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Sunday, May 6, 2007

What ultimately exists is a single, intrinsically ineffable Being

My position is that it is no longer appropriate to ask: what are the ultimate building blocks and how do they interact and combine? The notorious difficulty of making sense of the quantum world is not that we don’t understand Nature’s answers. It is due to the fact that Nature fails to make sense of our questions. The right questions to ask proceed from the assumption that what ultimately exists is a single, intrinsically ineffable Being. How does this manifest itself? How does it come to constitute an apparent multitude of objects? How does it realize their properties?
If quantum theory tells us how the world is manifested, rather than how it is put together, then the supervenience of the small on the large is not that hard to understand. Quantum mechanics affords us a glimpse at what “lies between” that single, intrinsically ineffable Being and its manifestation. It allows us to understand the coming into being of multiplicity and form. (Heisenberg once said something to the effect that if atoms and such are to explain the world’s properties, they cannot themselves have these properties.) Yet we cannot describe the transition from formless unity to formed multiplicity except in terms of the finished product — the manifested world. Hence that supervenience.

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