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Rationality of the paranormal, an essay on seeming contradictions.


The related concepts of probability and information refer to the interplay of reality and representation; in cybernetics coding impresses organization and decoding expresses knowledge, the twin faces of Aristotle's information.

Psychokinesis is elementary level coding. Why knowledge is normal and psychokinesis is paranormal stems from "the second law," which is a jurisprudence. "Lawlike reversibility and factlike irreversibility" are synthetically expressed as "the information-negentrophy equivalence" where the change rate is Boltzmann's very small factor.

Born's recipes for handling probability in quantum mechanics amount to defining a wavelike telegraphing of information with a built-in "nonseparability" and an "impressionistic" style representation of reality. It is argued that "phase decoherence in measurement" amounts to discarding the paranormal.


The formalism of physics does not forbid but strongly represses the paranormal. The lawlike reversibility and factlike irreversibility between efficient and final cause, retarded and advanced actions, is rendered by Aristotle's and Bayes' twin-faced information concept, knowledge versus organization, decoding versus coding. Elementary level coding is psychokinesis. So probability reciprocally ties reality and representation.

The quantal wavelike probability scheme "veils" reality in the [PSI] representation. Prepared and measured (emitted and received) representations, telegraphed through spacetime, interfere via the transition amplitude that correlates them. Whence the phenomenology termed non-separability.

The physicist, actively "decohering the phases" in measurement (retroparation says Hoekzema) realizes an empirical reality that is the semblance of a traditional reality. Our claim is that "the paranormal" is thus excluded.

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) correlations are exemplary of nonseparability. The reversible transition amplitude correlating two distant measurements formalizes a zigzagging telegraphing of information. In association with psychokinesis this allows faster than light (and also back in time) signaling.


An everyday experience, can be turned into an experimental test meeting the criteria of positivistic science. For example, I can decide for myself, and openly tell you, "In 10 seconds I will point my finger to you"--and do it, and you see it. We had agreed upon the test; its result was predicted; both of us have observed it. What more can I ask?

If a dedicated materialist insists that free will is an illusion and consciousness an "epiphenomenon," such sophisticated speculation is science fiction. Morever, the claim is refutable on its own "grounds"--controlling one's thoughts can monitor an electroencephalogram; if an amplifier is inserted, external effects can be generated without any body motion.

Descartes (1) had written in 1648: "That the soul does move the body is testified by a daily evidence. This it does by means entirely different from how a body moves another body." Descartes (let it be recalled) had given thoughts to how a body moves another body--he had taken part in the elucidation of the conservation laws of mechanics.

Eccles (2) has cast these views in professional terms involving neurophysiology, probability, and quantum mechanics. At a meeting of the Academie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences I said to him, "Sir John, what you are saying is that we move our body by psychokinesis," and he agreed.

Bayes' Theorem and Aristotle's Efficient-Final Cause Symmetry

Bayes' Theorem states: The joint probability of two correlated occurrences A and C equals the conditional probability of A if C times the prior probability of C or inversely the conditional probability of C if A times the prior probability of A. An A [??] C symmetry is thus stated both grammatically and mathemetically.

In physics, symmetry of a statistical correlation expresses action-reaction or efficient-final cause reciprocity depending on whether it is spacelike or timelike. In the latter case nineteenth century thinkers voiced two objections, "How on earth could a 'not yet existing cause' produce an effect now?" And "How could a mere idea generate a fact?" Aristotle made neither. To him information was twofold--as it is now in cybernetics, where organization is impressed in coding and knowledge expressed from decoding.

The first objection is refuted by the relativity theory where the concepts of existing and of now are dissociate; reality, or rather, the representation of reality, is extended over time as it is over space. So final cause may well reside "up there." A hydrodynamical metaphor may help make the point, by likening efficient cause to pressure from sources upstream and final cause to suction from sinks downstream. Euler's variational calculus anticipated this, by using a time extended "action" integral. Also Boltzmann's (3) discussion of irreversibility treats matter as time extended.

Any version of relativistic statistical physics models an information transmitting--also causation transmitting--telegraph. Reality and representation do interplay back and forth in emission (preparation, coding) and reception (measurement, decoding).

Fixing the initial prior, called by Mehlberg (4) blind statistical prediction, pictures retarded causation and fixing the final prior, blind statistical retrodiction, pictures advanced causation.

Lawlike Reversibility and Factlike Irreversibility

Lawlike reversibility is in fact tempered: blind statistical prediction is of much more general use than blind statistical retrodiction -among exceptions there is the Heisenberg microscope. As a corollary, retarded causation is much more generally observed than advanced causation.

Elementary level organization is psychokinesis--usually recondite, hidden in the physiology of a preparing physicist or coding cyberneticist. However it does trigger a big amplifying procedure borrowing negentropy from the "universal cascade."

Discarding the neurophysiological and sociological (significant) parts of the problem the physicist states the following: The negentropy-information equivalence law N/I = klog2 formalizes the lawlike-reversibility-and-factlike-irreversibility.

The extreme smallness of the conversion factor klog2 [approximately equal to] [10.sup.-16] from negentropy to information stems from the phenomenological origin of the temperature unit. While the natural information unit is the bit the temperature unit was chosen as "practical" -this reflecting much of our "existential" status.

Making short a long story : It so happens that the universal constant R present in the law of perfect gases pv = RT is figured by a medium sized number (T denotes the "absolute temperature," p and v the pressure and volume of a mole of gas). One could have R = 1 with the dimension zero by definition of T read on a perfect gas thermometer.

Avogadro's conjecture that molecules are real entails that (for N denoting some a priori very big number and by setting k = R/N) the equation pv = kT must hold in the mean for one molecule. As "in the mean" means "probably information thus stepped into physics." Later Boltzmann likened entropy to lack of information (of knowledge and of control) over the tiny molecules. The equivalence formula then follows.

Measured by various methods N came out as very large and k = R/N as very small:

klog 2 [approximately equal to] 10-16: the change rate from information to negentropy is exorbitant. Knowledge is so cheap that it had long been held costless; and organization is so extremely expensive that the doctrine of "epiphenomenal consciousness" declared free will an illusion. So: gain in knowledge is normal and psychokinesis paranormal.

The classics knew well that "a measurement perturbs a system." For example, a thermometer plunged in a bath retrotells not the bath's previous temperature, but tells the (slightly modified) one it has now. But looking at a thermometer is one more interaction; does it "perturb the reading?" Strictly speaking it must--by the same token.

A physical measurement thus is not a passive recording; no less than the preparation it is an active intervention of the physicist. It jiggles Bayes' final prior. Its retrodiction thus is a retroaction. So Hoekzema (5) calls it a retroparation.

Can the minute psychokinetic that triggers the whole procedure be amplified so that, via an appropriate psychological training, one can influence reality by looking at it? That is a question.

Real Molecules Turned into Smoky Dragons

The union of de Broglie's wave mechanics and of Born's wavelike probability calculus gives birth to a spacetime telegraph transmitting causation by means of information. Reality -the particle- is thus veiled in Dirac's wave representation |[PSI]> -an "impressionistic style" representation indeed.

The wave's intensity being likened to the particle's probability (of manifestation), partial or independent amplitudes (not probabilities) are respectively added and multiplied. Squaring a transition amplitude to get a transition probability produces cross terms radically alien to the classical probability doctrine whence what d'Espagnat's (7) calls "veiled reality"--and the "paradoxical" phenomenology named nonseparability.

Dirac's transition amplitudes between representations emitted or received (prepared or measured) interfere a la Fresnel. This interference is telegraphed (8) in a Lorentzinvariant and reversible * (CPT-invariant) way. For example, a photon flying between two linear polarizers is neither in the coded nor in the decoded signal.

Complementarity entails that the coded and decoded signals are truncated -Picasso style. So the signal flying on the wave differs extremely from a "real molecule;" Wheeler (9) likens it to a "smoky dragon" living in the complex plane. By Hermitian reversibility of a transition amplitude (replacing Bayesian reversibility of a transition probability) the retrodictive and retroactive aspects of decoding (measuring, retroparing) are made all the more radical. Wheeler names this the "delayed choice" effect -which I (10) had been briefly discussed before.

Pre- and retropararation thus are two reciprocal active interventions by which the physicist draws the dragon down from the complex plane on the real axis -by "decohering the phases." The dragon's remains consist of prepared and a retropared truncated representations--the semblance of a "classical" reality.

The claim here is that what is lost by "decoherence" is the "paranormal."

Faster Than Light or Back in Time Signalling Via EPR Plus Psychokinesis

At the 1927 Solvay Conference (a quasi official promotion of The New Quantum Mechanics), and again in 1935 when cosigning the EPR paper, Einstein emphatically refused that a quantum measurement be a retroparation. He insisted that if a correlation exists between the results of two distant measurements--say on particles issuing from a common preparation-it preexisted, explicating a prepared one.

This has been disproved experimentally. The wavelike interference terms do show up in the transition probability that "correlates" two distant measurements at A and C following a preparation at B.

Paired particles, questioned arbitrarily and independently, answer yes or no in the insolent manner of true twins telegraphing to each other via their common birth. This has caused much speculation.

The tersest explanation, read literally (8) on the transition amplitude, is : zigzagging causation via the past.

One more step forward is proposed here : Associate psychokinesis with an EPR correlation. Explicitly postulated in the formulas psychokinesis is testable; (6) so why not combine it with an EPR correlation?

For example a low intensity laser beam could be divided equally by a semi-reflecting plate B, and each partial beam received in a photon-counter, A or C (this is an EPR correlation, as any photon's choice at B respects Born's recipe).

An "agent" operating at A will bias, by controlling the final priors, either up or down the number of photons received per time unit ; correlatively, the number of photons detected at C will be diminished or augmented (the assumption is, of course, that retroaction does not go further back than the plate, which can be tested).

If the AC separation is spacelike this is faster than light signalling; if it is past timelike it is back in time signalling, which is acceptable, according to experiments by Schmidt. (6)


(1.) Descartes, R. (1971-1974). Correspondence. In A. Adam and P. Tannery (Eds.). Paris :Vin 5, Letter 525.

(2.) Eccles, J. (1986). Proc. Roy. Soc., 22(B), 411.

(3.) Boltzmann, L. (1964). Lectures on gas theory. (S. Bush, Trans.).Univ. California Press.

(4.) Mehlberg, H. (1961). Physical Laws and the Time Arrow. In H. Feigl and G. Maxwell (Eds.), Current Issues in the Philosophy of Science (pp. 1051-1138). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

(5.) Hoekzema, D. J. (1992). Found. Phys., 22, 487.

(6.) Dean, R. (1999). The conscious universe. New York: Harper Collins

(7.) d'Espagnat, B. (1995). Veiled reality. New York: Addison-Wesley.

(8.) de Beauregard, O. C. (1983). Phys. Rev. Lett., 50, 867.

(9.) Miller, W. A. and Wheeler, J. A. (1983). Delayed Choice Experiments. In Procedures of the International Symposium. S. Kamefuchi et al (Eds.), Foundations of quantum mechanics in the light of new technology. Phys. Soc. Japan Tokyo.

(10.) de Beauregard, O. C. (1953). C.R. Acad. Sci., 282, 1251..

* Spacetime symmetry PT amounts to exchanging emission of a particle and absorbtion or an antiparticle (or vice versa), an operation labeled C. Whence Theorem: PT=C or, [C.sup.2] = 1, CPT=1. (CPT)

O. Costa de Beauregard

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Title Annotation:News & Views
Author:Costa de Beauregard, O.
Publication:Frontier Perspectives
Date:Mar 22, 2000
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