The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

The Quantum Activist

"Buddha and the Quantum" By Samuel A...

“Buddha and the Quantum” By Samuel Avery “…we can only understand modern physics if we put space and time within consciousness.” Banyen Books and Sound, Vancouver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I once noticed a cat walking on the elevated flat beam of a slated wooden fence.  The slats were spaced far enough apart to allow part of the cat to be seen while part was hidden.  As it moved forward the effect was one of fluid, undulating motion.   I felt an instant recognition that this “illusion” was the basis of all things.

What I experienced intuitively, I’ve since discovered,  is called the Observer Effect in Quantum Physics.  “When an observer looks, the possibility wave changes into actuality.”  The cat as a wave (expanding potential) changes into a particle (fixed in time and space).  Physicist’s call this change “collapse.”

However, “collapse” leads one, inevitably, to a paradox of logic known as the “quantum measurement paradox.”  That is, brain requires collapse, collapse requires brain.  As Dr. Amit Goswami points out in his movie The Quantum Activist:

“The observer effect leads to the conclusion that the observer’s looking must have some interaction involving nonmatter because material interactions, according to the mathematician John von Neumann’s famous theorem, can only convert possibility waves into other possibility waves; never into actualities. So this nonmatter is the observer’s consciousness, but what is it? If you say it is that which looks, what we conventionally call subject, we get a paradox. Obviously, the subject does not exist without the brain, but without collapse, we only have a possible brain.”

Dr. Goswami uses quantum physics to resolve this paradox.  By promoting the theory that both matter and mind have their origin in consciousness Dr. Goswami concludes:

Quantum physics, in its considerations of the quantum measurement paradox, tells us what consciousness must be in order to avoid all paradoxes of thinking about it.

  1. Consciousness is the ground of all being; matter consists of possibilities of consciousness itself.   Since consciousness is choosing from itself, this assertion avoids the paradox of dualism—how does consciousness interact with matter without a signal? Quantum physics gives the radical answer: there is no signal. This signalless communication is called quantum nonlocality.
  2. Another tendency is to think that we choose with our individual consciousness. This also gives a paradox: who gets to choose in the case of a dichotomous traffic light discussed in the movie. The solution leads to the same idea as above:  original consciousness, the source of our downward causation, is nonlocal. This source we may call God, following older traditions;  but it is objective and we can equally call it quantum consciousness.
  3. There is no mathematics for collapse; no continuous algorithm can be given for it. Collapse is discontinuous. What is discontinuity? When an electron jumps from one atomic orbit to another, it does so without going through the intermediate space.
  4. The electron’s quantum leap is an example of discontinuity.  Quantum measurement in the brain is tangled hierarchical, meaning that there is a circular relationship among the brain’s components. This gives us self-reference. In the process of quantum measurement involving the tangled hierarchical brain, consciousness splits itself into a subject  (that experiences) and an object (that is experienced). In the process, consciousness identifies with the brain.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Goswami’s ideas, click  on the link on this site.

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