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« on: August 28, 2008, 10:40:04 PM »
Whose ready for a f-ing draft?Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, seen during his interview with CNN in Sochi, Russia's Black Sea resort. Mr. Putin has suggested the United States pushed Georgia toward war and said he suspects a connection to the American presidential campaign.
Bush says violence in Georgia is unacceptable
By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer
12 minutes ago
BEIJING - President Bush on Monday sharply criticized Moscow's harsh military crackdown in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, saying the violence is unacceptable and Russia's response is disproportionate.
The United States is waging an all-out campaign to press Russia to halt its retaliation against Georgia for trying to take control of the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
Bush, in an interview with NBC, said, "I've expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn the bombing outside of South Ossetia."
On Sunday, Vice President male private part Cheney said that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States."
The crisis over South Ossetia appeared to ebb as Georgian troops began retreating and honoring a cease-fire, a claim Russia disputed. U.S. officials said Moscow was only broadening its retaliation against Georgia for trying to take control of the region.
The sheer scope of Russia's military response has the Bush administration deeply worried. Russia on Sunday expanded its bombing blitz in areas of Georgia not central to the fighting.
Cheney spoke Sunday afternoon with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Cheney press secretary Lee Ann McBride said. "The vice president expressed the United States' solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratically elected government in the face of this threat to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," McBride said.
Asked to explain Cheney's phrase "must not go unanswered," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "It means it must not stand." White House officials refused to indicate what recourse the United States might have if the military onslaught continues...
MOSCOW — As Russia struggled to rally international support for its military action in Georgia, Vladimir V. Putin, the country's paramount leader, lashed out at the United States on Thursday, contending that the White House may have orchestrated the conflict to benefit one of the candidates in the American presidential election. Mr. Putin's comments in a television interview, his most extensive to date on Russia's decision to send troops into Georgia earlier this month, sought to present the military operation as a response to brazen, cold war-style provocations by the United States. In tones that seemed alternately angry and mischievous, he suggested that the Bush administration may have tried to create a crisis that would influence American voters in the choice of a successor to President Bush. "The suspicion would arise that someone in the United States created this conflict on purpose to stir up the situation and to create an advantage for one of the candidates in the competitive race for the presidency in the United States," Mr. Putin said in an interview with CNN. He added, "They needed a small victorious war."
Mr. Putin did not specify which candidate he had in mind, but there was no doubt that he was referring to Senator John McCain, the Republican. Mr. McCain is loathed in the Kremlin because he has a close relationship with Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and has called for imposing stiff penalties on Russia, including throwing it out of the Group of 8 industrialized nations. Mr. Putin offered scant evidence to support his assertion, and the White House called his comments absurd. But they underscored the depth of the rift between Moscow and Washington over the Georgia crisis, which flared three weeks ago when the Georgian military tried to reclaim a breakaway enclave allied with Russia. They also suggested that the Russian leader was deeply concerned about the possibility that Mr. McCain, widely viewed here as having a strong bias against Russia, could become president. Only last spring, Mr. Putin, the president at the time, held a summit meeting with Mr. Bush in which the two expressed personal affection for each other and sought to smooth over tensions in the bilateral relationship. Russia has been struggling to persuade the outside world to back its action in Georgia. On Thursday, China and four other countries meeting with Russia for the annual summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance, declined to back Russia’s military action in a joint communiqué.
Mr. Putin's interview came after his protégé, President Dmitri A. Medvedev, spoke to several foreign news outlets this week as part of a concerted move by the Kremlin to counter Georgia’s public relations offensive in the international media. Mr. Medvedev’s tone was less harsh, though he also criticized the West. On Thursday, Mr. Putin, now prime minister, also said Russian defense officials believed that United States citizens were in the conflict area supporting the Georgian military when it attacked the separatist region of South Ossetia. "Even during the cold war, during the time of tough confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, we have always avoided direct clashes between our civilians, let alone our servicemen," Mr. Putin said. "We have serious reasons to believe that directly, in the combat zone, citizens of the United States were present."
"If the facts are confirmed," he added, "that United States citizens were present in the combat zone, that means only one thing — that they could be there only on the direct instruction of their leadership. And if this is so, then it means that American citizens are in the combat zone, performing their duties, and they can only do that following a direct order from their leader, and not on their own initiative." In Washington, the White House spokeswoman, Dana M. Perino, dismissed Mr. Putin's remarks. "To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate just sounds not rational," she said. She added, "It also sounds like his defense officials who said they believe this to be true are giving him really bad advice." A senior Russian defense official, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday that Russian forces had found a United States passport in a ruined building near Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia. The position, he said, had been occupied by Georgian Interior Ministry forces.
"What was the gentleman's purpose of being among the special forces and what he is doing today, I so far cannot answer," General Nogovitsyn said, holding up what he said was a color copy of the passport. He said members of the Georgian unit had been killed, and the building destroyed. When the war broke out, the United States had about 130 military trainers in Georgia preparing Georgian troops for service in Iraq. The American Embassy in Tbilisi said these trainers were not involved in the fighting; about 100 remain and are assisting with the delivery of aid to Georgia that is arriving on military planes and ships. General Nogovitsyn said the passport was in the name of Michael Lee White of Texas, but gave no information on whether Russians believed that he was a member of the United States military. The United States Embassy in Georgia told The Associated Press that it had no information on the matter.
Mr. Putin said in the CNN interview that Russia had thought that the United States would prevent Georgia from attacking South Ossetia, but suggested that he now believed that the Bush administration encouraged Mr. Saakashvili to send in his military. "The American side in fact armed and trained the Georgian Army," Mr. Putin said. "Why hold years of difficult talks and seek complex compromise solutions in interethnic conflicts? It's easier to arm one of the sides and push it into the murder of the other side, and it's over. It seemed like an easy solution. The thing is, it turns out that it's not always so." The Georgia conflict has become a flash point in the United States presidential campaign, with Senator McCain assailing what he refers to as "revanchist Russia" and asserting that he is far more qualified to handle such a crisis than the Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama.
Mr. McCain has long been friendly with Mr. Saakashvili, who has said he talks to Mr. McCain regularly. Mr. McCain's top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Georgian government, and Mr. McCain's wife, Cindy, traveled to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, this week on a humanitarian aid mission. All these ties, combined with Mr. McCain's criticism of Russia, have earned him a kind of notoriety in Moscow. When Parliament passed a resolution this week urging that Russia recognize the independence of the two breakaway enclaves, some lawmakers not only praised the courage of the South Ossetians, but also threw a few barbs at Mr. McCain.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/29/world/europe/29putin.html?hp
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:54:28 PM »
Deductive reasoning works from the "general" to the "specific". This is also called a "top-down" approach. The deductive reasoning works as follows: think of a theory about topic and then narrow it down to specific hypothesis (hypothesis that we test or can test). Narrow down further if we would like to collect observations for hypothesis (note that we collect observations to accept or reject hypothesis and the reason we do that is to confirm or refute our original theory). In a conclusion, when we use deduction we reason from general principles to specific cases, as in applying a mathematical theorem to a particular problem or in citing a law or physics to predict the outcome of an experiment. In a valid deductive argument, all of the content of the conclusion is present, at least implicitly, in the premises. Deduction is nonampliative. If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Valid deduction is necessarily truth preserving. If new premises are added to a valid deductive argument (and none of its premises are changed or deleted) the argument remains valid. Deductive validity is an all-or-nothing matter; validity does not come in degrees. An argument is totally valid, or it is invalid.
Deductive Criminal Profiling is also useful for thoroughly establishing Modus Operandi behavior, as well as offender signature behaviour, which assists in the linkage of seemingly unrelated crimes. The Modus Operandi, or MO behaviour, or method of operation, is a dynamic, learned behaviour, changing over time, as the offender becomes more experienced. It involves only those actions that are necessary to commit the offense.
Signature behavior, or the signature aspect of criminal behavior, is comprised of those behaviors not required to commit the offense. Signature is comprised of significant personality identifiers that distinguish the nature of the offender's crime scene methodology. These significant and highly individualized personality identifiers are evident in such things as:
- When an offender repeatedly engages in a specific order of sexual activity;
- When an offender repeatedly uses a specific type of binding;
- When an offender inflicts similar types of injuries to different victims;
- When an offender displays the body in a certain manner for shock value;
- When an offender tortures and/or mutilates his victims, and/or engages in some other form of specific ritualistic behavior.
The disadvantages of Deductive Criminal Profiling are also well worth noting. First is that it is not a quick fix or a cure all; it requires a great deal of effort and multi-disciplinary skill on the part of each member of the investigative team. Second, because it is such an intensive process, it can be extremely emotionally exhausting. Investigators that learn to use these techniques should take care to be emotionally grounded individuals and not be afraid to discuss any emotional difficulties with those close to them. And third, a Deductive Criminal Profile cannot not point out a specific known individual and say with confidence that they are likely responsible for a certain crime or series of crimes unless that offender's unique signature is known and established.
Assumptions of the Deductive Criminal Profiling method include:
- No offender acts without motivation.
- Every single offence should be investigated as its own unique behavioral and motivational existent. Given the nature of human behaviour, no two cases are really ever alike.
- Some offenders have unique motivations and/or behaviours that should be individuated from other similar offenders.
- All human behaviour develops uniquely, over time, in response to environmental and biological factors.
- Criminal MO behaviour can evolve over time and over the commission of multiple offences.
- A single offender is capable of multiple motives over the commission of multiple offences, or even during the commission of a single offence.
- Statistical generalizations and experiential theorizing, while sometimes helpful, are incomplete and can ultimately mislead an investigation, and encourage investigative laziness. When we think that we have all of the answers in a case, not only might we only collect evidence that fits those answers, we might think that a thorough investigation is no longer requisite at all.
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:53:51 PM »
Inductive reasoning works from observation (or observations) toward generalizations and theories. This is also called a "bottom-up" approach. Inductive reason starts from specific observations (or measurement if you are mathematician or more precisely statistician), look for patterns (or no patterns), regularities (or irregularities), formulate hypothesis that we could work with and finally ending up developing general theories or drawing conclusions. In a conclusion, when we use Induction we observe a number of specific instances and from them infer a general principle or law. Inductive reasoning is open-ended and exploratory especially at the beginning. Induction is ampliative. The conclusion of an inductive argument has content that goes beyond the content of its premises. A correct inductive argument may have true premises and a false conclusion. Induction is not necessarily truth preserving. New premises may completely undermine a strong inductive argument. Inductive arguments come in different degrees of strength. In some inductions the premises support the conclusions more strongly than in others.
The major disadvantages of the Inductive Criminal Profiling model are equally apparent to the critical thinker. First, the information itself is generalized from limited population samples, and not specifically related to any one case, therefore it is not by its nature intended for reconstructing a "profile" of an individual person. It is a generalized set of representations, averaged from a small group of individuals who may or may not have been appropriately sampled, depending on the knowledge and ability of the person collecting and assembling the data.
Second, and perhaps most commonly noted, is that inductive profiles are generalized and averaged from the limited data collected only from known, apprehended offenders. An Inductive Criminal Profile does not fully or accurately take into account current offenders who are at large, therefore it is by its very nature missing datasets from the most intelligent or skillful criminal populations; the criminals who are successful in continually avoiding detection by law enforcement.
A third major disadvantage is that, as with any such generalization, an Inductive Criminal Profile is going to contain specific inaccuracies that can and have been used to implicate innocent individuals. This occurs when an Inductive Criminal Profile is used as some sort of infallible predictive measure by an unprofessional, trigger-happy profiler. Recent examples include the 1996 case of Richard Jewell in the "Olympic Park Bombing" and, also in 1996, the Colin Stagg profile debacle in Great Britain.
Assumptions of the Inductive Criminal Profiling model include:
- Small groups of known offenders, who commit the same types of crimes as unknown offenders, have commonly shared individual characteristics that can be accurately generalized back to initially similar individual unknown offenders.
- Offenders who have committed crimes in the past are culturally similar to current offenders, being influenced by at least similar environmental conditions and existing with the same general and sometimes specific motivations.
- Individual human behavior and characteristics can be generalized and even predicted from the initial statistical analysis of characteristics and behaviour in very small samples.
- Behavior and motivation do not change within an individual over time, being static, predictable characteristics.
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:52:23 PM »
I think the purpose of the death penalty is not to deter crime, rather it is to punish. Most homocides are not calculated murders that took planning; they are crimes of passion, where the wrong-doer did not even contemplate the consequences of their actions. The fact that the death penalty is now unconstitutional for juveniles means nothing.
They say, "Murder is, by definition, a crime of passion." The question is who's passionate.
Indeed, Holland Taylor ("The Practice") as defense attorney Evelyn McGinnis steals the show in the last part of the film. I doubt if any court in the land would allow such antics (though some have come close), but the sharp wit of her dialog, and the timing of her delivery, is a joy to watch.
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:48:25 PM »
Did Imelda have some kind of foot fetish? Shoe fetishism, whatever is called (although fetishes are rarely ascribed to women!)?
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:42:06 PM »
An analogy for Bohm's 'implicate order'. We notice correlations among widely separated events (represented by the apparently unconnected television pictures) and deduce that they represent aspects of a single underlying reality, or implicate order (the three-dimensional scene in the studio). We cannot study the implicate order directly, just as the viewer knows nothing directly about the studio
He also points out that we should expect non-local, non-causal relationships between observed elements if these are projections of a higher-dimensional reality. One is reminded forcibly of the principle of acausal synchronicity formulated by Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli to describe the seemingly meaningful coincidences that occur in people's lives from time to time with such arresting force. By no stretch of the imagination are their elements connected by cause and effect and so, however striking an effect they produce on their observers, they are dismissed glibly as 'mere coincidences'.' It may be that, like paradoxes, they should spur our minds to take fresh and original views of reality. Bohm makes a courageous attempt to include mental events in his theory. The sequence of notes that we hear when listening to music is the 'explicit' aspect of the piece. When we understand the music sufficiently to grasp it 'in its wholeness', we are grasping its 'implicit' order. Mozart said that his compositions came to him as a whole, and he simply had to write them out. Bohm regards this as showing an intuitive grasp of an implicit order that could only be conveyed to others through the explicit ordering of the music.
Similarly he contrasts a thinker's understanding of a logical or mathematical problem to the sequence of steps by which he conveys his understanding to others. The field of mental phenomena, however, is made explicit to us in a manner so different from that in which material entities are made manifest that we have traditionally held them to be completely separate, displaying such completely different natures that we have puzzled for millennia over such problems as how mind and matter could ever interact. It is thought-provoking to apply Bohm' s ideas concerning the transience of objects and the relationships among them to the world of human personality, of the conscious and unconscious minds. Does his theory make more comprehensible the interaction between individual minds and the deeper, more permanent world of the archetypes and the collective unconscious itself? Bohm is noncommittal, but believes that such problems, and the problems of the paranormal, are more likely to find a solution within the framework of his ideas than they ever could in classical science.
Paranormal phenomena abound with paradoxes, those painful spurs to human thought. Telepathy and clairvoyance treat space with contempt. Precognitions seem to make nonsense of our most cherished conviction that cause always precedeseffect, undermining our belief in time's orderliness. Such seeming paradoxes, like the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, may be messages to us, drawing our attention to hidden realities. Careful study of the paranormal will guide us in uncovering, mapping and partially understanding such realms. We have achieved the simple things, such as mastering flight, tapping and controlling atomic energy and sending members of our species to the Moon. In the paranormal we are facing the greatest challenge yet to our intellects. We should not expect to make fast progress, for we are entering areas yet more alien than quantum mechanics to everyday common-sense concepts. But we have plenty of time, if only we do not let our own stupidity wipe us from the face of our planet. In our uncertain world, the elusive phenomena of the paranormal are whispers of encouragement, glimpses of human personality beyond the physical and ephemeral.
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:36:05 PM »
Light is said to be polarised when its waves all lie in one plane: thus a light beam travelling horizontally could be polarised so that its vibrations were all vertical. Alternatively, it could be polarised so that its vibrations were all horizontal, or at any orientation between these. (Ordinarily, light is unpolarised: its vibrations can lie at any orientation around the beam.) Each photon travelling away from the mutual annihilation of the electron and positron can have any polarisation at all - but the other photon is then certain to be polarised at right angles to it. So by measuring the polarisation of one, we can predict the result of a measurement on the other. The question asked by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen can be put in these terms: why do polarisation measurements always produce corresponding results? Does some unknown influence - a 'signal' - travel from one to the other to produce agreement?
Such a question may seem as naive as the question asked earlier about the magnetic polarities of the sunspot pair. Surely, it may be said, the polarisations of the two photons are fixed at the moment of the electron-positron annihilation, and remain the same thereafter. There is no need for a 'signal': the measuring instruments are merely discovering a pre-existing correlation. But according to the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, this is precisely what is not happening. The photons cannot be said to be in a definite state of polarisation before the measurement. The polarisation is 'potential' rather than actual: this is related to the fact that the results of quantum-mechanical measurements are not fixed in advance - there is only a certain probability of a given result occurring. Yet if each photon cannot be said to have a given state of polarisation before the measurement, how can the measurements at different places give correlated results?
An argument similar to this was used by Einstein and his collaborators as a weapon against the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. They argued that quantum mechanics was fundamentally incomplete. Behind the properties physicists measure, such as polarisation, lie further, unknown properties, called 'hidden variables'. Variations in these 'hidden' properties would explain the variable results obtained in the polarisation measurements. But Einstein's arguments were not accepted by the majority of physicists. And subsequent work by theorists has shown that, if the experimental results predicted by quantum mechanics are correct - and experiments are continuing to yield evidence of their correctness - and if hidden variables exist, then they behave very curiously indeed. In the electron-positron annihilation experiment, we could imagine a measurement on one of the photons sending some unknown kind of 'signal' that would influence the other photon - just as our 'naive' questioner supposed. These 'signals' would travel faster than light in some cases.The paradox of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen. An electron and its anti-particle, a positron, collide and are converted into two photons travelling apart. Each meets a polarisation analyser, which acts like Polaroid sunglasses: it blocks photons polarised at the 'wrong' angle. According to the usual interpretation, the photon now 'jumps' into a definite polarisation state, and is either passed or blocked by the analyser. The other photon, even though it may he extremely remote, also 'jumps' into a corresponding state, with a polarisation at right angles to that of the first .How does this correlation occur?
It is more likely that, as Niels Bohr argued in 1935, our common-sense way of viewing such experiments is at fault. Our tendency to split the experimental situation into independent quantities, such as the measuring instruments and the photons, and thinking of them as being localised in space and time, is a legacy from classical physics. Such a way of thinking is inadequate. Bohr went so far as to say: 'There are fundamental limitations met with in atomic physics, on the objective existence of phenomena independent of their means of observation.' This view seems to imply that the observer and his decisions play an integral part in actualising, or at least influencing, the Universe he observes; that in some deeper way the observer's measurements, the particles and the apparatus are all related and indivisible.
In Wholeness and the implicate order, published in 1980, David Bohm, professor of theoretical physics at Birkbeck College, London, describes a theory of quantum physics that treats such matters in an illuminatingly fresh, if controversial, way. The book is not easy to read, for it is dense with technical terms, often inadequately defined. But it should certainly be studied by anyone interested in theoretical physics and the nature of the connection between matter and consciousness. Bohm argues that, although our separation of the world into a large number of seemingly autonomous objects has worked admirably in the development of our understanding and control of our environment, such a division is seen on a deeper level to be false. He puts forward reasons for believing that the level of reality manifesting itself, the level that we study, is produced by the creative, flowing processes of a subworld. Objects and patterns are briefly thrown up, like the forms fleetingly seen in clouds. They seem to have a certain stability, exist for longer and shorter durations, and can be described by laws based on observation. But because they are manifested, or projected, from a deeper, more fundamental world of dynamic processes, certain anomalies or paradoxes occur. They reveal that, however deeply we believe we have come to grips with ultimate reality, the artefacts we are studying are, as it were, projections into a lower number of dimensions from a higher-dimensional realm.
Bohm gives the rough analogy of a man watching two television sets, each showing the view transmitted from one of two cameras focused on a fish-tank. If the cameras focus through different walls of the tank, the two scenes watched by the man will be completely different. Nevertheless he will in time see a certain relationship between the images, a decided correlation of behaviour of the fish on one screen with that of the fish on the other. If he did not understand that the screens show two-dimensional aspects of an overriding three-dimensional reality, he might find the correlation puzzling and paradoxical. Bohm looks upon the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox and other aspects of quantum mechanics as hinting at this deeper, 'implicit' world.
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:29:39 PM »
Subatomic particles that are separated in space and time behave as if they 'know' about each other. Archie Roy describes the attempts of physicist David Bohm to account for this profound unity of the world - a unity that might explain the paranormal.
Holding the Tensions
Carl Jung gave the image of the alchemical vessel in which processes of sublimation and purification take place. Psychotherapy provides this same kind of containment whereby tensions and paradoxes are charged with energy until they give way to active transformation. Even nuclear fusion requires the hot plasma to be contained long enough for fusion reactions to take place. The same is true of scientific and philosophical ideas. David Bohm regretted the speed with which Neils Bohr tried to resolve the tensions inherent in quantum theory. Within a year of Heisenberg's discovery of matrix mechanics Schrodinger produced his wave equation and Bohr and others quickly demonstrated the mathematical equivalence of the two approaches. Yet both approaches do subtly different things - Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, for example, makes no reference to an underlying or background space. If only the two approaches could have been held in tension, emphasizing both their similarities and differences, Bohm argued, then it may have been possible to develop a much deeper theory, one that transcended conventional notions of space-time and allowed for an intimate connection with relativity.
A similar tension exists today between scientific approaches to "consciousness theory" (in which the origin of mind is attributed to objective structures and processes within the brain - albeit some of them being quite novel, such as Penrose's notions of the gravitational collapse of the wave function) and our subjective experiences of consciousness, rare moments of transcendence and those inexplicable occurrences in which the irrational breaks through in dreams, synchronicities, etc. Then there are other phenomena which seem to have a foot in both camps, these include Jung's psychoid which is neither matter nor mind and both, the aforementioned synchronicities and phenomena such as projective identification. Rather than seeking a quick resolution between the subjective and objective it is valuable to hold on to the differences and paradoxes and use them as pointers to something deeper. Now that psychology has discovered the objective within consciousness (Jung's collective unconscious) so too physics must discover the subjective in matter; in fact, physics must come to terms with "the irrational in matter". Science is producing ever more delicate information about processes within the brain. Openness to Eastern meditative traditions brings with it alternative theories of consciousness and subtle matter. Transpersonal psychology addresses the idea of collective mind. Quantum theory and chaos theory help to loosen the appeal of traditional mechanistic theories and reductionistic approaches and, in the process, providing us with new metaphors. Nevertheless we are still victim to over two hundred years of mechanistic thinking and we work within a language that reflects and supports such a world view. As soon as we speak about mind and consciousness we find ourselves talking about objects, concepts, things, localization in space, separation and movement in time. Yet both quantum theory and Eastern psychology point to timelessness, active process and the ultimate illusion of the personal observer. It is very difficult for us, even now, to fully embrace the quantum paradigm, even the mathematics of quantum theory is still (paradoxically) expressed using space-time coordinates when the same theory predicts the break down of space-time structure. And time itself, as Prigogine points out, has never treated correctly in physics. Up to now it has been used more as an ordering parameter 't', and conveys nothing of the dynamics in which being gives way to becoming.
Locality and Beyond
The central question is: What is it that exists independent of the physical brain? Yet as soon as we attempt to formulate this questions we prejudice the answer through our linguistic concepts of object, location in space and so on. Current "consciousness studies" in the hard sciences assume that mind, or consciousness, emerges out of the physical brain and cannot therefore exist independent of it - although a variety of physical signals can be sent between brains. Our experience of consciousness awareness - scanning the environment and having access to our memories - is certainly conditioned by the state of the physical brain. But to suggest that brain is the sole cause of mind does not logically follow. Consciousness studies also argue in favour of some sort of quantum mechanical origin for consciousness. In its barest form it proposes that the sort of things done by consciousness (Penrose picks out mathematics) cannot all be reduced to algorithmic processes and therefore mind does not have a mechanical basis. While parts of it may be hard wired it does not totally operate like a computer. Quantum theory, the argument goes, is the other thing that cannot be reduced to algorithmic form. Ergo quantum theory must have something to do with consciousness. From there researchers rush on to theories of quantum tunneling, collapsing wave functions, non-local connections and coherent quantum structures. But a variety of other explanations are possible:
- That mind was present in the universe ab inito. For example, in the form of a proto mind associated with even the elementary particles.
- That mind is of a totally different order and makes its liaison with matter via the medium of the brain (The dualism of Popper and Eccles).
- That both mind and matter (at the quantum level) arise out of some deeper level.
- Or, to follow Bohm, that mind and matter form an unanalyzable whole which must be addressed through some totally different order of explanation - the Implicate Order. In this case the Cartesian cut is an illusion present only at the Explicate Order of perception and explanation.
Most of us have had the experience of standing on a bridge, watching a rain-swollen river slip by beneath, its surface deceptively calm. Only the occasional eddy reveals the vicious undertow of unseen currents.
On the Sun's surface, 'eddies' immensely greater, often as large as the Earth itself, are often visible. These sunspots, regions of swirling gas thousands of degrees cooler than the rest of the Sun's surface, move with the Sun's rotation. They travel in pairs, the members of a pair being termed the 'leader' and the 'follower'. Study of their light shows that each spot has a magnetic field. And even though they may be thousands of miles apart, if the leader has north magnetic polarity, the follower invariably has south magnetic plarity, and vice versa. How does the follower 'know' the polarity of the leader so that it can 'decide' to be of opposite polarity? The unseen bond between sunspots. A vortex forms beneath the Sun's surface, generating a magnetic field with jumbled lines of force. The field lines 'float' to the surface, dragging the vortex with them. Where they break through, two sunspots of opposite polarities form, bound together by the field.
This question is extremely easy to answer. If we could delve deep into the Sun - that is, add a third dimension to our appreciation of the problem - wc would discover that each member of a sunspot pair is a 'broken end' formed when a twisting, rope-like vortex of gas is forced upwards from the Sun's depths and 'snaps' at the surface. The two sunspots therefore rotate, in opposite directions. Since this rotation causes thc magnetic field, the spots display opposite magnetic polarities. The connection between the sunspots is easily explained. But quantum mechanics suggests a large-scale interconnection among particles in the Universe that is not so easy to understand. The problem is shown in an acute form in a famous paradox presented by Albert Einstein with two collaborators, Nathan Rosen and Boris Podoisky, in 1935. It states an inescapable conclusion of quantum mechanics that seems outrageously incompatible with the theory of relativity and the belief that the velocity of light is a maximum limiting velocity for everything. Suppose an electron and its anti-particle, a positron collide with each other. They vanish and are converted into pure energy - two photons, which fly apart like shrapnel from an exploding grenade. In subsequent measurements the two photons are found to have opposite 'polarisations'. To understand polarisation, it is necessary to use the wave 'picture' of light.