Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Quantum Observer

In my last post A Subjective View of Time I showed how Einstein's time dilation effect implies that at the Planck scale, weird things happen. Parts of your body move into a different time frame - a different reality - just by virtue of moving them relative to the rest of your body. At the quantum level time doesn't appear to make any kind of practical sense. But that's just the start of it! Proven, repeatable scientific experimentation shows us that sub-atomic particles don't actually exist - until you observe them.

The classic example is called "the double-slit experiment". In this experiment, photons or electrons are fired at a pair of slits in a barrier and they emerge on the other side as wave fronts which then interact with one another to form an interference pattern on a screen on the other side of the slits. They continue doing this EVEN when they are fired one at a time through the slits.How can this happen when there are no other electrons to interact with? Somehow, each electron appears to be travelling through both slits at the same time and interfering with itself!

But that's not all! If you then observe each electron as it reaches the slits, its behaviour changes and it then only passes through the left, the right or neither slit - and no interference pattern is produced. The act of observation influences the outcome of the experiment. I'll let Dr. Fred Alan Wolf explain:

Dr. Quantum explains the Double-Slit Experiment"

When it's not being observed, the electron doesn't actually exist in any particular state. Instead, it exists only as a potential electron. All possible states of existence of the electron - passing through the left, right or neither slit - are realisable. This is referred-to as the electron being in a state of quantum superposition.

Mathematically, these states are described by probability equations which are referred-to as "wave functions". Fittingly the wave function behaves like a wave equation - and in this state the electron behaves like a wave. When observed, the electron is forced to drop-out of quantum superposition and adopt one measurable state in which it no longer behaves like a wave but rather like a particle. This process is described as the observer "collapsing the wave function.

At the quantum level, all particles exist in a state of superposition. So, as strange as it may seem, this experiment implies that nothing actually exists until it is observed. The so-called "quantum observer" causes matter to cease being in a superposition of potential states and to choose a particular state of existence in which it can be measured. But what rule determines which particular state it is going to be? If you want to make a physicist uncomfortable just ask him or her to explain this "measurement problem"! Some of the greatest names in quantum physics philosophy will now take you to the next stage:

The Observer Effect

If you are interested in knowing more, you should search references to every person named in the above video. (You will have seen Dr Quantum as one of them.) The question that they are alluding to is "Who is the quantum observer?" You can be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that in some way, mankind is responsible for the existence of the universe merely by observing it (this is often referred to as "the anthropic principle") - but you would be wrong!

The effect of "observation" is caused by a field of universal consciousness. Humans merely participate in consciousness - we are not the source of consciousness.

Finally we have reached the point of this whole blog. I'm going to describe to you a new model for consciousness - one that blows the anthropic principle out of the water. That will be the subject of my next post.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

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