The New Empowerment


As described in The Personal World, the world in which one exists is very different to our current understanding. And we ourselves have a very different relationship to the world also. The truly extraordinary news is the very close connection between the individual and their world. This means we are not helpless bystanders in the affairs of the world. We have been pilots asleep at the wheel.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias tends to happen when a new experience would clash with an expectation. In response, the unconscious mind tends to modify the observation of the event. It alters the content of the observation so that it confirms the expectations, instead of contradicting them.

In confirmation bias the process of observation is biased so that the resulting experience does not jar with the expectations. So what is expected tends to be what is observed. This is a well-known phenomenon. Obviously, in the ordinary world, all this does is produce a rose-tinted view of the world, thinking things turned out how we expected. But in the personal world the situation is very different. It is the biased observation that becomes part of the definition of the physical reality.

Suppose I glance at a billboard, and now it has a tatty banner across it. It says “Continued”, but my unconscious reads it as “Cancelled”. Thus I now live in a different version of the world. And in this version of the personal world the show is probably not going ahead.

The Physics

There is solid physics to support the basic principle, as physicist Saibal Mitra describes in a remarkable thought experiment. His technical paper is Changing the past by forgetting. His protagonist is an AI who can effectively reverse events in his world by deleting an observation from memory. We cannot do that because our brains do not work that way. But the same principle applies when confirmation bias operates. The result is the effective alteration of memory because otherwise the memory would have been different. The cumulative effect can become highly significant.

In quantum theory, it is a great puzzle that each observation results in a change in the quantum state. In other words, observation changes the definition of what is physical. This is the paradoxical ‘collapse dynamics’ in quantum mechanics, the source of the famous ‘measurement problem’. (This is described in detail in later pages.) For a hundred years experts have striven to explain this in terms of physical reality. It does not work.

But it works perfectly in the personal world. In a personal world, a ‘relative world’, change of the quantum state happens automatically on the making of an observation. As described in The Personal World, the reality of each relative world is defined by the observations made. Therefore, when a different observation is made, effectively, a different version of the physical state of the world is the result.

Steering Reality

The extraordinary implication is that we are doing this all the time. Perhaps the simplest implication of all is that positive thinking is absolutely essential for a happy and successful life. Anticipating happiness, health and success, instead of expecting the worst, is vital because either way these are self-fulfilling prophesies. Our expectations are constantly moulding and directing our personal worlds. So if we are not aware of the effect this means that quite unconsciously we are often steering in the wrong direction.

It is not, of course, that the alteration of the observation makes any difference to the physical world. What it does alter is the path you take through the infinite possibilities into the future. Every possible version of the future exists in the quantum universe. It is the domain of all possible worlds. So every possible version of the next moment is a real possibility. When the observation is altered, you wind up in a different version of the next moment, a version in which the events defined by the altered observation actually happened. And thus the biased observation means you wind up in an alternate version of the world.

Placebo

This effect also explains the extraordinary power of placebo. Expectation heals, in the absence of any physical cause. As has been fully established, the sugar-free pill has no physical effect. But it works.

As research has shown, expectation is a vital part of the process. It is the patient’s perception that it is beneficial, rather than any ingredient having an effect. Now we know why. The expectation is a strange attractor in the mechanism of the personal world. This is described in Strange Attractors.

But it is not of course that the expectation changes the realty. Nonetheless, it changes the likely future. This is the part that cannot fit with physics of the ordinary world. But this is a natural phenomenon in the superworld.

And now we know how it works. For any given situation, there is a possible future in which an unlikely but very welcome outcome exists. In this type of world, the confirmation bias means you are more and more likely to arrive in that future. The expectation of a cure becomes a strange attractor in the personal world because the reality gravitates towards this outcome.

The well-documented placebo phenomenon could be considered as a strong indication that the world in which this operates is the personal world. Clearly, there is no conceivable explanation in the ordinary world.

Creative Visualisation

The way expectation gives rise to the placebo effect is explained by the alteration of the likely future because of bias confirmation. Equally, it seems the workings of ‘creative visualisation‘ are explained by the same mechanism. The reality becomes more and more like the induced expectation. So we can steer the path of the personal world a little.

The timeless myth of the wizard is a poetic depiction of real principles that are fully operational in the personal world. We just have to learn how to pull the sword from the stone. The trick is to understand the extraordinary position one holds with respect to one’s world. This is described in Creative Visualisation.