A unique development in human history, the discovery of the quantum nature of our universe is a seismic, tectonic shift in the very foundation of physics and the roots of our scientific worldview, a change so momentous that it can literally transform the course of human history. This great change is already underway and yet there remains a long way to go for the full transformational impact of the discoveries of quantum physics to be assimilated by humanity. What quantum physics is revealing to us is so radical, with implications so far reaching, that to call it merely revolutionary would not do it justice. The conceptual revolution of quantum theory has literally turned physics on its head; what it is revealing about our universe is turning right side up what had been inverted and upside down.
Quantum physics is introducing us to a radical new way of seeing and understanding which profoundly impacts human thinking, feeling, sensing, knowing and being. As if the universe itself is giving us a cosmic physics lesson, what quantum physics is revealing to us requires a completely new way of thinking about the universe, our place in it as well as ourselves. Quantum theory is teaching us that implicit in our very thinking are certain flaws and misperceptions that, unseen and taken for granted, unnecessarily limit our ability to apprehend the nature of nature, including our own. The founders of quantum physics, people such as Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrodinger famously argued that quantum physics is first and foremost a new way of thinking. Indeed, the most far-reaching impact of quantum physics will be within the human mind.
The discoveries of quantum physics are truly a game-changer that requires a novel response in us which, when more fully understood and integrated, will irrevocably change us─both on the individual level and as a species─in the very core of our being. Regarding the implications of quantum physics, John Bell, one of the most important physicists of the latter half of the twentieth century, is of the opinion that “the new way of seeing things will involve an imaginative leap that will astonish us.” It is hard to imagine something truly astonishing that we wouldn’t tend to initially rule out as preposterous. This new way of seeing things, this imaginative leap is truly an evolutionary upleveling─a real quantum jump in consciousness─that quantum physics is inviting each of us to partake in.
Quantum physics is the most subversive of all the sciences, having created a “reality crisis” in the field of physics such that the very idea of “reality” itself has been undermined, relegated to being a questionable, ambiguous and twilight concept. The very “reality” that pre-quantum physics had been studying has been demonstrated by quantum physics to not even exist! The greatest experts of quantum physics, if it’s even possible to speak of “experts” in a field that, according to Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, “no one understands,” literally do not know “what” they are talking about. Physicists who study their own theory have, in their attempts at grasping its implications, lost their grip on reality, finding nothing, absolutely nothing to hold onto. Quantum physics has pulled the rug out from under us only to reveal no floor below, no place on which to take a stand, as the notion of a seemingly solid, objectively existing world evaporates like dewdrops in the morning sunlight.
Quantum theory is not just one of many theories in physics; it is the one theory that has profoundly affected nearly every other branch of physics. There is hardly an aspect of contemporary society or of our own individual lives that has not already been fundamentally transformed by the ideas and applications of quantum physics. One third of our economy involves products based on quantum mechanics – things such as computers and the Internet, lasers, MRI’s, TV’s, DVD’s, CD’s, microwaves, electron microscopes, mobile phones, transistors, silicon chips, semiconductors, quartz and digital watches, superconductors and nuclear energy. And yet, even with the huge impact quantum physics has had on all of our lives, this effect is infinitesimally small compared with what it will be when more of us recognize and internalize the implications of what it is revealing to us about the nature of reality as well as of ourselves.
The discoveries of quantum physics, practically speaking, have given us the capacity to both increase the quality of our lives and/or to potentially ravage the environment on an unprecedented scale, even to obliterate our species altogether. To quote theoretical physicist Henry Stapp, “Yet along with this fatal power it [science] has provided a further offering which, though subtle in character and still hardly felt in the minds of men, may ultimately be its most valuable contribution to human civilization, and the key to human survival.” Do we use the discoveries of quantum physics for the betterment of our species, or to destroy ourselves? Quantum theory reflects back to us that the choice is truly ours.
Quantum physics works like a charm. It is like a higher-dimensional talisman, a physics of possibilities. The precise accuracy of its mathematical formalism and methodology is beyond debate; none of its predictions have ever been shown to be wrong. It is literally the most successful scientific theory of all time. It is as if physics has discovered a wonderful magic wand that works every time, but the amazing thing is that no one knows why. I have never in all of my life come across a field where all of the supposed “experts” disagree with each other about the meaning of their own theory. This is the deep philosophical question that begs to be answered – what does quantum physics mean? When the alleged experts can’t agree, we can feel free to choose our preferred expert – or explore and speculate on our own.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books, 2013) and The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Please visit Paul’s website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them.