Quantum Reality and Ethics

Even in the Marvel Universe, the quantum realm fascinates us. A world where everything is possible and where the existence of anything is only probable flies against the face of our everyday experience. At the same time it excites our imagination and fires up our sense of what is possible.

While none of us, plausibly, experiences quantum reality in our everyday life, we find it fascinating because we have an almost hardwired need to understand what is real and what is not and, by implication, comprehend reality itself.

This is all far from just being academic. Who we are, what we want, who we become, what we do, what we might do, are all deeply rooted in our understanding of objective reality. We understand that perception, the mental filter we apply to help us make sense of the world is subjective and different for every person on the planet. So, we reason, science must be able to provide a harder definition of what lies just beyond our senses.

We need to know there are boundaries; in order for us to feel safe. Feeling safe is what reduces the stress we experience inside our head which then allows us to think more clearly and plan better so we ensure our long term survival.

This is where things get really interesting. It would appear that the world we experience, the concrete world of earth, air, fire and water is way less substantial than we imagine when looked up close.

If objective reality doesn’t exist, morality itself presents us with some truly thorny issues. This This is not the first time in history we attempt to use mathematics to explain morality and explore ethics. Spinoza did it with Euclidean geometry, so quantum mechanics, with its inherent unpredictability might seem more suited to the task.

This is why it is important for us to understand what is real and isn’t. While science and technology routinely brush up against the limitations imposed by quantum effects and while our own perception may be an artificial construct we are sure that science is different. For a start the ‘perception’ of science is created by experiments and experiments are governed by physical laws that are themselves immutable. The logical conclusion of the approach would be to say that what science discovers as the ‘real world’ is then really real.

Except that, science, kinda doesn’t say that. Its discoveries of late raise more questions than answers and the experiments scientists conduct to find out what’s going on point to a reality that is purely subjective. The role played by the experimental approach in the synthesis of our various belief systems is something I explored in Brains, Minds and Hearts. How our own internal thinking and methodology can alter our perception of the world and affect the reality of the outcomes we seek is detailed in The Sniper Mind.

Between them these two books paint a universe of infinite possibilities where human endeavor is constrained only by the boundaries of a person’s imagination.

The message here is that we have to take control of and responsibility for our own sense of agency. What we do, what happens to us, what world is created around us, how everything pans out, really, truly, is our responsibility to shoulder.

In The Sniper Mind I wrote, specifically, that “reality is not a thought experiment”. Its outcomes are very real. Its effects are measurable and independently observable. We can all agree that some particular event has happened. But the sense of what is real, where the limits lie, what boundaries exist is determined by what we a re prepared to do, what burden we think we can shoulder.

Turn this towards something destructive and we are each capable of performing truly horrible deeds. By the same token we are capable of being truly amazing.

Our choice. It works only when taken intentionally.

So, now you have coffee. Good choice. And something sweet, maybe donuts, croissants, cookies or chocolate cake. And it is the one day of the week when you can truly kick back and enjoy the reading, the coffee-drinking, the sweets and the thinking. Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.

Sunday Read RSS Feed