Von Neumann's Mistake

Reilly Jones (70544.1227@compuserve.com)
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 18:50:36 -0500

re: What is going on in macrocausality, where does coherency and
intelligibility come from, and how do we get from the small to the big.

Omega wrote 1/30/97: <While an ultimate answer may never be found although
we may be in the position to make some long overdue breakthroughs in this

David Wick's survey of the theories and their conceptual development in
these areas is good ("The Infamous Boundary" (1996)). He seems to struggle
a bit over the shape of better theories, especially whether it is better
for the theories to violate active vs. passive locality as long as they
have a well-defined notion of outcomes, but in the end he says: "The last
possibility, and clearly the correct one, is that there is some totally new
way of looking at Nature." Isn't this always true?

re: John Cramer's transactional interpretation and 'advanced action.'
Compare this visualization of advanced action with David Bohm's development
of De Broglie's 'pilot wave' into the notion of 'active information' (in
"The Undivided Universe" (1993)). I haven't been following this thread
closely, perhaps this has already come up.

<In the formal interpretation, these backward in time answers also carry
negative energy, and so nothing really weird comes from it except for the
clarity that 50% of all microcausality is happening as a result of advanced

I realize that discrete models of microcausality have been proposed for a
couple hundred years, and have been repeatedly rejected in favor of
indiscrete models by the scientific community. However, I believe that a
discrete model will eventually prevail in explanatory power.

Feynman hinted at such a possibility in "QED": "It's surprising that the
[QED] theory still hasn't been proved self-consistent one way or the other
by now.... What is certain is that we do not have a good mathematical way
to describe the theory of QED.... Another way of describing this
difficulty is to say that perhaps the idea that two points can be
infinitely close together is wrong ­ the assumption that we can use
geometry down to the last notch is false."

We'll leave aside the completeness of complex-number realms for now.

Katsuhiro Nakamura in "Quantum Chaos" (1993) discusses how quantum chaos
requires that we "go beyond Schrödinger's or Feynman's framework of quantum
mechanics." He begins discussing 'broken symmetry in dissipative
structures' and energy systems without time-reversal symmetry. He improves
Schrödinger's formalism of quantum mechanics by replacing the time
derivative in the time-dependent equation with a time difference, because
he wants to refer to time-chaotic waves rather than time-periodic waves.
Thus, he discretizes time with a delta-t, a suitable 'time quantum,' and
uses a discrete version of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation.

He goes on to say: "Time discretization will necessitate much more complete
discretization of space-time.... [I]f temporal chaos is brought into
quantum mechanics, our ideas on time, stationary states, the adiabatic
ansatz and their relationship with the uncertainty principle should be
carefully re-examined. These intriguing questions (even within
nonrelativistic quantum mechanics) would be comparable to Einstein's great
challenge in 1905 which revolutionized Galilean thought on space and time.
In nature, external sources of randomness such as noise, impurities and
random potentials are inevitable elements. These effects have so far been
regarded as the unique source of spectral width in magnetic resonance,
fluctuations in conductance, etc., but quantum chaos ­ deterministic
randomness ­ may be a novel alternative candidate for spectral width and
fluctuations in various observables."

I cannot help but think that with a more complete discretization of
space-time, that one discrete state cannot happen, the universal discrete
state of *now* cannot de duplicated exactly in the next 'time quantum' for
obvious reasons. This closes off one propagation avenue in the negative
energy direction, leaving advanced action with more than 50% of
microcausality. Thus, we go forward instead of backward, time-reversal

Reilly Jones | Philosophy of Technology:
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