|Circular Diffraction: Arago's Spot|
I want to woo Her not view Her
Pet Reality until She purrs
Longing to merge with Dame Nature bodily
Yearning to mingle my substance with hers
And them content with merely observing
Are nothing but Nature's voyeurs.
The goal of quantum tantra is to discover a new way of connecting with Nature that involves both mind and quantum mechanics. An early interview by Abu Ben Nooma, author of Red-Light Bardo captures some of the spirit of this quest as does Rudy Rucker's short fiction Panpsychism Proved recently published in Nature magazine.
While searching for that all-important clue to a quantum-tantric breakthrough, Nick has been amusing himself by writing dozens of QT-inspired poems and designing/building a handful of "Preposterous Devices" that attempt to capture some of the flavor of this new science. Since these devices possess no theoretical basis (the science they pretend to demonstrate does not yet exist), they are mere guesses, shots in the dark, desperate premonitions and hardwired petitions to my Muse to grant me fresh inspiration for quantum-tantric gadgets that will actually work and for a new vision of Nature that will change the world.
My first preposterous device was called "The METAPHASE TYPEWRITER" after the hypothetical "metaphase membrane" that separates matter and mind. The MT uses a quantum-random radioactive source and Geiger counter to drive an English-language biased text generator. The MT was conceived of as an "empty channel" that might be possessed by living beings, by discarnate entities, by angels, devils or spirits of any variety. The Metaphase Machine was operated during the 1970s in a great variety of high psychic energy situations without any noticeable success.
|Metaphase Typewriter: Yellow plastic tube houses radioactive source and Geiger counter|
|Metaphase Sound Machine by Dmitry Morosov, Moscow. This project was commissioned by Future Everything (Manchester) and Laboratoria Art & Science Space (Moscow)|
The biggest flaw in the metaphase class of quantum mind-matter devices (Quantum Answering Machines) seems to be the assumption that spirits can alter radioactive decay to send messages to the living. A promising direction for further QUAM research might be to seek different sources of quantum "randomness" to drive the communication channel, for instance the recent device of Shi et al at the University of Singapore that derives random numbers from fluctuations in the quantum vacuum.
|Dr & Mrs Future testing the Stellerator|
The first quantum intimacy machine (called the STELLERATOR) exploits the fact that the "lateral coherence radius" of light from distant stars is huge. The star with the smallest lateral coherence radius is Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation. This star's LCR is eight feet wide; every other star in the sky has a larger value of LCR.
The value of the LCR, loosely speaking, is a measure of the width of the photon wavefunction, an indication of the extent to which a single photon can "be in two places at once" while still maintaining its integrity (oneness).
There is a sense in which light from Betelgeuse is made up of a collection of eight-foot wide pancakes of light, each representing a single photon. These photon pancakes are very thin (the longitudinal coherence length is comparable to the wavelength (a fraction of a micron)) so that these stellar discs are less like flapjacks and more like very thin crepes. And each of these single-photon crepes is hurtling down from every star in the sky at the speed of light.
The stellerator is a simple hollow tube which allows two observers to focus their attention on a single star and to compete as to who will "collapse the crepe-shaped photon wave functions" from that star. The guess/hope/conjecture is that this simple activity of constrained star gazing will link the minds of the participants in a new and notable way.
One big flaw in Stellerator theory is that the photon pancake is so large that every object inside an 8 ft radius (in the case of Betelguese) is competing for the same photon. Thus the participation of two human retinas in "collapsing the photon wave function" is minimal compared to the grass, the rocks, the dirt around you. What's needed is a coherent source made of smaller pancakes, pancakes the same size or smaller than the dark-adapted human iris (about 3 mm).
|The Lunerator uses reflection to produce two coherent beams.|
The Lunerator takes a stream of moonlight (which consists of tiny amoeba-sized wafers of elemental light) and, using a half-silvered mirror, splits this photon stream in two and directs each half stream to a different observer. Now according to quantum theory, each photon wafer TAKES BOTH PATHS, so each observer in theory can compete to collapse the wave function of the same photon with God-only-knows-what effect on the subjective experiences of the participants in this peculiar new way of sharing lunar light.
A brand new improvement on the Lunerator is the SOLARATOR (called by some a Sol Entangler) which is similar in many respects to the Lunerator (same lateral coherence radius, for instance) with the added advantage of higher intensity and spectral separation. (Spectral purity increases the longitudinal coherence length, thereby making the photon pancakes thicker). Instead of using a half-silvered mirror to split the beam in two, the Solarator employs a mirrored diffraction grating provided by a blank DVD disk masked down to a working diameter of a few millimeters. As with the Lunerator, the two beams (now each a pure spectral color rather than cream-colored moonlight) are sent to two observers who compete to collapse the same photon's two-part wave function.
|The Solarator uses diffraction to produce two coherent beams|
|Solarator in action.|
But when that photon is actually observed at one single place, the probability of it being observed somewhere else instantly drops to zero, seemingly violating the relativity rule that nothing can travel faster than light. It's this kind of non-locality that's operating in these three putative quantum intimacy machines. However, hundreds of labs all over the world daily produce truly entangled photon beams which might be utilized for the next generation of truly entangled preposterous devices. For example, Nicolas Gisin and his buddies at the University of Geneva are already experimenting with ways of entangling human retinas using entangled light. Perhaps the next quantum tantra breakthrough will occur accidentally tomorrow in some optics lab in Switzerland.
[After this post was published, Lynden Stone reminded me of conceptual artist Jonathon Keats's Quantum Marriage in which a committed couple ceremonially bath themelves in TRULY ENTANGLED LIGHT produced by sunlight passing thru a non-linear crystal. Thanks, Lynden.]
We hold these truths to be self-evident --
This direct, non-symbolic experience of Nature-from-inside
That the Universe is filled with billions of invisible conscious beings
That every sentient creature lives equally near to the mystery
That deep reality is waiting for us to ask the right question.
|Erwin's Puss by Lynden Stone, housed at Centre for Quantum Dynamics, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia|