Quantum mysticism refers to a set of metaphysical ideas and associated practices that supposes a consciousness, intelligence, or otherwise mystical component to the experience of existence or reality at the quantum scale.The term originally emerged from the debates between the founders of quantum theory in the early twentieth century as they debated the interpretations and implications of their nascent theories, which would later evolve into quantum mechanics. The essential qualities of the early quantum theory, and the ontological questions that emerged, made the distinction between philosophical and scientific discussion difficult; however, quantum theory developed into a strong scientific theory. Beginning in the 1970s, New Age authors and practitioners began to impute metaphysical ideas into the physics, which eventually led to associated practices and beliefs, many of which can only be subjectively experienced and are unfalsifiable. As a result of this, many of the metaphysical claims and related practices of quantum mysticism have been criticized as being either misinterpretations of quantum mechanics or as pseudoscience.
Beginning in the 1970s, quantum mysticism began to take its own path with Fritjof Capra's book, The Tao of Physics, which explores parallels between quantum physics and principles of Eastern mystery. Following in the 1980s was the book, Quantum Healing, by Deepak Chopra, which explains a theory of mind and body healing using quantum concepts. In 1990, Robert Anton Wilson wrote a book called Quantum Psychology which explains Timothy Leary’s Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness in terms of quantum mysticism. Then, in 1993, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra, was published and went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. The book discusses specific claims of healing, reverse aging, and immortality by adopting a quantum worldview and prescribes specific practices. It sold over two million copies worldwide.
The leading writers in the field were not "crank" New Age authors but highly experienced physicists such as Fritjof Capra, David Bohm, John Wheeler and Paul Davies. These physicists started to interpret quantum theory from an idealist philosophical perspective, that is to say, the concept that mind produces matter. The physics of consciousness is now a major and respected branch of quantum theory.
Serious research in this area is now being done right across the board by many phsyicsts. Bootstrap model, formulated by Geoffrey Chew, started major theoretical interpretations in this area. This was followed on by the work of David Bohm, who had been a student of Einstein. His theory of Implicate order posits the notion that particles are in fact "intelligence gatherers" and that they behave with that of a mind. This theory catapulted the new ideas of quantum theory through the roof and made "quantum mysticism" a major branch Bohm was professor of theoretical physics at London University before his death in 1993 and was a strong advocate of Hinduism, which is based on the notion of mind producing matter. His many books developed this area hugely.
Superstring theory and M-theory continued to develop "quantum mysticism" to a new level with physicists such as Saul-Paul Sirag and others reinterpreting quantum theory. Other scientists including the physicisist Paul Davies whose best-selling The Mind of God became a classic text in this area
Philosophical claims The practices of quantum mysticism are based on corresponding philosophical interpretations and beliefs about the natural world, particularly at the quantum scale. Writers on quantum mysticism have made such claims as:
There is no observer separate from reality. There is no separate reality from the observer. The body is fundamentally made of information and energy and perceived as solid matter. The mind and body are one and the same and are not divisible. Biochemical reactions of the body are a product of awareness. That perception of reality is a learned behavior. That changing thoughts can and do change the body. There is an underlying consciousness or intelligence that connects everyone. Time is a human perception, not a reality.
Practices The practices of quantum mysticism are the application of the specific philosophical claims with the intention to bring about or maintain positive change.
Quantum healing is a practice that involves altering the perception and thoughts of the individual so as to transform the body in a healing and positive way. The practice is based on the tenet that the body exists in undetermined states, as determined by the subjective consciousness of the mind. It is also based on the claim that positive outcomes to health can be achieved through directing the individual's subjective perception of reality.