Sunday, 11 November 2012

Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics

The classical/quantum divide seems to mirror an aspect of our consciousness. We can experience things internally (e.g. a pain) or externally (e.g. a chair) as being in one place, or another, and at a certain time (ie in a classical way), but it is also possible to experience moments of deep insight that at least seem to have timelessness and holistic unity (ie quantum-like). I think of some mystical experiences as being a good example of the latter, but perhaps also any profound insight - mathematical, scientific, poetic, musical, political...

Given the various arguments, and evidence for quantum mechanics being relevant to understanding the relation between consciousness and the physical, do you think this is likely to be a true observation of a deep connection between thought and the quantum/classical divide, or do you think these similarities have little to do with each other?

I certainly believe that there is a deep connection here, and it seems also that d'Espagnat does (On Physics and Philosophy). I have reached my own conclusion by some knowledge of quantum mechanics, some specialist knowledge of philosophy of mind, some personal religious experience, and a lot of armchair thinking, but I am not a specialist in this area.

Response: My view, and I think John’s is that there is a deep connection here but it is probably not at any mechanistic level.

In other words, it is unlikely (though one must never say impossible) that there will be some kind of direct scientific linkage between the two phenomena, but that they each provide a deep metaphor for each other – a resonance in God’s creation if you like.

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