Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kitten's Cradle and the Entanglement


This is about the physics behind the song "Kitten's Cradle" whose lyrics were in the last post, but before I explain this - please note a remastering.  I have just spent another couple of days improving the string levels to do justice to Charmian and Sophia's performances.
I have thus replaced the high quality mp3 version at: http://dhushara.com/nino/catparadox.mp3
and re-produced the video with the improved sound track at a new link:

Now to the physics. 
As noted, you can read about this in detail at: http://dhushara.com/stc/ct.htm

None of us know how or why we are conscious sentient beings, despite our subjective experience being the only access we have to the world around us, from birth to death. In the words of philosopher Jerry Fodor neither do any of us have the slightest notion of what it would be like to have a theory of how the brain makes the mind or what form such a theory could possibly take..

Enter quantum reality. In the quantum world two very weird things happen. Firstly if a cat is given a 50-50 chance of being killed, by a radioactive scintillation breaking a flask of cyanide, it is neither dead nor alive, but both in a shadowy double existence. In our ongoing consciousness we split the wave function and find the cat is alive or dead not both. This has made physicists think consciousness plays a pivotal role in bringing the real universe about from a host of multiverses - making history actually happen rather than just a shadowy superposition of all possibilities. 

Now another weird thing about quantum reality. Particles caught together in the same wave function become entangled, so their behavior is connected across space-time instantaneously. In entanglement, and in fact in every wave function, the past and future handshake together, and both influence one another, so the future can also affect the past, not just the past and present determining the future. This is completely counterintuitive to our idea of causality and the linear arrow of time, but doesn't mean that the future is necessarily predetermined.  On the contrary, it could explain how consciousness came about, in the following way. 

If the brain uses entangled states, in a certain way using weak measurements which don't collapse the waves, it may be able to have an intuitive sense of things that are about to happen. I have a lot of prescient experiences, particularly dreaming, but really it is obvious that the central role of being conscious is anticipating reality and any threats to our survival - jumping out of the way of the tiger. Brain waves look very much like quantum wave functions and phase coherence is the basis of both the brain distinguishing noise from attended signal and is the basis of quantum uncertainty.

This would explain why consciousness evolved, beginning with the first chaotically excitable cells which became sensitive to their environment anticipatively using the butterfly effect and the effect flowed on into our multicellular brains, making consciousness fundamental to cellular life, or at least the life of eucaryotes (protists, plants, animals, & fungi).

This the the very core of the existential dilemma being cracked here. It's a much deeper and harder problem than the theory of everything about the big bang although we can see the two are opposite ends of the same enigma.

So that's why I decided to write the song after producing a paper explaining this. I figure this is deeper than religion. It's deeper than ego, deeper than personal suffering and deeper than science itself because it goes right to the core of our spark of awareness. And it needs to be expressed in creative ways which evoke the mystery in a way which can unravel the dyed in the wool notions of traditional religions and mechanistic science, both of which reduce us to a doomed clockwork.

This piece, with the instrumentals, the refrain and the conscious beings who participated in it, are counting out in their awareness-in-flight something utterly mysterious that humanity needs to come to terms with to understand our own brief moment in the light on the dew on the lawn of time before we are whisked away again into eternity. We need to sing and dance about it because it is our first and and last tango entangled in one enigmatic reality.