work in progress

Retrocausation in Physics and Psychology


Jack Sarfatti


ISEP, Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Abstract. I comment here on some of the talks and lunch conversations at the second Quantum Retrocausation: Theory and Experiment Workshop at the AAAS June 2011 meeting (University of San Diego). This workshop showed that there is now solid reproducible empirical evidence for strong retrocausation in human consciousness and lower forms of life. That is, locally decodable messages are sent backwards in time from future to past. The evidence here is as good if not better as any evidence found in high energy physics. This means orthodox quantum theory (OQT) is violated in living matter. It then follows that the linearity and unitarity axioms of OQT are not absolute, but are analogous to the fifth axiom of Euclid whose violation led to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Similarly, OQT is only a limiting case, for dead matter, of a General Quantum Theory (GQT). This implies that the ‘t Hooft-Susskind solution of the information loss paradox for black holes may be mistaken.





Orthodox quantum mechanics has weak retrocausality in the form of John A. Wheeler’s delayed choice, John Cramer’s transactional interpretation and Yakir Aharonov’s two state reformulation. The no-cloning a quantum theorem and passion at a distance signal locality is obeyed in this limit. That is, for example, we can correctly infer in hindsight, after the fact, that a post-selected future irreversible choice retrocausally interacted with pre-selected past irreversible choice at an intermediate time in a weak measurement, but we cannot, under those conditions, send a useful precognitive message backwards in time. This is weak retrocausality in OQT. I mean OQT in the sense of Henry Stapp’s talk at this conference. Basically it is John von Neumann’s modification of Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation. Indeed, Andrew Jordan’s talk Precision Measurements and Weak Values proves the immediate practical technological advantage of Yakir Aharonov’s weak measurement in the detection of very weak signals in strong noise backgrounds in fundamental physics (e.g. gravity waves) as well as engineering (e.g. GPS, spintronics, optical systems). A very good theoretical talk explaining weak measurement was given by Aharonov’s student Jeff Tollaksen Pre and post-selection, weak measurements and the flow of time in quantum mechanics. Alom Elitzur’s talk The Retrocausal Nature of Quantum Measurement Revealed by Partial and Weak Measurements added a new ingredient to the mix that of the partial measurement not to be confused with a weak measurement. Both must be used to reveal counter-intuitive orthodox quantum theory effects of engineering importance that would never be thought of in the conventional retarded causality approach of Michael Nauenberg who, though invited, never showed up to defend his objections to Aharonov’s reformulation of OCT’s weak retrocausality that prohibits signal nonlocality.


The real bombshell that will turn physics upside down when properly understood was Daryl Bem’s talk Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Human Cognition and Affect followed by Dean Radin’s (et-al) talk Electrocortical Evidence for Retrocausation. They both provided impeccable competent evidence for the reality of precognition in human consciousness as well as in the behavior of lower forms of life. Indeed, Garrett Moddell’s talk Laboratory Demonstration of Retrocausation in a Digital System gave useful references to experiments on lower life forms, e.g. goldfish and finches. The experimental evidence reported by Bem passed the most stringent tests by his colleagues at Cornell and at other equally reputable universities. Therefore, by normal standards we must accept this as a fact of nature. This has long been my position and it is now Henry Stapp’s position in his talk Retrocausal Effects as a Consequence of Orthodox Quantum Mechanics Refined to Accommodate The Principle of Sufficient Reason. Henry stated in his public talk, and later at lunch with me and Alom Elitzur that Bem’s evidence means a violation of OCT with the sending of real retroactive messages back from the future violating the principle of signal locality, i.e. signal nonlocality. Stapp said to me that he did not know who Antony Valentini was and never read his papers on signal nonlocality. In short, not only does God play dice with the universe, he loads the dice with living matter. Whether, signal nonlocality can be achieved in nonliving matter is still an open issue since it seems impossible to eliminate the human link as first propounded by Bohr in his epistemological Copenhagen Interpretation and added to by Fritz London, John Von Neumann and Eugene Wigner. Indeed, Garrett Moddell’s talk addressed this issue with a perplexing decline effect on replicating his first positive results. Henry added that he only recently in the past few months came to the conclusion that OCT is in fact violated because of Bem’s paper. Surprisingly, Elitzur volunteered that he thought Hawking was wrong to cave into Susskind on the information loss black hole problem. In other words the unitarity axiom, conservation of quantum information at the fundamental S-Matrix level is not absolute, but is only an approximation for simple scattering experiments. This has also long been one of my opinions. Henry Stapp is perhaps the deepest thinker alive in fundamental theoretical physics today and he does not speak lightly. He adheres to Wittgenstein’s “whereof you do not know, do not speak” (paraphrase). Henry cited Henri Bergson’s “novelty” in his talk and in later lunch conversations with Elitzur. “Nature’s choices must have novelty.” I interjected that “Unitarity prohibits novelty.” Elitzur responded, “I like that.”


Ed May gave a lively empirical strictly phenomenological talk Toward a Classical Thermodynamic Model for Precognition in which objective computer entropy gradients in the target photographs in CIA/DIA/military remote viewing tests were shown to be a useful parameter. Ed May confirmed the Intelligence Community’s interest and financing of this branch of paraphysics since the 1970’s during the Cold War and after. Overt funding has gone black. Significantly, Russell Targ left the conference on his way to Las Vegas to conduct a Remote Viewing Workshop with one hundred US Military personnel active, reserve and retired. My own contact with CIA people on this topic is consistent with Ed May’s talk and my on-going conversations with Russell Targ.


York Dobyns gave an impeccably reasoned rigorous talk Retrocausation, Consistency, and the Bilking Paradox giving further support for strong retrocausality violating OCT in Henry Stapp’s sense.


Ruth Kastner’s talk The Broken Symmetry of Time was useful since it became apparent that some participants did not know about spontaneous broken symmetry of the ground/vacuum state of complex systems (real and virtual quanta respectively) even though the global dynamical actions of the relevant quantum fields remain fully symmetric. Indeed every day high temperature crystals and ferromagnets correspond to the spontaneous broken symmetry of the spatial translation group T3 and the rotation group O(3) whose Goldstone bosons are phonons and spin waves respectively.  The idea is not only profoundly relevant to the spontaneous broken internal SU2 symmetry Higgs mechanism for the induction of rest masses of W bosons quarks and leptons, or to low temperature superconductors with spontaneous broken electromagnetic internal U1 and atomic Bose-Einstein condensates, but to the most common objects of our classical experience including living matter. Spontaneous broken symmetry always yields an emergent robust macro-quantum phase-rigid coherent off-diagonal long range order parameter in the reduced quantum density matrices whose dynamics are very different from the micro-quantum Schrodinger or relativistic Klein-Gordon equation. Ruth’s talk also brought in the physical relevance of post-selected future final boundary condition constraints on past actualities. Michael Ibison’s talk Cyclical Cosmology on a Mobius Strip also investigated the past influence of final boundary conditions in the block universe picture of physical reality. Aharonov’s theory also has an ultimate post-selected final cosmological boundary constraint, the ultimate “Nature’s choice” in Henry Stapp’s terminology. The Aharonov group speculate that the dark energy accelerating the expansion of our universe is relevant to post-selection, but they do not give as yet a precise model as I do below.  Ken Wharton’s talk Constructing Retrocausal Models: Decision Points and Pitfalls argued that the block universe picture must be used with teleological final cause future cosmological boundary constraints in addition to Bohm’s hidden variables. He also argued for Feynman’s Lagrangian histories approach rather than the Hamiltonian approach since the former is intrinsically pre-and post-selected as the initial and final spacelike hypersurfaces for matter fields. Indeed, Aharonov’s second post-selected destiny vector is already explicit in Feynman’s paper on non-relativistic quantum theory from which Fred Alan Wolf and I got the basic idea whilst we were on the physics faculty at San Diego State in the late 1960’s. Fred Alan Wolf’s talk Causality is Inconsistent with Quantum Field Theory argued that Pauli made an error in his use of Green’s function propagator boundary conditions in his proof of the spin-statistics connection. He claims that the criterion that the spacelike commutator of quantum fields vanish is inconsistent with the existence of Feynman’s conception of anti-matter as negative energy quanta propagating along or inside the past light cone as equivalent to positive energy anti-quanta with opposite internal charges propagating along the future light cone.