Comments of the week:
Rudyard Kipling ( 1865 – 1936 ) expressed the transition from Cartesian dualism and separability to the inseparability as follows:
“All nice people like Us are We
And everyone else is They
But if you cross over the sea
Instead of over the way
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They.”
The Cartesian revolution ( R. Descartes : 1596 – 1650 ) had as main objective the clear delimitation from the medieval mysticism: through its particular logic centered on the exclusive disjunction either / or , it introduced the distinctiveness in the philosophy and scientific knowledge. The new Cartesian methodological horizon, defined by the terms ” distinct and separable “, follows the syncretic horizon, characteristic to the medieval perspective ( indistinct , inseparable ); after 1500 the legitimacy of this last perspective began to be frequently questioned. In this context , the Cartesian option either / or ( either subject or object, either religion or science, either material or spiritual,..) had the significance of a “ fiat lux ” ( Let there be light ), marking the beginning of an extraordinary analytical effort which benefited both the modern and contemporary science / knowledge. Indeed , the fact that today it can be stated that contemporary comprehension of the world is centered on inseparability became possible only on the basis of more than 300 years of analytical knowledge which stubbornly promoted the system ( process ) analysis in itself, considering the coupling ( of the systems / processes ) as non-fundamental , often irrelevant. Descartes’ error - and the error of the dualism as a whole - laid on the absolutization of separability ( ” Everything is divisible ” ) and especially on considering the duals as being opposite / contraries ( see Fig. 10 a ) : object versus subject, body versus soul, a.s.o. This aspect deserves to be detailed because later , Hegel, Darwin and , in the 20th century , Niels Bohr and the entire modern medicine, took over the Cartesian ( antinomic ) model in elaborating some thought lines still very active in present. There are 2 possible modalities of delimitation toward a given entity A : the hard line, promoting the opposite ( the contrary ) of A ( anti – A ) and the soft line promoting not the opposite but the different of A : the contradictory “ non-A ” ( note that non-A or ” the complement of A “ includes anti-A). Descartes and Galileo relied on the contraries probably to give the differentiation / distinctiveness a sharper character, by this the synthetic resources ( anyway irrelevant within a rigorous analytic program ! ) were practically annihilated because unlike the contradictories, the contraries have nothing in common ( see Fig.10 c ). The Cartesian methodology did work with excellent results ( continuing to be valid also in present ) but only in the limits of the analytical horizon , with its distinct and separable systems. Alternatively , all genuine / alive totalities require a non – Cartesian approach based on synthesis with Harmonizator being without exception ” harmonized contradictory wholes ” ( for details see the section entitled ” Synthesis in Broad Sense ” ).
Beyond Descartes : two distinct crises
After 1960 the scientific knowledge entered in a new era of development – a synthetical one, organized on 2 methodological horizons : a first non-Cartesian ( distinct and inseparable ) horizon correlated with so called “discrete crisis “ and an anti- Cartesian ( indistinct – inseparable ) horizon marking the ” distinct crisis “
( unfortunately, the two crises are often confounded ). For the actual methodological moment , which has as main priority the delimitation from the Cartesianism , particularly relevant is the discrete crisis horizon , which can be characterized best by the principle everything is connected with everything, thus the inseparability comes on the forefront.
The methodological specific of the non-Cartesian horizon was firstly formulated many decades ago by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard , in the following terms: characteristic for the contemporary scientific knowledge is not how the contraries exclude one another but how the contradictories cooperate ; the non-Cartesian program suggested by Bachelard is not any more satisfactory for the contemporary comprehension because it does not take into consideration the distinct crisis, an anti-Cartesian issue with major implications in elaborating the theory of chaos and also the new , contemporary category of existence ( see the section ” Existence in broad sense ” ).
Coming back to dualism it must be shown that it was submitted to a slow but implacable process of conceptual erosion ( Fig. 10 b , c ) having as effect the mutual opening of the duals and the progressively attenuation of the opposition relationship ( assumed ) between them. In the case of the duals subject / object , for instance , this change has been firstly produced due to the activation of the subjective side ( by the romanticism : J.G.Fichte, J.J. Rousseau, F. Holderlin,.. see the A’ , Fig. 10 b ) and also, more recently , due to the objective side activation: non-linearity and states far from the equilibrium , activation of the possible,… see the B’ , Fig. 10 c .
Dualism and Quantum Mechanics: Niels BOHR and beyond
The non-fundamental character of the dualism was firstly demonstrated in quantum mechanics through a series of methodological works elaborated between 1928 – 1948 by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr , who contributed to the fall of the Cartesian opposition between subject / object , proving that the usual separation observer / measuring device is an artificial one and incorrect too since the observer owns some irreducible objective ( operational ) features.However Bohr was in many regards a…dualist: the complementarity principle in its antinomic version ( either wave or particle ) and also the so called asymetric conceptual dualism ( Bohr did constantly affirm the existence in Quantum Mechanics ( Q M ) of a conceptual microscopic / macroscopic duality , considering the last one fundamental ) are some typical examples of a dualist thinking. Another example of dualism within the Copenhagen Interpretation of the Q M is given by the dynamical dualism ( Born, von Neumann ). In von Neumann’s formulation ( 1932 ) , the dynamical dualism states that in the QM , two dynamical opposed regimes are active: a unitary dynamics according to Schrodinger’ s equation ( rigorously valid for the isolated systems ) and a non – unitary dynamics introducing the reduction or the collapse of the wave function to describe the stochastic transition in the new ( actualized ) state during measurements.To solve the dynamic dualism the new Q M advanced two distinct ( though practically indistinguishable ) possibilities:
i. Decided modification of the linear and determinist dynamics so that the collapse results from the new ( nonlinear and stochastic ) Schrodinger equation. The development of this approach ( the term of interpretation becoming improper ) is the best represented by the SL ( spontaneous localization ) theories ( G.C. Ghirardi, A.Rimini and T.Weber; P.Pearle ) . The eventual connection of the SL dynamics with the gravitation effects ( quantum gravity ) – S L G , seems promising especially due to the expected diminution up to exclusion of the spontaneity of the original approach.
ii. Post – Everettian interpretation - representing in essence a synthesis between MWI and the theory /mechanism of decoherence ( the EZZ interpretation, obviously Z ,Z coming from Zeh, Zurek - the main promoters of the decoherence theory ). EZZ interpretation applies consequently the unitary dynamics ( no collapse ) right, with the price of an indisputable ontological ” extravagance ” ( John Bell ). A new dualism ? Not at all, rather a new…J.S.Bell ( a reconceptualization of contemporary quantum theory ) since the decoherence and the collapse are neither identical nor incompatible , the two dual models could be synthesized in the future.
Solving the Discrete / Continuum Dualism : Einstein or Zeh?
In my recent book “Beyond Descartes – from separability to inseparability ” ( Amazon.com ) I have shown that presently we are in full crisis of the discrete, thus being normal that particle – central concept in modern science – to lose ground against wave (respectively, fields of vibrational energy). H. – D. Zeh goes even further asserting that since actual quantum mechanics no longer demands the existence of discontinuities in time (quantum jumps), space (particles), nor even in space -time (quantum events), one can conclude that the quantum mechanics itself lost its quantum character, the just apparent discontinuities above mentioned can be objectively described with the help of decoherence – itself a continuous process. Is discrete / discontinuity concept disappearing from our epistemology? Certainly not, the discrete / discontinuity cannot be excluded from contemporary epistemology / ontology; why exclusion? I remind here the ( very ) pertinent question formulated by Parker Palmer in the following, integrative terms : ” We think the world apart. What will it be like to think the world together? ” Thus, it can be reproached to professor Zeh at most a tendency toward some abstractization of a P (potentiality) type. A tendency of opposite direction – abstractization of A (actualization) type – was exhibited by Einstein when, on the basis of his pertinent explanation of photoelectric effect, he aimed to exclude continuity, asserting that the light wave/ electromagnetic field in general, would actually be a (permanent) superposition of quantum oscillators, in other words a sum of discontinuities. To note that in contrast to old / traditional quantum mechanics centered (via N. Bohr) on the law of excluded middle ( ” everything is either A or not- A ” ) or , simpler , on Aristotelian / Cartesian antinomic logic: either / or, the new quantum mechanics is based on a very different logic (both / and) promoting not exclusion but rather the inseparability / harmonization of complementary entities: subject / object, potential / actual, continuum / discrete, etc. My preferred solution to this temptation toward any type of abstractization is suggested by David Bohm & Parker Palmer , respectively by the both / and logic: in original / statistical quantum ensemble we have potentially both states – “wave” and “particle” as “aP ” compatible states – though in his ” Wholeness and the Implicate Order” p. 163, Bohm considered the two quantum states as ” mutually incompatible potentialities” – their actualization ( aP → Ap ) being specifically accomplished depending on the type of decoherence involved: “wave – decoherence” or “particle-decoherence”; the wave actualization leads to particle potentialization but in no way to its exclusion (according to Cartesian either / or logic); the same solution ” both / and ” may contribute to a correct interpretation of the Young (two slits) experiment: 9 out of 10 of current interpretations ( including Young’s ! ) are inaccurate ( abstract, unilateral ). My suggestion : forget Bohr’s preference for antinomies and bohmian assumed ” incompatibility” and consider the ” wave/ particle” entity rather as an adaptive totality. Acting this way you will not solve the “two slits” problem entirely (nobody has done so far) but surely you will detach from the mechanicist / reductionist clichés. But what exactly an adaptive system means within the contemporary quantum mechanics context? I choose to quote the response provided by John CAMPBELL, combining the analysis of the concept “internal model” (Karl FRISTON, 2007) and the Quantum Darwinism theory (W.H. ZUREK, 2009):
“Adaptive systems are characterized by internal models which simulate and orchestrate their environmental interactions. Quantum theory tell us that quantum systems must include a physical implementation of an information processing model equivalent to the evolution of a state vector in Hilbert space.. the nature of this model remains outside experimental verification.”
Some personal remarks: i. If the suggested model seems too complex for this organizational level you have to dare an extension ( you’ll need it, anyway, when you should look at the delayed-choice experiment ) or…remain with classical options (nice trajectories, localization, etc.). ii. The environment itself must be taken into account either in the classical (Bohr) or in quantum sense; ignoring this aspect represents one of the typical abstractizations. iii. The process that we are referring to may be considered as a particular case of “measurement” in which the local (particle) and nonlocal (wave) aspects are harmoniously overlapping, making it possible to approach it with the help of information and decoherence concepts (“Decoherence occurs when information is copied from a quantum system to its environment”).
A new quantum dialectics: from either A or P toward A/P inseparability
What could this dialectica nova bring to the field of contemporary quantum mechanics?
Everything depends on the actual desire of the physicists to detach themselves from the traditional ideological ballast, from their notorious FAPP opportunism consisting of promoting, with an incontestable success, the prediction of quantum formalism, ignoring explanation: why is this happening this way and not another. Here are some of my own dialectical suggestions:
- Centering on potentiality: the decisive resignation from the classical realism and centering of existential concept not on real but rather on potential; of course, you can undermine the potentiality’s central place , either in a hard manner by assuming a genesis deficiency attitude ( no p→a ) typical for modern science, or in a soft one assuming ( as Everett did ) the excess genesis ( all p→a ). For instance , David Deutsch, in The Fabric of Reality – a very interesting book, but..- considers our tangible universe as much as all shadow versions of the multiverse as a constellation of reals, the potential / possible being reduced in a very…constructive way to its ghost / spooky character attributed with great methodological candor by Albert Einstein. Right now, I think, we need a non-Cartesian and equally non-Everettian perspective , assuming that any real ( from photon to universe ) is actually a Tertium ( A/P ) state.
- Rethinking in-formation (spirit, time, finality): recognizing the primordial role of information – in comparison with matter and energy – in genesis and organization / functioning of the universe and correlatively promoting the new status (physical, however not ergonic; warning : when Landauer asserts ” the physical support of information” he involuntary identifies the two concepts- ergonic and non-ergonic ) of probability waves, reduced by the A (actualist) physicists to simple mathematical fictions; this way making possible the universal transfer of the Form, mainly convergent – no more!- to David Bohm’s idea of active information. The extraordinary role attributed to physical choice (anticipated by the Russian physicist N.A. Umov, 1900) in the universal informational play as well as in articulation of the two horizons A and P.
In the following I wish to briefly elaborate on the increasing role of information along a series of distinct but inseparable stages – description / control / genesis which unfortunately were often taken over isolated, or undervalued.
1. Communication as description of the real system states: the subject is rather passive in comparison with the object and “information” is reduced to a transfer of “objective data” being evidently subordinated to matter and energy. Maintaining the quantitative integrity of the message appears on the forefront, respectively the ratio signal / noise, redundance, etc. (this is the well-known Shannon / Weaver / Wiener moment; to note the presence of two remarkable guests: Clausius and Boltzmann as well as a …notable absence – information).
2. Control – this time both subject and information are no longer spooky entities but they are radically activated allowing us to assume that we are dealing with a new type of information / subject; in this new context the role of ergonic factors (matter / energy) becomes comparable if not equal to nonergonic factors (acausal correlations, probability / intentionality waves of aP type). The amplified role of information is manifested this time not as much in changing the physical states of the system but rather in altering their probabilities, the transition from communication / description to control being accompanied by an incontestable rising in the existential rank of the subject / consciousness and correlatively of the meaning / semiosis (see the section “Dasein in Broad Sense” on this site or in my book “Beyond Descartes”).
3. Genesis – constitutes the superior stage of the subject /mind / information participation to reality, concomitantly marking the exponential increase of the form and meaning role in selection / evolution / genesis processes, the Bohmian concept of in-formation sparingly present in the 2nd stage (the control being a particular case of in-formation) now proves to be decisive, fundamental: mind/ form / meaning become effectively generative and this happens in actual generation no later – sorry, J.Bell; the environment (this time including the subject / consciousness as a creative environmental factor) transfers its instantaneous form to the wave function, its “collapse” may be smoothly interpreted as an informational process of control / genesis essence: indeed the actualization as a physical subtle process could be started by synchronization (an in-formational process equally active in the real and possible) using at its “minimal” level the probability / intentionality waves, fact anticipated ( obviously, in their ” out of working hours” according to J.S.Bell ) by some open, integrative minds such as George WALD, Henry MARGENAU, J.A. WHEELER and more recently Larry DOSSEY, likely their unconsciousness was resonant with the above mentioned information metamorphosis. Their unconventional ideas were expressed in some clear statements which naturally scandalized the modern world obedient to Cartesianism: ” Mind…( having an aP essence ) is the source and condition of physical reality.” Nothing mystical or paradoxical, just somehow…subtle and anticipative.
- Universal constants as cosmic sensors: firmer correlation between universal constants with quantum vacuum (“a field of all fields” continuously generating all potentials forms) going as far as considering these constants as cosmic sensors of vacuum activity as a sui generis dynamic system. If the average annual variation (10 -15 , or so) of these constants suggested by astrophysics is confirmed then one can conclude that – independently of other methodological considerents, older or newer – we are able to measure(from within) the universe.
- Beyond the either physical / or mental dualism : in order to make progresses in contemporary knowledge and/or in onto- logical modeling we need a new, non-Cartesian perspective that decisively promotes inseparability, considering each “real” as a Tertium state ( some A / P state) – belonging to a dynamic existential continuum in which “ actual / real” formations (actually of Ap type) to harmoniously coexist with “P” formations ( actually of aP type ). In this context many conceptual inaccuracies can be filtered, for example: physical / mental dualism (the mental / spiritual however having a specific physical nature: aP); superluminal speeds of correlations propagation – aiming toward infinity – within the aP field become normal ones (without defying the theory of relativity whose “competence” in the Ap field remains firmly established), while the speed of instantaneous propagation of “pure” potentialities (?) becomes inconsistent (just like reaching… the temperature of absolute zero); of course in this new physical context the speed limit (→, ≠ ∞ ) will probably be attributed to the potentiality quanta a0P – petherons is my suggestion, if we need a name; also this a0 ( →, ≠ 0 ) is my candidate for the newest universal constant, if any ) . Interestingly, the new perspective confers to the dreams, intuition and last but not least mathematics a physical -subtle status since both the symbols and the numbers ( the universal constants also) may be interpreted as functions of aP type. At this point a realist-skeptic might object: ” The numbers 2 and 4 in ‘ 2+2=4 ‘ arithmetical expression - physical entities? ( excuse me: consider the symbols “+” and “=” too!); how else could we explain the physical amazing discoveries / anticipations acquired by mathematical calculation? It’s time to put an end to the reductionism carried out by modern science which still continues – in an elaborated, peer reviewed manner – to identify the existent with the actual, psyche with consciousness, time with duration…If you think that it is too difficult to consider matter as an Ap entity and the mind / spirit as an aP one it’s only due to intellectual/ Cartesian cut ( either / or ) and I suggest to read / reread the following, healing quotation, signed with about 50 years ago by Carl G. Jung ( Man and his symbols- 1964 , pp 94/95 ): “ Today, for instance we talk of ” matter” . We describe its physical properties (…) but the word ” matter” remains a dry , inhuman and purely intellectual concept, without any psychic significance for us. How different was the former image of matter – the Great Mother that could encompass and express the profound meaning of Mother Earth. In the same way, what was the spirit the Father of All is now identified with intellect …( this way) the immense emotional energy expressed in the image of ” our Father” vanishes into the sand of an intellectual desert.” ( p. 98 ):… ( As the modern man ) ” developed consciousness so his conscious mind lost contact with some of that primitive psychic energy”...Moreover, in “Memories, Dreams, Reflections ” – Vintage Books, New York, Jung considers repeatedly the concept ” wholeness of nature ” / inseparability, underlying that the numbers and / or mythologems …” express the dynamics of certain subliminal processes” ( or aP type processes in my formulation ) ; p. 311: ” The properties of numbers are , simultaneously, properties of matter, for which reason certain equations can anticipate its behavior”.
- The new ether: rethinking potentiality as the new ether (having the vacuum as a generator) which through its special feature of superconductivity (in rapport with potentiality / probability waves propagation) may explain both the universal and constant character of universal constants as well as the mystery of entanglement and / or acausal correlations propagation with faster than light /quasi- infinite speed. Invariance toward geometrical distance may suggest a common or similar origin for both universal constants and entanglement. The Aspect – Gisin experiments are actually a type P version of the Michelson – Morley experiment (of A type) with the fundamental distinction that this time the outcome was a positive, confirmative one: the P ether does exist. So far these ( Aspect- Gisin ) experiments were rather punctually or at best regionally interpreted as some answers to the type A challenge called “ Einstein – Podolsky – Rosen ”. “Einstein’s ‘elements of reality’ do not exist”- if this conclusion literally expressed among others by Michael Horne, is all-in-all finished most likely we are going to encounter the new ether. In his masterpiece “ Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics” J.S.Bell wrote ( p.187 ): ” What is it that “waves” in wave mechanics? In the case of water waves it is the surface of the water that waves.With sound waves the pressure of the air oscillates.Light also was held to be a wave motion in classical physics. We were already a little vague( just a little? Common, Mr. Bell…) about what was waving in that case…and even about whether the question made sense ( Why not? A good question contains a part at least of the proper answer! ). In the case of the waves of wave mechanics we have no idea what is waving…and do not ask the question.” After water , air… I think it is the turn of a more subtle support to come in the fore front of waving story…What about the P-ether ( and its correlate – petheron, a°P ), J.S.B.?
Dualism and Complexity Revolution
The dualism received the decisive stroke after 1960 closely connected with the impact of the complexity revolution on the conceptual and technological development ( the discovery of the tertium states – see below – and the fuzzy phenomenon / logic ).The first consequence of this revolution is the recognition of the fundamental character of the inseparability, what presumes the definitive de-absolutization of the Cartesian methodology and its passage – together with its constitutive separability principle – in a second , empiric plan ( their practical significance being apparently undiminished ! ). This ample anchoring into quotidian , regular life is misleading especially for the proponents of the methodological immobilism: their preference – sometimes explicitly expressed – for the return to the old conceptual dualism , with its assumed ” fundamental macroscopic realm ” must not surprise us ; the explanation , be it a partial one , consists in their methodological uninforming or misinforming: the edification of the new framework implying unusual non- Cartesian concepts and principles , has been made , unfortunately , almost ” in secret ” , without the celebrations proper to the great events and, at any rate , without the co – participation of the educational system. As Michael HORNE – one of the stars of the ” inseparability revolution ” testifies: ” In Quantum Mechanics we abandon the quotidian ” either / or ” logic in favor of the new ” both / and ” logic . ” And , indeed the concept is very foreign since we never encounter it in our daily lives ( conform Aczel Amir ).
Tertium ( T ) States
Inseparability is a defining feature of the entire quantum; due to the quantum inseparability , the transfer into microscopic domain of some everyday notions ( terms of macroscopic provenience , with their irreducible Cartesian semantics ) becomes often improper, generating lack of precision and paradoxes. Therefore inseparability is no more limited to the microscopic realm, nor reduces to some ” exotic” macroscopic manifestations such as superfluidity , holograms , etc. The effective opening of the duals is a quasi-universal process implying not the opposition but rather the authentic complementarity, proved by both tertium states ( extended beyond the most optimistic expectations ) and , on a larger plan, by the fuzzy character of the existence : L. ZADEH, Bart KOSKO . The tertium states are interface processes ( systems ) which can be met almost everywhere in some real , stable and defining forms :
- liquid crystals ( at the solid / liquid interface );
- solitons ( wave / matter );
- dissipative structures ( animate / inanimate );
- synthetic images ( real / imaginary );
- simulation ( description / genesis );
- entanglement ( potential / actual ), etc.
It can be stated that tertium states preface the fuzziness ( fuzzy logic ) , which introduces a continuity of intermediary states ( non – A ) between the 2 extremes ( A and anti – A ), for example “ an ocean of gray “ between white and black. The change is fundamental : from now on there is no more ” just subject ” or ” just object “, not “ just real “ or ” just possible ” , not “just wave” or ” just particle”, not “ just good ” or ” just bad “…
Aiming to the proper representation of the authentic complementarity ( engaging the synthesis between the contradictories and not between the contraries ) , as well as of the tertium states and fuzziness , this author introduced the cones model ( Fig. 10 d ) , taking as a base the progressive overlapping of the 2 original states ; this model reminds the Oriental yin / yang diagram, being perhaps less metaphorical but certainly more operational than that one ( more ” visible” transition/ continuity, being evidential of T state appearance / constitution, etc.). As it results from Fig. 10 , the cones model appeared not as an imitation but as a direct methodological outcome of the Occidental philosophy development ( the collapse of dualism ).
Final Note :
The contemporary methodology, decidedly delimiting from dualism ( Cartesianism ) recognizes and fully promotes the great cognitive potential of the dual models , especially in the initial ( pre – synthetic or analytical ) stage of the knowledge of the complex systems . The same distinction should be made also between the very efficient reduction method ( the dual model being a particular case of the reduction method ) and reductionism.