Monday, March 7

Amazing quantum self

Danah Zohar proposes the idea of a spiritual capital or intelligence quite apart from the traditional IQ or emotional intelligence levels.
Zohar is widely known as a management thought leader, physicist, philosopher and best-selling author of “Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By and SQ – Spiritual Intelligence and The Quantum Self. She draws on a metaphorical parallel of quantum physics to both personnel psychology and the culture of an organization. Her ideas stand in stark contrast to the machine metaphor of Taylor and others which I studied many years ago in organizational theory.  
Her ideas first surfaced with some prominence with the publication of her book “The Quantum Self” which was written in collaboration with her Psychiatrist husband Dr I N Marshall. The book may be of interest to anyone interested in modern physics and its application to our “consciousness".  She makes references of how she applies her philosophy to family situations so that you feel as if you’re sitting down listening to a chat at times. Her early building blocks of thought are based upon the well-known experiments of “Schrödinger’s Cat” and the duality principle of the wave and particle experiments. It’s presented in a disarmingly simple way, far removed from the usual dry scientific writings connected to these experiments. My only criticism of the book and her ideas are the link between the rather obvious mystery of quantum mechanics and the application as a metaphor to spiritual intelligence is not always entirely convincing.   
However there have been many theories which give credence to her metaphorical  linkage of  quantum mechanics to our advanced state of consciousness and attempt an explanation of the slippery concept of consciousness itself. This is a subject way beyond the scope of this post – but I posit it is quite plausible our existential state has parallels with the mysterious micro-physical level of quantum mechanics. Hence there are reasonable grounds to arrive at a hypothesis that a state of Quantum consciousness conceivably exist as an amalgam of macro and micro-levels  of interdependant activities, not always confined by space and time. 
Could it be in reality this is the counterintuitive bridge which explains the psycho-spiritual -physical existential state of our being?
Amongst the most notable adherents to the various strands of quantum theory are  Roger Penrose and anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff who propose quantum effects amongst other things make possible the flow of neuronal activity to give rise to non-algorithmic mental processes. 
But I am afraid this still remains a mystery. In this respect I reminded of Sir Isaac Newton’s poignant assessment much earlier on in time following  his amazing discoveries in optics, the calculus, the laws of motion and the inverse-square law of gravity.
“I do not know how I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. ”


susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
As I'm sure you know, the author Philip K. Dick harbored some very odd views about the nature of reality. Just recently I reread 'Valis' the novel in which he lays out an elaborate, gnostic-like metaphysics - almost like a kind of existentialist trickster might do. In the appendix to my copy he summarized his philosophy as follows:

One Mind there is. ... We did not fall because of a moral error; we fell because of an intellectual error: that of taking the phenomenal world as real. ... The phenomenal world does not exist; it is a hypostasis of the information processed by the Mind. We hypostatize information into objects. ... The changing information which we experience as world is an unfolding narrative. ... Thoughts of the [Mind] are experienced by us as arrangements and rearrangements—change—in a physical universe. ... But we cannot read the patterns of arrangement; we cannot extract the information in it. ... The linking and relinking of objects by the [Mind] is actually a language, but not a language like ours (since it is addressing itself and not someone or something outside itself). ... This is a language which we have lost the ability to read.

It's funny but the older I get the more sense his ideas seem to make. To paraphrase Sir Isaac: as modern astronomy and nuclear physics confirm, the further one sees the more one realises how much more is unseen.

The end of all this realisation is to see that the most that is possible is to accept one's part in the life of the Cosmos.
All the best

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Well said Susan !!

Tom said...

Hi Lindsay; I found Susan's comment very interesting. I would like to thank her for that via you. I remember reading Danah Zohar's book some years ago, but must confess I did not quite finish it. The attraction in the first place was her assumed name "Zohar" and its Qabalistic connections. If memory serves, I concluded that towards the end of the book, she was making assumptions (vis-a-vis children perhaps?) that I felt were unjustified. I could be wrong here. Anyway, the book remains on one of my bookshelves, still not quite read.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Tom
Agreed on both counts- the book does become somewhat implausible towards the end and I equally find Susan's comment very interesting. Best wishes