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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


Superfluid liquid Helium is shot under very high pressure out of a tiny nozzle and into vacuum. Outside in front of the nozzle, the excess pressure bursts the liquid apart violently into a myriad of fragments. A cloud of ultra small droplets comes into existence. The liquid beam is almost completely atomized.

If you take a randomly drawn droplet from the explosion, the number of atoms inside of it is mostly just one, a single atom. Finding two atoms is less likely, three atoms even less, and so on.

Every once in a while we are told that Schrödinger’s cat is now proven. One incarnation of the ‘Finally Proven!!!’ of macroscopic quantum superposition was hailed as one of the 10 breakthroughs, the breakthrough of the year 2010. By Science about an article in Nature [1], no less!

Quantum physics and Einstein’s relativity theory, in theory as well as experiment, are extremely concerned with light and its photons. Why should fundamental science be obsessed with something so feeble? Well, it could not be any other way! Science is about what we can (experimentally) observe. As physics advances, it must be expected to be more and more concerned about the most reliable way to measure. It must investigate observation as such.

“Yesterday night I was in my office in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge packing my stuff, resolved to not go back to research again …”

This sad story is another warning to all those enthusiastic about getting into science. One more outtake:

After arguing against ‘higher consciousness’ or freedom evolving, let us go on to discuss consciousness inside computers. This is, maybe surprisingly so for some readers, closely connected with the non-existence of gods and in fact quantum theory.

Ironically (given what I wrote the last time), cyberspace and its breakneck speed evolution is still the big hope for some ill-defined freedom. Since cyberspace is all about information technology, should there not be higher consciousness after all? Maybe a ‘god2.0’ develops and grants us salvation in virtual reality, in a simulated matrix?

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Many of those involved with transhumanism desire to accelerate the development of some sort of ‘higher consciousness’. Although the topic is mostly approached with the most serious input of the persons’ specific fields, for example cutting edge fascinating neuroscience, it is nevertheless too often handled philosophically naïve.

Thinking more rationally, bigger memory, adding ultraviolet light receptors for a four dimensional color space, enabling global workspace to contain more than about 7 items, … All this are nice enhancements, but none of these seem to be what people lust after when it comes to the mystic 'higher consciousness'.