Friday, 8 September 2017


The following is the abstraction  of a  topic currently featured in V.H. Ironside, Behold! I Teach You Superman :

“It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be.”
John Locke

“The same thing cannot at once be and not be.”

“To be is to be perceived.”
George Berkeley

            A sufficient condition for the reality of a physical quantity, it has been said, is the possibility of predicting it with certainty, without disturbing it. Without, in a word, creating events that are properly speaking contingent only. In actual fact, it is a basic demonstration of the meaning of
causality, its scope, scale, and significance as a consistent self-sustaining formula, that it may be observed, gauged and measured without being interfered with in any significant way. Published in May 1935, this indeed was the upshot of the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paper with its retrospective assumption of a knowable material reality independent of the physicist – or what most people take to be the commonsense view. And therein lies what is possibly the most haunting part of the whole quantum-mechanical experience. For not only is its mathematical formalism manifestly contrary to common sense, but expressed in still more rarefied language, the predominant quality implied by quantum a-causality is that of non-locality. Causality and spacetime representation no longer apply. Due to the curious mechanism whereby the application of information causes the probalistic wave function to collapse, quantum conditions only exist as superposition of indeterminate states (and may equally well be construed as a representation of our ignorance).
            Nor is ignorance necessarily insuperable. In fact, the tension between matter and meaning, real and virtual, consciousness and motive, lies at the core of quantum mechanics. Here, for the first time, we glimpse the modus operandi that has become an essential part of nature’s virtual camouflage. The mask is perfect, as  the conceptual investigator sets out to unravel, layer by layer, the full extent to which the universe encrypts and  modifies his own experience. Pealing the cosmic onion to unlock its core, he discovers that the layers do not hide the truth, that they are the truth. And despite the religious euphemisms he employed, what ultimately haunted Einstein was the idea that there is nothing beyond the apparition. He could not accept the illusion as reality. And yet, largely because of its inherent uncertainty, the physicist has been more or less forced to accept this mystical position. His mind-expanding  equations  might have him walk on water at one moment, or transform it into wine the next. One door closes, another opens. It all makes perfect sense. For sub-atomic physicists, almost mystically omnipotent, apparent logical impossibilities are the norm. The quantum world is envisioned rather than seen. All things are equally possible.

           This may seem potent language to use, but the evidence for existing ‘facts’ is not necessarily separate from the process which renders them apparent. Indeed, to reproduce as exactly as possible an objective reality, the human mind is really forced to compromise. Since it contains no self-contradiction, we can never describe the universe, ‘the thing in itself’, but only our understanding of it. Nothingness cannot be translated into alternative terms. Judgment may only be made in terms of measurement, though for sheer ambiguity it would be hard to beat the Protean quality so apparent in Relativity.  In other words, if four-dimensional space always has a relativistic frame of reference, then in principle, the proportional value of this depends on our choice of perspective and can have no intrinsic significance. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that the circumstances of any one individual observer can be such as to render his own perspective permanent or pre-eminent.
            So, if the manner of our observation determines the universe, can knowledge bring about its own existence?
            The universe proves little beyond its own existence. As long as reality depends on our choice of measurement, no clear dividing line exists between ourselves and the reality we choose to experience. Indeed, it is at this point that cognition in terms of identity and locality enters the theory inevitably and inexorably. Whereas quantum mechanics denies objectivity and locality, the materializing faculty of knowledge is deployed with extraordinary power and incisiveness. And with that arises the profound distinction - which is essentially a conceptual distinction - between two forms of consciousness; one based on continuity physics, or waves, the other on discontinuous quantum states, or particles. Indeed, particle and wave are as much states of mind as mutually exclusive, actual events, characterized, most notably, by an  ability to be and not be at the same time – an abstract and
elusive condition known as the wave-particle duality.    Between the two there is no comprehension, no communication, no empathy, so that we can never know the whole truth. For the truth is that reality isn’t necessarily about certainty, as it isn’t inevitably a representation of the facts, but that it is invariably an insight into the workings of the human mind. Indeed, there can be few instances of conceptual schizophrenia more pronounced than that wave and particle should have sprung from the same conception; an equivocation between modes of thought proper to two perfectly unrelated histories of truth and facts, namely the quantum state of the universe, and the simple and obvious ideas of the classical theory. Indeed, conceived as complementary rather than polar, it is no explanation to say that Being and Causality are set at odds in this insoluble twin-equation as in no other. If, on the other hand, consciousness is choice, a means of intelligent conceptualization of either wave or particle, it all makes perfect sense, for knowledge is analogical. It has the potential to unlock fundamental properties of the implicit universe. It is the
process whereby potential reality becomes actual reality.
          Forget Hamlet - think of Alice in Wonderland.
            The actual possibility for the same thing to be and not to be, introduces complexities which may well set up the idea of conceptual conflict. Indeed, whereas some relativistic equations express the observed effects and relate them to the characteristics of a given activity, others seem to indicate that, unobserved, the world can be in a state of both, activation and non-activation. Everything is flux. Absolute meaning is dispensed with altogether. Purely physical action enjoys only a transitory existence. It is, in fact, impossible to state the guiding philosophical principle that underlies the two respective theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, without a systematic exposition of consciousness and motive. In truth, it is hardly possible even to grasp the scope and provisions of either without having formed acute and coherent ideas as to the nature of conceptual intelligence nor, in so many words, without first making a careful analysis of the various states of the four-dimensional continuum of which, in the observer’s experience, he seems to be the Catalyst.

            In the words of the Gospel: “Thou art thyself it!”

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