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Article ID: 13941
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Niels Bohr, one of the pioneers in the field of quantum mechanics, once said, “Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not understood it.” The strange things that physics at the quantum level has revealed to us over the past century boggle even the greatest of minds; and yet it is not conjecture, not new-age postulation, but real, hard science.
It is beyond the scope of this article to explain quantum mechanics, but I will summarize here two basic elements.
In laboratory environments, scientists have proven that particles – very small things – have certain bizarre properties. Prior to their having been “observed”, they can exist in more than one place at the same time, and simultaneously exist in more than one state. (Yes, you read that correctly.) It isn’t until someone “observes” the particle that its position and state become locked into “reality” as we know it. It is not that there are multiple copies of the particle, but the exact same individual particle exists in more than one place and in more than one condition of being. That’s the first “bizarre property” that I wished to convey.
The second is something that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance“. Particles that are “entangled” are connected one with another and can remain so over vast distances. If Particle A and Particle B are “entangled” then both “know” everything about the other instantly, no matter how much distance separates them. In other words, they “communicate” and their form of communication takes place instantly, not limited by space and/or time.
To better understand these concepts, I recommend the book Quantum Enigma by physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner. It is written in a manner that makes it approachable by non-physicists and even tells you which sections you can skip if you don’t want to hear all the gory physics and mathematical details.
Quantum physics gives us startling information about the physical world but most physicists dare not venture into speculation about the implications. We ordinary humans, though, have been asking questions about the nature of reality for thousands of years or more, and quantum mechanics has revealed the tip of an iceberg that has shown “reality” to be far more extraordinary than any of us could have previously imagined.
Due to our own limitations (such as in budgetary and energy requirements) humans have only performed quantum experiments on small objects such as single atoms, but we know that larger things (such as cats, trees, boulders, humans, planets, and stars) are made up of those small things. Therefore the implication is that everything in the known universe is subject to the laws of quantum mechanics.
What does it mean to “observe” something from the quantum perspective? The general consensus is that consciousness is required. Whether seen with the naked eye or measured with a scientific instrument, there is a person – a consciousness – behind the action of preparing a test, performing an experiment, and analyzing a result. Science is gradually being forced to admit that consciousness, rather than being a simple result of the chemical and electrical reactions in a brain, is in fact the “cause”, and physical reality, the “effect”.
The laptop upon which I type this article is being “observed” by me. Even when I leave the room, it is still in its state of being observed because I know that it exists. Prior to it coming into my possession, raw materials were harvested, formed into parts, assembled, tested, and shipped. Before this laptop was even considered, its base components existed in an “observed” state. My laptop, therefore, is not likely to be in two places at once or experience “spooky action” with itself.
But the mind wonders at the possible implications of living in a quantum universe. Being heathen, I cannot help but allow my wondering to stray into the realms of the spiritual, the so-called “metaphysical”. For now we understand that there is a sort of “metaphysical” in our natural universe; that place where things have not yet been “observed” by our consciousness.
When something is in two places and/or states at the same time, the scientific term used is “superposition state”. While science has proven the superposition state, it isn’t something that we can see because at the moment we see (“observe”) something it drops out of the superposition state; it “collapses” into a single position and/or state. To quote from Quantum Enigma: “Arguably, the reason we observe only states characterized by unique positions is that we humans are beings who can experience only position (and time) . … We humans seem constructed in this special way.”
I have no idea what the Quantum Enigma authors may personally think of their next statements (they are scientists, after all) , but I will share them with you and then tell you where my heathen mind went with them.
“Is it conceivable that other beings could experience reality differently? Could they possibly directly experience the superposition states whose existence we only infer? To them, an atom simultaneously [two places] would be ‘natural’. That is, after all, the quantum way, presumably Nature’s way. They would therefore experience no … quantum enigma.”
Years ago I was drawn to my layman’s study of quantum mechanics because I was intrigued by a pattern that I saw unfolding before me; that the world’s shamans, mystics, and witches might have been right all along. Without having the slightest inkling that someday men and woman called “scientists” would begin to unlock the doors to strange and mysterious realms, these ancient – and sometimes modern – seekers already knew of those strange other-worlds and had found their own ways of becoming “entangled”. It was that line of thought that led me to restart my study of occultism a few years ago and begin my journey down the pagan path.
As an agnostic, quantum mechanics has shown me something that I can in fact “know”; it has given me a tantalizing glimpse of real metaphysical possibilities. It has built a bridge to places that my skeptical mind resisted going on its own.
What if there are such beings as referenced ever-so-vaguely in Quantum Enigma? Perhaps their entire world is that place of superposition, the place of possibilities not yet manifest. Perhaps they can become “entangled” with us in varying degrees, giving them the ability to influence our “observations” for better or worse. This would not give them power over that which had already been observed, but they might have the ability to subtly mold the outcome of our future observations, our as-of-yet unrevealed realities.
Perhaps these beings are new only to science, but have been known for thousands of years by mystics.
Perhaps they even had a name for them.
Perhaps they called them “gods”.
"Quantum Enigma" by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttne
Copyright: Copyright 2010, Ken Kitchen
Location: Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
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