Almost a century after the quantum mechanics revolution, the nonlocality and measurement problems loom as intractable as ever. At the boundary between matter and consciousness, our experimental models seem to break down: what the mathematics imply, we can’t grasp; and what we can guess, we can’t fit into our common experience. Or can we?
The primary task ahead of us, according to Wheeler, “is to make meaning out of observation and from that derive the formalism of quantum theory.” But is there a place for “meaning” in hard experimental sciences? Can we design experimental protocols probing the foundations of quantum mechanics in such a way that the Observer’s state of mind becomes another variable?
It turns out that the answer is a resounding Yes. Yet to do so we must break an institutional taboo: we must be willing to enter the contested room of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and look at the history of experimental parapsychology in the XXth century. As Kuhn recognized, our working axioms are context-specific and that context typically has less to do with the accumulation of scientific facts than with the social framework circumscribing those facts. Eventually, however, the existing framework begins to fail and we must find an alternative way out of a conceptual impasse.
As with any paradigm shift, getting through depends on the size of the prejudices clothing our ego. But for those who carry only the essentials (curiosity, determination and a willingness to accept a lot of false starts), the landscape opening ahead of us is a true terra incognita – complete with profound new insights and fears of our own making.
So to everyone who is ready to join the effort, this is our challenge:
Change the Experience, Change the Paradigm!
Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:17. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00017 08 Jan 2014.
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