Many of you who have read my books or listened to my interviews, particularly on The Byte Show with George Ann Hughes, will be aware that I have maintained the idea that there is a direct interface between consciousness and the physical medium, including a "group multiplier effect" that needs careful experimental study. To my mind, the possible existence of this interface is one of the most potentially exciting - and dangerous - areas of physics to be investigated.
Enter Dean Radin, long an advocate along with many others (for example, the British biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake) of this idea of a direct connection between consciousness and the physical medium. It was Radin who had a major influence in the development of the Princeton "eggs", the consciousness experiments that now famously recorded a major "spike" prior to, and after, the tragic events of 9/11.
I ran across this abstract of an experiment recently performed with the double-slit experiment of quantum mechanics, which I site here in its entirety for its rather breathtaking scope:
"A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double-slit to single-slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused towards the double-slit as compared to away. Each test session consisted of 40 counterbalanced attention-towards and attention-away epochs, where each epoch lasted between 15 and 30 seconds. Data contributed by 137 people in six experiments, involving a total of 250 test sessions, indicated that on average the spectral ratio decreased as predicted (z = -4.36, p = 6 x 10-6). Another 250 control sessions conducted without observers present tested hardware, software, and analytical procedures for potential artifacts; none were identified (z = 0.43, p = 0.67).
"Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. ." (See Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments)
Now read that last paragraph carefully. When all variables and their possible influences were eliminated, the results of perturbations in the interference pattern varied significantly between results obtained by machine "observers" and conscious human observers, with results that "appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem." To put it more succinctly, the results of the experiment appear to indicate that conscious observation does indeed affect the collapse of the wave function to a slight degree, and to that extent, consciousness affects reality.
But before we can jump up and down for joy, it is to be noted that this paper has yet to be published, and thus, we do not know the details of the experiment. Whatever else one makes of Radin and his work however, the abstract here is promising, and one hopes that the actual paper will deliver significant enough data to be evaluated properly. Stay tuned folks, this is one to watch.
See you on the flip side...
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