QUANTUM MECHANICS AND DREAMS
January 30, 2022
I am lying on my bed reading Julian Brown, of BBC Science Unit, his interview of David Bolm in 1986. He asked Bolm to differentiate his interpretation of Quantum Mechanics from Neil Bohr’s interpretation of it and wondered whether he is closer to Albert Einstein’s take on quantum mechanics.
Einstein believed that the world is objective and is outside us and that all that scientists can do is observe it and describe how it works; the universe is outside us and all we have to do is observe and describe what we observed and if other observers verify what we saw then what the various scientists see is objective, is tentatively called science, until, in Karl Popper’s terms, other observers falsify it.
However, at the quantum level, that is, if we are observing atoms, especially the particles of atoms, such as photons and electrons, things are a bit different from when we observe larger objects.
At the quantum level, it seems that the observer influences what he sees. Consider the double slit experiments; one photon or electron is sent to a slit and it goes through as one particle and leaves a mark on the paper behind the hole; when two slits are made on the paper and one photon or electron is sent towards them, it seems that the single particle divides itself into two photons, electrons and go through the slits and leave interference marks on the paper behind the holes; this suggests that the photon or electron can behave as a particle or as a wave, and do so when an observer/measurer asks it to do so?
Is the photon obeying the wish of the experimenter/observer; is nature somehow able to know what people are thinking and reflect it in their world? What exactly is going on here?
Bohr and his Copenhagen school of quantum physics say that at the particles level that nature behaves in such a manner that the observer influences what he is observing. That is, consciousness plays a role in what the world we see is!
Einstein vehemently disagreed with Bohr (he even had trouble accepting Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Bohr’s complementarity principle, staples of quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics means that his deterministic world is shattered) and said that may be there is something that we have not yet seen that makes particles seem to behave as both particles and waves; that they do not do so in response to human consciousness; Einstein wanted to retain classical physics’ belief that the world is objective and not of our making.
Later, David Bolm posited the idea of hidden variables that we have not seen that is making nature behaving as if it is responding to people’s consciousness.
Regarding the EPR (Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen) thought experiment in 1935, Bolm kept looking for an underlying variable that we have not yet seen that explains why two entangled particles seem to relate to each other instantaneously despite their distance from each other, meaning that the speed of light is not the ultimate speed anything can travel, actually, meaning that space, time and matter are illusions for if two things placed trillions of miles apart from each other can relate to each other instantaneously, non-locally, then there is no space and time between them.
In this BBC interview, Bolm goes on and on telling Brown why he falls in-between Bohr and Einstein in the debate on the nature of quantum mechanics. He seems to be splitting heirs; why not agree with either Einstein or Bohr and dig himself out of his misery hole.
Somewhere along the line, he said that to agree with Bohr is to agree with George Berkeley’s solipsism (Berkeley posited that the world is in the mind of God). As a philosopher, that observation made me alert and pay attention.
The universe has existed for 13.8 billion years and people, in their present form, have been around for no more than 100, 000 years, so, if the universe must be observed to exist then who was observing it to make it exist before us?
The discussion went on and on, rambling and unconvincing. I was not learning anything new from the discourse since what the gentlemen were saying is basic quantum physics, so I put the book aside and began thinking.
I said to me that there are really many mysteries that we have not understood and in trying to understand those mysteries we learn something new about the universe.
People just take many things for granted and do not investigate them until a curious person comes along and decides to ask questions.
Isaac Newton asked why apples fall down from the apple tree, not up; from that question he gave us the three laws of motion and gravitation theory.
Consider the fact that we do dream. What exactly is involved in animals’ tendency to sleep and dream? Is this a silly question?
I go to sleep, and I am immediately in a dream; I see a world that looks like my day world; I see people interacting with people and with things. When I wake up, I immediately realize that it was only a dream and dismiss it for I assume that it is unreal.
So, how does my brain produce a world that looks like my day world? And if my brain can produce a world that looks like the day world, how do I know that the day world is not also produced by my brain?
I know about all the objections to Berkeley’s solipsism. Dr. Johnson had fun desecrating the Irish Bishop, as delineated by his sidekick, Boswell; he kicked his foot on a stone and felt pain and said that his body is real because he can feel pain. Apparently, no one told the old English wit that we also feel pain in dreams when we kick stones! If pain is the indicator of what is real or not since we also feel pain in our dreams then dreams are real, yes, no?
Psychologists have studied aspects of dreams; they talk about dreaming and non-dreaming states of brain; dreaming brains are characterized by rapid eye movements, REM; but that does not explain why animals dream, it merely describes what happens in their eyes when they are dreaming.
How do animals dream? Our old friend, Sigmund Freud, aways a myth maker, said that dreams are royal road to the unconscious mind, that in dreams our day wishes that we could not satisfy during the day, are satisfied; may be so, but what is the mechanism of dreams? How does the brain produce dreams?
Neuroscientists tell us that dreams are the products of the dance of neurotransmitters, and electricity in the brain. Some say that electrons produce our dreams, some say that the nuclei of atoms, atoms stripped of their electrons, produce dreams.
All these are conjectures that have not explained dreams. I wrote on a pad of paper by my side that I need to do some study of dreams. I put the book containing Bolm’s interview aside and dozed off to sleep.
I was now in a dream. In the dream a ball of fire was by my side on my bed and it scared the hell out of me; I tried to get away from it and was not able to get away from it; I tried to shove the ball of light away from me and struggled with it and said get away from me, except that I was so scared that words could not even come out of my mouth. As this struggle continued, I kicked the ball of light with my feet and that woke me up; it was at that point that I realized that it was only a dream, not real life.
I wrote down the dream and it occurred to me that I had made a resolution to think about dreams, and try to figure out the role of light and electrons in dreams, and there I was in a dream with electrons, ball of light in it; was that an accident?
Was something trying to scare me away from doing the study? I may be anything, but I am certainly not a coward; if someone opposed me, I am more likely to do what he opposed me for; I do not easily give in to irrational fear, so, I decided that I must think about dreams and went to my computer and typed this material.
I am going to go back to sleep and tomorrow embark on thinking about dreams, how does the human brain or mind dream, could it be that both our night and day worlds are dreams in the mind of our real self, what Helen Schucman called the son of God who is one with God.
I cannot just sweep this matter under the rug and pretend that it is not heuristic. May be, there is really God, and we are in him; we wish to separate from him and could not do so and went to sleep and dream that we are now in a world of separated things.
Christianity identified three states of being: our present world of space, time and matter, the after-death world, aka purgatory, and heaven.
So, how do I know that David Deutsch (I had read him before reading David Bolm) is not correct in his multiverse postulation; could it not be that there are infinite dream states, infinite dream universes, all of them journeys away from our real home in unified spirit state, God and his heaven?
Never mind what the Satan worshippers called American Evangelical Christians say, those are so evil that they support Donald Trump and his racism; whatever they disagree with I have a desire to agree with; they dismiss the idea of multiverse and that made me want to see Hugh Everett’s many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics as real; can the evil worshippers ever say anything that is true, of course not; they are the children of Satan and, as such, are my sworn enemy.
Anyway, I am going to pay attention to dreams, and study them.
11: 45 PM
January 30, 2021
Davies, Paul and Brown, Julian (1986). The Ghost in the Atom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.