Quantum mechanics has a gotten a bad rap! It has come to be understood as something remote from everyday life. Actually, it is directly about a core feature of your daily life, namely the structure of your experiences pertaining to a physical world in which you are embedded, and about the dependence of the evolution of that physical world on your own mental choices of what to attend to. The prior physical theory, called classical mechanics, was not directly about your experiences themselves. It was about what your experiences were claimed to be about, namely a physical world that was asserted to be completely determined for all times already at its birth by physical laws that made no mention at all of your conscious thoughts.
According to that earlier conception, you are a mechanical automaton whose every physical action was pre-determined at the beginning of time. In contrast, according to quantum mechanics, you are a player in game in which your conscious choices are not completely predetermined by purely physical laws, but stem in part from your own mental nature. Thus your mind is elevated by quantum mechanics from a causally inert by-product of a physically predetermined physical universe to a co-creator of an evolving psycho-physical reality. In this talk, Henry Stapp explains in simple terms how quantum mechanics, by virtue of the way that it brings “us”, as we experience ourselves, into the causal structure of our experiences, provides us with a rationally coherent understanding of ourselves not as a mechanical cogs in a clockwork universe, but as uncoerced agents that actively participate in the unfolding of our collective future experiences.
This talk is recorded at SAND14.
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