Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Viewpoints 10: quantum entanglement

left photo: User:Bullenwächter
right photo: public domain
I am currently reading Harald Atmanspacher and Christopher A. Fuchs (eds), The Pauli-Jung Conjecture and its Impact Today. It's certainly not easy going and I can only take the formulae in some of the papers on faith. I wanted to get more of a grasp of the Pauli-Jung Conjecture as I have the Pauli-Jung Letters on order and the book should arrive in a day or two. Pauli and Jung, in what must be one of the most fruitful interdisciplinary discussions of the twentieth century found a conjectural bridge between mind and matter uniting quantum physics with psychology. The primary result of this was Jung's paper Synchronicity: an acausal connecting principle. It also had considerable influence in On the Nature of the Psyche. The former title was misunderstood almost from the start in the popular mind (including skeptics) to be about meaningful coincidences. Synchronicity is the simultaneous happening of an event in the material world with a disturbance in the unconscious where the two are united by meaning. If you are thinking of someone and they suddenly phone it is either a meaningful coincidence, or you are psychic. Who knows? In neither case, though, is it synchronicity.

What would a quantum of mind be like? I think that it would consist of attention to an "it". Attention is indivisible: when we say that we do not have all of our attention on something, it really means that we have attention on other things as well. Attention can be multiplied. Attention is also primary in the process: we cannot call this thing "a signal" because that carries an inference of a transmitter and a receiver, some sort of space between them and a shared perception. That situation would be way down the road, countless nanoseconds later. We cannot even define the "it". In fact, at the very instant of that attention, we have parted company with objectivity.

Quantum entanglement "is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently—instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole." (most famously expressed expressed in the EPR paradox).

I remember a recurring nightmare I had when very young that stemmed from a sensation, one night, of floating outside of my body and seeing my bedroom stripped of all significance. Sure, I could see a bedside table with its objects but these were perceptions of light waves and carried no meaning, not even as light. Nor was there any perception of future or past.

Not long ago, my coydog made a sudden bolt toward a garden gnome while we were out for a walk. I realized, immediately, that he had thought it was a jackrabbit. Tristan's ancestors had a long relationship with jackrabbits. They shared similar camouflage and the jackrabbit learned to be motionless when danger was near. Only when it knows it has been found out will it bolt. Tristan spends some time studying motionless jackrabbits with suspicion. As with squirrels, he is slowly learning how to approach them very slowly. When I say "rabbit" he knows that one of those creatures is near, but I think that he believes it to be my sign for whatever he thinks of it. In his quantum mental state what I see as a gnome hat he sees as what I call ears. We both be see eyes below that, but I can be sure that they are eyes, only for me. Even though I know they are not real eyes , I am still thinking "eyes". He also knows that jackrabbits are usually motionless when he first sees them. He learned that garden gnomes (or however he has them categorized) do not bolt when attacked.

In making the composite image above, I picked the source photos for the garden gnome and the jackrabbit on the basis of pose and colour to mimic Tristan's sort of perception apart from sensory ability (dogs do not see colour, only tones). I translated it for human perception. His "jackrabbit" original quantum mental state consisted of (apparently) two factors: a pattern made by the ears and the eyes and the state of motionless. Having no knowledge of gnome hats, they became ears. But there was perhaps a third factor: edibility. Failing that, poor Tristan experienced a paradox. His new mental quantum entanglement now contains provisions for garden gnomes and he ignores them. Dare I hope that he is starting to embrace transdisciplinarity and has become aware of a garden gnome reality?

As attention becomes perception and comparisons can be made, mindfullness ensues and its products are even further from any objective reality. What we see as reality is sampled by our minds and thereafter is translated into the stuff of mind where it can be compared and contrasted by the psyche with other examples of that same stuff. All meaning resides within the mind and none resides in the object.

I've quoted this before, from David Bohm:
"We have got to see that thought is part of this reality and that we are not merely thinking about it, but that we are thinking it”. (On Creativity, p. 141)

That the closest we can get to pure objectivity is by being close to unconscious seems like another paradox doesn't it?

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