For the better part of three centuries, Newtonian principles have dominated the worlds of science and academia. These principles and discoveries led to the discipline we call physics, and since the time of Newton himself, the physical sciences have been regarded as completely proven and verifiable.
In physics, the science of mechanics is divided into two primary fields of study; classical mechanics, which describes the set of laws that govern the motion of bodies under a verifiable system of forces; and quantum mechanics, which handles the wave particle dualities of molecular structures and their building blocks, the atoms. Atoms are made of curious particles which pay little or no attention to the established laws that govern the material universe. For example, researchers have observed time and again that electrons may appear in more than one place at a given time, an anomaly previously considered by physicists to be impossible.
This dichotomy in the schools of science has birthed a philosophical debate between the opposing viewpoints. For quantum researchers interested in documenting probabilities rather than absolutes, it’s a tall order. Searching for phantom particles that can be described as supernatural, discarnate, or metaphysical is often considered to be pseudo-science, anathema to the physical sciences.
Quantum physics is said to be not only stranger than you think, but stranger than you can think. The most brilliant minds among us, including Albert Einstein, have spent a century attempting to establish and explain a set of principles that oversee quantum mechanics, principles that as yet cannot be understood via the physical sciences fathered by Isaac Newton.
“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
— Immanuel Kant
Little known to the public at large is the fact that Einstein himself was ostracized and dismissed as a foolish and doddering old man by the establishment that once celebrated and enshrined him. Development of his principles had led to the dispatch of atomic weapons and the specter of the complete destruction of life on Earth, a probability which repulsed Einstein.
He dedicated the remaining decades of his life to the search for a Unified Field, his notion that everything in the universe, mechanical and quantum, must be subject to one elegant set of rules. He spent many years in the quest and his excursions led him beyond the physical sciences. From his pursuits came the string and superstring theories of unification, but Einstein died before finding his grail. As yet, a unifying “source of all” has not been conclusively identified by science.
Modern Western medicine is the beneficiary of classical mechanics. Indeed, medical research has produced many miraculous discoveries and developments; they’ve unlocked the structure of the cell, the chromosome and the gene, and corroborated how these microscopic elements determine outcomes in the organism at large. With diagnostic devices they can see into the vessels in the heart, observe the factories within our cells and follow the cryptic passageways that process information in the brain.
Yet science has been unable to identify or explain a source that underwrites the system, the “life force” that appears to permeate living tissue.
So, we are left to contemplate the source of energy that gives life to living beings. Is comprehension unavailable to science, unobtainable by the interests of medicine? Questions like this lead us back to the gaping rift between opposing schools of thought. The body and brain are material in nature, some insist, but what of the mind? Is it matter, energy, or perhaps an incorporation of both? At last, quantum mechanics has the answer.