I was musing over the last NLP presupposition I talked about; ‘You Cannot Not Communicate‘, when I asked myself this question: ‘what if it was taken to its extreme; “You Cannot Not Change The World” instead?’
Now, I don’t mean this in a kooky, touchy-feely kind of way, but I think it might be an interesting thought experiment to play ‘what if’ with a little help from science…
The Quantum Physics Bit
Quantum physics is the scientific study of the tiniest bits of stuff in our universe, the small little building blocks of the matter around us.
If you’ve been an avid reader of personal development stuff that’s more ‘out there’, then you might have already seen the Quantum physics angle flogged to death. If not, you might want to read on, and learn a few kooky things about our universe that just might boogle your map of the territory.
Disclaimer: I’m as much a quantum physicist as I am a heart surgeon (neither!), so whatever I can offer is only as far as my layman’s understanding of it goes. Knowing that, let’s tread lightly but curiously…
The World Isn’t There Until You See It
Ah, the famous double slit experiment. Keith Mayes explains it very well in his ‘What is quantum mechanics?‘ page. I shall paraphrase it here in my own words as his explanation, while elegant, is still a bit lengthy (sorry Keith!).
An experiment was set up to answer the question: ‘is light a particle or a wave?':
Light As A Particle
Imagine a gun placed before a brick wall with two holes. Behind this brick wall is a steel wall. If you fire the gun repeatedly, you’ll get on the steel wall 2 clusters of bullet hits in line with the 2 holes on the brick wall. This is what you get if light travels as particles.
Light As A Wave
But if light travels as a wave, we can imagine the brick and steel wall submerged underwater. A wave is emitted from where the gun was and hits the 2 holes in the brick wall, the 2 holes will act as new sources where 2 new waves will spread out. As they travel on their way to the steel wall, the 2 waves will collide with each other at some point, forming a mess of waves, which would hit the steel wall as an interference pattern of alternating bands of weaker and stronger waves.
Light As A Cheeky Monkey
When the experiment is set up with the 2 slits open, you get light behaving like a wave. Aha! Question answered.
But wait! If you do this by firing individual photons of light, you don’t get 2 clusers of bullet hits like you would by firing individual bullets! You get an interference pattern of waves instead!
If you close one slit, light behaves itself, you only get 1 cluster of ‘bullet’ hits in line with the slit. Aha! Light is a particle! But once you open the second slit, interference pattern again! Light is a wave!
Ok, light must be playing tricks on us. We’ll watch to make sure it doesn’t fool us again.
If we watch both holes, light behaves itself like a good little boy and travels through either one or the other, forming a nice 2 clusters of bullet hits like particles.
If we focus our attention on 1 photon passing through 1 hole, if the other hole which it doesn’t pass through doesn’t have someone else watching it, it’ll act as a particle.
If both holes have no-one watching them, it’ll act as a wave!
When we are watching, it’ll only go through 1. When we’re not, it’ll go through both! The cheeky monkey!
Confused yet? I know I am!
The Universe Doesn’t Exist Until You See It
One possible explaination for the cheeky naughtiness of one of the building blocks of our entire universe is known as the ‘collapse of the wave function’. According to the theory, what passes through the 2 holes as waves aren’t real waves, they’re probability waves.
They’re not really there yet, they’re in a state of ‘oh, I could be here, or there, or maybe even there, or oops! there, but not really here, or here, but maybe there’-ness. Until someone looks at the probability wave, then it collapses and becomes a particle at a definite place ‘you got me! I’m here! you were right’.
The super weirdness comes in when you consider the implications: one of the fundamental building blocks of our material universe doesn’t really exist except in a state of probability until you observe it and then it snaps into place.
Or, like Keith says: Nothing is real until it has been observed!
Yikes! Is The Wall Behind Me Not Really There Until I Turn Around?
I don’t know! But isn’t it interesting though? Now, as yet there is no sure scientific proof that your mind can ‘deconstruct’ and ‘reconstruct’ the universe. But isn’t it interesting to consider the implications of the double slit experiment and play our own thought experiment?
What if it were true?
You Cannot Not Change The World
What if it wasn’t just that you couldn’t not communicate, in fact, you couldn’t not change the world? Just on the basis of you being conscious and observing the world every single day?
What if everyday the world you woke up in was a different one, in an infinite state of possibilities, just waiting for you to go out there, and by interacting with it, making it real?
Is it that hard to believe? After all, you cannot step in the same river twice. Every single moment, our planet is swinging around the solar system at breakneck speeds, which is itself moving around the Milky Way galaxy at incredible speeds, which itself is zooming through the universe.
Think about that: at every moment at every place, you and I are stepping into an entirely new place in the universe.
And if this new place, this new moment, is really full of sparkling possibilities, and you cannot not change it, wouldn’t that be an exciting universe to live in?
NLP 101 Series:
NLP 101: What is NLP? Part 1
NLP 101: What is NLP Special for The Super NLP Hardcore
NLP 101: What is NLP? Part 2
NLP 101: So Dark The Con Of NLP
NLP 101: How NLP Changed My Life
NLP 101: The Map Is Not The Territory
NLP 101: There Is No Failure Only Learning Experience
NLP 101: Every Behaviour Has A Positive Intention
NLP 101: The Meaning of Your Communication is The Response You Get
NLP 101: You Cannot Not Communicate
NLP 101 Thoughts: You Cannot Not Change The World
NLP 101: People Are Always Making The Best Choices They Have
NLP 101: People Are Not Broken
NLP 101: You Cannot Not Communicate: The Pygmalion Effect
NLP 101: Everyone Already Has All The Resources They Need
NLP 101: There Are No Resistant Listeners, Only Inflexible Speakers
NLP 101: Life Is A Series of Systems
Recommended Reading for NLP Starters
Great Reads for the NLP Hardcore