Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

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Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Sherab » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:30 am

Interesting article entitled "Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory with Personality Survival"

http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/Compatibility.doc

Abstract
Orthodox quantum mechanics is technically built around an element that von Neumann called Process 1. In its basic form it consists of an action that reduces the prior state of a physical system to a sum of two parts, which can be regarded as the parts corresponding to the answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to a specific question that this action poses, or ‘puts to nature’. Nature returns one answer or the other, in accordance with statistical weightings specified by the theory. Thus the standard statistical element in quantum theory enters only after the Process-1 choice is made, while the known deterministic element in quantum theory governs the dynamics that prevails between the reduction events, but not the process that determines which of the continuum of allowed Process-1 probing actions will actually occur. The rules governing that selection process are not fixed by the theory in its present form. This freedom can be used to resolve in a natural way an apparent problem of the orthodox theory, its biocentrism. That resolution produces a rationally coherent realization of the theory that preserves the basic orthodox structure but allows naturally for the possibility that human personality may survive bodily death.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:35 am

Sherab wrote:Interesting article entitled "Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory with Personality Survival"

http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/Compatibility.doc

Abstract
Orthodox quantum mechanics is technically built around an element that von Neumann called Process 1. In its basic form it consists of an action that reduces the prior state of a physical system to a sum of two parts, which can be regarded as the parts corresponding to the answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to a specific question that this action poses, or ‘puts to nature’. Nature returns one answer or the other, in accordance with statistical weightings specified by the theory. Thus the standard statistical element in quantum theory enters only after the Process-1 choice is made, while the known deterministic element in quantum theory governs the dynamics that prevails between the reduction events, but not the process that determines which of the continuum of allowed Process-1 probing actions will actually occur. The rules governing that selection process are not fixed by the theory in its present form. This freedom can be used to resolve in a natural way an apparent problem of the orthodox theory, its biocentrism. That resolution produces a rationally coherent realization of the theory that preserves the basic orthodox structure but allows naturally for the possibility that human personality may survive bodily death.


Glad to hear physics is catching up with Buddhist thought.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:36 am

Unless by "personality survival" he means something like an atman. In which case physics would be catching up to Hindu thought.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:50 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Unless by "personality survival" he means something like an atman. In which case physics would be catching up to Hindu thought.


Is isn't really hard to see that you can have rebirth of a person without an atman.

In fact if an atman even existed, rebirth would be impossible.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:57 am

Depends on what you mean by a "person". And, more to the point of the OP, what Stapp means by a "personality".
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:09 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Depends on what you mean by a "person". And, more to the point of the OP, what Stapp means by a "personality".


Person meaning a relative and dependently originated individual sentient being.

The idea in the article above sounds like rebirth.

In reincarnation studies they use the word "personality" rather than person or soul or spirit or whatever. It probably is defined specifically in psychology.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:31 pm

Now that I've had a chance to look at the essay, I see what you mean. His line of thinking does seem quite close to the dharma in many respects. This bit in particular caught my attention:

William James drew attention to “the fantastic laws of clinging” that allow a stream of conscious thoughts, with its ever-changing intermingling of related ideas, to hang together like a persisting entity. If there were purely mentalistic laws of clinging, then in our normal streams of consciousness these mentalistic laws could be acting in coordination with the physical laws of clinging, to produce the coordinated streams of consciousness that we experience. But how seriously would the theory be upset if sequences of mental events could hang together in persisting societies without the assistance of their physical mates?

...If we can push back to a time when only [the physical or mental] aspect prevailed, then it is certainly much easier to imagine a basically mental world creating for itself a physical substructure to attend to the minor details, than to imagine a purely physical world creating a mental superstructure. (pg 13-14)


Have you come across his book "Mindful Universe"? Stapp's a real interesting fella to watch. He has impeccable credentials as a physicist and no apparent philosophical or religious axe to grind, which makes it all the more noteworthy that he's raising these questions.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:54 pm

Hmm. Maybe quantum entanglement is the medium of rebirth. Never thought of that. It is just subtle enough to fit the bill.

Woops forgot to take my meds again sry people. :tongue:
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Sherab » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:27 am

Just a reality check - Stapp's ideas are still not accepted in mainstream science.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby catmoon » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:19 am

Sherab wrote:Just a reality check - Stapp's ideas are still not accepted in mainstream science.


Not surprising. A lot of armchair physicists/lamas are in the same boat. If you locked Deepak Chopra in a room with a committee of physicists, he might never be seen again.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:55 am

Except that Henry Stapp's no "armchair physicist", but the real deal. Has done his philosophy of mind homework too, from what I can see.

Deepak Chopra, well, that's a different story...
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:59 am

In a hundred years I imagine scientists will look back at our now cutting edge theories and think how backwards and limited in scope they were.

What sounds like science fiction now can become factual in the future.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby 5heaps » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:03 am

Huseng wrote:Glad to hear physics is catching up with Buddhist thought.
mahayana buddhism denies that things are the sum of their parts. plus this abstraction is assuming that the physical sum accounts for mind
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:43 am

5heaps wrote:
Huseng wrote:Glad to hear physics is catching up with Buddhist thought.
mahayana buddhism denies that things are the sum of their parts. plus this abstraction is assuming that the physical sum accounts for mind


To be more specific Mahayana in general refutes that a thing is the sum of parts and possesses a unique self-identity or self-existence (svabhava). The idea is that a dharma does not really possess svabhava, thus it is empty of svabhava, but our mistaken perception of the entity produces the appearance of svabhava.

There is no problem with saying that conventionally conditions come together and form a relatively-existent and dependently originated thing or person.

My point above is simply that some people in physics are starting to come to the conclusion that rebirth makes more sense than post-mortem oblivion.
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Re: Quantum Mechanics and Personality Survival

Postby 5heaps » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:07 am

Huseng wrote:There is no problem with saying that conventionally conditions come together and form a relatively-existent and dependently originated thing or person.
does that kind of svabhava exist conventionally? it doesnt exist at all. therefore we cant say even conventionally that things are the sum of their parts. right?

and more importantly, i think, there is 0 mention of mind. all there ever seems to be are explanation of how a hydraulics systems (ie. the body) endures in various ways after death. then they just throw the word 'self' or 'personality' in there, as though they had the slightest scientific basis for doing so. they havent even found the neural correlate for mere awareness, nor have they established that the neural correlate equates to mere awareness itself [which is the meaning of materialistic theory for the past 400 years in the west, and over 2000 years in india etc].
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