Request for Comments

The last two posts were, well, to say the least, a little off the beaten path, even for me.  But it is something that has been going through my mind.  While there is little in the way of known testing methods for theories on the nature of thought and the macroscopic applications of Quantum Mechanics, I do not believe that questions such as those are unworthy of contemplation.

I would enjoy, however, some readers comments as the only one I have gotten so far was a verbal one.   “What, are you on LSD or something?”

The Eroticist

5 Comments

  1. LaValliere

    …Although starting out at a quantum physics style saunter, things did indeed digress into rather a distinctive gallop re (a one dimensional/personal) self-introspective vernacular.

    (Sorry dude, you said you wanted candid feedback).

    • No apology necessary. An appropriate comment and valid. Trained and interested in the usual scientific viewpoint, I have struggled to find a bridge between the subjective and entirely personal area of thoughts and ideas and the more verifiable elements of scientific inquiry. I freely admit that the two posts referenced are a fumbling effort. The current admittedly “New Wave” exploration into the affects of quantum mechanics are stimulating to me, but far from fully formed.

      The Eroticist

  2. nabterayl

    Been meaning to respond to this for a while. Sorry it’s taken so long.

    One stumbling block I tend to have when somebody is inspired by quantum mechanics in this way is that it doesn’t inspire me in the same way. As far as I understand any natural science, any philosophical implications of that science are quite outside the science itself. To my understanding, what quantum mechanics is, at its raw level, is a mathematical model with a high predictive power of certain events. Anything beyond that isn’t actually QM. Quantum mechanics, qua quantum mechanics, is no more about minds than it is about cinema. Whether it has implications for minds – or painting – is a philosophical rather than scientific matter. I tend to get a bee in my bonnet when I feel like people don’t make that distinction. Looking back over this paragraph, I see that I’ve done it again, and I can still feel the urge to rant about it.

    That said, as you probably know from your knowledge of me or my blog, I get inspired by all sorts of things that go quite beyond those things themselves. I suppose we all do. So if you get philosophically inspired by QM, good on you.

    I’ll leave this much because I think it is responsive to your request for candid comments.

    So on to the philosophy itself (or at least, what I identify as the philosophy) of your last two posts.

    The quantum effects of observation are fascinating to me, but I don’t get the same sense of connection out of them that you do. What would it be like to live in a world where I can change things by observing them? To my way of thinking, we all know exactly what that would look like. We’ve all experienced it from the moment we could experience anything. If the results of our experience seem mundane, that doesn’t make the quantum effects of our observations any less real. I am reminded of my TV. My TV would not have been invented but for people who behaved as if quantum mechanics correctly described the world. Fortunately for me there were such people, my TV was invented, and I enjoy the effects of quantum mechanics on a daily basis. On one level that is pretty mind-blowing. On another, it’s really quite mundane. It’s always seemed to me that quantum mechanics is a lot more mind-blowing to think about than it is to experience – but that’s true of all ways of thinking about things as systems, isn’t it? I can blow my mind by thinking about myself as a collection of cells, or by thinking about the exchange of photons between my fingers and the keys as I type this, but I can also un-blow my mind by reminding myself that, as cool as it may sound that photons actually jump between my finger and the key, that is also correctly described by the very mundane experience of “pushing.”

    Speaking personally, I don’t think the universe is one in which a person’s desires (side note: I agree with you that from many perspectives, it can get pretty hairy trying to describe what a “person” is in the first place, but I have to be honest with myself that I do believe that “person” is a cognizable concept) directly manipulate the universe apart from that person. The only way I can think of for my desires to be realized is for a person (whether that person is me, or somebody else) to make them so through an action other than desiring. My desire may be necessary for my desire to be realized, but I don’t think it is sufficient.

    I believe in a world where a person’s “worthiness” of having things come to him is really beside the point. If I want a movie, a paycheck, a fulfilling interpersonal relationship, anything at all – the question in my world is not, “Am I worthy of this thing?” but “Will a person act to make it so?” (It strikes me that this may be an interesting difference between my understanding of Christianity and yours, but I’m not sure that discussion is within the scope of this post.)

    I do agree with you, though, that the person in question can be me. The person who causes me to have a movie, a paycheck, a fulfilling interpersonal relationship – that person doesn’t have to be somebody else. It can be me.

    I’ll stop myself from following that train of thought down the road to the role of other people (I certainly don’t believe I can have a fulfilling interpersonal relationship if I am the only person in the picture!) and my view of the consequences of choice. This is an old post, and the conversation may have enough fodder already or not proceed at all.

    • I do enjoy your expressions, Sir. Thank you.

      A light comment first. As to your TV, “my TV was invented, and I enjoy the effects of quantum mechanics on a daily basis. On one level that is pretty mind-blowing. On another, it’s really quite mundane.” Unfortunately, oft times the most mundane is the content.

      More seriously, I agree totally with your distinction. QM is an incredibly productive and usefully accurate description of how matter/energy interacts with itself. I enjoyed, in the above referenced posts, toying with the implications of that interaction. I admit to a total lack of understanding of the actuality of how what we see as the material/energetic interactions described translate into/affect what we see as the mental/spiritual world, but I choose to believe it does. I struggle with distinctions between the physical and the philosophical of a “never the twain shall meet” sort.

      I agree also with the statement that your “…desire may be necessary for [it] to be realized, but I don’t think it is sufficient.” A struggle at this point in my life is to understand the internal, introspective, actions and re-definitions of myself that are necessary to facilitate the realizations of my desires. As I think all believe, it is very possible to internally, through identification, work against oneself, to work negatively from the neutral point. I believe that most people identify with that neutral point and accept that as the status quo when it is just as possible to internally, through identification, work positively from that neutral point, and so assist in the realization of ones desires. Perhaps a way of thinking of it, if I can stretch John:14 is to “…prepare a place”. Perhaps that applies to my use of “Worthy.” But I must also agree with you that action is also necessary.

      Definitions of person-hood, and the reality of the distinction between “me in here” and “you out there” is a very broad subject that is also of great interest to me. But for another time. “The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.” -Yasutani Roshi, Zen master (1885-1973)

      The Eroticist

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