by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
I’ve been thinking quite a lot about perception. Probably because I’ve been doing research for an article on quantum psychology that I am writing for a client. Quantum psychology is pretty perception heavy.
What is quantum psychology, you ask? It is a branch of psychology that takes the logic of quantum physics and applies it to the human mind. It’s really pretty interesting.
In quantum physics, there is a paradox that physicists haven’t been able to solve empirically; however, there are a few theories in place that resolve the paradox. The paradox is this. It has been shown experimentally that photons can be either a particle or a wave. Not only that, but experiments show that photons exist as both in a state of quantum superposition until the outcome is observed and/or measured. It is at that point that the photons experience what is known as wave function collapse and become either a wave or a particle.
The above description is grossly simplistic, but it gives you the essence of one of the main paradoxes of our universe at its smallest levels. Matter exists as both a wave and a particle. It exists as the probability to become one or the other until a measurement is taken, at which point it becomes one or the other.
Here’s an even simpler way to look at it on a macro scale. Suppose you are wondering if the sky is blue. Until you know (observe) the sky for yourself (or have someone else observe it for you), the answer to the question, “Is the sky blue,” can be either yes or no. If you haven’t looked at the sky yet, then the answer to your question exists as the possibility of either yes or no. It is only when you actually observe the sky that that possibility collapses into either a yes or a no for you. Sure you could calculate the probability of the sky being blue and probably come pretty darn close to the correct answer, but you wouldn’t know for sure without taking a measurement.
Suppose you are too busy in your lab, however, and you can’t go out to observe the color of the sky. Instead you send your assistant, Igor. Out he runs, and he observes that the sky is, indeed, blue. Now Igor’s superposition of yes/no has collapsed into yes, however, yours still remains in a superposition of maybe until Igor runs in and tells you that the sky is, indeed blue. When Igor took the measurement, the superposition of yes/no collapsed for him. When you consulted your measurement device (in this case, Igor), then your yes/no superposition collapsed into a yes.
But consider this. What if Igor had some rare form of color blindness where he observed a purple sky. In that case, Igor’s answer would be no, and his superposition of yes/no would collapse into a “no” answer. Because of Igor’s “faulty” measurement, yours also would collapse into a “no” until you went outside and observed the sky for yourself, at which point it would become a “yes.”
But wait….what if, along with Igor’s color blindness, you had been taught socially that what the rest of the world perceives as a “blue” sky is actually green? Would the sky actually exist as purple for Igor, green for you and blue for the rest of the world?
We tend to view our universe as a series of yes or no questions. Something either is or it isn’t. This is the traditional view of the universe – where everything can be measured as a yes or a no. A one or a zero. Black or white.
What quantum physics has shown us, however, is that there are infinite possible answers between yes and no, one and zero, black and white. What we think is knowable and observable isn’t necessarily as cut and dried as it seems.
Why am I telling you this and how does it relate to quantum psychology? One of the basic tenants of quantum psychology is that no two people have the exact same view of the universe. What each of us observes as the universe is actually just a model of the universe that we have created based upon a variety of factors – psychosocial programming, imprinting, our symbolism and semantics, education and more. Our view of the universe is – and always will be – much smaller than the actual universe itself. Why? Because we can no more take into account every factor in the universe because we haven’t experienced it all. It is like someone drawing a picture of my house. Even if it was a life-sized picture of my home, it would be only a representation that was less than my home, because the artist hasn’t had every experience that relates to my home – the way it smells when cinnamon rolls are baking, the meaning it has to me that it is the first home that Jim and I bought together, every single experience and emotion that my children have felt. The drawing can always only be a representation of my home that is less than what my home actually is.
So it is with our view of the universe. It is a model that is less than the totality of the universe. It is filtered through programming, experience, language and more. If I sat down and wrote every single thing I could come up with about the universe, those words on the page would still be representations. They would never be the universe.
With me so far?
No two representations of the universe could ever be the same, because no two people have had the exact same experiences. I’ll give you a good example.
Take Dreamsinger and me. I pick on him, because I know he won’t get mad at me for using him as an example. The two of us are both quite aware that we view the universe in very different ways. My view of Dreamsinger (which, by the way, is just a model of Dreamsinger that is so much less than what he really is for the reasons discussed above) is that he is very logical and scientific. I, on the other hand, am very touchy feely. Where I would posit (based on my experience of him) that Dreamsinger is ruled by rationality, I am ruled by emotion. This quite often leads us to interpret the exact same event (or data) very differently from one another. It is the same event (or data), but my interpretation and experience of it will very likely be quite different from his.
But what if I had a twin sister? While we would have a much more common frame of reference, even the two of us would perceive the same event differently. We would have to – because I wouldn’t have had every single experience she’d had, and she wouldn’t have had every single experience I had. While my twin sister and I would be more likely to agree on our interpretation of an event than Dreamsinger and I would, there would be plenty of times where we didn’t see eye-to-eye, either.
Is this just a really long, drawn-out way of telling you that perception colors reality? Sort of. What it tells me is this – the world can’t be black and white, ever. The answer can’t truly be yes or no unless that yes or no exists for every single person on the planet at exactly the same time. The probability of that happening is likely extremely low because there are so many answers that exist between yes and no – an infinite number. It also tells me that no two people have ever really met, and no one has ever really had a “pure” experience. To do so is impossible, because we project our own conditioning on to everything we observe. Not only do we project our own conditioning, but which part of our conditioning we come from changes from moment to moment. Give me two identical experiences moments apart, and I may actually experience two completely different things or arrive at two completely different interpretations. Therefore, nothing is truly observable because no one is truly objective.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why my answer is so often, “I don’t know.” Because I don’t. I know what I see. I know how I filter it. I know what I project. But what I don’t know is how close whatever I experienced ever came to the truth. Which tells me something else, as well. Maybe there is no absolute truth. Maybe there is no ultimate reality. Maybe my head just exploded. And that is why I can’t say absolutely that I am right and someone else is wrong. Ever. Because I just don’t know, and have no way of finding out.
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