Quantum Expands Causality


Having a notion of when something causes something else is paramount. We have evolved some subtle notions since Shamanism (or David Hume).

Two things struck me:

  1. a) The paucity of the imagination of many pillars of intellect. In 2008, there was a huge spike in the price of crude oil, followed by an equally impressive crash.

What caused it? Nobody in the economic establishment had a public answer. However, I had an obvious one: crude oil futures, a type of financial derivatives which can be manipulated, thanks to the gigantic leverage in the futures’ market.

Through a psychological mechanism I explained at the time, the price of real crude oil  spiked up (as a consequence of the spike in the futures; something similar just happened). Paul Krugman obstinately denied, loud and clear that this could ever happen, because he stridently proclaimed, he saw NO causal link between futures and the price of the underlying commodity. (Thus, according to Krugman, oil futures are OK, whereas I see them as a plague, waste, blot on humanity, and a major prop for plutocracy.)

From my point of view, Krugman was not smart: he just looked in his little corner of economy he knew, and not the big picture. (Please don’t tell he was friendly from some crude oil future guy, that would be so crude, besides being the correct explanation.)

In general, correct reasoning and causality means looking at the wholeness of the spatially implicated order.

Do we have a physical model for this? Yes, Quantum Physics.

  1. b) Many thinkers claimed, especially generations ago, that Quantum Physics destroyed causality. The exact opposite is true: the Quantum has expanded the notion of causality (to the implicate order).



Old fashion causality involves forces. A force points from a point to another point (it’s called a “vector”; forces actually gave the mathematical concept of vector).

However, there are no points in Quantum Physics.

(That there are points in Quantum Field Theory is a problem: string theory tried to get around it. That was perhaps its main motivation.)

But before I get to the Quantum, let me explain my philosophical concept of causality.

What’s causality? An event A is said to cause an event B if whenever A occurs, so does B, and a logos, a discourse, goes from A to B. (That logos is, in precise science, an evolution equation and its attached notions).

Thus one needs a definition of A, B, and of the implication itself. All come from statistic ensembles. (I am saying that probabilities are hidden in plain sight in classical mechanics and arguments; they are not something reserved to Quantum Physics.)

Does that mean all causality arise directly from statistics, and only from statistics? Not really: a differential equation E predicts (if well behaved!) the evolution of a system S. Then knowing S(t) one can get S(t+1). In this case one says that the initial conditions S(t), plus the law E, cause S(t+1).

Some make a big deal that equation of physics are reversible, they see that as indication of time travel, or something weird. However, whether the equation E is time reversible, or not, is irrelevant: one plugs in (t+1), not (t-1).

Differential equations or, more generally, evolution equations, are all over physics and nature. Those who declare something as strange as “causation has disappeared from physics” should come up, with just one example of physics without an evolution equation. It will not be found, as physics is about predicting the future. (Better than predicting the past as all too many do.)


The Quantum, some who know it all too little, was said to have destroyed causality.

In truth, Quantum Physics is all about Non-Commutative Geometry (and not just in Alain Connes’ restricted sense; this is the main argument for Super Symmetry). In clear language; no more points. Then old fashion, point to point causality does not apply.

In Quantum Physics, is waves writ large. Quantum guidance is all about waves. According to De Broglie’s Wave Principle, all and any particle is guided by a wave. Yes, that would be true even for trucks. It was recently confirmed at a larger scale than atoms and molecules.

Hitting a wave with another wave is messy. Causal, but messy. Thus causality in Quantum Physics tends to be probabilistic.

Models of De Broglie’s Pilot Wave theory have recently appeared in labs (starting in Paris, where De Broglie’s ideas long pursued a subterranean existence; after all, De Broglie, who lived to nearly 100, was Perpetual Secretary of the Academie des Sciences). Even in the good old USA, these ideas are gaining traction:


The wave guiding proceeds at a speed much higher than the speed of light (at least 10^10 c). Call it TAU. Thus any Quantum Process embraces the totality of accessible space. Moreover that space is a Hilbert space (not just 3 dimensional space).

This means that the causality (the set of causes) in any Quantum process involves not just a Cauchy data set, the classical way, and an evolution equation (Schrodinger, Dirac, Klein-Gordon, etc., but an entire space “visualized” by the Pilot Wave at speed TAU (> 10^10).

Notice that many of the preceding is not part of the conceptology of those who claim that Quantum Physics is not causal. Most of them probably do not know what a Hilbert space is (that the Pilot Wave proceeds in a Hilbert was an early objection against it; it’s as intelligent as protesting that the sky is blue).

Once all the ingredients are in, including CAUSAL SPACE, Quantum Physics is completely causal. Conceptually speaking.


Those who are elaborating, as we speak, Quantum Computers are trying to make Quantum Physics so incredibly causal, that it will be able to easily make CAUSAL relationships that traditional classical computers cannot do (and cannot check!). One has to understand that classical computers work, indeed, according to classical mechanics. They are glorified water clocks (with electrons flowing).

The Quantum Computer will convince the Commons that Quantum Physics is more causal than pathetically precise classical physics. Ultra pathetic precision leads classical physics to arbitrarily large errors. Whereas computing with waves is forgiving, hence more precise in the long run.

Time to get causal in the wavy way, people, embracing wholeness and the implicate (spatial) order famed physicist David Bohm was speaking (more or less) about. The real truth is going to be even more subtle (to simplify this essay, I neglected Quantum Entanglement).

Conclusion? Whenever there is a logic, there is a context, and the logic implicates the context. This is true in pure logic (from introspection, and writing logic down), but also in the Quantum world (from experimenting in the real world).

Logic without context is nothing. Physics without space is nothing. Nature without the implicate spatial order is nothing either. Thinking globally is the only thinking there is.

Patrice Ayme’


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15 Responses to “Quantum Expands Causality”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    I will extend causality in your direction by wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Paul! To you too. We have been missing you in these pages. Methinks I should write a book, but so little time, I can only write essays. “Plutocracy In the 21st Century”.
      And last time I (co) wrote a book, to help Obama get elected, although no doubt influential, the way things turned out left a bitter depression behind. Well, as long as one can cause…
      Happy New year!

  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    Dear Patrice,

    “wholeness of the spatially implicated order” – from this I assume you follow David Bohm?

    As for the reversibility of physics, my view goes like this. I can measure the kinetic energy of something (at least in principle – I do not need a lot of rotten vegetables to be thrown at me to test my skill 🙂 ). Now from the kinetic energy, I can get the velocity, but mathematically, I get two – a plus or minus one. I merely discard the minus one, on the principle that the particle can only go in one direction at the same time.

    Interesting that you follow the pilot wave interpretation. As you may have guessed, I follow something similar, that I call a Guidance Wave. It is different from a pilot wave in that in order to make particles follow a diffraction pattern, I argue it has to have a phase velocity equal to that of the particle, which means it also carries energy. It is also relevant only when the wave is real, from which we get the Uncertainty Principle and the Exclusion Principle. I know this concept will be considered at best as eccentric by many, but there we have it. I must put something about that on my blog too.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Following David Bohm I do not. I don’t even follow De Broglie (whom Bohm was following). True, I used the word “order” instead of space, and that came from Bohm, yet, it’s to distinguish it from “space”, which I really wanted to use, but for the fact people immediately think 3D or 4D…
      Velocity v is less important than momentum p. P is absolute in a sense. V stagnates when approaching c. E= ppcc + mcc.

      What makes physics irreversible is the arrow of time. The later is automatic in Quantum Physics, as time is viewed as a one parameter group of transformation.

      My idea for piloting with wave is non-linearity. Although guided by the linear part, I view the wave as non linear, and do away with the notion of particle during the process. Huge difference with Einstein (and probably De Broglie). That’s how I get Dark Matter.

      BTW, I found, or rediscovered, the following I did not know (although I say all the time Poincare’ did E=mcc first):

      Einstein confirmed in 1906 that the inertia of electromagnetic energy is a necessary condition for the center-of-mass theorem to hold. On this occasion, Einstein referred to Poincaré’s 1900 paper and wrote:

      “Although the merely formal considerations, which we will need for the proof, are already mostly contained in a work by H. Poincaré, for the sake of clarity I will not rely on that work…”

      I will just cut and paste the “formality”, and hide my source, says Einstein?

      • ianmillerblog Says:

        What struck me with the connection to Bohm was that Bohm wrote a book called “Wholeness and the implicate order” in which everything is linked and non-local.

        Mi, I believe v is more significant. I don’t like taking the square root of mass from the kinetic energy. Note E= ppcc + mcc is not dimensionally valid as written.

        As for Einstein, his paper “On the electrodynamics of bodies in motion” (technically, the title was in German) was not exactly overloaded with references!

        • gmax Says:

          Einstein “hid his sources” he said so himself, that was quoting him.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Indeed. If Riemann was 9 Richter, Aristarchus was 10, Poincare’ at least 8, De Broglie may be 8 too (time will tell), and Einstein 6. (Or maybe more, mostly because of… EPR? But then that involves Popper)

  3. Chris Snuggs Says:

    What’s causality? Event A is said to cause Event B if whenever A occurs, so does B, and a logos, a discourse (~ equation), goes from A to B.

    Chris Snuggs “Event A is said to cause Event B if whenever A occurs”

    Is this true? You don’t ALWAYS die if you get ebola …..

  4. johsh Says:

    classical physics explained some nice causalities, looking forward to what quantum physics (or computer) can reveal. We haven’t seen too many (any ?) practical applications of quantum stuff.

    may be there will be something more fundamental than quantum in the future, and causality expands again ?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Applications from pure Quantum Physics are coming, in many domains. They are also penetrating theory, from solid state to biology. The metamorphosis has a high probability of happening in the next few years.

      I have been thinking (nearly) all my life on how to extend, explain Quantum Physics. Here too, things are moving. It will make Quantum “weirdness” something desirable and obvious.

      In classical mechanics determinism depends upon an evolution equation and Cauchy Data. In Quantum, one has to add a space to that. So Quantum takes context into account in a way classical does not.

      In the essay, I did not wax lyrical on Entanglement. But that clearly extends space beyond Relativity’s causal light cone.

      • johsh Says:

        that wired website link certainly helped me understand quantum pilot wave stuff little better. It resonated with me more than the probabilistic quantum stuff.

        I can imagine there is some-underlying force connected through out all space…like fluid. The entanglement has to be related to that somehow.

        what percent of a certain causality is due to space…5% ? Its hard to imagine the other end of the universe has anything more than .0001% influence on causality in here.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Well… Remember my argument about inertia? That seems to me a prime candidate for a global entanglement effect.
          Right now, people look at entanglement of degree one, so to speak… And even that is controversial!

  5. Alex Jones Says:

    Indeterminate events i.e. those that happen accidentally or randomly with no cause can also happen, especially if a system is highly disordered or chaotic.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Alex: This is the old view, held for centuries. Determining when disorder occur is not easy. Computers use “Monte Carlo” to create apparent disorder. Fractals have shown that apparent disorder can be caused by definite order. “Chaos” has become a mystery.

      In the Tokomak Fusion Reactors, chaos in the plasma is the number one problem. So, also old, the problem is crucial. In hypersonic flight, chaos can’t be computed. We will need QC or something.

      “Chaos”, or even randomness, has to be banned from the Quantum Computer.

      The open problem is whether chaos can be created at a distance, through Quantum Entanglement. This is what Quantum Theory says. Quantum correction codes ought to be able to handle this (they are being developed).

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