Observation, Measurement, Science, (Un) Consciousness and Occultism (part 3)

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Various Quotes from various sources - ancient to modern.

Obs.26.   “He says, ‘The whole universe does what it likes, and then you observe it and it gives you the laws of physics.’” (Freeman Dyson paraphrasing Wheeler) p376
   “Observer-participancy means that the universe must have built into it from the beginning the potentiality for containing observers.” p377
   (Wheeler) “conjectures that the requirement of observability will ultimately be sufficient to determine the laws (of the universe) completely.” p378 Dyson 1980

Obs.27.   “I confess that I have reluctantly had to give up my support of (the interpretation of quantum mechanics that Hugh Everett gave us) because I am afraid it creates too great a load of metaphysical baggage to carry along.” p385-386 Wheeler 1980

Obs.28.   “Each query of equipment plus reply of chance inescapably do build a new bit of what we call ‘reality’. ... what choice do we have but to say that in some way, yet to be discovered, they all must be built upon the statistics of billions upon billions of such acts of observer-participancy?” p359
   “(The participatory universe) has no other than a higgledy-piggledy way to build law; out of the statistic of billions upon billions of acts of observer participancy each of which by itself partakes of utter randomness.” p363
   Wheeler has rewritten at least one paper, changing “until it is an observed phenomenon” to “until is a registered phenomenon” “to exclude any suggestion that quantum mechanics has anything whatsoever directly to do with ‘consciousness’ ...” p374 Wheeler 1980

Obs.29.   “It then follows rigorously from the strict linearity of the formalism of quantum theory that the final state of the universe corresponding to an initial microsystem state is ... a superposition of macroscopically different states. On the other hand, we know perfectly well that a ‘measurement’ (such as direct observation with the naked eye) will always find the universe in one macroscopic state or the other. Now, it is probably safe to say that the overwhelming majority of physicists who have considered this problem at all subscribe to (the opinion that while the superposition is real it) has no observable consequences.
   Why is it the general belief that ‘macroscopic superpositions’ will be unobservable?” p74-75
   “Thus, in reality it is the fact that the energy scale, rather than the ordinary geometrical scale, is macroscopic which prevents us seeing interference effects with macroscopic variables.” p76
   “... what characteristically quantum-mechanical effects shall we look for in order to establish that the motion of a macroscopic variable (the flux) does indeed show the characteristic quantum-mechanical superposition of amplitudes?” p78 Leggett 1983

Obs.30.   “The continuous presence in Chinese Philosophy of the idea of ch'i as a way of conceptualizing the basic structure and function of the cosmos, despite the availability of symbolic resources to make an analytical distinction between spirit and matter, signifies a conscious refusal to abandon a mode of thought that synthesizes spirit and matter as an undifferentiated whole. The loss of analytical clarity is compensated by the reward of imaginative richness. The fruitful ambiguity of ch'i allows philosophers to explore realms of being which are inconceivable to people constricted by a Cartesian dichotomy. To be sure, the theory of the different modalities of ch'i cannot engender ideas such as the naked object, raw data, or the value-free fact, and thus cannot create a world out there, naked, raw, and value-free, for the disinterested scientist to study, analyze, manipulate, and control. Ch'i, in short, seems inadequate to provide a philosophical background for the development of empirical science as understood in the positivistic sense. What it does provide, however, is a metaphorical mode of knowing, an epistemological attempt to address the multidimensional nature of reality by comparison, allusion, and suggestion.” p115-116 Tu Wei-Ming 1984

Obs.31.   “By seeking a theory that will be systematic and devoid of arbitrariness, we arrive at a conception of what there is altogether: the possible worlds, the possible individuals that are their parts, and the mathematical objects, ...” p111
   “But a conception of the entire space of possibilities leaves it entirely open where in that space we ourselves are situated. ... We do not find out by observation what possibilities there are. (Except that if we notice that logical space as we conceive it contains no very plausible candidates to be ourselves, that might be a good reason to reconsider our conception.) What we do find out by observation is what possibilities we are: which worlds may be ours, which of their inhabitants may be ourselves.
   If you think that all knowledge requires causal acquaintance with the subject matter, I think that is just a hasty generalisation.” p112
   “If we don't know by causal interaction that other worlds and their donkeys exist, how do we know? That is a fair request, and I regret that I cannot deliver the goods.” p113 Lewis 1986

Obs.32.   “The radical proposition that we can perceive only phenomena for which we have concepts or ideas -- or for which such concepts or ideas can be developed in the course of observation -- applies unconditionally to the observation of consciousness.” p14
   “The precondition for any empiricism of consciousness is that the observer stand on a higher level of consciousness than the object of observation; otherwise unreliable conclusions and speculations will inevitably flow into the observation. Observation must proceed from the level on which we experience the world as self-evident. Only then does the observing attention, which is directed to pre-conscious and conscious processes of cognition, become trustworthy.”
   “The first step in the process of observation is to distinguish between conscious cognition -- guided by questioning -- and the given image, which is the object of investigation and results from earlier, nonconscious cognition. ... Observation also reveals the superconscious nature of intuitive cognitive processes, experienced on the level of the present, as abilities or faculties. At the same time, we become aware of the impulses that stem from the soul's sphere of habit, the subconscious. This allows us to distinguish between intuitions and associations.”
   “It is equally important that we fully understand the difference between perception and mental representation. Because of its immediacy, perception appears to exist here and now. A mental picture or representation, on the other hand, appears more like a memory.” p15
   “The discontinuous structure of the conceptual world produces the structure of the perceptual world. Both structures are given by language. Language lifts the basic concepts out of what is directly given.”
   “The life span of the word in a human being leads from the given language (and the thinking bound to it), through abstract thinking independent of language, to meditative thinking, which is also independent of language. Meditative thinking seeks to understand words in their primal or original meaning and remain within that understanding, or even pass beyond it. In the process, a ‘thinking’ develops that is adequate to the ideas of natural phenomena.” p16-17
   “Every theory and every science begin with questions. Questions arise when we look at something twice because we were not satisfied with the first view of what we saw. That is, the existence of questions presumes two different glances, two separate views, the second of which is conscious and deliberate. These two different views necessarily originate in two different possibilities of the seeing consciousness, which can be at home on two different planes.”
   “The first view or picture of reality is given to us, and it is already a picture of that moment, not a reality, as is often supposed. Reality is the last secret and can be attained only through conscious questioning. The first picture (filtered through superconscious and subconscious structure) is dulled ... because of the necessary dependence of the cognizing principle in human beings on the physical organism. As a result, only a part of the totality of the world reaches conscious experience.”
   “Epistemology deals with the question of how this ‘given’ arises. The sciences deal with the question of how to complete, correct, and understand the given picture.” p19
   “When we begin to reflect on consciousness, we discover its processes, as well as their results -- we find thinking, perceiving, speaking, as well as concepts, percepts, words.” p23
   “This joy, which is kindled by (the discovery that the human faculties are given) ... is the soul's best starting point for a schooling of consciousness.”
   “The given precedes every question; it is the first image from which questions emerge or are kindled. The given is everything that appears in consciousness without any activity of thought or memory. ... we can call the given ‘the appearance to the (inner and outer) senses’”. p24
   “That particulars (things, for instance) appear as given is a consequence of preceding -- not present -- conceptual determinations, as a result of super-conscious, previous ‘instruction of the senses’ (whereby concepts become integrated in the senses ...). In other words, adults do not have to reflect anew each time they see an object they have seen before: they already see it conceptually.”
   “When one articulates a theory of knowledge (an epistemology), one must examine the origin and development of the adult's given image of the world and conceive the idea of the given quite radically. This means artificially removing -- in a thought experiment -- the concepts already contained in the given. Once we have removed all concepts, the connections between objects, ‘things’, separate details, and even the objects of sensation, disappear. Only an undifferentiated continuum ... remains ...”
   “By means of this thought experiment, the boundary between the given and what is consciously cognized is drawn most deeply. The unstructured continuum given in this way is called the ‘directly given’.” p25-26
   “The processes by which the given is given is superconscious.”
   “Since the ‘first form’ of reality enters consciousness already finished as we become aware of it, we can almost experience -- we may call it a ‘boundary experience’ -- that the processes that ‘give’ this reality occur superconsciously. ... we do not know how a perception comes about.”
   “Even thinking is to be found within the given, even though it is the activity in which we participate most consciously because we ourselves produce it. Thinking does not appear without our active participation. ... thinking is not only formally given, but how it proceeds, its lawfulness, is produced superconsciously. Its rules are not consciously formulated and they can never be exhaustively described. In this sense, thinking is superconsciously given.” p26-27
   “All these activities, including mental picturing (representation), are actually faculties for doing something without knowing how to do it. This ability enables us to initiate processes in consciousness, although we are not conscious of the processes but only of their results.”
   “It is characteristic of contemporary adults that the connection between consciousness and its superconscious sources is interrupted by ... (a) gap ...” p28
   “For instance, in an area where mechanical causality is the general explanatory principle, it makes no difference to speak of ‘kindness’ or ‘friendship’, or even of ‘cognizing’ and ‘understanding’. As adults, the structure of the given we perceive is determined by the course of our lives up to the moment when we first begin to reflect upon the given -- that is, by our education, our upbringing, and our family. All these formative influences are based on our ability to speak and can be traced back to it. Hence a person's mother tongue is the basis for all subsequent structuring of the perceptual world.” p51
   “We have referred to the two separated levels of consciousness between which consciousness can oscillate, with the result that consciousness takes two looks at the given. The second look reveals that existing concepts do not suffice to make the given comprehensible. ... The transition to a questioning consciousness and to the questionableness of the given required a long process of development -- whose results appeared only recently, relatively late in human history, in the sciences, which are based on questions.” p55
   “To characterize archaic consciousness today we have to describe it alternately in its two aspects of perception and thinking because we now experience these two functions separately. But the essence of archaic consciousness is that these two functions are still united, and representational mental pictures are thus not subject to human whim. If ‘thinking’ is alive, colorful, warm, saturated with feeling, and pulsating, then ‘perceiving’ is transillumined within itself by the ideal or ideating ‘thinking’ that indwells it and not by any instruction; ‘perceiving’ then is already structuring everything out and reading everything together, including the beings of nature know in every tradition. If nature still speaks to human beings, its speaking must come from beings who are themselves I-beings or who represent I-beings -- if the latter have already withdrawn from their work.” p67
   “Historically, questions about consciousness only arise when the ‘natural scientific’ way of formulating questions (‘what is it made of?’ and ‘how?’) becomes so deeply rooted that a different style of questioning -- appropriate to problems of consciousness -- becomes possible. This predominance of one style of questioning also influences the concepts that are to penetrate natural phenomena. These new concepts have two distinctive features: first, they are contingent only upon a part, a partial aspect, of the given -- for example, the concepts of mechanics are contingent on the aspect of lifelessness. Second, the connecting principles or explanatory concepts are of the same type as the concepts they are intended to connect. Again, this is typical of mechanics; its explanatory principles do not read reality because the conceptual structure is no longer adequate to the perceptual picture. As a result, part of the perceptual picture remains nonconceptual and therefore not transparent to the understanding.”
   “The general application of the mechanistic style of thinking and the predominance of mechanical causality arise from the subconscious; they cannot be logically justified. Modern thinkers know of hardly any connections or causes except mechanical ones ... where qualities are reduced to entities without qualities, to particles and forces.” p76-77
   “... we cannot account satisfactorily for cognition and the cognizer if we do not focus our attention on the cognitive functions of consciousness themselves rather than on what is often taken for their mechanism.” p82
   “When we have heightened the intensity of attention, we realize that this attention is identical with the picture it weaves. This leads to a monistic experience in pure perception. What is at work here is not human subjectivity; rather, it is the structuring, universal activity of wordlike attention -- received from language, trained through conceptual thinking, and heightened by a schooling of consciousness. The new structuring of the given and the lighting up of higher concepts are one and the same act of consciousness. In and by such conscious activity we realize the ideal of Goethe's contemplative perception. At the same time, we rediscover in full consciousness the concepts that organically structure the given. In this type of meditation, the ‘text’ and its elements remain ambiguous.” p138
   “What natural phenomena are ‘saying’ can be conveyed only in meditation sentences -- if at all. (there is a silence) present in the tones and sounds of nature. It consists of the gaps between tones, and these gaps offer us the room to contemplate the phenomena. This silence is a waiting, in infinite patience and through immeasurable ages of peace that preceded any possibility of measurement.” p139
   “If we do not elevate ourselves to the level of meditation, we will be blinded by the ideas of nature that exceed our comprehension. As these ideas are inaccessible to us, they implant themselves in our mind as perceptual sensations and make us believe that they contain a nonconceptual element. This nonconceptual element seems to affect our senses, but we could comprehend the ideal with our spirit. Our affected senses ‘respond’, give us a picture. We assume that there is a non-ideal ‘reality-in-itself’ behind this picture. However, in reality, these substitute concepts are merely mental pictures, impure ‘half-concepts’, and lead us to misunderstand the nature of ideas. We mistake ideas for abstractions from the nonconceptual, as though concepts were not already a precondition for abstraction: after all, we must select and decide what we are abstracting from.” p139-140 Kühlewind 1986

Obs.33.   “... besides the language of words there is a language of spirits (sermo interior), ... the former is only the vehicle of the latter.” p158 Coleridge

Obs.34.   “The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in the mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined. ... The above elements are, in my case, of visual and some of muscular type. Conventional words or other signs have to be sought for laboriously only in a secondary stage, when the mentioned associative play is sufficiently established and can be reproduced at will. ... It seems to me that what you call full consciousness is a limit case which can never be fully accomplished.” Einstein p142-143 in Hadamard 1945

Obs.35.   “... the characteristic assertion made by all realistic ‘interpretations’ other than Everett's is that (14.1) ‘superpositions of distinct states of consciousness do not occur in nature.’ Such an assertion is not just a matter of airy-fairy metaphysics. It is, in principle at least, an experimentally testable statement (see 14.3 p220, and Deutsch 1985).” p215
   “Everett's opponents (at least those who do not reject realism) are obliged to agree on statement (14.1) in order to avoid Everett's famous prediction of multiple co-existing consciousnesses for a single observer. (Avoiding this is their motivation for opposing Everett in the first place.)” p220 Deutsch 1986

Obs.36.   “The MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) is a theory of measurement, so it is concerned with describing how the universe looks to us qua human beings.” p204
   “‘... the continuous evolution of the total quantum state is obtained by Everett at the price of an extreme violation of Ockham's principle, the entities being entire universes’ (Shimony 1963 p773) In fact, in a private conversation, John A. Wheeler told me that the main reason for his current rejection of what was once called the ‘Everett-Wheeler theory’ was his distaste for the enlarged ontology it definitely implies.” p207
   “The enlarged ontology of the MWI automatically obviates the problem of the Universal Initial Conditions: the Universe consists of all logically possible universes.” p208
   “Indeed I know of no general relativistic quantum cosmology which does not use the MWI, at least tacitly.
   I suggest that the many-worlds interpretation will eventually replace the Copenhagen and hidden variable interpretations like the Copernican system replaced the Ptolemaic and the Tychonic.” p214 Tipler 1986

Obs.37.   “, ... the explicate and specifiable context of consciousness is based on deeper implicate orders. Most of these are either unconscious or present only as a vague general background in consciousness.” p198 Bohm 1986

Obs.38.   “Since measurement involves experimental design and choice of parameter of interest, in the quantum framework the observer is required to complete the phenomenon.” p189 Wicken 1987

Obs.39.   “Quantum preparations and measurements thus are like stepping stones resting upon what we think is ‘our real macroscopic world’. Cutting away the phase relations ... abolishes the stream that is stepped over. ... this is an approximation, disregarding the quantum subtleties. ... the macroscopic approximation just mentioned is not the picture of a ‘real world’, but rather the expression of a selected daydream common to a subclass of onlookers, a ‘maya’ sort of world, where selected intersubjectivity replaces objectivity. Jung's concept of a ‘collective unconscious’ may have relevance here.” p920 Beauregard 1988c

Obs.40.  “Speculations about the role of consciousness in physical systems are frequently observed in the literature concerned with the interpretation of quantum mechanics. ... more than 800 relevant experiments have been reported in the literature of parapsychology. A well-defined body of empirical evidence from this domain was reviewed ... Results showed effects conforming to chance expectations in control conditions and unequivocal non-chance effects in experimental conditions.” p1499 Radin 1989

Obs.41.   “A quasiclassical domain consists of a branching set of alternate decohering histories. A measurement is a correlation with variables in a quasiclassical domain. An ‘observer’ (or information gathering and utilizing system) is a complex adaptive system that has evolved to exploit the relative predictability of a quasiclassical domain, or rather a set of such domains among which it cannot discriminate because of its own very coarse graining.
   If quantum mechanics is the underlying framework of the laws of physics, then there must be a description of the universe as a whole and everything in it in quantum mechanical terms.” p321
   “In quantum mechanics not every history can be assigned a probability. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the two-slit experiment. ... Yet the Everett analysis was not complete. It did not adequately explain the origin of the classical domain or the meaning of ‘branching’ that replaced the notion of measurement. It was a theory of ‘many worlds’ (what we would rather call ‘many histories’), but it did not sufficiently explain how these were defined or how they arose.” p323
   “The rule for when probabilities can be assigned to histories of the universe is then this: To the extent that a set of alternative histories decoheres, probabilities can be assigned to its individual members.” p327
   “Decoherent sets of histories are what we may discuss in quantum mechanics, for they may be assigned probabilities. Decoherence thus generalizes and replaces the notion of ‘measurement’, which served this role in the Copenhagen interpretations.” p328
   “... history requires knowledge of both present data and the initial condition of the universe.” p329
   “Decohering sets of alternative histories give a definite meaning to Everett's ‘branches’. For a given such set of histories, the exhaustive set of ... at each time ... corresponds to a branching. ... Indeed, using subspaces that are exactly orthogonal, we may identify sequences that exactly decohere.” p330
   “Any such correlation exists in some branches of the universe and not in others; for example, measurements in a laboratory exist only in those branches where the laboratory was actually constructed! ... Measured quantities are correlated with decohering histories.” p337
   “How do we then characterize our place as a collectivity of observers in the universe?
   Both singly and collectively we are examples of the general class of complex adaptive systems ... complex adaptive information gathering and utilizing systems ... (whose) coarse graining is very much coarser than that of the quasiclassical domain since it utilizes only a few of the variables in the universe. (Perhaps ... there are complex adaptive systems, making no use of prediction, that can function in a highly quantum mechanical way. If this is the case, they are very different from anything we know or understand.” p338-339
   “Quantum mechanics describes alternative decohering histories and one cannot assign ‘reality’ simultaneously to different alternatives because they are contradictory. Everett and others have described this situation, not incorrectly, but in a way that has confused some, by saying that the histories are all ‘equally real’ (meaning only that quantum mechanics prefers none over another except via probabilities) and by referring to ‘many worlds’ instead of ‘many histories’.” p340
   “Namiki: You defined the ‘history’, choosing a set of observables.
   Hartle: (2) We do not ‘choose’ the histories of a quasiclassical world; we compute them ...
   Anandan: But is your reason for choosing the quasiclassical variables that these variables decohere?
   Hartle: We do not ‘choose’ quasiclassical variables.
   Mittelstaedt: Let me consider the Neumann program: the quantum mechanical measuring process should be described in terms of quantum mechanics as an interaction between the object system and the measuring instrument. Many parts of this program are now very well understood. However there is an important missing link: The ‘objectification’, i.e., the transition from a superposition to mixture of objectively decided outcomes has not yet been properly understood. In order to overcome this problem, Everett formulated the ‘many worlds interpretation’. But even today we don't know any mechanism which could explain the objectification.”
   “Vigier: The problem with this way of presenting problems of the history of the Universe since its origin is that we do not ever know (to quote Voltaire) that the Universe was created or not, i.e., it might have an infinite history.” p342 Gell-Mann 1989

Obs.42.   (There was no observer of the early universe, so) “measurements and observations cannot be fundamental notions in a theory ... when neither existed. In a theory of the whole thing there can be no fundamental division into observer and observed.” p3 Hartle 1989

Obs.43.   “An observable is a physical quantity which is defined by the prescription for its measurement.” p3 Bohm,A 1989

Obs.44.   “No element in the description of physics shows itself as closer to primordial than ... the elementary act of observer-participancy.” p354 Wheeler 1989

Obs.45.   “Otherwise put, every it -- every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself -- derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely -- even if in some contexts indirectly -- from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices ... (Things from information) symbolises the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom -- at a very deep bottom, in most instances -- an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.” p5 Wheeler 1990b

Obs.46.   “Measurements and observations ... cannot be fundamental notions in a theory which seeks to discuss the early universe when neither existed.” “Reality is theory.” p13 Wheeler 1990b

Obs.47.   Don't we “seek to elucidate the physical world, about which we know something, in terms of an entity about which we know almost nothing, consciousness?” According to Parmenides “What is ... is identical with the thought that recognizes it.” p15 Wheeler 1990b
  

Fragment 4, Parmenides a450BC p55)

Obs.48.   Far earlier than Parmenides we have, from the Bhagavad Gita: 13.26

“Whatever being comes to be
be it motionless or moving,
lept from their union, a function of,
the field and the knower of the field.”

Obs.49.   “For it should be carefully considered that all things, as they exist in our mind, in like manner exist also in matter, in form and in the composite.” p79 Cusanus 1450


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