Wednesday, March 7, 2012

finding consciousness in probability and actuality


I was reading an article at discovermagazine.com and I had some thoughts about time. For those who are interested the article can be found here:
http://discovermagazine.com/2010/apr/01-back-from-the-future
Despite the author’s intro stating otherwise, I believe that a strong case could be made that the future is not set in stone. Rather, I believe, the future is made up of infinite probabilities. Some of the probabilities are very high, and others are very low. For example, if someone offers me a grilled cheese sandwich or a cheese burger for lunch and we assume that I have no preference for one over the other, then we can assume that there is 50% chance that either one of these lunches could become a reality for me. If I am driving down the road at 55mph on my way to lunch there is a 99.9999999% (made that number up) chance that my front driver-side tire will complete it’s next complete rotation. I could assume the possibility that there could be some catastrophic event that would prevent my tire from making it’s next full rotation but based upon all the full rotations in the past at 55mph I would say that chance is very low. Also, I could figure up the probabilities of my next heart beat or my next breath. There are also low probabilities on my drive to lunch. My car could spontaneously combust. I could spontaneously combust. Aliens could suck my car car up in a tractor beam. All of these are possibilities with a low probability.
So, if the future is made of probability then what is the past made of? Actuality. In the same way that a sub-atomic particle collapses from wave to particle form when it is observed or measured, so the present is collapsing the future probabilities into past actualities. This is interesting to me because at the quantum level it is difficult to observe and measure states of of sub-atomic particles with collapsing the waveform. Perhaps the two are related? If you look at the article I believe that certainly may be the case.
We seem to be constantly in the process of collapsing the universe from the quantum level, where the universe exists only as all probabilities, to the physical level, where everything has become an actuality. Could this be due to our conscious observation? Or does our physical body only allow our consciousness to experience this frame of reference where the collapse of the future and past come together? I’m not sure either way.
I can say that I would call the present, this steady collapse of probability into actuality, realization. This realization I believe cannot be broken down into the tiniest measurable amount of time but rather it is more like a steady stream cascading over a waterfall where we exist as a rock on the very cusp of the endless mad descent of water that we can never again experience.
Of course, I have no idea if any of this is the case. But, I do sometimes wonder if quantum mechanics and the wave function collapse are related to time. To me, and I could be wrong, the quantum world is like a holding a die (as in pair of dice) in your hand. Let’s say for example that it is a common six-sided die. There are six equal probabilities all existing at the same time. No one probability has any advantage over the other. But, if we try to measure the die in some way we are forcing it to roll. Suddenly the dice is leaving your hand. It falls, bouncing a few times as it tumbles over and over. Then, it suddenly comes to a stop. By trying to observe the die we have forced a probability to become an actuality. The table the die lands on is our plane of existence.
How is time any different than this? In the future there is only raw probability, or potential for what will, or at least, could happen. The past is more solid and unchangeable. Those probabilities (the past) have already been forced into actualities. But what is constantly forcing the raw potentials of the universe to collapse into finite (or perhaps infinite, I suppose) past events? I personally believe that the answer is consciousness.
Conscious observation is what collapses the waveform. Why can’t conscious observation be what is also collapsing the future into the past? If the universe was created with consciousness, or perhaps even by consciousness, then why can’t consciousness be what is realizing actuality from probability. Maybe, just maybe, when God said “Let there be light”, a chain of endless events was set in motion, an eternal observation of what could be into what is. Maybe we are part of the grandest experiment ever conceived. After all, when Moses asked God what his name was God’s answer was “I am”.
d.s.

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