Sauntering toward the Eschaton
The Quantum serves as a tar-baby for fringe physicists. It keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. It is their pacifier. They can chew on it, suck on it all day long without dissolving anything.
I was stuck on it for several years myself, but, somehow, I did finally manage to break free. As I have stated already, my liberation from the Quantum had something to do with Kit Williams' 'Masquerade' puzzle book, a popular item in the early '80's.
Transcending the Quantum can more easily be rationalized after the fact. Here is how.
In one sense, the Quantum may be exploited as the Cartesian Pineal gland which was once supposed to be the connecting link between our minds and bodies. David Bohm uses the Quantum to justify his aspect dualism between an explicate and implicate order. The explicate realm of normal, day-time physics is superficial relative to the implicate order of the Quantum realm where his 'hidden variables' rule the night. Besides the conceptual difficulties of aspect dualism, other physicists have found scant justification for Bohm's hidden variables.
Setting aside the technicalities of hidden variables, one can use the Quantum to excuse a more robust form of dualism, a la Descartes. Let us just suppose that the Quantum fuzziness provides the loophole through which the mental and spiritual domains may intervene in the physical domain. The Quantum dice are loaded. The break in the chain of classical physical causation is exploited by mental processes to produce free will and the like.
So far, so good. This simple minded solution actually describes what is currently the cutting edge of mind-brain research. Elaborate formulaic justifications can be adumbrated, and all the physically challenged neuroscientists can be left scratching their heads, or screaming 'foul.' All is fair in metaphysics! Take no prisoners.
What we have here is house to house fighting in the Quantum village, while no one has the wherewithal (esp. money) to sit back and view the Quantum city. (It would be amusing if the messiah became the justification for 'fin de siecle' capitalism. When I sell MSFT, the End is at hand;o)
On the one had we have science, on the other hand we have speculative metaphysics. In between is a no-man's land. If you stick your head up anywhere in that no-man's land you will catch a lot of lead flak. You can forget your academic aspirations. This is how the scientific herd protects its flanks, how they keep fools like me from rocking their trillion dollar cruise ship. This strategy was more effective B.I. (Before Internet). Now the established lines of defense are being undermined. It is just a matter of time before the scientific bastion is reckoning with a full-blown metaphysical messianic episode. What fun!
Here is what is coming down in Quantum City. First we discover a new playground beyond and hidden by that Quantum fuzziness. Then we wonder what toys may be there for us to play with. Surely we may put consciousness there, since clearly it has no place in the physical realm. Along with consciousness we can place everything qualitative, everything intentional, etc. on that other side. But finally what is left back here? All that is left are the quantitative, mathematical abstractions of physics. But these abstractions, every last one of them, are human mental constructs! Uh oh! It looks like we have just managed the old trick of pulling the rug right out from underneath ourselves. That for me was Kit Williams' 'Masquerade.'
Daniel Dennet's fellow academicians marvel at the tenacity with which he defends the last vestiges of scientific materialism. Daniel can see all too well that once that rug has been pulled out, all we are left with is the Eschaton. His colleagues think that their ivied, ivoried towers will endure 'til that lukewarm cosmic heat death in 15 billion years. Yes, the mice will play until the cat comes back.