The Monolithic Formalism

- Schrodinger wave equation
- Matrix Mechanics. Given as the Heisenberg representation.
- Phase Space formulation. Given as the Wigner Distribution Function WDF.
- Dirac Equation. The relativistic version of the Schrodinger equation.
- Path Integral formulation. A procedure developed by Feynman.
- Field Theory Lagrangian. Also called the Lagrangian of the Standard Model.

What The Formalism lacks

The Formalism . . .

- . . . does not contain classical particle trajectories. Instead it only contains a so-called position operator.
- . . . does not contain wave function collapse. It is not merely the case that it does not depict a mechanism for collapse. The Formalism contains no wave function collapse -- at all.
- . . . does not contain observers.
- . . . does not contain or depict any random component. In fact the equations are linear, admit unique solutions, and so they may even be deterministic.
- . . . does not single out a present moment.
- . . . contains no special direction of time. In other words, the equations work in reverse just as well as in "forwards" time.

The Interpretive Chasm

A large gulf exists between the Formalism of Quantum Mechanics, and what human researchers actually measure in lab settings. This gulf is so wide, it has elicited a giant body of written work loosely referred to as the "interpretations of Quantum Mechanics". Human experience of the world is so alien to the Formalism, that it is as if we live in a different world set apart from the quantum world by a large, unbridgeable chasm. This incongruity between the two worlds, I hereby refer to it as the Interpretive Chasm.

Human experience with reality contains . . .

- . . . particle trajectories. We see them regularly in bubble chambers. They are on-demand repeatable. The electron exhibits classical trajectories in magnetic fields, which can be predicted with simple application of Maxwell's equations.
- . . . wave function collapse. Humans can invoke collapse on-demand in many lab settings, and even outside the lab in several common phenomena.
- . . . observers who make measurements. Measurements which effect the outcome of experiment.
- . . . inexplicable un-caused randomness. It has been measured as vacuum fluctuations in van Der Waals' forces and in the Casimir effect. Quantum fluctuations have been observed in ultra-cold cuprates. Whether or not a single radioactive atom will decay is random. Nuclear decay produces random numbers with exquisite randomness. So random that the data produced by them is suitable for cryptography.
- . . . a special present moment that seems more real than the past and future. The Formalism borrows the lack of any "present moment" from Special Relativity, which was folded into the Formalism with the discovery of the Dirac Equation.
- . . . a reliable and constant forward flow of time, with a past that leaves a memory, and a future that is unpredictable. The equations of QFT allow for particles moving "backwards in time" from the future. In some cases, these particles are included in the Path Integral.

The interpretive chasm plays the role as a justification for the interpretations of quantum mechanics. Those interpretations serve as an intellectual bridge between the human world and the quantum world.

The raw, quantitative approach to modern physics is sometimes called Shut-up-and-calculate. Many working physicists eschew a discussion of what The Formalism is depicting about the nature of reality. They see it as idle philosophy, tilting at windmills, or chasing rainbows. However, the actual predictions of the Formalism contrasted with human experience with the world is stark enough to elicit pause. Discussing the ontology of Quantum Mechanics through various interpretations is justified as more than "idle philosophy" or mere rainbow chasing.