At the heart of quantum physics lies a shadowy essence, the wave function, invoking all possible realities for us to pick and choose.
The term “quantum” appears frequently in writings and discussions on spirituality and alternative health modalities like energy healing. Because quantum physics defies our intuition, much can be made of it’s mysterious nature in relating to the spiritual realm or the phenomenon of consciousness. Deepak Chopra for one, has incorporated ideas from quantum physics into his various works, and no doubt has driven its rise in popularity with respect to the nature of consciousness as well as practices of integrative or wholistic health.
As a scientific theory, quantum physics is said to be the most successful theory ever established. No experiment has ever failed to prove it’s predictions. It’s also the least understood theory. In fact, there are numerous interpretations about it’s explanation of reality with absolutely no agreement among the many brilliant physicists or scientists who have developed it, studied or applied it. This includes Albert Einsten, one of it’s founders.
Yet our modern world with the internet, computers, smartphones and all the digital devices that we now run our lives with could not have arisen without it.
Quantum physics postulates that our world and universe is described by something that is truly ephemeral and untouchable. Somehow it underpins reality yet it remains enigmatic and unreachable even in principle. A mathematical equation is used to denote its ghostly presence and show how it evolves over time. But when we try to touch or measure it in the slightest, it vanishes, though not without leaving it’s stamp on our perception of reality in that moment of encounter. It’s called the wave function. It’s paradoxical to our senses and totally at odds with our conception of the normal everyday workings of the world in which we live.
The wave function defines the quantum state of an object, be it an atom or cat or the entire universe for that matter. It incorporates whatever alternative states exist across all the possibilities at hand, along with their probabilities of outcome. Is the electron over here or over there? Well it’s in both places. Until we measure it and make it real. Is the cat inside the box dead or alive? It’s literally both. Until we open the door and look. Then one state becomes real as we, the observers and participants, create the reality of our existence.
One view by physicists is that when when we prick the wave function to see what’s going on, it “collapses” into one concrete reality out of the many possible versions that had been carried along in its wraithlike form.
Another view however, is that it never actually collapses. Instead, each possibility becomes real in it’s own separate universe and these parallel realities continue along on their own separate paths. A live cat in one, dead cat in the other, with me an observer/participant split into two.
Whether the wave function collapses or not and whether it actually defines how our everyday reality is created remains a conundrum and ongoing controversy. It’s a scientific and philosophical debate among the several interpretations of quantum physics put forth by physicists over the decades since the 1920’s.
Whatever the case, we live in a universe filled with possibilities. We know that in our minds and hearts. And every time we make a choice, one possibility is realized along with its consequences, for better or for worse.
The wave function for the universe at large tells us that anything and everything that can happen within the known laws of nature is out there in front of us, awaiting our choices, awaiting our intention and resolve. To me this means in our moments of decision we most certainly shape our destinies. And with positive intention we can shift reality toward the lives we want and the world we want to live in. This ghost behind reality may hold all the possibilities in front of us, with some potentials more likely than others. But our destiny is ultimately determined by the choices WE make and the power of OUR intentions, no matter the odds we face.