ed words, whose one face is weak and whose other is strong,nand a reasonably rule-governed way of using them.nIn the Oriental martial arts there is a fine practicalnvocabulary of concepts for dealing with such matters. Ankarate expert will view his opponent with “soft eyes,”nmeaning that the attention is global rather than concentrated,nand will achieve by this a decisive edge in speed over thenopponent. But the martial arts vocabulary does not easilynlend itself to philosophical speculation; and this essay is ankind of game or fiction in speculative philosophy. We cannfind in contemporary theoretical physics perhaps a morenexactly defined set of terms: specifically, in John ArchibaldnWheeler’s notion of the strong and weak anthropic principles.nWhat this essay will do is explore some of thenimplications of the anthropic principle(s) for a subject that,nwe will see, is in its essence bound up with time asymmetry: .nthe nature of angels.nA simple experime;nt will illustrate one of the mostnmysterious phenomena in quantum mechanics. Take twonpolaroid sunglass lenses and hold them against the light, onenbehind the other. If they are aligned so that their axes ofnpolarization are parallel with each other, the two lensesntogether will let almost as much light through as one lensnalone. But if you rotate one lens so that the axes ofnpolarization are at an angle, the amount of light gettingnthrough will diminish until, when the lenses are at 90° toneach other, no light gets through at all. A sunglass lensncannot bend the polarization of the light; all it can do is stopnlight that is vibrating in a north-south direction, say, and letnlight through that is vibrating in an east-west direction. Thusnit makes perfect sense that the two lenses should togethernstop all the light, since all the directions in which light couldnvibrate involve some combination of north-south and eastwest.nThe mystery appears if we place a third lens at about 45°nbetween the two lenses that have already been set at 90° toneach other. Common sense would suggest that to do sonwould be a little superfluous, because all the light hasnalready been stopped, and total darkness cannot be furtherndarkened. What actually happens, though, is this: light nownstarts passing through the three lenses, when it could notnpass through two!nWhat does this mean? Quantum physics offers variousnexplanations, all of which involve some deep and beautifulnviolation of common sense. One goes like this: a wave (ornparticle) of light before it reaches the lenses does notn”know” what its polarization is, and the first lens forces thenlight to “make up its mind.” However, it only has to makenup its mind about one of the axes of polarization, not anynothers. If the second lens it hits absolutely excludes what thenfirst lens absolutely permitted (90°) then all light is stopped.nThis is proved by the fact that if the 45° lens is placed onneither side of the pair of opposite lenses, and not betweennthem, it cannot alleviate the darkness, because thenunmediated contradiction still exists. But if the middle lensnis at 45° to the others the light gets to make up its mindnagain, and by the time it reaches the third lens it hasn”forgotten” about the “decision” it was forced to make atnthe first lens; the light coming through the second lens is justnlight that has been through a northeast-southwest filter, andnthat is all it is. The third lens does not absolutely contradictn22/CHRONICLESnnnthe second, and thus about ‘A of the original light getsnthrough.nBut something very peculiar has happened to the naturenof time in this account. Events and objects are constitutednby the information that they exchange with other events andnobjects and with themselves; and the means ,by which thatninformation gets exchanged are, as forms of light, subject tonquantum uncertainty. Which means that when the light thatntells us of events in the filament of a light bulb, or on thensurface of the sun, is forced to declare the orientation of itsnvibration, then the nature of the light bulb and of the sunnbecomes retroactively a little more definite. Reality is, whennunobserved, only approximate in its nature: it is a probabilitynfunction or “wave function” specifying a number of possiblenstates which it might assume if challenged, at which time thenpacket of uncertainty that constitutes a particle before it isnmeasured is “collapsed” — forced retroactively to make upnits mind. Why “retroactively”? Because light, and any othernform of information, is limited in the speed of its propagation,nand anything we observe is already in the past of thenobserving age.nReality, then, depends partly on how we measure it. Thentwo-lens system asks a different question of the worldnthan the three-lens system, and thus the answer we get isndifferent, and thus the reality of which we asked thenquestion, and which is already in the past, must be different.nEvents do not occur in and of themselves, but exist in a kindnof partnership with their observers. The “mighty world ofneye and ear,” as Wordsworth puts it, is made up of “what wenhalf perceive, and half create.”nNow this idea can be, and has often been, misinterpretednby those who through wishful thinking, or malicious mischiefnagainst the noble and simple authority of science, or anpreference for the moral excitement of their own opinionnover what is demonstrable, desire to discredit the possibilitynof reasonably sure knowledge. Hence the conclusion thatnsome critics have drawn from a superficial study of quantumntheory, that nature is incoherent, and dependent upon thenideological views of scientists, which in turn reflect thenpolitical system and its entrenched power and privilege, etc.nAnd thus such abominations as “Jewish science” in the 30’snand “feminist science” now. The fallacy lies in the fact thatnthe “observing” and “measuring” that collapses the wavenfunction can be performed by other entities than humannbeings. A rock can collapse a photon’s wave function, too,nand the universe had a definite being, though a simpler andncruder one, before human beings evolved. Thus the universenhas been continually and cumulatively “making up itsnmind” through a consensus of exchange of information forn15 billion years. We are now an increasingly important partnof that consensus, but as Lysenko learned when hisnCommunist wheat died in Siberia, politics cannot resist ansufiEciently negative vote by the inanimate public of thenuniverse. By the time we observe most things that are largernthan subatomic particles, they are already part of a healthy,nfunctioning, mutually-supporting reality system, to be alterednonly if we know the fault lines of its construction andnhave the technology to pry them apart.nLet us revise our earlier formula about the partnership ofnevents and their observers, and say that events and objects atn