The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
Inquire about purchasing the book | Table of Contents | Annotated Bibliography | Class on Nature of Mind

These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Quantum is not Relative

Finally, Quantum Theory does not incorporate gravity. Since gravity is an interaction (albeit only visible among large bodies), it does require its own quantum of interaction, the so called “graviton” (a boson of spin 2). Once gravity is quantized, one can compute the probability of a particle interacting with the gravitational field: the result is... infinite.

 The difficulty of quantizing gravity is due to its self-referential (i.e., non-linear) nature: gravity alters the geometry of space and time, and that alteration, in turn, affects the behavior of gravity. 

The fundamental differences between Quantum Theory and General Relativity can also be seen topologically: the universe of Relativity is curved and continuous; the universe of Quantum Theory is flat and granular. Relativity prescribes that matter warps the continuum of spacetime, which in turns affects the motion of matter. Quantum Theory prescribes that matter interacts via quanta of energy in a flat spacetime. (Even finding a common vocabulary is difficult!) The bridge between the two views would be to "quantize" spacetime, the relativistic intermediary between matter and matter: then the two formulations would be identical. If spacetime warping could be expressed in terms of quanta of energy, then the two prescriptions would be the same.


Superstring Theory: Higher Dimensions

Countless approaches have been proposed to integrate the quantum and the (general) relativistic views of the world.

The two theories are obviously very different and the excuse that they operate at different "granularity" levels of nature (Quantum Theory for the very small and Relativity Theory for the very big) is not very credible.

Physicists have been looking for a theory that explains both, a theory of which both would be special cases. Unfortunately, applying Quantum Theory to Relativity Theory has proved unrealistic.

The problem is that they are founded on different "metaphors" of the world. Relativity Theory binds together space-time and matter. Quantum Theory binds together matter and the observer (an observer who is supposed to verify the consequences of binding together matter and the observer who is supposed to...).

Relativity focuses on how the gravity of massive bodies bends the structure of time and space and are in turn influenced in their motion by the curvature of space-time. Quantum Theory focuses on the fuzziness in the life of elementary particles.

If one simply feeds Schroedinger's equation (how the world evolves according to Quantum Theory) into Einstein's equation (how the world evolves according to Relativity Theory) the resulting equation appears to be meaningless.

Basically, we don’t have a Physics that holds in places where both gravity and quantum effects are crucial, like at the centers of black holes or during the first moments of the “Big Bang”.

General Relativity explains motion. Einstein’s equations are precise. Quantum Theory explains that motion is undefined. Heisenberg’s principle is fuzzy.

General Relativity shows that time is relative. Quantum Theory assumes a universal watch setting the pace for the universe. “Time” looks completely different in one theory and in the other, almost as if the two theories used the term “time” to refer to two different things.

Ditto for the “observer”: Einstein’s observer is part of the universe and in fact is affected by the universe, whereas Quantum Theory’s observer has a special status that exempts her from quantum laws (the quantum universe is divided into particles that are measured and "observers" who make measurements).


Back to the beginning of the chapter "The New Physics" | Back to the index of all chapters