What makes quantum physics shocking? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

(Second in a series)


What in quantum physics makes its discoveries so shocking? Let me summarize this from the book of Amit Goswami, Ph.D, “The Self-Aware Universe.”


1) The Wave Property Theory—“A quantum object (for example, an electron) can be in more than one place at the same time.”


2) The Collapse of the Wave Theory—“A quantum object cannot be said to manifest in ordinary time-space reality until we observe it as a particle.”


3) The Quantum Jump Theory—“A quantum object ceases to exist here and simultaneously appears in existence over there, without going through an intervening space.”


4) The Quantum Action-at-a-distance Theory states that “a manifestation of a quantum object, caused by observation, simultaneously influences its correlated twin object—no matter how far apart they are.”

If you think about these theories more deeply, they seem to have a more fundamental similarity to Eastern mysticism and psi phenomena than classical physics.


Quantum physics has demolished the long-held belief of classical science that we know what the real world is made of. Instead, it turns out, we know only our perception of it, rather than what it is in itself. We have mistaken the map for the territory.


This controversy goes back to the debate among ancient Greek philosophers on what constitutes reality, and whether it is possible for us to know its real nature.


Thales of Miletus, some 600 years before Christ, wondered whether reality was one or many. He said that all reality essentially consisted of one element—water, because it exists in three states of matter, namely: solid, liquid and gaseous.


Other philosophers joined the discussion with their own theories of the fundamental elements of matter.


Smaller particles


Then Democritus came along in 460 BC and said that the fundamental stuff of the universe beyond which we could go no further was the “atom,” which meant indivisible.


Of course, he was proven wrong many centuries later, when it was discovered that the atom consisted of still smaller particles.


Plato joined the discussion 30 years after Democritus. He said that we could never really know the nature of reality outside of our own idea of it.


He pointed out that reality as perceived by our senses was imperfect. It was but a shadow of the perfect reality which could be conceived only by our mind.


In the 18th century, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant distinguished the noumena (the thing in itself) from the phenomena (the thing as perceived by our mind).


He said we can know only the phenomena but never the noumena.


Quantum physics forced the scientific community to start looking more deeply at what these ancient philosophers were quarreling about.


So, what is the ultimate constituent of matter? And is it possible to know its real nature?


Up to now, no one has come up with a universally acceptable answer to that question.


British physicist James Jeans said that the “stuff of the universe is mind stuff.”


And I think it was another British physicist, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, who said that “the universe is beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine.”


This is because when quantum physicists started probing the smallest substance of matter, they found only empty space.


But how can something come out of nothing?


Another shocking finding of quantum physics is that it is not possible to observe an object (say, a subatomic particle) without changing or affecting the object you are observing. Subject and object are inextricably bound to each other and are not independent of each other.


So the neat, logical and deterministic world of Newtonian physics does not exist in the smallest particles of matter. We can no longer be certain of anything. We can talk only in terms of probabilities.


What we normally call real, is, after all, not real.


That’s why Danish quantum physicist Niels Bohr said, “Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

And it was also Niels Bohr who said that “if quantum physics has not profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”


It seems obvious that Dr. Jacqueline Romero is not profoundly shocked by quantum physics.


As for me, quantum physics has finally enabled me to hear clearly “the sound of one hand clapping.”



The next Basic ESP and Intuition Development seminar is on Jan. 17-18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Room 308, Prince Plaza I, Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Greenbelt, Makati. For details, tel. 8107245 or 0908-3537885.

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