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30.002 Uncertainty Principle


Lyall Watson
Lifetide, 1979
Lyall Watson, Uncertainty Principle


Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


^ 1 Page 20

It is impossible to prove, in the normal scientific way, that such things do or don’t happen. One is forced to take uncomfortable refuge in the notion that there are other realities, some of them far too delicate and mysterious for totally objective common sense. These systems have a way of transcending ordinary logic and language, which never seem to go quite far enough. Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the Uncertainty Principle, said ‘every word or concept, clear as it may seem to be, has only a limited range of applicability’. We find that hard to accept and, because our well-worn representation of reality, the one we happen to be wearing with greatest comfort at the moment, is so much easier to deal with than reality itself, we tend to confuse the two. We take our myths and symbols for the real thing.

The greatest difficulty in which the scientific method has landed us is its implicit assumption that observers and experimenters are external to ‘and independent of’ the objects of their attention. There is good reason to doubt that this is, or ever was, true. Quantum physics is quite clear on the matter. Wanting something, it says, inevitably changes the thing you want.


^ 2 Page 21

The search for validity through proof is fundamentally foreign to magic. I find myself agreeing with the Trobriand Islanders who assume that the importance of a spell lies not in its results, not in proof, but in its very being. ’In the appropriateness of its inheritance, in its place within the patterned activity, in its being performed by the appropriate person, in its realisation of its mythical basis.’

I find it helps me to lose some of my illusory certainty if I close my eyes a little. It was possible for Newton to be confident that ‘facts’ had a stable eternity outside the contaminating range of the human mind, but we can see further now and can’t afford to be that dogmatic. It is becoming clear that to observe things is to alter them; and to define and understand anything, is tantamount to changing it beyond all recognition. So the first step in a new approach has to be a different, less obtrusive method of observation.


^ 3 Page 90

If material reality is the product of one of Plato’s ‘ideas’, and these in turn are forms which can be controlled by our minds, wherever they may be, then we begin to be faced by the terrifying possibility that reality is actually created by the mind. And that we can change it simply by changing our minds.


^ 4 Page 119

But at this stage I can only express my disquiet with the way in which my science, biology, altogether ignores mind as part of the problem of life.

Speaking purely as a naturalist, with some experience of the fabric of life, I cannot see how any explanation of the physical world can be valid if it regards identity and self-recognition, which are forerunners of the mind, as being merely epiphenomena – accidently outcomes of the mechanical working of the machineries of life. I believe, and will try to produce purely biological evidence to prove, that there must be at least two distinct processes, two worlds, two different descriptions of reality. One of which includes all physical states and objects, all matter and energy, all the manifestation of order, including every living and non-living thing. And another, which involves experience, subjective knowledge, states of consciousness, and creative imagination. Exploration of the first order through mechanistic theory has resulted in the vast and important progress made by material science. But I cannot see how any science which deals with life can afford to ignore the second order altogether. The evidence from evolution alone shows that the mechanism of mutation on its own could never, even in four thousand million years, have produced a single gene, let alone a mass of memes.


^ 5 Page 178

One ends up always falling back on the idea of some sort of design in nature, which implies the existence of a Designer. That may be the final and perfectly reasonable solution, but it is a little embarrassing for a scientist because it is a theory incapable of refutation. As Karl Popper puts it, ‘Falsification, or refutability, is a criterion of the scientific status of a theory’. You have to be able to test a theory. You have to be able to prove that it is right or wrong. An explanation which explains everything, explains nothing. An explain-all is not more credible than a cure-all. Both are bad science and lousy logic.


^ 6 Page 256

The new physics is quite clear on this matter. There is no longer room in the most advanced maps for a detached objective observer. John Wheeler, one of the pioneers of modern quantum theory, even suggests that it is now necessary ‘to cross out that old word “observer” and to put in its place the new word “participator”. In some strange sense the universe is a participating universe.’ We are all involved.


^ 7 Pages 331-332

Everything in the new physics points to the conclusion that mind and matter share the same dimension in time; and that mind is objective, not subjective. A mental perception of a Loch Ness monster is as real as the monster itself, but lies in a slightly altered ‘world frame’. While it exists only in one observer’s mind, in one frame, it is not apparent to other mind frames. But it seems to be possible, though at the moment this is a purely mathematical construct, for two forms to undergo rotation in the same direction so that they superimpose and enjoy the same experience, they ‘see’ the same monster. And any number of others can be included in such a synthesis; until when a sufficient great number are involved, a consensus is reached through something like the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon, and the monster becomes a ‘physical reality’. In other words, what we regard as ordinary physical matter, is simply an idea that occupies a world frame common to all minds. The universe is literally a collective thought, and we have a very powerful say in the reality manifest in our particular sector.


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