Quantum Theory - Artistic Sense Versus Mathematical Reasoning
The human body requires a sensory feel of the world where the human mind can make sense of it all.
Math Versus Material Existence
In quantum theory, objective reality is the wave function, according to Casey Blood, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Rutgers University , but this assertion seems to contradict the very meaning of “objective”. Why? - The wave function is a mathematical blueprint that guides a mental procedure for manipulating perceptions of objective quantities. The mathematical symbolism, thus, is NOT the reality. Rather, the mathematical symbolism DESCRIBES the reality. Perhaps we can say that the wave function tells us what reality is NOT, but we have yet to figure out what exactly the wave function tells us reality actually IS.
What Reality Is NOT
As an artist, I demand respect for a physical feel of the world. If someone tells me that a physical feel is an untrustworthy illusion, then I invite the person to hold firm to this position after a catastrophic injury, such as a stroke. As the proponent of reality illusions staggers and stumbles due to brain damage, I further welcome continued adherence to the idea that a normal walking gate is an untrustworthy illusion.
Granted, reality might not be what many people once thought it was, but reality most certainly is a valid idea in the everyday world. A humane science, therefore, should be able to accommodate a sensory feel of reality that harmonizes with mathematical descriptions of it.
The wave function seems to be telling us that reality is NOT a collection of objects ultimately divided from one another, that matter is NOT a collection of particles ultimately separated by voids, and that our emphasis on the idea of solids is NOT correct The challenge, then, seems to be to find an analogy that makes quantum theory more appealing to the senses, even though quantum theory deals in the realm of submicroscopic, atomic measurements, where human senses fail to operate.
Reality, as a valid, human-level idea cannot die at the sub-microscopic scale. To kill this idea is to kill the body as it relates to and supports the mind.
What Reality IS
Some people might say that quantum theory tells us that there are many different realities existing all at once, as absolutely divided "parallell universes". I find this interesting -- how the theory could demand that we NOT divide matter absolutely, yet demand that we divide universes absolutely. How could we ever proove any such state of affairs, if we could NEVER visit other universes? This solution, thus, seems as much of a fantasy as the absolute particle idea that we originally abandoned to reach it.
I suggest that human thought has reached a stage where it must reverse its most fundamental premise about the divisibilty of anything. The primise of divisibility is the flaw. As mentioned above, quantum theory, at first, indicates that apparent objects of the universe are NOT divided, then it says that universes containing indivisible objects ARE divided. One fantasy seems to replace another.
The Error Of Division
The only way I see out of this trap is to admit that our traditional idea of space as nothingness is wrong, and that apparent voids between seemingly separate entities are in fact, someTHINGs too. What are these THINGs that spaces really are? I suggest that space, in general, is the fundamental "stuff" of all existence, only a very thin form of this fundamental stuff.
Even more, I suggest that we always require more than ONLY an idea of "stuff". We also require an idea of MOTION. No THING can exist without motion, and no MOTION can exist without someTHING to move. "Stuffmotion" is how the universe and reality exist. "Exist" means "stuff and motion simultaneously" or "stuff in motion" infinitley and eternally. This is how our minds can make sense of the world. As long as we have physical bodies, we require this sort of physical, tangible feel of our own bodily beings.
From Quantum Jumps To Conceptual Leaps
Quantum theory, on one hand, tells us that things are NOT ultimately divided. On the other hand, it tells us that reality is NOT continuous and that changes take place ONLY in set packets (quanta), where these packets seem completely divided in their progressions. One interpretation of quantum theory even tells us that an infinite number of universes exist ultimately divided.
So, how are we to accept indivisibility and such blatant divisibility at once? What allows our minds to make bodily sense of this? I have answered these questions on other occasions, in other contexts, but here I answer them again with one word.
The leap that human thought has to make is to consider the idea of indivisible continuity as sacred as the idea of ultimate divisibility. In other words, consider reality as one contiuous mass of stuff in motion, with no possibility of being divided ever. This is the axiom that we must apply with no question. The "stuffmotion" of the universe simply obeys this first, ultimate law. "Stuffmotion" folds into infinite, intricate, complex patterns that exist for various periods relative to one another, which gives the impression of one object's being contained by another. In this ultimate-fluid world-view, the idea of "compression" only arises in specific contexts where we need it to describe our thought experiences. Ultimately, compression does NOT exist, because there are no separate parts, ultimately, to compress any closer together.
Fluid reality can mix its forms, make sheets, walls and cellular membranes that combine, agglomerate, and create or destroy relationships. At any stage of analysis, however, we can always take comfort in the fact that we are talking about the same one thing-in-motion. We can be more assured that we are talking about an OBJECTIVE REALITY , which visual artists take for granted. We might even come to view the mathematical creations of our most rigid scientific theories as graphic art forms.
More by this Author
David Joseph Bohm (1917--1992) produced a consistent mathematical formulation of quantum theory that challenged the usual interpretation of this theory.
Physicists who actually use quantum mechanics claim that an ontological interpretation of the mathematics is not necessary, while many other people (including other physicists) claim that an ontological interpretation...
Modern libraries have lost their integrity, because modern library leaders have sanctified noise and condemned silence.