|21 Dec 2006 @ 10:21, by Beto Hoisel|
What happened to old objective reality, the stronghold we all used to trust? It's dramatic! Many ingenious scientists continue to investigate its disappearance.
Most scientists think the quantum mysteries have only one explanation – theirs – and refuse even to discuss deviant opinions. The problem is the many parties existing in this quantum politics; all of them think to be right and there's no agreement on most points. Even the most impartial critics, such as Nick Herbert, consider as incompatible some views I don't see as contradictory.
In his 1985 book “Quantum Reality”, Nick Herbert lists several parties in the quantum politics scene. He regards them as mutually discordant, and assigns to us the responsibility to decide which one is the correct interpretation. Let's see a brief description of each party's approach, who are their leaders and most distinguished members.
REALITY 1 THE COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION
Leader: Niels Bohr.
Doctrine: 1. There's no reality in the absence of an observation. 2. The act of observation creates reality.
Leading members: Heisenberg; Fred Alan Wolf; David Mermin; Sir Rudolf Peierls; John Wheeler.
Comments: This is the majority party in the scientific community. It has two factions: those who think only microreality is created by the observing act and those who affirm this extends to macroreality, in everyday life. In his book, Nick Herbert considers these two groups as separate parties.
REALITY 2 THE HOLISTS
Leader: Walter Heitler.
Doctrine: 1. Reality is an indivisible whole. 2. Subject and object are undivided parts of each other.
Leading members: David Bohm; Fritjof Capra.
Comments: A broad and liberal group especially to its members, who sometimes support other parties without renouncing their doctrine.
It's said that holism has concealed sympathizers inside other parties, who don't uncover because they're afraid of being labeled mystics.
REALITY 3 THE GARDEN OF SPLITTING PATHS
Leader: Hugh Everett III.
Doctrine: 1. Reality consists in a multiplying number of parallel universes created in each act of observation or measuring. 2. In each situation where numerous results are possible, all of them actualize, each in its own universe.
Leading members: Paul Davies, David Deutsch, Bryce DeWitt.
Comments: Proposed by Hugh Everett in 1957, it replaces the concept of universe with the idea of a multiverse. When the wave function collapses, it does it in all possible options, each of them generating a new copy of the universe, which multiplies in fantastic proportions. However, according to the doctrine "we're only aware of one of these copies". In spite of its shocking character, unacceptable to our poor common sense, it's the most direct and contradiction free interpretation of quantum theory.
REALITY 4 A NEW LOGIC
Leader: John von Neumann.
Doctrine: 1. Quantum world obeys a non-human form of rationality. 2. It's necessary to learn how to think quantum-logically.
Leading members: Garrett Birkhoff (charter member); David Finkelstein.
Comments: Common objects of daily life obey a rational logic acceptable to our common sense put forward by George Boole in 19th century. Von Neumann and Birkhoff suggested, in 1936, that an understanding of quantum phenomena would require boolean logic to be discarded. This party's body of electors is meager, since it demands a non-human intelligence.
REALITY 5 THE NEO-REALISTS
Leader: Albert Einstein (honorary).
Doctrine: 1. The world is made of common objects, also made of common micro-objects. 2. There's something missing in quantum theory to convert it from probabilistic into causal.
Leading members: Max Planck; Erwin Schrödinger; Louis de Broglie (in the beginning and end of his career, but he spent twenty years affiliated to Reality 1); David Bohm (also connected to holistic party).
Comments: Conservative citadel of the nonconformist followers of Newtonian-Cartesian physics, concedes a honorific distinction to Albert Einstein who as we have seen repudiated his daughter and, maybe due to that attitude, is still in pains at the purgatory, despite being such a virtuous soul. To be a neo-realist, to believe the world is made of common objects easily acceptable by common sense, is the most ominously dark heresy according to Nick Herbert's view. All distinguished members of Reality 5 have already passed away.
REALITY 6 CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS
Leader: Eugene Wigner.
Doctrine: 1. Reality is created by consciousness. 2. Physical objects have no attributes if a conscious observer is not looking at.
Leading members: Von Neumann (he also leads Reality 4, but his heart belongs to Reality 6): Walter Heitler (another who plays in two teams): Fritz London: Henri Pierce Stapp.
Comments: If the electorate we're considering also included non-scientists this would be the largest of all parties. A large number of those who aren't afraid of being insulted as “mystics”, easily adhere to that interpretation of the world. Nonetheless I can see Reality 6 party thriving in this beginning of century and millennium as far as experiments, theorems and the feelings of scientists (yes, indeed we have feelings!) point in that direction.
REALITY 7 THE DOUBLE WORLD POTENTIAL/ACTUAL
Leader: Werner Heisenberg.
Doctrine: 1. The world has two aspects, one potential other tangible, real. 2. Tangible reality emerges from a former potential condition, a new kind of physical existence.
Leading members: ?
Comments: The revival of the Aristotelian concept of a potential existence as a distinct state of being, by Heisenberg, recognizes the dual polarity of existing/non-existing as too crude to grasp all nuances of being. The notion of a potential existence is related to the state of quantum entities prior to the wave function collapse. This view has no overt followers, since as a matter of fact it isn't a party or faction, but rather a conception underlying the doctrine of several quantum parties.
Next to our open-hearted examination of these interpretations, comes to my mind the perception that all of them are right, and the observed disagreements are more probably symptoms of philosophical obstinacy than something really incompatible. I'm convinced it's possible to assume a position on a kind of “imaginary singularity” where such differences lose their meaning and we can see all of them as correct in its own way. Immersed in that prevailing mental attitude I devised a Theory of Relational Consistence, which abandons a so called “point of view” and assumes what could be christened a “field of view”, without any privileged standpoint. Evidently a precise account of that conception could only be given in mathematical language, which I'll not use now. However, I'm sure I can make me well understood in the straight and plain daily speech.
We departed from the basic postulation that wholeness comprises two aspects we will call the real and imaginary slopes. The first is the existential locus of the objective world; it manifests predominantly in the three dimensions of space and comprises the physical universe and the material world occupied by objects, and the verb to exist applies to it. The second slope, complimentary to the first, is the existential locus of the subjective world, manifested primarily in the three dimensions of time and to it we will apply the neologism to inist. It consists of the mental, psychical or spiritual world, necessarily centered on a subjectivity – a consciousness – and is occupied by subjects. The prevalent connection of these slopes respectively to the dimensions of space (real) and time (imaginary) doesn't mean they cannot appear in the complimentary dimensional triad: this frequently occurs through geometrical projections. These two slopes are not segregated poles; rather they are in constant interaction. A wide spectrum of complex entities formed by imaginary and real parts in varied proportions resides between these poles.
If we accept the inistence of subjectivities as the imaginary face of wholeness, then we comprehend it's meaningless to assert something exists if that existence doesn't refer to one subjectivity at least. The presence of a subjectivity is therefore indispensable to something exist, and that something can be the entire physical universe.
Embracing a field of view without privileged standpoints, I acknowledge Everett's multiverse as a serious proposition, however I emphasize my disagreement on a very important item, which is the basis of my findings: NOT ALL POTENTIAL UNIVERSES ARE ACTUALIZED, BUT ONLY THOSE CENTERED IN A SUBJECTIVITY. Each subjectivity is the center of a real universe in her or his evolutionary process, her or his own private universe of grief or glory, of frustrations or achievements, of disbelief or plenteousness. There are so many generative centers of parallel universes as many subjectivities exist in every cultured heavenly body of the cosmos. Each one of us live in our own steadily unfolding parallel universe, similar to other universes only if the subjectivities considered are under interaction, and according to that interaction intensity. Besides, each subjectivity has its own proper time and builds its own reality in the chronolinear flow we apparently live in.
“But... isn't there an objective reality, common to all of us, which functions as a reference to everyone?” This is the naive question most of us can ask. “No! It's not like that!” I reply with the same Niels Bohr's emphasis. What seems to be one and only shared reality, common to all of us, is a merely consensual construct, an outcome of innumerable wave functions we collapse to build reality, resulting in the collective illusion of a time arrow. This illusion adjusts the many interacting subjectivities, since there isn't any communal, objective and unique linear time.
“But... how can this illusion be so perfect that effective consequences exist, objective and confirmed as causal to our actions?” Answer: because in this fantastic multiverse everything fits everything correctly according to a principle of consistence, which avoids overlapping and jam of the uncountable parallel, convergent and divergent successive collapses of myriad wave functions. David Deutsch on one occasion said: “Physical reality is the set of all universes that evolve collectively, such as a machine where a cogwheel is connected to others, being impossible to move one without moving all of them.” The only critique I could add to David's statement is that such connections extend to all real/imaginary wholeness where we live, where we settle our “world tubes” – not to physical reality only which is just one side of wholeness.
To conclude, I wish to make clear that the characterization of what a subjectivity is, the delimitation of what is or isn't a subjectivity, is a problem still open to investigation, a topic to be studied and defined.
However, as a starting point I suggest that a subjectivity be defined as an entity endowed with the specific capability of collapsing wave functions, turning existent something that only inisted in a potential state. From that point on it's possible to propose a new conceptual foundation to a better understanding of intelligence, conscience and the individual spirit.