I really like this site. I’m especially interested in the idea of observation (or consciousness) creating reality by the state vector collapse of probabilities, or probability waves.
Einstein developed the concept of spacetime, and the theory that it is malleable, or manipulable, depending on forces acting on it, or on the perspective of an observer. What’s really interesting is that when Einstein was a child, he obtained a copy of one of Emmanuel Kant’s books on philosophy, The Critique of Pure Reason, which was originally published in 1781.
In this book Kant has some very interesting views on “reality”. According to Kant, neither space nor time really exist. They are purely constructs of the mind (or consciousness) helping each of us to comprehend the universe outside of our mind. Being concept, not reality, they are as manipulable as anything else our minds conjure up.
At times, Kant seems to be not very sure anything besides “mind” really exists. For things that really might exist, he coined the term “noumena”. But he considered our minds, and our senses, so primitive, he said that we could never know this noumena. He said that all our senses could give us were fleeting insights into all noumena by the action of the forces of the noumena on our consciousness, allowing our minds to create or project “phe-noumena”, or phenomena. If you aren’t buying this yet, consider a rainbow. There really is no such thing as a rainbow. The noumena is the passing of all wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation through an atmosphere heavily laden with moisture. It is all physical forces at probabilistic play. Yet our eyes pick up each wavelength, our minds label each wavelength with a color tag, and our consciousness “creates” a rainbow.
My thinking is, the noumena is always there. It is energy probabilities, behaving in probability waves, in some kind of a probabilistic field. We get brief little glimpses of the play of these probabilistic energies, but we never create reality from them as if they were building blocks for reality. We never collapse all the probabilities down to one thing. All we can create are episodic phenomena, and when we do we think we’re scientists, experimenting, observing, measuring, recording, hypothesizing about the significance of the Godlike way we’ve created reality out of the ether.
I’m not sure any of it is anything but illusion, at least in the world we know. I’m not sure that anything really “exists” except in the noumenal state. The phenomena are an illusion, and maybe so is the consciousness that creates them.
I hope this gets some conversation going one way or another.
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@kanderson94, “At times, Kant seems to be not very sure anything besides “mind” really exists”
If you believe this then you are also believing nothing “really existed” before minds. Things did….. its only recently that evolution has produced brains and with them minds capable of even thinking about this sort of thing so of course we can’t see all there is to see that’s why we use science so we can.
Do you not think that to think things are a delusion and that the universe conspires to hide the truth from us is a little paranoid/self centered? It makes alot more sense to look at it the other way!
@batman, The only way that it works is if all living beings throughout the entire universe share one consciousness, and our brain gives us the sense of I. Perhaps our brain is just a device that picks up a conscious field of the universe, and consciousness is the only thing that can travel instantly rather than being limited by the speed of light. This would also explain quantum entanglement. I think this theory is legit, and I actually believe it. Of course, I can’t prove it, but I think someday someone will.
I believe that consciousness itself is one of the most fundamental properties of existence, that the everything is painted on the canvas of consciousness. I beieve that humans exist in not just one universe but two simultaneously. Consciousness is the bind that holds these two universes together, it takes aspects of one and manifests it in the other, and visa versa, in order to create some kind of substance that is workable.
The laws of each universe are independant of each other, so what is logical or even provable in one is not always supported by the laws of the other, so it creates this contradictory confusion, a scientific impass. But that is only because we are looking at all things under one law, rather than appropriately dividing factors into the two distinct law frameworks.
They could be seen as the Time universe and the space universe, the destructive force universe and the constructive relationship universe, the Yin universe and the Yang universe, the Lucifer universe and the Michael universe, the hate universe and the love universe, the light universe and the dark universe, the intellect universe and the emotional universe, the perceived universe and the imagined universe or some combination of all these. But I would not say that one is good and the other bad, one right one wrong, but both are fundamental and nessecary for existence.
With regard to consciousness causing state vector collapse of probability, I’m kind of surprised that no-one vigorously challenged the idea. There are other valid “theories of reality”. The one we’re discussing, where everything, on a quantum level, exists in probabilistic states until observation or measurement (consciousness) causes all the probabilistic states to collapse into one reality, is called the Copenhagen Theory. There is also the Stochastic Ensemble Theory, which tends to allow magnitudes of reality, in that the more often a particular reality arises from observation of probability states, the more likely it is to be true, and real. It’s kind of like day after day watching the sun rise and then set, and developing a confidence that the same thing is likely to happen again tomorrow. There will, of course, be some day when that does not happen, but when it does happen, there will not even be “days” anymore. The third theory is Everett’s Many Worlds Theory, and this is a favorite of science fiction, and is where a lot of the theories of parallel universes took root. The Many Worlds Theory holds that there are probabilistic states, but that on observation by any consciousness, none of the probabilities collapse, but all become realities. Not only that but infinite versions of your consciousness go along, one with each new reality formed through each probability/consciousness interaction. In other words, probabilities never collapse, but become spores for new “real” universes. And you’d be amazed at how many physicists believe that this is exactly what happens on a quantum physical level. But there are many ideas as to how the new universes proliferate. Some thinkers think they are parallel, others think the proliferation is radial from each new consciousness-observation event, almost like a really elaborate fireworks display.
Anyway, I still go with the Copenhagen Theory. I’m pretty sure what is really happening is that each consciousness-observation event is the quantum physical interaction of probability waves outside of our minds with quantum physical probability waves within the quantum machinery that is our mind. The interference of the external probabilities with the internal of our minds cancel each other out except for the one that becomes real, both external to the mind, and within the mind. In other words, our consciousness is destroying and creating worlds continually, and we are willing it to do so.
This is a very interesting post.
However, could you clarify one point? By consciousness, do you mean mind, or do you mean a further observer?
My conception of the mind is that of a portal in a way. I believe that consciousness is the original source from which energy is created from which matter is condensed. So, the exterior world does exist, but it came from pure consciousness. To interact within this world, consciousness needs a medium to do so. This is what I think the mind is — a way for the original consciousness to interact with the outside world via the five senses. In that sense, the only real illusion is that we believe the world to be seperate from our own consciousness, not that the world literally doesn’t exist.
I’m not sure how clear that sounded.
What do you think about this? Does Kant imply this, or a complete illusion?
@vivekhash345, As expressed in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, human understanding is structured by “concepts of the understanding”, or innate categories that the mind uses in order to make sense of raw unstructured experience.” In other words, I think he meant that our mind creates these concepts and categories for understanding our own consciousness.
By Kant’s account, when we employ a concept to describe or categorize noumena (the objects of inquiry, investigation or analysis of the workings of the world), we are in fact employing a way of describing or categorizing phenomena (the observable manifestations of those objects of inquiry, investigation or analysis). Kant posited methods by which human beings make sense out of the interrelationships among phenomena: the concepts of the transcendental aesthetic, as well as that of the transcendental analytic, transcendental logic and transcendental deduction. Taken together, Kant’s “categories of understanding” are descriptions of the sum of human reasoning that can be brought to bear in attempting to understand the world in which we exist (that is, to understand, or attempt to understand, “things in themselves”). In each instance the word “transcendental” refers to the process that the human mind uses to increasingly understand or grasp the form of, and order among, phenomena. Kant asserts that to “transcend” a direct observation or experience is to use reason and classifications to strive to correlate with the phenomena that are observed. By Kant’s view, humans can make sense out of phenomena in these various ways, but can never directly know the noumena, the “things-in-themselves”, the actual objects and dynamics of the natural world. In other words, by Kant’s Critique, our minds may attempt to correlate in useful ways, perhaps even closely accurate ways, with the structure and order of the various aspects of the universe, but cannot know these “things-in-themselves” (noumena) directly. Rather, we must infer the extent to which thoughts correspond with things-in-themselves by our observations of the manifestations of those things that can be sensed, that is, of phenomena.
According to Kant, objects of which we are sensibly cognizant are merely representations of unknown somethings—what Kant refers to as the transcendental object—as interpreted through the a priori or categories of the understanding. These unknown somethings are manifested within the noumenon—although we can never know how or why as our perceptions of these unknown somethings are bound by the limitations of the categories of the understanding and we are therefore never able to fully know the “thing-in-itself”.
I hope this helps, though to be honest we would have to go into a lot more detail to fully explain Kant’s thinking about consciousness, mind, ect.
The man wrote so many works on these topics that it would be an insurmountable task for me too even write all of them on here. On another note, I mostly agree with your conception on the mind and my own conception on consciousness is that it’s a “further observer”
Hmmm… I’m not sure that I agree with Kan’ts logic. That seems to suggest that the only real aim of our lives is to understand ourselves, a goal that few actually achieve. Furthermore, there is a lack of connection between the consciousness and the nomina. This leaves it a little vague as to where the nomina come from. I think that he may have been onto something – namely, the connection between our minds, our senses, and the exterior world, but then the rest sort of spirals off into a paradox… or least, it comes off that way.
An interesting quote I came across that pertains to this discussion…
“Let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know the speaker, Let no man try to find out what odour is, let him know him who smells. Let no man try to find out what form is, let him know the seer. Let no man try to find out what sound is, let him know the hearer. Let no man try to find out the tastes of food, let him know the knower of tastes. Let no man try to find out what action is, let him know the agent. Let no man try to find out what pleasure and pain are, let him know the knower of pleasure and pain. Let no man try to find out what happiness, joy, and offspring are, let him know the knower of happiness, joy, and offspring. Let no man try to find out what movement is, let him know the mover. Let no man try to find out what mind is, let him know the thinker.” -Kaushataki Upanishad 3.8
“There is also the Stochastic Ensemble Theory, which tends to allow magnitudes of reality, in that the more often a particular reality arises from observation of probability states, the more likely it is to be true, and real. It’s kind of like day after day watching the sun rise and then set, and developing a confidence that the same thing is likely to happen again tomorrow. There will, of course, be some day when that does not happen”
Thank you for that haha. I’ve always understood this concept and that’s why I always say that science itself is a blind faith. I said it earlier in another thread and the individual I was talking to didn’t bother reading the rest. Everything proven and tested and retested as fact is only faith that in future repeated experiments the same results will be yielded. Hence, one day when it does not occur as expected and different results appear, the factor that nothing is certain had not been properly accounted for.
I don’t care much for what this individual thinks but there are two other threads I am currently keeping up with and I would like you to check them out (and leave feedback; neither threads were started by me):