Do We Create Reality, Is It a Hive Mind? (with Benny Hendel)

Uploaded 7/12/2022, approx. 15 minute read

Our next topic is reality-observer dependant? And I guess the question is, yes, we've even said so in our last talk.

Yes, indeed. In our last talk, I presented a variant of idealism where the mind actually creates reality and creates itself, recreates itself on the fly, the mind keeps becoming, via the process of intentionality, which was described by Husserl and Brentano, it's not my invention.

But my contribution was to say that intentionality organizes all our experience with external objects and with internal objects.

So if this is true and if it's a principle of life, I also suggested following your lead that it actually characterizes life. If this is true, then it raises the question of what is reality?

If the mind is so heavily involved in creating reality, maybe there's no reality, maybe it's a figment of our imagination. Maybe we're all mentally ill in an asylum and we just think that there is something outside us that we had or had not created.

Descartes started out with this.

The evil demon. The evil demon. Descartes' evil demon. But not all.

It's a dream.

Yes. He said there's an evil demon and the evil demon deceives us into believing in this.

Or when he has a dream that he's setting by a fire.

By the way, he was not alone. This question keeps recurring. Schrodinger asked a similar question. How do we decide what is real and what is not?

There are two methods. Method number one is an opinion poll. I ask you, do you see the camera? Yes. Do I see the camera? Yes. Does Elvis see the camera? Yes. All three of us see the camera.

How many cameras do you see?

I see three. How many do you see three? This is the opinion poll method of establishing reality. All three.

What's a statistical possibility? All three are wrong, you know, to that extent.


The second method of establishing reality is the method of functionalism or operability.

If we see certain outcomes, certain effects, we can safely assume certain causes. And when we have effects and causes together, we have reality.

So this is the second method.

I, again, want to suggest an alternative way of looking at it based on cutting edge physics. This is based on the latest knowledge in physics, which I'm following.

And recently I've been working on my own theory, which I started 40 years ago. So I'm forced into reacquiring knowledge in physics.

Before suggesting what I have to suggest, I want a brief background.

The world, objects in the world, especially small scale objects, like elementary particles, there is an equation that describes the behavior of these particles. This equation is known as the Schrodinger equation. It is a wave function. It's an equation that describes a wave, physical, like a wave. Exactly like in the sea.

And what is this wave? It's a wave of probabilities. Where are we going to find the particle? 10% of the particle will be here, 20% it will be here, 50% it will be here, 7% it will be here, 3% it will be here. So we have a wave. It's a wave of where are we likely to find the particle and how the particle is going to behave probabilistically.

But then when we make a measurement in the laboratory, we find the particle here. We don't get a wave. We don't get a particle smeared all over.

We get a photograph of the particle.

We get a point.

We get a dot.

A dot. How come? If there is a wave that describes the probabilities of finding the particle all over, and this is known as superposition, how come when we make the measurement, this wave collapses, disappears and we have a single dot.

So one of the explanations and the orthodoxy, what is accepted is that the observer, by observing the act, the act of observation...

Nails the wave and makes it and reduces it into a dot.

That's the common explanation.

What's my innovation? What's my contribution? Attempted contribution.

I'm saying observers can observe only dots.

In classical interpretation of quantum mechanics they say an observer comes to the wave and he doesn't know what's going to happen. He can find the particle here, here, here, here. He doesn't know.

It's open.

It's open.

According to the wave.

Yes. And I'm saying no, it's not open.

It's dancing along the wave.

And the observer doesn't have a way to predict where the particle will be. Although there are probabilities. Particle is much more probable to be here than here.

According to the wave.

According to the wave. But still the particle can be here. You just can't tell. I'm saying no. We got it wrong.

We got it wrong.

Reverse. We got it wrong. It's not that the observer comes to the wave naively.



And then the wave collapses into a dot.

It's that we are not capable to see anything else but the dot.

We have instrumentation known as the brain or the mind that is capable of observing only the collapsed states. Nothing else.

So we are like a filter. We don't collapse the wave function. We observe the collapse because we are built to observe collapses.

Now it sounds like scholasticism. It sounds like…

Pulling hairs.

Yes, but it's not. It's a major revolution. It's absolutely a major revolution which puts quantum mechanics on its head.

It simply says that we are observing a slice of reality only because we are not equipped to observe all the rest. We are equipped to observe only collapsed states.

It also means that if you were to take a billion people and they were to conduct the identical experiment, all of them would see the same dot.

At the same place.

At the same place. At the same split second they will see only that dot and no other dot. Because they all have the same hardware.

The same hardware.

Of course it's impossible to check this because it's impossible to do the same experiment.


But wait a minute.

How do you know. Yes.

But it leads to something.

So. If I'm right. It has two implications.

One. Reality is a collaboration of minds.

When I approach the wave function as an observer, my mind, my brain filters out every possibility except the collapse because there are other states. Non collapsible states.

There is a collapsed state. The dot. And there are many other states that don't go away. They don't go away. They're there.

They're there.

But we are unable to observe them.

We're able to observe only the collapse.

And because everyone in the world, every human being who would make the same experiment, conduct the same experiment, will get the same result. It means that we all determine this result even if we don't conduct the experiment, even if we do not conduct the experiment by virtue of sharing the same hardware, we are creating this outcome, this specific outcome.

But why do we have this filter. Why do we observe only collapse states?

Because it's good for survival. This is evolution.

I was going to ask what you mean by why. What does it contribute?

Why would we have hardware that isolates the collapse state?

It doesn't give us access.

It's in keeping with one saying that the mind geared to keep the cosmos out, to keep the cosmos as it is out.

To keep the parts of the cosmos that are not conducive to survival out, and to direct us to the parts that are conducive to survival.

In other words it is not true that the collapse states are exactly like non collapse states. They just happen to be this point on the wave equation. They're the same. We might as well have gotten another dot not this dot.

It's not true. The collapse states must be special.


Because we see them. We have hardware. And because we keep observing only collapsed states it's a sure proof that the collapse states are special. Because otherwise we would not observe them.

Yes. Why these and not others.

Imagine that I'm color blind and you have here mugs in various colors. I keep saying only the black mug because I'm color blind. So it must be something special about the mug. What is special about the mug? It's interaction with my handicap, with my disability.

So we have a disability. We observe only collapsed states.

But it means that the collapsed states are helping us.

Are helping us.

They're somehow enhancing. They have a survival value for us.

Why? How?

I think the answer is: collapsed states increase order. The increase the order in the universe.

They fight entropy. They are fighting against chaos. They're fighting against disorder.

They are organizing the universe. They create structure which is very conducive to survival because you can't survive in a chaotic environment where heat is distributed equally, where no work is possible.

So I think the collapsed state extend and enhance order in the universe. And that's why we are capable to see only collapsed states because the minute we see the collapsed states we are getting information that helps us to increase order and structure which helps us to survive.

But then how does the universe communicate this information about order. How does the universe embed information in the particle so that when we observe the particle we obtain this information. How?

And I want to suggest that the universe has a DNA.

There is a principle in science. The same principle is applied everywhere.

For example the same equations in physics that describe elementary particles describe black holes. Black holes are the most dense enormous objects in the world in the cosmos.


Heavy. Dense. Huge. There are millions of times the mass of the sun and so on. That's black holes.

Elementary particles are the tiniest possible corpuscles. You know they're nothing. And yet it's the same equations. We use the same equations for both.

It shows you that nature is parsimonious. It uses the same principle to organize everything.

So if nature uses DNA with life why not use DNA with the cosmos.

I think the cosmos in every atom in every cell in every particle has DNA. I call it physical DNA.

What is this DNA?

It's about order and structure, exactly like the DNA in our bodies. It's DNA of order and structure.

When we as observers choose a collapsed state, that collapsed state contains information about order and structure. It contains this DNA.

And then we're able to extract this DNA via the act of observation and increase order and structure in the universe. Helping us to survive. I think that's more or less this.

In this sense we are agents of order. Our our role is to increase order in the universe.

Now when you say we are agents of order. I cannot not think of ethics, where the order of the one is the disorder of the other one. The good and the bad.

What is good for one, for instance, take the big isms, capitalism adores freedom, fascism adores fraternity, communism adores equality. So this ism says this is the most important thing and this is the crown of my order. This ism says the opposite and this ism says again something else.

How do you see order being distributed in such a way that we can actually survive as a civilization.

Yeah that's always a problem when there's a language that uses common words. Words that are common to disciplines but they mean totally different things in each discipline.

Order in physics simply means opposite of entropy. The ability to do work.

So when I say order and structure I simply mean that there is an asymmetry, a gradient of heat. There is energy here more than there is energy here.

Yes. So you can create work.

It's an in similarity.

Yes, negentropy.

Because entropy simply means that everything has equal temperature. Everything is equal temperature. So you can't do work.

Now if the water has the same temperature like the gas it will never boil.

It's dead.

It's dead.

The role of human beings and life, not only human beings. Because we don't know maybe a dog can also observe an elementary particle. We don't know.

But I suspect life in general. But human beings definitely, their role is to observe the universe and via the act of observation to collapse it because human beings have a machinery trained to detect collapsed states and only collapse states. No other states. Only collapsed states.

So we use this machinery. We detect collapsed states. When we detect collapsed states we create order and we create structure.

And so the act of observation introduces an increasing order and an increasing structure to the world.

Now what do we call this increasing order and structure?

Reality. That's reality.

So ehye 'ăšer 'ehye in Hebrew, I shall be whatever I shall be, means a constant recreation of order out of chaos which happens every day, every moment, with every person, and every caterpillar.

With every observation.

Now there's recent work by Lanza and others.

Lanza is I think a biologist if I remember correctly, but two other physicists, they put together all of modern quantum mechanics and so on and they suggest that there is a consensus of minds which allows us to observe the universe collectively and thereby create it.

Okay so you can say these are second rate scientists and I'm not listening to them, but go to someone like Stephen Hawking and Hertog.

They came up with something called the top down universe. They suggested that human beings via the act of observation are not only creating the present, and by definition the future, but they are creating the past, because had they not been able to create the past, they would not be able to be in this present.

It's an ingenious idea, think about it for a minute. Had you not created the appropriate past you could not have been here in this present.

The present is the outcome of the past.

Yes, but then it means that you have to create the past to get to this present.

So what Hawking and Hertog are saying, and they're not suspects, they're not exactly second rate physicists. They are probably secondary only to Einstein.

What they are saying is that by the act of observation we are creating not only the present and the future but also the past of the universe.

And this solves a very interesting question.

If the universe is the outcome of observation, the universe had existed billions of years before we came, who observed the universe? So religious people will tell you God observed the universe. The observer was God. God observed and created the universe. That's more or less the Kabbalah's approach.

But Hawking and to a much lesser extent Vaknin and this kind of people, they are saying no it's not God. It's the act of observation not only creates the present but creates the past.

With every act of collective observation we are cementing the past of the universe not only the present.

It's very counterintuitive. It sounds totally crazy.

But if you stop to think about it you will see how logical it is. If you were not engineering the past to perfection you could have never ever make the observation in the present.

Your present crucially depends on your ability to recreate the past in a way that leads to this specific present of all possible presents.

So this is the thesis that I'm coming up with and it solves many problems but raises many others.

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