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quantum buddhism

edited February 2012 in Philosophy
this just came to me:

quantum physics is to newtonian physics
as
buddhism is to conventional consensus reality.

quantum physics and buddhism are both unravellings of illusions that are generally taken as truth. one major difference: quantum physics is only halfway home; buddhism seems to have made it all the way.

:-)
«13

Comments

  • ThaoThao Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    i have all these quantum phyic books that deal with religion, and I only understand 1/100000 of what is written, but i don't know if they are correct or not. so they just sit there telling me nothing.
  • ThailandTomThailandTom Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    I thought this many many months ago and have made a variety of posts on it on this forum and one I was on over a year ago. Physics is now getting to a point where SOME of the THEORIES coincide with buddhist teachings in some ways. However, buddhism has taught them for over 2,500 years, science within the last 20 or so.

    If you look at science going back throughout the years, much of what was once a theory or even common belief has been disproved eventually. I am sure soon enough the newest of all theories will be altered or disregarded. For example, the big bang theory has now been said to be something slightly different. Our universe collided with another universe, the membranes colliding and rippling off of each other creating an entirely new universe, thus us. The world was once flat, we once were at the centre of the universe and the sun and other stars orbited around us.

    Science is something created by man and we can only measure/observe it with utensils also created by man. It is all a delusion after all and will not lead to a spiritual life
  • edited September 2010
    Science is not so much disproved as modified as more exact data becomes available in the fullness of time.
    Hard to fault that surely?
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    rachMiel wrote: »
    quantum physics is to newtonian physics
    as
    buddhism is to conventional consensus reality.
    Hmmm, I don't agree, newtonion physics and it's derivatives are correct, as is quantum physics, they just explain different things. Consensus reality is a mental construction, an illusion, whereas Buddhism is the method to see through the illusion. They're not really comparable.

    It's become a fad recently to put use 'quantum' with regard to subjects that it has nothing to do with. Quantum physics suggests that ultimately the universe is chaotic, with particles arising without cause, linking to others without reason and annihilating without obvious intervention. But this only holds true for the very, very small. Buddhism teaches that all things happen for a reason, and it is seeing the links that phenomena have that allow us to observe directly the lack of inherent permanence. The two aren't practically compatible. But they are both true.
  • edited September 2010
    Thailand Tom, :):)
    With regards to utensils of man not leading to a spiritual life, I would beg to differ.
    I've long had strong spiritual inclinations as well as a fascination with the night sky above me.
    Three years ago I found myself in a position where I could buy a utensil of man and invested in a medium/large scale telescope.
    Several times in my peering into the work shops of creation in our Universe, I have become transfixed with the view and have found myself, for a second or two, totally losing all personal sense of consciousness - suddenly, myself and the scope and the world that holds them ceases to be, and I am visually, viscerely, experentially and intimately connected directly with the immensity and glory of the "isness" that I'm seeing in the eye piece (Sorry for bad prose, but really hard to explain):)
    The effect has been so strong as to make me physically reel from the eye piece of the scope in a moment of delerium. (I like a cold beer on a hot day but I don't drink when using the scope. :D)
    Get a good microscope and check out a drop of creek water or the leaf of a plant. Here is wonder and beauty in transcendent glory - the same as a view through a good scope.
    My personal view is that utensils of man, like any other tool, may enhance spiritual growth and comprehension if utilised thoughtfully.
    In the Work. :)
  • edited September 2010
    > My personal view is that utensils of man, like any other tool, may enhance spiritual growth and comprehension if utilised thoughtfully.

    makes sense to me. if any moment can be THE moment (of awakening), the surely any tool can be THE tool. yes? ten thousand paths all leading to the same (lack of) destination. :-)
  • edited September 2010
    > Hmmm, I don't agree, newtonion physics and it's derivatives are correct, as is quantum physics, they just explain different things. Consensus reality is a mental construction, an illusion, whereas Buddhism is the method to see through the illusion. There not really comparable.

    the way i see it: consensus reality SEEMS utterly real; buddhism shows us that it's not. likewise: newtonian physics SEEMS utterly real; quantum physics shows us that it's not (when you go far enough down (subatomic) to start getting at the essence).
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    rachMiel wrote: »
    the way i see it: consensus reality SEEMS utterly real; buddhism shows us that it's not. likewise: newtonian physics SEEMS utterly real; quantum physics shows us that it's not (when you go far enough down (subatomic) to start getting at the essence).
    I get the analogy, still wrong though ;). Classical newtonian physics isn't wrong or unreal, it describes the largescale, quantum mechanics describes the smallscale, the "theory of everything" would successfully combine the two. Quantum mechanics isn't more true than classical physics, just different.
  • jinzangjinzang Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    If your point is that both quantum mechanics and Buddhism contradict our common sense view of reality, that's definitely true. But some of the ideas of classical physics also contradict our common sense. The idea that a body in motion will stay in motion indefinitely unless acted upon by a force (Newton's First Law) goes against our experience.
  • edited September 2010
    > Classical newtonian physics isn't wrong or unreal, it describes the largescale, quantum mechanics describes the smallscale, the "theory of everything" would successfully combine the two. Quantum mechanics isn't more true than classical physics, just different.

    Chrysalid, hi. :-) I'm not ignoring your last posting, rather: researching it! ;-) I'd always understood quantum physics to be science's (current) way of attempting to get at the underlying nature of physical reality. And I'd always assumed that this underlying nature would be equally valid on the macro (newtonian) and micro (quantum) level ... and all levels in-between. So your assertion was a bit jarring, and I'd rather not respond to it until I'm satisfied I have an accurate understanding of what I'm talking about!

    Thanks for inspiring me to dig deeper. :-)
  • yuriythebestyuriythebest Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010

    It's become a fad recently to put use 'quantum' with regard to subjects that it has nothing to do with. Quantum physics suggests that ultimately the universe is chaotic, with particles arising without cause, linking to others without reason and annihilating without obvious intervention. But this only holds true for the very, very small.

    I agree completely - many age quacks who want to sound legitimate to sell something usually spew out some stuff about quantum mechanics to sound "scientific"
    Buddhism teaches that all things happen for a reason, and it is seeing the links that phenomena have that allow us to observe directly the lack of inherent permanence. The two aren't practically compatible. But they are both true.
    Then I think Budhism is wrong in that regard - the world is full of random events, and trying to find "meanings" behind random stuff that happens to you is in my opinion grandiose and egotistical - like you are so important that special events with "meanings" would occur just for our spiritual growth -come on.
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    I agree completely - many age quacks who want to sound legitimate to sell something usually spew out some stuff about quantum mechanics to sound "scientific"
    Heh, yeah. If you ever look in the back of New Scientist they quite often have a little section where people send in new-age quackery like Quantum Massage and the like, can be quite amusing.
    Then I think Budhism is wrong in that regard - the world is full of random events, and trying to find "meanings" behind random stuff that happens to you is in my opinion grandiose and egotistical - like you are so important that special events with "meanings" would occur just for our spiritual growth -come on.
    I mostly agree. Things are rarely random, except on the subatomic level, on the large scale the cause of something is usually traceable. But I agree with you that Buddhism can take things too far, that it interprets every phenomena as relating to our actions and intentions. Sometimes stuff just happens.
    A member of ELO was killed recently when a hay bale rolled out of a field and smashed through his windscreen as he drove along a country road. Was this his karma? Did a negative past action tailor the events of his life in so fine tuned a way that he would be driving along that specific road at that specific time? That seems dafter to me than Elvis and Michael Jackson having an alien lovechild. But I guess some people need to have a reason, and something to blame, for everything that happens to them.
  • yuriythebestyuriythebest Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    Chrysalid wrote: »
    But I guess some people need to have a reason, and something to blame, for everything that happens to them.

    Exactly so. From what I've read people have hyperactive agency detection that can give you false positives. What this means basically, was that in ancient/prehistoric times it would pay to be scared 100 times by shadows rather then see a tiger once and not recognize it as a tiger, and if something happens to you (like you get sick, you can't find something, someone dies for no understood reason), it is always safer to assume that someone did it (be it a person,a witch, spirit, deity, etc) then leave it to chance when it comes to surviving and passing your genes- otherwise an enemy/traitor/rival might randomly kill of you or your family (I'm talking prehistoric times here).
  • edited September 2010
    > Classical newtonian physics isn't wrong or unreal, it describes the largescale, quantum mechanics describes the smallscale, the "theory of everything" would successfully combine the two. Quantum mechanics isn't more true than classical physics, just different.

    my research on this begins to yield fruit. :-)

    my brother, a scientist and long-time professor, wrote me the following. i'm quoting out of deference to his expertise.

    "Newtonian physics fails even at the macroscopic level of big things, as Al Einstein instructed us. That becomes most vivid when things are going really fast relative to one another, but the failure is universal, all speeds, all scales. It gets worse at the level of little things, since even the basic model in statistical mechanics of point-like fundamental particles breaks down."

    assuming he's correct, this validates my original assumption/assertion: that newtonian physics got it wrong. but it doesn't address the other half, that quantum physics attempts to get it (ALL) right. so you see i have more research to do.

    having fun! :-)
  • ShiftPlusOneShiftPlusOne Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    No scientist will tell you "THIS is exactly how everything works and we know this for a fact" at the same time the fact that something is a scientific theory doesn't mean it's useless. For a theory to qualify as a scientific theory it needs to a pass a variety of criteria. Most importantly it needs to be able to predict results of something and do so every time. If a theory does this, it is not wrong in any way.

    Just because one theory applies to one situation and another theory applies in another doesn't mean either is wrong or useless. They are both right and useful. Scientists don't worship these theories as if they're the answer to everything, they simple recognize their value.

    Think of what goes into making your computer work, the sheer complexity is amazing. The electrons are coming coming through the wall outlet, are rearranged, aligned and are forced to go into one direction at just the right current and just the right voltage. They pass through transistors which steer their flow as you desire. All this happens millions of times per second just to display the text you are reading. You can say chemistry and physics is all based on 'theories', but these theories and tried and true and are the reason for this technology.

    "Physics is now getting to a point where SOME of the THEORIES coincide with Buddhist teachings in some ways."

    I have to disagree strongly there as well. Buddhism has not and cannot be used to form any of the theories. The only way Buddhism is linked to physics is that they don't contradict each other unless you get into Buddhist cosmology.

    The reason scientific theories change is because we learn new things. You should not use that as an example against science, it's the goal and the main strength of science.

    Science and Buddhism are not in conflict with each other. Neither impedes the other and neither helps the other. There's no need to act like Buddhism is greater or more useful than science or the other way around.
  • edited September 2010
    > For a theory to qualify as a scientific theory it needs to a pass a variety of criteria. Most importantly it needs to be able to predict results of something and do so every time. If a theory does this, it is not wrong in any way. ... Just because one theory applies to one situation and another theory applies in another doesn't mean either is wrong or useless. They are both right and useful.

    SPO: hi. :-) i don't know how "theory" and "right/wrong" are defined by science, so i won't comment on this. but as i see it if a scientific "law" is in error by even a miniscule amount, it is not fully correct, like a metaphor that does a great job describing reality, but doesn't hit it 100% ... because it's a metaphor. what i've been assuming all along is that quantum physics is attempting to go beyond the metaphor of newtonian physics to full-on reality/truth, just as Buddhism goes beyond the metaphor of existence to full-on truth.
  • edited September 2010
    With regards to "Laws" and "Theories" - they differ slightly in meaning and application.
    Evolution is a theory.
    The Conservation of Angular Momentum is a Law.
    I'd try to explain that better if I had the necessary schooling but instead of reading my inept ramblings, try reading chapters 3 and 4 of Hawking's "A Briefer History of Time."
    (I think he does a much better job of it than I could.)
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    Buddhism and Quantum Physics might have certain similarities in a poetic way, but only on a superficial level. Buddhism holds no final metaphysical claim, all assertions about the nature of reality are skillful means that serve one end..cessation of suffering. Figuring out the true nature of reality is a side loop. The books I've read that draw parallels, like the Dancing Wu Li Masters and Tao of Physics, all make the same mistake of reifying "Emptiness" as a generative quantum void. This is misguided, and misguiding. If it perks people's interest that's great, but the practice will lead away from that kind of speculation.
  • ChrysalidChrysalid Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    rachMiel wrote: »
    my brother, a scientist and long-time professor, wrote me the following. i'm quoting out of deference to his expertise.

    "Newtonian physics fails even at the macroscopic level of big things, as Al Einstein instructed us. That becomes most vivid when things are going really fast relative to one another, but the failure is universal, all speeds, all scales. It gets worse at the level of little things, since even the basic model in statistical mechanics of point-like fundamental particles breaks down."

    assuming he's correct, this validates my original assumption/assertion: that newtonian physics got it wrong. but it doesn't address the other half, that quantum physics attempts to get it (ALL) right. so you see i have more research to do.
    You're looking at this arse-about-face, Newtonian laws are old but they hold true to the everyday physics of a 17th century person and still hold true for most of our activities today. As we've learnt more we've added to the base that Newton constructed with theories and laws that Newton couldn't have imagined, like electromagnetism and General Relativity.
    Altogether this is called "Classical mechanics".

    Quantum mechanics agrees with most of classical physics, but also deals with the forces we find on the subatomic scale and the wave/particle dualism, that classical mechanics doesn't attempt to go into.
    General relativity, or how gravity relates to spacetime and matter, doesn't gel with quantum mechanics because general relativity allows matter to distort spacetime creating curvature, whereas quantum field theories rely on particles fixed in flat spacetime.
    Attempts to get it "ALL right" include string theory and loop quantum gravity.
  • ShiftPlusOneShiftPlusOne Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    rachMiel, I don't know what you're getting at. You have your idea, but where does it stem from?
  • edited September 2010
    which idea? that scientific "laws" are metaphors? or that quantum physics is trying to get at the truth that underlies the illusion of newtonian physics?
  • ShiftPlusOneShiftPlusOne Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2010
    both
  • edited September 2010
    you know i think this is interesting enough -- and ot enough from my original posting here -- to merit its own thread:

    http://newbuddhist.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7270

    please join in. :-)
  • Quantum Buddhism- the ultimate truth revealed!

    I am often shocked at the way in which many people offer opinions on issues when they do not have the necessary knowledge and information to have a considered opinion. When I was living in a Buddhist center 10 years ago the inhabitants would often wander around uttering statements such as ‘there is nothing put there’, meaning that the external world was completely insubstantial. But when I questioned many of them for a deeper explanation of what they meant I generally found that they could not explain themselves. I therefore set out to do the necessary research to get to the truth of the matter, or lack of matter. The research took me almost 10 years and finally resulted in me publishing my first book: Quantum Buddhism – Dancing in Emptiness: Reality Revealed at the Interface of Quantum Physics and Buddhist Philosophy.

    I can therefore assert with absolute confidence that the assertion by rachMiel that
    quantum physics is to newtonian physics
    as
    buddhism is to conventional consensus reality.

    is correct. The various statements claiming the opposite are made on the basis, I am very sorry to say this, on lack of information.

    For example consider the statement by Chrysalid that:

    Quantum physics suggests that ultimately the universe is chaotic, with particles arising without cause, linking to others without reason and annihilating without obvious intervention.

    This is fundamentally wrong. The functioning of the quantum realm when unobserved is described by a wave function which is a continuous mathematical equation. This is why Henry Stapp, a distinguished quantum physicist, tells us that the Heisenberg account of the situation divides into two processes:

    •Process 1 – the discontinuous change when one probability is actualised by an observation.
    •Process 2 – the continuous and deterministic evolution of the wavefunction when not observed.

    Now process 1 of course takes place when an observation takes place and the wave function ‘collapses’. But although this process is discontinuous it is not chaotic. This is because this process conforms to a probability pattern. If the universe were really chaotic the universe would be completely chaotic and sentient life would be impossible.
    As I show in my book these two processes corresponds to what Buddhist metaphysics calls ‘the two truths’ or the ‘two realities’ – process 1 corresponds to conventional or seeming reality and process 2 to the ultimate realm of mind-like ‘emptiness’.

    In order to have the necessary knowledge to pronounce of such issues someone needs familiarity with a lot of fairly intricate stuff. In quantum theory, for instance, one would definitely need to have read in detail quite a few articles and books by, and this is not exhaustive but of the top of my head: Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Pauli, David Bohm, Henry Stapp, Anton Zeilinger, Roger Penrose, Wojciech Zurek, Erich Joos, Paul Davies, Steven Hawking, Bernard d’Espagnat, Amit Goswami, Frank Wilczek, Jim Al-Khalili, Everett, Richard Feynman, John Wheeler, Hugh Everett, Eugene Wigner…etc. etc….

    In Buddhist philosophy one needs to know in detail the metaphysical positions of Yogachara-Chittamatra, Svatantrika-Madhyamaka, Prasangika-Madhyamaka, Dzogchen, Shentong, Rangtong… If you do not know what these metaphysical accounts of reality are I do not see how one is in a position to judge on this issue.

    To give one example of a precise correspondence between quantum theory and Buddhist philosophy here is what quantum physicist John Wheeler concluded:

    Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.

    And here is the Buddhist Chittamatra statement of the same conclusion:

    The entire world was created through latent karmic imprints. When these imprints developed and increased, they formed the earth, the stones, and the seas. Everything was created through the development or propagation of these latent karmic potentials.

    Karma is action which builds up potentialities for future effects. Here is quantum physicist Henry Stapp’s depiction of ‘quantum karma’ (my term not his):

    …quantum theory demands – a draconian shift in the very subject matter of physical theory, from an imagined universe consisting of causally self-sufficient mindless matter, to a universe populated by allowed possible physical actions and possible experienced feedbacks from such actions.

    You can find more on my website – www.quantumbuddhism.com. If you cannot afford my book I have put articles on the site for free!
  • DaltheJigsawDaltheJigsaw Veteran Mountain View Veteran
    Exciting thread!
  • shanyinshanyin Novice Yogin Sault Ontario Veteran
    i have all these quantum phyic books that deal with religion, and I only understand 1/100000 of what is written, but i don't know if they are correct or not. so they just sit there telling me nothing.

    aha me too man

    the only thing that it told me was

    particles act different when you look at them or something

    but what if they're lying? haha

    if a tree falls in a forest and noones around to hear it does it make a sound?

    im good eh
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran

    the only thing that it told me was
    particles act different when you look at them or something,but what if they're lying?
    I think this is an important discovery. I think it means that the presence of an observer, and consciousness can affect physical reality. So things aren't as static as we thought. We interact with quantum reality. In a way, it makes us co-creators of the universe, of reality.

  • edited February 2012
    When quantum mechanics talks about observation or an observer, observer means the measurement apparatus and observation means the interaction between a quantum state and the measurement apparatus. Consciousness doesnt play a role in the collapse of the wave function.

    For those familiar with the double slit experiment:





    ()

    When the electron going trough the slit is observed, the observing device is nothing conscious, its a device, a sensor.


    ihepf


    btw: my first post :)!







  • ihepf says:


    When quantum mechanics talks about observation or an observer, observer means the measurement apparatus and observation means the interaction between a quantum state and the measurement apparatus. Consciousness doesnt play a role in the collapse of the wave function.

    This is not correct. Which is why Roger Penrose says in his massive tomeThe Road to Reality:

    …almost all the conventional‘ interpretations of quantum mechanics ultimately depend upon the presence of a perceiving being…

    More recently, when discussing the many-worlds quantum interpretation, Wojciech Zurek, the originator of the quantum Darwinism perspective, tells us that it seems that:

    …the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our illusive consciousness...

    Now what Zurek claims is that although at the quantum microscopic scale the evidence is clearly that consciousness selects an alternative from the multiple alternatives, the 'decoherence' into classical type possibilities occurs much before a single consciousness is involved. But this is because the material world is a collective illusion built up over vast time periods. This is why the great physicist John Wheeler wrote:

    Law without law. It is difficult to see what else than that can be the plan of physics. It is preposterous to think of the laws of physics as installed by a Swiss watchmaker to endure from everlasting to everlasting when we know that the universe began with a big bang. The laws must have come into being. Therefore they could not have been always a hundred percent accurate. That means that they are derivative, not primary … Events beyond law. Events so numerous and so uncoordinated that, flaunting their freedom from formula, they yet formulate firm form … The universe is a self excited circuit. As it expands, cools and develops, it gives rise to observer-participancy. Observer-participancy in turn gives what we call tangible reality to the universe … Of all the strange features of the universe, none are stranger than these: time is transcended, laws are mutable, and observer participancy matters.

    And this is why quantum physicist Bernard d'Espagnat, who is regarded as an authority of the metaphysical implications of quantum theory, in his book Veiled Reality says that the objectivity of the apparently material world is a 'weak objectivity' because it ultimately depends upon consciousness.

    This is basically what Hawking and Mlodinow say in their book The Grand Design . Thus one of the central chapters in The Grand Design is entitled 'Choosing Our Universe‘ they write:

    The idea that the universe does not have a unique observer-independent history might seem to conflict with certain facts that we know. There might be one history in which the moon is made of Roquefort cheese. But we have observed that the moon is not made of cheese, which is bad news for mice. Hence histories in which the moon is made of cheese do not contribute to the current state of our universe, though they might contribute to others. This might sound like science fiction but it isn‘t.

    This is what Steven Hawking has concluded!

    But the physicists I have mentioned so far are not the only ones, the notion that consciousness is involved in a deep way is now accepted by the majority. Here is Henry Stapp from his book Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics, a physicist who discussed these matters with Heisenberg:

    We live in an idealike world, not a matterlike world.‘ The material aspects are exhausted in certain mathematical properties, and these mathematical features can be understood just as well (and in fact better) as characteristics of an evolving idealike structure. There is, in fact, in the quantum universe no natural place for matter. This conclusion, curiously, is the exact reverse of the circumstances that in the classical physical universe there was no natural place for mind.

    I could so on and on quoting this stuff because I researched it for 10 years. Now ihpef seems to think I am wrong so perhaps he/she might like to read my article 'The ‘Self-Aware’ ‘Emptiness’ of the Quantum-Epiontic Universe' which can be found here->

    http://quantumbuddha.byethost12.com/qb-newindex.php?pg=5

    and tell me where I go wrong because it seems to me that the reasoning is pretty watertight!

  • Furthermore - it is ironic that the youtube clip ihpef has put up is by Dr Quantum - an alias for Fred Alan Wolf who was a major collaborator in the atrocious film What The Bleep Do We Know!?. This film was devoted to telling people that they could instantaneously transform their lives once they knew about consciousness and quantum theory. This 'new age' exuberance is over the top. But what it actually said about the entanglement of consciousness at the quantum level is correct. This is why Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner have written the important book Quantum Enigma.
    You can find out more about it here->

    http://quantumenigma.com/

    Rosenblum and Kuttner lay into the film for its over-the-top new-agey appraoch and yet R and K say that:

    About an experimental demonstration of the quantum enigma.
    No theory can ever resolve the enigma without encountering the conscious observer.

    And just to round off. Schrodinger concluded:

    Mind has created the material world out of its own stuff.

    And Planck said:

    Mind is the matrix of matter.

  • Furthermore - it is ironic that the youtube clip ihpef has put up is by Dr Quantum - an alias for Fred Alan Wolf who was a major collaborator in the atrocious film What The Bleep Do We Know!?. This film was devoted to telling people that they could instantaneously transform their lives once they knew about consciousness and quantum theory. This 'new age' exuberance is over the top. But what it actually said about the entanglement of consciousness at the quantum level is correct. This is why Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner have written the important book Quantum Enigma.
    You can find out more about it here->
    I didnt know the author of the youtube clip i put up, i choose it because i think it explains the experiment well and to make my point about the word "observer".

    Here is a a critical paper from Michael Nauenberg about the book "Quantum Enigma" which you mentioned:

    http://physics.ucsc.edu/~michael/qefoundations.pdf


    Because you quoted a lot of famous physicists i will do the same(taken from paper above):

    Heisenberg:

    "Certainly quantum theory does not contain genuine subjective features, it does not introduce the mind of the physicist as a part of the atomic event"

    Feynman:

    "Nature does not know what you are looking at, and she behaves the way she is
    going to behave whether you bother to take down the data or not"


    Wheeler:

    "Caution: “Consciousness” has nothing whatsoever to do with the quantum
    process."

    Legget:

    ". . . it may be somewhat dangerous to ‘explain’ something one does not understand
    very well [the quantum measurement process] by invoking something
    [consciousness] one does not understand at all!"

    Bell:

    "I see no evidence that it is so [that the cosmos depends on our being here to
    observe the observables] in the success of contemporary quantum theory. So I
    think it is not right to tell the public that a central role for conscious mind is
    integrated into modern atomic physics. Or that ‘information’ is the real stuff of
    physical theory."

    Wigner:

    "This writer’s earlier belief that the role of the physical apparatus can always be
    described by quantum mechanics implied that “the collapse of the wavefunction”
    takes place only when the observation is made by a living being—a being
    clearly out of the scope of our quantum mechanics. The argument which convinced
    me that quantum mechanics validity has narrower limitations, that it
    is not applicable to the description of the detailed behaviour of macroscopic
    bodies is due to D. Zeh"

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    :clap:
  • Response to ihepf

    Thanks very much for the Nauenberg paper reference. I shall read it and respond - in fact I will probably write an article. There are some other critiques of R & K on Youtube I want to look at and respond to as well.

    With regard to Heisenberg, the following is from my article The Mind Like Nature of the Vast Emptiness of Reality:

    In the early days of quantum mechanics Heisenberg lamented after a late night discussing the quantum situation:

    Can nature possibly be as absurd as it seems to us in these atomic experiments?

    This clearly indicates that Heisenberg was deeply shocked that the quantum level of reality behaved in such a deeply counterintuitive manner, as the other physicists of the time were. Physicists at the time were expecting to find some sort of inherently existing fundamental 'particles‘, but there did not seem to be any. The manner in which Heisenberg began to ―feel comfortable with the situation is indicated in the following quotes:

    The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior. [Heisenberg]

    … the act of registration of the result in the mind of the observer. The discontinuous change in the probability function … takes place with the act of registration, because it is the discontinuous change in our knowledge in the instant of registration that has its image in the discontinuous change of the probability function. [Heisenberg]

    When the old adage "Natura non facit saltus" (Nature makes no jumps) is used as a basis of a criticism of quantum theory, we can reply that certainly our knowledge can change suddenly, and that this fact justifies the use of the term quantum jump‘. [Heisenberg]

    It seems quite clear here that Heisenberg relates together the jump from quantum wave to experienced particle as involving a change of state of knowledge, and in the first quote
    Heisenberg clearly rules out the notion of elementary particles. Stapp, who actually discussed quantum issues with Heisenberg, says regarding Heisenberg‘s views:

    Let there be no doubt about this point. The original form of quantum theory is subjective, in the sense that it is forthrightly about relationships among conscious human experiences…


    So how come Heisenberg said as quoted by ihepf:

    Certainly quantum theory does not contain genuine subjective features, it does not introduce the mind of the physicist as a part of the atomic event.

    Ihepf is not giving the full quote. What Hesenberg actually says is:

    Certainly quantum theory does not contain genuine subjective features, it does not introduce the mind of the physicist as a part of the atomic event. But it starts from a division into the "object" and the rest of the world and from the fact that at least for the rest of the world we use classical concepts for our description. The division is arbitrary and historically a direct consequence of our scientific method, the use of the classical concepts is finally a consequence of the general way of human thinking. But this is already a reference to ourselves and in so far our description is not completely objective.

    He them goes on to emphasize that the measuring apparatus must be connected to an 'observer':

    The measuring device only deserves this name if it is on close contact with the rest of the world, if there is an interaction between the measuring device and the observer...

    And a few paragraphs later Heisenberg clearly states (and this is a famous quote form him):

    This again emphasizes a subjective element in the description of atomic events, since the measuring device has been constructed by the observer and we have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

    Now I have to say that, having read most of what Heisenberg says on this subject, he seem a bit cagey on this issue - but here he clearly states that there is a subjective element. So why the first bit. Well what H means is that the actual individual consciousness and any particular observer is not a part of the quantum ground, neither furthermore, is the quantum ground 'subjective' in the sense that an individual mind is subjective. But this is fine, as I said the consciousness is entangled in some way - I did not say that the quantum realm was subjective in the same way that individual consciousness is. Stapp discussed these issues with H and states that Heisenberg considered there was a subjective element in quantum theory and the FULL quote shows this is correct.

    I will deal with the other quotes in the next post...




  • Response to ihepf part 2


    Feynman:

    "Nature does not know what you are looking at, and she behaves the way she is
    going to behave whether you bother to take down the data or not"


    Feynman was a great physicist but a rubbish philosopher. Now what he is saying here is that Nature is not going to respond to an individual act of observation. Well he is wrong - if quantum theory is correct then Nature must - as Heisenberg indicates. However because the material world has been built up epiontically (as Zurek puts it) over vast time scales by a kind of universal ground non-individuated quantum ground-consciousness the amount of response Nature has to any one observation is negligible. As I said it is an inter-subjective creation.

    Wheeler:

    Caution: “Consciousness” has nothing whatsoever to do with the quantum
    process.

    If you go and look at the full context of the whole quote this comes from you will see that this is only part of the story - again ihepf is missing out important surrounding remarks. This remark come directly after Wheeler says:

    Useful as it is under everyday circumstances to say the the world exists "out there" independently of us, that view can no longer be upheld. There is a strange sense in which it is a "participatory universe."

    He then goes on to issue his caution. Why? Because he is indicating that we should not think that an individual consciousness is directly involved here. I think he is wrong on this, but the extent that the individual consciousness is involved is such as its effect upon the material world over short time scales is incredibly negligible.

    The problem for Wheeler is that although he knows that the evidence indicates that the universe is co-created over vast time scales he does not want to seem to get too mystical and new-agey and as a result he says something incorrect.

    His overall view however is indicated:

    "We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what's happening in the distant past why should we need more?"

    If he meant this then consciousness has to be involved at the quantum level. Physicists are not generally good philosophers!


    Legget:

    ". . . it may be somewhat dangerous to ‘explain’ something one does not understand
    very well [the quantum measurement process] by invoking something
    [consciousness] one does not understand at all!"


    Leggett, by his own words, doesn't understand quantum theory and doesn't understand consciousness. With such a deep lack of understanding he not worth taking seriously!


    Bell:

    "I see no evidence that it is so [that the cosmos depends on our being here to
    observe the observables] in the success of contemporary quantum theory. So I
    think it is not right to tell the public that a central role for conscious mind is
    integrated into modern atomic physics. Or that ‘information’ is the real stuff of
    physical theory."


    This was written, out of prejudice and not on the evidence, before the experimental confirmation of the violation of his inequalities. Elsewhere he says that it may be the case that consciousness is involved but he his clearly uncomfortable with the idea.


    Wigner:

    "This writer’s earlier belief that the role of the physical apparatus can always be
    described by quantum mechanics implied that “the collapse of the wavefunction”
    takes place only when the observation is made by a living being—a being
    clearly out of the scope of our quantum mechanics. The argument which convinced
    me that quantum mechanics validity has narrower limitations, that it
    is not applicable to the description of the detailed behaviour of macroscopic
    bodies is due to D. Zeh"


    Zeh has the same view, more or less as Zureck - epiontic paradigm - epistemology creates ontology. Again the issue concerns the extent to which individual consciousness effect the quantum realm. Wigner though that individual consciousness collapse wave functions. This is what Zeh convinced him to abandon. I am not sure what Wigner came to believe in its stead. But as I have said the views of Zurek, Zeh and Joos clearly indicate an inter-subjective creation of the universe. I go into this in great detail in my article The ‘Self-Aware’ ‘Emptiness’ of the Quantum-Epiontic Universe
  • I have just noticed a couple of unfortunate typoes in my posts

    Beginning of first post->

    When I was living in a Buddhist center 10 years ago the inhabitants would often wander around uttering statements such as ‘there is nothing OUT there’, meaning that the external world was completely insubstantial. But when I questioned many of them for a deeper explanation of what they meant I generally found that they could not explain themselves.

    End of last post above->

    Zeh has the same view, more or less, as Zureck - epiontic paradigm - epistemology creates ontology. Again the issue concerns the extent to which individual consciousness can effect the quantum realm. Wigner THOUGHT that individual consciousness could collapse wave functions. This is what Zeh convinced him to abandon. I am not sure what Wigner came to believe in its stead. But as I have said the views of Zurek, Zeh and Joos clearly indicate an inter-subjective creation of the universe. I go into this in great detail in my article The ‘Self-Aware’ ‘Emptiness’ of the Quantum-Epiontic Universe.

  • Im not sure i understand you correct. What causes in your theory the selection of one state of the superposition:

    interaction with a conscious _individual_ ( separated) observer

    or

    mind made universe interacting with itself?





  • The details are fully explained in my article

    http://quantumbuddha.byethost12.com/qb-newindex.php?pg=5

    If I reduce the view to some catchy statement it will be open to misunderstanding. In order to understand you need to investigate the details. A short catchy paradoxical Zen-style answer would be 'both'. But unless you delve into the details you wont understand what I mean! This is actually true of Zen answers - a lot of people don't realize that Zen paradoxes do not make sense outside of an understanding of the overall Zen philosophy.
  • Okay, i have read your article and a little bit into decoherence resulting in a change of mind on this:
    Consciousness doesnt play a role in the collapse of the wave function.
    I think it could possible that the actual selection of one of the eigenstates is made by consciousness, because anything prior to consciousness can be described as a quantum state, which only gives probabilities.

    I guess i have to ponder that problem a little more.

    question: can a dog collapse the wave function? ;)
  • All sentient beings are collectively involved, at a deep level of what the West calls the unconscious - which for Buddhism is just a deep level of the operation of non-individuated consciousness, in bringing actualities out of quantum probabilities. As they do this they strengthen the potentialities of the chosen world for the future. This a version of what the Russian physicist Michael Mensky calls the Extended Everett Concept. I am about to do an article on him - he is very good. There are papers you can get from the internet. I have got an interesting quote from Everett on animals and quantum collapsing - I will post it when I get home.

    Best wishes!
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    question: can a dog collapse the wave function?
    Mu?
  • edited February 2012
    question: can a dog collapse the wave function?
    Mu?
    Mu-aybe
    All sentient beings are collectively involved, at a deep level of what the West calls the unconscious - which for Buddhism is just a deep level of the operation of non-individuated consciousness, in bringing actualities out of quantum probabilities
    Which hasnt much to do with "my" consciousness , and so does not differ from the perspective where unconsious matter just behaves strange on his own.

    Even if (un)consciousness literally picks microscopically states to be reality, it still has to be in accordance with the probability patterns calculated by quantum mechanics. so this
    (un)consciousness doesnt seem to be too powerful and independent from mathematics.

    i guess the impact my consciousness has on reality in a conventional way trough thoughts is much bigger.

    Like thinking about a problem, finding a solution and then creating a machine, or thinking about having a house and then building it.

    Now one could argue how conscious that process is...
  • Which hasnt much to do with "my" consciousness , and so does not differ from the perspective where unconsious matter just behaves strange on his own.

    It has everything to do with “your” consciousness because without the nondual non-individuated ground consciousness – actually I prefer the term primordial awareness because we are talking about the energetic field of potentiality which has an intrinsic cognizant capacity, without this deep level of self-aware potentiality you would not have consciousness or its containing body. Everything rests within this primordial field, this is what Zurek call the ‘epiontic’ ‘dream-stuff’ – any kind of dream-stuff which is ‘epiontic’ must have a cognizant capacity (because ‘epi-’ requires perception).

    There is a continuum of ‘consciousness’ – starting from the completely nondual primordial ground up through what David Bohm called quantum ‘implicate orders’, which are increasingly ‘explicate’ levels of awareness consciousness. Now most people are completely unaware of these deeper levels of consciousness lying beneath the upper levels of the scattered mind. Proficient meditators who can focus and unify their minds, however, can stop thoughts and then experience the bliss and luminosity of the mind resting in its own cognizant nature without cognizing anything in particular. When you generate this meditational state it is like resting in a pristine sea of crystalline blissful awareness. When you do this you are training yourself towards resting in the ground consciousness which is a more universal awareness. Meditation like this is extremely powerful for the mind – it creates a deep clarity which can penetrate the nature of reality more easily.

    Even if (un)consciousness literally picks microscopically states to be reality, it still has to be in accordance with the probability patterns calculated by quantum mechanics. so this (un)consciousness doesnt seem to be too powerful and independent from mathematics.

    At the ‘higher ’more ‘explicate’ states this is true. However a meditator who takes his or her mind toward the ground consciousness experiences degrees of freedom from these during meditation. An enlightened mind becomes completely free.

    i guess the impact my consciousness has on reality in a conventional way trough thoughts is much bigger.

    Enlightenment and the attainment of the ultimate realm of the primordial ground beyond the ground consciousness has an unimaginable impact upon consciousness – such a consciousness becomes the mind of the universe!

  • It has everything to do with “your” consciousness because without the nondual non-individuated ground consciousness – actually I prefer the term primordial awareness because we are talking about the energetic field of potentiality which has an intrinsic cognizant capacity, without this deep level of self-aware potentiality you would not have consciousness or its containing body.
    I dont know why i have consciousness or its containing body , nor if body is containing consciousness or consciousness is containing body, and i dont think anybody knows, at least there is no scientifc consens on this.

    That everything emerges from a conscious field is one possibility, but its just this, a possibility.

    I could postulate a reality with a "ground" which contains the properties for matter and consciousness but is itself neither conscious nor material, that wouldnt be any more mysterious than the possibility above.

    There is a continuum of ‘consciousness’ – starting from the completely nondual primordial ground up through what David Bohm called quantum ‘implicate orders’, which are increasingly ‘explicate’ levels of awareness consciousness. Now most people are completely unaware of these deeper levels of consciousness lying beneath the upper levels of the scattered mind. Proficient meditators who can focus and unify their minds, however, can stop thoughts and then experience the bliss and luminosity of the mind resting in its own cognizant nature without cognizing anything in particular. When you generate this meditational state it is like resting in a pristine sea of crystalline blissful awareness. When you do this you are training yourself towards resting in the ground consciousness which is a more universal awareness. Meditation like this is extremely powerful for the mind – it creates a deep clarity which can penetrate the nature of reality more easily.

    Enlightenment and the attainment of the ultimate realm of the primordial ground beyond the ground consciousness has an unimaginable impact upon consciousness – such a consciousness becomes the mind of the universe!
    Cant say much about the passage above. Im anything but an advanced meditator. I had some funny and strange experiences, including something like expanding of my feeling of consciousness, but in the end every experience ended and i think there is a good possibilty that all these experiences were created by my own mind heavily coupled to and based on the functioning of my brain. Now i only meditate to calm my entanglement with thoughts to see clearer the conventional reality right in front of my eyes.

    None the less, i do think there is a good chance that consciousness is a basic element of the universe like matter.

    In the end i just dont know, and i dont think that the problem of consciousness will be solved because one self is too deep involved in this whole matter. Its impossible to perfom experiments on a subjetive basis.

    best wishes!
  • question: can a dog collapse the wave function?

    This is from Barrow and Tipler’s The Anthropic Cosmological Principle:

    Everett [of many-worlds fame] realized that it is more appropriate to think of the measuring apparatus rather than the Universe as splitting. In a reply to a criticism by Einstein against quantum mechanics, to the effect that he [Einstein]could not believe .. a mouse could bring about such a drastic change in the Universe simply by looking at it’, Everett said ‘…it is not so much the system that is effected by an observation as the observer… The mouse does not affect the universe – only the mouse is effected.

    Actually Everett was wrong - the mouse is affected and in return the mouse affects, to a vanishingly tiny, tiny degree, the universe. This is why John Wheeler said that:

    Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.

    So even the 'notes struck out' by the mouse (or dog) must have some effect!

  • I could postulate a reality with a "ground" which contains the properties for matter and consciousness but is itself neither conscious nor material, that wouldnt be any more mysterious than the possibility above.


    Yes you could, if you wanted to be logically incoherent. Unless this ground had the potentiality for consciousness and the appearance of matter, consciousness and the appearance of matter could not ‘emerge’ from it. Now we know matter – solid, continuous ‘stuff’ does not exist – which is why I refer to the appearance of matter (this clearly fits Zurek’s epiontic viewpoint). So our ground can only be an immaterial ground (and the quantum ground is immaterial) which has the potentiality to produce individuated consciousness. Such a ground, however, must be of the nature of consciousness, if it wasn’t it could not produce consciousness. So our only possible candidate for a ground of reality is an immaterial field of potentiality which has the nature of consciousness. Anything else is incoherence. Buddhist philosophical reasoning is coherent reasoning of the highest calibre – which is why it accords so closely with quantum discoveries. Buddhist Dzogchen call this ground something like Mindnature (depends upon whose translating).


  • Its impossible to perform experiments on a subjective basis.


    Buddhist meditation is a means of performing experiments on a subjective basis, and as we know that the ultimate nature of reality is of the nature of consciousness, meditation is also experimentation upon the nature of reality!
  • edited February 2012

    Yes you could, if you wanted to be logically incoherent. Unless this ground had the potentiality for consciousness and the appearance of matter, consciousness and the appearance of matter could not ‘emerge’ from it.
    Postulating a ground which is not conscious and not material but consciousness and matter emerges from it isnt any more logically incorehent then saying matter emerges from a ground which is conscious. In both ways we just dont know how it works. Because we dont know and cannot say what it can and what not i see no problem with my alternative ground.


    Edit:
    Its impossible to perform experiments on a subjective basis.


    Buddhist meditation is a means of performing experiments on a subjective basis, and as we know that the ultimate nature of reality is of the nature of consciousness, meditation is also experimentation upon the nature of reality!
    Yeah sure, you can meditate, but you cant compare your results to the results of someone else in a way that makes sure you have experienced the same.

  • Postulating a ground which is not conscious and not material but consciousness and matter emerges from it isnt any more logically incorehent then saying matter emerges from a ground which is conscious. In both ways we just dont know how it works. Because we dont know and cannot say what it can and what not i see no problem with my alternative ground.


    Within Western philosophy prior to the twentieth century and always within Buddhist philosophy it was and is accepted that it is incoherent to suggest that something which has no trace of a certain quality could magically produce that quality. For instance in doing even simply maths algebra you cannot just add on anything you like to an equation because it suits you. If you do this then you can prove anything - you can prove 0=1 - look I will demonstrate:

    0 = 0 is a correct equation. Now suppose I introduce a rule which says I can add on something which is not in the equation to suit my whim:

    0 = 0 + 1 so now I have proved 0 = 1 wow this is a powerful rule I can prove anything.

    Now the reason that consciousness cannot arise from matter is that matter is defined to be devoid of consciousness or any glimmer of consciousness. Similarly matter cannot logically arise form consciousness - it we are using the Cartesian definition of consciousness and matter - which are the Western concepts- but the appearance of matter can - this is the Buddhist position which matches the quantum epiontic paradigm.

    So a ground which is absolutely devoid of conscious qualities cannot give rise to consciousness - its illogical.
  • Yeah sure, you can meditate, but you cant compare your results to the results of someone else in a way that makes sure you have experienced the same.


    Yes you can - that's what meditation teachers and manuals are for - have you heard of the jhanas for instance - these states are precisely defined and can be taught.

  • Within Western philosophy prior to the twentieth century and always within Buddhist philosophy it was and is accepted that it is incoherent to suggest that something which has no trace of a certain quality could magically produce that quality.
    Emergence describes the phaenomen that something new arises out of parts which wouldnt indicate the "newness".


    http://www.logarithmic.net/pfh-files/reconstruction/emergence.png

    In this picture the parts have round and line properties but none of them is a rounded triangle or a circle.

    In the same sense a ground could have conscious and material properties but itself is neither conscious nor material.

    you can prove 0=1 - look I will demonstrate:

    0 = 0 is a correct equation. Now suppose I introduce a rule which says I can add on something which is not in the equation to suit my whim:

    0 = 0 + 1 so now I have proved 0 = 1 wow this is a powerful rule I can prove anything.
    If you postulate a framework in which it is ok to add only to one side of the equation then 0 = 1 wouldnt be a problem. The problem is that you compare your result 0 = 1 to the framework where it isnt allowed to only add to one side, which creates the paradox.

    Yes you can - that's what meditation teachers and manuals are for - have you heard of the jhanas for instance - these states are precisely defined and can be taught.
    You could use the same words to describe the experience, but you will never know if your meaning for the word bliss is the same meaning that i use for the word bliss.

    I will never know what is like for you to bite into an apple.
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