The popular description of virtual particles “borrowing” energy and popping in and out of existence all the time is very misleading. There are no such processes “really happening” in the way of a naïve, classically mechanistic physicalism. Instead, all potential partial processes consistent with the observations are together what the observation supervenes on. Thus, if you look with high space-time resolution, which needs much energy, this situation, the proper description of which involves uncertainty relations such as that the “uncertainty” in time is proportional to the inverse of the uncertainty in energy (dt ~ 1/dE), which is consistently related to the uncertainties about the measurement devices and interactions, provides (!) the energy (with the proper probability of course) so that newly created particles for example are then indeed observed or “realized” with that probability, because this is what “potential process” of course means, namely, that such can be potentially observed. HA – Now after this sentence it is time to tell you that this is the continuation of the article “From Mindless Physics to Physics of Mind”, where the usual scientistic purist folk that lurks around these kinds of web sites complained that it all has no relation to physics. Well, so here you go guys, now the same, but instead of “in Chinese”, this time “in Physics” – let us see how those punters then really do if one gives them real physics (!) - therefore, I even include hairsplitting physics geek remarks in -brackets that you should probably skip on a first read.
[Note: "Borrowed" quantum tunneling barrier energy is only necessary semi-classically if the barrier is not sufficiently quantum mechanically described as a “potential mess” (in both senses of “potential” even in case of a simple nuclear potential, because every such potential is also described as a mess of virtual (~ “potential”) exchange-interaction particles).]
Thus, processes, such as for example an electron disappearing from a source and being observed in a detector behind a double slit, supervene on all potential partial processes that could be found if looking closer, such as the electron going through the left rather than the right slit. All potential processes belong to the overall process, and it may help to think about it semi-classically as if there are many parallel worlds in which all the potential processes “actually happen”, and that all these parallel worlds are quantum correlated; they “interact” (interfere) so as to result in the interference pattern behind a double slit. This latter view is helpful but also wrong, because electrons do not take a certain path in every parallel world (see Hardy paradox). More importantly, such interpretations seem as if that which supervenes, for example mind, supervenes on every possible world individually, as if there “really are” many worlds next to each other (in a naïve spatial way for example), as if there “really are” many parallel copies of me as I feel right now, scattered in definite places in an infinite universe for example.
[Note: This “naively real” parallelism is the view of Max Tegmark, namely prescribing definite actuality beyond the cosmic horizon although quantum complementarity applies to that horizon just as it applies to black hole horizons; they all recede with light velocity relative to the observer enclosed by the horizon (in case of black holes, relative to the Schwarzschild horizon only precisely when the observer falls through that horizon, after which the position of his causal horizon follows him “inwards” (“inwards”, because the singularity is in the future, not in the middle, as black holes have effectively lost one dimension and can be described as a (2+1)D stringy surface))].
My world, the phenomenal situation that I happen to find myself in, supervenes on the totality of all potential physical states and processes consistent with it. It is a perspective inside a potential many-worldial structure, and because it must be described in this way if sticking to well defined terminology about personal identity or “exist” etc. also on the level of language games alone, because the otherwise desired distinctions are verification transcendent. As already Wittgenstein has grasped: Solipsism is a valid dual description! You and me are different possibilities in superposition if identifying with the mere Kantian trancendental identity of apperception rather than memory content for example.
‘Terribly inconsistent states’, “terrible states” for short, are classically allowed physical states which quantum physics (in as far as we know it today) regards to be real – for example that all cars in LA are suddenly upside down or that you find yourself raping a beloved person, performing a perverse sexual fetish that you never even had (yes, this harsh example is indeed necessary since it ensures the perception of a logical inconsistency that most readers are bound to vehemently reject and that the inter-subjectivity between residents of LA cannot supply!). Max Tegmark famously calculated how far away such a parallel earth likely is from us in his model, namely 10^1027 meters – far beyond the cosmic horizon. Max calculated the distance between two precisely equal earths, which is about the same number, because the number Z of microstates s_Terrible that can underlie the macro-state S_Terrible of all cars in LA being upside down is the same as the number Z of microstates s_Normal of all cars being the right way up. If you also think that such a universe naively exists “out there” in a definite way and with a faster than light god who can randomly pick space-time locations all over it, you can turn the distance into god’s probability of finding such earths with overturned cars, and that probability is above zero! Max therefore believes in the reality of all terrible states existing infinitely many times (he may however not admit such in the case of politically incorrect scenarios like rape-killings by obedient tax payers). Indeed, if there is no further gravitational or ‘further-fact’ modification to unitary quantum mechanics, all terrible states are real.
This is another way of pointing out the importance of processes rather than states, regardless whether considering the issue of “physical objective probability” or consciousness. There is no probability of a state without a well defined process of finding such a state among others, which is equivalent to a proper construction of the considered statistical ensemble and at some point always needs consideration of previous states that somehow transition into the state of interest. Regarding mind, almost all criticisms against D. Dennett or B. Libet for example do not grasp time-resolution related issues, such as the difference between physical timings and perceived timings.
This was a remark note, but lets elevate it to maintext for it shows so well that there is no mysticism implied here anywhere: There are no conscious brain states on resolutions finer than the about dt = 10 to 100 ms of the felt specious now, which is an enormously long time relative to involved cellular molecular processes. The uncertainty dt due to the long specious now fits roughly to that the signal velocity along nerves is on the meter/second scale. With dx =10 cm being roughly the scale of a brain, dx/(1m/s) = 100 ms. This is also 108 times longer than any uncertainty due to special relativity, which is dx/c ~0.3 nano seconds, c being the velocity of light. See - no mysterious relativistic quantum connection we can blame Tolle's holy NOW on!
Also, to stay for one more minute with the option of a completely linear quantum physics: From the perspective of a mature observer, there is no point in asking whether there was a highly unlikely quantum tunneling or whether I have gone mad and suffer amnesia about how I ended up rape-killing a loved one! There is uncertainty, and the probability of going mad is much higher in the best physical descriptions today, but fundamentally there may be no difference. Madness and virtual realities relate to real phenomenal (conscious) states. The potential of being in an externally steered virtual reality belongs to my current state of mind in a fundamentally constitutive way – it is not either or.
[Note: “Externally steered” virtual reality distinguishes such potential “medium-emergent-level creator gods” from the reality of that we are anyway describable as a simulation, perhaps calculated on a holographic horizon, and in this sense are always in virtual reality, not only regarding our brain’s hallucinations of a colorful external world based on the excitations of its neural network.]
I hold it conceivable that most terrible states do not belong to the totality of all that is possible. In order to see how a misleading “mind supervenes on all with it consistent ‘parallel worlds’” can be insightful, let me didactically employ Max’s philosophically somewhat naive “there really are parallel worlds next to each other”. Call M_T a particular Terrible state of Mind of suddenly witnessing all cars in LA to be upside down, just before people stare at each other in disbelief and start running into the churches. M_N relates similarly to a particular alternative Normal state of all cars being the right way up. Call s_T all somehow distinguishable micro states consistent with M_T, and respectively s_N those consistent with M_N. There are very many micro states s, and the number Z of s_T about equals that of s_N. However, these numbers do not reflect the probability of finding yourself in such worlds. A “probability of a state” is always that of a transition process under the assumption of a given initial situation before the state is observed (even if this is hidden in the construction of (im)proper statistical ensembles)!
The expectation of M_T, given a state M’_N in the past, is low, because the processes leading to M_N are many more. This is about final states that remember a past, which is non-trivial considering situations where memory content can radically change. For example, in order to get to M_T via physical macro-states S_T of LA, all molecular arrangements in all synapses of all people in LA would have to be, just by chance and in one possible conceivable scenario, that arrangement which would be attainable by a high dose of alprazolam, and for a whole minute, and moreover, it would have to be by chance so that the people are triggered to overturn all the cars, having amnesia about it (that is what alprazolam can do), and then snap back. All security cameras mal functioned just right, too. All this is physically possible, and Max may like to calculate a probability. However, the alternative arrangements of molecules in synapses (and security cameras) that lead to M_N are very many more. Almost all slight rearrangements of molecules will not lead to anything noteworthy or anyways lead much more likely to crazy situations that are chaotic, not a clean overturning of cars.
However, we are still not satisfied, because even if s_i relate more properly to processes rather than states, if every individual s_i considered in isolation is sufficient grounds not only for a macro state S_i but also for a state of mind M_i to supervene on it, terrible states are real. Even if there are somehow billions more s_N than there are s_T, those s_T realize M_T. (I now neglect that M_T is possible via externally controlled virtual reality or dreaming anyway.)
However, in a rock bottom fundamental, and thus tautological description, there is no difference between M_N and M_N (no typo here; I mean to present tautologies). That they are in some less fundamental description based on different s_N transcends verification, not only because trying to observe sufficiently fine resolved will destroy S_N, especially relative to the observer experiencing it, but because anything that differs between the s_N can be discounted as unnecessary for the supervening of M_N (We do not think that a certain electron in our brain being spin up or spin down is vitally involved in the experience of redness of red, especially since we now by assumption wanted this difference in the s_N to make precisely no difference to M_N).
Therefore, regard all “parallel worlds” s_N together as what S_N and M_N supervene on, namely on the worlds’ quantum correlations. M_T must similarly supervene on all s_T. If there are according to some proper measure somehow “too few” processes s_T, or better, if ‘further-facts’ between the almost final quantum description and the end result of phenomenology are about the overall consistency of how the M logically supervene on the s, then M_T may be strictly physically impossible in the sense of that experiencing them would prove residing in an externally controlled virtual reality. [The probability of externally steered virtual reality is much higher than that of S_T. This may go hand in hand with the unitarity of quantum mechanics.]
This may perhaps be described as due to a probability cut-off, perhaps brought on by modifications when general relativity (gravity) is properly taken care of. However, there cannot simply be a too naïve lowest possible “quantum of probability”. Otherwise, any particular time resolved decay sequence of trillions of arranged and observed radioactive nuclei would be impossible, and then uranium could not decay at all.
[Note: It would be an enormously difficult experiment trying to see whether radioactive decay is slowed down by observation without this being a quantum Zeno effect or the effects of isolating the nuclei, say by the trapping potential slightly reshaping the decay barrier potential.]
Even if you found all physical processes, your perspective on those processes being “actually experienced”, the redness of red, is something so weird, such is nowhere to be found in whatever physical excitation pattern that can be explained as causally originating (rather than being logically implied). A process, considered as a 4D space-time pattern, is no more conscious than a static pattern on a chessboard. On the fundamental level, where time has no meta-time allowing it to flow, there is no difference. The difference comes from that alternatives appear to be selected “once and for all” along a certain direction, namely that direction which some how appears to be “time” inside that 4D pattern (neglecting all dimensions conceivably added when describing the many-worldly aspects). Again it seems that the necessary ingredient is amiss: On the fundamental level, there is no alternative, and yet, for the world to appear as a meaningful world, selection must somehow be “real”. Nothing can supply any such satisfactory “realization mechanism” but logical implication. The physical is logically implied by the experienced stories having to have constrained content in order to be stories at all. But the mental is not implied by the naïvely dead physical, not even via the myth of Jones. There is no reason to assume any “real feeling” on grounds that such language as “I feel pain” is sure to evolve among complex replicators. A Physics-to-Mind derivation is always derivative on that the physical is something implied. Redness of red is what we can and even must talk about without it being derivative on anything physical.