the quantum world
so what does a quantum world look like? it’s a place where we acknowledge the reality of the quantum world, and redefine ordinary reality to fit.
it’s a world where action at a distance, time travel, and parallel universes are matter of fact.
waves and particles
One way to resolve this seeming paradox of waves without medium is to note that there remains another kind of wave altogether. A wave with which we are all familiar, yet which exists without any medium in the ordinary sense. This is the computer-generated wave. Let us examine a computer-generated sound wave.
The “music” has traveled from the recording studio to yourliving room. Through what medium did the music wave travel? To a degree, you might say that it traveled as electricity through the wires from the keyboard to the computer. But you might just as well say it traveled by truck along the highway to the store. In fact, this “sound wave” never existed as anything more than a digital representation of a hypothetical sound wave which itself never existed. It is, first and last, a string of numbers. Therefore, although it will produce wave like effects when placed in your stereo, this wave never needed any medium other than the computer memory to spread itself all over the music loving world.
Although his system achieved a result that was exactly and perfectly in accord with observed natural processes, to him it was nothing more than calculation. The reason was that, as far as Feynman or anybody else could tell, the underlying process itself was nothing more than calculation.
A process that produces a result based on nothing more than calculation is an excellent way to describe the operations of a computer program. The two-step procedure of the Schrodinger equation and the Feynman system may be impossible to duplicate with physical systems, but for the computer it is trivial.Quantum mechanics involves “waves” which cannot be duplicated or even approximated physically; but which easily can be calculated by mathematical formula and stored in memory, creating in effect a static map of the wave shape. This quality of something having the appearance and effect of a wave, but not the nature of a wave, is pervasive in quantum mechanics, and so is fundamental to all things in our universe. It is also an example of how things which are inexplicable in physical terms turn out to be necessary or convenient qualities of computer operations.
At the scientific level, the question is “how?” The conventional way of describing the discrepancy between analysis and observation is to say that the “wave function” is somehow “collapsed” during observation, yielding a “particle” with measurable properties. The mechanism of this transformation is completely unknown and, because the scientifically indispensable act of observation itself changes the result, it appears to be intrinsically and literally unknowable.
At the philosophical level, the question is “why?” Why should our acquisition of knowledge affect something which, to our way of thinking, should exist in whatever form it exists whether or not it is observed? Is there something special about consciousness that relates directly to the things of which we are conscious? If so, why should that be?
As John Gribbin puts it, “nature seems to ‘make the calculation’ and then present us with an observed event.”Both the “how” and the “why” of this process can be addressed through the metaphor of a computer which is programmed to project images to create an experience for the user, who is a conscious being.If we cease to think of the quantum unit as a “thing,” and begin to imagine it as a pixel, that is, as a display of information in graphic (or other sensory) form, it is far easier to conceive of how the uncertainty principle might work. The “properties” we measure are variables which are computed for the purpose of display, which is to say, for the purpose of giving the user knowledge via the interface. A computed variable will display according to the underlying algorithm each time it is computed, and while the algorithm remains stable, the results of a particular calculation can be made to depend on some other factor, including another variable.
Similarly, an electron does not change regardless of whether it is one of the two electrons associated with the helium atom, or one of the ninety-two electrons associated with the uranium atom. You could not, even in principle, tell one from another. The only way in this world to create such identical images is to use the same formula to produce the same image, over and over again whenever a display of the image is called for.In our experience, things move from one end to the other by going through the middle; they get from cold to hot by going through warm; they get from slow to fast by going through medium; and so on. Phenomena move from a lower state to a higher state in a ramp-like fashion — continuously increasing until they reach the higher state. Even if the transition is quick, it still goes through all of the intermediate states before reaching the new, higher state.
In quantum mechanics, however, there is no transition at all.
Similarly, the computer’s “space” is discrete, discontinuous, and digital. If you look closely at a computer monitor, you notice that it consists of millions of tiny dots, nothing more. A beautifully rendered image is made up of these dots.
The theory and architecture of computers lend themselves to a step-by-step approach to any and all problems. It appears that there is no presently conceived computer architecture that would allow anything but such a discrete, digitized time and space, controlled by the computer’s internal clock ticking one operation at a time. Accordingly, it seems that this lack of continuity, so bizarre and puzzling as a feature of our natural world, is an inherent characteristic of a computer simulation.
The essence of a local interaction is direct contact — as basic as a punch in the nose. Body A affects body B locally when it either touches B or touches something else that touches B. A gear train is a typical local mechanism. Motion passes from one gear wheel to another in an unbroken chain. Break the chain by taking out a single gear and the movement cannot continue. Without something there to mediate it, a local interaction cannot cross a gap.
On the other hand, the essence of non locality is unmediated action-at-a-distance. A non-local interaction jumps from body A to body B without touching anything in between. Voodoo injury is an example of a non-local interaction. When a voodoo practitioner sticks a pin in her doll, the distant target is (supposedly) instantly wounded, although nothing actually travels from doll to victim. Believers in voodoo claim that an action here causes an effect there.
The non-locality which appears to be a basic feature of our world also finds an analogy in the same metaphor of a computer simulation. In terms of cosmology, the scientific question is, “How can two particles separated by half a universe be understood as connected such that they interact as though they were right on top of each other?” If we analogize to a computer simulation, the question would be, “How can two pictures at the far corners of the screen be understood as connected such that the distance between them is irrelevant?”
In fact, the measured distance between any two pixels (dots) on the monitor’s display turns out to be entirely irrelevant, since both are merely the products of calculations carried out in the bowels of the computer as directed by the programming. The pixels may be as widely separated as you like, but the programming generating them is forever embedded in the computer’s memory in such a way that — again speaking quite literally — the very concept of separation in space and time of the pixels has no meaning whatsoever for the stored information.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of quantum theory is the relationship of all things to the math, as with the phenomenon of non-locality discussed above, which occurs in nature, so it seems, because that is the way the equations calculate. Even though the mathematical formulas were initially developed to describe the behavior of universe, these formulas turn out to govern the behavior of the universe with an exactitude that defies our concept of mathematics. As Nick Herbert puts it, “Whatever the math does on paper, the quantumstuff does in the outside world.” That is, if the math can be manipulated to produce some absurd result, it will always turn out that the matter and energy around us actually behave in exactly that absurd manner when we look closely enough. It is as though our universe is being produced by the mathematical formulas. The backwards logic implied by quantum mechanics, where the mathematical formalism seems to be more “real” than the things and objects of nature, is unavoidable. In any conceptual conflict between what a mathematical equation can obtain for a result, and what a real object actually could do, the quantum mechanical experimental results always will conform to the mathematical prediction.
Since quantum theory describes the world perfectly — so perfectly that its symbolic, mathematical predictions alwaysprevail over physical insight — the equivalence between quantum symbolism and universal reality must be more than an oddity: it must be the very nature of reality.
This is the point at which we lose our nerve; yet the task for the Western rationalist is to find a mechanical model from our experience corresponding to a “world executed in symbols.”
this is from an energy medicine perspective.
A quantum entity has both wave and particle attributes at the same time. It is detected as one or the other according to the experiment that is being conducted. When its “wavefunction” is collapsed, it goes from being everything it can be to taking on specific characteristics. Somehow, quantum entities “know” what questions we are asking of them, and they appear in a way that best answers those questions.
The human body-field is a dynamic network of energy and information. It is rather like a superposition of information about the state of the entire body-field system and its many subsystems. A scan or indirect measurement of the body field captures a “snapshot” of certain parameters of the body-field system at one moment in time and according to the state of the person being scanned at that time.
Influences include emotions, beliefs, memories, diet, the environment, lifestyle, etc. All of this information is encoded in the client’s body-field in its many, many layers. Each scan extracts the information most relevant for that client at that time.
You can’t know everything there is to know about a particle with absolute certainty. When you know about one aspect of a particle, you lose information about other aspects of it.
One could say that the “uncertainty” of the body-field is not due only to inherent quantum features (see Milo Wolff’s Space Resonance Theory), but also to the complexity of environmental influences and the client’s state of consciousness, which is always in flux.
The word “quanta” refers to “packets” of energy. Quantum entities can take on only specific allowable energies.
When they “jump” from one level to another, they do not travel in between! They just appear at the next higher or lower allowable energy level.
The quantum realm is “nonlocal,” meaning that everything is connected. This quantum interconnectedness is called “Quantum entanglement.” If two quantum entities were ever in contact, they are forever connected, no matter how far apart they may eventually be. In terms of information exchange, entangled particles act as a single system, not two separate entities. But no “signal” is being sent between them. The information is not exchanged by any known force, but is shared or correlated instantaneously through the nonlocal field.
The assertions made by Chalmers, Wheeler, and others indicate that they believe the most fundamental building block of the universe is not atoms or even quarks, but rather information itself. At first glance this hardly seems possible. How could information, something that seems completely insubstantial, be the material from which all perceivable physical, and phenomenal aspects of our universe arise?
Information is theorized to be comprised of dual aspects, similar to the dual aspects of light, namely wave and particle. Recall that Wheeler stated that information is truly fundamental and has two basic aspects: Physical and Phenomenal. The resulting construct would imply that we live in a world where not only mathematics (Connes and Changeux) but all information is independent and fundamental. This gives rise to the question: “What is the relationship between this construct and the quantum wave nature of physical existence?”
For many years, it has been assumed that the universe exists independently of human perception. Why would scientific minds now alter their perspective? The answer is based on a fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics, sheer observation affects the observed – its potentiality collapses. Therefore, if information is fundamental, exists in a duality of nature, and is affected by observation, there is strong evidence that observation itself may cause it to exist – and even if that is not correct, certainly that shared knowledge of existence affects the “probability of trueness”, and the emergence of an information element into what humans recognize as “reality” – a part of our universe.
The similarity of processes which appear to underpin our perceived universe is apparent from microcosm to macrocosm. If, as so many are beginning to say, information is indeed the fundamental “element” in our universe, the scope of what we know today to be “Information Systems” and/or “Information Technology” will change dramatically. Information Systems (IS) professionals could find themselves the ultimate managers of our known universe, manipulating probability-of-trueness levels of information elements to achieve desired results -–perhaps in an extension of our current approach to object oriented technologies.
The pivotal concept here is how to manipulate the “probability of trueness” of any specific element of information. One factor that has been demonstrated to have an effect on the “position” of elements is sheer observation of those elements. It is conceivable that manipulating the frequency and intensity of “observation” is the variable required.
One of the intriguing possibilities that springs to mind with regard to how this might occur is the advent of the internet. It has been theorized by a number of researchers that a “global brain” is under development through the evolving
network of computers connected on the net (Peter Russel, The Global Brain Awakens, McNaughton and Gunn, 1995). This global brain could certainly be viewed as a platform of unprecedented ability for widespread “observation”, bringing elements of information into the awareness of a large population, and rapidly facilitating the movement of elements between “true” and “untrue” probability levels.
As work continues in the inter-related fields of quantum physics, Information Systems, and the study of human thought/consciousness, a number of incredibly profound issues will be presented to humanity. The emerging power of information management may bring with it the ability to alter the very nature of our universe.