Kategoriarkiv: Research

Paavo Pylkkänen on David Bohm’s interpretation of the quantum theory

Paavo Pylkkänen discusses David Bohm’s interpretation of quantum theory, including mind and matter, in this article — Is there Room in Quantum Ontology for a Genuine Causal Role for Consciousness?

Source: Twitter.

Here are some quotes from the article (my emphasis in bold):

… active information is playing a key causal role in physical processes at the quantum level.

organisms that are conscious of their own and others’ mental states have a better ability to interact, cooperate, and communicate.

… conscious experience … presents us with the options to choose from …

… certain conscious states … have an intrinsic motivating force … as an indivisible part of the experience itself.

… consciousness seems to be decisive for meaningful interactions with our environment.

… consciousness, flexible control, free will, and unified and integrated representations are all interconnected.

… information in conscious mental states is globally available to a number of different mental subsystems …

… information in conscious experience is typically very rich in its content — it is unified and integrated.

… consciousness both enables the sort of information that flexible control requires, and it also makes it possible for such information to reach the subsystems that are required in the execution of the control.

matter at the quantum level is fundamentally different from the sort of mechanical matter of classical physics

then it is perhaps not so surprising that a very complex aggregate of such elements … has a body, accompanied by a mind that guides it.

Bohm proposed that we understand mental states as involving a hierarchy of levels of active information.

Bohm saw nature as a dynamic process where information and meaning play a key dynamic role

the higher level of thought can organize the content in the lower level into a coherent whole.

Bohm went as far as to say that electrons have a ”primitive mind-like quality,” but by ”mind” he was here referring to the ”activity of form,” …

… we could say that suitably integrated active information is conscious.

… in my view a major reason for its being ignored is that it goes so much against the prevalent mechanistic way of thinking …

Bohm’s suggestion was that a natural extension of his ontological interpretation of the quantum theory can include mental processes and even conscious experience …

More flexible control means … that the organism is able to choose from among different options the one that best fits the situation

In Bohmian terms … consciousness enables the organism to suspend the activity of information.

… flexible control in the Bohmian view seems to involve higher-order, meta-level information that we are conscious of …

there isan interesting analogy between Bohm’s notion of common pools of information at the quantum level and the notion of collective intentionality in social ontology.

… Bohm emphasizes that information is typically active …

One possibility is that the presence of consciousness increases the level of activity of the information.

… quantum active information … is semantic and has both factual and instructional aspects …

… our ethical judgments (e.g., ”the choice of the best”) can typically also affect the way information is activated, and consequently our behavior.

Our choices of ”the best” are somehow related to value intelligence.

Related posts:
Book Review: Mind, Matter and the Implicate Order
The meaning of meaning
Meaning as being
Free flow of meaning

Interviews with Basil Hiley

The world is basically organic, and
the mechanistic part is just an aspect of
the deeper organic part
— Basil Hiley1

Basil Hiley, Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics in Birbeck College, London, was a long-time co-worker of David Bohm. Basil Hiley describes, in the following videos, the implication of David Bohm’s wholistic model of Quantum Mechanics on our view of life and reality.

1 The quote of Basil Hiley is from this interview on David Bohm’s Wholistic Universe.

The dancing rainbow within

Mae-Wan Ho’s new book Living Rainbow H2O is dedicated to the dancing rainbow within, which is made possible by the water that makes up all organisms. 1 Mae-Wan Ho writes (my emphasis in bold):

The organism is thick with coherent activities on every scale, from the macroscopic down to the molecular and below. I call the totality of these activities ”quantum jazz” to highlight the Immense diversity and multiplicity of players, the complexity and coherence of the performance, and above all, the freedom and spontaneity. The quantum coherence of organisms is the biology of free will. 2

The quantum coherent organism plays quantum jazz to create and recreate herself from moment to moment. Quantum jazz is the music of the organism dancing life into being. It is played out by the whole organism, in every nerve and sinew, every muscle, every single cell, molecule, atom, and elementary particle, a light and sound show that spans 70 octaves in all the colours of the rainbow. 3

There is no conductor or choreographer. Quantum jazz is written as it is performed; each gesture, each phrase is new, shaped by what has gone before, though not quite. The organism never ceases to experience her environment, taking it in (entangling it) for future reference …” 4

The quantum jazz dancer lives strictly in the now, the ever-present overarching the future and the past, composing and rewriting her life history as she goes along, never quite finishing until she dies.” 5

Intercommunication is the key to quantum jazz. It is done to such sublime perfection that each molecule is effectively intercommunicating with every other, so each is as much in control as it is sensitive and responsive. 6

The coherent organism is a unity of brain and body, heart and mind, an undivided bundle of intellect and passion, flesh, blood, and sinew that lives life to the full, freely and spontaneously, attuned not just to the immediate environment, but the universe at large. 7

Quantum coherence and quantum jazz are possible because of the 70% by weight of liquid crystalline water that makes up the organism. Quantum jazz is diverse multiplicities of molecules dancing to the tunes of liquid crystalline water. Water is the means, medium, and message of life. It is the dancing rainbow within, to which this book is dedicated. 8

1 Mae-Wan Ho, Living Rainbow H2O, (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2012), p. 5.
2 Ibid., p. 4.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid., p. 5.
8 Ibid..

Related posts:
Quantum Jazz
Mae-wan Ho on the autonomy of organisms
The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside

The toxic handler

Peter J. Frost and Sandra Robinson presents their research on The Toxic Handler: Organizational Hero—and Casualty in the July–August 1999 issue of the Harvard Business Review. They write that:

Toxic handlers voluntarily shoulder the sadness and the anger that are endemic to organizational life.

Toxic handlers alleviate organizational pain in five ways:

  • They listen empathetically.
  • They suggest solutions.
  • They work behind the scenes to prevent pain.
  • They carry the confidences of others.
  • They reframe difficult messages.

But toxic handlers also pay a high price themselves in creating a life-giving environment within the larger toxic organization.

Managing organizational pain is vital to the health of the enterprise—but at great cost to the health of the toxic handlers themselves.

I wonder if it’s worth it to risk your health?

The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside

The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside. From the inside, of course, you know what you are doing. You know that your actions are not random or arbitrary. And … if you are a perfectly happy human being, you would feel absolutely spontaneous and free.
— Mae-Wan Ho 1

1 Quote at (22:14), William Stranger interview Dr. Mae-Wan Ho in London, YouTube, published 12 May 2013. (Accessed 21 March 2016)

The cosmic web

Credit: V.Springel, Max-Planck Institut für Astrophysik, Garching bei München.

The distribution of matter in the Universe is not homogeneous, but is distributed in a network of knots and links. The knots are regions where the gravitational forces are higher. These knots are then connect to others through filaments. Researches call these large-scale structures in the Universe the ”cosmic web”.

1 Université de Genève, The cosmic web: Seeing what makes up the universe, ScienceDaily, 2 December 2015. (Accessed 13 March 2016)

Mae-Wan Ho on the autonomy of organisms

Mae-Wan Ho, is best known for her pioneering work on the physics of organisms and sustainable systems. Here’s what she writes on the autonomy of organisms in her book The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms (in italics, my emphasis in bold):

Organisms are never simply at the mercy of their environments on account of the coherent energy stored. More to the point, we don’t have to eat constantly, leaving plenty of time for other useful, pleasurable activities. The other consequences are that, the organism is exquisitely sensitive and free from mechanical constraints; and satisfies, at least, some of the basic conditions for quantum coherence. 1

Do take note of the radically anti-mechanistic nature of organisms. Mechanical systems work by a hierarchy of controllers and the controlled that returns the systems to set points. One can recognize such mechanistic systems in the predominant institutions of our society. They are undemocratic and non-participatory. Bosses make decisions and workers work, and in between the top and the bottom are “line-managers’’ relaying the unidirectional “chain of command”. Organic systems, by contrast, are truly democratic, they work by intercommunication and total participation. Everyone works and pays attention to everyone else. Everyone is simultaneously boss and worker, choreography and dancer. Each is ultimately in control to the extent that she is sensitive and responsive. There are no predetermined set points to which the systems have to return. Instead, organisms live and develop from moment to moment, freely and spontaneously. 2

It must be stressed that the ‘single degree of freedom’ of organisms is a very special one due to quantum coherence which maximizes both local autonomy and global correlation 3

1 Mae-Wan Ho, The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms, 2nd Edition, p. 91.
2 Ibid., p. 92.
3 Ibid., p. 152.

Book Review: Who am I?

Steven Reiss had a life-threatening illness which led him to rethink what makes life meaningful. His research formed the basis of his book Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality. Steven Reiss describes at length the 16 basic desires1 that he identified together with Susan Havercamp:

  1. Power is the desire to influence others.
  2. Independence is the desire for self-reliance.
  3. Curiosity is the desire for knowledge.
  4. Acceptance is the desire for inclusion.
  5. Order is the desire for organization.
  6. Saving is the desire to collect things.
  7. Honor is the desire to be loyal to one’s parents and heritage.
  8. Idealism is the desire for social justice.
  9. Social Contact is the desire for companionship.
  10. Family is the desire to raise one’s own children.
  11. Status is the desire for social standing.
  12. Vengeance is the desire to get even.
  13. Romance is the desire for sex and beauty.
  14. Eating is the desire to consume food.
  15. Physical Activity is the desire for exercise of muscles.
  16. Tranquility is the desire for emotional calm.

Each desire must fulfill the following criteria2:

  1. The desire must be valued intrinsically rather than for its effects on something else. That is, it must be sought for its own sake.
  2. The desire must have explanatory significance for understanding the lives of nearly everyone.
  3. The desire must be largely unconnected to the other basic desires.

I found Steven Reiss distinction between feel-good happiness and value-based happiness interesting3, but otherwise I’m not convinced by Reiss’ arguments. I think, for example, that idealism and vengeance are related. Read Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran and you will see that an act of vengeance also can be an act of idealism. Also, being influenced by Christopher Alexander, I think real beauty 1) can be valued intrinsically, 2) have explanatory significance for understanding our lives, and 3) is largely unconnected to the other 16 desires – most notably romance and sex. Actually, I think the desire for real beauty is related to, but more basic than, the desire for order. I might be wrong, but I suspect that it’s our personalities that motivate our desires, and not our desires that motivate our personalities.

1 Steven Reiss, Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality, (Berkley, 2002), pp. 17–18.
2 Ibid., p. 33.
3 Ibid., pp. 123–141.

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents as ordinary cars1 because they always obey the law. People just don’t expect anyone to actually follow all rules without exception.2

1 Brandon Schoettle & Michael Sivak, A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World Crashes Involving
Self-Driving Vehicles, The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, October 2015.
2 Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw, BloombergBusiness, December 18, 2015.

Lika men ändå olika

Referens: Ny Teknik, 2015-09-09, Nr 37.

Att vi människor är lika, men ändå olika, vet vi ju. Detsamma gäller för alla levande varelser. Nu finns bevis att även nanopartiklar är unika! Ulla Karlsson-Ottososon skriver i Ny Teknik, 2015-09-09, att Christopher Langhammer och hans forskargrupp på Chalmers har upptäckt ”att nanopartiklar har olika egenskaper, trots att de ser likadana ut för ögat”. Att mäta vad som händer i en nanopartikel är en prestation i sig. Forskarnas resultat har publicerats i tidskriften Nature Materials.

Närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor

Agneta Lagercrantz skriver i SvD 2015-09-15 att närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor. Tillsammans med våra allra närmaste sjunker nämligen stresspåslagen i hjärnan helt. Mänsklig gemenskap signalerar till hjärnan att den kan vila. Social närhet påverkar våra känslor, och våra känslor påverkar hjärnans aktiviteter. Till exempel beror kollektiv intelligens, förmågan till problemlösning i grupp, på hur bra varje gruppmedlem är på att läsa av ansiktsuttryck hos varandra.

Amazing discovery, amazing way of working

The discovery of Homo nadeli is amazing! The way of working has also been amazing in its openness, where scientists from all over the world came together to analyze Homo nadeli’s bones. More than 60 scientists have been examining the 1500 bone fragments from at least 15 individuals (and it is only a tiny fraction of what is in the cave chamber). As of today, there has been almost 124 000 page views and 14 000 downloads of the FREE open access paper on the Homo nadeli fossils from eLife Sciences. John Gurche is the paleo artist who gave Homo nadeli a face.

Photography by John Gurche


Pre-conditions for self-organization

The following is a quote from The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform by Harrison Owen (p. 42).

”The essential preconditions for self-organization, according to [Stuart] Kauffman, are the following:

  1. A nutrient-rich, relatively protected environment
  2. A high level of diversity and potential complexity in terms of the elements present
  3. A drive for improvement
  4. Sparse pre-existing connections between the various elements
  5. It is all (the whole mess) at the edge of chaos

I should note that nowhere does Kauffman outline the necessary preconditions precisely as I have, but I believe I have caught the essence.”

Relates posts:
Self-organization is the real operating system
Pre-conditions for self-organization (self-organization in human systems)
How to enable and sustain self-organization
Creative forces of self-organization
Self-organization is not anarchy or dictatorship
Let’s take self-organization seriously
Emergence and self-organization
Emergence is simply what life does
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology
How to apply sociocracy as an individual?

The DemoCratic workplace

Rune Kvist Olsen is a very interesting researcher, author, and thinker. Here is his paper on The DemoCratic Workplace, which is about empowering people (demos) to rule (cratos) their own workplace. This is done enabled by organizing individual and group decision processes through personal competence-based authority. In another paper Rune describes the Change from Leadership (vertical power structures) and Leadingship (horizontal power structures) at Work. I think the distinction Rune makes between leadership vs. leadingship is somewhat related to the distinction that I see between management vs. leadership. Management is a role, while leadership is a relation.

Tillfredsställande arbetsplatser

Wise Group (Ingenjörskarriär 2013-02-13) har låtit cirka 5000 personer svara på frågor om vad som krävs för att en arbetsplats ska upplevas som attraktiv och tillfredställande. Undersökningen pekar på följande punkter, i prioritetsordning:

  1. Att kunna utvecklas i jobbet.
  2. Att vara stolt över sitt företag/sin organisation.
  3. Att vara nöjd med sin egen arbetsinsats.
  4. Att ha ett meningsfullt jobb.
  5. Att ha kul på jobbet.

Wise Group konstaterar att storleken på lönen är nästintill oviktig så länge som den upplevs rättvis.

Dålig chef – hög sjukfrånvaro

Det danska tjänstemannafacket FTF har presenterat en undersökning som visar att det finns ett klart samband mellan stress, hög sjukfrånvaro och dålig arbetsmiljö. En chef som inte tar hänsyn till den psykiska arbetsmiljön kan få sjukfrånvaron att stiga till tio gånger det normala (DN 2013-01-09). FTF:s ordförande Bente Sorgenfrey anser att arbetsledare måste ta den psykiska arbetsmiljön på allvar.

För mer information, se FTF:s rapport Følelsesmæssige krav og positive faktorer i arbejdet.

Book Review: Daring greatly

Daring greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead is Brené Brown’s latest book. Brené explores what drives our fear of being vulnerable, how we are protecting ourselves from vulnerability, and – most importantly – how we can engage with vulnerability so that we can live our lives fully. As the book title says, this has consequences for how we live, love, parent, and lead.

Being vulnerable is not a weakness, but requires great courage. Avoiding uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure limits our lives. Fear leads to disconnection and lost opportunities. Our only choice is really to dare greatly and engage fully in our lives. It’s only by showing up and letting ourselves be seen that we can make those unique contributions that only we can make.

The most significant problems which people talked with Brené about stems from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change, and the need for clarity of purpose. Brené’s conclusion is that ”If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation” (p. 15).

Brené Brown emphasizes the importance of taking direct action when blame and shame (bullying, public criticism & reprimands, reward systems that intentionally belittle people) is used as a management tool, because management by fear is very unproductive and totally unacceptable. ”We won’t solve the complex issues that we’re facing today without creativity, innovation, and engaged learning. We can’t afford to let our discomfort with the topic of shame get in the way of recognizing and combating it in our schools and workplaces” (p. 196).

The book is very well researched and provides an important perspective on leadership, teaching, and parenting. I warmly recommend the book!