(Edit: While messing around in Wordpress, I accidentally deleted this post. Luckily, I save most of my posts in notepad, so no problem. Anyway, this is why on the RSS feed, you'll be seeing the same post twice. Sorry about that.) (Edit-Edit: I have added my comments right below the video.)
This video was brought to my attention by Hampton Maxwell in the comments for the post Quick Thoughts - Reality. For those of you on the RSS feed, click through and watch this video. It is entertaining and very interesting. And I love the cell shading...very cool.
Some of you may recognize the voice as Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, one of the physicists featured in the movie The Secret. He is a great teacher and clearly loves what he does.
Feel free to discuss below!
First of all, I am in no way a physicist, and my math skills are as prodigious as a turnip's. That being said, I love the quantum world, and the "newer" string theory and M theory. I don't particularly look at it as something to believe, but the subject and the experiments have always fascinated me. It is just one of those things that I like.
The video itself is very entertaining and understandable enough that almost anyone can follow it. Not that everyone would understand it, but it is presented in such a way to make it as painless as possible.
This video was presented to me with the idea that our observations of reality actually have an effect on reality. Or rather:
Quantum mechanics shows that the presence of an observer impacts the physical universe on a small scale.
So that is where we are. Let's have a look under the hood.
"Observation" might not be the right word for me to use. In order for there to be an experiment, there needs to be observation from beginning to end. It is not as if a scientist is walking about, enjoying her day when SUDDENLY, out of the blue, an experiment appears. So it isn't necessarily "observation" that makes the difference. If anything, it is the changing of the point if observation that seems to cause a change.
I probably didn't need to say any of that, and it might seem like semantic nit-picking.
I have found that the way electrons behave is similar to no-self, or awareness, in that there is no way of knowing exactly where they are, or what they are doing.
Here is how it seems to work in the quantum world:
The probability exists that electrons can be everywhere, at all points, and also no-where. The wave function of the electron can only tell us the probability that it is located at some point; here or there. The larger the wave function, the higher the probability of it being where we think it is. If the wave function is small, it probably isn't there.
(An electron can be seen as both a particle and a wave. It is the wave function that represents the probability of finding the electron at any given point. If you calculate the wave function, it can only give you the probability of it existing where it is supposed to.)
For example, the wave function can tell you if a cat is alive or dead, but it cannot tell you definitely one or the other. Your knowledge can step in and tell you which state the cat is in; you can understand which state is which.
But that is the discrepancy. How can the thing not be there at the same time you are seeing it? Or how can it be perceived as two states simultaneously? In order for there to be one or the other, the wave function has to unravel or otherwise be destroyed somehow.
Here is how the wave function is supposed to unravel with observation: (from Michio Kaku)
"The wave function of a tree can tell you the probability that it is either standing or falling, but it cannot definitively tell you in which state it actually is...after a measurement is made by an outside observer, the wave function magically "collapses," and the electron falls into a definite state - that is, after looking at the tree, we see that it is truly standing. In other words, the process of observation determines the final state of the electron."
That is in the quantum world. So let's get big again, and step back into ours.
You are walking down the street and you see a tree. You stop and have a look. You know it is a tree; knowledge tells you as such. You observe, and the observer tells you what you are seeing is a tree.
Through the observation, through the self, the "wave function" of the tree is destroyed and is replaced by what the observer expects. Or you could say, knowledge comes in, solidifying what is seen. The observer's ideas about the tree, his knowledge of the tree, destroys all other possibilities. The only thing the observer sees, is what he already knows.
If all you see is what you already know, what are you really seeing?
Now, what happens if there is no observer? In other words, what if there is only awareness?
Walking happens. There is an object. It is massive and small. It is all-things and no-thing. It is alive and it supports other life. It is completely new and unique in this existence, and there will never be another like it at any time. Small creatures sing on its arms. It is quickly losing its hair and the ground is covered with white petals. If knowledge comes up, if the observer is there, it says this is a Sakura tree. But the observer isn't there. There is no one to see it, and therefore, it is completely seen, as it is.
If "you" see it, only one thing is possible. If "no-one" sees it, everything is possible.
I don't know where I am going with this, but the feeling is wonderful. I am not saying that the quantum physicists expect to see a particular result, and that is why they see it.
Observation, as they have described it, breaks down the wave function. But, does observation also have a wave function? If it does, what happens if the observer observes the observer? Would that effectively destroy the wave function of the observer and thereby destroy the observer?
If the observer observes the observer, does it come to an end? Oh please go into this. It is so interesting.