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  • Writer's pictureBernard Beitman, MD

How Do Physics and the Multiverse Explain Coincidences?

Keep putting your energy out in the direction you want the change!

Wavefunctions of the electron of a hydrogen atom at different energies. The brightness at each point represents the probability of observing the electron at that point. (Source: PoorLeno at English Wikipedia)

Quantum mechanics research has shown us that our micro-worlds behave very differently from what we’re used to in our much larger every day cause and effect lives. Yet some theoretical physicists have attempted to apply quantum weirdness to our daily human life.

That weirdness includes:

  1. Entanglement (two paired particles separated a distance will instantly respond to the change in the other no matter what the distance of separation)

  2. Unresolvable uncertainty (we can’t know both the location and momentum of a particle) and

  3. Wave-particle dilemma (is a photon both a wave and a particle?).

The word quantum comes from the same root as the word “quantity” or amount. In quantum mechanics, the term has come to mean a discrete unit of something that is usually very tiny.

Superposition refers to the notion that a tiny entity like an electron or photon can have many potential locations in space. If you observe that entity in some way, like trying to determine its location, it becomes a particle in a specific location. Before it is measured, each entity can be described with an equation called the wave function because the entity is acting like a wave. Observation “collapses” the wave function so that the entity is no longer potentially in many different places. It settles into just one. In our large Newtonian world, such language and description appears to be out of place. Our actions do not seem to be describable by an equation that when graphed looks like a wave.

Many theorists explain coincidences through the idea of “many worlds” or “multiverse”. This concept suggests that there are an infinite number of possible universes. The one we know we are in is just one branch on a multiverse tree. An efficient way to think of the conflict between our experience of one universe and the theory of multiple universes is to think that all those other universes are in superposition with each other until we decide which way to go. This deciding, either metaphorically or actually, collapses the wave function of each of our lives. And each of us is different. Our individual universes must intersect with the universes of others to allow us to have sensible, consistent experiences together. To illustrate let’s say that a musician has an intention to find a job with a spiritual organization that emphasizes music as its method for expressing its spirituality. He decides to go to a group that fits that description. The leader decides she wants nothing to do with the musician’s offer. She has enough people, more than enough. Nevertheless, he persists and returns for each of the next three Sundays. On the 5th Sunday a voice inside of him insists that the effort is futile. No need. A waste of time. Another voice, a voice based on rational experience, tells him to go. Why? Because his research indicates that each step in the desired direction increases the momentum toward the accomplishment of his musical-spiritual goal. Since he is also a physicist interested in quantum mechanics, he believes that each step increases the likelihood of experiencing a circumstance—a particular branch of that multiverse tree—that fits his intention. article continues after advertisement When he returns home after the 5th discouraging visit, he receives a call from a stranger offering him the musical directorship of a different spiritual community that fit just what he was seeking. Coincidence? Or physics?

That musician-physicist is Sky Nelson. To listen to his story, please click here.


Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

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