Salon has a fascinating interview with Paul Davies, one of those super-smart quantum physics guys. The discussion is of physics where it nibbles at the edge of faith, and where he believes scientists inject their own quasi-religious assumptions on the nature of the universe.
What I find astonishing is how much of what he talks about in terms of quantum-physical law and its potential meaning for the nature of time and space sounds remarkably similar to my (woefully inadequate) understanding of Buddhism and the Nil. I am used to seeing the parallels between Buddhism and psychology, but this is something else entirely (em. mine):
Right. I’m not talking about time travel. This is just standard quantum physics. Standard quantum physics says that if you make an observation of something today — it might just be the position of an atom — then there’s an uncertainty about what that atom is going to do in the future. And there’s an uncertainty about what it’s going to do in the past. That uncertainty means there’s a type of linkage. Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance.”
But what’s so hard to fathom is that this act of observation, which has been observed at the subatomic level, would affect the way matter spread right after the big bang. That sounds awfully far-fetched.
Well, it’s only far-fetched if you want to think that every little observation that we perform today is somehow micromanaging the universe in the far past. What we’re saying is that as we go back into the past, there are many, many quantum histories that could have led up to this point. And the existence of observers today will select a subset of those histories which will inevitably, by definition, lead to the existence of life. Now, I don’t think anybody would really dispute that fact.
So not only are our actions informed by our experiences in the past, but our past – on a quantum level – is informed by our actions in the present. By extension, our past, our future and even our present is an ever-changing corridor, filled with doors of which we can choose but one.
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