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Is consciousness emergent from our bodies? Or is it a fundamental field of the universe? It’s possible that various quantum entanglement anomalies from Quantum Mechanics experiments could eventually provide some answers, but there isn’t yet a singular story that scientists all agree tells the consistent and coherent story of all of quantum mechanics. The mathematics of behavior is pretty consistent, but it’s the deeper questions of what it reveals about the story about the fundamental nature of reality that is still unresolved as there are many different interpretations of those mathematical structures.

bernardo-kastrupBernardo Kastrup is a philosopher who co-wrote on a Scientific America blog post with theoretical physicist Henry Stapp & Menas Kafatos on May 29, 2018 titled “Coming to Grips with the Implications of Quantum Mechanics: The question is no longer whether quantum theory is correct, but what it means.

They argue that the some of the retrocausal quantum entanglement anomalies seen in the delayed-choice quantum erasure can be explained with a non-local conscious Observer. In other words, human consciousness is quantumly entangled quantum systems to the point where human observations in the future can impact the outcomes of the present, and one way that this could be possible is that if the Universe is essentially mental and that human consciousness exists outside of the boundaries of space and time.

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John von Neumann’s mathematical formalization of quantum mechanics left it as an open question as what exactly the mathematical boundary between the observer and the system was within a quantum mechanical system. Henry Stapp expanded upon this view in his book “Quantum Theory and the Role of Mind in Nature” where he says, “John von Neumann reformulated quantum theory as a theory of an evolving objective universe interacting with human consciousness. This interaction is associated both in Copenhagen quantum theory and in von Neumann quantum theory with a sudden change that brings the objective physical state of a system in line with a subjectively felt psychical reality.” There are many different interpretations of quantum mechanics that make different assumptions as to what this boundary is and the ultimate role of an observer.

Bernardo Kastrup has expanded upon this argument in a forthcoming book being released on April 2019 titled Idea of the World where he expands upon this Mental Universe hypothesis that comes from Philosophical Idealism. Kastrup is building off of Carlo Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics framework, which argues that an observer-independent state of a quantum system is an incorrect notion just Einstein showed that an observer-independent time is an incorrect notion.

But while Rovelli introduces the scientific foundation for post-modern philosophy, he doesn’t expand upon these philosophical implications. He explains in his paper,

With a large number of exceptions, most physicists hold some version of naive realism, or some version of naive empiricism. I am aware of the “philosophical qualm” that the ideas presented here may then generate. The conventional reply, which I reiterate, is that Galileo’s relational notion of velocity used to produce analogous qualms, and that physics seems to have the remarkable capacity of challenging even its own conceptual premises, in the course of its evolution. Historically, the discovery of quantum mechanics has had a strong impact on the philosophical credo of many physicists, as well as on part of contemporary philosophy. It is possible that this process is not concluded. But I certainly do not want to venture into philosophical terrains, and I leave this aspect of the discussion to competent thinkers.

So Rovelli doesn’t want to venture into philosophical terrain, but this is something that Kastrup is more than willing to do. Kastrup’s work is unpacking the philosophical implications of Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics.

I reached out to Kastrup to talk about his The Ideal World book, the philosophy of Idealism as applied to the foundations of physics, how neuroscience research into Disassociative Identity Disorder provides a metaphor for individual consciousness disassociated from a universal mind, his philosophical ideas our perception of reality being a “Markov Blanket” from a universal consciousness, and what the philosophy of Idealism means in the context of human experiences in real reality versus a human-constructed virtual reality.

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