Large Hadron Collider.
On June 5, Deepak Chopra tweeted about meeting Stuart Hameroff in Vancouver:
“Stuart Hameroff came to my talk in Vancouver. He says that quantum possibilities, cosmic consciousness, non locality, are the same phenomena. Planck scale geometry is what the universe is made of, 25 times of the order of magnitude smaller than the atom. Platonic values - truth, goodness, beauty, evolution, are embedded in Planck scale spin networks.”What? Chopra’s Ayurveda medical traditions mingled with Buddhism somehow match Hameroff’s theories of consciousness, which depend upon non-algorithmic processes that can be understood through Quantum Physics, creating a field Hameroff calls ‘Quantum Consciousness.’ Some of Hameroff’s ideas are based on a controversial 1989 book by Sir Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and The Laws of Physics. Penrose’s argument that Artificial Intelligence could therefore not be built with computers that depended upon algorithmic computations did not take into account the later development of – yes – Quantum Computers.
Just like the Biosemioticians, there is an assumption here that the geometry of association at sub-atomic levels makes a jump between matter and mind, between physical processes and ideal values. These musings also resemble the Biosemioticians’ research, in that both fields include the conjecture that the logic that drives these associations is somehow anti-logical. Quantum Physicists, Biosemioticians, Quantum Consciousness advocates – all deny the Cartesian, mechanistic, Newtonian, Einsteinian, algorithmic universe.
Why is there a drive in these speculative branches of research to take a priori values from Platonic Realism and make them a posteriori, while at the same time denying, or reconfiguring, the empirical grounds of a posteriori knowledge?
Ground-breaking work in Quantum Mechanics is strangely literal minded when it comes to the mysteries of existence. The millennium is characterized by a supreme confidence in the idea of pushing infinities – if we can attain infinitesimal levels of measurable sight, and faster and faster levels of measurement, then we will glimpse the unknowable. The Large Hadron Collider, which has captured the public imagination in its search for the so-called ‘God Particle’ similarly is part of a larger attempt to reconcile two theories - the older theories of Gravity and Relativity with the newer theory of Quantum Mechanics. That debate is discussed here and here. Isn’t it more likely that as we successfully contemplate hitherto unbelievable degrees of space, time, size, mass and speed, that the goal posts will simply move again? Perhaps – but not before we imagine a whole new vision of the universe – based on the extended limits of our perception.