Quantum Physics – Mysticism or Science?

Quantum Physics – Mysticism or Science?

In previous blogs we raised the seemingly mystical, that is the possibility of changing our inner world and so changing our external reality.

This is a bit like a caterpillar being released from the pupa of its past, to become free to be the butterfly that God intended it to be. I recognise that such thoughts may sound a bit airy fairy. However, underlying this supposition and comprising the focal point of this short series of blogs is quantum theory.

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.[1]

Quantum theory demonstrates through its many applications that our world exists in a probabilistic and not a deterministic dimension. In other words – what happens to us is not inevitable. The rules we rely on in our everyday lives break down.

Quantum theory (Quantum Physics) highlights that all matter is essentially comprised of energy. It ties our inner world to the outer world in ways that had not been imagined or understood by previous generations.

This and the ensuing chapters reflect on the science of quantum physics, on neuro plasticity, on human design; and on the nature of the creation, to demonstrate the way that the unseen world impacts us and in turn how we can take advantage of the unseen world.

In truth, some of the world’s recent mathematical and scientific revelations expressed through quantum physics and chaos theory can sound mystical – revelations that go far beyond ‘common sense’.

In C.S. Lewis’s book, That Hideous Strength, the magician Merlin, advisor in King Arthur’s court, was described as ‘the last vestige of an old order in which matter and spirit were, from our modern point of view, confused’. For after him came our scientific rationalist world that depended on the five senses (sight, taste, hearing, touch, smell) to determine what is possible.

After him came the modern man to whom Nature is something dead – a machine to be worked, and to be taken to bits if it won’t work the way he pleases.’[2]

Merlin should have stuck around for a few more centuries.  In the closing decades of the 20th century there arose a new mysticism, a mysticism of quarks, of neutrons, of different futures, in fact a future defined by our growing understanding of quantum physics.

What is unusual is that while inventions such as MRI machines, computer chips, atomic clocks and lasers all depended on an understanding of quantum concepts, and physicists know how to use the equations of quantum mechanics to predict all kinds of things, it remains little understood.

Caltech physicist, Sean Carrol, says: ‘quantum physicists are like people with i-Phones; they know how to use them and can do some great things with them; but if you ask what’s going on inside their i-Phone they have no idea.’

But this hasn’t stopped speculation as to what mechanisms are at play – these mechanisms are known as ‘interpretations’. Two of the most accepted are the Copenhagen Interpretation and the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) which I will address later in this series.

A key issue scientists face lies in the fact that the position, spin and momentum, of any quantum particle is unknown until its measured. The particle is in many states at once – it’s not here or there; instead, it’s here AND there, at the same time. This sounds crazy and does not fit with our world view – so how do we explain it?

In a sense Merlin represents what we’ve got to get back to, in a different way.

Quantum physics tells us that we live in a participatory universe; a universe where we now know that we are not passive beings but change makers. This is because quantum physics tells us that the very act of observation changes the observed. It suggests that what we do with our consciousness impacts our surroundings.

So, as the physicist John Wheeler said ‘‘the old word ‘observer’ simply must be crossed off the books, and we must put in the new word ‘participator’. In this way we’ve come to realise that the universe is a participatory universe’’[3].

Nothing is fixed or stable and all things are in constant transition from one state to another, so we need to abandon our preconceived notions of reality and recognise that we are both the observer of our own reality and the participant in it.

We both impact and create our own reality.

In the strange world of quantum physics … ‘you can ‘dance’ with the illusions of time and space, choosing your ‘steps’ based upon things and events as they now are, or you can ‘dance’ with your dreams, choosing your ‘steps’ based upon things and events as they will be. (unknown)


Guest Blogger  Dr Brian Gordon, OAM


1 John Dewey, ‘The Quest for Certainty’, 1929

2 Sacred Tribes retrieved 17 July 2007 from http://www.sacredtribes.com/issue2/STJ-finals/lewis-grahame-paganism.pdf

3 ‘ Physics, Buddhism and postmodern interpretation’ Journal of Religion and Science Vol. 21 Issue 3 pp 287-296


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