aggregated together, things start to behave in a manner that better conforms to classical determinism. The gist of all this is that the universe is still orderly and predictable; we don't need to bring in supernatural entities to confound the issue.

This is an understandable and probably even appropriate response to attempts by various mystics to claim "Hey, look, we're scientific!" But I think the people who stick hard and fast to this viewpoint, and refuse to even consider some of the things the new science might allow for, have not yet undergone the five stages of grief at the death of classical determinism. Specifically, they're still in the denial stage. And indeed, the loss of classical determinism is a loss worth mourning for those who seek the truth about the universe. Einstein's statement about God not playing dice is I think a very understandable reaction of grief to this loss. The 1800s were a wonderfully optimistic time for science; we really began in earnest to discover the laws of nature and for a while it seemed obvious that the universe was as a pool table: if hypothetically someone outside existence could know everything in existence now, he could predict the future and the past to absolute perfection. It was a beautiful idea.

But it is impossible. We need to give up that idea, not only because it's no longer even hypothetically possible, but because it's become for many an unhealthy attachment that closes their minds to the possibilities that modern physics allows. It's emotional baggage that prevents us from moving forward in our quest for the truth.

Having given that background to what I want to say, I'm now going to shift gears a bit. I am not going to take advantage of the confusion by proposing a theology, declaring "QM makes it possible" and demanding that people believe. This sort of behavior I think is responsible for the negative reaction to quantum mysticism. I just want to offer food for thought. Digest it your own way.

Specifically, I want to offer an argument, that I think is convincing, about why QM may be compatible (that is, not mutually contradictory) with some forms of mysticism, and even that taking a mystical angle to the laws of nature provides something that is missing from science: a possible way to bridge physical reality with philosophy of mind. Not the way, mind you, but a possible way.

In philosophy of mind, the greatest puzzle is the so-called "hard problem of consciousness". This is the question of how raw experience arises from "inanimate" matter. So far, the best any scientist or philosopher has been able to do is describe the neural correlates of conscious experience. That is, what's going on in the brain when something is experienced. Some (Dennett for instance) have even proposed entire logical architectures to describe how the brain, as just a machine, can do what it does, and have proposed that any machine with the right architecture will have raw conscious experience.

And I think this is probably true. Neuroscience has made it quite clear that consciousness and physical reality are closely intertwined. With the right kind of brain damage you can change a whole personality. It seems a certain reductionism can be applied to consciousness as it is to matter in general. If the right structure produces consciousness, and damaged pieces of that structure produce an altered consciousness, it stands to reason that consciousness is a fundamental factor in the universe, and that even subatomic particles possess it to some rudimentary degree.

If I may be so bold, it may be that when a quantum measurement is made on a particle to determine whether it's in State A or State B, in some rudimentary way the particle chooses A or B. The degree of "incentive" to be A vs. to be B corresponds with the probability calculated from theory. You could call it a dilemma. If the probabilities are not 50/50, it's a weighted dilemma (it's "emotionally" "leaning" one way), but still a dilemma in which a choice must be made.

There are some proposals that the structure of the brain allows quantum uncertainty to "bubble up" to the macro scale, that the brain may be a big "quantum computer" so-to-speak. See quantum mind. It would not surprise me if this turned out to be the case.

Basically what I'm saying is, I think we have a peg and a hole. And we don't know what hole the peg belongs to, and what peg the hole is for. But we have both, and many refuse to even consider the possibility that the peg and the hole might go together.

The peg is consciousness, whose unknown hole is how it arises from matter. The hole is physics including quantum mechanics, whose unknown peg is the correct interpretation of the discovered laws of QM.

Could we at least try to fit the peg we already have in the hole we already have and see if they fit? Before we go off searching for "some other hole" for our peg and "some other peg" for our hole?


[edit on 7-7-2010 by NewlyAwakened]




posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 11:47 AM
link   
Outstanding!
QM is, in my humble opinion, a distinct possibility (or is that probability?)

The rabbit hole is far deeper than many physicist suspected.

Thanks for your very refreshing thread!

I don't think that the statistical simplification of 1/2 spin "repels" and integer spin "clumps" is as straight forward as Dr. Feynman described the observables. There seems to be something else "choosing" this.

Of course, duality is the tricky wicket for the "pegs and holes"


"The only acceptable point of view appears to be the one that recognizes both sides of reality --- the quantitative and the qualitative, the physical and the psychical --- as compatible with each other, and can embrace them simultaneously."

Wolfgang Pauli, The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler


www.scribd.com...

You may be aware of these letters between one of the Fathers of Quantum Mechanics and Carl Jung. They are discussing the profound subject you have presented. You may want to have a look!

www.pacifica.edu...


These letters, spanning over a
quarter century, between the quantum physicist, Wolfgang Pauli and Carl
Jung, are exciting in their complexity, provocative in their interdisciplinary
thrust and illuminating in their profound attempt to bridge the divide
between physis and psyche.
By means of them, one is able to glimpse the shifting influence of
Pauli on Jung’s thoughts about synchronicity, dream work and most
importantly, about the existence of ordering principles that both the natural
and psychological realms appear to share.

Enjoy!

Great topic! S&F





[edit on 7-7-2010 by Zeptepi]



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:20 PM
link   
great post, s and f for that!

I'll probably read it again later to make sure I got all of that

in the mean time:
"The peg is consciousness, whose unknown hole is how it arises from matter"

Who says matter didn't arise from consciousness?



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:35 PM
link   

Originally posted by GypsK
Who says matter didn't arise from consciousness?

Incidentally, that was the Buddha's take on things.

I wouldn't rule it out. My main point in this thread is that we should not be afraid to investigate this stuff, even though it is "outside the box" of mainstream science. But all scientific "revolutions" resulted from someone, who was both well-educated in the mainstream (important!) and had a touch of artistic genius (also important!), boldly stepping outside the existing box.

Be bold!



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:44 PM
link   
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


agreed

and lucky for people like me, who have no scientific background, a lot of writers and 'thinkers' are stepping out of that box and go public with their thoughts... in an understandable way.

15 years ago I wouldn't be able to understand and comprehend QP and QM. Now I do. What changed? probably the writers



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:51 PM
link   
Both post and idea are excellent.


What science cannot yet prove, is how else the human body can interact with the universe. The only reason we cannot prove it, is because we cannot yet measure anything else.

I think science needs to follow the human mind more closely, these things are possible, if not "scientifically" provable, at this point.

The word "love" is as equally likely a solution as "quantum creatinism" (an arbitrary phrase) as a cause for the macro scale bubbling that we see.

Mystic magician or scintillating scientist?




posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 01:35 PM
link   
reply to post by Zeptepi
 

Should probably have replied to this post, because actually, I'm a huge fan of Carl Jung. It's really interesting to know he was thinking about this stuff too. I'll have to give it a look.


[edit on 7-7-2010 by NewlyAwakened]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 02:04 AM
link   
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


If the right structure produces consciousness, and damaged pieces of that structure produce an altered consciousness, it stands to reason that consciousness is a fundamental factor in the universe, and that even subatomic particles possess it to some rudimentary degree.

Now all we have to do is define consciousness.

No, wait! We haven't just to define it, but define it in such a way that a stone can have it, as much as you or I.

No, no, wait! We haven't just to define it in such a way that a stone could have it, but we have also to define it in such a way that it can arise out of even the most primitive states of matter.

If you don't mind, I'll just wait here and have a smoke while you're off doing all that.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 03:29 AM
link   
All credits to you on a very, very good post indeed


Just a question for you.

I read this very same posting, word for word on noadvicehere.blogspot.com... on July 13 by someone called Mike.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Pegs and holes: in defense of quantum mysticism
When Heisenberg first demonstrated his uncertainty principle, disproving classical determinism (the idea that the universe is basically a fully predictable giant 3-D billiards table), he may or may not have had an inkling of the can of worms he was opening up. Mystics of all stripes latched on to this because it seemed to vindicate their sometimes bizarre beliefs.


So I was just wondering if you were the original author ? If you are, then no probs ... nothing wrong in reposting your own work elsewhere. However, if not, then please ensure you give appropriate credit and recognition to the original author.

[edit on 17/8/10 by tauristercus]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:02 AM
link   
reply to post by tauristercus
 

I am - that is my blog.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:08 AM
link   

Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
reply to post by tauristercus
 

I am - that is my blog.


In that case, excellent work, very well thought out and presented and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it ... twice



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:31 AM
link   
Nice thread!

Some words and phrases that come to mind are quantum psychology, biocentric universe, neuroquantology, quantum hologram, psychophysical.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 12:23 PM
link   

Originally posted by Astyanax
No, wait! We haven't just to define it, but define it in such a way that a stone can have it, as much as you or I.


As much as or of the same nature as? I don't even know they mean. I don't what I mean. Well, I do just the same. Matter plays a role in constraining it into a relatively orderly form, relative to other matter.


No, no, wait! We haven't just to define it in such a way that a stone could have it, but we have also to define it in such a way that it can arise out of even the most primitive states of matter.


It never arose per se, except in the sense of the walking, talking, self-aggrandizing mud pie.


If you don't mind, I'll just wait here and have a smoke while you're off doing all that.


Word. I tried to delete everything rather than support anything.

[edit on 8/17/2010 by EnlightenUp]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:21 AM
link   

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Matter plays a role in constraining (consciousness) into a relatively orderly form, relative to other matter.

Does that mean consciousness exists independent of matter, and that matter is some kind of modulator or transceiver for it?




Astyanax:
We have also to define (consciousness) in such a way that it can arise out of even the most primitive states of matter.

It never arose per se, except in the sense of the walking, talking, self-aggrandizing mud pie.

The OP is saying that subatomic particles may make something analogous to conscious decisions. Do Subatomic Particles Have Free Will? I prefer to believe that nothing has free will; all the evidence suggests this to be the case.

[edit on 18/8/10 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:32 AM
link   
reply to post by Astyanax
 


Matters what you classify as free will. What exactly do you classify as free will?



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 09:58 AM
link   

Originally posted by Astyanax
Does that mean consciousness exists independent of matter, and that matter is some kind of modulator or transceiver for it?


The latter alone is probably closer to what I intend to express, maybe. Not so much a transceiver and not entirely independent. I disdain to express consciousness as an independent "substance" like some sort of phlogiston.

To show I really mean, I'm going to have to point the way in a koan-like manner. I can't tell you directly what I've seen; I don't know how.

It's seems easy enough to consider space-time without matter but not matter without space-time, yet we habitually consider these as separate entities. Space-time never is truely void of matter and without matter there would be no way to measure the passage of time.


Astyanax:
I prefer to believe that nothing has free will; all the evidence suggests this to be the case.


I wish I more properly understood that article. It looks interesting. I found another paper on it but need more to really make anything useful of it.

Perhaps all evidence we are able to gather. It could be measurement bias somewhat like the early days exoplanet hunting where all we found was "hot Jupiters".

QM is more of a door to step through than a final key. Uncertainty itself doesn't explain anything. It describes behavior. It could allow "free will" to operate in a material world and be an essential component to manifesting it to some degree.

Honestly, I'd be a complete materialist reductionist if it weren't for qualia. It's that one thing (that I noticed since early childhood) at all times, outside of a few more profound occurances, that keeps me on the fence or even slightly favoring there being something more to the universe than "materialistic processes". If you can convince me I'm not experiencing what I'm experiencing at this very moment, I'll come to your side (ie. "it's not even there"). For now, the mystery that actually isn't that mysterious (you read that right), remains.



[edit on 8/19/2010 by EnlightenUp]



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 10:22 AM
link   

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Honestly, I'd be a complete materialist reductionist if it weren't for qualia. It's that one thing (that I noticed since early childhood) at all times, outside of a few more profound occurances, that keeps me on the fence or even slightly favoring there being something more to the universe than "materialistic processes". If you can convince me I'm not experiencing what I'm experiencing at this very moment, I'll come to your side (ie. "it's not even there"). For now, the mystery that actually isn't that mysterious (you read that right), remains.

Agreed.

Have you ever read Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained? I imagine due to the paragraph I quoted someone will recommend this book to you. Let me be the first to do so. It's full of interesting insights and research into the nature of consciousness, and definitely worth a read for that reason.

Of course, then he goes on to make the laughable conclusion that qualia don't exist. He gets there due to his logical premise being, as you call it, "complete materialist reductionist". He never really states this premise, but it is clearly assumed throughout the writing.

He forgets the old rule that when you reach a conclusion that is obviously untrue, check your premises. Instead, he regards his premises as unshakeable, and thus his conclusion as well, and so thinks he's come up with a grand bit of counterintuitive genius.

No really, it's a good book, like I said. You'd probably like it which is why I'm going on about it. Just to be taken with a grain of salt.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 10:38 AM
link   
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


Thanks for the recommend.

I just want to be clear to avoid putting words in anyone's mouth, I have not noticed thus far Astyanax denying their existence. I just layed out my criteria for the moment.

And I do ask myself the question "do they really not exist" fully prepared to commit. Then, I have to wonder why I noticed them on my own while still a child. I had already heard the "why is the sky blue" type answers from an aeronautical engineer, so I was no stranger to materialist explanations of many sorts, then I started wondering about this "blue" itself.

Some will try to argue it's just labels of previous experience. The problem is that most of what I see now and experience not just in vision, I do not possess a label for yet I consistently experience a qualia for.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:14 PM
link   

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
And I do ask myself the question "do they really not exist" fully prepared to commit.

To me this runs into the same problem faced by those who say "reality is an illusion". They're not really answering anything; they're just pushing the question back further. Now you have to explain the illusion itself. Same with qualia. Dennett and the anti-qualia people have never convincingly done this (though they have made valiant attempts which they unfortunately then passed off as the final word on the matter).

It helps to bear in mind what Jung said about conscious experience being our first and fundamental observation and that we observe everything else in reality through it. It just seems kind of silly to rely on a tool in order to disprove the existence of that tool.

Considering Dennett has elsewhere evangelized hardcore atheism, I imagine there is a certain agenda here, even if such agenda is not conscious to him himself. That is, he has preached against the spiritual for so long that his ego has internalized its nonexistence and he has thus rendered himself emotionally incapable of using reason to explore the possibility of it. (See my sig
)

Overall though I think the guy's sincere and wrote a pretty great book about consciousness. He's just a bit prejudiced in the end.



[edit on 19-8-2010 by NewlyAwakened]



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 05:04 PM
link   
Two points:
1.If God is the ultimate source of consciousness, then materialism and scientism will never understand consciousness in its own terms because science can only make conceptual representations of phenomena and test them against experimental data, whereas God transcends all empirically testable representation. Which is NOT to say God cannot be accurately represented, merely that any model of God cannot be tested scientifically.

In order to understand consciousness, you have first to let go of the desire to treat it as an object or process. It cannot be put in a test tube or particle accelerator. The very question "What is consciousness" begs the epistemological question - it presupposes consciousness is some phenomenon - the result of particles in motion interacting by the known types of forces.
2. The corollary of point 1 is that to understand consciousness, one must understand the nature of God. For me, the most illuminating scheme for achieving this is Kabbalah. The result of my quest for understanding God can be studied at:
smphillips.8m.com...



new topics

top topics



 
9

log in

join