#570: VR as a Reality Turing Test, Supernormal Siddhis, & Mind/Matter Consciousness Research

Dean_Radin_PhotoDean Radin is the lead scientist of the Institute of Noetic Sciences where he’s been working on cutting-edge consciousness research of showing measurable mind and matter interactions with quantum phenomena. He’s published 17 papers showing statistical significance of meditators being able to subjectively project their consciousness and make an “observation” in a double-slit experiment that collapses the quantum wave function. You can read more in his Physics Essays paper “Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern,” as well as this lecture on mind-matter interactions at a consciousness conference. Radin’s team is starting to look at whether or not they can use virtual to amplify the effects of this remote observation triggering signs of a quantum wave function collapse. Rather than imagining an observation in your mind, will they see similar effects by replicating this experiment within VR where they can be more embodied.

The quantum measurement problem is an open problem in quantum mechanics, and the Von Neumann–Wigner interpretation that consciousness causes collapse of the wave function is merely one of many possible theories, but it’s one that Radin is explicitly researching. He’s also researching whether or not consciousness can entangle photons beyond the theoretical strength of Tsirelson’s bound. Radin’s team is still too early in this research to report any results either way, but it’s the type of consciousness work that they’re pioneering.

I had a chance to do a deep dive with Radin at the latest Institute of Noetic Sciences conference about what his research into quantum mechanics and consciousness means for coming to a better understanding about the ultimate nature of reality. Radin says that there’s some scientists and physicists are coming to a more Pythagorean belief that perhaps the fundamental base reality is some sort of mathematical or symbolic realm. This is a theory that Max Tegmark explores in great detail in his book Our Mathematical Universe, and a high-level summary can be found in his technical preprint called The Mathematical Universe. Radin says the idea of a fundamental mathematical base reality is one that comes from the Pythagoreans, and that it forms the foundations of the more esoteric Neoplatonic and Hermetic traditions of magic. It’s led him to write a book coming out in 2018 titled Magic is Real where he came to the conclusion that he sees enough scientific evidence that would support the claims made from the lore of these magical traditions.


Radin says that perhaps virtual reality will serve as a reality turing test of sorts to be able to help up discern which level of reality that we’re currently living. In his book, Supernormal he examines the claims made of Siddhi superpowers that have been detailed in a 2,000-year-old manuscript known as the Yoga Sutras. He says that if you’re able to achieve an enlightened state of samadhi, then that could unlock all sorts of latent human potentials including many of the psychic phenomena that he’s explored in his previous books The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds. So in essence, if you reach a state of enlightenment, then you’re able to start to literally cut through the matrix of reality and start to achieve things that are only bounded by your belief and imagination.

Radin is on the frontier of science, and so a lot of his research is not yet widely accepted within the wider mainstream thinking yet.
Even though Radin has personally experienced being able to bend his spoon with his will, he’s a data-driven empirical scientist who has more faith within the wider scientific method. Some of these more extreme claims of supernormal human potential made within the Yoga Sutras presuppose that people are able to more readily reach these mythic states of enlightened consciousness, which is not an easy feat. But overall, he’s committed to doing the type of basic research into quantum mechanics that could help solve the mysteries of consciousness, and potentially lead to larger paradigm shifts towards these philosophical ideas of panpsychism.

I didn’t have the capacity to go through his entire work within the context of this podcast interview, but I’d recommend that you check out this lecture about his mind-matter double slit interactions talk at a consciousness conference, David Chalmer’s TED talk on panpsychism, as well as a more extended documentary about the philosophical metaphysics of panpsychism.

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