One of the best summaries, I’ve read on quantum mechanics, was written by Nobel Prize winner, John Archibald Wheeler, in which he noted that “we live in a participatory universe”: physics gives rise to observer-participancy, which results in information, which gives rise to physics.

This means that the observer is a participant, just by his/her mere existence…the cat, in Schrodinger’s famous mental conception, is alive or dead, not independent of the observer, as has always been discussed. Rather his/her observing is a factor in the making of the result. The observer participates, whether or not he/she realises that he/she participates.

This agrees with Niels Bohr‘s suggestion to his students, at the end of a life-time of thinking about our quantum reality, that Man is inside the equation, simply by being there. Man is “entangled” in this “participatory universe”.

And so, it follows, as Wheeler asserted, that the “laws” of the functioning of the Universe (physics) make man’s participation in the flow of events – in the observable material reality – a given. And if that is true, then, it follows, that that participation leads to more “creation” (actions by man) which, as Wheeler put it, is new “information” added to the world (the observable reality) which gives rise to (more) physics (more material effects in the Universe).

This is old and new. Old as in: it is inherent in any serious understanding of quantum mechanics. Old, also, as in, physicists, including Wheeler and Bohr, sought, early on, to extend their views beyond the realm of mathematics (the language of physics) to philosophy, and more importantly, to psychology (the understanding of the inner life of – and, in – Man). For many thinkers, it is not a coincidence that the laws of quantum mechanics seem to appear, most clearly, at the minutest of scales, particularly inside the atom, including the atoms in the human body (and brain). And so, in this understanding, our thinking is an active participant in the creation of the observable reality in the Universe - and we actually have no choice regarding that participation. It happens by our mere existence.

This is new (at least, outside the domains of some schools of philosophy), in that, it gives a, literally, cosmic aspect to human thinking, actions, and will. Yet, many would say, this understanding is as old, as many ancient civilisations.