A Physicist Explores the
Quantum Computers Predict Parallel Worlds
by Susan Barber
How can we be
Immortal in a world that is ''running down.'' If Ascension is real, where do we
go when we do that? If ESP is real and, as parapsychologists have proved,
moves instantaneously, how is this possible? Where is thought going in order to
be transferred ''outside of time''?
And how is ''creation'' possible? What is a miracle?
Historically, science has refused even to examine these questions. But the time must come when quantum physicists will no longer be able to avoid trying to answer them.
And if David Deutsch's theories take hold, that time may not be far away.
Parallel worlds? Science fiction, or fact?
Deutsch, an Oxford physicist, has proved mathematically that the theory of
parallel universes offers the only explanation for the nature of reality. He
calls his system of worlds the ''Multiverse.'' And although he still sees the
Multiverse in terms of mechanics — thought or consciousness does not enter into
his calculations — Deutsch has begun powerful work that is probably going to
drive a deep wedge into even his own prejudices.
To understand the quantum-physical problem that Deutsch's Multiverse solves, let's take a look at the paradox of Shroedinger's cat:
Dead or alive, OK — but dead and alive?
''Schroedinger's cat'' describes a hypothetical experiment outlined by Erwin Schroedinger in 1983:
A cat is placed in a
steel box along with a bit of radioactive substance so small that the
probability of one atom's decaying within one hour is 50 percent. Then the box
The experiment is set up so that if an atom decays, a mechanism will be triggered that kills the cat. So if you open the box an hour later, the cat will still be alive if and only if no atoms have decayed. In terms of the experiment, it's got a fifty-fifty chance.
Because of the way atoms behave, the quantum-physical equations for determining what happens to this cat predict, as Schroedinger describes it, ''a live cat and a dead cat mixed or smeared out in equal parts.'' To get an actual answer, we have to look inside the box.
But the true difficulty is this: According to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, it is observation — in this case, our act of looking inside the box — that determines the atoms' behavior and, by extension, the cat's fate. Until we open the box, the hypothetical cat is just as Shroedinger claims: alive and dead in equal parts!
That an atom can be moving both ''up'' and ''down'' at the same time, though provable, seems a bit far-fetched — but quantum physicists have been swallowing this idea for nearly a century, with minimal indigestion. But that a cat may be both alive and dead at the same time — although this is nothing more than the logical extension of the same idea — cannot be admitted. So Schroedinger's poor ambiguous cat has been a paradox: a contradiction between two parts of the scientific whole.
The basis of the Multiverse theory
Briefly, Deutsch's proof of the Multiverse is based upon the way quantum computers work. To understand this, it may help if we start out by looking at the differences between quantum computers and the one you're using right now to read this article:
proof of the structure of the Multiverse
is accessible only to those who really know their gammas from their epsilons.
Simply put, however, by going through a series of mathematical computations
mixing classical and quantum-physical equations, arriving at answers, plugging
those answers into another series of equations, and so on, Deutsch arrives at
the conclusion that some future quantum computer could actually ''model'' the
universe — but only by postulating that it is, in fact, a Multiverse. The
subatomic particles in a quantum computer are ''going somewhere else'' to
process their information.
Today, quantum computers are like the first classical computers, which were like a child's toy compared to what we have now. In fact, the prototype computer technology was an automechanical punched card system used in the 19th century on giant looms to program weaving designs in cloth! The first experimental processors were little boxes with input on one side, output (the light is on or it's off) on the other, and a handful of flipflop circuits in between. Comparatively, quantum computers are at this stage.
Yet schoolchildren now play with classical computers containing tens of thousands of times as much memory as the first multimillion-dollar industrial models. Thousands of times the computing power that took up an entire city block in the '50s can now be worn as a wristwatch.
''The most powerful prototype quantum computers in existence have only a handful of qubits each, but they can already demonstrate modes of computation that no existing computer can match,'' Deutsch says. What this means for the future is mind-boggling. It takes us beyond the power of imagination.
And he goes on to state his case for the Multiverse:
To predict that future quantum computers, made to a given specification, will work in the ways I have described, one need only solve a few uncontroversial equations. But to explain exactly how they will work, some form of multiple-universe language is unavoidable. Thus quantum computers provide irresistible evidence that the Multiverse is real. One especially convincing argument is provided by quantum algorithms ... which calculate more intermediate results in the course of a single computation than there are atoms in the visible universe. When a quantum computer delivers the output of such a computation, we shall know that those intermediate results must have been computed somewhere, because they were needed to produce the right answer. So I issue this challenge to those who still cling to a single-universe worldview: if the universe we see around us is all there is, where are quantum computations performed? I have yet to receive a plausible reply.
postulating the parallel universes in which quantum processing must be taking
place, Deutsch has solved the riddle of Schroedinger's poor ambiguous cat. Now,
it can be dead in one universe and alive in another. You open the box to find
out which universe you're in, but you do not have to deal with the anomalous
reality of a cat that is both alive and dead at the same time.
But there's another step, one that Deutsch is not yet ready to take.
Spirituality and the Multiverse
Seth told us
back in the '60s that ''ee-units'' would be discovered, and they were. They've
been dubbed psi particles. And he talked of parallel worlds then, too.
And logically, how else would we ''create'' except by moving into a parallel
universe in which the thing we want to experience is ''real.'' It's been proven
over and over again that we can perceive only that which fits our worldview.
Even the roots of Christianity assert that it's personal belief — not mystical
intervention — that alters reality.
And since physics has already discovered that there is actually no such thing as ''time,'' where could our future ''creations'' possibly exist if not in an infinite number of counterpart worlds, each representing a different probable outcome of current conditions?
But all spiritual thought, including that of Jesus, also depends upon the existence of worlds beyond this one (like ''heaven,'' for example), higher dimensions whose organizing principles differ from those of physical reality. And One more...
That One more is the Place from which all Multiverses must arise. And with the coming technology of powerful quantum computers, it seems probable that this One place must eventually become a part of scientific calculations.
In truth, physicists already know about this Place. It is evidenced by the wave-versus-particle nature of so-called reality. And understanding this Place involves the biggest paradox of all — one that physicists are still puzzling over after more than 2500 years.
David Deutsch himself explains Zeno's paradox as follows:
A journey of a
thousand miles begins, obviously, with a single step. But isn't it equally
obvious that a step of a single metre must begin with a single millimetre? And
before you can begin the last micron of that millimetre, don't you have to get
through 999 other microns first? And so ad infinitum? That ''ad infinitum'' bit
is what worried the philosopher Zeno of Elea. Can our every action really
consist of sub-actions each consisting of sub-sub-actions ... so that before we
can move at all, we have to perform a literally infinite number of distinct,
Zeno's example involved Achilles chasing a turtle. He was looking at reality as
though it were both a ''wave'' and a ''particle." If Achilles chases the turtle
in a path composed of an infinite number of ''points'' he can never catch it.
Yet we all know that anyone, theories aside, could catch this turtle.
Like Zeno with his turtle, quantum physics also has been forced to look at reality as both wave-form and particulate, for quantum particles exhibit both behaviors. Differential equations also have this same anomaly — you can get closer and closer by degrees to your destination, but you can never ''arrive.'' The same is true of Greek pi, the factor used in determining the area of a circle: There are an infinite number of places after the decimal point.
In attempting to resolve the paradox of Schroedinger's cat, the Copenhagen theorem is one quantum-physical idea that allows in the power of thought. According to this theorem, says Marcus Chown in a recent article about Deutsch's Multiverse, ''Observation forces an atom to make up its mind, and plump for being in only one place out of all the possible places it could be.''
In rejecting this theorem, Deutsch calls it ''mysticism.'' But what Deutsch has perhaps not noticed is that the Copenhagen interpretation, while begging the question of our now-famous cat, solves Zeno's paradox.
For observation cannot possibly be occurring in any so-called physical universe. So it must be happening in a ''Metaverse'' — the world of metaphysics. Metaphysics means greater physics. By definition, it is the greater reality within which physics operates. And ''waves'' cannot be physical, for they are infinite, indivisible, eternal, untouchable. They ''give rise'' to physical reality, to particles, but they are of a different order than tables and chairs.
If our physicists would cross-correlate their information with that of psychologists — specifically, people who study how perception works — perhaps they might decide to see what happens if they postulate a Metaverse of pure thought (which, like Heisenberg's particle in motion, cannot be measured) where the ''wave'' functions are occurring.
Physicists have already noted that the physicalness (position in the time/space continuum) of something can only be decided by observation. The next logical step is to ask where this ''something'' is when it's not physical.
Perception is all that physics — or anyone else using measurement devices in physical reality — has to go on. And perception is provably digital. Psychology has shown that what is visually seen is actually a composite arrived at by the brain based upon impressions received from all sensory organs, and output like the digital files from a camera into our left-brain consciousness. But they have yet to speculate upon perception's source.
So, to paraphrase David Deutsch:
I issue this challenge to those who still cling to a mechanistic worldview: If the multiverse is all there is, where are particles going when they become waves? Physicists have yet to postulate a plausible reply.
Speculation on a probable future
Cybernetics, or computer science, was basically invented by Norbert Wiener after
he attended an international conference in which many different sciences
presented papers in an attempt to consolidate and correlate information gathered
from many different spheres. It could never have arisen, Wiener said, without
this cross-fertilization of knowledge.
If the quantum physicists were to cross-fertilize their information with that of those who study human psychology, thought, and perception, who knows what wondrous child they might give birth to?
One possible vision of the future of physics is that it will eventually arrive at acknowledging that physical reality is just one system of Multiverses among a perhaps infinite number of them, each with a different organizing principle (dreams, for example, would be seen as ''real'' but as having a different organizing principle than waking reality) — and all composed of discrete particles.
And containing all of these systems would be the Metaverse — infinite, indivisible, unlimited, and eternal — like the waves that quantum physics intuits but can never touch. Like ... God?
With more and more quantum particles appearing, some of them, like psi particles, behaving according to the intent of the experimenter; with David Boehm's theories of the implicate order; with chaos theory and string theory; and now with Deutsch's Multiverse, and his quantum computers — physics is gradually taking us closer and closer to the reality in which Consciousness holds sway.
Each breakthrough, each new ''concession,'' makes it just a little bit more difficult for us to continue to hold the worldview that has kept us helpless pawns of fate for so long.
And so, although he scoffs at the Copenhagen theorem, David Deutsch himself may ironically be moving us closer to a society in which love, creation, and personal responsibility, by the nature of reality itself, will be the accepted ground of being. ''Mysticism,'' he calls it.