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Don to John M.

Aug 22, 1993 09:48 PM
by Donald DeGracia


Alright! John is a physicists! Lets get this expertise in motion here!
I'm glad to have you join in here in the talks for a change instead of
doing managerial tasks! <g>

Thanks for the ideas.  Its nice that you are taking a "lets stradle the
ideas" position.  Personally, I don't know to what degree we will
achieve a complete consensus here, but to me, achieveing a consensus
isn't whats important.  Airing and venting our ideas is what is
important.  I think the consensus we will find here is that all of our
thinking is moving in the same general directions.  Its apparent that
we have some very bright people here with well thought out ideas, and
we as a group can serve as an excellent spring board for the testing
and airing of these ideas.  This in itself is an excellent circumstance
for us all to be in.  I think the general consensus here is that there
is something useful to occultism/theosophy and I think what is going on
between Gerald and I is a pretty high level discussion about just where
the usefulness is to occultism and how occultism relates to currently
accepted ideas, especially in science.  I do not expect that we shall
come to any consensus about these ideas.  Its been centuries that these
ideas have been building and it will be centuries more before they are
resolved.  But our arguing amongst ourselves should serve a very useful
function in the honing of each of our respective ideas.  I mean, just
think if we were talking to complete sceptices (people who know nothing
of occult or theosophical ideas).  Thank God that's not the case! At
least here in our newley created forum we have a group that is
sympathetic to the general direction each of us is pursuing.

So, having said my 2 cents worth, let me address your ideas a bit.

First, I think you ar correct, and that nobody would disagree, that the
wave function is deterministic in the sense that it cataloges all the
possible states of an atom.  Unfortunately, the whole controversely in
quantum theory revolves around the "collapsing of the wave function' as
it is called, or in other words, the quantum measurement problem.

Actually, my bent is to side step the issue altogether and analyse the
situation from a completely different point of view.  Instead of
debating quantum measurement theory, I am more likely to take the
attitude of a sociologist or historian and ask the question: "why is it
even a big deal in the first place"? Meaning, what is it about our
culture that would lead us to place such significance on the issue of
quantum mechanical measurements? What is it about our Western
civilization that leads us to want to know the position and momentum of
an atom with absolute precision? To me the whole problem resolves not
to a scientific issue but to a cultural issue.  And the real issue
under discussion here is one of control.  "Knowledge is power" is a
famous dictate of our culture.  To me, that we would debate an issue
such as quantum measurement theory reflects back on the fact that our
cultural mind-set is one that is obssesed with controling Nature.  On a
certain level, this leads to a Marxian type analysis of the economic
basis of our society.  But I take the attitude that the physical
artifacts of a culture (i.e.  economic means or scientific instruments,
ect) are the product of an invisible mind-set, so I gear more towards
an analysis in terms of the fundamental beliefs at the roots of a
culture.  And again, an underlying, ubiquitous and mostly implicit
assumption of our society is that Nature is controllable, and this
control relates to the economic security of humans, perhaps only a
select group of them.  To me, this is as much a part of the basis of
modern science as is the philosophical considerations that allowed
modern science to evolve out of natural philosophy.  See, when we start
talking about purely speculative scientific ideas, I can't help but to
default to my "sociology of science" mode.  Unfortunately, the
sociology of science is little known amongst people interested in
science.  So, sorry if this is kind of rambling on but I'm tired.  Give
me some time to get back in the swing of things!

Best to All,

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