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

Roger Penrose is one of those who argues that the right approach to the
integration of Quantum Theory and Relativity Theory is not to be concerned
about the effects of the former on the latter but viceversa. Penrose (like everyone else) is puzzled by the two different, and
incompatible, quantum interpretations of the world. One is due to Schroedinger's equation, which describes how
a wave function evolves in time. This interpretation is deterministic and
provides a continuous history of the world. The other is due to the collapse of
the wave function in the face of a measurement, which entails determining
probabilities of possible outcomes from the squared moduli of amplitudes in the
wave function ("state-vector reduction"). This interpretation is
probabilistic and provides a discontinuous history of the world, because the
system suddenly jumps into a new state. We can use Schroedinger's equation to
determine what is happening at any point in time; but, the moment we try to
actually measure a quantity, we must resort to state-vector reduction in order
to know what has happened. Penrose postulates that these two incompatible views must be reconciled at
a higher level of abstraction by a new theory, and such a theory must be based
on Relativity Theory. Such a theory, which he calls "quantum
gravity", would also rid Physics of the numerous infinites that plague it
today. It should also be time-asymmetrical, predicting a privileged direction
in time, just like the second law of Thermodynamics does. Finally, in order to
preserve free will, it would contain a non-algorithmic element, which means
that the future would not be computable from the present. Penrose even believes
that Quantum Gravity will explain consciousness. Back to the beginning of the chapter "The New Physics" | Back to the index of all chapters |