Okay, my daughter and I were just hashing out what “my life has changed” even means: is it your literal life, is it in the everyday, is it in shifts of thinking or awareness (but which of these actually “stick”), what exactly has changed and what qualifies as “life changing”…And on and on. Subtleties too complex (or unfathomable) to actually answer.
Which brings me full circle to quantum physics. Here’s the beauty: every fundamental question we have about life is “too complex (or unfathomable) to answer” in the world of physics too, even by our most illustrious scientists. But the answers they have come up with are actually amazing to consider.
As I told you before, I was never religious, but still I could always feel a rightness about spirituality and a connectedness to others and unconditional love and all those lovely things. I just never liked the rules and regulations, the punishments and rewards, the seeming favouritism or exclusion, the black and white-ness of religion, or conversely, in more encompassing religions like Buddhism, I find the quiet too … I don’t know, quiet? Strangely, quantum physics is maybe as close to understanding/finding religion as I’ve ever been able to get. Why? Okay, I will try and answer that question in as brief and concise a way as possible (for me). And why am I going to even try and answer it? Because, like with every epiphany and miracle, I want to share it with you, even if I risk sounding like an idiot or utterly confusing you with my inability to communicate clearly (my most basic fear: the inability to communicate).
So here I am trying to sum up for you 8 weeks of classes, several intense readings including the wonderful The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, and a few TV shows and movies on the subject. In other words, a) I am no learned expert, and b) the ideas that have been illuminated for me got there through many, slow steps (quantum steps!). Is it a losing game to even try blogging about this? We’ll see. But I do love you guys so much for always humouring me and going along for the ride no matter how rambly, weird, unfun, or unclear I am!
The most amazing thing I learned was that we are all made up of the same fundamental energy at our core. And, as we posted here before, that fundamental energy connects the entire universe (hello, big bang). But we have, through our processes of thinking, created a sense of separateness from each other and our place in the world that has literally caged us inside little thought-boxes, which in turn leads to all the conflict we see in the world around us (imagine if you will 6 billion rigid little thought-boxes ramming up against each other). But by working to free our minds and our rigid sets of rules (whatever those may be), we have a chance to truly see and know ourselves and the universe in ways we never imagined.
This from Gary Zukav in The Dancing Wu Li Masters: “Most of us respond to our environment with a collection of automatic responses that once brought desirable results, usually in childhood. Unfortunately, if the environment that produced the results changes (we grow up) and the responses themselves do not adapt, they become counterproductive. Showing anger, becoming depressed, flattering, crying, and bullying are response patterns appropriate to times often long past. These patterns change only when we are forced to realize that they are no longer productive. Even then change is often painful and slow. The same is true for scientific theories.”
As far back as Einstein, experiments revealed that those wonderful laws of science that we apply to everything could explain most of what happens and how it happens—but not all of it. So the physicists around Einstein’s time, including him (only referencing him because, of course, he’s the most famous), began coming up with formulas that could maybe explain everything. They seemed to find it with a “quantum” explanation of things, but most physicists (including Einstein) hated the quantum model because it led to strange discoveries like this: did you know that in experiments as far back as the early 1900s with sub-atomic “components” (ie photons), the results were determined by the mere fact of the photon being observed? In other words, stuff would act differently depending on who/what was looking and when/where! And also that observed stuff could somehow communicate with related stuff across the world and change that in the exact same way—as if one tiny photon in New York was telepathically communicating with its twin photon in Tokyo! (If you haven’t studied physics—like I hadn’t before this—you have to take my word for this. These are scientifically-based experiments I’m quoting.)
After the shock of that discovery wore off for the scientists, the question had to become, “Well, who/what is the observer then? And why and how can It affect things?” And then every question and experiment after that just confirmed and re-confirmed that we are all a connected “observer”, subconsciously (or consciously) affecting—and determining—our world every second of every day (if you even believe in “time”—but that’s a whole other question). I began to become aware of that rigid cage we’ve each made for ourselves and realized how it is a habit (an uncomfortable/comfortable habit) that has developed over our generations-long stubborn belief that what we see is what is.
Now this is all a huuuuggeee over-simplification, of course, but this is how my life has changed. All those catchphrases that I took for granted as 60’s era hippie love has actually been confirmed for me through the scientific world! It is what it is. We are all one. We can do anything. Build it and they will come. It is a seductive, reassuring, hopeful, empowering “religion” that gives me “proof” of its existence every single day.
And the best part of all this is, each of us can learn to push off our restrictive thinking by simply approaching the world as a child would: open and curious. Open. Curious.
I’ll leave you with another thought from The Dancing Wu Li Masters: “The next time you are awed by something, let the feeling flow freely through you and do not try to “understand” it. You will find that you do understand, but in a way that you will not be able to put into words. You are perceiving intuitively through your right hemisphere.”
PS for those of you who live in the Toronto area, here is a link to the school that hosted the class. The class itself is called Philosophy and Quantum Physics and is offered two or three times a year at the School of Philosophy. The next session starts on April 10th and runs for 10 weeks. It is in a relaxed setting with no exams, tests, reading list, homework, or notebooks!
Deb: This is fascinating and, frankly for me, easy to grasp and believe. I know when you started the Quantum journey I was “WHAT?” but the summary has touched my brain. It makes sense. The idea of all of us being the same is both wonderful and sad at the same time--give us an inch and we’ll wreck it. But the awe statement was the deal breaker for me. Let it freely flow through you and try not to understand it. These are the moments in my life that have transcended me. I want more and this may help!!!! They are the “Let go and let God” moments. And that of course would be God as each of us understands Him. In this instance it would be the God in all of us, each creature on earth. Or the us in God. I use the word God, not to put religion in this but to illustrate what you have said in a term that we have been raised with as humans. We have the power ourselves just by our very existence. Then sadly ... we think. Ironic, isn’t it?