The everyday world you and I percieve does not exist until observed. Ergo, it’s all in the mind. Startling revelations, not surprising for an Eastern mind, coming from the latest successful experiments in Quantum Mechanics.
The World recently celebrated the International Yoga Day 2018 #4thYogaDay and there’s no better time to be contemplating this, right?
It’s now evidently clear that our generation is struggling to come to grips with the implications of Quantum Mechanics. It is no longer scientifc conjecture, it’s getting proven and as much as mainstream media and the markets would want to ignore, QM has far bigger long-term ramifications than AI. I’m dragging in AI not only because it is artificial and puerile in comparison, it’s also because Billions are being spent in pursuit.
Back to the fascinating topic for a rational mind. The authors take great pains to “deny” that this world is all “maya” or an illusion, as eons of vedic thinking has espoused. Understandably so, since it is hard for a rational mind to suddenly stop observing everything material and NOT get involved. And QM has just begun scratching the surface…
Nonetheless, the authors touch upon the fact that “all matter—not only that in living brains—is the outer appearance of inner experience, different configurations of matter reflecting different patterns or modes of mental activity.”
Allow me to quote some more utterly fascinating stuff from this amazing article I stumbled upon. “According to QM, the world exists only as a cloud of simultaneous, overlapping possibilities—technically called a “superposition”—until an observation brings one of these possibilities into focus in the form of definite objects and events. This transition is technically called a “measurement.” One of the keys to our argument for a mental world is the contention that only conscious observers can perform measurements.
Some criticize this contention by claiming that inanimate objects, such as detectors, can also perform measurements, in the sense described above. The problem is that the partitioning of the world into discrete inanimate objects is merely nominal. Is a rock integral to the mountain it helps constitute? If so, does it become a separate object merely by virtue of its getting detached from the mountain? “
Recall Max Planck’s position: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.”
In the well-known double-slit experiment, electrons are shot through two tiny slits. When they are observed at the slits, the electrons behave as definite particles. When observed only after they’ve passed through slits, the electrons behave as clouds of possibilities. In 1998, researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel showed that, when detectors are placed at the slits, the electrons behave as definite particles. At first sight, this may seem to indicate that measurement does not require a conscious observer.
However, the output of the detectors only becomes known when it is consciously observed by a person.
Now, let me quote from the Yoga-Vashishta, (as translated by Swami Venkatesananda) that supramental exchange between Guru Vashisht and his self-realised pupil, Lord Ram. A treasurehouse of vedantic thought that uses startlingly scientific, QM language. Guru
Vasishta says: “O Ram, countless have been the universes that have come into being and that have been dissolved. All this can be immediately realised in one’s own heart, for these universes are the creations of the desires that arise in the heart, like castles in the air.
Guru Vashisht goes on to add, in another chapter “Even as the ocean is the substratum of all the waves, direct experience alone is the basis for all proofs. That substratum is the experiencing intelligence which itself becomes the experiencer, the act of experiencing AND the experience.
“Wisdom that is born from the spirit of enquiry dispels this non-understanding of an undivided intelligence. Whether the mind is real or unreal, it is that which is apprehended in orbjects of perception; it is that which brings the material or physical body into existence. This entire universe is forever non-different from the consciousness that dwells in every atom, even as an ornament is non-different from gold. When this notion of the object is firmly rejected and removed from the subject, then consciousness alone exists without even an apparent or potential objectivity.”
Going back to the article, “according to QM, the world exists only as a cloud of simultaneous, overlapping possibilities—technically called a “superposition”—until an observation brings one of these possibilities into focus in the form of definite objects and events. This transition is technically called a “measurement.” One of the keys to our argument for a mental world is the contention that only conscious observers can perform measurements.”
Thats not all.
“The problem, however, is that decoherence cannot explain how the state of the surrounding environment becomes definite to begin with, so it doesn’t solve the measurement problem or rule out the role of consciousness. Indeed, as Wojciech Zurek—one of the fathers of decoherence—admitted,
…an exhaustive answer to [the question of why we perceive a definite world] would undoubtedly have to involve a model of ‘consciousness,’ since what we are really asking concerns our [observers’] impression that ‘we are conscious’ of just one of the alternatives.
Now where does Yoga fit into this remarkable coming together of Quantum Mechanics & Vedantic thought? Well, the word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means to join and in a spiritual sense, it is the process by which the human spirit becomes one with the infinite consciousness.
As Swami Sivananda said, so beautifully, “A practioner of Yoga, in the true spirit, is able to pierce through the veil of Maya or illusion, which as mind and matter, obscures this knowledge from itself. Yoga is complete life. It is a method which overhauls every aspect of the human nature. Yoga shows you the way.”
And as the authors so beautifully summarise:
“Now that the most philosophically controversial predictions of QM have—finally—been experimentally confirmed without remaining loopholes, there are no excuses left for those who want to avoid confronting the implications of QM. Lest we continue to live according to a view of reality now known to be false, we must shift the cultural dialogue towards coming to grips with what nature is repeatedly telling us about herself.”
If this has moved you to reimagine the world as you saw it till now and contemplate on what the truth could be, it’s probably a good idea to join that Yoga class you’ve been putting off till now. And perhaps, also start reading up on the wonderful world of Quantum Mechanics.
Here’s wishing all of you a happy, healthy, peaceful and deeply inspiring #4thYogaDay
Disclaimer: The views expressed are a result of the Author’s personal musings, borrowed knowledge and some elementary experiences. Quite obviously, this post is also advocating and supporting the practice of Yoga, a science beyond sciences, which the author has been practising for the past 17 years. More elevated souls may find these observations elementary and perhaps even faulty. To them, the author offers his humblest apologies, seeking their blessings for a quick removal of the sheath of ignorance.