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Quantum Progress

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Kuttner and Rosenblum’s “Quantum Enigma” is the best book on quantum physics that I’ve read to date. The table below is my attempt to chronologically summarize some of the well known, brilliant people that led us to where we are today. I found it fascinating that most of the people developed their insights as a result of noticing and pursuing nagging “anomalies” in their work. I also found it fascinating that Einstein was constantly challenging quantum theory even though the math worked flawlessly at predicting outcomes.

The quote that I like most is Bohr’s: “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet”. Well, I don’t understand quantum physics, but I’m still shocked by it. However, since I’ve been consuming all kinds of spiritual teachings over the past 15 years, I’m not surprised by what quantum physics says. Academically “inferior”, but much wiser spiritual teachers have been saying the same thing for thousands, yes thousands, of years. From the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Jesus, to Krishnamurti,  Tolle,  and Adyashanti; they didn’t need exotic and esoteric math skills to develop their ideas and thoughts.

Q Physics

Collapsing The Wavefunction

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m in the process of reading a third book on quantum physics. It’s called “The Self-Aware Universe”, and it is written by physicist Amit Gotswami. According to Q-physics, no localized object exists until a conscious observation is made. The universe is comprised of non-localized, infinitely distributed “waves” described by Schrodinger’s wave function equation. The wave function equation characterizes the “waviness” of matter and it displaces Newton’s F=ma as the universal law of motion. Even though Newton has been convincingly dethroned as the king of “materialistic reality”, Q-physics is consistent with Newton’s classical physics for “big” objects, which are all comprised of quantum waves. Thus, for (almost) all practical purposes, Newton’s laws can be leveraged in the macro world to “control” and enhance our environment to some extent.

When a subjective and conscious observation is made and discrete objects are “detected” at a point in space and time, the instantaneous collapse of the wave function occurs. The figure below woefully attempts to graphically depict this mysterious and miraculous process. On the left, we have “no”-things, just an infinite collection of waves. On the right, we have a bunch of (supposedly) independent “some”-things after the collapse. If, as most rational and educated people think, conscious observation is subjective and person specific, then why is there so much consensus on the post-collapse appearance of the world? In other words, why do most people see the same set of objects after they each independently and subjectively collapse the wave function? If you’re thinking that I have an answer for this subjective vs. consensus enigma, then you’re mistaken. I’m dumbfounded but enamored with the mystery of it all. How about you?

Wavefunction Collapse

Suppose that you and I separately “collapse the wave function” and (miraculously?) agree on the appearance of the external world the engulfs us. Referring to the example above, assume that we transcend the first communication barrier between us and we agree that a post-collapse triangle exists, a rectangle exists, a pair of ellipses exist, etc.

Now assume that the group of objects that we’ve manifested (created ?) is comprised of people and some type of observable behavior emanating from that group is “bothering” us. Also, assume that we want to influence the group to change it’s behavior so that we are less distressed. What do we do? We consciously form a personal System-Of-Interest (SOI) and we try to understand what’s causing us the distress. We try to make sense of the dynamic interactions taking place between those people encircled in our own personal SOI and then we act to change it. Here’s where our original consensus starts to diverge. Since, as the figure below illustrates, our personally created  SOIs will most likely be different, our interpretation of who and what is causing us our distress will be different. Thus, our ideas and thoughts regarding corrective actions will be different.

SOIs

Note that even though we initially agreed on the number and types of objects=people present in our collapsed wave function worlds, the number and nature of the connections between those people are likely to be different for you and me. In the SOI example above, my SOI on the left contains three people and yours on the right only contains two. My SOI on the left doesn’t include the pink ellipse in the “problem” sub-group but yours on the right does. Your SOI doesn’t include an interface ‘tween the gray ellipse and blue diamond but mine does. Thus, our interpretations of what ails us will most likely differ. Add a third, fourth, fifth, etc., SOI to the mix and all kinds of diverging interpretations will emerge.

Now, apply this example to a work environment. If I’m the “boss” and you disagree with my interpretation of the problem situation, but are “afraid” of speaking truth to power because of standard stifling corpo culture norms, then you may just go along with my interpretation even though you’re pretty sure that your interpretation and solution is “right”. Since I’m the boss, all knowing and all powerful, I’m always “right” – even if I’m not. 🙂

Transcend AND Include

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Before Newton, religion and superstition were used by most human beings to explain what they saw and felt day-to-day. Depending on what religion you subscribed to, all kinds of wild theories were proposed to explain events and happenings that were not easily understood. Then Newton came along and busted all the myths with his “principia”. Newton’s classical physics was relatively easily understood. Objective experimentation confirmed that it worked admirably in predicting the motions and positions of “macro” objects as a function of the forces acting on them. Classical physics “proved” that all material objects are separate and the only way one object can affect another is by impressing an external force on it. In addition, thanks to Einstein’s brilliance, forces cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Thus, two objects at the ends of the universe are independent of each other and effectively isolated from each other.

Then, along came quantum physics, which, as the picture below shows, was found to transcend and include classical physics. For macro-sized objects on the scale of the things that we experience, the rock solid and experimentally verified maths that underly quantum physics transform into Newton’s equations. Thus, Newton’s equations are not absolute; they are “approximations”. However, at the atomic scale and smaller, quantum physics busts the new, Newton-derived, myths that there even are objects.

Transcend And Include

According to Q-physics, everything is a superposition of continuous, non-local, spread out waves until a subjective conscious observation is made. The point at which a conscious observation is made is called the “collapse of the wavefunction”. WTF? In addition, any two “consciously observed” objects (remember, according to Q-physics there are no such things as objects until a conscious observation is made) that ever interacted, remain “entangled” and associated regardless of how far apart they are. An observation on one of them instantaneously affects the other – violating Einstein’s maximum speed-of-light discovery. Again, WTF?

The addition of subjective consciousness into the previously objective world of physics has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the world of science. Consciousness, which is subjective, has collided with science, which (up until now?) is purely objective. So, like Q-physics transcends and includes C-physics, does consciousness transcend and include Q-physics? If so, what will be the next discovery in the world of science?

Quantum Consciousness

July 30, 2009 6 comments

In their wonderful book  “Quantum Enigma” (I just finished reading it twice in a row, back-to-back), physicists Kuttner and Rosenblum assert that quantum theory is the most battle-tested scientific theory of all time. In its 80 year existence, it has never failed any experimental test hurled at it by the most brilliant academic minds, past and present.

If my understanding is correct, and it might not be because of the nature of the subject matter, quantum theory says that nothing material exists until it is consciously observed. Hmmm, that sounds like the same thing spiritual teachers have been asserting for thousands of years before the development of quantum theory.

On the extremely small scale of sub-atomic sizes, that assertion has been proven many times over by employing the scientific way – experimentation. One classic example is that depending on which experiment you consciously choose to perform, you can prove that light is either a mass-less continuous wave or a stream of discrete and separate particles of mass. The reason why we can’t recreate paradoxical experiments similar to that with large macro-sized objects like people is because the technology needed to do it is not available, yet. Bummer.

Another assertion quantum theory makes is that two entangled objects can instantaneously influence one another, regardless of how far apart they are spaced. This assertion effectively voids Einstein’s proof that no physical entity can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance” and he spent a good deal of time trying to poke holes into quantum assertions like entanglement. Hmmm, sounds like quantum theory says everything is connected with everything else. More spiritual heresy?

The figure below shows a stack that hypothetically connects science to spirituality. It’s an expanded version of the science only, psychology-to-quantum physics stack presented in Kuttner’s and Rosenblum’s book. I subjectively added the non-scientific thoughts, feelings, and behavior layers to the top, and the consciousness, awareness, and no-thing layers to the bottom.

Quantum Stack

Because quantum theory butts up against consciousness, and they seem to be separated by an unexplainable brick wall, Kuttner and Rosenblum explore the seemingly mysterious connection between them in their book. As they say, “when experts don’t agree, you can pick your own expert to believe in“.

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