Sunday, March 24, 2019

Some Lines For Henry Stapp

Henry Pierce Stapp
(celebrating his 91th birthday)

The essence of quantum entanglement 
is correlated readiness to respond.
--  H. P. Stapp

Consciousness is our reward 
for collapsing the wavefunction.
--  H. P. Stapp

Light glistening thru the glassy air
Undulates like waves you float on
Until light strikes some open eye
Which turns it into actual photon.

This is the world of the Quantum Mechanic
Not the Butcher nor Baker nor Cook:
It's possibility waves when unregarded
It's an actual particle whenever you look. 

In utter darkness safe from leerers
Huge Waves of Maybe surged and swam
But when I turned to look at them
They turned to little Bits of Am.

But what means "looking"? Where to go?
You'll have to ask Professor Joe
And Joe asks Sue and Sue asks Dick
And he asks Ruth and she asks Nick
Who gives them all a dirty look
And recommends they buy his book.

Though looking any kid can do
Dumb physicists don't have a clue
How using your bare sense of sightness
You wrench real matter out of mightness.

In the land of Merely Possible
Every living thing would die
My cat must feast
On actual meat
And so must thee and she and I.

I cite Stapp, my Muse, Saint John and Wigner
We all assume what "looking" means:
That particles emerge from waveness
To satisfy some sentient creature's needs.

At whatever level life awakens
It lurks there feeling waves go by
Consults its belly, reaches out --
Then waves turn into apple pie.

Henry Stapp at Esalen Seminar on the Nature of Reality


Stan said...

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful
Many thanks Nick!!

Stan said...

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful
Many thanks Nick!!

I should add that I have hugely benefitted from many discussions with Henry.
His way of understanding quantum mechanics with mind being important builds strong bridges in connecting a healthy diversity of understandings of how our world works.

Fred Alan Wolf said...

As always, your poetry/prose brings wonder and delight.

John Horgan said...

Lovely Nick. Poetry is perhaps a better medium than prose for quantum expression.

Virginia Morris said...

This is a lovely tribute to a gentle man. Do not know you Nick, but Seán O'Nualláin has told me you are a musician and this feels like music! Met Henry several years ago at CIIS in San Francisco, at a Foundations of Mind Conference (through Seán) after Henry gave a speech there, so this poem really resonates. He often uses the word "she" for the behavior of that part of the universe he describes when noting signals, or other phenomena sent, or observed, by Alice and Bob, and that always makes me smile. (Happy Birthday, Henry)

Michael Grosso said...

Nick, striking 'lines' for Henry and quantum physics--and for a painter like me your lines about'looking'are a real turn on. Many thanks!