FIELD:Electrons are both waves and particles? One minute they act like a particle, and the next minute they act like a wave? At the time, no one could really believe any of this was actually true. Something must be wrong, they thought…. So the scientists modified the experiment to “watch” (with a measuring device) a single electron as it went through the double slits to see if it really acted like a wave instead of a particle. However, the moment they observed the electron, an even stranger thing happened. They got a standard “particle” pattern on the screen that looked exactly as if they had fired BB’s through the two slits. The simple act of “watching” the electron meant it went back to behaving like a particle instead of a wave, and therefore only went through one slit, not both, and formed a pattern like the BB’s. So… the final conclusion is this: In its natural state, an electron is a wave rather than a particle, until it is observed. Then it becomes a particle with a fixed position in space and time. “The electron is very peculiar in the sense that when you’re not looking, the electron can be here, can be there, or can be over there…. It can be all over this room, so to speak. But whenever we look – this is the strange thing about this electron – we always find them to be in one particular Geiger counter, although we have a room full of Geiger counters. This is the fundamentally important stuff about the electrons.”1 “There is compelling evidence that the only time quanta* ever manifest as particles is when we are looking at them. When an electron isn’t being looked at, it is always a wave.”2 (*In the early 1900s, scientists had started using the term “quanta” referring to the energy associated with an electron bound to an atom (at rest) which results in the stability of atoms, and of matter in general. FIELD:So the term “quantum mechanics,” and now more commonly “quantum physics,” has to do with the study of electrons and their energy. “The word “quantum” is also synonymous with “wave/particle,” a term that is used to refer to something that possesses both particle and wave qualities.”3) Now this was truly radical – an electron is a wave until it is observed, and then it becomes a particle! The ramifications are enormous. It means reality – the physical universe which we have always thought of to be “solid and predictable” – is not “real,” not “solid and predictable” at all, because the basic building blocks of that universe are not particles of matter, but waves of possibilities – waves of potential locations where an electron might appear as a particle when it is observed. But who is this “observer?” And how does an observer change the electron from a wave into a particle? The first question is not easy to answer completely at the moment. The “observer” can be a human being looking at something; it can be a machine or a device set up to watch, record, or measure something; it can literally be anything that attempts to “see” something “out there” in the physical universe. But there is another level to the answer which needs more information before it can make sense; so we’ll just have to wait. Right now it’s worth repeating the inescapable conclusions of the Double Slit experiment: According to quantum physics, the atoms (nucleus and electrons) that make up the physical universe we consider to be so solid and so real only appear to be solid and real when they are being observed. When they are not being observed, they return to a wave state of infinite possible locations. (To watch a short and well-done animated video of how an “observer” affects the Double Slit experiment, from What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole, click here.) So now let’s talk about how an observer changes an electron from a wave into a particle…. Wait a minute! No one really knows the answer to the question of how – or why – the observer changes an electron from a wave into a particle. The experts can only speculate…. “Particles aren’t really what they seem to be. They’re momentary manifestations, momentary ‘poppings’ of this quantum wave function in which there is no particle – there’s just this waviness which can spontaneously pop out as particles.”4 In other words, when an electron is viewed by an observer, these waves of possibilities “pop” and assume a specific location in space and time, which is what we see as “reality.” This is called “collapsing the wave function.” “Collapsing the wave function” can be very successfully explained and predicted mathematically, using complex quantum mathematics; but it’s very hard to describe in simple English. Basically, it means an electron normally lives in a wave state (a wave function) that includes many possibilities of where it could end up as a particle; and when the electron is observed, those multiple wave states are “collapsed” to one state, the state of being a particle in a specific location. Physicist Nick Herbert says this sometimes causes him to imagine that, behind our back, the world (where we are not looking and cannot observe) is always “a radically ambiguous and ceaselessly flowing quantum soup.”5 But whenever we turn around and try to see the soup, our glance instantly freezes it and turns it back into “reality.” Herbert believes this makes us all a little like Midas, the legendary king who never knew the feel of silk or the caress of a human hand because everything he touched turned to gold. “Likewise humans can never experience the true texture of quantum reality because everything we touch turns to matter.”6 So where are these electrons living as waves of possibilities when no one is observing them and collapsing their wave function into a particle? The answer to that question has gone through a lot of revision over the years, and has been called a lot of things as the research has progressed, including: ~ the “Planck Scale” (by the physicist Max Planck) ~ the “implicate order” (by the physicist David Bohm) ~ the “vacuum state” ~ the “quantum wave function” ~ the “zero point field” ~ the “superstring field” ~ the “M” field ~ the “unified field” Today it is mainly just called “The Field.” In her book, The Field, Lynn McTaggert defines it simply as “a field of all possibility.”7 Everything you can think of, and everything you can’t think of, and everything no one can think of already exists in this Field as waves of possibilities. Dr. John Hagelin explains… “Progress in our understanding of the universe through physics over the past quarter century has been exploring deeper levels of natural law, from the macroscopic to the microscopic, from the molecular to the atomic to the nuclear to the subnuclear levels of nature’s functioning…. and what we’ve discovered at the core basis of the universe, the foundation of the universe, is a single universal field of intelligence…. So all the forces of nature, and all the so-called ‘particles’ of nature… are now understood to be… just different ripples on a single ocean of existence…. It’s called the “unified field,” or “superstring field,” at the basis of everything – mind and matter…. That field is a non- material field. Planets, trees, people, animals, are all just waves of vibration of this underlying unified superstring field…. It’s the fountainhead of all the laws of nature; all the fundamental forces, all the fundamental particles, all the laws governing life at every level of the universe have their unified source in the unified field…. It is pure abstract potential, which rises in waves of vibration to give rise to the particles, to the people, to everything we see in the vast universe…. This isn’t the world of electrons; it’s the world of potential electrons…. And that’s what we’re made of.”8 …and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf puts it this way… “Physicists give this a name; they call it a ‘quantum wave function,’ because it seems ‘wavy.’ However, this wave function isn’t just a wave of matter, like an ocean wave or a sound wave, or any kind of wave of matter. It’s a wave of possibility; it’s a kind of ‘thought’ wave. And because it is a wave of thought, or possibility, or ‘not- matter,’ it’s invisible to us. But we can’t explain what we do see as matter…unless we picture that these matter particles somehow come out from or emerge from these thought-wave patterns.”9 (You can watch a video interview about The Field with Drs. Hagelin and Wolf from What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole by clicking here.) The problem is no one can prove that The Field exists. You can’t see it; you can’t photograph it; you can’t measure it; you can’t hold it in your hand. But when quantum physicists assume The Field is there, they can make incredibly accurate mathematical predictions about the physical universe and how it behaves, which they can’t do without
taking The Field into account. As Fred Alan Wolf said, “We can’t explain what we do see as matter…unless we picture that these matter particles somehow come out from or emerge from these thought-wave patterns.” Think of it as electricity. You can’t see electricity itself; you can only see what electricity produces. One American comedian joked that he wouldn’t pay his electric bill until the company showed him the electricity he was paying for. But we can see the light electricity makes, and the power, and the other effects we count on every day and now take so much for granted; and when we see those effects, we know electricity must exist. The same thing is true for The Field. FIELD:Even though we can’t prove it exists scientifically, nothing makes sense without it in light of the results of the most recent experiments. Another example might help make this clearer…. If you were an Aborigine living in the Outback of Australia with no contact with the outside world, and someone brought you a radio, you might wonder how it works when you hear music coming out of the box. You might even take it apart, looking for an orchestra of very little people inside playing the music you hear. But after a while, you’d realize the only way to explain the music is to assume there are invisible radio waves in the air, and this box simply captures those waves and translates them into sound – even though you couldn’t prove it. We have finally reached the point of human understanding – now supported by scientific evidence – that there are waves all around us. But this time they’re not radio waves, they’re not ocean waves; they’re waves of The Field. FIELD: They’re waves of potentiality; and when they are “observed,” they turn into the physical universe we see. I’ll talk a lot more about this concept in later chapters. For now it is enough to know The Field must exist, it is outside of space and time, and it includes an infinite number of possibilities, but only in wave form. This field does not contain particles; it is not matter; it is not part of the physical universe. Instead it is what the entire universe is made from – from these waves of possibilities. But how did this Field come into existence? Who made it? Where did it come from? Science has no answer for these questions. They only know The Field must exist. So I will not speculate about how The Field was created, or who might have created it, or how it already contains all possibilities, because… well, simply because there is absolutely no way a Human Adult can understand or have a direct experience of anything that happens on the other side of The Field. This will also become clearer in later chapters. The next question we can ask, though, is: How is “physical reality” created from this Field?
FOOTNOTES 1. Goswami, Amit, Ph.D., theoretical nuclear physicist. What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole – Back to reading 2. Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe, p. 34 – Back to reading 3. Ibid. – Back to reading 4. Wolf, Fred Alan, Ph.D., theoretical physicist. What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole – Back to reading 5. Herbert, Nick. “How Large is Starlight: A Brief Look at Quantum Reality,” Revision 10, no. 1 (Summer 1987), pp. 31-35 – Back to reading 6. Ibid. – Back to reading 7. McTaggert, Lynne. The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, p. xxi. – Back to reading 8. Hagelin, John, Ph.D., Physics Professor, Maharishi University. What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole – Back to reading 9. Wolf, Fred Alan. Id. – Back to reading