The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

The Physics behind Psychic Ability

lolcat collapse probabilities

Related Post:  Where Does Psychic Ability Come From?

This is not an easy topic, as you can imagine.  Yet many fundamental underpinnings of the arguments against the existence of psi are based on a belief that it is incompatible with physics.  This is simply not true.  Most of the people who make this argument have no idea what the real situation is in the world of physics.  Much thanks here goes to Chris Carter and his book “Parapsychology and the Skeptics.”   He gives the clearest explanation I have read so far and I’m borrowing heavily from his take on this.  It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Observer Created Reality

Most people believe in an observer independent universe.  This is a notion of classical physics that is no longer valid and is the first thing that must be addressed in any discussion about psychic ability and physics.  Quantum physics has totally re-made this view of the world.  An observer independent universe is one where an observer exhibits no effect on the universe.  The universe operates of its own accord and the observer is unimportant in the process.  That’s not what actually happens.  We not only don’t live in this universe, we don’t live in an observer dependent universe either.  We live in an observer created universe.

Reality is not there when it is not being observed. We know this to be true at the quantum level but we don’t notice it because of a phenomenon called decoherence.  Basically, because the bazillions of quantum level phase relationships interfere with each other, they appear on the macroscopic level to even out, or decohere, much like the curvature of the earth appears to disappear in a limited area of its surface.  This decoherence effect allows us to get away with ignoring quantum effects on macroscopic objects and why classical physics works so well in the ordinary world.

Like the earth appearing to be flat, decoherence is only an appearance and is not real.  The quantum level is hidden in microscopic details and is not noticeable.  Because of this decoherence effect, the macroscopic world, appears to be filled with objectively existing matter. In other words, the objects of the world do not actually exist objectively; they only appear as if they did.

In their book The Quantum Enigma, physics Kuttner and Rosenblum point out that if you were to fire an electron through semi transparent glass into two boxes, the single electron would arrive in both boxes.  That’s because it is in its  unobserved wave state.  If you look into one of the boxes, you will either find the electron there or not.  If not, it will be in the other box.   That’s because when you observe the electron, it becomes a particle and can then only exist in one box.  I’m not making this up, this is standard quantum physics.  A subatomic particle, any subatomic particle, is either a wave or a particle depending on whether it is observed.

When electrons are fired at two slits and are unobserved, they will make a wave pattern on the surface they hit.  If they are observed, they will make a particle pattern on that surface.  When physicists have created experiments to sort of observe electrons they have responded to this by changing their behavior accordingly.

So the act of observing a subatomic particle which is in its wave form, (Known as a wave function.  A wavefunction is a simple sinusoidal function extending infinitely into space in the direction of its motion. You cannot directly observe a particle in such a state because its probability function is essentially zero everywhere.) collapses the probabilities and you have a particle.  (A little oversimplified)

Mathematician John Von Neuman argued that something non-physical, not subject to the laws of quantum mechanics must be responsible.  The only thing he could think of was the consciousness of the observer.  One of his followers, Nobel Prize winner Eugene Wigner went on to write:

When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness . . . it will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of consciousness is the ultimate reality.

There are other theories as to why probabilities collapse, but they are somewhat problematic.  This is also the best explanation for the success of the psychokinesis experiments. (a.ka. telekinesis.)

Right about now it should be obvious that the world of physics isn’t nearly so unfriendly to psychic phenomena as skeptics would have us believe.  There’s more.  Anyone familiar with psychic ability knows that it works without regard to distance or physical barriers and with no loss of signal strength.  It is also highly specific and can be targeted.  Doesn’t this violate physics?  Nope.  Again, we turn to quantum physics.

Non Localism:  Spooky Actions at a Distance

The principle under discussion here in classical physics is known as localism.  Everything only interacts with its closest neighbor and therefore there is no action at a distance.  In other words, the only way a cue ball can have an effect on the eight ball is to hit it.   What happens in non localism is that the movement of the cue ball and the eight ball are both affected by each other regardless of the distance between them.  As long as they’re both subatomic particles.

In the physics experiment it was discovered that if you know the spin direction of one proton in a pair of them, (by observing it and thereby creating the reality of that spinning particle), you also know the spin direction of the other.  This is instantaneous; there is no normal communication between them because they can be traveling away from each other at the speed of light, which is as fast as normal communication can be.  Somehow each proton “knows” what the other is doing.  Distance is no barrier.

This is known in physics as entanglement.  It does not violate classical physics (the speed of light barrier) because nothing is traveling from point A to point B.  How does this relate to psychic abilities?    Whatever it is that causes entanglement is clearly at work at the macro level with telepathy and clairvoyance since both of these are behaving in exactly the same manner.  (Information shared over any distance with no regard to physical limitations and with no signal loss) .   We know that telepathy is valid from the very stringently controlled autoganzfeld experiments so the conclusion is obvious:  whatever it is that can explain entanglement is going to explain telepathy and clairvoyance as well.

Causation: Time, Backwards and Forwards

In physics, the equations work backwards in time just as easily as they move forward and subatomic particles have been seen jumping around in time so to speak.  It is not inconceivable that a talent that takes advantage of the principles behind entanglement can also move around in time.  However, since the universe is probabilistic, not deterministic, events in the past which have been observed are fixed, but events in the future, which have not been observed, are still in a state of probability.  Those probabilities gradually shrink as the future gets closer.  So we have a physics explanation for precognition and another for a partial explanation for a lack of accuracy in psychic predictions.

The basic point here is that psychic ability does not defy any laws of physics.  It not only seamlessly fits into existing quantum physics theories, it is supported by it.  As I stated above, if you are going to deny the existence of psychic ability, it has to be on grounds other than physics.

13 comments on “The Physics behind Psychic Ability

  1. Fiammetta Rubin
    January 5, 2018

    Thank you for letting me post. Yes, I have experienced ” psy since I was a child. but could not ask questions about my phenomena of healing because of my Roman Catholic Culture and I knew I was no saint!– Yes, stigmata are real, but what mental -biological system produces them ( See Dr.( medical) Magliorini in Milan, Italy.)is only a conjecture so far). in 1995 he was researching stigmata,) Some of the phenomena were witnessed by several people now deceased. Other people are still alive. Consciousness( mental, emotional, retro and future oriented are obviously related in these phenomena which appear under very different condition: some bringing forth a change in the present ( PK), other bringing forth the past or the future apparently accidentally , because upon analysis, there is always a moment when a thought or emotion catalized ( as in an electroforming tank) the moment and the experience becoming an event, a coherent event as Whitehead would have called it.
    There is now vast dissent tearing apart what was and still maybe the footprint of a common sense of reality which biology, physics, consciousness, history, pK…..offer to us ( off the cuff) at times. I have participated in three conferences on cosciousness in the last 6 years. Not even Penrose had reached any hard conclusions, biologically and mathematically . How come I, an artist, philosopher, and psychic have not? because the experiences cannot be reproduced at will. Neither can Quantum events——Because am not a physicist, and have never had a coherent forum where to expose my thoughts and experiences. I am dyslexic, , a woman, an older women who has not yet learned how to expose her experiences in “good english” rather then baroque Italian.
    Any help by “experts” on how to use kosher language to describe a bloody Phenomenon ? — A little is on my website and Youtube , I almost died three times lately. Life tie is short. When am I going to finish this job of ” owning” my experiences which millions people have and are having continuously> ( and they have no clue what they mean) Any help out there in the “Kosher” scientific ” community? born 1936.

  2. Zach Elwood
    November 17, 2015

    Mainly for fun (but also because I do believe in the Multiple Worlds Interpretation) I wrote this Quantum Psychic Test, which attempts to prove or disprove communication between ourselves and other versions of ourselves in other worlds. Also, if such communication is possible, it could theoretically explain some psychic phenomenon.

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  5. Jim
    August 15, 2015

    Hi Craig,
    I am looking to contend issues of determinism – but do not have an eloquent or rational way to do so, and – of course “I experience determinism of certain, certain, exact points in the future – and – some form of probability and unknowing in-between such moments – or – “jumps” in the future”. Most people are strongly emotionally opposed to some form of determinism. My confusion is this – or – my intrigue. If I certainly (beyond an emotional state) – experience consciousness in the future – yet – with – no objective sensory memory of the future – but – still – the “phantom” of such sensory input – and – my consciousness interprets such information in a very subtle sense – that – is difficult to translate into words. If – at least – for the sake of theoretical discussion – you could accept this as fact – what does that say about the in between moments? As – certainly – certain events – must happen – to get to a certain future. So – this is my conundrum of probability and determinism. i.e. – if the future is already past – then – it is also certain. I argue – that – for whatever mysterious reason that there seems to be a “now” – a moment of congruity – where consciousness, and physicality are focused – that – can be “abandoned” – in favor of a “future” now. This is very less than eloquent. I fear – and am frustrated by – a certain expectation of incoherence. That – to the average listener – this could be construed as – “incoherent babble”. I have stated nothing objective. I have only offered conjecture – and – question – and – subjective experience. Do you have any thoughts on this? Do I need to establish credibility by – demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of physics? I actually – pointed jab aside – really liked this post. I appreciate the poetry of – a concise, rational, coherent summation of wave and particle understanding.

    Thank you for the blog, even if I have made it on your “troll” list.

    • craigweiler
      August 15, 2015

      Hi Jim,
      I’m not entirely sure I follow you here, but it sounds like you’re arguing for an eternal “now” in favor of having a past and future. I’m familiar with that view and it’s perfectly rational.

      If you’re arguing for determinism, that’s a tricky road because it leads to meaninglessness. (A philosophical argument to lengthy to go into here.)

      I don’t regard this as a trollish comment by any means. I’m just not sure I completely understand what you’re trying to communicate.

    November 14, 2014

    I am confused can I get some help here? I keep being admitted for schizophrenia yet live out affirmations everywhere! I can’t tell if I should stay on my medications or discover with my imagination in the kingdom?

    • craigweiler
      November 15, 2014

      Hi Alexis,
      I’m sure you understand that I am not even remotely qualified to answer mental health questions and certainly not over the Internet. So please bear this mind while I offer you advice. I could be completely wrong:

      I would have you ask yourself the question: Am I functional? Can I live a normal life without medication?

      I ask this because the imagination can be a wonderful thing, but also a trap. It is a useful tool for our lives, but not a place to stay.

      If you are not using it to improve your daily “outside” life or if it interferes or you can’t tell the difference between your imagination and “outside” reality, then it’s not doing you much good.

      There are definitely situations where therapists confuse psychic ability with psychosis, but these are quite rare and I am hesitant to offer that as a possibility. This is something that you have to sort out for yourself.

      Best of luck to you.

  7. Vivek narain
    September 9, 2014

    Ashtavakra gita elucidates the quantum mechanics in a detailed manner,as a law,and not as a budding concept.The text was written thousands of years ago.

  8. Japhasca
    January 21, 2014

    What you’re missing is the fact that all of these “quantum” effects are really just proof that we’re living in a simulated universe.
    Quantum entanglement is lossy data compression.
    Fuzzy space and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Theorem are just variable rounding errors.
    Can’t explore the universe? It’s because “their” computers can’t handle that much data yet.
    etc. etc.
    The reason particles don’t take a state until we observe them was because this method was used to short-cut computations, but since we observed it, they can’t change it without alerting us to their presence.

  9. Lucian
    January 13, 2012

    But doesn’t quatum mechanics disagree with Einstein’s theory of special relativity about how the universe is either flat( relativity ) or in a constant state of movement( quatum mechanics ). Going by what your saying everything in our perceptual world of thought is not real which is an impossibility going by Einstein’s theory which you say is out dated how can a theory which was accepted for about 80 years be all of a sudden outdated as soon as quatum mechanics was proposed, and how can this theory which is still considered correct today pm me if you still feel like talking after this

    • craigweiler
      January 13, 2012

      Einstein’s theory of relativity does not address consciousness, it addresses space/time. Quantum mechanics does pose some problems for the theory of relativity, but all this means is that relativity will be superseded eventually by a better theory which addresses those conflicts. In the meantime, it’s the best we have. As new information becomes available, theories get overturned. It happens.

      Mainstream physics has not accepted the existence of consciousness in QM, but it is only a matter of time as the evidence is pretty clear on this point. There is a lot of resistance to this idea.

    • Japhasca
      January 21, 2014

      Curved space-time can still approximate special relativity within sufficiently small spaces so learning the truth of the matter is difficult. Much like how Newton’s theories of gravity work in most situations, but once we realized the orbit of Mercury did not work with Newtonian physics, we learned it was actually wrong.
      Quantum mechanics does not oppose special relativity in any way, they are different theories that attempt to explain different things. However, it is true that combining the two into a single system has been very difficult and no answer is yet forthcoming.

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