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Other Worlds

"Science, it is usually believed, helps us to build a picture of objective reality—the world 'out there'. With the advent of the quantum theory, that very reality appears to have crumbled, to be replaced by something so revolutionary and bizarre that its consequences have not yet been properly faced....

"These studies show that reality, inasmuch as it has any meaning at all, is not a property of the external world on its own but is intimately bound up with our perception of the world—our presence as conscious observers. Perhaps more than anything else this conclusion carries the greatest significance of the quantum revolution, for unlike all the previous scientific revolutions, which have successively demoted mankind from the centre of creation to the role of mere spectator of the cosmic drama, quantum theory reinstates the observer at the centre of the stage. Indeed some prominent scientists have even gone so far as to claim that quantum theory has solved the riddle of the mind and its relation to the material world, asserting that the entry of information into the consciousness of the observer is the fundamental step to be establishment of reality. Taken to its extreme, this idea implies that the universe only achieves a concrete existence as a result of this perception—it is created by its own inhabitants!

"Whether these paradoxical ideas are accepted or not, most physicists seem to agree that, at least at the atomic level, matter remains in a state of suspended animation of unreality until an actual measurement or observation is performed."

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"In the midst of a revolution"
October 29, 1984

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