Friday, September 28, 2007

Livin' On The Edge

Originally written on 08.25.07

I’ve believed in magic since my first Disney movie, and the book, A Wrinkle in Time, had me thinking about other dimensions at a very young age. Even though I will probably never be able to wiggle my nose and make something materialize in my hand, I haven’t quite let go of the idea that this kind of magic might be possible if you knew enough about quantum physics and manipulating the elements. I would hazard a guess that magic is just science we haven’t been able to explain on paper yet.

It was classical physics that got me thinking tonight. Originally, the atom was pictured as a nucleus with electrons that orbit the nucleus like little planets (the Bohr model), looking much like this:

Then physicists figured out that you can’t pinpoint the exact momentum and location of an electron at any given point in time (aka the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle), so it was impossible to define an actual orbital path. This led to the idea of an electron cloud: we could define a certain area that electrons would probably be found, but they could pop in and out of existence anywhere within that area at any time. So science modified its picture of an atom to make it a nucleus with a “probability cloud” of electrons around it, which would be something like this:

Then I saw a video on YouTube explaining quantum tunneling:

Note how the probability cloud remains spherical around the ball, therefore there is some probability that the molecules could go through the board the ball is bouncing on and appear on the other side. Is that not like magic?

Then I got to thinking: what if Earth is a nucleus and humans are like electrons in a probability cloud? When you think about it, as individuals, we are literally one big probability. There’s no way to know exactly what we’re going to do next, even though some of us are more predictable than others (just like electrons).

I also recalled that if you measure two atoms and the space between them at the subatomic level, and then extrapolate the measurements so each atom would be the size of a racquetball, the racquetballs would be light years apart. That’s a lot of space between atoms (you’re not as dense as you look!). Imagine if the racquetball was the size of Earth. How far away would the next Earth-size atom be? Doesn’t it make more sense now that we have yet to find anything else like us even though we have technology that can look light years into the universe?

Applying other properties of subatomic particles to our own Super Mario World, I started wondering if birth and death are like electrons jumping from one energy level of an atom to another. In order for an electron to make a quantum leap to another level, it has to emit or absorb a photon (light). There are many people on the planet (including myself) who would say our spirits are made of light, so coupling that with the general belief that the spirit enters the body at birth and leaves it at death... would it not make sense if the spirit were light jumping to another energy level to move in and out of physical existence? And if we look at it backwards, it follows as well that when a photon is absorbed into a particle it becomes physical matter rather than etheric light. Also, when you consider how short our lifetime is in comparison to the eternity our souls exist in, the blip of a lifetime is probably as fast as the blip of an electron. It all just sounds very similar to me.

Then I got to thinking about predictability. Science loves the repeated ability to predict behavior accurately. That is how they say something is “proven.” But what of a probability cloud of humans? There are some people that are very predictable: they set a goal, they follow tried and true steps to reach the goal, and the goal becomes their reality. I would liken those personality types to electrons appearing in the layer that has the highest probability factors.

Then there are people like me, who like to live on the edge. We try things without being sure of the outcome. We like to shake things up and ask questions. We believe in things that aren't quite proven by the experts yet. We don’t always reach our goals in the conventional manner (which is often harder, but provides better understanding of ourselves). I like to think we are the humans that would be in the least dense part of the probability cloud. We are the ones who see things as magic because we can’t explain how they came to be, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

Well, those were just my thoughts and they’re actually about a month old already. There was more I wanted to add here but I was interrupted and I have a hard time reclaiming the entire train of thought when that happens. It’s still interesting enough to post though I suppose. I like living on the edge. All the good shit happens out here. Besides, I always say if you're not livin on the edge, you're takin up too much space. :)

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