A new experiment has been proposed by a theoretical physicist that is intended to determine if the human mind is actually bound by the laws of physics, or if it ignores measurable reality and follows its own rules altogether — and in doing so, indicating that the human mind could very well have the potential to use free will to overcome physics itself.
Lucien Hardy, a theoretical physicist with Canada’s Perimeter Institute, is proposing that a modified version of the "Bell test" be used to conduct this experiment: the Bell test is an experiment designed by physicist John Bell in 1964 to demonstrate possible real-world consequences of quantum entanglement. The test itself involves two entangled particles being sent to two different locations, with the particles being measured at their respective destinations to see if they match. The settings on the measuring devices are randomized to ensure that the person taking the measurement at either location is not aware of the outcome of the other — remember, the act of observation itself would otherwise affect the outcome of the experiment. Historically, the Bell test has supported what is known regarding quantum entanglement theory.
Hardy’s test would modify the Bell test, to see if the measurements between the two points can be controlled by the human mind: basically, if the mind does indeed reside outside of physics as we know it, then it should be able to influence the outcome of the measurements. The concept is based on what the French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes called mind-matter duality, "[where] the mind is outside of regular physics and intervenes on the physical world," according to Hardy.
The experiment itself would employ 100 test subjects, wired to electroencephalogram (EEG) headsets to record their brain activity, with those readings being used to switch the settings on the measuring apparatus at each of the entangled particles’ destinations.
"The radical possibility we wish to investigate is that, when humans are used to decide the settings (rather than various types of random number generators), we might then expect to see a violation of quantum theory in agreement with the relevant Bell inequality," according to Hardy’s proposal.
If the experiment were to provide results that were different than what is traditionally seen in classical Bell tests, this could be new evidence that the human minds involved had violated the rules of quantum physics as we know it, meaning the mind itself is not subject to the rules of physics — and that consciousness itself could possibly transcend physics through free will.
"[If] you only saw a violation of quantum theory when you had systems that might be regarded as conscious, humans or other animals, that would certainly be exciting," continues Hardy. "I can’t imagine a more striking experimental result in physics than that."
"We’d want to debate as to what that meant."