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Time Symmetric Quantum Mechanics (and ESP)

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posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 12:33 PM
This post is a mix of science and ESP, so I didn't know where to put it. This seemed like the best fit, since there doesn't seem to be a forum dedicated to ESP research.

For those not familiar with Time Symmetric Quantum Mechanics (TSQM), it is one of the (many) interpretations, or mathematical models, of Quantum Mechanics (QM).

Where regular QM has a wave function that propagates forward in time, as determined by the Schrodinger Equation, TSQM is a two vector formulation. It has a wave vector that propagates forward in time from the past, and a wave vector that propagates backward in time from the future.

Experiments have been done that seem to justify this interpretation:

Essentially, three measurements are taken linearly in time ( A, then B, then C) The results show that whether or not you take a measurement at C, does effect the result you obtain at B. This is a seemingly retrocausal effect.

Back From The Future

Tollaksen’s group is looking into the notion that time might flow backward, allowing the future to influence the past. By extension, the universe might have a destiny that reaches back and conspires with the past to bring the present into view. On a cosmic scale, this idea could help explain how life arose in the universe against tremendous odds. On a personal scale, it may make us question whether fate is pulling us forward and whether we have free will.

“Aharonov was one of the first to take seriously the idea that if you want to understand what is happening at any point in time, it’s not just the past that is relevant. It’s also the future,” Tollaksen says.


“I asked, what does God gain by playing dice?” he says. Aharonov accepted that a particle’s past does not contain enough information to fully predict its fate, but he wondered, if the information is not in its past, where could it be? After all, something must regulate the particle’s behavior. His answer—which seems inspired and insane in equal measure—was that we cannot perceive the information that controls the particle’s present behavior because it does not yet exist.

“Nature is trying to tell us that there is a difference between two seemingly identical particles with different fates, but that difference can only be found in the future,” he says. If we’re willing to unshackle our minds from our preconceived view that time moves in only one direction, he argues, then it is entirely possible to set up a deterministic theory of quantum mechanics.

Something else that is very fascinating about TSQM is its ramifications on cosmology

Is feedback from the future guiding the development of life, the universe, and, well, everything? Paul Davies at Arizona State University in Tempe and his colleagues are investigating whether the universe has a destiny—and if so, whether there is a way to detect its eerie influence.


But if the final state of the universe is set and is reaching back in time to influence the early universe, it could amplify the chances of life’s emergence.


He and Botero are also searching for signatures that the final state of the universe could retroactively leave on the relic radiation of the Big Bang, which could be picked up by the Planck satellite launched last year.

Of course, if the Universe does have a destiny, then the one has to wonder what the means for free will. Due to nuances in the theory, free will is preserved. This can be read about towards the end of this paper

New Insights on Time-Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

Lastly, I think the possibilities for ESP are tantalizing with this theory. Although, TSQM does not offer an actual mechanism, it does present a picture of time that jives up with how ESP seems to work. Indeed, a recent study was published in a respectable journal by Daryl Bem on ESP, which apparently exhibited retrocausal influences.

Feeling the Future

The term psi denotes anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are
currently unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms. Two
variants of psi are precognition (conscious cognitive awareness) and premonition
(affective apprehension) of a future event that could not otherwise be anticipated
through any known inferential process. Precognition and premonition are themselves
special cases of a more general phenomenon: the anomalous retroactive influence of
some future event on an individual’s current responses, whether those responses are
conscious or nonconscious, cognitive or affective. This article reports 9 experiments,
involving more than 1,000 participants, that test for retroactive influence by “timereversing”
well-established psychological effects

Lastly, I should mention that all this is a bit misleading too. Quantum Mechanics has many interpretations. It can be shown that TSQM is mathematically equivalent to regular QM. This means the experiment from Discover magazine could also be interpreted in light of regular QM and this interpretation would probably not involve retrocausal influences.

As Aharnov mentions in the paper linked above:

While TSQM is a new conceptual point-of-view that has predicted novel, verified effects which seem impossible according to standard QM, TSQM is in fact a re-formulation of QM. Therefore, experiments cannot prove TSQM over QM (or vice-versa).

However, if more evidence keeps coming out on ESP, than perhaps an interpretation of QM that does allow for these subtle retrocausal influences will be more desirable.

Physics is sure getting interesting these days ;-)

I also posted another topic on time here, which might also be interesting:

edit on 29-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 12:58 PM
reply to post by EthanT

This, to me, is probably one of the better interpretations of Quantum Mechanics we have. It stays within the QM box, but manages to bring in something unique.
Personally, my ponderings of QM have led me to a similar thought, the main difference being I was considering all of time to be an illusion - that "events" are the physical change in what exists in a fourth physical dimension, and our perception of time is just our three-dimensional observation moving through that fourth dimension (just like when we physically move through one of the three regular dimensions - the difference being, we can see ahead and behind in those). Much like the concept of space-time in General Relativity, just a bit more extreme.
The thing is, I had that idea before I knew about the Delayed-Choice Quantum Eraser experiment. The inclusion of this experiment makes me lean more towards a combination of all three views of time - forward progression, backward progression, and whatever you'd call my idea. Sort of a dynamic passage of time that has aspects of all three.

This certainly does have interesting implications for ESP and the like. And the notion that the universe formed with life already created, having the intent of containing life, then that, too, has interesting repercussions on the existence of a Creator. A scientifically demonstrable purpose opens doors science currently has to avoid.
edit on 29-6-2011 by CLPrime because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 01:14 PM
Hi CLPrime,

You definitely might want to check out that link at the bottom of my OP. It's another thread that has some ideas on time very similar to what you just talked about. Also, page 3 and 6 link out to other neat ideas on time:

posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 01:15 PM
Another good thing going for TSQM is that Aharanov came up with it. He's a sharp dude. Same guy behind the Aharnov-Bohm effect.

posted on Jul, 3 2011 @ 09:57 AM
"Of course, if the Universe does have a destiny, then the one has to wonder what the means for free will. "

If we are living in a multiverse, with many (possibly infinite) parallel realities being played out, then you can still have free will in each one. The ultimate destiny could simply be a matter of evolution - the universe is playing out everything that could possibly happen in order to learn through experience.

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