It’s 5.30am and I’m up early and back in London. For what passes as a small back garden – some would call it a yard – I’m here, sipping a nice cup of coffee, at the garden table, and reading a science journal. There is a fascinating article about quantum mechanics and the Large Hadron Collider, and consciousness. Yes, consciousness.
I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics’. Richard Feynman
Random thoughts stream through mind, and gradually coalesce, centring on remembered writings by Barbara Brown Taylor. She wrote about the universe and connectedness, and then used her imagination to ‘earth’ it, by citing examples of connected-bizarre events such as a mother ”knowing’ something has happened to her child…the strange communication between twins’, and so on. Maybe things that we’ve experienced in some way. Intuition. Synchronicity. Serendipity etc.
And then, I returned to reading about quantum mechanics.
[On being asked about the practical applications of particle physics research with the Large Hadron Collider.] Michio Kaku said, ‘We do this because we want to understand our role and our place in the universe.’
Ofcourse, the Large Hardon Collider is all to do with experiments specifically relating to the first few seconds on the universe’s birth. And, that’s where our imaginations have to come into play. You can see I was having a nice cup of coffee this morning, albeit with deep and profound thoughts arising (from somewhere). But, our place, our status in the universe is important.
Can you imagine: every thing on this planet, and indeed, every structure in the universe came from something the size of a grain of rice some 14 billion years ago. Some call this event ‘the Big Bang’ (though it’s debatable that any noise would have been emitted), others call it the Point of Singularity, and still others, call it the Cosmic Christ. Amazing.
Everything that exists came from that tiny dot of ‘something’. Every quanta, atom, molecule, cell, human, animal, planet, star, galaxy etc it all came from that ‘seed’. But, potential exists, love exists, desire or passion exists, energy in a myriad forms exists – did all these come from the Big Bang? And, if not, from where?
I’ve got paving stones in this small inner-city garden, and there seems to be a superabundance of little weeds now, between the paving stones, just seeking a morsel of earth in which to grow. Life is precious and seeks any stronghold. Perhaps that’s the reason buddleia is so prolific.
There’s a view that if you get one of these quantum particles and split them, and then spin them, they will spin in the same direction. Change one’s spin and the other will adjust automatically to follow suit. If one particle is at the far end of the galaxy it will change its spin immediately – no time delay. This has led some to think of a connection between them that travels instantaneously, that is, faster than the speed light.
‘A particle way over there responds instantly to a particle way over her, as if the two were not two, but one. What if our mental torture [about faster-than-light travel between these two separated particles] only comes about because we insist on conceiving reality as many when it is truly and deeply one? All appearances to the contrary, ‘ the universe remains as it was in the beginning, when all places were one place, all times one time, and all things the same thing’, writes Barbara Brown Taylor, quoting Timothy Ferris.
Perception is important.
An aircraft soars overhead, momentarily interrupting my coffee-drinking, an ambulance siren can be heard a mile away, and when the wind’s in the right direction, like now, the sound of railway carriages moving can just, but only just be heard. The world is waking up. Or has it never slept, but only my perception of it has?
So, rather than separated particles mimicking each other through faster-than-light communication, it seems quantum particles are not separated at all, and may still be in their ‘just-at-the-time-of-big-bang created’ state. Still connected, albeit invisibly.
‘…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…’ John 17.21a, The Book
So, maybe, just maybe, we and energy, objects and events, everything visible and invisible – all of which came from the ‘Big Bang’ – are still in that ‘Big Bang’ connected state (though we may use a multitude of different words to describe that state), and if so, that places a huge and wonderful responsibility on each of us.
‘The universe continues to unfold, continues to reveal itself to itself through human awareness… Humanity… [was] brought forth to enrich the total life of the planet with our science and technology and everything else’. Brian Swimme.
Whatever we do – our hobbies, art, nine-to-five jobs, family events, mundane or humdrum chores, our rest periods, our successes (and our non-successes), our ritual, yes our ritual, too, all of this has a part to play in the connected universe at the levels of deep and profound mystery, and it is the universe enjoying consciousness through us – through me and you, right now!
It’s now 6am, and the universe is about to experience a continental breakfast, delayed only because a butterfly has just landed on the table’s edge, and I refuse to move and miss this example of interconnectedness. Besides, its quite a lovely butterfly, that landed there just by chance. Chance?
‘Butterfly effect: The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. For instance, the flap of a butterfly’s wings changed the air around it so much that a tornado broke out two continents away.
You matter, and are an integral part of the universe, and indeed, you are the eye through which the universe sees itself.