Abstract Details

A New Approach to 'Becoming Time' part 1  Jeff Tollaksen , Prof. Gurucharan Khalsa (Physics, Institute for Quantum Studies, Chapman University, Laguna Beach, CA )   C7

For 2 decades, TSC has hosted a heated contest between the way we think about the laws of physics and our own cognitive experience. The question is, who is winning: physics or us? If we are winning, then there will be another revolution in physics. However, if physics is winning, then our experience may be just an illusion, for it does not agree with what the physics of today is telling us. We believe that there will be another revolution in physics. In this talk, we offer new insights towards this revolution by applying the gedanken-experiment methodology to tensions/paradoxes arising between subjective experience and physics. For example, as you read this abstract, you are experiencing a very important present moment. Yesterday you had another present, and tomorrow you will have yet another present. While these different phases of time are important notions for us, in the laws of physics there is no such passage of time. As Ian Barbour has said: "There is no natural way in which time can flow in [the] block universe view of time. Everything: past, present, and future is there at once." Einstein recognized this, saying, "the Now means something special for man, something different from the past and the future." Another tension between subjective experience and physics is our experience of awareness: there is no way in the physics of today to understand what it means for a system to observe itself. We know what it means when we look at something else. That is, we can find the activity in our brain. But what does it mean to say that my brain looks upon my own brain? We would have to separate my brain into one part that looks into another part, and then we would need another part that looks at that part, and then very quickly we would find that there is no way that our science of today can understand what awareness is, because awareness is the way for a system to completely observe itself. To give you a taste of some new insights, our approaches to quantum theory allowed us to create scientific models (for the first time) of the idea that the universe gets re-created again and again; at every instant of time, there is a new universe. This is quite different from the current worldview involving a unique universe with unique individual objects that simply change their state in time. Another in-progress revolution in physics relevant for the questions addressed here is the notion of non-locality, sometimes referred to as "the most profound discovery of science." There are different types of non-locality which quantum mechanics has shown could not exist in classical physics. Research tends to focus on the kinematic aspects of non-locality. We have discovered several new forms of non-locality including the dynamical aspects often referred to as Aharonov-Bohm effects. "