Monday, August 16, 2010

The Uncertainty Principle

Much is made of the Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics, whereby it is accepted that both the position and momentum of a sub-atomic particle cannot be precisely determined. So there is a trade-off involved with respect to both aspects with ever greater accuracy with respect to one aspect (e.g. position) inevitably being at the expense of the other (momentum). And this is an inherent problem with respect to the behaviour of such a particle (and not due to practical difficulties with measuring devices).

However there is a much wider context to this principle which is not properly recognised (due to the lack of any appropriate qualitative context to Conventional Science).

As I have stated before the very basis of Conventional Science is the use of linear rational logic (reflecting in turn the Middle Band of the psychological spectrum).

However just as electromagnetic energy has many bands (of varying wavelength and frequency) likewise it is true with the modes of possible rational understanding.

So besides the natural mode (which provides the common sense intuitive light informing normal macro understanding of reality) there are many "higher" modes of intuitive energy possible (that are consistent with a more refined circular type of reason).

Now the very essence of the linear mode is that it necessarily reduces (in any context) the qualitative aspect of understanding to mere quantitative interpretation.

Though such reductionism indeed enables an extremely good approximation with respect to the quantitative nature of reality at the macro-level of experience, it begins to break down badly at both "higher" qualitative and "lower" quantitative levels (which are complementary).

In other words to appropriately interpret the quantitative behaviour of a "lower" level of physical reality (e.g. sub-atomic particles) we must use a corresponding "higher" level in qualitative terms of refined rational understanding (with the degree of refinement depending on the quality of the corresponding spiritual intuition required).

So for all other dimensions other than the 1st (i.e. linear understanding) a necessary complementary relationship exists as between what is "objectively" known about reality (in quantitative terms) and a corresponding "subjective" manner of psychological interpretation (in qualitative terms).

So in the deepest sense this inevitable dynamic interaction as between quantitative and (complementary) qualitative aspects is what really underlines the Uncertainty Principle.

There are just two important aspects with respect to this wider Uncertainty Principle that I would like to highlight.

1) When one experiences "normal" reality from the authentic perspective of a "higher" spiritual contemplative stage, the Uncertainty Principle necessarily applies in qualitative terms to all scientific (and mathematical) understanding.

For example this finding intimately applies to the nature of mathematical proof.

At the linear (1-dimensional) level of understanding a mathematical proof (e.g. of the Pythagorean Theorem) is interpreted in a somewhat absolute fashion.
Though it may well be conceded that such a proof represents a "subjective" manner of interpretation (in the necessary psychological use of mathematical constructs) a merely static relationship is maintained with respect to the application of such constructs to "objective" reality. So there is an underlying belief here that the "subjective" mental interpretation absolutely represents the "objective" reality (with respect to the behaviour of right angles triangles).

However at the "higher" levels (where intuition and reason are explicitly involved in understanding) one realises that a dynamic interaction is necessarily involved as between the qualitative means of mathematical interpretation (i.e. the mental "proof") and what it relates to in quantitative terms.

So one's understanding of the proof (in this example of the Pythagorean Theorem) is now understood in a merely relative sense. Thus the truth is strictly approximate and thereby of a merely probable nature.

Thus a mathematical "proof" is now seen to represent but a special form of social consensus. However the degree of understanding which each person will form of the "proof" will vary (perhaps considerably). One could even in some respects form a faulty understanding of the logical connections while confirming a "proof" (without being aware of the fact). Indeed it is quite possible that for a time the mathematical community en masse could form such a faulty understanding and confirm a theorem as true (that is later shown to be false). This famously happened with the 1st "proof" by Andrew Wiles of "Fermat's Last Theorem". Now admittedly this problem was quickly addressed and as time proceeds with no further objections arising then we can assume that the theorem has indeed been proved with an ever greater degree of confidence. But all this merely confirms the probable nature of mathematical proof. So the best that we can hope for is that long accepted "proofs" are true to a high degree of probability!

This qualitative Uncertainty Principle likewise applies to all scientific findings such as physical laws.

I have discussed this previously with respect to Relativity and String Theory. So for example the relativistic nature of space and time does not apply solely to quantitative measurements but equally to the qualitative means by which we strive to interpret such findings - literally - at the "higher" dimensions of understanding.
And then the Uncertainty Principle applies to the dynamic interaction as between both quantitative and qualitative aspects. So once more precise measurement with respect to one aspect inevitably implies diminished measurement with respect to the other. So for example the zenith with respect to qualitative appreciation - which is inherently of an intuitive nature - comes through pure contemplative union with reality (where quantitative measurements lose any specific meaning!)

Indeed the very manner by which Einstein ignored the qualitative aspect of interpretation (in striving to understand Relativity) clearly demonstrates the linear rational nature of the classical paradigm from which he operated!

2) Just as the potential set of all possible numbers is infinite this applies likewise that the set of potential dimensional interpretations is infinite. Therefore the Uncertainty Principle - relating such dimensional interpretations to corresponding reflections of physical reality - has an infinite number of possible expressions.

However it is still true to say that a limited number of these expressions have special relevance. I will return to these in later posts.

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