My business travels often require long flights for which I needed something to entertain myself with. I came across The Dancing Wu Li Masters, not a kung-fu novel, but an easy to read e-book on quantum mechanics. I decided to try it, figuring that at worst it canbe a good sleep aid. Instead, I was up the entire 13 hour flight mesmerized by author’s intuitive explanation of quantum mechanics and its possible ties to faith. What a combination!
“Wu Li”: Nonsense Physics
The author, Gary Zukav, started by explaining the peculiar title, “Wu Li”, which is a Chinese phrase that could mean nonsense and physics. Playing on these words, the author unfolded the history of quantum mechanics with intrigues. Zukav went on to describe the monumental experiments that illustrated the strange wave-particle duality of light as according to Young’s experiment and Einstein’s experiment. Then the Light-Slit experiment showing how light can have two possible outcomes, but the actual outcome depends on how it is observed.
Zukav hypothesized that the world is probabilistic–or made of probability waves–and events unfolding in time are probability crystalizing as it is being observed. If a supposed event is not observed or measured, it remains “supposed”, or a probability. The probability wave concept can be simply illustrated by the famous thought experiment: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Most would answer yes, but the truth is that, at best, they can say with high degree of certainty, based on past experience, the tree would make a sound.
Quantum Mechanics and Spirituality
Since the light experiment suggests that outcome can be affected by observation, Zukav suggested that it may be plausible that that prayer and faith could also affect outcome. In this case, prayer and faith are equated to observations and measurements. This is a wild idea, but consider we all know intuitively that by taking appropriate action one can increase the probability of a desired outcome; but actions starts with will and desire, mental activity more akin to faith.
After reading this book, it made me ponder even more, and my imagination goes wild.