Multiversa hypothesis incompatible with the double slit

Hugh Everett’s proposition – everything that is possible, happens.

One of the hypotheses that tries to explain the phenomena in quantum physics, especially the quantum collapse that occurs at every measurement – the abrupt end of the quantum state wave and the appearance of the particle – is Hugh Everett’s Multiversa hypothesis. Remember; the state wave is a wave that contains all the possible states of the particle to be measured. In Everett’s proposal, everything that can happen happens physically. Therefore the actual universe, where the measurement takes place, splits into as many physical universes as there are possibilities. In all those split-off universes there exists a copy of the conscious experimenter. Each copy thus perceives one of the results of the experiment. There is then no quantum collapse at all that mysteriously occurs on measurement.

Initially, there were only a few supporters of Everett’s idea. But right now, the idea has quite a lot of support among quantum physicists. Its attractiveness is easy to understand. A non-material consciousness is not needed in his hypothesis, so we can continue to assume that consciousness is a product of the material brain. Which is still the most popular hypothesis in neuroscience today despite a huge amount of excellent forensic and casuistic evidence to the contrary. They apparently wish to remain ignorant of this evidence.

The double-slit as test

Reflecting on the multiversa hypothesis, I thought of Richard Feynman’s statement; “The mysteries of quantum mechanics can be understood from just one experiment. That’s the double slit experiment. The experiment is simple, but the results leave us in awe.” The question then becomes this: can I understand the double slit experiment from the Multiversa hypothesis? Can the double slit experiment serve as a test for this outrageous hypothesis?

The double slit experiment was first performed by Thomas Young in 1805. He let sunlight shine through two slits – two narrow parallel scratches on a sooted glass plate. The result of this looked then and looks still like this:

Interference patterns created by sunlight. (Berdnikov)

Parallel colored bands of light separated by dark bands (fringes). This is called an interference pattern. This pattern is easy to understand with the view of light as a wave. The two slits act as synchronous sources of light waves. The synchronous waves running from the two slits meet and at each location their amplitudes are added together. This is called superposition. The superposition of these two waves creates contiguous fanning lines of maximum vibration (intensity) and between them also contiguous fanning lines of rest (darkness). The colored lines arise because sunlight consists of a whole spectrum of wavelengths, from red to violet, and for each wavelength the locations of its maxima are at different distances from the central maximum.

Explanation by Thomas Young. Flaring lines of maximum deflection arise from the superposition of two synchronous waves.

For more info, I refer you to this excellent YouTube video from Veritasium.

Nevertheless, light is made up of particles

The great problem is that light is not a continuous wave phenomenon, but consists of energy packets, photons, where the energy E of each photon is proportional to the frequency f of the wave. This proportionality constant is Planck’s constant, discovered around 1900. Incidentally, it is difficult to imagine a frequency of the photon itself when it is a particle. What is the frequency of a particle? What does it look like?

E = h.f  h is Planck's constant: 6,626 x 10-34 J.s

Photons and the quantum state wave

Photons are light particles whose behavior is controlled by a quantum state wave, the Schrödinger state wave. (NB: A moving photon has never been directly observed, because the observation means the annihilation of the photon). Each part of that state wave can be described as a vector, an arrow that describes both magnitude and direction of the wave’s deflection. This vector must be described in imaginary dimensions, which is not a problem for the mathematician, but for our imagination it’s a problem. The state wave is not a material wave, which can also be inferred from the fact that this vector is not something existing in our 3-dimensional space. However, the absolute length of the vector squared at a particular location does indicate something useful, the probability of finding the photon at that location when measured. However, a probability is not a material phenomenon. The state wave isn’t either.

The frequency and the wavelength of that non-material state wave are the frequency and wavelength that we seem to measure in our experiments with light, although this apparently consists of photons. When we detect a photon, it is the result of the aforementioned quantum collapse, the abrupt end of the state wave, in which the photon transfers its energy to the detector – for example our retina. The photons that appear as points of light on the detection screen are thus the result of the quantum collapse of the state wave upon arrival at the screen. The cause of the quantum collapse has still not been experimentally determined, although recent experiments seem to indicate that it is caused by the information we can get about the state of the quantum particles. Everett seeks to completely eradicate this enigmatic quantum collapse.

The key – a continuous interference pattern

Back now to the Multiversa hypothesis. We will do an experiment, we will send a single photon through a double slit. According to that hypothesis, our universe splits into as many copies as are necessary to contain all possible photon detections. And these are quite a few. Quantum mechanics predicts a continuous spread of maximum and minimum intensities. So not a limited number of discrete points with nothing between.

The two-slit interference pattern is not one of sharply defined lines, but is gradual and thus continuous. So the block-like pattern on the right is not quite correct.

That means an infinite number of possible outcomes for where the photon can end up on the detection device. Possibly we can adjust that infinity to a countable number of possibilities by taking the Planck length as the smallest possible unit of length. At 10cm wide, it still gives you a huge number of possibilities, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1033. So, just sending one photon through a double slit and detecting it, has to result in about 1033 split off copies of our universe with just as many copies of you and me each observing one of those possibilities in their own universe.

In itself, that outrageously huge number is not sufficient proof that the Multiversa hypothesis is not the ultimate truth. But it seems to me anyhow a strong contraindication and in any case a good reason not to take it as seriously as is done by many physicists. Multiversa is still completely unproven and most likely unprovable.

Measuring at the slit and the multiverse

The Multiversa hypothesis should also be able to provide an explanation for a particularly remarkable, but time and again experimentally confirmed, phenomenon. As soon as we somehow, no matter how, set up the experiment in such a way that we can know through which slit our photon has passed, the interference pattern disappears. The result is a light spot that is strongest in the center and diminishes towards the sides.

As soon as the slits are observed in order to catch passing photons, the interference pattern disappears. There is only one expanding wave left per photon. With many photons, a single light spot is created in the middle behind the slits.

If it can be determined experimentally that the photon passes through the left-hand slit, this means that the state wave must have adapted itself to that information and has changed to a 100% probability of being present in the slit. A 100% probability, in my opinion, is identical to a material presence. In any case, indistinguishable from that. It is then easy to understand that from that location in the slit of 100% probability of presence a single state wave departs and no more wave leaves from the other slit. Which explains the single light spot.

Thus, in the Multiversa hypothesis, the way in which the universe splits into as many universes as there are possibilities, as represented by the state wave, has been significantly altered by our experimental set-up. Now how could my decision to measure or not to measure which slit the photon passed, trigger this massive adjustment in the creation of copies of the universe? A persistent materialist will argue that that decision of mine was already 100% predestined, whereby of course he also expanded the demon of Laplace in his possibilities to fully know and predict all those split-off universes. That is, for example, the – completely unproven – position of Gerard ’t Hooft, Nobel Prize winner.

Is this still plausible?

Is that, this frenzied proliferation of multiversa, wholly predestined in their unimaginable totality, still more acceptable than the hypothesis that the observer’s consciousness creates the manifested reality according to the information at his disposal? That’s my question.

A radical change in perspective

Still, I think Everett noticed something valuable. All it takes to make his hypothesis significantly more plausible, as far as I’m concerned, is a radical change in perspective. His idea was that everything that could happen actually happens. He saw our reality as objectively material. Not only was the reality that we experience material, but all those split-off universes were also material, and so were indistinguishable in the nature of their substance. Now consider that that last phrase, indistinguishable in the nature of their substance, can be disconnected from the idea of materiality. So if we see all those multiversa as non-material probability distributions in the state wave of the universe, then if we’re consistent, we should do the same for the universe we experience. Our daily world of experience is then in fact just as immaterial as all those possible universes that do exist in that state wave.

That is indeed a radical inversion of perspective. The advantage of it is that it offers enormous possibilities for the role of the mind with which we apparently choose and create our experiences from all these possible states. Free will is back, the survival of the spirit after – and before – death is possible again. The near-death experience (NDE) fits completely into this framework and no longer needs to be denied or dismissed as the hallucinations of a dying brain. The latter, by the way, is an idea that does not provide any explanation for an important reported and verified subset of these experiences. These are those NDE experiences where there is no plausible material explanation whatsoever for the content of the experiences. And those are legion. Read “The Self Does Not Die” by Rivas and Dirven. Even if you are an inveterate materialist, then that’s what you honestly should be doing.

Quantum Computers

An Easy Leap Into Quantum Computing © LiveAtPC.com

There are often interesting reports about quantum computers in the media. The world is on several places busy building quantum computers with very generous budgets, funded by governments and software giants such as Microsoft and Google. They are also working very intensively on this in The Netherlands, Delft – QuTech. Instead of writing blogs on it, spread over different moments, I have devoted a special page on my website to it. It is also made visible in the main menu. This page will – in addition to some information on the subject – contain also actual links to articles on this subject that are interesting to me and – important – readable for laymen.

So you are invited to have a look at Quantum Computers.

Gifts of Unknown Things

Sometimes, in a book actually not really about quantum physics, I unexpectedly come across a text that particularly appeals to me in the context of my idea that quantum physics has an important message for humanity. A message that is still not understood or not been recognized by the majority of scientists today. Lyall Watson however is a scientist who recognizes the message.

A scientist of stature

Malcolm Lyall-Watson is a widely oriented scientist of stature. He is a botanist, zoologist, biologist, anthropologist, paleontologist and ethologist. He was, among other things, director of the Johannesburg Zoo and has produced nature series for the BBC. Watson is an adventurer and also a captivating storyteller. This has resulted in a series of books of which I have only recently read just this one which leaves me wanting more.

I am concerned here with a passage in his book ‘Gifts of Unknown Things’ where he summarizes adequately quantum physics in three pages, in an attempt to explain his experiences on a small Indonesian island where the local population accepts extraordinairy phenomena as an element of everyday life. By the way, I can recommend the entire book to you, if only for its captivating reading pleasure.

An infinite book as a metaphor of the state wave

The text fragment in question: Watson presents in it a very understandable metaphor about quantum physical reality as a book where every set of two pages contains one of the infinite possible states of the universe. Where the book will open is unpredictable, but the book is bound and used in such a way that it does show a preference for certain pages. As long as the book is still closed, everything is possible, all pages – all possibilities – are still there. That is comparable to the situation where the state wave has not yet collapsed. The opening of the book is thus the measurement, the collapse of the state wave by the observation of the reader with only one pair of pages now being readable. But in fact everything is possible, all the pages are still there. Sumo – mentioned in the text – is one of the inhabitants of the island who, because of his belief system, cannot accept what he sees, until a dramatic outcome is needed.

A Modern Physics Problem

“Modern physics has a problem. In Newton's time, concern was directed largely at measuring things, because he believed, as many people still do today, that everything was knowable, and it was just a matter of clear thinking and lots of hard work. It was felt that the collection of information was vital and that when enough was available, the rest could be calculated or inferred. So classical physics for two centuries concerned itself almost entirely with the motion of bodies and the force of fields.

Then Heisenberg showed it was impossible to determine exactly the position and momentum of any body at a single instant in time. This discovery in itself would have been of only academic importance if it had not also shown that changes were necessary in some of the most basic equations of physics. The changes were made, and they resulted in the development of quantum mechanics, and this has begun to bring about a major philosophical revolution.

Physics is concerned with systems. As an example, let's choose a system made up of a number of moving particles that happen to look like the letters of the alphabet. The old physics had its classical equations of motion which were supposed to be able to calculate the complete state of such a system. Let's say that what they had in mind was an arrangement something like this page of this book. A pattern in code which would need deciphering but which could be used, they thought, like the Rosetta Stone, to understand the language and to predict the form of all future states, the pattern on all pages that might precede or follow this one.

The new physics says fine, but there is a problem. There is no such thing as a single state. Each system has an infinite number of possible states, and it exists in all of them simultaneously. Quantum mechanics recognizes not the page, but the whole book as a more valid expression of the pattern of a system at any one moment in time. In fact, it goes a lot further than this thin book can, because it needs an infinite number of pages.

Now, when we try to observe a physical system, when we attempt to make a measurement, we do not find a particle moving at a number of velocities, located in widely different positions. We catch the system in one of its infinite number of states. When we open a book, we see only one of the many different pages. With the book lying closed on the table in front of you, all those pages or states already exist, and any page is possible. The probability is not necessarily equal; there is usually a bias built into the binding which makes the book open more easily at a well-thumbed page. But with the covers closed, the system is open. It is a multiple state and enters a single state only when a reader comes along to take a measurement or make an observation.

In the words of quantum mechanics, an observer collapses the system into one of its component states. He is not part of the system, he is not one of the letters that make up the pattern on the pages, and he cannot be included in the equations. But neither can he be left out, because without him there cannot be any particular pattern. Without an observer, there is no description; but no description can be considered complete unless it takes into account the effects of the observer who made it. There is no such thing as an objective experiment.

This is the measurement problem, and it has left much of the physics community in a state of considerable disquiet. There are inevitably a number of unconvinced Newtonians (like Sumo) who are doing their best to discredit this interpretation, but so far they have had very little success. The uncertainty just won't go away. In fact, it gets more alarming all the time.

When a system is observed, it collapses into one of its states. But what happens when there is more than one observer?

Science refuses to accept as valid any measurement made by only one person. The experiment has to be repeatable and produce the same result. So when two scientists in widely separated laboratories succeed in making the same measurement, when they get the book to open at precisely the same page, there must be some factor which at that moment puts them on common ground. They must be linked. This linkage, which provides them both with the same page number, is a procedure that we call experimental protocol. It has to be followed precisely or the experiment will "fail"—the book will open elsewhere. It is a very strict procedure with a precise set of rules which require that individuality be held as far as possible in abeyance. It suggests that the scientific approach is a ritual, an incantation, a set of magic words and gestures for producing the desired effect.

And what if there are two observers stationed at the same vantage point? Assume that the two scientists involved in this work happened to be together in the laboratory when the experiment was completed successfully for the very first time. They were exploring new territory, so there was no established protocol; they were simply following a hunch. They collapsed the system and exposed one of its states. Both made the same observation. They saw the same page. This could happen only if the observation process itself united them in some way, or if one of them saw the state first and imposed his view of it on the other. Both sides in the quantum-mechanical argument support the theory of relativity which says it is not possible to put either of the observers first. So that leaves us with only one possibility. Observers of the same state at any moment in time are coupled. And if there are more than two, they are grouped. And as joint observers are often too far apart to hold hands or make any normal physical contact during the process of observation, they must be united by some nonphysical factor.

There is only one nonphysical entity that is nevertheless real and sufficiently widespread to be held responsible.

Our consciousness.”

From: Gifts of Unknown Things by Lyall Watson published by Inner Traditions International and Bear & Company, © 1991. All rights reserved.
http://www.Innertraditions.com  
Reprinted with permission of publisher.

I totally agree.

It’s not gravity

Gravitons stretch and bend space-time @ mindblowingphysics.pbworks.com

Paradoxes as signposts to the truth

I love paradoxes. They provide an opportunity to critically examine your assumptions. That’s what a scientist does if it’s right, not to deny or ignore the paradox, but straight to the point of the problem. In this way, the quantum paradox – the quantum collapse, a particle can be in several places at once but eventually manifests itself in one place when we try to perceive it – was addressed by pinpointing a classical physical cause, namely gravity as the cause of the collaps. Readers of my book already know that my opinion is that the observer does this with his consciousness. But that’s a hypothesis that many physicists don’t like. Even an outstanding thinker and physicist like Carlo Rovelli – read Helgoland – seeks the explanation in a property of matter, namely that matter only exists physically in interaction with other matter. In doing so, he eliminates the consciousness of the observer as the cause of the quantum collapse, but assigns almost telepathic properties to matter, although he wisely does not use that term.

Gravity as the supposed cause of the quantum collapse

The gravitational hypothesis – gravity as the cause of the quantum collapse – is therefore a popular hypothesis. The hypothesis was first proposed by the Hungarian physicist Károlyházy Frigyes in 1960 and later again by Lajos Diosi in 1980. In 1980 this idea was taken up by the well-known physicist Roger Penrose and further developed. It seemed a fruitful idea and put the quantum collapse firmly back into the purely physical realm. Much to the relief of many physicists. Hopefully, the paradox was dealt with. But of course, it must be possible to test it, like any hypothesis, and that was not easy in this case. It didn’t even seem possible.

The idea behind this hypothesis is that the gravitational field is a separate field and not a part of the quantum field. The gravitational field of an object can therefore not be present in several places and that means that the object has to ‘choose’ for a location. I cannot help pointing out here that a field — a state of empty space that exerts forces on the appropriate objects within it — is an abstract concept that, through frequent application, has acquired the status of something physical. We still don’t know what gravity is and I don’t think it’s a good idea to make something we don’t understand the cause of something else we also don’t understand. On top of that, it’s a big problem if you can’t test your hypothesis.

A test of the gravity hypothesis of Penrose in Gran Sasso

But testing the hypothesis – quantum gravity collapse – now seems possible, assuming a physical testable quantum collapse. A charged particle that manifests itself as a result of a physical cause will have to emit a photon when it appears in physical space-time. This is an extremely weak photon, but if this happens with a collection of charged particles at the same time, the effect becomes measurable.

Gravity is unlikely to be the cause of quantum collapse, suggests an underground experiment at Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory. © Tommaso Guicciardini/Science Source

In order to generate this effect, a special detector was built, which is then shielded as much as possible against background radiation. This was done by enclosing this detector in lead and placing it 1.4 km underground in the Gran Sasso National laboratory. The effect that was predicted by Roger Penrose, which should be significantly greater than the ambient radiation in that situation, was not measured. Thus, the gravitational hypothesis has been falsified. For more details, read the full article in Science.

Unfortunate? I think not.

This is of course a disappointment for the materialistic physicists, one favorite hypothesis less. But as far as I’m concerned, one step closer to what I think is the correct interpretation. We create the world by experiencing it. In our consciousness.

Non-duality, time and the art of happiness

And when the imagination gives birth to the forms of things we do not know, the poet's pen transforms them into shapes and gives a fleeting nothing a place to dwell and a name.

William Shakespeare

A very special potter

Rupert Spira is a potter by training. A graduate of West Surrey College of Art, he learned pottery at Wenford Bridge Pottery. His work has been exhibited in the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Sainsbury Collection, among others.

Poem Bowl – 2003 © Rupert Spira
Large open stoneware bowl, with poem inscribed through black pigment onto a white glaze, this covering entire exterior and interior surfaces.

In harmony with nature and human consciousness

But he doesn’t just make beautiful pottery. He received spiritual training from Raman Maharshi and Francis Lucille – among others – and thus learned about non-duality. He has developed into a spiritual master and has published a number of books on non-duality, which is best translated as ‘there is only one consciousness‘, Some titles:

  • Being Myself,
  • The Essential Self,
  • A Meditation on I Am,
  • Being Aware of Being Aware,
  • The Nature of Consciousness.

Rupert regularly organizes meetings and events where he teaches non-duality. Sources: Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian mysticism, Sufism, and Zen.

Spira is constantly working to explore the nature of mind and reality through his philosophy and pottery. The pottery is the result of the artist’s desire to create elegant pieces, in harmony with nature and human consciousness.

The reason he is discussed here, on a website about quantum physics and consciousness, is that he, like me but in a completely different way, has arrived to the conclusion that our experience of the world is best explained by assuming that there is only one consciousness of which we are all fragments.

The Nature of Consciousness and Time

In this interview by ManTalks on YouTube, Spira conveys his message in a very understandable and sympathetic way: the myth of materialism – which is the myth of separation – as the cause of our current problematic situation in the world. All is one. Time and space are experiences that the one consciousness offers itself, its individual fragments. Listening to him is for me a feast of recognition. Quantum physics comes briefly up but is only mentioned as an aside. That’s how it should be.

Rupert Spira – The Nature of Consciousness and Time © ManTalks

The experience of unbroken unity

Very appropriate in the context of quantum physics, and also what Rupert Spira is saying about the unbroken unity of everything, is this excerpt from a lecture of Professor Kurt Dressler, Professor of Molecular Spectroscopy at ETH Zurich, for the 1997 Mystics and Scientists conference:

Quantum theory describes the world as an unbroken whole which does not consist of parts. Our consciousness can analyze and cut the world, and it can do this in many different ways, for instance, into separate objects, into self and non-self, into spirit and matter, force and substance, space and time. Our consciousness can cut the cosmic event of quasi-simultaneous genesis, evolution, and existence of the universe into a sequence of apparently separate moments, spread out along a coordinate called 'time': the disentanglement of an essential, true, and unbroken whole, or onenness, or unity. To our mind reality appears to consist of individual objects. But a scientifically complete physical theory [of isolated objects] is the temporary product of philosophically completely self-satisfied physicists.

The entire lecture of Dressler can be found in ‘The Spirit of Science – From Experiment to Experience’ by David Lorimer, chapter 4, ‘The experience of Unity’.

Another nail in the coffin of materialism

© Maarten Ruijters

Quantum physics is a big problem for those who advocate the materialistic view of the world. Experiments, such as Bell tests and delayed choice experiments, show this time and again. The physicists are scrambling to fit the results of these experiments into their materialistic theories, which they can’t really do without metaphysical assumptions, such as a spooky non-local quantum field from which matter spontaneously emerges and disappears into it again.

On this website I am usually dealing with quantum physics and often how it conflicts with the materialistic paradigm. As long as we hold on to this paradigm, we will end up in paradoxes. A new challenge for that materialistic paradigm has now arisen, DNA is not the carrier of form and function. That’s why I like to write today about that in my quantum physics and consciousness blog.

DNA, function and form

Since its discovery in 1953, DNA has been the ultimate explanation for heredity, so also the explanation for all facets of living nature, including the form and functioning of living beings and plants. Now, through experiments with simple life forms, in this case mostly a simple worm, that idea has been turned on its head, literally . In the Michael Levine laboratory, extensive research has been done on how the shape of living things is changed by influencing the bioelectric fields in these organisms.

The production of the proteins that the living being needs to function is encoded in its DNA. But how its form is created, how specialist cells go exactly where they are needed is still an unanswered question. How symmetry comes about is still a complete mystery. Why is my nose in the front and not on the side of my head?

Cells communicate electrically

How do the cells of the organism cooperate to create something like your face? And last but not least, how do they know when and where to stop? What is it that regulates this process? It turns out that this cooperation between cells is regulated by an electric field, or at least that an electric field is involved. Cells communicate with each other via electrical signals. With a growing embryo, it is electrically communicated and coordinated which cells shall perform which functions. Cells use an electrical communication language.

A technique to view these electric fields in living embryos was developed in the Michael Levine laboratory . On top of that, they are also able to manipulate the development of the organism in a different direction by manipulating those electric fields. They did this, among other living species, with a simple animal, the flatworm (planaria). This animal is already quite complex, it has a head with eyes and a brain, a torso and a tail. The critter is also exceedingly regenerative, much to the chagrin of aquarium owners. You can chop it into a hundred pieces and each piece develops into a new perfect complete planaria. And when the new animal is complete, the development stops. Each piece must therefore contain the complete information about the shape of the whole worm. Until now it was believed that this information was stored somewhere in the DNA of the organism.

Planaria Torva © Holger Brandl, HongKee Moon, Miquel Vila-Farré, Shang-Yun Liu, Ian Henry, and Jochen C. Rink

The lab discovered that an electric field is involved in the development of form. Where the head and where the tail goes depends on an electrical gradient running from head to tail. The lab learned how to influence this gradient in the cells themselves. No external electric field was applied. The result was flatworms with two heads, or with two tails.

Two-headed planaria © Michael Levine Lab

And now comes the truly amazing thing. If you chop such a two-headed planaria into pieces, each piece regenerates into a two-headed planaria again. Now remember that nothing had been changed in the DNA of the animal! The building plan is therefore NOT residing in the DNA!

In the fascinating TedTalk below, Levine talks about morphogenetic fields that direct the build of the animal. Confirmation of Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields here?

TEDTalk. This conversation, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson, was recorded June 2020

This doesn’t just work in flatworms. In the above TEDTalk, Levine shows examples of tadpoles with extra eyes on their gut that they can also use to see, extra hearts, and extra swimming legs. They’ve even made clumps of cells, without tinkering with the DNA, that exhibit intelligent behavior, such as finding the way through a maze.

This is where an important article of faith of the materialist paradigm – we are our DNA – is completely destroyed.

Electrical form and function of organisms and inanimated matter

Following these results from the Michael Levine lab, Michael Clarage, someone who is usually more concerned with the role of electricity on at least the scale of planets and solar systems, suggests that electricity also appears to play a more important role in the development of all forms on the human scale and below, than was thought until now. He gives also special attention to the way in which cancer develops.

Michael Clarage: Electrical Shaping of Biology
Michael Clarage: Electrical Form & Function

The link with quantum physics

This morphogenetic field manifests itself in the Levine Lab experiments as an electrical gradient, but it does not have to be itself electric. It could easily be only a correlation. When these experiments show that the form and function of organisms are a result of the action of this morphogenetic field, then this can of course be extended to all organisms without any problems. Why would planaria be the exception? Isn’t it obvious to suppose that form and function of everything, including the inorganic, is the result of such a field. This is what Clarage tries to communicate. He mentions crystals, planets and solar systems in ‘Electrical Form and Function’. In that case, the quantum state of atomic objects like an electron, proton, atom, and so on is probably nothing more than this morfogenetic field. Quantum state waves are then the simplest elementary forms of this field. If we realize this, we can clearly see the link of this experiment to quantum physics.

Consciousness taken to court

It is the neurologists who still largely believe in classical physics, through which they want to explain consciousness as an emergent phenomenon of the brain. European neurologists are busy working on the Human Brain Project. This is one of the largest research projects in the world. In its final phase (April 2020 – March 2023) the HBP’s focus is to advance three core scientific areas – brain networks, their role in consciousness, and artificial neural nets – while further expanding EBRAINS. They expect – and hope – that their digital copy of the neural netwerk that we harbor in our skulls will become aware. For the sake of this emerging digital awareness, I hope not. In the main media I regularly come across articles that subscribe, rather uncritically, to this emergence idea. Fortunately, I also come across critical reviews, such as here in The Telegraph.

The neurologist’s message: your consciousness is a hallucination. It’s a recursive pattern within a pattern within a pattern of neuronal activity.

If you repeat a message often enough, a significant portion of the recipients will simply believe it. Just look at Donald Trump, about 43% of the male residents of the US currently believe that large-scale vote fraud has been committed in the presidential elections of 2020. The other male 57% are just looking uncomprehending at such a belief, since it can only survive if you completely ignore the facts. Apparently this is also the case with this neurological ‘We are our Brains’ brainwashing. It’s a belief. Verified facts are completely ignored. Entire tribes believe it. Of course you are free to believe what you want, but this is a belief with major consequences for science, humanity and its future.

A lawsuit

Suppose the question of the origin of consciousness were the subject of case law. In such a fictitious case, consciousness is accused of masquerading as an objectively existent thing when, according to the indictment, it is just a hallucination of our neurons. Therefore, its right to exist as an original phenomenon is dubious and unfounded. A verdict would have major consequences for our society. Fortunately, there are facts to consider, both for and against consciousness as a product of our neurons. So let’s put consciousness in the dock, and ask the judge to make a legal decision based on scientifically established facts.

The prosecution:

Your Honor, if I get a blow on the head, I lose consciousness. If I drink a lot of alcohol, my consciousness will behave less well. When I get demented and my brain is affected I forget who I am and who my husband is. With a dose of LSD or DMT I experience the most fantastic hallucinations. These are all examples where the cohesion and/or the chemistry in my neurons is affected. I am my brain. My consciousness pretends to be real, but it is only an illusion.

The defense:

Your Honor, what has been put forth is by no means conclusive evidence that consciousness is produced by the brain. The correlation of the electrical behavior of neurons with thoughts and sensations has been demonstrated, but a correlation is not a causal relationship. The fact that many firefighters are usually present at a fire does not mean that their joint presence causes fires. There is no question that the brain plays a role in our consciousness, but it is arguable that the brain is only an instrument of consciousness, to be able to interact with the world, a receiver of awareness with a very advanced filtering capacity.

When I crash my iPhone, it stops functioning, but the content that was ready to be shown or to be played is still there. When I buy and install a new iPhone, this content can be revived again. Much to the amazement and unbelief of someone of the 19th century. Furthermore, fMRI research has shown that when people use drugs such as LSD and DMT, their neuronal activity decreases while the intensity of the hallucination increases. This contradicts the idea that the brain produces their intense experiences and directly supports the filter hypothesis. Finally, you can also ask yourself what it is that experiences that illusion. Those neurons?

The prosecution:

Your Honor, consciousness here apparently masquerades as something that exists outside the physical body and communicates with it in ways unknown to us. This is not possible given generally accepted scientific knowledge. As far as we know there is only matter and energy, and energy exchange can only take place between matter and other matter. No disembodied consciousness has ever been demonstrated in the laboratory. The Cartesian duality, a disembodied spirit in a physical body, is a misrepresentation born of outdated religious beliefs. I think the me, who thinks so, is itself an illusion.

The Judge:

Pardon me, this is an illusion addressing me? Well well, I surely want to hear more of the defence now.

The defence:

Your Honor, if the prosecutor thinks his thinking self is an illusion, I wonder why we should listen to an illusion. And that a disembodied consciousness has not been demonstrated in a laboratory is not proof of the non-existence of a such a phenomenon. The measuring instrument that would be needed is, as far as is known, not yet available. The only known way to perceive consciousness is consciousness. Current scientific knowledge is necessarily incomplete and based on materialistic models, the correctness of which in the past had to be repeatedly adjusted or even rejected. That energy exchange can only take place between matter is not a fact but an unproven dogma. Quantum physics, the most successful physical theory currently, seems to indicate strongly – by delayed choice experiments, among other things – that the observer creates the observed. Matter thus seems to become the illusion, not the perceiving consciousness. But it is not matter that is in the dock here to be defended.

There are excellently documented cases of individuals where no brain activity at all could be detected – flat EEG and ECG – while this person was observing the environment from a point of view different from the usual, that is, observing the world from somewhere outside the body. In support of this defense I offer here an excellent verified file of cases where brain and normal sensory perception could not function, but where the person concerned clearly consciously perceived and remembered details that were verified on correctness in a way that cannot be explained with a strict material model of reality. Something that means that strictly material theories are limited in their explanatory models and that full awareness at the time of the Near-Death experience cannot be a product of complex neuronal activity. A clear awareness going together with a cerebral cortex that is demonstrably no longer functioning cannot be reconciled with the idea of an emergent consciousness.

I want to present here also the case of the 44-year old man with a tiny brain. His case was published in The Lancet in 2007. The man seemed to function normally with a healthy IQ, but, as a result of hydroencephalitis, he walked around with a skull mainly filled with cerebrospinal fluid. See the x-ray for yourself.

The large black space is the fluid that built up in his brain. Feuillet et al./The Lancet.

Consciousness in this case can hardly be the result of an extremely complicated network of neurons that produce together a pattern within a pattern within a pattern.

Your Honor, finally I would like to add that if I were to say to my GP, “I think the me, who thinks this, is an illusion,” she would be concerned, write a referral to the psychiatrist and think probably, “Oh my, the poor wretch’. But when a neuroscientist says the same their audience apparently listens breathlessly. I beg you to remain critical.

The prosecution:

Your Honor, I hope you will exercise some patience in this matter and will wait until there is conclusive scientific evidence to show that consciousness is a product of the brain and thus is a hallucination. We are confident it will be produced within a few years fom now. That person with so few neurons still had quite a few, as you can see from the x-ray, so apparently not so many are needed for intelligent consciousness as we thought. That proof, that consciousness is a product of the neurons, will come, I assure you. That won’t be long. We are working on it with all our might. I implore you to have confidence in the promise of science and its devoted practitioners. In anticipation of the outcome we are already so sure of, I propose that consciousness should already be given the status of hallucination at this stage. This will, according to our belief, explain completely the emergence of consciousness from matter and, very important, in that way we only need matter to explain the world. Please, let’s not complicate matters more than necessary.

The defence:

Your Honor, it should be well known that at this time any active interest of scientists in consciousness as an independent primary cause that does not originate in matter, could be detrimental to their careers, even if they already had a Nobel Prize. Nevertheless, there is a steadily growing number of scientists who dare to defy this career risk. I therefore I ask you urgently not to base your verdict upon some vague promises, but only on documented and verified facts, even if they do not come from laboratories, and to assign consciousness rightly its status as an actual, independent and original entity. Thank you very much.

An ultra short introduction into quantum physics

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.

Particles

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.

Waves

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.
Quantum Tunnels Show How Particles Can Break the Speed of Light – Quanta Magazine october 2020

Conclusion

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.

The relational interpretation of quantum physics

A reaction by a reader of my book mentioned that she didn’t find any mention of Carlo Rovelli’s relational quantum physics interpretation. Indeed. So I’ll repair that here. Rovelli sets his idea of relational quantum physics out in his recent book, Helgoland – Making sense of the Quantum Revolution. A book that should be read by everyone interested in the puzzling aspects of quantum physics. Rovelli is a good storyteller quite capable of keeping such a difficult subject interesting for the lay reader.

To me, his relational interpretation seems to say that all the material objects, that physics is about, only exist in relation to each other. They need each other to manifest their physical qualities. Without each other they are literally nothing.

The observer effect

With his relational interpretation Rovelli tries to explain the observer effect in quantum physics. That is the effect that the measurement of a quantum object gives the object its physical properties, such as location, speed en energy, which is the so-called quantum collapse. And also the effect that the way of observation determines in what way the objects will manifest itself. Before measurement the quantum objects has no physical properties. It does not exist in a material sense. It’s not there, not yet. Now you should realize that all objects in the world, including our own bodies, are in fact quantum objects.

That this is the case, has gradually become an inescapable conclusion for most physicists. The so-called delayed choice experiments have confirmed that before the measurement the measured particle does not yet exist physically. For a description of such an experiment carried out in 2007, I refer to my book, chapter 7 paragraph ‘The quantum eraser experiments’, or to the published article ‘Random Delayed-Choice Quantum Eraser via Two-PhotonImaging‘. Rovelli, in the introduction of his book, looking out at the sea, philosophizes with a colleague about this seeming absurd aspect of reality.

The hand in the interferometer

Rovelli describes in his book – chapter II around pages 45-46 – the surprising effect his hand evokes when he holds it in the path of a beam of photons in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. This is a device where the incoming photons can travel along two different trajects that meet each other again at a beam splitter where interference occurs. If the device is properly configured and the photon can ‘travel’ unhindered along both roads, it turns out that interference happening at the second beam splitter causes the photons to be able only to leave the device in the direction of detector D1. It will only be detector D1 which detects photons. Detetector D2 detects nothing.

Mach-Zehnder interferometer, both trajects have equal lengths. All photons go to D1.

But when Rovelli blocks one of the two beam paths with his hand, and blocks thus half the photons, the unblocked photons, which have therefore traveled the lower path, suddenly arrive evenly distributed at both detectors.

Mach-Zehnder with hand blocking the upper path.

The photons that reach the second mirror apparently ‘know’ that Rovelli’s hand blocks the other path and can now freely choose between the two detectors. The big question is, how do they ‘know’ that?

Everything connected?

If you want to hold on to the image of a permanent objective world outside of us, then you can’t do much other than assuming that quantum objects are somehow connected to each other, that they have a relationship. Thus arrives Rovelli at his relational interpretation of quantum physics. But if you think a little further, then you will hopefully realize that this is a rather obfuscating technical term for the idea that everything is connected. And that is precisely the message that has reached us time and time again through Indian wisdom traditions, mystics, seers and – not unimportant – through reports of near death experiences.

The idea of a universe where objects only exist in relation to each other explains here the so-called quantum collapse, caused by the measuring instrument and also the undeniable observer effect that quantum physicists have been dealing with since the beginning of the last century. It is then not the awareness of the observer, but the fact that the observer is also a composition of quantum objects, which explains the observer effect. In my opinion, this is a variation of panpsychism, which says that everything is conscious. If you assume that everything is connected and ‘know’ where all the other objects are in the universe, which means awareness, then I do think the step is small to idealism, the idea that everything is actually happening within consciousness, a idea promoted these days strongly by – among many others – Bernardo Kastrup. Idealism is much simpler than making every separate object aware of all the others and therefore easier to understand than Rovelli’s panpsychism. Which does not mean that I even remotely understand what consciousness is, what it does and why, even though I experience it almost every moment.

The role of consciousness cannot be ignored, Quantum Physics confirms despite opposition

As regular readers of my posts and of my book will know, I am of the opinion that quantum physics does not so much prove the primary role of consciousness, however that it certainly strongly confirms it. This is of course a controversial position. As long as accepted science continues to cling to the materialistic frame of mind, there will be scientists who wholeheartedly try to show this as wrong. They want to maintain their there-is-only-matter vision, although the attractiveness of that idea of reality, in which I am only a casual bystander, escapes me. On top of that, there are also people who take consciousness and its survival after physical death seriously, but they prefer to keep quantum physics out of the whole discussion about consciousness.

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle explained (?) by classic physics

The same goes for those two Finnish scientists who published a mathematical study in September 2020 in which Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation is a result of statistical fluctuations in space-time, somewhat comparable to the Brownian motion of microscopic particles in a liquid. These Finns, not quantum physicists by the way, would have shown that Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation is not a consequence of the measurement – the observation – of the particle, but is something that takes place entirely in the classical Newtonian world. One of the two authors, Jussi Lindgren, is not a mathematician but is a mathematically very educated person. This he states in his LinkedIn profile:

Part-time doctoral student at Aalto University School of Science, main interests in optimal control theory with applications in macroeconomics, physics and finance. Other academic interests include nuclear engineering and philosophy of science. Quantum physics, relativity and theoretical physics are key interests of mine as well.’

Their publication does indeed contain a impressive piece of complex mathematics. That is not particularly accessible to the layman who, despite his lack of mathematical skills, is interested in the true meaning of quantum physics.

Although my mathematical ability is not what it used to be, I would still like to add a critical note concerning their publication and especially their conclusion. Their conclusion is that the interpretation of quantum physics can be found within the classical Newtonian domain, ie hard objective scientific realism. The Heisenberg uncertainty relation says that there is a fundamental lower limit to the accuracy with which the position and speed of particles can be measured. According to these Finns, the particles in an experiment are permanently objectively present, but are controlled by statistical fluctuations in space-time that make it impossible to measure speed and position with an accuracy greater than Heisenberg’s principle allows. In fact, their approach is an excellently elaborated example of an the ensemble theory in quantum physics. Quantum ensemble theory is only about the statistical behavior of larger ensembles of particles and prefers to ignore the individual particle behavior itself. And therein lies the problem. Ignoring unwelcome facts is not science.

If we hadn’t had the Bell and the delayed choice experiments, I wouldn’t have been able to find good counter-arguments so easily. Their significance cannot be overstated. All Bell experiments have confirmed, with ever increasing confidence and without exception, that two (or more) particles, when they have a common history, are in such a way connected (entangled) that a measurement on one particle immediately makes the other particle exhibit the complementary property, while they did not have that property prior to the measurement. When you assume that those particles exist permanently and objectively, you cannot but assume then that the measured particle communicated faster than light to its entangled partner that it was measured, whereupon the partner ‘decided’ to show the complementary property. A property it did not have before measurement. Such an assumption, as far as I’m concerned, is far beyond what Occam’s Razor recommends us.

And then there are also (fortunately) the delayed choice experiments. These have shown very clearly that the idea of particles that are physically on their way from source to detector, and thus travel materially, cannot be correct, unless you make some rather far-fetched assumptions: about particles that can see into the future, about entangled photons that know that once the position of the other photon has been measured, they should adjust their behavior, showing or not showing interference or not, and, on top of that, retroactively in time. You are of course free to prefer the material view of the world, but then you have to be honest and accept intelligent and instantaneous behavior of elementary particles. Therefore I prefer the idea that it is ultimately the conscious observer who, when he observes an event, also records it for its history as a really happened event. My idea is that it is the conscious observer who is definitely not to be ignored if you really want to be scientific.

An experimental test of non-local realism

Last but not least, I would like to mention here the result of an experiment conducted at the University of Vienna in 2007, one that, in my opinion, has received little attention. In this experiment, the assumption that perception does not affect objective reality was actually tested. By this I do not mean that every measurement always disturbs that which is measured, that was already an accepted fact in classical physics, but that mere observation has an effect on the nature of the observed, although it does not physically touch what is observed. That is what is called a non-local influence.

In this experiment, a complete class of important non-local hidden variable hypotheses has been falsified. These theories presuppose realism. Permanently objectively existing matter. These hidden variable hypotheses propose mechanisms that would explain, for example, the entanglement of photons in Bell-type experiments with effects where they already possessed their polarization all along. They would not manifest it only at the moment of measurement.

The conclusion from this experiment is that we must take the result of a Bell-type experiment and its significance for what being real means, very seriously. We can no longer hope that science can repair the idea of objectively permanent matter of classic physics.