Quantum Theory is perhaps one of the most peculiar scientific concepts ever – even Albert Einstein, despite his genius, could not understand it and declined to accept it. It is odd that the world’s most successful theory seems to be quite so detached from that world; it certainly works, but does anyone really understand why?
At first glance, quantum theory does not fit with our understanding of reality at all – but only at first glance. The strange logic of particle behaviour can be applied surprisingly effectively to what is, from my perspective, another utterly inexplicable concept: human behaviour.
Although on the surface they are concepts that appear entirely at odds with each other, I would argue that there are numerous parallels to be drawn between quantum physics and the way people think – their essence often coincides, even if only in the analogous sense.
1. Humanity doesn’t make much sense most of the time either.
Whilst it is clear that the quantum world contradicts our expectations, it would seem to me that humanity is equally as contrary; human thinking (and subsequent behaviour) often fails to respect the the rules of ordinary logic. Just when you think you’ve got people figured out, they find new ways to be unpredictable. Both humans and subatomic particles will always possess the capacity to surprise.
2. People behave very differently when no one is watching.
As can be demonstrated by a simple double-slit experiment, there are radical differences between unobserved quantum phenomena compared with observed ones. Much in the same way as not observing particles gives rise to ‘quantum weirdness’, I imagine most human weirdness also takes place behind closed doors.
3. People can, in a sense, be in two places at once.
Quantum physics has shown that atoms can occupy two different places at any one time. Similarly, psychologists routinely distinguish the mind and the body as being two separate entities; the mind is capable of being entirely elsewhere whilst the body remains firmly established in reality.
4. Our belief systems and values dictate the reality we experience, just as the way we perceive the quantum field determines what we end up seeing.
As everyone knows, how something appears is entirely a matter of perspective. According to quantum physics, everything that is observed is affected by the observer. The same can therefore be said about the way humans observe the world around them: in the words of author Neale Donald Walsch, ‘everyone sees a different truth, because everyone is creating what they see.’
5. Human relationships can be likened to quantum entanglement.
Entanglement is a phenomenon describing particles that are so deeply connected, their bond transcends distance – even with a whole universe placed between them, this mysterious connection would remain. Entangled particles have been described as ‘particles in love’, thus likening these bonds to the complex relationships that humans form with one another.