Tuesday, June 16, 2009


There are countless electrons in the universe, and yet they all have exactly the same mass and charge. Why should all the electrons have exactly the same mass and charge?

Richard Feynman, in his Nobel Lecture , tells us of a telephone conversation with another great physicist, John Wheeler.

As a by-product of this same view, I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, "Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass" "Why?" "Because, they are all the same electron!" And, then he explained on the telephone, "suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space - instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the plane corresponding to a fixed time, we would see many, many world lines and that would represent many electrons, except for one thing. If in one section this is an ordinary electron world line, in the section in which it reversed itself and is coming back from the future we have the wrong sign to the proper time - to the proper four velocities - and that's equivalent to changing the sign of the charge, and, therefore, that part of a path would act like a positron."

From Richard Feynman's Nobel lecture, December 11, 1965

The basic idea is that antimatters (such as positrons) can be regarded as matters (such as electrons) traveling "backwards" in time (e.g. from the future to the past). Then, you can conceive the world-line of a single electron traveling in a zigzag manner from the past to the future, and then from the future to the past, and so on and so on, giving rise to all the electrons and positrons in the universe.

The catch is, as Feynman says, that then there would have to be exactly the same number of positrons as electrons. Actually, the universe as we know it is composed mainly of matters, an asymmetry which has not been properly accounted for yet. Despite this catch, Wheeler's single electron universe is a fascinating idea.

Talking of the mind-brain problem, it appears that despite the superficial differences, we all have basically the same form of consciousness. In that sense, there is only one consciousness, like there appears to be only one electron.

Maybe we can conceive a single consciousness traveling in a zigzag manner like Wheeler's single electron in the space-time. Then, of course, we should have an anticonsciousness, whatever it may be.

That is yet to be found, but who knows?


PS said...

Thanks for writing in English. I hope your books get translated soon.

(ma)gog said...

I wonder if this single physical world itself could be the "Anticonsciousness" or not??

Johan said...

This is a very interesting idea!

Dan Adama said...


Dan Adama said...

Hey this quarter I am taking this philosophy course called Self and Mind, in which we are dealing the with the mind-body problem. We first started reading Sellars, and continued to read Descarte's dualism. In which he brings out the mind-body problem, according to him they are two separate non identical things. But this conceivability thesis along with his spatial argument have been show to be faulty so he hasn't resolve anything. Now, in regard to anti-consciousness, this is something that spontaneously came to me last quarter when I was taking history of western philosophy (I'm a Phil major) in which we were reading Hegel. He says that when you can that you see for example an apple, your sensing IT is the only certainty that you can have of it, not that it is an apple or that it is read or green or that it is rounded, so in other words it has no Qualia, but this sort of truth is a poor and empty truth because all that it tells you about the Thing is that it IS, and nothing more. In this sense that IS is indeterminate, without Qualia, but the fact that it doesn't have Qualia is a sort of Qualia, so a thing an indeterminate determinate. Moreover Hegel says that it's being or it's IS, is indeterminate and it's determinecy is that it is indeterminate. Sorry if this is too abstract I can't think of an easier way to make it clearer, I need to work on that though. The point is that according to him being and nothing are the same thing that both are distinguishable, yet inseparable. So when I was reading this one night all of the sudden it came to be what I called unconsciousness, because what I was reading is from his Phenomenology of Spirit which is the science of consciousness. It came to too, because I was also watching documentaries about dark matter and antimatter and how they are just like matter but in reverse. So it dawn on me what if there are beings made of antimatter, at first I called their consciousness, unconsciousness. And it came to me that this being exist here in this universe but we can't see them the same way we can't see antimatter, and it dawn on me (by now everything is mere speculation, but I like to speculate) that this beings have to be as concert and a life as we are, just in their own anit manner, whatever that is. Moreover, the way I relate this epiphany to the mind-body problem is that the consciousness that we have is only half of the Absolute. The Absolute according to Hegel is the Spirit, I think this spirit has split into two, consciousness and unconsciousness, but using the word unconsciousness is a little mis guiding, and I relatives that anti-consciousness would be a more accurate name. Lastly, I think that all Qualia belongs to these beings, they make our reality as much as we make their reality. Like you said they might be going backwards in time from past to future. There are philosophers that since there is really no way to explain the quality of red or of cold or of hot ect, that it is better to eliminate them, they are called Eliminitivists. The analogy I make is this, consciousness is like an architect, it created a blue print of reality, or a building, it puts it in paper and anti-consciousness is like the constructer, it fills in this blueprint with all sorts of qualities, or in other words it constructs the building with bricks and wood, and paint and all the stuff that goes inside the building. Anyways I have speculating thoughts but this comment has become way to long.