Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations.
An example is the idea that consciousness causes collapse (e.g. the act of observation affects reality directly). Many ideas associated with “quantum mysticism” have been criticized as either misinterpretations of quantum mechanics or as pseudoscience.
The term originally emerged from the founders of quantum theory in the early twentieth century as they debated the interpretations and implications of their nascent theories, which would later evolve into quantum mechanics. The essential qualities of early quantum theory, and the ontological questions that emerged from it, made a distinction between philosophical and scientific discussion difficult as quantum theory developed into a strong scientific theory.
Harvard historian Juan Miguel Marin argues that Albert Einstein, though he claimed belief in Spinoza’s God remained opposed to some of the novel “mystical” formulations of other physicists such as Wolfgang Pauli. The debate polarised after World War II, although publications such as Schrödinger’s, or Eugene Wigner’s 1961 paper, continued to appear, spiritual interpretations of the new physics became rare and were deprecated among the scientific community.
Last updated: April 3, 2014 at 11:41 am
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