Using Psychic Phenomena to Connect Mind to Brain and to Revise Quantum Mechanics

By Klein, Stanley A. | Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, July 2017 | Go to article overview

Using Psychic Phenomena to Connect Mind to Brain and to Revise Quantum Mechanics


Klein, Stanley A., Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy


1. INTRODUCTION

1. Three Big Mysteries: Qualia, Psi and Quantum Mechanics. This paper will discuss the connections between three areas of science that are still deeply mysterious with no good answers in sight: the purely subjective aspects of consciousness (qualia), psychic phenomena (psi), and the collapse mechanism of quantum mechanics (QM). The FoM4 conference covered these three topics. A special treat for me was that it brought together the leaders of the 1970's "Hippies Who Saved Physics" (see David Kaiser's 2011 book). These "hippies" were interested in all these three topics. They had a strong influence on me when I spent a week of 1976 at their summer-long conference at Esalen. I got my California DUALITY license plates shortly after that experience and those plates have been on my cars for more than 40 years. Duality considerations will be found throughout this article. The FoM4 conference (January 27, 2017) provided support for my hope that the wave particle duality of quantum mechanics, with possible help from psi may enable science deal with qualia and help to resolve the mind/matter duality. This Introduction will clarify the issues for these three domains and their interactions.

1.1 Quantum Mechanics.

There are two aspects to QM: the field theory and the measurement part.

The field theory part is often called relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT). RQFT is based on 17 particles: 6 leptons (including the electron), 6 quarks, four bosons (including the photon and gluon) plus the Higgs for providing mass to the others. For our purposes, the simpler quantum electrodynamics (QED) that deals with atoms, ignoring the complexity of the atomic nucleus, will be sufficient. That version just has electrons, photons and a pair of quarks to make point-like atomic nuclei. The rules of QED are simple but strange and are nicely discussed in Feynman's QED book. Not much needs to be said about RQFT/QED since there is general agreement on its rules.

The measurement part, on the other hand, is very contentious with about 20 different competing interpretations. Thirteen of the 20 interpretations are discussed in a separate article in this book (Cochran & Klein, 2017). That article contains a table that clarifies the interpretations using 9 criteria. The paper describes the many interpretations of QM and explains the differences between those interpretations. It classes the various interpretations according to their ontological assumptions such as dualism, monism, epistemic and ontic emphasis and so on.

The measurement problem is connected to both of the other two topics of this paper, psi and qualia. Some of the interpretations, like von Neumann, Copenhagen and Transaction, have a potential role for sentience. As will be discussed next, psi is especially interesting since it may be able to distinguish between the different interpretations. Furthermore qualia also has different explanations in the different interpretations.

1.2 Psychic phenomena (psi). There are four broad categories of psi: precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis (PK). All four categories violate the presently known fundamental laws of nature, specified by QM and gravity. Recall from the previous section that QM means RQFT plus measurement. With one exception psi is not possible given present physics. Precognition is ruled out because standard relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT) forbids signals going faster than light or backwards in time. Other types of psi are ruled out because the forces in present versions of RQFT are too weak to support psi by factors of many trillions. The one semi-serious exception to this claim is the possibility of aliens with futuristic technologies having come to Earth to do experiments on earthlings. The Wikipedia discussion of Newcomb's paradox https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newcomb's paradox is a silly, but useful, demonstration that present physics can be a platform for apparent psi. …

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