Quantum physics and reality
In this article, I invite you to dive into the strange reality of the infinitely small. I have chosen to present quantum theory from the point of view of the French philosopher of science Michel Bitbol. There are three reasons for this.
First of all, I find that Michel Bitbol’s approach gives meaning to a theory full of paradoxes and in search of coherence. For this reason, and secondly, it creates a bridge with Nassim Haramein’s theory (see the articles on The unified field theory). Thirdly, this approach takes on its full meaning when it is impossible for me to present the quantum theory from Nassim Haramein’s point of view ! Indeed, he thinks that the current quantum theory is irrelevant since subatomic particles are not properly considered.
According to him, the intelligence of a new theory can only emerge with the realization that everything is continuously interacting. And this is where Michel Bitbol’s approach is interesting. Because it shows that looking at phenomena from a relational perspective sheds new light on the supposed quantum paradoxes. Let’s explore this together !
What is quantum theory ?
The following information come from a presentation that Michel Bitbol gave at the Mind and Life Institute in January 2013. First of all, he reminds us that « quantum theory is only a mathematical tool for predicting measurement results with some probabilities » . For this prediction, two things are necessary :
- the initial wave function Ψ (psi), which calculates the probability of a measurement at time 0,
- and an evolution equation of the function Ψ – the Schrödinger’s equation – which allows to calculate this probability at a later time.
This is what quantum theory is, no more, no less : an efficient tool to represent an amplitude of probabilities.
Now, the question is : what does this theory tell us about reality ? In fact, the worldview that goes with quantum theory depends on the interpretation of what the function Ψ represents.
The reality is out there
When we look at the history of quantum physics, three types of answers appear. The first says that Ψ describes reality. As Ψ is a wave function, it follows that reality must be wave-like in nature. That was Erwin Schrodinger’s point of view. The second says that Ψ is not supposed to represent reality. It is just a mathematical tool used to calculate the probability of the presence of particles. And the third is a mixed concept, where Ψ does not fully represent reality. Then the particles are accompanied by a wave that guides their way through the world. This was David Bohm’s point of view.
Michel Bitbol proposes a fourth answer :
« Perhaps quantum theory has revealed to us that nature has no intrinsic nature, perhaps this is THE true revelation of quantum mechanics. This is not a revelation about the nature of nature, but it is a revelation about the fact that perhaps nature has no intrinsic nature. It’s a possibility. » 
Thus, Michel Bitbol invites us to consider particles not as if they had an intrinsic existence, but as if their existence only depended of their relationship.
Phenomena appear dependently
As much as classical physics can work by assuming that bodies have a reality and intrinsic properties – such as mass – this is not the case in quantum physics. In fact, when it was developed at the beginning of the 20th century, physicists naturally tried to apply to it this way of thinking. But it is still a real challenge today. Why ? Because particles in quantum physics have only properties related to an act of observation. Intrinsic properties are replaced by relational characteristics.
This is why Michel Bitbol think the greatest teaching of quantum physics is that things only exist in a dependency relationship. In other words : phenomena appear dependently. This reversal of perspective is also applicable to cosmological objects. And it is very close to the Buddhist teachings, as Dalai Lama said in this presentation : « speaking of independent existence is meaningless. » .
In order to illustrate this concept of information relationship, I propose that we look at the experience of Schrödinger’s cat.
A simple explanation of Schrödinger’s cat experience
« If there is one thing to remember [about quantum mechanics], it’s that the reality of things is in interactions, not in objects. » 
The cat experiment is a thought experiment  conducted by the Austrian physicist, philosopher and scientific theorist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. This virtual experiment consists of enclosing a cat in a box containing a device that kills the animal as soon as it detects the disintegration of a radioactive material. This disintegration has a probability of 1/2 of occurring and, from the outside, it is not possible to know if it takes place or not.
As unexpected as it may be, this experience is quite easily transposable to mine (read My story), through the following correspondence :
- The cat : me
- The box : my apartment, inside which I would have been alone
- The radioactive material : an aneurysm whose existence would have been known
Note that as this aneurysm is located inside my skull, and not on the outside as the material is in relation to the cat, it creates an additional level of information (like a fractal). However, this doesn’t penalize the understanding of the thought experience.
- 1/2 probability of material disintegration : a 1‑in‑2 « chance » that the aneurysm will break
- The detection device : a hemorrhage that would have been fatal
- The outside witness : someone who would have known the previous information, without any way of knowing if the break-up would have happened or not.
When quantum physics catches up with us
These data can be interpreted from two points of view. From the classical point of view, there are only two possibilities : either the aneurysm breaks or it doesn’t. But from the point of view of quantum physics, the fact that the witness has no visibility of what is going on inside my apartment – and a fortiori inside my skull – creates a new concept called superposition.
It is a kind of new possibility in which the aneurysm is considered in its two possible states : to be ruptured and not to be ruptured. In other words, in this state of superposition, the aneurysm is half ruptured and half intact.
In the cat experiment, the radioactive material is half disintegrated and half not disintegrated. According to quantum superposition theory, if we follow the whole chain of events, we come to the strange conclusion that the cat must be half dead and half alive. Which from our point of view is totally absurd. Indeed, we just have to open the box to remove the ambiguity : the cat is either dead or alive.
Morality : we cannot accept for a cat the state of superposition that we could accept for an atom. And for my part, acceptance is even less obvious with regard to my own person than it is with regard to the cat ! Because I didn’t have an experience of thought but a real experience!!
When the information relationship explains everything
However, if we continue our reasoning, we can see a contradiction between these two assertions :
- « before we open the box, the cat is half alive and half dead »
- « once we open the box, the cat is either alive or dead »
But if we think in terms of information instead of « state », the contradiction no longer holds. In fact, as Michel Bitbol points out, « the quantum state » does not express anything about the cat. Rather, it expresses a state of information that comes from the relationship between the cat and us. We simply have more information once we open the box. So, no contradiction, just the relationship between the cat and us that changed the moment we opened the box, saw inside, and accessed a higher level of information.
The alternative route of information
Let’s resume the comparison between my experience and that of the cat. In my case, there were two elements that complicated access to information about my health :
- the lack of knowledge of the presence of the aneurysm,
- and consequently the lack of knowledge of the « aneurysm / breaking / hemorrhage » device, which was locked inside my skull.
However, despite this higher level of complexity, I had two advantages over the cat, so to speak. First, the fact that Madeleine did not need to « open the box » to access the « aneurysm break-up » information. And secondly, the fact that this additional information allowed her to intervene so that the bleeding could be controlled.
These two advantages show on the one hand that direct access to information is possible – with still a bit of practice ! – and does not depend on the fractal level of information under consideration. And on the other hand, they underline Michel Bitbol’s words. For it was the information relationship that was established between Madeleine and me at that time that was crucial.
You can continue your exploration of quantum physics by reading the articles about wave/particle duality and quantum indeterminism and entanglement. Spoiler : they can also be explained simply if approached from a relationship perspective !
Notes and references
 BITBOL Michel. (January 18, 2013). La mécanique quantique : une théorie sans vue sur le monde ? In : Fleurs du dharma, Mind and Life XXVI : Esprit, cerveau et matière, p.5, free translation
 Ibid., free translation
 HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA. (January 18, 2013). Dissiper les propriétés intrinsèques et l’existence intrinsèque, In : Fleurs du dharma, Mind and Life XXVI – Esprit, cerveau et matière, p.11, free translation
 HENRY Marc. (January-February 2011), Interview with Marc Henry, In : Nexus n°72, p.57, free translation
Marc Henry is an engineer, associate researcher at the CNRS, director of the solid state molecular chemistry laboratory and professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Strasbourg (France).
 A thought experiment consists of solving a problem using only the imagination. This is not a demonstration, rather an illustration.