Quantum Mechanics, Plato’s Cave and the Blind Piranha

Quantum Mechanics, Plato’s Cave and the Blind Piranha

What does this poor creature have to do with quantum mechanics? And yet a century after its invention, physicists and philosophers cannot agree on what quantum mechanics means. Ignoring the oddness of quantum mechanics, they simply apply it to accomplish various tasks, such as predicting new particles or building more powerful computers. In his classic 1987 work Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Bell chides physicists who apply quantum mechanics while blithely disregarding its “fundamental obscurity”; he calls them “sleepwalkers.” But Bell acknowledges that efforts to “interpret” quantum mechanics so that it makes sense have failed. See my recent chat with Russian writer/artist Nikita Petrov, in which we talk about the blind piranha, Plato’s cave and psychedelics.

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