New Version 1.2
Still under construction May, 1996
The Heisenberg-Bohr tranquilizing philosophy--or religion? --is so
delicately contrived that, for the time being, it provides a gentle
pillow for the true believer from which he cannot very easily be aroused.
So let him lie there.
-Albert Einstein
NEW FEATURE, Feb 1996
See Jack Sarfatti right now on digital TV on the World Wide Web if you have
Netscape 2.0 on Win 95 or NT. Get the vdolive and Amber plug ins and then get
the VDO Lecture and the Amber versions. You can also see the .pdf Amber
version with any form of Acrobat Reader.
_____________
The Quantum and Beyond
by Jack Sarfatti
New Feature 2/96
Sarfatti
Commentaries on the Tucson II
Conference on Physics and Consciousness
The Blackhole and the Brain
(title copyrighted) Jack Sarfatti's reply to Murray Gell-Mann's The Quark and the Jaguar
"You can fly faster-than-light if you want to.
High as a kite, if you want to.
Speeding through the universe.
Thinking is the best way to travel."
-Moody Blues
-----
"We are such dreams as stuff is made from."
- Anonymous on the Copenhagen Interpretation in a variation on Shakespeare.
The mathematics of quantum mechanics today explains the measurable behavior of non-living matter from the tiny subnuclear scale all the way up to the scale of rotating neutron stars.
Classical physics pictures matter as made from tiny point-like elementary particles, or sources, and their fundamental force fields which are spread out all over space and changing in time. In my point of view, quantum mechanics adds elemental mind to classical matter in the form of wave functions for the elementary particles and their fundamental force fields. The mental wave functions act on their individual particles causing them to deviate from the classical motion determined by force fields that act on them. Classical force fields also have their own kind of quantum wave functionals which act on them. The two together form a new structure called the quantum field
The quantum measurement problem refers to the Copenhagen interpretation of Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, von Neumann and others. It is the accepted interpretation of the meaning of quantum mechanics. It asserts that the quantum wave function is a complete description of physical reality at the fundamental individual event level. There are no classical-like source particles with definite paths in spacetime in the Copenhagen interpretation. Similarly, there are no local classical force fields there as well. The classical particles and fields somehow emerge in the "classical limit" when Planck's constant hbar is small compared to the dynamical actions of the observed system. This interpretation leads to a puzzling faster-than-light collapse of the spread out wave function in a measurement. David Bohm, under Einstein's influence, realized that Bohr and company threw the baby out with the bath water. For more details of Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics click here.
Above we have a computer simulation of the actual paths of massive particles in a double slit interference experiment. Such a picture is not even thinkable in the Smoky Dragon picture of the Copenhagen interpretation. Notice that in every individual case a particle only goes through one slit and it never crosses the plane midway between the slits. Each particle is guided into a wave pattern by a physical quantum potential shown in the next picture below as seen from the screen where the fringes are. The nonlocal (i.e. "organic" or "wholistic" or "context-dependent") quantum potential only depends on the shape or form of the wave function not on its magnitude. The negative spatial gradient of the quantum potential is the quantum force on the particle. The quantum force is very different from classical forces like the Lorentz force on a charged particle. The quantum force can be large even when the wave function is very small. This is why quantum effects can be large over long distances. It is not true that quantum effects are only big for tiny atoms. This is the problem of how the classical world emerges from the quantum world. It is more subtle than discussions based on the Copenhagen interpretation permit. Several generations of physicists have been mesmerized by an incomplete picture of quantum reality. Einstein was right after all and Bohr was wrong.
Relativistic source (fermion) and force (boson) quantum fields create and destroy particles called quanta. The force quanta are emitted and absorbed by the elementary source particles which carry the charges of the force fields. The electromagnetic force field is not charged, but the weak and strong forces fields are. There are three "flavor" types of charges for the weak field and eight "color" types of charges for the strong field. There is only one type of electromagnetic charge.
For example, the unified classical electromagnetic field of microwaves, radio, infrared, light, x rays and gamma rays, together with its quantum wave functional, forms the quantum electrodynamic force field part of quantum electrodynamics (QED). The quanta of the QED force field are called photons. The classical distinction between particles and fields gets blurred at the quantum level. Basically, all forms of matter, whether sources or forces, are quantum fields that create and destroy particle-like quanta. So, for example, the quanta of the QED source field are electrons and their antiparticles.
The quanta come in two forms called real and virtual. Real quanta can be detected directly and obey the mass shell equation that connects their energy and momentum in terms of their frame-invariant proper mass. Classical electromagnetic radiation is made out of real photons. Virtual quanta can only be detected indirectly and they do not obey the mass shell equation. This means that virtual quanta can travel faster than the speed of classical light radiation. For example, a virtual photon can be spacelike outside the classical light cone. Indeed, the near field, e.g., Coulomb field of electrostatics, is made mostly from virtual spacelike photons of longitudinal and timelike polarizations. These faster-than-light (FTL) virtual quanta cannot be used to send signals because they cannot be directly detected over long distances. Real quanta obey the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which says that the uncertainty in an energy (momentum) measurement must be larger than Planck's constant divided by the uncertainty in a simultaneous time (position) measurement. In contrast, the total energy (momentum) of a virtual quantum must be smaller than Planck's constant divided by its lifetime (size) as a fluctuation out of the vacuum in which there are no real quanta. Hoyle and Narlikar have an alternative point of view in which there are no photons, real or virtual, and the future universe influence functional is responsible for spontaneous emission and other vacuum fluctuation effects.
Collections of identical classical elementary particles, that share the same entangled wavefunction, have special permutational quantum forces that repel each other, even if they are not exchanging virtual quanta of their fundamental classical forces. In contrast, collections of identical quanta of classical force fields of spin 1 called bosons, that share the same wave function, have permutational quantum forces that attract each other, even if they are not exchanging virtual versions of themselves. This is shown by the image on the left of the picture below for a system of two identical bosons in which possible paired particle trajectories in Bohm's theory are plotted.
The image on the right shows the repulsive permutational quantum force between the possible trajectories of two identical fermions of spin 1/2. In both cases the particles are in external classical harmonic potential force fields with no classical force coupling between them.
The quanta of the classical forces spin exactly twice as fast as do the elementary particles that emit and absorb them. The elementary particles are quarks and leptons. Their wave functions are called spinors because of their odd properties under spatial rotation. The spinor wave function of a single elementary particle is multiplied by -1 under a full circle rotation. For example, a neutron is made out of three quarks, therefore it also has a spinor wave function. If a beam of unentangled neutrons is passed through a crystal interferometer, their individual wave functions are each split into two pieces along two separate paths and are then recombined with two outputs fed into two detectors A and B. First the experiment is done with the paths adjusted so that detector A has constructive interference while detector B has destructive interference. Therefore, detector B is silent. Now imagine a special magnetic coil placed in one of the paths. It is designed in such a way that it rotates the magnetic moment of the spinning neutron by a full circle of 360 degrees in the plane perpendicular to the path. This means that the piece of the wave function on that path is multiplied by a factor of -1 compared to what it was before the magnetic field was switched on. The result is that detector A switches from constructive to destructive interference and falls silent, while detector B does the opposite and begins to "click".
A similar experiment can be done with photons using polarizers instead of magnetic coils. In contrast, the photon wave function is not a spinor but a vector, and, consequently, it does not get multiplied by a -1 under a full circle rotation. Therefore, there is no spinor switching of the firing rates in detectors A and B for photons in optical interferometers.
The new mental nonlocal quantum force is qualitatively different from the classical material force fields. This "telepathic" quantum force does not weaken as space and time separations increase.
Correlated quanta do not have to be identical, so that the permutational quantum forces need not exist for them. Correlated quanta do not have local wave functions of their own. They do have local reduced density matrices which have a higher positive thermodynamic entropy than their common wave function has. Indeed, if the correlated quanta share a single "pure" entangled wave function, its thermodynamic entropy is zero. This implies that the nonlocal entropy of correlation is negative. Therefore, the correlated quantum whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts. Thus, the nonlocal quantum connection allows new collective coherent emergent properties of higher levels of organization of matter in which "more is different".
The telepathic quantum force not only depends upon where and when all the particles are macroscopically detected, it also depends on a mind-like informational pattern that exists in extra-dimensional Hilbert space beyond the spacetime of Einstein's theory of relativity. Furthermore, the quantum force does not care whether the separations between particles at their macroscopic detections are spacelike. That is, the quantum force acts faster-than-the speeding photon.
The above world picture arises out of the late David Bohm's "nonlocal hidden variable" interpretation of quantum mechanics today. The hidden variables are the positions of the actual tiny particles and the spread out configurations of the actual classical force fields. The nonlocality is in the action of the objective quantum force made out of the wavefunction on the "hidden" actual particles and on the "hidden" actual classical force field configurations. This telepathic force that is different from the fundamental classical forces, appears as a quantum potential in the Hamilton-Jacobi form of Newton's second law of motion for the particle, and as a "superpotential" in the corresponding form of the classical field equations which are now highly nonlinear and nonlocal even in charge-free regions of spacetime.
In contrast, the dominant "Copenhagen interpretation" assumes that there are no hidden variables. There are only mental wave functions of coherently superposed dreamy fixed possibilities of an "observable frame of reference". These fixed possibilities called "eigenfunctions of the observable" describe alternative classical situations that are mutually exclusive or "orthogonal". In simple language, the possibilities contradict each other.
The fixed possibilities form the extra linearly independent basic dimensions of the Hilbert space. The coherent linear superposition of these contradictory classical possibilities is represented by a "point" that, for an isolated system, moves rigidly in time on the surface of a unit hypersphere in this complex Hilbert space that exists beyond spacetime. The rigid evolution of isolated systems is described by the Schrodinger equation and its generalization to the relativistic Dirac equation for the elementary particles. The linearity means that the different fixed possibilities do not distort or impede each other. The rigidity consists in the invariance under changes in perspective of the "right angles" between the fixed possibilities. A mathematical change in perspective has an operational definition as a change in the total experiment arrangement as defined by Bohr.
The superposition mysteriously squashes or "collapses" in a measurement (i.e., macroscopic detection) in which only one of the several fixed possibilities actually happens. The non-rigid collapse process is fundamentally different in kind from the rigid time evolution of the quantum system when it is not being observed. The collapse squashes the full Hilbert space to a lower dimensional subspace with a definite probability The sum of all the probabilities for a complete set of fixed possibilities adds up to 1 (i.e. a certainty). This feature is conserved in time between measurements under the rigid evolution for the isolated or closed system.
The Copenhagen interpretation suggests a strange kind of action backwards in time in the form of John Archibald Wheeler's delayed choice experiment.
There is no mysterious collapse in Bohm's theory because the hidden particle is actually present in one of the fixed possibilities which is an objective pattern of information. Correlations of the "empty" fixed possibilities with contradictory or "orthogonal" possibilities of huge numbers of particles and fields forming the environment make it extremely unlikely that the empty possibilities of the original particle will be able to act on that particle again. If we can control the interaction of our particle with the environment, we can, in principle, quantum erase the would-be measurement.
Bell's theorem shows that there must be faster-than-light quantum influences if the wave function describes individual quantum systems, and if there is counterfactuality in which what might happen but doesn't, nevertheless, has a definite observable influence on what does actually happen.
Eberhard's theorem shows that these precisely observable faster-than-light influences (in the form of hindsight correlations) cannot be used for practical communication if quantum mechanics today is a complete theory of physical reality. Nevertheless, these spacelike correlations do have a practical application in the technology of untappable public key cryptography which will be in widespread use to secure commercial transactions on the world-wide-web of the Internet.
Bohm's hidden variable interpretation reproduces all of the statistical predictions of quantum mechanics today provided that we make the approximation that the mental wave functions of the particles and fields acts directly on them, but, in contrast, the particles and fields do not directly act back on their wave functions. In other words, the mindlike wave functions of inanimate organizations of matter are unmoved movers that move matter, but are not moved by matter. When we go beyond this approximation we find our conscious selves.
More precisely, a direct action of matter back on mind destroys the rigid conservation of probability in the time evolution between measurements. I hypothesize that this, so-called, "nonunitary" violation of conservation of probability current is the fundamental mechanism for the creative evolution or "mutation" of cultural memes in living organizations of matter. Memes are the fundamental patterns of social behavior, defined in sociobiology, that are also subject to Darwinian selection pressures. A meme is like a gene at a higher level of organization of matter.
There is another interpretation of quantum mechanics without hidden variables which does not have telepathic faster-than-light nonlocal influences between spacelike separated localized quanta that share the same entangled wavefunction. This interpretation, with minor variations, is called "many worlds", or "many minds", or "consistent histories", or "parallel universes", or "relative state". All of these minor variations on the same theme deny counterfactuality in some way, so that they can be local theories and still obey Bell's theorem. It is not necessary to imagine that the material universe actually splits, only that the mental wave functions do. There are no fundamental problems with energy conservation, for example.
David Albert's quantum camera, that photographs "other worlds", has shown that many-minds type interpretations, in the presence of self-measurement, allow the observer to be directly aware of their parallel streams of consciousness in contradiction to Everett's initial assertion to the contrary. The self- measuring observer transcends the uncertainty principle in a limited way. The consequent multiple interpenetrating realities interpretation is consistent with the experiences of shamans, mystics and poets. It also explains the odd psychologies of "UFO contactees" as described in several books by Jacques Vallee. The cultural implications of this school of thought have been explored in great detail by Fred Alan Wolf in his books, Parallel Universes and The Dreaming Universe.
The late Richard Feynman also had a fundamental interpretation of quantum mechanics in terms of histories which naturally leads to the idea of information propagating both forward and backwards in time. Quantum interference appears in the form of loops in time over nonvanishing timelike slices of spacetime.
Bohm's famous student, Israeli physicist Yakir Aharonov has an interpretation of quantum mechanics that involves more than one wave function in which what happens now is determined by both past and future causes. The coherence of quantum states from different times permits Aharonov to conceptualize a very unreliable quantum time machine in which time travel to the past to before the machine is built, and to the future, to after it is destroyed, is possible, at least as a thought experiment. This is qualitatively different from the, in principle, reliable classical time travel through wormholes , built from exotic matter in which it makes no sense to travel to a time that was before the wormhole was created. Quantum time machines might be a model for a deep brain mechanism at the quantum gravity level which would permit rare memories of "past lives" as direct telepathic downloading of information reaching back in time and equally rare precognitions as direct telepathic downloading forward in time back from the future.
Recent studies of continuous measurements in open quantum systems and complex adaptive systems that measure themselves are opening up new ways of thinking that will take us beyond quantum mechanics today into a more magical, but still scientific, view of the world making Star Trek real taking us not only to the stars, but to the far future of the universe and back to as close to the Big Bang as we dare to go. "Make it so."
Quantum Back Action
Does Consciousness Require a Violation of Orthodox Quantum
Mechanics?
(version 0.4)
March 22, 1996
Jack Sarfatti
jsarfatti@aol.com
The world, according to the late David Bohm, divides into objectively real, though mathematically complex-valued, quantum waves and objectively real classical particles and gauge fields. The classical particles and gauge fields always have quantum waves attached to them. For a many-particle system, the quantum wave function's domain is the system's classical-mechanical configuration space not physical space. This is in contrast to Copenhagen-type interpretations (i.e., Bohr, Heisenberg, von-Neumann, etc. -- all are a wee bit different) in which the quantum wave is fundamental and the classical particle is not. Indeed, Bohm's actual particle position in physical space has been called the "hidden variable". This is topsy-turvy since most practical measurements in quantum physics involve localized "particle" flashes in a detector. The quantum wave patterns build up in the statistics of the particle detections. It would be more appropriate to say that the wave is the hidden variable.
We restrict this discussion to non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Bohm's theory appears to violate the Lorentz transformations of Einstein's theory of special relativity at the individual quantum particle level. However, Lorentz symmetry is restored in the statistical quantum wave patterns. That is, there does appear to be a preferred rest frame in which the new nonlocal quantum forces act instantaneously. This fact is a bit ugly, but we must remember that there is a preferred global frame of reference in the standard cosmological "big bang" solution of Einstein's general relativity field equations. The "co-moving Hubble flow" provides a new kind of covariant aether in which the cosmic photons from the big-bang are isotropic with a temperature that obeys the Planck blackbody distribution. The isotropy establishes an absolute global "rest frame", and the temperature establishes an absolute measure of global cosmic time from the big bang. Bohm conjectures that the quantum force is instantaneous in this global frame which suggests an interesting connection between a solution to classical general relativity and low-energy quantum mechanics. Special relativity is a local tangent space symmetry in general relativity. Therefore, the big bang Friedmann solution is an example of the spontaneous broken symmetry familiar in solid-state physics and in the standard model of elementary quark-lepton fermion sources and gauge boson forces. On the other hand, if we look at quantum electrodynamics we find the counter-intuitive surprising fact that the near field of virtual longitudinal and timelike photons is also instantaneous in every Lorentz frame of reference. This is because every Lorentz transformation between inertial frames in relative uniform motion induces a compensating internal phase symmetry or "gauge" transformation that re-adjusts the near field to be instantaneous in every frame. Can we impose this feature on the special-relativistic generalization of Bohm's quantum force? This is a question for further research.
The quantum force is the negative spatial gradient of a context-dependent quantum potential that appears in the Hamilton-Jacobi equation for the particle derived from the linear Schrodinger wave equation. The quantum force's context-dependence explains the wave-like guidance of the individual particle in the famous double slit experiment which the late Richard Feynman called the "central mystery of quantum mechanics". Context-dependence means that the guiding quantum force only depends on the "form" of the quantum potential and not its intensity or strength. This is because the quantum potential is the Laplacian of the amplitude of the wave function divided by that same amplitude. Therefore, multiplying the wave function by a constant does not change the quantum potential. Bohm calls this quantum force "active information" in which a small expenditure of energy is able to control a much larger expenditure of energy. This feature is dramatically illustrated in the quantum Carnot engine operating between a hot negative temperature and a cold positive temperature. The quantum wave is a kind of information wave. This is the same idea that David Chalmers calls for in his criteria for a post-modern physics of consciousness although he does not appear to be aware of the relevance of Bohm's theory in this context.
There is an actual point-like particle with a well defined position and momentum at each moment. There is also an actual gauge force field configuration, but in this discussion we only discuss the source particles. In fact the momentum of the particle is context-dependent determined as the gradient of the phase of the wavefunction at the actual position of the particle at every moment. This particle passes through only one of the two slits, but its attached objective wave passes through both slits. The recombination of the waves from both slits exerts a quantum force on the particle whose effects exactly reproduce the observed statistical coherent wave patterns for ensembles of particles whose initial positions are postulated to obey the Born probability rule. The conservation of probability current, derived from the linear Schrodinger equation along with the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, then ensures that the Born probability rule holds for all times. There is no conflict with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle since the statistical deviations of position and momentum measurements obey that principle. The actual particle trajectories are classically chaotic so that a small change in an initial position generally will result in an unpredictable and uncontrollable large change in trajectory over a short time. This, the simplest form of Bohm's theory, is deterministic but not predictable. Bohm and Vigier later added a fundamental stochastic sub-quantal level which, according to Nanopoulos, originates in the virtual blackholes and super-string states of the quantum foam at the Planck scale of 10^-33 cm. In addition, the dependence of the wave of several particles on position in higher dimensional configuration space introduces the kind of "nonlocality" observed in the experiments testing Bell's locality inequality.
We now come to "back-action" which is the main idea of this paper . The origin of this idea is Newton's third law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We now know that this is a consequence of translational symmetry in physical space. Radiation resistance in Maxwell's electrodynamics is a kind of back-action of the field on its source. Wheeler and Feynman showed how this back-action is caused by advanced waves propagating backward in time from the future absorption of the radiation. Retarded causality then depends on the future final boundary condition of total absorption which is actually violated in the same standard big bang solution of general relativity I mentioned earlier -- as shown by Hoyle and Narlikar in the January 1995, Reviews of Modern Physics. It can also be shown that quantum spontaneous emission of real radiation by virtual zero point vacuum fluctuations can be explained as advanced wave effects from the future that are classically associated with radiation resistance. Feynman also used the term "back-action" to explain the generation of quantized vortices in superfluid helium.
The late Eugene Wigner, amplifying on von-Neumann's "collapse" postulate in the Copenhagen-like interpretations, suggested that "consciousness" is essential for the completion of the quantum measurement. This entails a violation of the linear Schrodinger equation.
Note that the Hartree-Fock mean-field approximation for the spectra of many-electron atoms give an effective cubic nonlinear Schrodinger-like equation. The Heitler-London theory of the simple chemical bond and the Heisenberg model of ferromagnetism demand similar effective cubic nonlinearities which show up, for example, in the exchange integral. The exchange integral in the effective Lagrangian involves two electron densities or four wave function factors.The equation of motion from the action principle involves a functional derivative with respect to the wave function so the resultant nonlinearity is cubic. Cubic nonlinearities also show up in the Landau-Ginzburg equations for coherent macroscopic order parameters or giant effective quantum wavefunctions in second order phase transitions including superfluids, superconductors and lasers. The cubic nonlinearity is also found in the Higgs mechanism for mass generation of particles in the spontaneous breakdown of symmetry of the electro-weak force. The Goldstone modes from the symmetry breakdown add a new polarization component to the massless gauge bosons giving them rest mass. Fermion source particles can also acquire rest mass this way. The symmetry breakdown is from a tachyon field that undergoes Bose-Einstein condensation. The Goldstone modes are small subluminal quantized vibrations in the vacuum expectation value of the tachyon field. These nonlinearities in the Schrodinger equation which are generically induced in mean-field approximations to many-particle effects are swept away by second-quantizing the wavefunction so that it is now a creation and destruction operator of elementary excitations of collective modes in non-relativistic solid state physics. The second-quantized Schrodinger equation is now "linear" in the Fock space whose base states consist of different precise numbers of elementary excitations. Nevertheless, this is only a formal trick and the problems of the first-quantized theory are still there. The creation of antimatter at high energy has led to the idea that second-quantization is really more fundamental for relativistic theories, however, Bohm's theory which does not use second quantization may also be able to explain the creation and destruction of particles. This is also a problem for further research. Indeed Feynman's path integral formulation of relativistic quantum field theory does not use second-quantization and Bohm's picture can readily be integrated into Feynman's. Indeed, Feynman's theory is essentially an incomplete version of Bohm's without the actual trajectories. Therefore, in Bohm's theory as in Feynman's the creation and destruction of particle-antiparticle pairs at high energy correspond to actual particles turning around and moving backward in time. Feynman imposes a boundary condition which is a contour around the poles of the particle propagator in the complex-energy plane such that particles move forward in time with positive energy and backward in time with negative energy. This choice ensures microcausality. We must be prepared for exotic matter in which this boundary condition is violated. The exotic matter keeps star gate traversable wormholes from collapsing and permits the Alcubierre warp drive. One can also imagine new exotic processes in which the actual particles move in Hawking's imaginary time and also temporarily transform into tachyons on spacelike paths. These are all problems for further research. Note that the use of complex energy planes in Feynman's theory also demands the use of complex time planes since the two are related by a Fourier transform.
Wigner invoked the metaphor of NewtonÕs third law in the new context of the
mind-matter interaction. He said that matter affects mind, but there is no
corresponding reaction of mind on matter without the collapse of the quantum
wave function brought about by consciousness. As shown by John Archibald
Wheeler in his classic essay, "Law Without Law", this view leads to "delayed
choice" actions backward-in-time (BIT) because we did not exist in the early
universe and yet we observe light from the early universe. In effect, it is the future
that actualizes the past in the von-Neumann-Wignerean view of quantum reality.
Indeed, Roger Penrose and Henry Stapp have physics of consciousness theories
based on this approach.
To summarize, Wigner uses the metaphor of back-action to say that mind acts on
matter in the collapse of the wave function. Penrose and Stapp say that each
qualia-event or moment of awareness requires a collapse in the wavefunction of
the brain. It is assumed that there are mechanisms that preserve coherence over
a time of the order of one second. The wave function is shielded from ordinary
thermal fluctuations which would decohere it in times much shorter than one
second.
Bohm's theory is very different from the von Neumann-Wigner theory. First off, I identify "pre-mind" with the quantum wave attached to the relevant many-particle system. This is a new postulate that the potential for psychological "qualia" is a fundamental physical property of the universe in the sense defined by David Chalmers in his December 1995, Scientific American article. If we grant this postulate that the potential for qualia is as fundamental as charge or mass, and that this potential is identical with the quantum waves of certain particles of matter in biological and possibly other complex systems, then Bohm's quantum force immediately explains how mind moves matter. Furthermore, in Bohm's theory it is the quantum force that guides the particle into a given branch of the wave function in a measurement situation. This simulates Wigner's idea that "consciousness" collapses the wavefunction. Bohm's theory is one of "collapse without collapse". Therefore, I have given a more detailed explanation of Wigner's idea in terms of a deeper idea due to a combination of Bohm's and Chalmers's views. We now have a new way of looking at the modern theories of quantum consciousness of Penrose and Stapp.
To make more contact with the standard quantum mechanics, we now see why it is that the guidance of the particle by the "mind-like" quantum force into a particular "eigenfunction" of the "observable" is, under usual conditions, unpredictable and uncontrollable. The latter two features are due to the fact that the linear Schrodinger equation has zero back-action in the sense that I mean it. Whereas Wigner's idea of back-action was that of mind on matter, my idea is the exact reverse. The Bohmian back-action is the direct action of particulate matter on its attached guiding mind-like quantum wave whose support is in the configuration space of classical mechanics, and whose range is in Hilbert space. The result, however, is not incompatible with Wigner's main idea and it, in fact, explains it in a deeper more elegant way.
The absence of back-action in orthodox quantum mechanics is mentioned by Bohm and Hiley in their book, The Undivided Universe.
"unlike what happens with MaxwellÕs equations for example, the
Schrodinger equation for the quantum field does not have sources,
nor does it have any other way by which the field could be directly
affected by the conditions of the particles. This of course
constitutes an important difference between quantum fields and
other fields that have thus far been used. As we shall see, however,
the quantum theory can be understood completely in terms of the
assumption that the quantum field has no sources or other forms of
dependence on the particles. We shall in chapter 14, section 14.6,
go into what it would mean to have such a dependence and we
shall see that this would imply that the quantum theory is an
approximation with a limited domain of validity." p.30
By the term "back-action" I mean that the quantum wave field is "directly affected by the conditions of the particles". It is qualitatively obvious that such a direct dependence is the counter-force or reaction to the quantum force. The combination of the quantum force of wave on particle with the counter-force or back-action of particle on wave forms a feed-back control loop which is able to control the formerly uncontrollable guidance of the particle by its wave. This results in a distortion of the statistical patterns of orthodox quantum mechanics. This is the mechanism of intent or free will. Henry Stapp in the July 15. 1994 Physical Review A (p.18) has a theory with some of these features. If we accept the postulate that the quantum wave is "pre-mind", then the direct affect of the particles of matter on their attached wave is a change in that wave that is an internal representation or map of the material environment in the sense of models of artificial intelligence. It is this change in the "active information" wave form that is homomorphic to the external material configurations that constitutes the dynamic stream of perception and consciousness or qualia that is our most immediate sense of self and being in the world in conformity with David Chalmers's criteria.
The relevant particles are probably the electrons whose spatial displacement controls the conformations of the protein dimers in the microtubules. It is their collective, perhaps Frohlich electric-dipole, wave form pumped far from thermal equilibrium which, I conjecture, is the physical substrate of our mental experience. All forms of life must have back-action in the sense defined above. Back-action is a necessary condition for the existence of any form of living matter in this theory.
Having come this far, things really start to get interesting. Going to Bohm and Hiley's "section 14.6" we find:
"Other changes of this sort that might be considered would be to
make the Schrodinger wave equation nonlinear and to introduce
terms that would relate the Schrodinger wave function to the
particle positions. É One way to make SchrodingerÕs equation
dependent on the particle positions (so that there would be a
two-way relationship between wave and particle) can be seen by
considering equation (14.1). In this equation, we regard Rn as the
actual position of the nth particle. From the same arguments as
apply to the GRW (Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber ) approach, it would
follow that the overall wavefunction would tend to collapse
towards the actual particle positions, so that in a large scale system,
the empty wave packets of our interpretation would tend to
disappear." pp.345-6.
David Albert in his book The Quantum Theory of Experience and in his recent Scientific American article advocates a GRW theory. Here we see that the GRW theory is one realization of a deeper idea of direct back-action of particle on wave. The new Nanopoulos theory is a form of GRW in which the back-action is coming from the quantum foam of virtual black holes, baby universes and superstring states. Nanopoulos thinks his way of looking at the problem is a deeper explanation of Penrose's orchestrated "auto-collapse" of the wavefunction of the brain that he says forms the qualia in the stream of consciousness.
It is important to realize that the idea of the mind doing a quantum computation requires that there be no collapse or decoherence whilst the computation is in progress. The GRW theories postulate that the decoherence time depends inversely as the number of particles N that form the quantum computing hardware unit. GRW introduce ad hoc two new fundamental constants of Nature of 10^-5 cm or 100 nanometers for the scale of collapse, and 10^16 sec or a billion years which divided by N gives the decoherence time beyond which quantum computing deteriorates. Nanopoulos gives a more fundamental derivations of the decoherence time in terms of the masses of the particles. If we use the Nanopoulos formulae and my hypothesis that the human quantum biocomputing unit is at the electron level rather than the proton level, then the decoherence time for the number of electrons in our bodies is of the order of 100 years or approximately one human lifetime. If we use protons as the basic unit, the decoherence time is a factor of 10^20 shorter for the same number of particles. This means one has to use a much smaller number of protons to get the same decoherence time as one would get for electrons. Using protons and a decoherence time of 1 second gives an estimate for the basic unit of our experience. The numbers for this computed by Nanopoulos and Penrose need to be compared. One can imagine that the continuity of our long-term memory that lasts a lifetime is at the electron level in our microtubules while our more immediate short-term moment-to-moment experiences are at the proton level having to do with hydrogen bonds. The coupling between short-term and long-term memories would then have to do with the interaction of hydrogen bonds with the controlling electrons in the protein dimers of the microtubules.
One last wild idea before ending this rough first draft. Let's play with a cosmological connection in the GRW model since Nanopoulos has already linked the "quantum friction" of the fundamental decoherence time to the quantum gravity foam. Suppose, the basic decoherence time is the Hubble size of the universe divided by the speed light of about 10 billion years presently. This means that the basic decoherence time at the big bang before inflation was the Planck time of 10^-43 sec which is not unreasonable. Let us further suppose that the spatial scale of collapse, which does not appear to be in Nanopoulos's theory is the geometric mean between the Planck distance of 10^-33 cm and the Hubble size of the universe multiplied by the square of the dominating gauge force coupling constant. Why the square of the coupling constant? Because that is what happens in the basic Feynman diagram for any interaction force between two sources via the exchange of a virtual boson. Every thing that happens is a composite of such Feynman diagrams in standard field theory. Well if we do this, we get about 10^-5 cm for the present epoch which agrees with GRW using the fine structure constant for QED and we get the Planck scale of 10^-33 cm at the big bang since all the coupling constants grand-unify to 1 before they get to the Planck scale in the standard ideas on the subject. So first homework problem - is there anything in astronomy which would falsify this idea? Can it explain the missing-mass problem and the apparent presence of stars older than the universe? It makes a very interesting prediction. It says that, in an open universe (e.g. Freeman Dyson's "Time Without End") things get more and more quantum mechanical as the expanding universe gets older and older. That is larger and larger numbers of particles preserve their nonlocal quantum connections to each other over longer and longer coherence times, and therefore show macroscopic quantum effects over wider and wider spatial separations in the far future of the universe even though the density of particles may be decreasing to zero asymptotically. This is a prediction for the "Mind of God" (e.g. end of Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time) because, on the basis of my idea that the act of quantum computing requires the suspension of decoherence, eventually all the matter in the universe will be quantum mechanical on the cosmological scale. If back-action is present, direct faster-than-light (FTL) communication between distant regions of matter in the open universe can happen. Eberhard's theorem prohibiting such communication using nonlocal quantum connectivity only works in the limit of zero back-action. In this wild idea all the matter of the open immortal universe becomes part of a Vast Active Living Intelligence (i.e. Phillip Dick's VALIS) or cosmological brain whose quantum wave function is the "Mind of God" in Hawking's sense. This model is different from Frank Tipler's Omega Point which requires a closed universe. My model is consistent with I.J. Good's notion of "GOD(D)" that he introduced about fifteen years ago. Good worked with Alan Turing breaking the Nazi War Code.
Related papers
Nobel Prize Physicist, Brian Josephson on the use of quantum nonlocality by living matter.