The Past (History) Can be Created by A Present Observer
The following passage is extracted from this page:
These ideas are based on the consistent histories interpretation of quantum mechanics.
And, this is an excerpt from "Quantum Physics Looks At The 2004 Election":
This approach says that the result of a quantum observation
(say, a particle hitting the screen in the double-slit experiment) is used to
determine the past history of that particle.
Hence, there is an element of "changing the past to fit the present". For example, in the
double-slit experiment, once the particle hits the screen the past history of
that particle is selected as one in which the particle passed through the slit that was not blocked.
For more about this idea of "retrocausality", including a
description of the delayed-choice double-slit experiment, see this
New Scientist article,
or Stephen Hawking's arXiv paper Cosmology from the Top Down,
considers retrocausality at the cosmological level: "The histories of the
universe depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the
universe has an objective, observer-independent history"
What Wheeler is pointing out through the delayed choice experiment, though,
is that the past doesn’t actually exist in a solid and objective way that causes
or determines our present moment experience like is imagined by classical
physics. Rather, he is saying our situation is just the opposite. He is saying
that by the way we observe in this present moment we actually reach back into
time and create the past. It is not just the future that’s undetermined, but the
past as well; just as there are ‘probable’ futures there are ‘probable’ pasts.
Our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for
We have entranced ourselves and fallen under a self-created spell if we
imagine that the past exists in a solid, objective way. To quote Wheeler “It is
wrong to think of that past as ‘already existing’…..the past has no existence
except as it is recorded in the present.” When we become convinced that the past
exists in a solid way, we solidify it in our imagination as being that
particular way, which will thereby create compelling evidence that proves the
rightness of our point of view (that the past really is that way). When we
imagine that the past is a particular way, for example, this conviction effects
our present moment experience AS IF the past really was that way, which just
confirms to us our conviction that the past REALLY IS that way, which just makes
the past seem even more AS IF it really was that way, ad infinitum.
This is to fall into a self-created and infinitely self-confirming feedback
loop that is synchronistic and atemporal in its operation and thereby has the
nature of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have unwittingly literally hypnotized
ourselves by our own power of effecting reality by the way we observe it.
Because of the limited and limiting way we view the past it seems convincingly
solid and objectively existing in a way that it simply is not. The past is much
more malleable than we have been imagining. For what really did happen in the
past? For that matter, what is actually happening right now?
In a circular, non-linear and acausal feedback loop, the past effects us in
this present moment, while at the same time, in this present moment we effect
the past. The way we observe the past in this present moment actually effects
the past which simultaneously effects us in this present moment in what I call a
‘synchronistic, cybernetic feedback loop.’ The doorway is the present moment,
which is the point where our power to shape reality is to be found. In quantum
physics the universe wasn’t created billions of years ago in the big bang but
rather is being created right now by what Wheeler refers to as “genesis by
observership.” The mystery of this universe doesn’t lie at some point way back
in the past, but rather, right now, in this very living present moment.
This quantum perspective on the past arising or being conjured up out of and
into the present moment collapses the sense of sequential time and linear
causality. This points to the non-local nature of space and time, in that the
past, present, and future completely interpenetrate and are inseparable from
each other. In a bit of quantum weirdness, if we ask whether the universe really
existed before we started looking at it, the answer we get from the universe is
that it /looks/ as if it existed before we started looking at it.
Quantum physics is describing what I call the physics of the dreamlike nature
of reality. Like a mass shared dream, we are all literally moment by moment
calling forth and collaboratively ‘dreaming up’ this very universe into
materialization. And dreams, by their very nature don’t exist in a ‘flat-land’
where they are fixed in meaning, but are extremely multi-dimensional. When we
contemplate the past in this very moment, it has the same ontological status of
and no more reality than a dream we had last night. Just like this present
moment, when we contemplate it tomorrow, will in that present moment have no
more reality than a figment of our imagination.
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