The Yoga of Time Travel and Dr. Quantum's World
Tag along on Fred Alan Wolf's tour throughout the world talking about his books and his work. Wolf will be keeping you posted on all of the details during his tour, where he'll be making or has already made stops in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Boston, London, Montreal, Istanbul, Santiago, and more. Hear what new adventures await him at his next event or how a workshop altered his thinking on a particular matter. He may even share a time-traveling experience or two.
Friday, November 09, 2012
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Medical Questions and Quantum Physics
Lately I have been receiving a lot of inquiries concerning the field of medicine and its relationship with quantum physics. Of course since quantum physics is the basis for all physical processes including those that happen in the body, it would seem that its findings should somehow be made relevant to discovering cures for diseases or perhaps for enhancing the mind-body interaction.
One of the chief elements of a possible connection between quantum physics and the body would seem to be found in the observer effect of quantum physics wherein by performing acts of observations one actually affects or disrupts the state of the object being observed. Unfortunately to date no one knows how the observer effect actually works. We do know it takes place but it is hard to find a model that uses math to predict how it works and therefore to control it so that we achieve desired goals or outcomes. What is certain is that in quantum physics all actions in the universe are governed by quantum wave functions that I call qwiffs for short. Qwiffs govern the probabilities of events taking place. When actions occur that follow a pattern of intelligent behavior these qwiffs change abruptly from indicating probable or possible actions to a meaningful single actual action.
Whenever atoms are arranged in a highly repetitive pattern, such as those found in crystals or in the long strands of molecular DNA, the qwiffs also take on a similar pattern. This pattern constitutes a continual kind of observation in which the qwiff, in a sense, is observing itself over and over again. Quantum waves and qwiffs can be imagined as constrained by such a pattern, which, in fact, gives the structure its stability.
The qwiff, in my view, turns on and off through the observer effect. When an observations occurs, the qwiff “pops,” and a pointlike atom, or part of an atom, is manifested for an instant. When no observation takes place, the qwiff “hangs around,” like a ghost, in the same locale in which it first popped. This sequence is highly reinforced by the repeating structure.
To try to imagine this concept is difficult because there are many atoms involved. The qwiffs, as I imagine them, are “resonating” with the structure of the molecules, so that each qwiff turns on and off with many oscillations. From the solid molecule’s point of view, this corresponds to its own self-observation.
This viewpoint can be contrasted with a single atom’s self-observation: It, too, can be thought of as being in a self-observation pattern, wherein its qwiff turns on and off. But being an isolated atom means that the pattern will display a higher degree of randomness. At the atomic level, this pattern appears as the atom itself, vanishing and reappearing in a sequence of random points, blurring, more or less, into a solid object.
Thus, each qwiff pattern is highly specific to the element it represents. A qwiff for the hydrogen atom is quite different in detail from the qwiff of a carbon atom.
When a sugar-phosphate molecule repeats itself as an endless chain of snakelike strands, winding around each other much like a spiral staircase, an infinite hall-of-mirrors effect manifests itself, allowing the living, conscious molecule to appear. I am describing, of course, the molecule of genetic life, deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.
The second idea is even stranger and more speculative. There are actually two qwiffs involved in a qwiff pop, the second of which I call the star qwiff or star wave (as I referred to it in my previous book entitled Star Wave), is similar in form to the ordinary qwiff, only orientated backward in space-time. Thus, an ordinary qwiff, W, moving from here-now to there-then, is met by a star qwiff, W*, from the there-then moving toward the here-now. These qwiffs multiply together, yielding the product W*W; that is, W* multiplying W. Now, it is not speculation that one must multiply the ordinary qwiff W by its star qwiff W* in order to calculate the relative probability that qwiff events will occur; that is exactly what quantum physicists do when they determine the likelihood that any event will occur. The speculation surrounds the idea that W* comes from the future, traveling backward through time, much like the wave that, bouncing off the shore, travels back toward the source of the wave. I can’t justify this idea by any physical experiment, at least not yet.
I believe this idea is important because it could explain how the evolution of anything can take place. My idea is similar to those that Sir Fred Hoyle discusses in his book, The Intelligent Universe. Merely left to the odds, it is extremely unlikely that anything as orderly as a human being would arise at all simply from random processes. As I explained in my book The Body Quantum, Chapter 11, there needs to be some form of intelligence involved. But the question is, how does that intelligence act? Of course, I could just postulate that there is a Supreme Intelligence and that that being can act in any way that it sees fit. As Niels Bohr once remarked to Albert Einstein, when he was trying to figure out how God did it, “Stop telling God what to do.”
I certainly don’t want to do that! But I do want to know how God does it. Yet, as a physicist, I am somewhat constrained: I can’t postulate just any idea, because a scientific idea, in order to be considered valid, must fit with what we already know (or, at least, “think” we know). The idea that W* comes from the future may just save the day, however. As Hoyle puts it:
If events could operate not only from past to future, but also from future to past, the seemingly intractable problem of quantum uncertainty could be solved. Instead of living matter becoming more and more disorganized, it could react to quantum signals from the future--the information necessary for the development of life. Instead of the Universe committed to increasing disorder and decay, the opposite could then be true. (Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe p. 213.)
In a highly organized material containing repeating patterns, the W*W content becomes highly repetitive, producing a probability pattern of reinforced strength. Thus, crystals of repeating materials, such as sodium chloride, carbon lattices (such as diamond), and other single crystals of metals and metals in combinations with other substances, possess great strength or other unusual properties.
In DNA we have a similar phenomenon of great repetition, with complex patterns of sugar-phosphate backbones interrupted by the much longer, seemingly random steps of base pairs linked :together in complementary codes. These bases, you’ll recall, occur with four types: A, C, G, T.
Here a third idea surfaces: Because of the repetition of the DNA structure, the likelihood of a repeating W*W pattern is highly enhanced, with the W* involved propagating from a near future to the present. The signal from the future is more or less the same as that from the past, and the pattern, consequently, tends toward stability. The more stable the pattern, the less likely that the distant future will disturb it. Again, the idea that there exists a resonance between the qwiff and its structure—involving both the past and the future—is at play here. Signals from the distant future do arrive, however; without them, DNA would never alter its patterns. But the more stable the reinforcement brought on by the repetition of the strand, the smaller the disturbance produced. It is the interplay of the endless crystalline repetition of the DNA strands, twisting in space and dancing in time as vibrations with the almost though not quite random patterns of A, C, G, and T bases, that produces stable animal and plant consciousness. Consciousness, as we commonly experience it, thereby emerges as a consequence of the qwiff vibration patterns associated with DNA vibration patterns repeating and resonating with both the future and the past.
Molecules of DNA within shouting distance of each other also vibrate, sending quantum semaphore messages back and forth, and in this manner a resonance arises between neighboring molecules. This resonance is much like any other resonance phenomenon, such as a building’s vibrations in the wind or the rolling of a ship on the high seas. With energy being fed from one molecule to the other at just the right frequency to induce the other molecule to respond, the two resonate together. It is this resonance of waves in different cells that could result in the healing of the cells.
Illness could result from an opposite effect. When molecules are off-resonance, they fail to communicate with each other; such off-resonance could arise from atomic changes in the molecules or from subtle changes in the probability patterns of the qwiffs, possibly brought on by “negative” thinking. I don’t really know in precise scientific terminology what constitutes such thinking. I speculate, influenced by such thinking, perhaps molecules tend to isolate themselves, forming self-contained units of limited capacity. Such molecular isolation can be understood in terms of our own behavior when we feel depressed or unduly anxious about something, and want to be alone in our misery.
Consequently, illness and negative thinking could create molecular islands of separation within our cells. Healing energy counters this separation tendency by fostering correlations between molecules: One molecule heals another.
And possibly in the relationship between a healer and a healee, the healer attempts, through touch and simple bodily presence, to resonate with the healee.
Healing energy is felt, then, as a simultaneous presence in the healer and the healee.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Can Things Get Better? Part IV
Society as a whole behaves like the entire “temporal” hologram and hence generates a universally clear (but average) belief which tends to head the society into a specific (but also averaged out) future, while any individual in the society sees that belief in a kind of fuzzy (yet more specific about certain details but much less about others) way that rarely manifests as any individual wants. The individual belief usually differs from the mass belief in details, but the mass belief has the most power to move the society into the future. (Brain-washing results when no individual has a belief containing any structure other than embedded in the slogan-like mass belief.)
Take the United States and its beliefs for example. We each believe in “freedom” in one way or another and hence tend to move into the future where freedom is manifested. Yet freedom can have many different individual meanings; anything from freedom to defraud and commit violence to freedom to love who or what one wishes to love. Take our love affair with technology as another example. We certainly will continue to move into a more technologically advanced society as the decades roll on. While many in the world see little use for this belief, the wave of the mass mind overcomes them leaving in its wake the distraught and disenfranchised who resort to often powerful means to halt the progression including holding up the banner of human values above technology and the employ of terrorism or misinformation.
Most likely you don’t need convincing from a physicist as to how to run your own life or what you should believe. But let me persevere here. We are all concerned with good and evil. Most of us feel that with an enlightened way of existing in the world all evils would eventually disappear and all that would emerge would be a utopian world of equality, freedom, pleasure, beauty, light, and so on. Could such a world ever come into being?
I’m going to answer in the negative here, perhaps surprisingly so since after all, this article may be seen as a means to make the world a better place to live in through the acceptance of a new tenet. I’m going to suggest that in spite of the way the world may seem, at times, to be hell-bent for disaster, it remarkably is a wonderful and magical world at the same time. I am not attempting to provide a Panglossian view of this old globe. Nor do I believe in a Pollyanna view that everything is just perfect the way it is, but I will say that good and evil must coexist in order for a world of human values to exist at all—in order that even consciousness has the ability to manifest as matter in the first place. (And in order that mind appear in its material guise as memory.)
In fact let me conclude by saying that if science has taught me anything, it has certainly shown me how resilient and balanced the universe is. Fluctuations continually arise temporarily upsetting the balance, and just as quickly as they arise, forces come into existence restoring that balance. This axiom is true, seeming miraculously so, in all of the factions comprising biological and physical science. For examples, I’ll mention the balancing forces of self-induction in electrical circuits that keep electromagnetic fields from growing indefinitely and thereby unstable, the resistance of life to environmental changes (thus maintaining the status quo with the arising of mutant strains from time to time), and finally the mindful resistance we all offer when faced with new ideas including these: Consciousness is the ground of all being and things will get better for most of us, but not all.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Can Things Get Better? Part III
Perhaps we can trace our “scientific” faith to our early ancestors who believed in magic—they attempted to manipulate nature by any means they thought would work. When some manipulation did finally work, perhaps the need to simplify and explain how it works overcame the need to accept the mystical implications of how it works in the hope that greater control of nature would result. Through such a “needy” theory, the belief in a theoretical model—complexity emerges from simplicity—arose and strengthened in scientific mindsets. Hence, why believe in the spiritual realm or even why accept its opposite tenet, simplicity emerges from complexity (hence, matter arises from mind)?
A difficult question, but one that needs looking into. First, though, consider just how does any belief arise? I think that a belief reflects a vision of hope (or despair) and desire for change (or constancy)—possibly (and this is my own spin on this), a message from a future waiting to be realized. In quantum physics we deal with possible futures all of the time. These possibilities appear as abstract mathematical forms including vectors, waves, and complex numbers, as seen from a perspective of the present moment. Today, even more than 100 years since the inception of quantum physics and its acceptance in scientific reasoning (indeed forming the base of that reasoning), even though its theoretical structures remain intact, debate still rages over what it means. Consensus indicates that whatever quantum physics means modern science cannot be useful or predictive without these abstract (neo-Platonic) possibility-forms providing the ground of all being of modern science.
Although many interpretations of quantum physics continue to circulate, several posit the notion that both future and past events play a role in the construction of everyday reality (I’ll mention only physicist John Cramer’s “Transactional Interpretation” and Yakir Aharonov and Lev Vaidman’s “Time Symmetric Quantum Formulism”). In my view (and possibly in theirs) all possible futures are in continual contact with each and every present moment of conscious (and unconscious) awareness, kind of like the way a piece of a hologram (made from the waves reflecting off all points on an object) contains a whole picture of that object (see my book, Matter into Feeling).
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Can Things Get Better? Part II
Scientific views posit that somehow more complex lifeforms evolved from simpler lifeforms—those that existed before. This conviction, based as it is on a two prevailing belief structures—evolution in biology and reductionism in physical science, state that complexity emerges from simplicity—order arises from disorder.
One might argue that nothing is simple about disorder or complex about order. However, certainly complex organization, even though it may appear chaotic, exhibits great order. Take a string of ones and zeros making up a computer’s code, for example. A cursory glance at it shows it to be disorderly but we know that not to be the case. (Otherwise how could a computer program work?) It thus seems that complexity and order are joined at the waist, so to speak; hence, conversely, simplicity and chaos must equally be joined. One more remark: As a teacher I am often praised by students because I seem to make the complex simple through word and metaphor. In actual fact, I may be doing the opposite. I simply raise out of the chaotic (and usually simply configured and often incorrect) mire of unclear notions—in which most nonscientists embed scientific concepts—metaphorical descriptions that these nonscientists do hold or believe in.
Thus it appears as a scientific axiom (an unquestionable belief) that order and complex structures, including movements and cycles, arise out of simpler and more chaotic structures and movement. This belief holds for the big bang cosmology model as much as it does for the biological evolution-of-the-species model. This is indeed strange considering that its polar opposite—chaos arising from the destructive forces of entropy—appears to be fundamental to our everyday life experience. In other words, things do seem to get naturally worse—more chaotic and disorganized (and hence simpler)—unless individuals do something about them by imparting energy to the systems they wish to improve or preserve (and thereby make more complex).
Well, why do we believe in this “scientific” myth of the evolution of complexity from simplicity and its co-logical concomitants, mind from matter and life from the nonliving? Or is it just a prejudice that comes to Western mindsets inundated with Newtonian and Darwinian philosophy?
Monday, January 05, 2009
Can Things Get Better? Part I.
Our world always seems to be on the brink of one form of trouble or another. Yet, often surprisingly so, we seem to recover only to face a new challenge. Could it be that this apparent dance macabre arises from our global failure to re-envision the world as a spiritual manifestation? Can our predicament be due to our Western-scientific-based belief that the world and all its phenomena, including life and mind, fundamentally emerge out of matter? Could it be that with a different worldview things might get better? In this short essay, I will examine this belief and indicate what we might expect if we were to accept the counter-idea that matter, mind, and life all arose from a far more complex entity called spirit or consciousness.
In brief, something called consciousness provides the fundamental ground of being out of which all physical and mental phenomena emerge. Although many spiritually-inclined people may take this view, it doesn’t seem to fit with common beliefs coming from scientific reasoning. But what about most of the world’s non-science-based beliefs (if even anything like a world belief system can be imagined)? Do you the reader actually believe that mind or consciousness came first? Or perhaps better put, could such a view have any scientific, spiritual, or even logical foundation? And even if it did, would this change your view or your way of life (or the world’s)?
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Many of you in sending me your questions by email seem to keep coming back to the same questions about God, the Mind of God, the Unified Field, and the quantum field. Some of you would hope that I could give a consistent answer or better metaphor to describe such terms as these. I wish I could. I also wish that I could be consistent in my answers to you, however I am not able to do so simply because my views of what these metaphors or answers to these questions may be keeps changing as I learn more and more and think more and more about the meanings of my answers.
I am not alone in the predicament. Even the Buddha and Robert Oppenheimer the physicist-leader of the Manhattan atom bomb project faced this same problem.
One day a wanderer came into the village where the Buddha taught. His name was Vacchagotta. He asked the Enlightened One whether or not there was a soul (Atman). The following was their somewhat brief and one-sided conversation:
VACCHAGOTTA: Venerable Gotama, is there a Soul?
VACCHAGOTTA: Then Venerable One, is there no Soul?
VACCHAGOTTA: (Gets up and goes away.)
Later Ananda, a disciple of the Buddha, appeared and asked the Enlightened One to comment on his previous silence. The Buddha said,
Ananda, when asked by Vacchagotta the Wanderer, “Is there a Soul?”, if I had answered: “There is a soul”, then that would be siding with those recluses and brahmanas who hold to the eternalist theory. And when asked by the wanderer: “Is there no soul?” If I had answered: “There is no soul”, then that would be siding with those recluses and brahmanas who hold to the annihilationist theory.
Again, Ananda, when asked by Vacchagotta: “Is there a soul?”, if I had answered: “There is”, would that be in accordance with my knowledge that all dhammas [ways of inquiry, paths to enlightenment] are without soul? And when asked by the Wanderer, “Is there no soul?”, if I had answered, “There is no soul”, then that would have been a greater confusion to the already confused Vacchagotta [who earlier had inquired into what happens after death and was confused by the Buddha’s answer]. For he would have thought: “Formerly indeed I had a soul, but now I haven’t got one.”
We can compare this legend with one well known from quantum physics. One day a student wandered into the chambers of Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who in the 1940s headed the scientific team that constructed the atomic bomb. As the story goes the student asked Oppenheimer about the existence and movement of the tiny subatomic electron within the confines of the atom, to which Oppenheimer answered,
If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say “no.” If we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say “no.” If we ask whether it is in motion, we must say “no.” If we ask whether it is standing still, we must say “no.”
Oppenheimer’s quote and the Buddha’s response to Ananda regarding the soul point to the same thing. For in both Buddhist logic and quantum physics, it is necessary not to hold any fixed opinion but to see things as they are without mental projections—especially when such answers require you to have such mental projections in order to answer them.
I am sure that if I had chosen to simply remain silence to your many questions about God, the Mind of God, and the unified field most of you would have been upset at my silence just as Vacchagotta was. Since I chose to answer these questions as Robert Oppenheimer did, I would be faced with telling you different and seemingly contradictory answers from time to time as I apparently did thus as the Buddha predicted leading to confusion that the Buddha avoided by keeping silent, but I not being as wise as the Venerable One fell into the trap.
So now once and for all I ask your forgiveness if I have led you astray or caused you confusion. Frankly I felt frustrated when I saw that you kept asking me the same questions over and over again. There simply is no consistent answer to such questions regarding God as What is . . .? Enjoy life. It is a mystery.