Most of us, by the time we reach adult life, develop ways of relating to the obsessive thoughts that visit us; those inner voices that relentlessly detail bleak tales about the future, mistakes made in the past, inventories of what's missing from life. The brain is set up to fret, and we all have to learn how to function in life without being dragged under by the it's constant jabbering. We're all after a little calm.
While we may understand that certain types of thoughts cause us a lot of stress, its less obvious that the mind's tendency to jump around, from one inner narrative to the next, plays a large part in our suffering. The mind doesn't generally roam in search of peace; the brain's subsystems that drive us tend to reward us for thinking about issues we believe effect our survival: from whether or not we'll ever find a lasting relationship, to attempting to predict our unknowable financial futures. Our thoughts promise us control and preparation; what they actually deliver is stress and suffering.
This post is all about a practical demonstration of the measurement problem which has been discussed in a more general way in the previous post, click here to read it.
This central statement is where we left off:
Only when a measurement is carried out, ONE of the variety of possible states of any given quantum system is magically picked out and is then called "reality". This reality depends on how the observer looks, i.e. on the particular way the experiment is carried out. The process of picking out one of many possibility is what we call 'collapse of the wave function'. Nobody knows how the system 'truly' looks like, and when we look we see only one aspect.
The double-slit experiment is a very tangible and certainly the most prominent way to demonstrate how the measurement problem can manifest. It works as follows:
Erric announced in his blog about Robert Lanza's book 'Biocentrism' that I would write a little something about the science in the book.
Here we go, this is the first in a series of three posts about the effect of an observer in quantum physics.
I'd like to focus on 2 of the seven principles of Lanza's theory::
What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An "external" reality, if it existed, would by definition have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.
The behaviour of subatomic particles, indeed all particles and objects, is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves (or 'wave functions').
Let's begin by a quote from Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. He pointed out that Lanza's theory is consistent with quantum physics: “What Lanza says in this book is not new. Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do NOT say it - or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private - furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!”
I have been traveling a lot lately (a lot of time spent on the NYC subway too!). I loaded up my Ipad with some books and here are mini-reviews of three of the best. One is about how the universe is based on awareness not sub atomic particles, another about how meditation can help you be a better healthcare professional and the last one is an extraordinary book of practice advice and autobiography by one of my teachers, Adeu Rinpoche.
So much of our consumerist society’s ability to sell us things is based on how easy it is to capture our attention. We are almost trained to be easily distracted. Speaking to this point is part one of an interview I did with Dan Goleman from the Wisdom of Awareness retreat in June. Here he describes what meditation really is: Attentional Retraining System.
Well here it finally is. Daniel Goleman's talk from the Wisdom of Awareness Retreat with Sogyal Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche, June 2011, Garrison Institute, New York.
He talks about important meditation research findings, the implications and future possibilities. Interesting stuff, plus Dan is fun to watch. If you are like me and have trouble watching long videos on the computer download the mp3 podcast version of talk and listen the audio on you ipod or any other mp3 compatible device.
A large part of science operates as if cognition and emotion are completely different things and have nothing to do with each other. A recent paper by Sahdra and colleagues is different. She studied not only how the meditators in her sample improved on a cognitive task, but also how that was related to socioemotional functioning. And it turns out to be quite related!