“What the Bleep Do We Know!?” by William Arntz

Introduction

How human beings perceive the objective reality, or better to say they think they do, has long been disputed among scholars. The present paper will consider one of the most modern and at the same time controversial theories of world perception which is based upon the theories of quantum physics and quantum mechanics. The essence of these theories lies in the statement that the reality for every particular person depends exclusively on his or her consciousness, perception ways and thinking (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007). The major sources of the information will be the book “What the Bleep Do We Know!?: Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality” and the film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vincente. Numerous scholars, including Richard Dawkins, Clive Greated, Simon Singh and many others, have expressed their strong doubt as for the scientific basis of the ideas expressed in these sources, but the close consideration of all the pros and cons of the latter is still necessary. As a result, the present research will try to apply its findings to the daily lives of ordinary people and its author in particular.

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Background

To start with, it is necessary to inquire about the nature of the topic of the current research. Why do people have an interest in the point of whether the reality is what they perceive? It is a difficult question to answer as far as the bulk of personalities have their own exclusive reasons for it. Nevertheless, there is a common point that unites all human beings in their striving for understanding – it is the desire for knowledge that would make their lives easier (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007). For example, a person could address the question about the essence of the matter when a negative experience has occurred to him or her recently. Usually, people do not consider it to be necessary to waste their time on such abstract phenomena as matter, perception, existence, etc. What matters for an ordinary citizen is his or her health, family, work and all their interests are built around the latter. Things that do not display any practical value are as a rule disregarded up to the moment when it is impossible to keep moving on with the weight of life complications on one’s shoulders (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007).

Needless to say, this was exactly the case with the main character of the film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” Amanda. She was a deaf woman who earned her living working as a photographer. Her lifestyle satisfied her till a certain moment when she realized that something is wrong. Her relations with men, her relatives, friends and colleagues were developing in some indiscernible direction, and suddenly she understood that the root of her problems lied in her own mind. This is how quantum physics theories entered Amanda’s life even without her noticing this fact (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007). The inserted pieces of interviews presented in the above-mentioned film tend to explain Amanda’s issues from the scientific point of view, as far as these are professors, researchers, and theologians like Amit Goswami, John Hagelin and others who speak (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004).

Moreover, their arguments are based upon the combination of scholarly evidence and purely human interest. For example, the so-called theory of an observer developed by the quantum physics supporters is of great value. Its essence lies in the assumption that actions and perceptions of a human being are observed and assessed from the inside of his or her personality (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004). According to Arntz, Chasse and Vincente (2007), researchers have failed to find some intelligent organism or any other phenomenon inside human brain that could fulfill the function of that observer, but nevertheless people agree that the feeling of observing the world and their own actions is present. Thus, quantum physicists deal with the issues of consciousness as means of explaining this and a number of other phenomena connected with the perception of the objective reality (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004).

Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics

World Perception

However, to research the ideas of quantum physics, it is necessary to identify its main principles and main areas of interest. The generalized matter of quantum physics, especially according to the book by Arntz, Chasse and Vincente (2007), is the set of ways in which human beings take part in the dynamic reality which is constantly unfolding and modifying. The major scientists of quantum mechanics and physics assume that reality is not static or solid as perceived by classical, or Newtonian, physics, but rather mutable due to the differences in perception of every single individual (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007). At the same time, the reality should not be perceived as a completely relative phenomenon as far as oil-producing companies produce real oil, while jets drop real bombs on the settlements of Palestinians in Gaza.

Actually, according to the main representatives of quantum physics, things can not be considered as such. They are certain kinds of possibilities realized in a certain way according to their perception by a certain individual. According to Amit Goswami, the famous physicist, “even the material world around us – the chairs, the tables, the rooms, the carpet, camera included – all of these are nothing but possible movements of consciousness.” (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004) In other words, a chair was made into such by the power of human consciousness, and if the same thing as chair were used by people differently and had another representation in human consciousness, this very thing would not exist in reality (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004). However, to see the line between classical and quantum physics and their perceptions of reality, it is necessary to consider the classical physics basic principles.

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Classical Physics

The historical beginning of the classical Newtonian physics is referred to as the time when Isaac Newton realized the possibility of the mathematical calculating of the phenomena observed in the objective reality. In its essence, classical physics is a mathematical formalism of common sense. Drawing from this, the four basic concepts are dominant in classical physics according to the major ways in which science tends to explain human perception of the real world. These concepts are reality, locality, causality, and continuity (Greene,2000).

In more detail, these concepts deal with the following ideas. First of all, the concept of reality states that the existence of the matter, objective and material world is not dependant upon the fact of their observation. The world, as well as time and space in it, exists constantly irrespective of human consciousness. To prove this concept, I have made an experiment consisting in walking along a crowded street being concentrated on my consciousness. The feeling I got from the experiment was new for me, as I understood that the planet will keep turning without me. In other words, if I stop perceiving or observing the reality, it will disappear only for me, while the physical reality as such will stay the same.

Moreover, locality is the idea that objects of the real world can be effected only through the direct contact, while the power of thought is disregarded as a pseudo-scientific idea. Causality assumes that cause-effect relations of things and processes in the physical world are possible only in this order, and there is no effect followed by its cause. Finally, the continuity concept completes the reality idea stating that time and space are eternal and no stops or pauses are possible in them. In other words, irrespective of the consciousness of a human being, they will exist and develop (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?”, 2004). On the whole, my life experiences prove these viewpoints and I agree that classical physics can be called common sense as such. However, there are phenomena that classical physics fails to explain, and it is now that quantum physics and mechanics come into play.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

Thus, it is necessary to consider the theoretical foundations and practical implementations of quantum theory which can be observed through quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is a progressive trend in the scientific striving for understanding the essence of physical reality. In other words, it can be characterized as the accurate mathematical embodiment of the existence and interaction of fundamental particles. For example, the operation and the very existence of the electricity are explained by quantum physics only (Greene, 2000).

Thus, according to classical science, a matter can not exist in two states simultaneously. However, electricity exists in the shape of particles and waves at the same time. Particles are observed as aggressive phenomena directed at destroying if hurled at each other. At the same time, electromagnetic waves are soft and able to interact with each other. The explanation that quantum physics uses to consider this phenomenon is the so-called quantum superposition meaning that substances do exist in different states simultaneously, and their state at the moment depends upon whether they are observed or not. Thus, waves are the abstract phenomena occurring in people’s consciousness as “probability fields”, while particles are actual manifestations of the electromagnetic activity. This depends on the particles or waves being measured or observed, or not (Greene, 2000).

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From my personal experience, I can recollect several cases when only quantum physics helped me to find the answers to my questions. For example, I have noticed several times that ideas I formulate in my mind become real at a certain moment. Moreover, the principles of continuity and locality turn out to be far from absolute. For example, according to the quantum physics it is possible to go back in time, turn it back and even change the phenomena done improperly in the past. For example, if a person starts recollecting the past his or her feelings and emotions become the same as they were in a certain past moment. Drawing from this, I can assume that consciousness uses its power to dismantle the continuity principle and turns the time back allowing the person to be present in the past. Moreover, the locality principle is thus dismantled as well because a person is able of affecting certain past phenomena by the power of thought without direct contact with them. To put it simply, the ability of the human mind to change its attitude towards some past experience is the actual ability to change the past. After this, the emotions experienced while reminiscing those phenomena change, and a human consciousness can be said to have changed the past.

Consciousness and Knowledge

Another important peculiarity characterizing the quantum physics is the impossibility of measuring all the aspects of a phenomenon at a time (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007). In classical physics, all objects and their attributes are measurable, while quantum physics does not state this at all. In other words, if a single property is measured, others are bound to be inaccurate to some extent. This is known as the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty (Indeterminacy) Principle stating that measuring a position of a particle, the researcher is unable to measure its momentum accurately as the particle is in constant movement during which the momentum changes as well (Arntz, Chasse and Vincente, 2007).

To make a certain generalization, it can be stated that this principle applies to the human consciousness as well. In other words, like there are no two equally measurable phenomena, there are no two identical perceptions of the reality and no two identical kinds of human consciousness. Accordingly, when it is stated that people know something it is only the fact that some theoretical assumptions have been confirmed by a set of experiments, while the actual knowledge can not be uniform for everybody. For example, my outlook of the world and the perception of reality has been seriously changed by the results of the research works of quantum physicists stating that a word or a thought is able of affecting a substance.

In more detail, water can be charged with either positive or negative energy depending upon the environment it was stored in for a certain period of time. The water stored in the environment where people used only polite words, smiled and laughed often can be characterized as positively charged. It is proved to have healing properties for human beings, animals and plants. On the other hand, the water charged negatively can cause illnesses in people or animals, or a decline in plants. The same can be said about the water in the ice form. Considered with the help of a microscope, the particles of ice differ in shape depending on the charging they received before. The food that people take can also be considered according to this theory. If the mill takes place when a person is down or experiences the fit of anger, the food consumed might be rather harmful to the person’s health which is reflected in some extra weight, weakness, or other more serious troubles (Greene, 2000). For me, these prove that quantum physics is the science based on actual knowledge and ability to explain the phenomena of reality which the classical Newtonian physics can not handle. Nevertheless, considerable critical remarks are made about the quantum physics on the whole, and its reflection in the book by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vincente in particular.

Misperceptions and Pseudo-Science

The first, and the most frequent, argument that critics use in their attacks on the quantum physics is the alleged absence of the scholarly grounds in this science. The statements made by the quantum physics representatives in their works and in the film by Arntz, Chasse and Vincente are subject to severe criticism due to their inconsistency and contradictory character. For example, the argument about the possibility of changing the substance of water by merely observing it, made Simon Singh wonder if human beings consisting of water for 90% can change their own bodies with the help of the same procedure (Greene, 2000).

Moreover, the issues of experience and consciousness as the basics of existence and perception are severely disputed. For example, the role of experience in perception is doubted by David Hambling who exemplifies his position with the numerous contradictions that are found between the data presented in the film and actual historical ones concerning James Cook’s voyages and his contacts with Native Americans. On the whole, the role of consciousness as the fundamental phenomenon in the process of perceiving reality is also controversial. Richard Dawkins, for example, wonders if the book and the film by the above-mentioned authors are about quantum physics of consciousness as scholars see little in common between them (Payne, 2007).

Furthermore, saying that consciousness is what makes up the reality seems Cartesian to scholars, who present numerous theories to dismantle this one. For example, according to quantum physics theories, the expression by Descartes “I think, therefore I am” is perfect as consciousness is the ability to think. However, Payne (2007), argues that if so then “trees don’t think (any scientist will tell you), therefore, they aren’t.” (Payne, 202). On the whole, critical remarks and weak points of quantum physics and mechanics are numerous, and even its most loyal supporters can not but admit this. Nevertheless, points that prove the adequacy and scientific value can be found in scholarly research works as well as in daily lives of ordinary people.

Conclusion

Thus, the present research paper has focused on the fundamental issues of reality perception through the perspective of quantum mechanics and quantum physics. The results of this research have dual nature. On the one hand, they show the weak points of quantum physics and its theory of consciousness as the basis of world perception. On the other hand, specific examples from scientific research works and daily life of ordinary people prove that quantum physics is a grounded science that assists people in understanding the world around them better. The film and the book considered, as well as other sources, have given substantial information helpful in clearing up the topic of this research and setting goals for further work in the field of quantum physics and human consciousness. On the whole, it is obvious that both classical and quantum physics have reasonable points which could answer the majority of questions of mankind concerning its existence. Avoidance of the extremes in support or criticism of any of the science branches, and a proper combination of their strong points could be the only way to understanding reality.

Works Cited

Arntz, William, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vincente. What the Bleep Do We Know!?: Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality. HCI; Mti edition, 2007.

Greene, Brian. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Vintage, 2000.

Payne, Troy L. “Cartesian Eco-Femdarkanism: She Comes from the Earth, Therefore We Are.” Environmental Law 37.1 (2007): 202+.

What the Bleep Do We Know!? Dir. Arntz, William, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vincente. With Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix, Barry Newman. Lord of the Winds Films, LLC, 2004.

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