Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quantum mechanics and consciousness

In quantum mechanics, the very act of human observation changes reality. That is, by observing something, you are having an effect on what you are seeing. Sounds strange, doesn't it?

Once, I watched these "ants" at work when carrying a piece of lime up a wall to their hideout. Wondering how on earth an ant society that has limited ability to communicate between themselves (pheromones are the main way of communication), they still apparently have other ways of communication. Why? Because the piece of lime is heavy! Even for an ant. It still managed to work with 20 or so ants together, carrying it up hill. But how does one ant know that another is getting tired? Do they need to?

This blog post here is about "entangled minds". It is an explanation about how we use intuition as another means of sensing the world around us. If you think the idea is ridiculous that minds can be entangled, and that at a sub-atomic level, things may interact in a different way than we think imaginable (that is, not like "matter"), then...

How about this... Do you ever get this eery feeling of being watched? and when you turn around or look around you, there *is* someone actually watching you? And you can sense this even when you are with your back turned to the person?

Or how do you explain that people in different parts of the world made historic inventions roughly around the same time?

Going back a couple of posts, I considered the point that consciousness is actually nothing more than an observation of mental processes that will happen no matter what you want or do. Thus, a perspective on the brain as if it were a giant, powerful computer that executes things no matter what, can be influenced by drugs (by inhibiting or stimulating receptors on cells), which on a higher level receives pre-processed input from our senses. It is also influenced by those ideas in quantum mechanics like the observation problem.

If this holds, then just as matter could be slightly more static, us as human beings are actually also part of that matter, the table in front of you and everything around us. If we are not as much in control of our thoughts as we think, then our thoughts are possibly also controlled by those things around us. Thus, as some movies make us believe, by observing something it falls together into a single state. But by not observing it, some object could be anywhere, anyhow and anytime. That is, the possibilities are that it is in all places at the same time. When we turn around and observe it however, it becomes static.

Now... we should probably not assume that it makes us a superhero, but maybe the idea is that by observing it we are interacting with it at a sub-atomic level.

This is surely mind-numbing to think about. We'd like to think that we're discrete, individual personalities that make up our own minds about things and have our specific achievements. But then we find out that we're just part of this big mess in a very different way.

If the above holds, then what does this mean for "causality", "determinism"? What patterns of control are there at this sub-atomic layer? How does that system keep itself in balance? And are electron patterns or executions in a computer ever going to reach this quantum state, in such a way that when a computer observes something, it is interacting with the environment? And if it is not, how is that going to affect the computer's effectiveness? Without intuition, will it ever be able to interact with an environment at all?

If we push this quantum space out of balance, will it push back?

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