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The Physics of the Mind

 

Scientists after Newton believed that all parts of the universe worth talking about could be controlled, counted, weighed, or measured. However, in the twentieth century, science led itself into discoveries that would overturn that assumption. As scientists probed deeper and deeper into the atom, they found that the rules for the universe changed when they got down to the smallest building blocks. It appeared that humankind had been looking at the universe from a distance, like looking at an ocean from a satellite. From that distance, the earth is actually smoother than a billiard ball. From Newton’s gaze, matter looked smooth, uniform, and predictable.

But we know that when you’re standing in the surf, waist-deep, the ocean is anything but smooth and uniform. A normal wave can easily bowl you over. Waves can be 13 feet high in heavy seas, and in hurricanes can make a boat disappear in the trough between waves as it bobs up and down. Below the ocean’s surface, rip tides are pulling water out to sea as tides are rushing water inland. Within that turbulent surface of water, individual water molecules are thrashing about and being hurled into the air.

The ocean isn’t smooth when you look closely at it. That’s also what scientists found out about the sub-atomic world as they waded waist-deep into it. Molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles are furiously moving, like boiling water. It all seems smooth to us because we’re looking at it from above, just as the ocean looks smooth from space. But on closer examination, the ocean’s surface and the sub-atomic world are chaotic.

That means the building blocks of the universe are much more unlike blocks than we ever imagined. They’re more like constantly moving particles of dust that only seem to be solid because as they shift constantly and furiously, they average out so enough particles are in the right place at one time to make a table or a chair or us.

In their investigation of sub-atomic particles, scientists also found that humans have real limitations on what we can investigate. They found that we can measure the speed of a particle or its location but not both at once. The principle came to be known as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle after Werner Heisenberg, one of the early pioneers in the study of the sub-atomic world. That makes it difficult for scientists studying sub-atomic particles who insist that life be controlled, countable, weighable, and measurable. They can’t measure the location of a sub-atomic particle and measure its speed at the same time. The reason that’s important is because physics agrees that some things in the universe can’t be counted, weighed, and measured, leaving the door open for other such things.

Scientists also found that all matter and energy exist in two forms: waves and particles. The explanation that follows will show you that life is much more complex than most people realize, and that your spiritual self, the real person you are, has much more of an effect on the material realm than you realize. This is physics, not metaphysics. To find out that’s true, do a Web search for “wave-particle duality” or “wave function.” You’ll find physicists presenting what I explain here.

A particle is like a droplet of water. It can be in one place and you can see it as a droplet. A wave is like a glass of water. If you put the droplet of water into the glass of water, the droplet goes away; you can’t see it any more, and you can’t take it out of the glass of water. It’s gone, but it’s still there, now just as part of the whole. You can’t have the glass of water made up of droplets and have the continuous water in the glass at the same time. The droplets go away when they’re in the body of water. That’s why we don’t say, “Honey, I’m thirsty; could you pour me a glass of water droplets.” There are no droplets until you take out one drop.

Imagine an ocean of perfectly calm water that is continuous, without seeming to have droplets. You can’t look at the water and see a single droplet; droplets have to be separate little bits, and the water is one continuous body—but it has the potential to be droplets. If you had a few millennia with nothing to do and your handy little water dropper, you could make billions of little droplets out of it, one at a time, so the potential is there to have droplets.

Your common sense may be telling you, “Yes, but I can take a droplet out of the water, so maybe it really is billions of droplets and I can ask for a glass of water droplets.” But what’s important is that you’re describing what happens when you, who’s holding this book right now, make a droplet out of the continuous body of water. Yes, you can make droplets, but you make the droplet from the body of water where there are no droplets, just continuous water. It’s a body of water until you act on it. You’ll see why that’s important in a few moments.

In the same way, science found that matter defies common sense. Matter exists as both particles (droplets) and waves (the whole glass of water) at the same time! Imagine a pen. It is both particles and waves, science tells us. It has to be particles for you to use it to write your name. For you to be able to pick it up, it has to be separate from the desk and your coffee cup and your hand. The individual little atoms have to be particles that come together to make a pen.

Science tells us that the pen also exists as a wave. But it’s a different wave from the glass of water, so you’ll have to stretch your understanding a little. The wave is made up of all the positions the pen could be in at any moment. Twenty minutes ago, the pen was in your pocket; then it was in your hand; then it was on the desk; then it was in your hand again. As you moved the pen from your pocket to the desk to your hand, it was continually in different positions. It is like a time-lapse photograph of car lights at night that make long, lighted lines where the cars were as they moved along. The cars’ actual lights were at every point on the long lines at some time, but you see them as continuous lines. It’s just like a droplet of water merges into the glass of water so it’s all a continuous volume of water. The individual car lights at points along the highway become a continuous line.

When the pen is a wave, it’s in all the positions, from your pocket to your hand to the desk, back to your hand like the long lines of light that were car lights. In the wave, it’s in all the positions at once.

The moment you reach for the pen and pick it up, the pen stops being a wave that has pens all along the route from your pocket to your hand to the desk and becomes one pen that you can use to sign your name. It’s just like your taking a drop of water out of the glass with your water dropper. You created the drop of water. You also created the pen.

In physics, this is called “collapsing the wave function.” You make nature choose one position for the pen by collapsing the wave and nature selects one pen. If you want to learn more about the physics of wave functions, do a Web search for “collapse of the wave function.”

What’s important about this well-accepted fact in physics is that you are doing the collapsing just by intending to pick up the pen. You are creating the reality at that moment. You do that with everything in your universe. Before you walk into an empty room, the room is a wave, with tables and chairs and pictures in every possible position they could be in, like a glass of water is continuous water. As soon as you walk into the room, it collapses into particles, jut as you take out a droplet of water from the glass to make a particle. You create the reality that you can then experience as a room. You’re undoubtedly incredulous about creating the reality. “That room was always there,” you insist with doubt in your smirk. Yes, that’s correct, it was always there, but as a wave, not as particles. Here’s why.

First, these waves are not concrete matter and energy. Just as the lines of light from car lights aren’t really lines—they’re just images that represent the car lights—the wave positions don’t really exist. They’re just potentials. You’re going to have trouble getting your mind around that. Don’t worry about it. It’s not really imaginable in a physical sense. You just have to understand the concept and what it means about life.

When you intend to reach for your pen, your mind collapses concrete reality particles into one of the many possibilities that were in the wave of pens. You reached for it in your pocket because you had put your pen there this morning. As a result, the probability that it would still be there was about 100 percent. The chances it was back home on your dresser were very small: less than one percent. But in the world of physics, the wave included the possibility that the pen was back on your dresser, even though the possibility of its being there was very small.

But the possibility that the pen was in your left, not right pocket was greater, say 50 percent. And the possibility the pen had fallen out onto the floor was there also, perhaps 10 percent. There are probability percentages for every place that pen could have been, at every position like the stream of lights from cars in a photograph that was really individual car lights at different positions. When the pen is a wave, before you make reality by reaching for it, the possible positions of the pen exist as probabilities. They’re called “probability waves.” All the possible positions in the probability wave are called “superpositions.”

When you do your Web search for “collapse of the wave function,” you’ll read about “probability waves” and “superpositions.”

Our world makes sense to us because it has continuity. We know that when we put a pen in our pocket, it’ll be there later. That’s really important for our realities. If the pen kept going back to our dresser, we’d be pretty frustrated, and alarmed. The probabilities that the pen is where we put it are close to 100 percent. Every movement we make collapses the wave into particles so we can experience them, and every movement builds on the previous, so reality keeps coming out to be those positions that were around 100 percent probable because of where things were in the previous position we perceived. Our reality has continuity.

When we want to go from the first floor of a house to the second floor, we set about doing it by taking the first step toward the staircase. The chance we’ll suddenly appear on the second floor in an instant is very small: less than one percent. That’s why, as the wave collapses, we find ourselves walking toward the stairs. Only on Star Trek can we be teleported to another place instantly. There is around 100 percent probability our next move will be your taking a step toward the staircase and less than one percent that you’ll suddenly find yourself on the second floor. But in the world of physics, both positions are in the wave function as superpositions that have probabilities. Remember that the wave function is just probabilities, not concrete matter and energy. It won’t be matter and energy until you look at it.

We go through our day collapsing wave functions continually, every time we sense something. Our reality is made up of those positions of reality that are close to 100 percent probable. The positions that were 90 percent, 50 percent, or 10 percent probable are lost. Our mind is creating the reality of the material realm. The material world seems to be there just as we perceive it, even when we’re not looking at it, because it has continuity. The probability that our house will be there when we return home from work is around 100 percent. That’s why it’s there and not overlooking a beautiful beach on a sun-drenched coast. We do create our reality, but we can’t make a reality that has low probabilities, such as having our house move to a beach or becoming a Wimbledon tennis player overnight.

That also means the reality we perceive has collapsed from waves that included the entire history of our reality. The water that was in a glass could have been in a bucket or falling from clouds or passing through the intestines of a giraffe. But the history of the water collapses into the highest probability that it is in the glass where we poured it. So the history that comes to reality is that the water came from the county reservoir, was purified, traveled through pipes to our house, came through the faucet when we turned it on, flowed into the glass, and stayed in the glass when we put it down on the table. But that entire history collapsed from all the possibilities when we looked at the glass of water on the table. The fact that the history will be the same tomorrow is only because we collapsed it into a wave today and the probabilities of that history jumped to 100 percent.

The pen wave is also made up of all the things the plastic in the pen could have been. The plastic in the pen could have been a toy airplane or the dashboard of a car or a fishing lure or a million other things. When the pen is being a wave, it’s like the drop of water in the ocean. It could be anywhere and it could be anything.

But the pen is pretty far removed from being a fishing lure. It was manufactured to be a pen with ink in it and you bought it from the store and you put it in your pocket. Yes, it’s true that as a wave, the whole history of the pen was in a probability wave: the pen could be anywhere, and it could be anything plastic, but the chances are really good that when you reach for the pen, you won’t embarrass yourself by trying to sign your name with a fishing lure.

All of that is so interesting for us because it shows how important the mind is. Our mind is who we really are in eternity, and it appears certain that the material realm exists for us to have experiences. We are the ones that collapse all the possibilities into what we experience, just by intending to experience it. That’s physics, not metaphysics. And as difficult as it is to grasp, and equally difficult to believe, the fact is that physics is saying that the mind is the focal point of creating reality—that’s a fact.

It also shows why it’s so difficult for people to understand that we’re spiritual beings having a physical experience. Just as we can’t determine the position and speed of a sub-atomic particle at the same time, and just as we can’t see the superpositions in the waves because as soon as we look, they collapse into one reality, we can’t “see” our eternal spiritual selves by looking for it in the physical realm. We can be in the spiritual realm or in the physical realm, but not both at once. We can set our minds to see the old woman in the picture or the young girl, but not both at the same time.

When we turn to the spiritual realm by relaxing our gaze on the physical realm, we can see the spiritual realm more clearly. As long as we keep looking at the physical realm, we’ll never be able to see the spiritual. We have to be looking at one or the other. That’s one of the reasons people who are so focused on controlling, counting, weighing, and measuring the physical realm just can’t see the spiritual. They’re certain the spiritual doesn’t exist, but it’s because they can’t relax and allow themselves to see the spiritual, so they don’t see it. They can’t see beyond the wall that is the physical realm, so they don’t believe there is a spiritual realm on the other side.

To be able to enter the kingdom of God, you must enter the spiritual realm. You won’t find it anywhere in the physical realm. If you keep looking for it in the physical realm, you’ll effectively keep yourself from seeing it, because you’re turned in the wrong direction. You must relax, leave the physical realm, and turn toward the spiritual. As you do so, you’ll become more and more adept at it, and you’ll find that you can see it more clearly and more often.

 

 

 

 

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