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**These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"**

Finally, Quantum
Theory does not incorporate gravity. Since gravity is an interaction (albeit
only visible among large bodies), it does require its own quantum of
interaction, the so called “graviton” (a boson of spin 2). Once gravity is
quantized, one can compute the probability of a particle interacting with the
gravitational field: the result is... infinite. The difficulty of quantizing gravity is due
to its self-referential (i.e., non-linear) nature: gravity alters the geometry
of space and time, and that alteration, in turn, affects the behavior of
gravity. The fundamental
differences between Quantum Theory and General Relativity can also be seen
topologically: the universe of Relativity is curved and continuous; the
universe of Quantum Theory is flat and granular. Relativity prescribes that
matter warps the continuum of spacetime, which in turns affects the motion of
matter. Quantum Theory prescribes that matter interacts via quanta of energy in
a flat spacetime. (Even finding a common vocabulary is difficult!) The bridge
between the two views would be to "quantize" spacetime, the relativistic
intermediary between matter and matter: then the two formulations would be
identical. If spacetime warping could be expressed in terms of quanta of
energy, then the two prescriptions would be the same.
Countless
approaches have been proposed to integrate the quantum and the (general)
relativistic views of the world. The two theories
are obviously very different and the excuse that they operate at different
"granularity" levels of nature (Quantum Theory for the very small and
Relativity Theory for the very big) is not very credible. Physicists have
been looking for a theory that explains both, a theory of which both would be
special cases. Unfortunately, applying Quantum Theory to Relativity Theory has
proved unrealistic. The problem is
that they are founded on different "metaphors" of the world.
Relativity Theory binds together space-time and matter. Quantum Theory binds
together matter and the observer (an observer who is supposed to verify the
consequences of binding together matter and the observer who is supposed
to...). Relativity
focuses on how the gravity of massive bodies bends the structure of time and
space and are in turn influenced in their motion by the curvature of
space-time. Quantum Theory focuses on the fuzziness in the life of elementary
particles. If one simply
feeds Schroedinger's equation (how
the world evolves according to Quantum Theory) into Einstein's equation (how the world
evolves according to Relativity Theory) the resulting equation appears to be
meaningless. Basically, we
don’t have a Physics that holds in places where both gravity and quantum
effects are crucial, like at the centers of black holes or during the first
moments of the “Big Bang”. General Relativity
explains motion. Einstein’s equations are
precise. Quantum Theory explains that motion is undefined. Heisenberg’s principle is fuzzy. General
Relativity shows that time is relative. Quantum Theory assumes a universal
watch setting the pace for the universe. “Time” looks completely different in
one theory and in the other, almost as if the two theories used the term “time”
to refer to two different things. Ditto for the
“observer”: Einstein’s observer is
part of the universe and in fact is affected by the universe, whereas Quantum
Theory’s observer has a special status that exempts her from quantum laws (the
quantum universe is divided into particles that are measured and
"observers" who make measurements). Back to the beginning of the chapter "The New Physics" | Back to the index of all chapters |