Quantum Measurement as Act of Creation

poster for Pari Center's Longing for Wholeness

This is an excerpt from one of the presentations featured in the Pari Center’s event Longing for Wholeness, in Pari from August 27 to September 3, 2024.

In his rich correspondence with C.G. Jung at some point Pauli makes the following remark:

Now in physics the essential aspect of uniqueness (for which there has never been a place in the physical laws of nature) has manifested itself in an unexpected place. This place is the observation itself, which is unique (or an act of creation, if you will).

In this talk I will discuss Pauli’s remark in the context of the quantum measurement problem, which has been the topic of my tesi di laurea in Milanhalf a century ago and a recurrent obsession of mine ever since. I will claim that, while the quantum measurement problem in a statistical sense can be considered solved, the persistent mystery is the “act of creation” Pauli is hinting at. Does that act of creation have to do with the nature of life?

Shantena Augusto Sabbadini is a physicist, philosopher and a scholar of Chinese classics. As a physicist he worked at the University of Milan on the foundations of quantum physics and at the University of California on the first identification of a black hole. In the 1990s he has been scientific advisor of the Eranos Foundation, an East-West research center founded by C.G. Jung and Olga Froebe-Kapteyn in 1933. From 2017 to 2021 he was the Director of the Pari Center. He is the author of Pilgrimages to Emptiness. Rethinking Reality through Quantum PhysicsTao Te Ching: a guide to the interpretation of the foundational book of Taoism and The Original I Ching or Book of Changes: The Eranos I Ching Project.