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Wave-Particle Duality – Micro concept with macro implications

The wave-particle duality refers to a contradiction that arises when we try to understand the nature of light.

Girls demonstrating wave-particle duality.

Girls demonstrating wave-particle duality by James Guppy via Flickr

Light can be either a wave (energy) or particle (matter), depending on the way we observe and interpret it. Some even try to combine the concepts of energy and matter to say that light is a “wavicle.”¹

Albert Einstein had this to say:

It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.²

Philosophers of science believe the duality is created by the way we use language. And the apparent conflict might be reconciled if we consider what language is and does.

Language, they say, not only describes but also influences our understanding of things spoken and written about. So with a kind of circularity, the way we describe our world in turns shapes our worldview.

Consider the moon, for instance. To an Apollo astronaut it is something to travel to, orbit and possibly walk on. For an ancient Roman, the moon might be seen as a somewhat mysterious place where the goddess Luna resides or as an aspect of the pagan goddesses Diana or Juno.

In ancient Iran, the moon was believed to be “The Great Man” who periodically incarnates on Earth. And in the recent past, the moon was whimsically said to be made of blue cheese.

In each of these examples, the words and the semantic context within which the occur shape the understanding of the thing described. We have to keep this is mind not only when studying myth and religion but in any aspect of life—ancient or modern. Culture isn’t just created. It also creates.³

We can overcome the wave-particle duality by realizing that it is informed by the way we categorize reality, but this might be a hollow victory because it doesn’t tell us much about the actual essence of light, energy or matter—or even if these phenomena have a true ‘essence.’

At some point language becomes inadequate. And many believe that sciences, which also use symbol systems like mathematics and physics, are equally as imperfect to the task of describing reality.

From this, the holistic thinker Peter Russell argues that we should not confuse the proverbial map (scientific concepts and theories) with the thing mapped (alleged fundamental aspects of creation).

The debate about describing vs the described can get pretty complicated. Some maintain that language is, in fact, adequate and an integral part of reality. Others say this argument falls short when we consider how meanings have changed throughout history.

Is truth always relative or is there something absolute, essential or permanent in our world? These basic questions may seem abstruse. But the way we unconsciously answer them in our daily assumption/decision making process no doubt informs many aspects of life.

So I think it’s better to be aware of our uncertainties and biases. Question everything. That way we don’t put the world – and other people – in an artificially small box. When people try to do that, what we’re really seeing is a picture of their provincial outlook.


² Follow this link for a good, brief history »

³ That’s why many poststructural social thinkers argue that power is creative, not just repressive.

Related » George Berkeley, Brahman, Albert Einstein, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Poststructuralism, Erwin Schrödinger, Semiology, Tao, Thomas Young


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Max Planck

Max Planck (Karl Ernst Ludwig 1858-1947) was a German physicist who taught in Berlin from 1888. His work on thermodynamics and radiation challenged Newtonian physics, leading him to develop quantum theory, for which he won the 1918 Nobel Prize for Physics.

He was one of the first to publicly support Einstein‘s special theory of relativity, well before others grasped its import.

The inaugural award: Max Planck (left) present...

The inaugural award: Max Planck (left) presents Albert Einstein (right) with the Max Planck medal of the German Physical Society, 28 June 1929, in Berlin, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the idea of quantum theory has mostly been within the purview of scientists and New Age thinkers, its practical applications should be more apparent soon.

As noted at

More recently, we’re seeing a practical application where the conventional “bit” in computing is surpassed by the quantum “qubit,” which isn’t bound by the traditional laws of binary processing.

Who was Max Planck?

Is General Relativity a (partial) Return of Aristotelian Physics?

French Satellite Will Test Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits

Einstein Theory Tested by Satellite Could Shake Scientific Foundations

Explaining weirdness with weirdness

Chilling Scientific Inquiry

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Paradox Cafe by Jamie Campbell via Flickr

Zeno (c. 495 BCE) was a Stoic philosopher best known for his nine surviving paradoxes.¹

The two most popular paradoxes are:

1 – Zeno asks how many grains of millet must fall before a sound is heard. One fallen grain makes no sound on impact, therefore it accounts for “nothing.” A second grain (a second “nothing”) might also make no sound. But suppose a third grain (a third “nothing”) is added to the two grains and this does make a sound. This would result in a “something” (audible sound) being made out of three “nothings.”

2 – The great runner Achilles can never catch a slower tortoise in a race if the tortoise begins ahead of Achilles. By the time Achilles reaches the tortoise’s starting point, the tortoise has moved to a new position. And by the time Achilles reaches the tortoise’s new position, the tortoise has moved on to another position. The distances between the two may become increasingly small but the tortoise always remains a fraction ahead of Achilles.

Philosophers still debate the import of the Achilles paradox but its solution might be simple. The problem seem to arise from Zeno’s use of logic divorced from actual observation.

The student of vectors will observe that a higher-velocity object gaining on and moving in the same direction as a lower-velocity object will at some point overtake the slower moving object. Not so complicated.

The Tortoise and the Hare - Project Gutenberg ...

The Tortoise and the Hare – Project Gutenberg etext 19993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Zeno imaginatively ‘stops motion’ to observe the competitors in a series of equally imaginative points to say that Achilles will never reach the tortoise’s position. And this act of imagination doesn’t correspond to what actually happens in observable reality.

Among other things, Zeno’s paradoxes illustrate how thinking about problems and their apparent solutions can be influenced, limited and distorted by our use of symbol systems like language, logic or mathematics—especially when divorced from empiricism.

Still, he remains significant in the history of ideas because he was thinking out of the box and imagining new scenarios. Sometimes this works well, as with Einstein. But the difference is that with Zeno, we find limited conceptualizations and a lack of empirical support for his ideas.

With the first paradox, for instance, we might say that a grain of millet makes no audible sound but, in actual fact, it does create a disturbance in the air (a wave pattern) when it hits the ground. Today, this could be measured, amplified, and thus demonstrated to actually make some sound. So it’s not a “nothing” as Zeno would have thought in the ancient world.

¹ Scholars actually debate just how many paradoxes Zeno authored. But for the sake of simplicity I’ll go along with the Wikipedia entry.

Related Posts » Achilles, Heap of Sand Paradox, Semiotics, Signifier, Signified, Stoicism

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The Logic Of Entropy & Global Warming

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The dictionary defines the word entropy as the logarithm of probability of the occurrence of a given state. Entropy even has its own human worked out mathematical formula continuously applied in physics, engineering etc. Namely, a thermodynamic quantity that measures the fraction of the total energy of a system that is not available for doing work.

But, entropy also has other related applied definitions. As in ‘the constant inevitable slow deterioration (decay) of a established system’. Any system, not just mechanical & electronic. Therefore the systems that underwrite life, its biology & society are included in that definition. This would indicate that entropy is a set Law of Nature universally contained in all matter & energy…therefore in Life, Nature & the Universe and all the different linked systems associated with their activity.

Q: But where does that set law in physical Nature come from? What maintains the integrity & permanence of that set law in Nature? What can change that set principle operating across the board of physical matter & energy…and therefore life, Nature & the Universe?

A: At a different level of understanding & logic outside of mathematics, we can say entropy is very much a physical law of innumerable laws manifesting out of the previously discussed Unified Field of Creation. Its evolution sourced & orchestrated function, allowing the controlled orderly decay of matter & energy in its specific physical form (system) and designated life-cycle. To put it another way, everything physical has a inherent Laws of Nature governed life-span. The law of entropy, allows the decaying aspect of that life-span, to take place in a orderly organized systematic set pattern. That law of entropy, nowhere more obvious than in the interactive regeneration of old cells to new cells in the biology of life. The physical integrity of that law and its process, being underwritten by the spiritual Laws of Nature that underwrite and interact with the physical Laws of Nature.

Q: So where does unnatural entropy come into the equation?

A: We could say ‘unnatural entropy’ is premature decay taking place in the normal expected decaying life-span of a system, be it in the biology of life, the Laws of Nature or the Universe. That means the physical law of entropy has malfunctioned in the system, resulting in uncontrolled premature decay and the subsequent early termination of that specific system. Premature disease (entropy) appearing in the healthy biology and organs of life is this process in action.

Q: Where does premature entropy originate, what is its root cause?

A: Premature entropy occurs, through accumulating imbalance created in the physical & spiritual component of life, Nature & the Universe. The physical source of that imbalance when it arises, is definitely human in its origin. For example: No other life-form has the creative power to re-synthesize chemicals, minerals & other natural resources and saturate them into the systems of life, Nature and the Universe. Thereby eventually contaminating/altering the Laws of Nature governing the systems that underwrite and process the evolution of physical matter & energy. Laws that have been in place for millions of years in the biology of life, long before the human being came along to add the products of its synthetic creativity to that perfect system. Because anything synthetic added to the complex workings of physical Nature, is alien and potentially toxic to its interactive ecological systems that support life. When its toxicity accumulates, the physical Laws of Nature begin to malfunction not only in the biology of life, but Nature also.

Clarification: Human beings have the power to cause imbalance in Nature in two ways. The first is a growing result of our ability to pollute physical Nature with what comes out of the creativity of science and can be called synthetic pollution. The second is much more subtle & caused through influence created out of thought & desire that does not support the purpose and function of evolution & life…and therefore Nature and its Laws. This contamination can also be called synthetic pollution, because its influence has not come out of perfect creativity of Nature, but the human beings creativity.

Note: This influence is simply called karma in the ancient Sanskrit language it originated from…but, far from being simple in the many branches of its meaning. Unfortunately, with the passing of centuries its knowledge has become lost in translation and all that is left is the chaff to sift through. To eventually be written off by some as mere theory and others as a good joke to have a laugh about. So perhaps it is worth pausing in this Article, to explain why it has become so misunderstood and pilloried over the centuries. Because until science removes its physical blinkers, it will not comprehend the Intelligence that logically must underwrite Life, Nature & its Laws. Including the law of entropy that is underwriting Global Warming. To understand the source of the science uncovered logical law of entropy, is to also understand those other un-scientific turn-off words. Namely, Karma, Spiritual & God.

Interlude: A brief pause in the subject matter to set the karma & spiritual record straight…and possibly, even the broken God record in the process…maybe. Because the mind will only understand what it wants to understand.

Further up the ladder of human evolution, it can be said karma is far from being mere theory, philosophy or a joke. Its reality, knowledge and experience is not to be found in physical consciousness, but spiritual consciousness. In the highest level of that structure of consciousness that has been called divine, all human beings possess a latent born potential to access the self-referral field of Creation…that is called the Veda in Sanskrit. Or from the author’s English pen, the borrowed Unified Field from Albert Einstein’s pen That is where spiritual knowledge is eternally sourced, certainly not books. To gain access to it with the mind, it is necessary to come out of the structure of physical consciousness and acquire/develop/cultivate the silent quality of Abstract Consciousness. To experience that silent reality in the physical mind, is to then understand not only why karma has been called karma, but why God has been called God. A most treasured word of millions of people down through the centuries…yet just like karma, so misunderstood. A religious misunderstanding that has caused so much bloodshed and misery for millions of people down to the present day. A human created chaos problem that has turned many off the subject of Religion & God.

It could be said both Religion & Science understand the word transcendent…but, not the experience of the meaning. To transcend anything is to rise above it. i.e. what was before is no longer in the present. Therefore, to transcend thought is to come out of the thinking process and all that is attached to the thinking process. To then enter a transcendent medium where the conscious awareness of the mind, is left with no experience of anything but pure silence. It is only after many applications of that process, that the awareness evolves to become aware of itself as that silence. It is that specific transcendent acquired silence, that is the key to unlocking the full potential of the physical mind. One of those potentials is access to spiritual consciousness and all its many levels of activity sourced to the Unified Field of Creation.

The point to be made : The above knowledge is not new, it is as old as civilization itself. Yes, there are many more complex questions that arise out of its subject, but the answers to them are not to be found in books, but in the self-referral field of Creation. Until the mind can grasp that it is more than the sum of its physical parts, it will remain forever trapped and lost in its own physical individuality, creativity, imagination and intelligence. Unstoppable evolution will not allow that to happen, human beings must continue to evolve up the ladder of evolution or ultimately disappear off the tree of life. The universal law of entropy will see to that….nothing to do with God. It can also be said, that Science will never physically enter the Unified Field through the laboratory, mathematics or atomizing the atom. Quantum physics has proved that dead-end statement, in its physical quest to mathematically probe the limits of physical matter & energy. Likewise, religion will never find transcendent God through endless words & ritual. Surely it is time to understand that logic from out of the chaotic history of religion, a chaos sourced to mankind…definitely not God.

Suggestion: If required, read the About page @ for further clarification.

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Returning to the original topic:

When human beings create imbalance in the system of life through the means described, the physical Laws of Nature begin to imperceptibly become disorganized at a very subtle sub-atomic layer of Nature. If that imbalance continues, it eventually expresses itself on the surface of life in the form of accelerating entropy (disorder & malfunction) in the systems of life and Nature. For example: Global warming & cooling and its changing of environments, is a natural cycle of Nature tied to the infinite workings of evolution. But, drastic life threatening acceleration of Global Warming, is definitely not part of that natural cycle of Nature. Because physical Nature is spiritually primed to support life and its evolution, not to destroy it prematurely. The law of entropy and its variable function & process, that underwrites the physical systems created out of matter & energy, proves that point of logic. Because without that law, there would be constant uncontrollable chaos that life could not survive in.

The point to be made: Every life-form has a spiritual connection to the Unified Field of Creation that sources Life, Nature & the Universe for the purpose of evolution. Everything we do as creative human beings, becomes a negative or positive cause & effect equation (influence) entering the interactive system of Nature and its Laws…and therefore effecting all life on this shared planet and the systems that underwrite life. As logical thinking human beings, we have to become aware that Nature and its Laws, are a perfectly functioning created system from Intelligence greater than the human beings physical intelligence. Nature is not something clinically separate and divorced from ourselves or other life-forms, but contains all species in its infinite organization, creativity and laws. This is where science falls spiritually short in its physical only understanding of Life, Nature and the Universe.

Clarification: Until well-meaning science understands that life is much more than the sum of its physical parts, it is unknowingly doing more harm than good with what comes out of its endless synthetic creativity. Yes, it is fixing many problems from the science laboratory, but inadvertently creating many more in the laboratory of Nature. One of them is the rapid acceleration of Global Warming linked to rapid synthetic pollution saturating the planet. From the seas to the forests to the atmosphere and ecological systems that support life. A harsh indictment maybe, but the evidence is all around us and in us. Nature simply cannot handle the growing industrial & chemical pollution saturating the planet at an ever increasing toxic rate. Science surely knows this and has done the right thing and activated the early warning bell, but to no avail. The economy and the good life must come first in the political survival manual and big business with the golden goose and the most to lose appear to agree.

Postscript: It would seem appropriate to add, that the author has sent numerous ignored articles to science, governments and especially the media, going back to 1999. All dealing with the growing disorder (unnatural entropy) accelerating on this planet and the reason why it is happening. Global Warming being just one of them and long before it became yet another media primed, divided & fuelled endless argument & debate in Nations. The end divisive result being, that the public became confused and no uniform concrete agreement is forthcoming from Nations to seriously address its global issue. Science can rightly point the entropy finger at the news media, for the disregard/skepticism in the political and public arena of their painstaking scientific gathered evidence.

Explanation: The minority science view, should never have been presented by the media as being equal in credibility & volume to the overwhelming majority science view. To then be given equal status by the media and played one against the other to further cloud the issue in the public arena. It is not balanced reporting at all, but creating a situation where the public are swung this way and that way in the media manipulated process to create news, not report it. Yes, the minority should always be heard in society, but where an issue of magnitude demands a urgent decision & solution, the majority opinion must prevail in a society. Otherwise the unresolved problem lingers on to reach its inevitable entropy conclusion and it becomes too late to seriously address it.

Clarification: It could be said the Media not only informs the public, but creates their perceptions and realities out of its 24/7 saturated information. That is the enormous power the media has come to possess in society. Namely, to create, control, direct & fuel the perceptions of the public. According to our history books, social & political disorder (entropy) becomes the end result of a minority dictating/obstructing/influencing the decision making process & mandate of a majority. If 21st century validation of its equation is required, then listen to President Obama’s 2014 Address To The Nation speech. Its tone & direction would suggest he has worked out its equation and wants the American people…and especially Congress, to follow suite.

Kind regards to the reader from the author.

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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein Français : portrait d'Albert E...

Albert Einstein Français : portrait d'Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a German, Swiss and US physicist, born in Ulm, Bavaria. Einstein became a Swiss national in 1901 and held the position of examiner at the National Patent Office (1902-5). During this time he published papers on theoretical physics. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect (i.e. the observation that electrons are released from specific metals when exposed to ultraviolet light), which spearheaded quantum theory.

Einstein is best known for his special theory of relativity (1905) and general theory of relativity (1916). He also produced the equation, e=mc² where ‘e’ is energy, ‘m’ is matter, and ‘c’ is the speed of light, which is a constant.

Professor at Zürich and Prague, and Director of Berlin’s Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute, Einstein escaped persecution from the Nazis by emigrating to the USA, where he lectured at Princeton in 1934. He gained US citizenship and a professorship at Princeton in 1940. After World War II, Einstein advocated international regulation of the atomic bomb. In 1952 he was courted by Israel to become its second President but declined the offer.

Einstein has been accused of plagiarizing from several sources. He himself says that he didn’t have time to fully reference some of the ideas that contributed to this theories.

Related Posts » Hawking (Stephen), Lenard (Philipp Eduard Anton), Menuhin (Yehudi, Sir), Newton (Sir Isaac), Augustine (St.)

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General Theory of Relativity

Illustration of spacetime curvature.

Illustration of spacetime curvature via Wikipedia

Albert Einstein‘s groundbreaking relativity theory includes two subsets—the special theory of relativity (1905) and the general theory of relativity (1916).

The general theory includes the earlier special theory of relativity but goes on to explain accelerated frames of reference. Also, it extends the special theory by proposing a general theory of gravitation.

Einstein understands gravity as arising from a curvature of space and time. The general theory presents the universe as a four-dimensional space-time continuum. So the presence of mass ‘curves’ space so as to create the effect of gravity.

The general theory of relativity has been supported by the orbital motion of the planet Mercury which, from the perspective of Newtonian theory, seems anomalous.

Perhaps even more radical, the special theory predicts that as objects move, time slows down. And the general theory predicts that gravity effects the passage of time. Both of these hypotheses have been supported by atomic clocks and GPS measurements.¹

So, quite unlike idle speculation and imaginary fantasies, Eisntein’s seemingly “weird” ideas are supported by empirical evidence. While other theories of gravitation exist, they tend to have much in common with Einstein’s.

¹  See

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Lenard, Philipp Eduard Anton

Philipp Eduard Anton Lenard (1862-1947) was a German physicist who suggested that atoms have both positive and negative charges.

His experiments led Albert Einstein to question the nature of light. Most notably, Lenard directed a beam of light at a metal plate and found that an electron was jarred free from the plate the moment the light reached it.

Einstein argued that if light is a wave phenomenon (defined as a pattern of energy transfer), a precise and calculable amount of time would be needed for enough energy to build up to jar the electron free from the plate.

Thomas Young's sketch of two-slit diffraction,...

Thomas Young's sketch of two-slit diffraction, which he presented to the Royal Society in 1803 via Wikipedia

Because Lenard’s electron was jarred free instantly, Einstein said that light behaves as a series of particles (defined as tiny, indivisible units of matter). This assertion created quite a stir within scientific circles because the interference pattern previously observed in Thomas Young’s double slit experiment had apparently ‘proved’ that light behaves as a wave phenomenon, and physicists understood waves to be the opposite of particles.

Lenard received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1905. And since then, not a few New Age commentators have discussed the importance of his work, and how it has contributed to the idea that the concepts of matter and energy are, to some extent, social constructions informed by the way we observe natural phenomena, especially in the subatomic realm.

Related Posts » Berkeley (George), InterferenceMeditation, Particle-Wave Duality, Schrödinger (Erwin), Standing Wave, Young (Thomas)