Posts Tagged ‘schrodinger’

Wow! What a rush! That was a cool head-banging party! Some readers wrote to me saying they need a hangover drink pretty fast. We went to Brussels to find an answer to the question “what are real world objects made of?”. We found out that the question itself doesn’t make sense. Matter is not made of anything magical. What we call matter is just us seeing a series of patterns out of focus, all the time. Each of these patterns (table, wood fibers, cells, molecules, atoms, electrons, whatever) can equally be called real. You can call any of them a ‘table’ and no one can say you are wrong. But, they are not real in the real sense of the term. (Sorry). They do not appear to have any separate






At the level of subatomic particles, we are not mere observers. We are participators. We might even be the reason particles exist in the first place.

Where does that leave us? We now realize, thanks to the new physics, that there is no objective real world out there that is independent of us. The real world happens the moment we step in to observe. It is not that it just looks different. It behaves differently. Its properties change. We find that the objective real world is empty of substance, like empty bubbles, with things appearing, changing and disappearing all the time, so fast that we cannot say for sure what is the cause and effect of everything that happens.

Whenever you use a digital camera or play with toy lasers or use a GPS unit in your car, you are seeing quantum physics put to use in everyday life. The theory works all the way from subatomic particles to solar energy. So, it’s not that the theory is wrong. It’s just telling us “this is the way it actually is. Now go deal with it“.

Lets pause for a moment, to reflect – Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Heisenberg, Bohr, Einstein, Curie, de Broglie…just to name a few; each of them had their own ‘maps’ in their mind to deal with.

Whenever they tried to explore the limits of the real world, they only found themselves
hitting the limits of their own ‘maps’ – how they thought space or time or matter or energy should work – and they found their ideas were incomplete to deal with the real world they were observing.

It is a credit to them that they opened their minds to accepting the world as it is, not the way they thought it to be. If the real world is mysterious and not according to our common sense, what to do? They made the choice – if common sense is wrong, drop it. If they can do it, so can we.

In the same breath, we can’t but admire the coincidence of these findings with a short teaching that appeared about 2000 years ago, before there were any labs or particle accelerators – that said – “form is emptiness. Emptiness is form“. Hmmm… how could anyone have found out way back then, without the tools of science?

But what do we do now, to first ease the pounding headache? We have to rediscover a lost drink – it’s called wonder!

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