Rational Scientific Theories from Theism

Physics Approach to Theistic Science

Analogies between Quantum and Mental Processes

I am here going to draw analogies between mental and quantum phenomena that I have previously written about. If you already know something about minds, these may help you understand quantum physics! Some of these have been pointed out by Bohm (1951, § 8.27ff) and more recently by Jahn & Dunne (1986) and Zohar (1990) (although perhaps understood in different ways: see later discussion). 

Jahn and Zohar have tended to concentrate on the analogies between mental structures, and the structure of matter entailed by quantum mechanics. They look at analogies between, for example, minds and quantum systems, and then especially analogies between how minds interact and how quantum systems interact. I will be looking rather at analogies between individual mental processes within minds and individual quantum processes. I believe that only when we understand the elementary processes of both the mind and quantum matter, can we more completely understand complex systems of either kind. 

In order to make analogies with quantum physics, I am going to use the propensity interpretation developed above. I am also going to assume a view of mind that is in part phenomenological (after Bergson especially), and in part influenced by (a few of) the problems of cognitive modelling and the recognition of the complexity of even apparently elementary mental processes. On this basis, we can draw analogies between the fundamental processes of quantum physics and the fundamental processes of mental activity:

Quantum Processes
Mental Processes
Quantum processes are driven by the energy operator (the Hamiltonian) Mental processes are driven my intentions and desires
The wave function describes the propensities for possible outcomes before actual selection made. Mental processes often have/are forms of propensities for possible outcomes before deciding.
Actual selections eleminate alternate histories Actual decisions eliminate alternative possible worlds.
More detail
Quantum objects do not evolve uniformly in time, but as a succession of 'states' between intermittently 'actualising' to one outcome of a certain range. Mental entities do not evolve uniformly in time, but in a succession of 'specious presents' between intermittent changes of state
The state of a quantum object is not a static configuration of elements, but a 'state of propensity' for possible virtual proceses, possible interactions and possible actual (observable) outcomes. The state of a mind is not static, but more a 'state of propensity': it is a continual recollection of past events and continual anticipation of future possibilities.
The state of a quantum object may be described by a wave function distributed is space, but this does not mean that the quantum object is composed of elements so distributed. Rather, it has a basic unity in that it will always act as a whole. These spatial distributions merely describe where it can actualise. The state of a mind has a similar basic unity. The thoughts in the mind may be diverse, and each may implicitly contain diverse elements (usually the better for doing so), but if they lead to action these diverse elements were merely describing where the mind could have operated.
The driving impetus of quantum processes are not external, but the very propensities of which quantum objects are forms. These propensities operate according to the (spatiotemporal) circumstantial relations with other objects. The driving motivation of mental processes are not external, but the very motivational loves which underly all psychic activities. These motivations operate according to the circumstances at each time.
Behind the apparently continuous evolution of the Schrödinger's equation, there is a progressive multitude of 'virtual events' whose operation forms the potential term in Schrödinger's equation. As a consequence of cognitive simulation work, we know that the operation of even seemingly simple events such as the perception of solid objects must involve 'behind the scenes' a great deal of information processing which is not apparent in the act of perception itself.

These analogies are only suggestive. Now doubt we could also find analogies between minds and classical mechanics, but in later work we will begin to see the reasons for the above mind-quantum analogies.

www.TheisticScience.org Author: Ian J. Thompson, Email: IanT at TheisticScience.org