For Nietzsche then, what I will call herd-man time is entirely a product of the interpretation of the intellect reflecting the"body's attempt to resist the destructive efects of the outer world" (Moles p. 224). Because we experience time as succession resulting in ultimate death, we try to "play for time" (224). The intellect is thus pictured as a conservative force which filters out what is new in an attempt to provide a safe environment in the stability of a standardized and sanitized past, without the threat of the new. The intellect apparently does not want to "live dangerously." The intellect as memory, by comparing the present state with the past states, concludes that time is a continuum, and that beneath our experience of the succession of time is "a world of enduring and self-identical substances in causal interaction" (Moles p. 225). The intellect, it appears, has Platonist tendencies. Our time perception is thus related to our illusion of linear causality discussed earlier. Thus, our perceptions about the nature of time as a succession of events is not an accurate understanding of the reality of time in the external world, but is only an expression of our need to survive and of the nature of our perceptual apparatus (v. Moles, p. 226). The organism, because of its needs, has perceptual organs which express the structure of its needs and have little to do with the temporal reality of the world. (I want to insist later on the macromolecular nature of our perceptual organs when we come to the discussion of quantum mechanics and the problem of perception.) We should point out, however, that this aspect of time which Nietzsche is describing is, from his point of view, a psychological analysis of how ordinary people have arrived at a conception of time, that Nietzsche is describing an anthropomorphization of time which he does not recommend as the enlightened way to look at time, and that it is a view of time which is incommensurate with a person who lives in harmony wih the overall movement of the Will to Power (v. sect. 52 for continued discussion of time). This kind of anthropomorphized time is not the time of the Overman, but is the time appropriate to those who are involved with Christianity and its end-of-time paradise, or with nationalists, who have, by pusillanimity and territoriality, restricted their experience of the Will to Power to mere nationality. What Nietzsche is describing here is psychological herd-man time and therefore decadent, negative time which seeks to conserve stasis and frustrate one's individual potential [one should be what one can be] within the framework of the Will to Power. When the passage of time is threatening to the herd-man body, which lives in fear of the overall process of the Will to Power, it behooves him to find a religion which negates the passage of time in the eschatological timelessness of paradise. Christianity and all religions which promise eternal life are in effect various magical methods of escaping from a fearful man's time. We have arrived pragmatically at a functional and cultural conception of time by an ancient intersubjective consensus and standardization which allow us to operate and survive (v. Moles, p. 230, ff.). Nevertheless, as we evolve as organisms and our environment changes, it is possible that our conception of time will change as well. Thus, even if time as we know it is only a culturally standardized intellectual interpretation, changing times and enlightenment may allow us to come closer to understanding time as flux. Perhaps that is what Nietzsche hoped from the "new philosophers," whom we might with some trepidation call post-Nietzscheans, evolutionists, and quantum mechanists.
Moles sees a problem with "Nietzsche's theory that our perception of enduring substances presupposes memory" (p. 226). This would appear to get Nietzsche in trouble because it suggests the existence of the self as a Kantian transcendental unity, a unified self that Nietzsche rejected. Such a corporeal unity suggests that it has a continuous existence through a succession of temporal states and Moles concludes that Nietzsche's unfinished theory of time would depend "on a yet to be developed conception of becoming in physical nature" (p. 227). Let us suggest that a partial answer to this problem of becoming in physical nature is provided by the dissipative system. The Will to Power is becoming as a dissipative system. We have already seen that linearity in the relation of the states of the glass bead games is a fiction, that the many game states exist in a paradoxal isolated relationism.
The unsolvable problem with Nietzsche is that he would reject the idea of time as a series of bounded, discrete instants; a succession of chronological instants in a continuum gives him problems as well. Yet, we have seen the states of the Will to Power to be discrete configuations which relate to one another to set the scene for another set of discrete configurations of forces which relate to one another, etc. His conception of time thus seems inconsistent with the discrete configurations of the Will to Power and therefore unanalyzable in terms of game configurations. The body is obviously an out-of-equilibrium, dissipative-metabolic system and we may conceive memory as the neural patterns of a dissipative system which are conceived of as duration. Memory and duration are functions of a dissipative system in such a way that the mind-body problem and the problem of time are solved. This is not a very satisfying solution to the problem, and is much like La Mettrie's assertion that there is no such thing as mind, only minding, which is an activity of the body. In a like manner, there is no such thing as memory, there is only remembering, which is an activity of the body as dissipative system. If consecutive instants of time are constructions of the intellect, if the intellect is in reality body (since body is the reality according to Nietzsche), and if body is a manifestation of the Will to Power as a relation of discrete energy configurations, then it would seem that Nietzsche has been caught in a contradiction where his theory of time is concerned--except that we must remember that this psychological origin of duration is herd-man time and therefore inauthentic to some degree--let us call it a pragmatic illusion. Memory could perhaps be considered the flow of a non-discrete continuum if we consider it to be the activity of sodium and potassium ions in dendritic chemistry (v. Penrose, pp. 389 ff.). Pribram comes close to asserting the quantum state nature of brain activity as well in his suggestion that one must consider whether "events occurring at the junctions between and in the fine dendritic branches...are to be considered as waves or as statistical aggregates" (Highley and Peat, p. 367). But even as a Nietzschephile I am reluctant to extend the validity of Nietzsche’s intutions so far as to apply them to Penrose or Pribram’s neurochemistry. Nevertheless, the problem is clearly posed here of the nature of flux versus unitized events in quantum and that activity of the body we call thinking, emphasizing at the very least the common problems of Nietzsche and modern physics, a problem we may summarize as the results of "arresting the flux."
It is fair to say that Nietzsche has rejected Kant's view of time as an Anschauung (what translators have rendered unsatisfactorily as "intuition"). It is, according to Kant, only in terms of space and time (the Anschauungen ) , that the perceptions can operate. Thus, subjectivity provides by this "synthetic a priori" necessity a view of reality, and a humanized reality at that, which is by the nature of things consistent with the reality of the external world. (If Kant had only accepted the idea of evolution, he could have seen the perceiver evolving as a very part of the external world and therefore evolving perceptions which would by evolutionary necessity reflect the reality of the world.) This subjectivization of reality by the Anschauungen has allowed critics of Kant to accuse him of being an apologist for romanticism. Nietzsche, in effect, admits that this anthropomorphization and subjectivization happen when the intellect structures time as a continuum of successive instants, but he denies that it presents an accurate view of the nature of time in the external world.
The Anschauungen would therefore make possible only a fishy anthropomorphic view of time by which the pusillanimous body seeks security and standardized happiness for itself. It becomes obviously necessary that such religions as Christianity posit and promise an end to time in a stifling Paradise where stasis is the rule. God is unchangeable. Kant's whole system then Nietzsche would have had to see as a conservative ploy to frustrate the noblest developments of the Will to Power. No wonder he refers to him contemptuously as "old Kant."
We must make a preliminary conclusion The dissipative process of the universe since the Big Bang could just as well have been described by Nietzsche without the suggestive term Will to Power and its deceptive hint of an agent or intention (although we shall later see that the notion of will in the expression Will to Power may be appropriate when it is a question of the selective usefulness of consciousness in evolution). Likewise, his reluctance to conceive time in discrete consecutive instants, where there would be no continuity of time, combined with his insistence on flux (which the intellect cannot comprehend) contributes to the vagueness of the statement. On the one hand, this refusal is consistent with his rejection of substance as ultimate reality and the metaphysical problems such atomic substance could have caused him. On the other hand, such instants could just as well have been considered aspects of configurations of the Will to Power. By not making it clear that he was going to treat time like any other relational configuration of the Will to Power, Nietzsche lends a backhanded credibility to time as an Anschauung, that is, as a concept so unique that it cannot be dealt with by the usual relationalism of configurations. After all, we would find ourselves faced with the near contradiction of discrete configurations of force which apparently exist in a nondiscrete continuum of time...(which would certainly contradict the idea of space-time), but then perhaps we do that because of our cowardly and conservative intellect and because we have been blinded by idealism. Nevertheless, Nietzsche certainly realized there was something missing in the conception of the linear and absolute time of classical mechanics. We ought not be too critical if he did not anticipate space-time and the geometrical universe of the general theory of relativity.
As Moles insists, Nietzsche's conception of time is confusing. The intellect's inability to conceive the flux would not give us any problem if we were able to structure time as we structured the forces of the Will to Power. Moles, in effect, solves the problem tentatively in that wayThe relationship between moments "can be reconsructed from Nietzsche's account that moments are bound together in a strict order by the necesity with which forces occasion other forces" (Moles, p. 237). If, as we have seen, each configuration of the Will to Power is discrete and sets the scene for the creation of a new configuration of the Will to Power, then the moments in which those configurations occur ought to follow the same rule. If the configurations of forces overlap so that there are no gaps in the continuum, as Moles explains (p. 234), then time should also profit from such overlap. On the other hand, Nietzsche is forced into a quantum theory of time, which he called his "atomic theory of time" (Zeitatomenlehre ) (Moles, p. 236) in order to avoid the problems caused by the idea of an inner continuum of time. If the latter were the case, then each moment could be divided into an infinite number of subunits. None of this makes any sense if "it is assumed that time exists independently of every newly-drawn consequence of power" (Moles, p. 235). It is the modern intution of the interrelatedness of space and time which created the concept of space-time To keep moments of time and configurations of force separate makes little sense.
Most of the confusion in this case is caused by a logical problem If the universe is flux, how can we logically identify pieces of that flux without weakening the idea of flux. Either a flux is a flux or it is not a flux. "Units are nowhere present in the nature of becoming" (WP 715). Any notion of a "modified flux" would be pusillanimous and oxymoronicthere is either a flux or not a flux. If we identify discrete entities then we have a succesion of states and moments. If we do identify discrete pieces of time, energy configurations, etc., then we risk going back to the metaphysical complications of the idea of substance. If we do not identify discrete configurations of force and discrete moments, we lay ourselves open to an infinite division of fuzzy sub-units and an eternally complicated unitization of levels of reality, a situation which may be disturbing but not self-contradictory. The above problem has, of course, not yet been solved. It shows up in other terms in modern physics' problem with the nature of particle vs wave. As we shall see in the sections on quantum mechanics, light behaves as a wave in the double-slit experiment, yet it is also a particle as individual photon which may be fired off by stimulating the atoms of certain metals. David Bohm will accept the electron as real particle affected by his idea of "quantum potential, " or a guide-wave, and the Copenhagen group will deny the reality of quantum states except as mathematical construct. Nevertheless, there is an answer in the next section.
The solution to this problem may be drawn from Nietzsche and it is the notion of the necessary illusion, an idea supported by quantum mechanics and Gell-Mann’s remarks on coarse-grained and fine-grained histories of the universe. It is that the flux is real and that the identifiable configurations of force and time are illusions necessary to a conscious being, reflecting "realities" we can never know. because they are, in a non-idealistic,and even a non-phenomenological sense, creations of the senses, and from the point of view of this essay, quantum states. The conscious being is therefore he who perceives by necessary illusions. It would therefore be that consciousness is predicated on the necessity of illusions. "Knowledge is possible only on the basis of belief in being" (WP 518), and since Nietzsche does not accept the concept of being, he must reject absolute knowledge for the wealth of perspectivism. We must arrest the roll of the dice, put an end to the career of chance in order to read the dice. Thus we freeze and falsify the flux. Logic can handle only what remains the same; traditional logic is a function of the metaphysical belief in being. Knowlege and becoming exclude one another for the organic senses and sensual logic, the logic of the body (v. WP 517). One may never know the external world through the subjective [herd-man] categories of space and time without irrevocably subjectivizing that world in a fine fit of romanticism. That brings us back to KantThe Anschauungen would become the necessary a priori illusions of a romantic, Kant would be a kind of pragmatist on the one hand, a metaphysician on the other, and the pragmatic herd man who has culturally standardized time is a Kantian--and, it goes without saying (although Nietzsche, in effect, said it) Kant is a herd man. And the quantum mechanist who sees quantum particles as abstract expressions of mathematics is seen by post-Kantians as a similar pragmatist who accepts to live with abstract illusions (like Derrida’s and his problem with meaning) in place of a concrete reality, and who thinks, however, that such a concept of concrete reality is of little importance.
Kant explained that our understanding of space and time had to be of the nature of the a priori because if we relied only on empirical obvservations of the world, geometry would be only an approximate science (v. Moles, p. 238). Euclidean geometry depends on the perfection and the formalism of the rational mind, otherwise it would be an inexact science. Yet, G.F. Bernhard Riemann, pursing the ideas of Gauss, justified his ideas that a triangle might deviate from 180 degrees, and his work in spatial geometry prepared the way for the general theory of relativity (v. Eigen, p. 133, ff). Certain assumptions about symmetry cannot be maintained. And Moles shows us (p. 281) that Nietzsche had read the work of the astrophysicist Friedrich Zöllner, whose cosmology introduced the spatial conceptions of Riemann. It is unnecessary to speculate whether Nietzsche got his ideas about space from Riemann or Zöllner, because the rest of his philosophy is based on a vision of things which makes this view of space (and time) perfectly consistent with the rest of the Nietzschean system.
It appears from the foregoing that we apologists for Nietzsche, using game models and modern physics, might so extrapolate from his Will to Power as to present a clearer idea of time than the one we dig out of his own work. In the sections to come and before talking about Nietzsche and space, we must introduce some of the adventures of quantum mechanics and the philosophical problems it raises. There is no final consensus about the implications of quantum theory, just as there is none as to the nature of what particle physics will lead to. We have probably not yet digested Kant and Leibnitz, let alone Nietzsche and quantum theory.
On the other hand, the problem of the necessary illusion which shows up in Nietzsche is, however, almost un-Nietzschean because an unsympathetic critic may see in it an intellectualized nostalgia for the Ideal-which-is-the-Real. As such, "necessary illusion" has been preserved by Jacques Derrida in his sous rature (under erasure), a little trick whereby he shows us that he knows he is trapped in the logos but that he will go ahead and use it anyway since he has to talk to us (herd men?), like Beckett's Unnamable in his barrel, who constantly proclaims he is going to quit talking and goes ahead talking anyway. I have the suspicion that, even since Nietzsche, philosophers have kicked Plato out the front door only to find him constantly lurking at the back stoop--and that post-structuralists did not and do not understand the implications of Nietzsche because they do not follow closely enough the implications of quantum states.
Now, the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics fits very well with the Nietzschean problem of necessary illusion and an entertaining way to deal with the problem is to consider Gell-Mann’s discussion of coarse-grained and fine-grained histories of the universe. Moreover, Gell-Mann, the namer and co-discoverer of the quark may be used as an example of how quantum is consonant with Nietzsche--the program of this essay. Soon we must offer Gell-Mann’s complex adaptive systems as parallels to the configuration of the Will to Power. In fact, we will see that configurations of the Will to Power are quantum states. [What follows in the rest of this section would be easier to understand after reading sections 16 - 27, and the reader is invited to read those sections before returning to this point in the essay.] We must understand the nature of the hierarchic reconfigurations of the Will to Power, as described in earlier sections; the complete rejection of Idealism or any idea of perfect, static states; the notion of indeterminacy; and any notion that hidden variables, if only we knew what they were, would explain the nature of stable, static, perfect entities or provide some startling proof of how a thing "really" happened. We can no longer rely on hidden variables, a concept which elevates ignorance to metaphysical status and is delightfully consistent and consonant with a religious fundamentalism which hides God in a cloud or a burning bush and on Whose face one cannot look. Hidden variables are the Wizard of Oz, who when located is a stumbling old buffoon.
In the absence of the static states and absolute entities of traditional metaphysics, Nietzsche’s necessary illusions may be understood in terms of Gell-Mann’s coarse-grained histories of the universe, a quantum concept. We must likewise understand that a "coarse-graining" history is not just an imperfect view of how some aspect of the universe "really" is--but that the coarse-graining is all there is. The easiest access to the concept of coarse-graining is Gell-Mann’s horse race. Thus, a really, really coarse-grained history of the universe is a horse race in which eight horses or five or four (for example) run. This coarse-grained history ignores all times in the history of the universe except the moment of the race, ignores all other objects in the universe, follows only the horse which wins the race, and ignores all parts of his body except his nose (v. Gell-Mann, p. 144). Such a coarse-graining might become progressively fine-grained if some Demiurgic Handicapper took into consideration the conditions of the track, the record of the other horses, the blood line of the horse, then the entire breeding history of the horse back to Eohippus, the career and life history of the jockey back to the branching of the family tree with the chimpanzees, then every elementary particle contained in every horse and every rider traced back to the Big Bang. Each of these innumerable histories could have some validity if it did not interfere with another, i.e., in Gell-Mann’s term, if they may be said to decohere, if the "interference term is zero" (Gell-Mann, p. 146).
In any particular example of these coarse-grained histories,
the fate of everything in the universe is summed over except the winners of races at a particular track, and events at all times are summed over except the moments at which victories in the eight races occur on a particular day. The resulting coarse-grained histories decohere and have true probabilities. Because of our everyday experience it does not surprise us that things work out that way, but we should be curious about how it happens (Ibid. p. 146).
Each history has a certain inertia, which allows it to persist (remember the "memory" of the persisting configurations of Eigen’s glass bead games!).
Now it becomes clear that the Nietzschean perspective, in the vocabulary of Gell-Mann, is a decohering coarse-graining with appropriate inertia, resisting summed-over fluctuations, and summing over the other perspectives. Pursuing the same terminology, Christians and other fundamentalists would make the preposterous claim to a complete fine grained history in which everything is or may be known (certainly known by God), in which probability is basically irrelevant because God knows the hidden variables and it doesn’t make any difference whether He ever reveals them to us or not as long as they are there. It emphasizes as well the difference between knowledge as discovery of what already exists and creation of knowledge in what Bohm calls the "partnership with the universe" (v. section 128). The reason we are able to use such terminology for both Nietzsche and Gell-Mann is that both operate with open-ended, dissipative, indeterminate systems and reject static and absolute states. Both operate with a flux in which coarse grained histories are in effect "illusions," but functioning illusions. Both Gell-Mann’s coarse grained histories and Nietzsche’s perspectives are "decoherence functional. " Indeed, the Will to Power may now be described in terms of decohering coarse grained histories. Decoherence as well makes "true" chaos irrelevant, emphasizing the fact that chaos as the term is frequently used even today has a theological component.
The way in which we perceive things, these necessary illusions, in the Nietzschean flux is clearly stated in Gell-Mann’s terms
A quasiclassical domain naturally requires histories that are sufficiently coarse-grained to decohere to an excellent approximation;it also requires that they be even further coarse-grained so that what is followed in the histories has enough inertia to resist, to a considerable extent, the fluctuations inevitably associated with what is summed over. There then remain continual small excursions from classical behavior and occasional large ones (Gell-Mann, p. 153).
Coarse-graining becomes an aspect of Nietzschean "local maximization" for the purposes of human perception. "A huge amount of additional coarse graining is required to go from that maximal quasiclasical domain to the domain accessible to actual observation" (Gell-Mann, p. 159). We have to "sum over" a lot and undergo Nietzschean "forgetfulness" in order to have useful, operational perceptions. Because of the nature of our senses we can pick up only a minuscule amount of the information available we depend on our ability to create the "illusion" of coarse-graining. "‘Absolute reality,’ ‘being-in-itself’ a contradiction. In a world of becoming, ‘reality’ is always only a simplification for practical ends, or a deception through the coarseness of organs, or a variation in the tempo of becoming" (WP 580). " ‘Reason,’ evolved on a sensualistic basis, on the prejudices of the senses..." (WP 581). Reason itself is a product of coarse-graining. "Behind all logic ... stands ... physiological demands for a certain type of life" (BGE 3). Our organs of perception are macromolecular, organic, and so our logic is organic and macromolecular. "Reason, as well as Euclidean space, is a mere idiosyncracy of a certain species of animal, and one among many--" (WP 515). In quantum mechanics, our perceptions being confused, so is our "organic" logic confounded, our time, space, and causality altered. Yet why do we insist on beliefs in a priori synthetic judgments, in the Anschauungen, beliefs shaken by quantum? "Such judgments must be believed to be true for the sake of the preservation of creatures like ourselves; though they might ...be false judgments..." (BGE 11). "We have projected the conditions of our preservation as predicates of being in general" (WP 507). Kant’s basic laws of logic, the law of identity and the law of contradiction, are not "forms of knowledge at all! they are regulative articles of belief" (WP 530). "All the presuppositions of mechanistic theory--matter, atom, gravity, pressure and stress--are not "facts-in-themselves" but interpretations with the aid of psychical fictions" (WP 689). And if all thought, judgment, and perceptions are to be considered as comparisons (WP 501), then our coarse organs of perception, trapped in the Anschauungen, have nothing from the quantum world to compare. Having nothing to compare, knowledge is impossible; if knowledge is comparison, Popper is rightthere is no empirical.
We operate only with things that do not exist:lines, planes, bodies, atoms, divisible time spans, divisible spaces. How should explanations be at all possible when we first turn everything into an image, our image....An intellect that could see cause and efect as a continuum and a flux and not, as we do, in terms of an arbitrary division and dismemberment, would repudiate the concept of cause and effect and deny all conditionality (GS 112).
Logic then is a fiction we must accept because
...without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live--that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life (BGE 4).
Thus macromolecular organisms require macromeolcular logic--and the parameters of that macromolecular logic are the Anschauungen, which are cracked apart by quantum mechanics. The Anschauungen are "man standing in the way" (D, V, 438), concealing things. We would not be so surprised or agast at the dismantling of local reality if we had not been coarse-graining the universe in terms of stable entities and a world separated from the observer for the last several thousand years. "Modern men brought up by the necessity of logic...it lies on our palatae as normal taste" (D, V, 544). It does not make much difference at this point whether one is some brand of idealist or a materialist in the fashion of Cyrano de Bergerac and La Mettrie both idealists and materialists believed in the stable entity, solid reality and hidden variables avant la lettre. Hegel magically turned everything into Spirit in the first chapters of his Phenomenology, but he would never have accepted quantum states (would he?). And the scholastics who argued over universals called themselves "realists"!
Gell-Mann’s "complex adaptive systems" may likewise be used to talk about the configurations of the Will to Power. He distinguishes between non-adaptive systems, such as those involved in celestial, galactic phenomena exhibiting behavior described by physical laws, and complex adaptive systems. This is a useful distinction, even though the broader definitions of Nietzsche’s Will to Power as reconfiguration by energy discharge and Michel Serres’ "palimpsests" assimilate both Gell-Mann’s system types. "Complex adaptive systems identify regularities in the data streams they receive and compress those regularities into schemata" (Gell-Mann, p. 276).
Both you and your new dog are complex adaptive systems. Each of you receives a stream of data from the other, seeks regularity in it and alters his behavior accordingly. It is questionable whether you are training your dog or he is training you. If you (or a computer) are dealing with an extremely complex and chaotic data stream, you will seek an order in terms of an algorithm, in terms of algorithmic information content (AIC), which will allow you to compress, reproduce and predict the data stream. The contact of two complex adaptive systems behaves like configurations of the Will to Power--except that Gell-Mann complicates (and enriches) the contact of these configurations by the introduction of the concept of information, an information which Bohm (Hiley and Peat, p. 442) calls the form of meaning. These complex adaptive systems are described in information theoretical terms by Michel Serres in Le Parasite, where informational states (animals, people, geologic formations) interfere with ("eat beside" ) other informational states to create yet other informational states (v. Shannon Plank on Serres’ positive dialectic, 1991). These complex adaptive systems are the nature of the universe, just as are the configurations of the Will to Power,
functioning in such diverse processes as the origin of life on Earth, biological evolution, the behavior of organisms in ecological systems, the operation of the mammalian immune system, learning and thinking in animals..., the evolution of human societies, the behavior of investors in financial markets, and the use of computer software and/or hardware designed to evolve strategies or to make predictions based on past observations (Gell-Mann, p. 17).
The nature of the coarse-grained history, like the Nietzschean illusion, forces us to consider the problem of causality and free will. We recall that Nietzsche’s treatment of free will and causality required interpretation after the fact, that his notion of "reverse causality" required interpreting and positing a cause after the experience of the effect. Nietzsche showed that we are by necessity largely ignorant of causes, given the coarse-graining (in Gell-Mann’s terms) necessary to functioning and perception. Faced with similar questions, Gell-Mann and quantum come to similar conclusions. For example Why do we have the subjective impression of free will?
To say a decision is taken freely means that it is not strictly determined by what has gone before. What is the source of that apparent indeterminacy? A tempting explanation is that it is connected with fundamental indeterminacies, presumably those of quantum mechanics enhanced by classical phenomena such as chaos. A human decision would then have unpredictable features, which could be labeled retrospectively as freely chosen" (Gell-Mann, p. 157).
There is again the connection between Nietzschean perspectivism, reverse causality, free will, and coarse-grained histories.
As I will have occasion to emphasize later, by reducing the scale of observation to the micromoleular, i.e., by analyzing the behavior of sub-atomic particles, we are able to overcome the effects of coarse, macromolecular organs of perception which create and preserve their own logic and coarse-grain the available universe in terms of space and time. That is to say, microanalysis hoodwinks the coarse-graining Anschauungen! Nietzsche was able to do the same thing wihout physics and mathematics, by drawing the extreme conclusions of the rejection of idealism and anthropomorphization. and by positing the universe as the Will to Power.
I will occasionally remark on the macromolecular structure of the sense organs as the origin of questions on perception, concerns particularly appropriate to this discussion of coarse-graining and Nietzsche’s remarks on the "coarseness of organs" (WP 580), and thus on the immediate topic of discrete, unitized structures. Looking for a better understanding of quantum phenomena, Peat briefly discusses discrete structures and the nature of the sense organs in reference to vacuum states, which may be "in fact full of undifferentiated activity" (Hiley and Peat, p. 21). Ditchburn’s work on the human eye revealed that "the eye was in continuous vibration and that this vibration was vital in order to see" (Ibid). "Freezing out" the vibration with a mirror system prevented the eye from seeing anything. (Curare, as used by physicians, paralyzes the eye and produces the same blindness. ) The configuration of the Will to Power called the rabbit knows this and becomes invisible to the eagle by immobility. The complex adaptive system called the hound frustrates the visually adapted rabbit by his keen nose. Movement is required by the eye and is basic to perception. "...if there are no relatively invariant features for the eye to scan, there again nothing will be seen. So ‘nothingness’ does not mean there is nothing there; it could mean simply that there are no features that remain invariant for a sufficient length of time" (Ibid.).
Thus is perception determined by the nature of the structure of the eye and its perceptual requirements, requirements which Nietzsche saw were developed into a system of logic and truth for classical physics and metaphysics. Nietzsche writes of an "optics of life," which, we can readily see, is not a metaphor. "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" That is, how are time, space, and locality a priori possible? "...such judgments must be believed to be true, for the sake of the preservations of creatures like ourselves" (BGE 11). These synthetic a priori should not be possible"We have no right to them...they are...false judgments" (Ibid). But they are necessary "as a foreground belief and visual evidence belonging to the perspective optics of life" (Ibid). "Optics of life" may be understood literally, as consistent with the eye as a macromolecular, cellular organ, operating on light, the speed of which is measurable, represented by "c" in Einstein’s notations. The limitations of the eye may limit our understanding of c. Thus c, which is partly a function of the electrical nature of the organic apparatus of optics, is a physiological statement, bolstered by a logic of mathematics which has the same macromolecular basis. Thus, c is a perspectival constant which prevents us from understanding Bell’s theorem and Aspect’s million year-old photon, and causes physicists to argue about superluminal velocities. "We construct a calculable world based on the physical nature of our perceptions" (WP 521). The nature of our senses "makes the same apparent world appear and has thus acquired the semblance of reality" (Ibid.). Our logic is sensual. "At the end of all knowledge mankind will have come to know--its organs" (D, V, 438).
I would conclude that "Nature" is a holism which the senses can grasp only by breaking it up into pieces., i.e., necessary illusions particles, atoms, beagles, tomcats, film stars, configurations of the Will to Power. We will expand this discussion in following sections, particularly in section 52. It becomes increasingly clear that we may use the same vocabulary to discuss Nietzsche and quantum.
Let us first make several points about why it is even worthwhile to talk about quantum mechanics and Nietzsche in the same context and then state briefly the subjects and problems we must take up in the following sections. (1) We must first provide a definition of quantum mechanics. (2) What does the behavior of the quantum world have to do with the visible, common sense world, i.e., the macromolecular, biological and moral world? Answer At the very least, the nature of perception appears to be connected to the structure of the physical world, a physical world which we do not merely inhabit but of which we are a part and which is a part of us. (3) The holism of the Will to Power and Nietzsche's resolute rejection of the idealist metaphysic finds a surprising consonance in the holism of quantum mechanics' rejection of classical reality. What specific aspects of Nietzsche's thought show this consonancy and what are we to make of this consonancy?
Quantum mechanics, a special attitude toward particle physics, deals with the behavior of subatomic particles, electrons, protons, neutrons, mesons, muons, gluons, photons, etc., all of which are apparently elements of atoms. However, it appears that when they are combined to form atoms and when atoms are combined to form molecules these atoms, molecules and macromolecules no longer comport themselves in the same way as their putative building blocks, the subatomic particles. In fact, the behavior of quantum particles appears to contradict the common sense reality on which all of western thinking is based, not to mention our everyday way of doing business. How can the things of which atoms are made not behave in the way atoms behave? The most direct way of understanding the problems posed by quantum theory is to look at several experiments and phenomena such as wave interference and the double slit experiment, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Planck's constant, Bohr's complemenarity theory, The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox, Bell's theorem, Bohm's quantum potential, etc. It is not necessary to be a mathematician or a physicist to follow the straightforward explanations of Peat (1990), of d'Espagnat (1989) or Penrose (1989) and, moreover, as we go through these problems and their philosophical implications, the reader will have a sense of having already seen these affronts to common sense in the previous efforts to explain Nietzsche's Will to Power.
As a preview of of the conclusions to come and in order to emphasize the simliarity of quantum to the Will to Power, consider that "The possibility of defining ‘properties’ without any resort to counterfactuality is technically known (to epistemologists) as the ‘partial definition’ procedure" (d’Espagnat, in Hiley and Peat, p. 157). The human mind is not prepared (by idealism and by traditional "realism", I would emphasize) to deal in such a fashion. "...without even being aware of the fact, we systematically think in terms of a counter-factually-defined reality" (Ibid. p. 158). We have a great deal of trouble accepting "partial definitions" because "the human mind seems to resort automatically to counterfactual ‘proofs’ which lie at the basis of ‘physical realism’" (Ibid. p. 159). We are in the area of the Will to Powerlet us "entangle" the language of Nietzsche and d’Espagnat and saythe herd-man cannot envisage partial proofs and insists on counter-factual proofshe rejects the flux and indeterminacy for "concrete realities" both material and moral, in which he already believes, which he accepts a priori ! The common man is a Kantian! The states of the Will to Power are "partial definitions" just as are Gell-Mann’s "coarse-grained histories" of the universe! This paragraph should become clearer as we read on. Let us then proceed because things will become clearer.
Long before we get to the end of the discussion of quantum theory, the reader will have a feeling of being on familiar territory. Our problem is to determine why... and any writer with a little sympathy for his reader will state it at the very beginning it is simply that both Nietzsche and the Copenhagen school of quantum theorists have drawn the ultimate consequences of a rejection of the idealist metaphysic, of the Socratic Judaeo-Christian metaphysic. Let us therefore begin to accumulate some terminology which will enable us to think about quantum mechanics, terminology which we will exploit to enlarge our perspective on Nietzsche. I make no claim to providing any historical or biographical view of the development of quantum mechanics, as interesting as that is, but only the aspects of it which will be useful to our disussion.
Imagine throwing two fist-sized rocks into a lake so that they land about ten feet apart. Each one produces concentric circles of waves which approach one another. When they meet, they interfere with one another in a pattern of interference in which the peaks of the waves are reinforced when they coincide, as do the troughs. Peat's image (1989, p.3 ff.) is that of ocean waves approaching a hole in a breakwater, so that the concentric waves come through the hole to produce these concentric circles. When the ocean waves approach a breakwater with two gaps in it, the waves produce a pattern of interference just as the two stones did. When two crests coincide, they reinforce each other to produce a higher crest; when two troughs coincide, they reinforce each other to produce a deeper trough. In between are areas of relative calm. Sound waves behave the same way, producing the acoustic qualities of concert halls which may even be tuned by alteration of the shape and focus of baffles. That light waves produce the same interference may be seen by the double-slit experiment.
19. The double-slit experiment. Imagine a light source beaming radiation through a slit in a piece of cardboard. This slit of light is then allowed to shine on another piece of cardboard in which there are two parallel slits. The light from the single source is then broken into two sources of light, each one radiating out from its slit. The light waves then produce a pattern of inteference much like the two stones thrown in the lake and when the light from the two slits is cast on yet another piece of cardboard we see an alternating pattern of bands of light and shadow. This experiment demonstrates the wave nature of light. But the interest of the experiment has only just appeared. Although light has the demonstrated nature of a wave, it also has the demonstrated nature of a particle, a photon. It is possible with the excitation of the atoms of certain elements to get them to emit one photon. Suppose that in place of the third piece of cardboard on which was projected the inteference pattern of the light, we place a photographic plate to register every photon that comes through the slits, and then we begin to fire single protons through the apparatus. Let us not fire them all rapidly or in a large number, rather we will fire them through the apparatus at the rate of one per minute so they will not get in one another's way and produce the interference pattern. In this way, we can produce the equivalent of throwing a stone into the water and waiting for the concentric waves to subside before we throw in the second stone. If we had time, we could fire one photon every hour for five years--the result would be the same. When we look at the photographic plate which has registered the separate photons, we find that there is an interference pattern just as if we had beamed them all in at the same time!
This is possibly the prime experiment of quantum physics because it forces us to ask the questions that quantum mechanics tries to solve Why do sub-atomic particles not behave like atomic or molecular matter? How can something have an effect on something else when it is not there? What is the nature of cause and effect when the cause is apparently not present to exercise its influence? If something can exercise an influence when it is not there, then what is the possibility of a cosmic holism which has pre-organized the behavior of everything (especially sub-atomic particles) even when they have no contact with one another, much in the manner of Leibnitz's monads, which give the illusion of communication with one another but are really windowless? And if something can have an influence when it is not there, perhaps our conception of what "being there" means is simply at fault. Is our idea of what locality means inappropriate and based on a faulty perception of what it means to be in one place? Therefore is our idea of space merely limited to a naive perception of macromolecular organs of sense perception and a foolish common sense which has been elevated to the status of a metaphysic? What is the nature of space and the relations between points in space which allow these photons or electrons or other quantum particles to behave this way? Are there really points in space or have we just been deceived by Euclidean geometry and Newtonian mechanics? Have we been confused by Newton into thinking that the universe is a well-run mechanism of interrelated parts which have a measureable effect on one another? What is the shape of space and are things really far apart just because we perceive that they are stretched out from one end of the universe to the other? Can something really be in two different places? Can something be at point A when it is supposed to be a point B? What is the nature of time if something can have an apparent influence when it is gone somewhere else? What do distance and locality mean? What is the relation between space and time and does it make any sense to talk about them separately? Are they illusions and interpretations of a parochial and narrow-minded observer who merely sees things the way he thinks he needs to in order to survive? Can a thing really be what it is and what it is not, where it is and where it is not at the same time? What happens to the law of identity and excluded middle in such a case? Is the photon or the electron really something or is it nothing short of an illusion of eggheads? Is the photon merely a product of our measuring devices and do we only perceive what we have decided to measure in the first place? Does measurement create the quantum world? If we create the measuring device to perceive the particle, then what is the relation among us, our instruments, and the particle? Is the quantum world merely an illusion of mathematics? What is the relation of mathematics therefore to the quantum world if it is mathematics which created it in the first place? If mathematics is a creation of human consciousness, what is the relation of human consciousness to the sub-atomic world and to the rest of the universe for that matter? Is human consciousness or the human spirit merely an extension of the matter or the energy of the universe if it is even able to create a coherent proposition which rerflects the nature of that universe? Is human perception conditioned or controlled by the level of particle organization in the universe? Is human reality a phenomenon of one hierarchical level of the organization of universal matter or energy? Are there several different levels of reality, several contiguous universes which do not obey the same rules? Can there be several different but complementary and correct explanations of events, what Shimony has called "entanglement"? What difference does it make to us what the quantum level does? Does it have anything to do with the world we can see? Is reality a question of matter or waves? Is there something faster than the speed of light which would allow these photons and electrons to "know" what they are doing when they create the interference pattern? Are there therefore hidden variables on a sub-sub-atomic level which would allow us to explain a true and basic reality of things, i.e., is there at some level an ultimate substance which would put an end to an eternal regress? Is there a God-particle? This may seem like a great lot of questions to be evoked by one single experiment, but the following will elaborate on some of these questions.