The quantum mechanics of the present

I found this paper interesting enough to warrant a new topic. From the paper:

We propose a reformulation of quantum mechanics in which the distinction between definite and indefinite becomes the fundamental primitive. Inspired by suggestions of Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Dyson that the past can’t be described in terms of wave functions and operators, so that the uncertainty principle does not apply to past events, we propose that the distinction between past, present and future is derivative of the fundamental distinction between indefinite and definite.

and

  • . . . We do not need a human observer to make quantum mechanics work. All we need is a point of reference, to separate past from future, to separate what has happened from what may happen, to separate facts from probabilities . . . .*

leading to:

We find the following analogy helpful: perhaps an observer in the present moment
feels no passage of time, the same way a free falling observer feels no gravity. So we
began wondering if we could transform ourselves into the rest frame of a present moment
observer, who would see themselves always at the origin of the time coordinate.
From neuroscience we know that it is possible that - with respect to the universe’s time

- we live in the past and there is no present There is only the past and the future.
It is also possible to define the present as the moment our consciousness becomes aware of the past. This paper is then an attempt to invent a setting within which these thoughts of Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Dyson may make sense.

2 Likes

I’ll give this a close read.

One comment even before I do is that most front line physicists now believe that space/time is doomed as the foundation of “reality” as we know it. Quantum mechanics is an integral part of space/time.

2 Likes

I like that they are trying to find a more elegant version of quantum mechanics because quantum mechanics has the problem that it breaks down during the transition from micro to macro. The problem with their proposal is that they are really just moving that breakdown point a little further up the scale.

It feels a little like Schrodinger’s cat is just chasing its tail. :sunglasses:

I just really think that we need to step completely out of the current model that posits space/time, and with it quantum mechanics, as the ontological primitive. As Donald Hoffman keeps saying, space/time is just what we see in our headset that allows us to make some sense of the workings of the cosmos. There is a deeper reality.

I am still really liking the model that is being called cosmopsychism. In this model, the universe, or even the deeper cosmos, is inherently conscious and all that we see around us is the extrinsic appearance of its “thoughts”. In keeping with our focus here at NC…the world in which we live is the dream of the cosmos.

We, of course, are “alters” within that consciousness and our own extrinsic projections are like a dream within a dream. :wink:

1 Like