Roy Crawford Smith

Did the Originators of Quantum Theory Regard Matter as Derivative from Consciousness?

Max Planck

    I thinks it's telling that in the eighty year since the Copehagen interpretation came out, there haven't been any significant changes/improvements to it.  It remains the most popular and widely used interpretation.  It is the single most successful theory in the history of science.  It has stood the test of time because it was produced by some of the greatest minds in history.  It has withstood every attempt to be co-opted by a materialist interpretation. The materialists just don't get it.

    Yes, Max Plank meant it when he said, "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness."  To be clear, he also said the following:

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."

"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness."

    But Max is not an isolated case among the fathers of quantum mechanics. There are other brilliant minds that our less talented proponents of naive realism have to contend with.

Neils Bohr

    Neils Bohr was an avid reader of the Vedic texts and observed that their experiments in quantum physics were consistent with what he had read in the Vedas.  Here is a sampling of his wisdom:

"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real."
"Nothing exists until it is measured."

"When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not measuring the world, we are creating it."

"Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems ."

 Erwin Schrödinger

    Erwin Schrödinger, in speaking of a universe in which particles are represented by wave functions, said, “The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics.  This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One.”

"Multiplicity is only apparent, in truth, there is only one mind..."

"Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe."

"There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad."

"The world is a construct of our sensations, perceptions, memories. It is convenient to regard it as existing objectively on its own. But it certainly does not become manifest by its mere existence."

 Werner Heisenberg

    Werner Heisenberg, on conversations with Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations With Remarkable People (1988) by Fritjof Capra, who states that after these "He began to see that the recognition of relativity, interconnectedness, and impermanence as fundamental aspects of physical reality, which had been so difficult for himself and his fellow physicists, was the very basis of the Indian spiritual traditions."

"I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language."

Wolfgang Pauli

    Wolfgang Pauli consulted psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung who, like Pauli, lived near Zurich. Jung immediately began interpreting Pauli's deeply archetypal dreams,[9] and Pauli became one of the depth psychologist's best students. A great many of these discussions are documented in the Pauli/Jung letters, today published as Atom and Archetype. Jung's elaborate analysis of more than 400 of Pauli's dreams is documented in Psychology and Alchemy.

Eugene Wigner

    Eugene Wigner said, "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."
"[T]he laws of quantum mechanics itself cannot be formulated ... without recourse to the concept of consciousness."

David Bohm

    David Bohm was an American theoretical physicist who was once described by Einstein as his intellectual successor, created perhaps the second most popular interpretation of quantum mechanics.  He was a radical spiritual activist.  He wrote other books such as Quantum Theory, Thought as a System, etc. He also engaged in dialogues with Jiddu Krishnamurti [e.g., The Limits of Thought: Discussions between J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm].  In his master work, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, he states, "In principle this reality is one unbroken whole, including the entire universe with all its ‘fields’ and ‘particles.’" and  “To begin with undivided wholeness means, however, that we must drop the mechanistic order.”


   I think it is relevant to ponder the significance of what our brilliant forebears have to say, and ask why 80 years of materialist counter-proposals have fail to offer an intelligent reductionist explanation for quantum mechanics, or any serious counter-proposal to overturn the primacy of consciousness.  But they're still trying.  They say a materialist world view solution is just around the corner, i.e., information science theory, etc.  Maybe it's just time for them to discard their assumptions of reality.