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Monday, 20 March 2017


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"It will be difficult. But the difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, 'But how can it be like that?' which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. I will not describe it in terms of an analogy with something familiar; I will simply describe it.

There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there ever was such a time. There might have been a time when only one man did, because he was the only guy who caught on, before he wrote his paper. But after people read the paper a lot of people understood the theory of relativity in some way or other, certainly more than twelve.

On the other hand, I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing.

Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' because you will get 'down the drain', into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that."

-- Richard Feynman, in The Character of Physical Law (1965)

Thank you, Henry, and that damned Richard Feynman has much to answer for because he it was who, in his typically humorous, charming fashion, helped to entrance me on the subject. He might be right that my lack of understanding is 'psychological' but, equally, it could be that I'm just thick! Also, to be fair, it may be because I do not speak the language - mathematics!

Glad you gents tackled this subject as I am no match. I do not speak the language of mathematics either...just its redhead stepchild-Money.

The materialists have a problem because all substance is subject to decay and must of necessity revert to its smallest component whereby at that quantum level is found to be affected by conscious observation which proves mind over matter and the observer of the mind within then controls and affects the universe and the world that each of us observes is completely unique to oneself and created by oneself in one's image proving that I am master of the universe. To date that is the longest sentence I have written.

QM is difficult, but no more mysterious than any other unknown thing, not that it's entirely unknown. We can make bombs, solid state electronics, lasers, and other devices that rely on quantum principles. As time goes on we'll learn more and develop practical applications.

One must be careful with the idea of materialism. Some of its detractors define it as a denial of "spirituality", never mind there is no evidence for non-corporeal spirits.

"there is no evidence for non-corporeal spirits"

So what is a thought?

Off topic but our news services tell us that Martin McGuiness has gone to his just deserts - pity it took so long.

AussieD, it seems you are correct. He has assumed room temperature at the age of 66..

Eek! Just mine own age!!!

David, a thought is the result of processes in a material brain. We now know the feeling you have that you exist behind your eyes somewhere separate from your body is an artifact of developing intelligence, such as it may be. Some go further and suggest there is no free will and the thought itself was inevitable. That's called determinism.

Bob, can you measure a thought? Can you weigh a thought? Can you even predict a thought? Thought not!

'There are more things in heaven and earth, Bob, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy'!

David, the weight of a thought, if you mean mass, is meaningless. Neuroscientists can measure and predict thoughts within certain parameters. There will probably always be things we don't know, especially as individuals. Will's point, while poetically written, is both obvious and banal.

"Neuroscientists can measure and predict thoughts within certain parameters."

You mean like if I miss the nail and hit my finger with the hammer vile thoughts will enter my head. Well, that's useful! Of course, as far as poor, old Will was concerned, he lacked neuroscientists to tell him what he was thinking!

"all the worlds a stage" if that was in the plural maybe Wills worlds encompassed the universe whereby the stage got infinitely biggerer.

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