Recently I did an online presentation to an audience while I knew I shouldn’t be speaking about electrons, photons and double slit experiments and all that phyicist stuff. Still, I wanted the participants to glean a useful insight into what quantum physics has to say about the world and how it supports the idea of a consciousness that doesn’t depend on our material brain. It worked wonderfully, given the comments and the questions. That is why I am posting this introduction here as well. I’ll start with some basic definitions.
When we talk about particles, what are we actually talking about?
- A particle is a concept that originates from classical Newtonian physics. That is, it is a model and therefore does not necessarily have to be the true reality. What follows is therefore only the definition of the concept of a particle. However, one that we usually use when we think and talk about reality.
- A particle is an object where all of its matter exists within its boundaries. It has clear defined boundaries.
- A particle has an exact location and speed.
- Material reality consists of particles and their interactions.
- Particles cannot pass through each other, they collide and usually bounce back or stick together.
- Particles exist in place and time but are not part of it.
When we talk about waves, what are we actually talking about?
- A wave is a moving excitation of a coherent medium.
- A wave has no boundaries. The boundaries are those of the medium. The boundaries of a wave in the ocean are the surrounding coasts.
- A wave has speed and frequency, but not a precise location.
- That a wave has no boundaries means that the wave is present everywhere in the medium. Every wave in the ocean exists everywhere in the ocean.
- A wave is not apart from the medium. It is the medium in a state of excitation.
- Waves do not collide but pass through each other. Their excitations can be added at any time, creating more complex waves. Even standing waves.
Waves and particles
Waves and particles are thus completely different concepts. To claim that something is a wave and a particle at the same time is therefore confusing, it’s nonsense, a sham. Don’t fall for it.
The quantum wave is a non-material wave
A sound wave is a good example of a material wave with the air acting as the coherent medium. Ditto for a wave in water. The quantum wave and its medium, on the other hand, do appear to be non-material, given the following facts:
- The mathematical dimensions of the quantum wave’s physical properties do not exist in our 3D reality.
- The immaterial quantum wave of an object gives us the probability of observing that object as a particle when we focus our attention on a certain location at a certain point in time.
- The outcome of such a focused attention is called a “measurement” by physicists. Physicists do not agree in this regard to what an exact definition of a measurement is. The result of a measurement is, without exception, something that, independent of the instruments used, an experience in our consciousness.
- That the quantum wave is a probability wave strongly suggests that the quantum wave is something that is not taking place in material reality but in our mind. Probabilities are not matter. They are numbers.
- The medium in which a non-material wave propagates must be coherent because a wave can only exist in a coherent medium. A good candidate for a coherent non-material medium is, of course, the mind.
- Prior to the ‘measurement’ – the observation – the observed particle does not exist. This has been confirmed in many experiments and is therefore a major source of cognitive discomfort for many physicists. That discomfort is in turn the source of interpretations that turn out as inconsistent and/or absurd on critical consideration – such as, for example, the multiverse hypothesis – when these try to explain this phenomenon materialistically.
- There is no known reason why the manifestation resulting from observation – the quantum collapse – should be limited to atomic dimensions. The fact that we experience the world as a permanent presence is no proof that this is indeed the case. The statistical probability that my desk will be in the same place on the next time I observe it is so close to 100% that I don’t have to worry about that at all. Every time I look it is – it materializes – exactly where I expect it to be. The discontinuities are so small I’ll never be able to observe them.
- Since the quantum wave itself has no boundaries – that is a basic property of a wave – any object can in principle materialize instantaneously at any location in the universe, although that probability is generally extremely small. This may sound far-fetched, but it is the basis of the so-called quantum tunnel effect, where objects materialize on the other side of an impenetrable barrier without being able to pass through it. This effect has been known since 1927 and is at the root of nuclear fusion, all semiconductor technology and also of the efficiency of the metabolism of animals and plants, something that was discovered at the end of the 20th century. Quantum tunneling can happen even faster than the speed of light.
An observation (measurement) thus seems to bring the manifestation about of the observed object. This is not necessarily a cause-effect relationship. It is conceivable and even credible that perception and manifestation are identical, that they both do take place in the mind. Hopefully it has become somewhat clear to you how quantum physics does not contradict the idea of a consciousness that exists independently of our brain and can survive death. It even supports it.
For those people who object that it would then be sufficient to simply close their eyes to an oncoming bus or train, for them I have this answer: train and bus are examples of macro objects. It is true that as long as they are not observed, they are a non-material probability wave. The probability of being hit by that bus is 99.999999999999% (or closer to 100%). So, closing your eyes will not help very much, and it should not be forgotten that we have more senses than eyes alone. Finally, the bus driver is also an observer, of course. In philosophy the view of the world as being entirely inside mind is called Idealism.
The above is an extremely concise summary of my view as a physicist on the meaning of quantum physics. If you want to know (much) more I have to refer you to my website or to my book. I invite you not to believe me on my word, but to be curious and to do your own exploration of quantum physics. No mathematics needed.
You can see the presentation ‘Quantum Physics and the Afterlife’ I did here.