Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Final Project Summary

Curt Allen-Little -- "Reunion Chronicles of the Roswell Survivors |or| Quantum Theory for Dummies"

About two years ago, I started to develop a strong interest in quantum theory. In fact, I proposed it to Mike Wentworth as a final project. He didn't turn it down, but did ask if that was really what I wanted to do. I talked with Barbara Waxman and Bob Brown about the idea. It is the first time I'm ever seen Barbara Waxman give a completely blank look. Bob Brown, on the other hand, was sort of excited about it and saw it as, potentially, a scientific treatise.

The original proposed title was "Quantum Theory for Dummies." I happened to mention it to Kathy Rugoff while we were talking about something entirely different and - I'm not sure whether it was her suggestion or my idea, but I thought about anthropomorphizing sub-atomic particles and writing the "biography," as it were, of Quantum Theory as a novel.

There are two things about Quantum Theory that I find absolutely fascinating. The first is that the sub-atomic world is one where our Cartesian-Newtonian constructs just don't apply. Or, in the rare instances in which the laws of physics as we understand them do apply, they don't apply consistently. The second thing is that wildly different worlds of what we see as reality - our physical world - and the sub-atomic world are more similar than they are different, and they are so different, they are virtual opposites!

Once I understood the concept that the present creates the future, and the future creates the past, it all made sense to me. The quantum world, the present, creates the real world, the future. But past exists only in terms of future, and a future - existence in a material world - is necessary to create and define the past. It works in history, in art, in public relations - and in the odd juxtaposition of the sub-atomic quantum world and the "real" world of Descartes and Newton.

Two fundamental elements of the universe - mind and matter - are staring us in the face and no one can explain how they coexist. This gives us a strong signal that some of our usual assumptions about the nature of reality are probably very wrong.

DUALISM, the Cartesian construct, says that mind and matter are both primary: neither causes the other, they just both exist. Matter-energy questions are studied with the current tools of science, but mind-spirit knowledge must be explored in ways more appropriate to it. They are two complementary kinds of knowledge, and two quite different kinds of basic components in the universe. This position is still held by some philosophers and scientists.

MATERIALISTIC MONISM says that matter causes mind, that the mind is essentially a function of the activity of matter in the brain. The basic stuff of the universe of matter and energy - that indeed, matter and energy are essentially one and the same. We learn about reality from studying the measurable world. Whatever we learn about the nature of the mind must ultimately be explained as the operation of the physical brain. This is a popular opinion among neuroscientists and many psychologists, and this is where I got the term "meat computer" for the brain.

TRANSCENDENTAL MONISM says that the mind is primary, and in some sense causes matter. The ultimate stuff of the universe is consciousness. The physical world is to the greater mind as a dream is to the individual mind. Consciousness is not the end-product of material evolution; rather consciousness was here first.(Harman, 1988) This is essentially Eastern philosophy, generating the ancient paradoxical question - are we living in the illusion or reality, or the reality of illusion?

My thesis is that we can pretty much discard DUALISM as a primitive and simplistic means of explaining the inexplicable.

MATERIALISM goes a long way toward explaining the physical world, but doesn't explain itself.

TRANSCENDENTAL MONISM gives us an explanation for materialism, as well as dualism.

NONLOCALITY has been proved by quantum theory. Interconnectivity has been clearly demonstrated at the quantum level. The unitary sense of self resembles the properties of quantum coherence and nonlocality; intuitive reasoning resembles quantum computing; differences and transitions between pre-, sub- and nonconscious processes resemble how quantum possibilities become hard realities.

Based on the ideas of quantum theory, there are in fact no theoretical minimum energy requirements for transmitting a bit of information. Information transmission can bring about huge reactions in biological system, nonlocal biological effects, even if infinitesimally small.

Dean Radin uses an interesting example that makes it easy to relate. "You've won a million dollars." Not much energy required to transmit, but can generate a huge emotional response.

Quantum mechanics dictates that until a particular state is actually measured, it has no value at all. No value could be taken to mean no existence, or at least no existence as we understand it. Understanding requires consciousness. Therefore, without consciousness, there is no materiality.

I'll admit this might strike some people as sort of radical, especially on religious grounds. If transcendental monism is correct, some religious people might see the psi-like effects of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, mental healing and mind-matter interactions as confirmation that the so-called miracles within their religious faith are true even by secular, scientific standards. This reinforces their religion with the implication that other messages within sacred texts may be true as well. For others it is blasphemous because it questions, challenges, or tests God. These people think there may be some things we just shouldn't know.

I don't think there are thing we shouldn't know. There are a lot of things we don't know yet, but we will eventually, as we learn and develop a world-view, a universe-view to be more accurate, which makes transcendental monism palatable to the masses.

It will proceed in four stages, just as do all scientific developments. In stage I, skeptics proclaim with great confidence that the idea is impossible because it violates some ill-defined Laws of Science.

I think we're at stage II. This is the point at which skeptics concede, reluctantly, that their might be something to it - but it isn't very interesting, the effects are almost immeasurably weak, and it may be interesting but insignificant.

Stage III is coming. This is the stage at which the mainstream begins to realize that not only is the idea important, but it is stronger and much more pervasive that previously imagined.

Stage IV - the critics who disavowed all interest in the idea realize they thought of it first.

The main point I wanted to get across in Reunion is that the rules aren't as rigid as we might think. The borders are not only easily crossed, they may not even exist. That the world - at least this one that we think we understand - may not be as simple as we think, or as complex as we think. What is astounding, to me, is that this might mean that the universe is incomprehensibly complex. Or incomprehensibly simple.

Rather than dealing directly with pi mesons, muons, quarks, dark energy, neutrino storms and sub-electron flows, I chose to use people. While they are deliberately broad stereotypes, representing the prime chakras in Eastern philosophy, they do represent some of the eternal values of what we define as existence. That is, they are consciousness - a divine consciousness, not the result of the functioning of the meat computer we call the brain. And, that conscious is simultaneously separate and distinct, and inextricably linked.

Just for a story basis, I set my chakra-based characters in New Mexico in July of 1947. There were twelve travelers who crashed near Roswell. Four dead alien bodies were found. Some reports indicated that one still-living alien was found. But no one ever mentioned the seven remaining travelers.

Reunion explores the themes of continuity and interconnectivity, and the relationships between reality and illusion - and the illusion of reality and the reality of the world of illusion.

Last Update: February 11, 2005