Many spiritual traditions have viewed everything in the universe as part of an interconnected web of energy. Now, certain scientific ideas hint that everything is energy.
Throughout history, humans have believed in various religious and spiritual traditions. Many of these beliefs include an element of the unseen, something more than the reality we see before our eyes. These different energies have been called soul, spirit, qi, life force, and various other names. Basically, there was a widespread belief that everything is energy, or at least that consciousness flows through everything.
These widespread beliefs were challenged at the end of the seventeenth century when Newtonian physics became the cornerstone of science. This new science described a set of physical laws that affect the motion of bodies under the influence of a system of forces.
It perceived the universe as a sort of clockwork model. Even us humans were simply complex machines. Only what could be perceived with the senses and measured by scientific instruments was real. The rest was just made-up nonsense the old-fashioned beliefs of primitive, uneducated people.
The New Science
In the 1900s, beliefs changed again with the beginnings of quantum physics. This new science accepts that the universe, including us, is made up of energy, not matter.
Quantum mechanics arose from Max Planck’s solution in 1900 to the black-body radiation problem. It was also influenced by Albert Einstein’s 1905 paper which offered a quantum-based theory to explain the photoelectric effect. The theory was further developed in the mid-1920s by Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, and Max Born among others.
Quantum physics suggests that solid matter does not exist in the universe. Atoms are not solid, in fact, they have three different subatomic particles inside them: protons, neutrons, and electrons.
The protons and neutrons are packed together into the center of the atom, while the electrons whizz around the outside. The electrons move so quickly that we never know exactly where they are from one moment to the next.
In reality, the atoms that form objects and substances that we call solid are actually made up of 99.99999% space.
And, as everything is made of atoms, which are energy, this could mean that everything is made up of energy. The energy that makes you is the same energy that composes trees, rocks, the chair you are sitting on, and the phone, computer, or tablet you are using to read this article. It’s all made of the same stuff – energy.
This has been demonstrated time and time again by multiple Nobel Prize-winning physicists, including Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist who made significant contributions to the understanding of quantum theory.
“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
– Niels Bohr
This new science has some very weird implications for what we believe about the world.
The Observer Effect
Physicists have found that observation of quantum phenomena can actually change the measured result. The 1998 Weizmann experiment is a particularly famous example. It found that
‘One of the most bizarre premises of quantum theory, which has long fascinated philosophers and physicists alike, states that by the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality’
This strange phenomenon suggests not only that everything is energy, but that this energy responds to consciousness.
Entanglement is another weird aspect of quantum physics. It states that once particles have interacted, they become “entangled,”. No matter how far apart they are, if scientists change the spin state of one entangled electron, it’s partner’s spin state will change in the opposite direction in response.
And this happens instantaneously, even if they’re a million light-years apart. They are connected by energy that permeates everything.
This theory of entanglement stems from the work of Albert Einstein, Max Planck, and Werner Heisenberg, among others.
A rather mind-blowing theory by American theoretical physicist David Bohm suggests that the universe is made up of both an explicate and an implicate order. His model suggests that the entire universe and every particle in it comprises an explicate order resulting from active information contained energetically in an underlying implicate order.
This suggests that everything that exists contains the information of everything else that exists. The information of the entire universe is contained energetically in every single cell.
Most of us were brought up to believe in a Newtonian theory of science. This means many of us have trouble believing in something that cannot be seen or measured.
Quantum physics offers a very different view. It suggests that everything is energy. It also shows how weirdly this energy can behave.
While I can’t claim to understand it completely, it does open my mind to a perception of the universe as more than a clockwork model or complex machine.
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