On 11/1/2011 1:07 PM, Nick Prince wrote:
I don't think I understand it any better than you do.  But ISTM we need a 
quantum theory
of consciousness in order to write eqns like (3) above. In the standard theory 
it implies
that there is some experience of both system states at the same time.  A change 
of basis
changes the labelling of 1 and 2.   In other words, if the brain is in a 
then there is *a* conscious experience of *both* states.  If you deny this and 
that consciousness must be unique (i.e. classical), as we directly experience 
it, then it
seems you have gotten back to the theory that consciousness collapses the wave 

To me, decoherence offers a better explanation, i.e. that the off diagonal 
terms in the
density matrix become practically zero already at the brain level; or more 
accurately at
the level of the detector of the particle that initiates breaking the vial.  
explanation still has a problem though in that there must be some canonical 
pointer states
in which the off diagonal terms become zero.  I think it may be possible to 
justify a
pointer basis; but it hasn't been found yet.


Hi Brent

This is where I am coming from:

I accept decoherence as the mechanism for suppressing interference
between universes and that this happens very quickly (no time for us
to notice).

But would we notice if it were slow?  What would it mean to notice a coherent 

So assuming the everett interpretation, there is no
collapse and there are two consciousnesses  in equations like (3)
representing "my consciousness" in two separate [infinite] bundles of
universes). However they are no longer in a superposition (i.e. there
is no interference between them going on, or as you say, off diagonal
terms in the density matrix are virtually gone).  So at each
differentiation me and my different consciousnesses diverge.
But the world of our perception is quasi-classical. The states have decohered *in our basis* before we perceive them, even independent of whether we perceive them. But only in a particular basis. Rotate the basis in Hilbert space and they are still mixed in that basis. That's why I think realizing Everett's idea depends on a theory of consciousness that selects a canonical basis.


We have
the same history (memories) but different futures.

Best wishes


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