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Mind entering the universe

  1. Nov 14, 2014 #1
    So question: I heard that according to quantum physics, we cannot have a universe without mind entering into it. I am trying to figure out what this even means. Any suggestions?

    zahadat nima
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2014 #2


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    I think you are referring to an interpretation of quantum mechanics called "consciousness causes collapse". You can look that up. In modern times, few physicists worry overmuch about quantum mechanical interpretations (unless that's their job, most physicists are content to shut up and calculate when it comes to QM), and fewer physicists ascribe to the consciousness causes collapse interpretation.
  4. Nov 14, 2014 #3
    Honestly I have never heard of this before either but thank you for the post.
  5. Nov 14, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Just to elaborate further with a bit of historical background.

    This mind stuff entering into QM dates back to a very influential book written by the great mathematician - John Von Neumann - called - Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanincs. QM is basically a theory of observations that appear here in the classical common-sense world. But exactly where one places that cut the theory is silent about - in fact Von-Neumann showed it can be placed pretty much anywhere. But if you trace it back the only place that's different is the mind of a concious observer - so that's where he decided to place it. The idea didn't really catch on because it is rather wierd, leading to all sorts of absurdities especially these days with computers and the idea of storing the outcome of an observation in computer memory and looking at it years or even centuries later. But it did catch on with one very influential mathematical physicist - Wigner. Anyway Von-Neumann died young and it left Wigner carrying the torch for this backwater idea. But during this time much more work was done on the foundations of QM - particularly in the area of decoherence. When Wigner heard of some early work of Zueck on decoherence, where it showed there indeed was a place that was different - right after decoherence - he recognised it was no longer required and did a complete 180% and abandoned it.

    So that's where it stands today - the reason for its introduction is no longer required and since it leads to a very weird view of the world, in fact similar to solipsism, very few take it seriously nowadays - it really is very very backwater.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  6. Nov 14, 2014 #5


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    Generally, it is a good idea to also state where you have heard it, i.e. the source (if your remember it), because this makes it much more easy for people to address the question.


    (my bolding)

    ... I have never heard of any such thing ;). Welcome to Physics Forums, by the way!
  7. Nov 15, 2014 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Not in the serious literature - or even populist stuff written by those that know the facts.

    However junk like 'What The Bleep Do We Know Anyway' is another matter.

  8. Nov 15, 2014 #7
    You can find discussions about mind entering the universe in the following books:
    'Quantum Enigma' by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner - https://global.oup.com/academic/product/quantum-enigma-9780199753819?cc=nz&lang=en&
    'The Mind Matters' by David Hodgson - https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-mind-matters-9780198240686?cc=nz&lang=en&
    'Do We Really Understand Quantum Mechanics?' by Franck Laloƫ [pgs 328 - 329 (Appendix A)] - http://www.cambridge.org/us/academi...ion/do-we-really-understand-quantum-mechanics
    'Conscious Mind in the Physical World' by Euan Squires - https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Mind-Physical-World-Squires/dp/0750300450
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Nov 15, 2014 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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