Thursday, May 29

Beyond time and space

When the quantum theory first emerged over 100 years ago it was called quantum mechanics, assuming sub atomic particles and energies’ behaviour would conform to the mechanical laws such as is evident in large scale physics rather than as closely connected particles that interact as if they are one being.

Since then, notwithstanding the quantum entanglement mystery, the principles of quantum mechanics has expanded our understanding so we can say it is impossible to determine absolutely what will happen to individuals in relation to dates or numbers, but rather the best we can do is to revert to probabilities. Hence, although it is logical for us to live our life on the basis we all have free will, to plan and make logical choices which have consequences, it would seem in reality we can never be completely free in a world which is unpredictable, since you and I are made up of those same unpredictable cells and atoms.
Nevertheless this realisation of interconnectedness has led to  enhanced medical outcomes, a better understanding of chemical bonding and what occurs in photosynthesis , just to mention a few advances in knowledge. We have adapted to many commercial applications such as in in the widespread use of lasers, atomic clocks and in encryption coding used to safeguard large banking transfers. Soon we will have much faster quantum computers and can possibly even look forward to the discovery of cancer cures. 

But one of the more interesting applications concerns our consciousness. According to Science daily the old theory that our consciousness derives from the finer scale activities within brain neurons, has been given further impetus with the recent discovery of quantum vibrations therein. Click here for the full article
Orchestrated objective reduction.
This discovery reignites in my mind the old idea advanced by physicist Roger Penrose who concluded “our mind thought process began by way of a number of superimposed quantum states to collapse through gravity to produce our conscious thoughts”. Click here for more.
Penrose postulates how one might be able to reconcile the seemingly contradictory theory of being able to compute a future from a deterministic world about which can have only random outcomes. He suggests a cause arising from our consciousness lies beyond computation and random effect.
A 'cause' could be something that cannot be computed in practice or in principle. I shall argue that when a 'cause' is the effect of our conscious actions, then it must be something very subtle, certainly beyond computation, beyond chaos, and also beyond any purely random influences.
Whether such a concept of 'cause' could lead us any closer to an understanding of the profound issue (or the 'illusion'?) of our free will is a matter for the future.

We may never be able to say with any authority what is the reality we attempt to determine within our consciousness, or even define our consciousness other than to postulate it lies within the province of the  quantum mystery, which allow us to determine certain probabilities. Otherwise that might denote the end of the journey that is not to be.


Monday, May 26

Ending entitlements means cutting youth safety net

In “Ending entitlements means cutting youth safety net“ (Australian  Financial Review, May 21) Cassandra Goldie reports major cuts in jobless benefits for people under 30 will create a lot of hardship without increasing opportunities.

Given the limited job opportunities the inescapable conclusion of such a policy to require the under 30 to wait up to six months before getting unemployment benefits and who will then will have to work for the dole, is to provide this government with the distinction of helping set up the next lost generation from an envisaged 100,000 effected.
The estimated saving of 2 billion in government outlays will simply dissipate in the future in increased costs to society if some people become homeless or turn to a life of crime, from those who unable to obtain regular work because employment opportunities are simply not available . 

 A feature of the improved technology over the past decades has not been the flow on effect to labour participation but the reverse is now true today with a propensity to relocate processing or support functions overseas, reducing the pool of opportunities for younger people.

Hence, the simplistic slogan we heard of ‘’learn or earn‘’ presupposes the idea ample opportunity exists for all, as the economy undertakes structural changes and which represents an inopportune  time to remove a long standing safety net for those most vulnerable within our society.


Monday, May 19

Strong arm tactics with states not the way

Below is my letter which was published in the Australian Financial Review today.

In “States have every right to be screaming”(AFR, May 15) Laura Tingle identifies the disaster for the states of federal budget cuts of $80 billion in funding to schools and hospitals, forcing them to either cut services or increase taxes.
There are good reasons to have a conversation about reshaping tax-sharing arrangements with the states but that requires consultation, not strong-arm tactics, which alienates state premiers.
The fact Abbott has further announced he is willing to negotiate aspects of the budget to get the measures through the Senate illustrates the lack of any prior consultation beforehand within the Parliament, which may have improved overall outcomes.
This piecemeal approach contrasts markedly with NZ, which has just announced a $NZ372 million ($342 million) budget surplus for the year to June 2015, reaching $NZ3.5 billion in 2017-18 as a result of increases to its GST. Its budget provides for increases in health and education, and the whole exercise was only completed after widespread consultation within the party and the electorate.
Before the election Abbott foolishly ruled out any change to the GST, stating any future changes envisaged would be taken to the next election.
But this approach necessitates consultation with the states, particularly if funding to education and health services is to be cut, necessitating a rise in the GST.