Simon Griffee

Quantum Mysteries Disentangled ➶

17 April 2014

Ron Garret’s paper showing that observation (measurement) and quantum entanglement are the same things. Linked to from this HN discussion (emphasis mine):

It turns out that by thinking of measurement and entanglement as related phenomena we can shed quite a bit of light (so to speak) on the nature of physical reality. In fact, it can help us comprehend that which Einstein found most incomprehensible: the comprehensibility of the Universe.

The Universe is comprehensible because large parts of it are consistent. This consistency allows us to understand our experiences in terms of stories whose explanatory power endures from one moment to the next. (When these stories are told using mathematics we call them scientific theories.) Some of these stories, like the idea of a material object, are hardwired into the human brain. Other stories, like the idea of a chemical or electricity, are not innate. One of the triumphs of the human species is that we are able to communicate these stories, so that a new story once constructed can be propagated without having to be encoded into our DNA.

Extrasomatic knowledge — books, libraries — are one of our species’ great achievements.

The best I can offer as an answer to that question is a Zen koan from Douglas Hofstadter:

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, “The flag is moving.” The other said, “The wind is moving.” The sixth patriarch, Zeno, happened to be passing by. He told them, “Not the wind, not the flag. Mind is moving.”

Or as Jiddu Krishnamurti put it, the thinker is the thought, the observer is the observed.