By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger
I am not going to claim to understand Bell’s Theorem or even the basics of quantum physics. Most of what I “know” about quantum physics come from Wilson anyways, so I wouldn’t be adding anything new.
I do teach a little about relativity (the Special Theory, the General Theory is beyond my ability to communicate) and about how theories of physics coexist, due to the virtue of teaching John Higgs’ excellent Stranger Than We Can Imagine every spring. In that book, Higgs explains that our global positioning systems/satellite navigation works on the principles of Newtonian physics, relativity and quantum physics which should be mutually exclusive paradigms.
Without pulling the book off my shelves, I believe it takes Newtonian physics to get the satellites into orbit and keep them up there, relativity for the positioning to be accurate and quantum physics in the computer chips that run the system.
In a profound way, I find this paradox to be of great comfort. I prefer a bit of mystery in the universe, and suspect that the mystery is an inherent part of its composition, at least from our perspective. I’ve never felt much at the end of this book, these last few chapters have passed the parts of the book that have affected my way of living and thinking so dramatically. Perhaps it is my mathematical illiteracy or my inexperience with large doses of LSD or any amount of ketamine that has kept me from palpably understanding the truths in this chapter. (One could also point out I’m obviously not advanced enough in yoga and, knock on wood, haven’t experienced a near-death event.)
In a way, this is an apology that my latest entries are ending on a whimper instead of a bang. This is a life changing book and packs a wallop of psychology and ontology in the opening before floating off into experiences that only some of us have touchstones to comprehend. I have found myself having little to say about Wilson’s writings in the last bits, for which I hope that I might be forgiven. As we approach the end of this long reading group I find myself increasingly wondering “what comes next?” I ask that question in many senses, will Prometheus rise in all of us or will it be like the larger morass of humanity, some firebrands and wise-ones coming into being, teaching and some of us half-listening. Will humanity ever set aside our pettiness, take to the stars and focus on life expansion? When?
A little bit of mystery might be part of the composition ...