Then falling into a moment’s revery, he again looked up towards the sun and murmured to himself:”thou seamark! thou high and mighty Pilot! thou tellest me truly where I am-but canst thou cast the least hint where I shall be? Or canst thou tell where some other living thing besides me is this moment living?

Chapter 118, The Quadrant

Yesterday’s news that  2012 Nobel Prize  in Physics went to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland,“for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems,” rather unsettled me.

Though the idea of having the capability of now building a clock which would–even had it started keeping track of time in the very  instant of the Big Bang– today be but five seconds off–oh, the thought of that to my perpetually time-challenged self was, to be sure,  disturbing enough but, that was not what struck fear in my heart. . .

Quantum physics, or at least the principle therein of quantum superposition (to my limited understanding and, alas, remember I am NOT a quantum physicist), tells us that the teensy-tiny parts of sub-atomic systems exist in all possible states simultaneously until, by observing and measuring them, we force them to behave as though they are confined to only one state of existence. . .

That is to say, that which we (and all things) are composed of are at one and the same instant in time

here and there

everywhere and nowhere

laughing and crying

reclining and gnashing our teeth

giving and taking

awake and asleep

And all that we are,

we are not

All that we are not,

we are,

But  .  . .

Pin me under the microscope and I will not be here.

Like a hologram, you handle me and

with the twist of your wrist

I will disappear.

For when

you insist of defining–

on shining your

sanitizing

operating room

overhead lamps

on the very fringes of my messy messy mind field. . .

I will implode

if for no other reason than to seek the invisibility of smaller and smaller fragments of myself.

Under observation,

the wavefunction collapses

(for, truly,

how do you pin down a wave?)

Or is the only way to observe a wave to see

every potential outcome at once?

Since the wave is

its every potential?

But if we, maddened like Ahab, cast our quadrants to the deck and rant “Thou canst not tell me where one drop of water or one grain of sand will be to-morrow noon–”

We risk losing the beauty

both

of the wave

and

of

the infinite stretch

of the golden shore.

We risk losing all potential

and fall (like Schrödinger’s Cat)

collapsing

into the one and only

reality.

So ask yourself, are you ready to open the box?

Are you ready to end the fiction and take your

level deadreckoning?

 

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