A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction.
Participants were asked to direct their attention
toward two tiny slits located inside a sealed black box
(the double-slit optical system). It was explained that this
task was purely in the ‘‘mind’s eye,’’ i.e., an act of
imagination (Radin, et al; 2012).
I imagine a lot of so-called ‘reputable’ physicists, and some of my readers, would ignore the experiments and suggestions from here on in on grounds of the parapsychological aspect; that is, taking extra-sensory perception/meditation seriously enough to try experimenting with it in the physically reputable quantum world in the first place. Personally though, I found it fascinating and inspiring to contemplate the ideas ‘Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments‘ presents.
For starters, this cool video animation explains that the quantum wavefunction broke down as soon as the measuring device was introduced to peek at which slit the ‘electron’ was really going through. Then it renames the measuring device and calls it an ‘observer’. And if calling it an observer doesn’t anthropomorphise the otherwise supposedly unconscious device enough (for those of us who haven’t taken an interest in Cylon and Animal theory), then making it look like a blinking eye sure does! Of course, that’s just an analogical device to make it easier for people who aren’t real physicists to relate to the real physicist’s experiment. Isn’t it interesting? that (some) reputable physicists can open their minds to that particular analogy but apparently not to the one that suggests
if one set of experiments show an unconscious measuring device can alter the behaviour of an electron fired at a double-slit system, and other experiments show that a conscious effort to alter the behaviour of “a photon’s (my emphasis) path as it travels through two slits” (Radin, et al; 2012), then what is the similarity between an electron and a photon? The answer is relevant and needs be distinguished.
Electrons are what orbit ’round atoms.
Photons are what electrons produce when
lifted above and dropped suddenly back
into their regular orbits.
And the photon will carry
the frequency equal to that
distance its producing electron
fell from its height to hit bottom.
Thus the stuff in the regular orbit is at bottom
what respectable measurements unconsciously point to.
The colours are the stuff of escape,
and that’s what perceptions are measuring.
And respectable physicists too often suffer
from local hidden variable theory.
Alternatively, try searching “consciousness is a form of measurement” or “consciousness is a measuring device” on Google. Until such time as this post is cached, you won’t find either assertion there, which is odd, since “consciousness is an observer” gets plenty of search result.
For the sake of completeness I should note that Radin’s & et al. experiments appear from the outset to have involved using “a gray filter that attenuates all wavelengths equally”. There’s probably some sensible reason in the math for doing that but, I must admit after having a good go at understanding their formulations, I can’t see an explanation for it.
Tawny Frogmouth in crook
* I owe a debt of gratitude to a strong friend for providing the inspiration and sense of freedom to present this piece of writing in public, despite the fact it started its life as a private reply. In the past I would have acknowledged them here in public accordingly. As my time, as a writer, has passed, my experience tells me it can’t hurt so much to offer my acknowledgements privately.