Quantum Mystics

Quantum mechanics or quantum physics is an area of study that has grown rapidly. I want to make it clear that I don’t have a background in physics. Quantum physics has always been fascinating to me, but my understanding is basic. Despite my belief that some findings in this field have definite applications in philosophy, I feel that quantum physics has become romanticized and exoticized. The lack of understanding and seeming mystery has been exploited for use in pseudoscientific claims.

New age figures like Deepak Chopra use the word “quantum” to explain just about anything. It is used in the context of claims regarding parapsychology, metaphysics, spirituality, and supernaturalism of all forms. I have no problem with people exploring the findings of quantum mechanics and contemplating philosophical implications. Where I see the problem arising is when these findings are touted as some kind of scientific support for their beliefs.

I do think it’s imperative that we have discussions of consciousness, the nature of reality, and topics of that sort. Unfortunately, I think these discussions are actually impeded rather than aided by insertions of the word “quantum” or other such mystifying words where they truly do not belong.

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6 thoughts on “Quantum Mystics

      1. Nice. I remember that one. I think we’ve been watching a lot of the same stuff. I also heard about steelmanning from Eric Weinstein, when he was on Waking Up, though he says he didn’t coin the term.

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  1. I can agree 100% to all the points you make. So true! There are so much books out there, which take thought experiments in qunatum mechanics as facts and don’t look at the actual math behind it. Saw a title on the line of “Quantum Healing”… I hope they at least believe in it and don’t just do it for the money 😀
    For philosophy and psychology the topic indeed can have some value – especially psychology. If you look at the paradigms used in the field the last century -> it went from ‘Human as a machine’ (Industrial Revolution) to ‘Human as a computer’ (after WWII) to ‘Humans as a network’ (Upcoming Internet). If Quantum Computers get a thing this paradigm might change to a an analogy between humans and quantum behavior. Paradigms in psychology often act like an ‘as if’ relation. We can’t do better ^^. You might find this an interesting read: the ‘As If’ philosophy of Hans Vaihinger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Philosophy_of_%27As_if%27

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! And haha yeah I have no problem with alternative medicine. But calling something “quantum” healing to make it sound scientific is disingenuous and manipulative, especially when there’s money involved. I mean sure, people get great results from mindfulness meditation or similar practices, but mystifying methods and treating placebo effects as if they’re metaphysical is contemptible.

      That’s really interesting, thanks for the link! Not to do too much self-promotion here haha, but my post here: https://gordonshields.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/pascals-wager/ relates to the “as if” concept I think. Pascal suggests that we act as if God exists, in this case with insufficient justification in my opinion. I consider myself a pragmatist in many regards and I tend to agree with Vaihinger to some degree. We don’t concretely “know” anything to be “true”, even Descartes’ assertion that he “is” is an assumption, though a very useful one; just like the laws of logic are practical. I’m not sure if Vaihinger would agree, but I would argue that certain metaphysical or religious beliefs contain contradictions to more pragmatic assumptions, i.e. the laws of logic, and are therefore not viable. But that and surrounding debates go much deeper. Thanks again for the comment 🙂

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