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Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics - H Stapp

Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics - H Stapp

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Published by: Carlos Marcucci on Jul 09, 2008
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May 14, 1999 LBNL-42650
Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics
Henry P. Stapp
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory University of California Berkeley, California 94720 
How is mind related to matter? This ancient question in philoso-phy is rapidly becoming a core problem in science, perhaps the mostimportant of all because it probes the essential nature of man himself.The origin of the problem is a conflict between the mechanical concep-tion of human beings that arises from the precepts of classical physicaltheory and the very different idea that arises from our intuition: theformer reduces each of us to an automaton, while the latter allowsour thoughts to guide our actions. The dominant contemporary ap-proaches to the problem attempt to resolve this conflict by clinging tothe classical concepts, and trying to explain away our misleading in-tuition. But a detailed argument given here shows why, in a scientificapproach to this problem, it is necessary to use the more basic princi-ples of quantum physics, which bring the observer into the dynamics,rather than to accept classical precepts that are profoundly incorrectprecisely at the crucial point of the role of human consciousness inthe dynamics of human brains. Adherence to the quantum principlesyields a dynamical theory of the mind/brain/body system that is inclose accord with our intuitive idea of what we are. In particular, the
This work was supported in part by the Director, Office of Science, Office of HighEnergy and Nuclear Physics, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC03-76SF00098.
need for a self-observing quantum system to pose certain questions cre-ates a causal opening that allows mind/brain dynamics to have threedistinguishable but interlocked causal processes, one micro-local, onestochastic, and the third experiential. Passing to the classical limit inwhich the critical difference between zero and the finite actual value of Planck’s constant is ignored not only eliminates the chemical processesthat are absolutely crucial to the functioning of actual brains, it si-multaneously blinds the resulting theoretical construct to the physicalfine structure wherein the effect of mind on matter lies: the use of thislimit in this context is totally unjustified from a physics perspective.
This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by the United StatesGovernment. While this document is believed to contain correct information, neither theUnited States Government nor any agency thereof, nor The Regents of the Universityof California, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, orassumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulnessof any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its usewould not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercialproducts process, or service by its trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise,does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring bythe United States Government or any agency thereof, or The Regents of the University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily stateor reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof or The Regents of the University of California and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsementpurposes.
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer.

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