Thought processes have a striking resemblance to quantum processes. David Bohm writes in his book on Quantum Theory that:
If a person tries to observe what he is thinking about at the very moment that he is reflecting on a particular subject, it is generally agreed that he introduces unpredictable and uncontrollable changes in the way his thought proceed thereafter.1
…a person can always describe approximately what he is thinking… But as he tries to make the description precise, he discovers that either the subject of his thought or their trend or sometimes both become very different from what they were before he tried to observe them.2
…thought processes appears to have indivisibility of a sort.3
…thought processes and quantum systems are analogous in that they cannot be analyzed too much in terms of distinct elements, because the “intrinsic” nature of each element is not a property existing separately from and independently of other elements but is, instead, a property that arises partially from its relation with other elements.4
The logical process corresponds to the most general type of thought process as the classical limit [of the quantum theory] corresponds to the most general quantum process.5
In the logical process, we deal with classifications. These classifications are conceived as being completely separate but related by the rules of logic…6
In any thought process, the component ideas are not separate but flow steadily and indivisibly. An attempt to analyze them into separate parts destroys or changes their meanings. Yet there are certain types of concepts…in which we can…neglect the indivisible and incompletely controllable connection with other ideas. Instead, the connection can be regarded as…following the rules of logic.7
…just as life as we know it would be impossible if quantum theory did not have its…classical limit, thought as we know it would be impossible unless we could express its results in logical terms. Yet, the basic thinking process probably cannot be described as logical.8
…a new idea often comes suddenly, after a long and unsuccessful search and without any apparent direct cause. …if the intermediate indivisible nonlogical steps occuring in an actual thought process are ignored,…then the production of new ideas presents a strong analogy to a quantum jump.9
We may…ask whether the close analogy between quantum processes and our inner experiences and thought processes is more than a coincidence. … [Niels] Bohr suggests that thought involves such small amounts of energy that quantum-theoretical limitations play an essential role in determining its character.10
Bohr’s hypothesis is not…in disagreement with anything that is now know. And the remarkable point-by-point analogy between the thought processes and quantum processes would suggest that a hypothesis relating these two may well turn out to be fruitful.11
…the behavior of our thought processes may perhaps reflect in an indirect way some of the quantum-mechanical aspect of the matter of which we are composed.12
Maybe thought processes provide the same kind of experience of quantum theory that muscular force provide for classical theory? The concept of force obtained from common experience is correct when there is a great deal of friction. (Force is proportional to the acceleration according to Newton’s second law of motion.)
1. David Bohm, Quantum Theory, p. 169.
5. Ibid., pp. 169–70.
6. Ibid., p. 170.
11. Ibid., p. 171.
12. Ibid., p. 172.