Quantum physicists are beginning to sound like mysticsBy Jaime Licauco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two weeks ago, the Western scientific world was ablaze with excitement over the announcement by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences that the Nobel Prize for physics this year was awarded to Serge Horoche of France and David Wineland of the United States, “for finding ways to observe and measure quantum particles without destroying them,” which had previously been regarded as impossible.
Prior to the duo’s pioneering work, the behavior of very small particles of matter and light could only be imagined in mathematical equations and mental experiments.
“Simple particles are not easily isolated from their surrounding environment, and they lose their mysterious quantum properties as soon as they interact with the outside world,” a statement from the Royal Academy of Science read.
“Thus, many seemingly bizarre phenomena predicted by quantum physics could not be directly observed and researchers could only carry out thought experiments that might in principle manifest these bizarre phenomena,” it added.
What are the practical implications of the discovery of these two physicists? According to the Royal Academy: “Their groundbreaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps toward building a new type of super-computer or teleport particles from one place to another based on quantum physics.”
Modern physics, also called quantum mechanics and particle physics, is the study of the behavior and properties of the smallest particles of matter. In particle physics, the much-revered laws of Newtonian physics do not apply, to the astonishment of classical scientists.
According to quantum physics, the universe is not what classical science has always assumed it to be. And what are these assumptions? We can summarize them as follows:
1. Strong objectivity: Classical science assumes that there is an objective world out there which is independent of us.
2. Causal determinism: This world is fundamentally deterministic, meaning if we know what forces are acting on an object, we will know exactly its position and velocity at any given time.
3. Locality: This assumption says that all interactions between material objects happen in specific positions or locality independent of each other.
4. Materialism: This says that nothing exists in the universe except matter which follows established physical laws.
The discoveries of quantum physics have practically demolished all the above assumptions of classical or Newtonian physics.
The New Physics enables scientists to explain various phenomena such as bilocation, telekinesis and teleportation, that are completely inexplicable in terms of the classical Newtonian physics. The universe, it turns out, is not what scientists have always assumed it to be.
As the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who was himself a Nobel Laureate, said, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
When quantum physicists tried to see what makes up the smallest particle of matter, they discovered to their great astonishment and disbelief that there is nothing there. Particles exist only after somebody observes them, which doesn’t make sense according to the old Newtonian physics.
And this is one of the reasons perhaps why Bohr said that, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
I do not completely understand quantum physics, not being a scientist myself, but that’s not the reason why I am not at all shocked by it. It’s because I find its theories and assumptions to be compatible with those of mysticism.
Even some major physicists seem to agree with this. For example, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington said: “The stuff of the universe is mind stuff.” Much earlier, physicist James Jeans said: “The universe is one great thought.”
Compare the above statements of physicists with the ancient teachings of the Australian aborigines, that this world is nothing more than a dream created during Dreamtime. And the Buddhist teaching that the outside world is nothing but maya or illusion.
It seems, therefore, that there is a growing convergence between modern physics and mysticism, between science and ancient religion. Modern physicists are beginning to sound like mystics, and mystics are beginning to sound more like physicists, as pointed out by neuroscientist Dr. Laurence LeShan in “The Medium, The Physicist and the Mystic”; by physicist Fritjof Cupra in “The Tao of Physics”; by researchers Gary Zukav in the “The Dancing Wu Li Masters”; and by Michael Talbot in “Mysticism and the New Physics.”
To quantum physicists, therefore, paranormal and psychic phenomena no longer sound as crazy as they were once regarded to be.
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