My pseudo-obsession with the possibilities implied by the intersections of the edgier attempts to unify quantum and classical physics (M-Theory, String Theory, Goswami’s Monistic Idealism, etc.) and mystic and transcendent experiences across cultures seems to be bleeding in to and informing most of my relationships and artistic endeavors right now. Though I’ve been furiously curious about quantum mechanics since swiping a copy of Alice in Quantum Land while volunteering at my theatre department’s book sale six years ago, I really didn’t begin to fully process the implication of things like the dual wave-particle nature of sub-atomic particles, our inability to measure both their momentum and location at any given time, and the fact that they only collapse in to identifiable particles upon being observed by a conscious observer, until I took a job as a copy editor for Physical Review D: Particles, Fields, Gravitation, and Cosmology a couple of years ago. I didn’t keep the job for too long, primarily due to my physical need to wiki each word with which I was unfamiliar; however, it was still a formative experience for me. I still go to bed each night trying to dissolve back into my quantum nature, wondering if when my mind turns off/I stop looking, if I can become waves too–if that’s what dreams really are.
The past several non-fiction books that I’ve read (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundaries between Wilderness and Civilization by Hans Peter Deurr , The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami, Spirit and Reason by Vine Deloria Jr., and soon to be The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda) all seem to be building toward some sort of unifying theory of the universe for me (myths?). I often damn myself for failing to acquire even a basic understanding of math, let alone that which would be required to construct (or even comprehend) an actual physics/equation-based unifying theory of the universe; however, whether mathematicians/physicists agree or not, I truly believe that each culture and in these days of separation/disconnect/destruction each individual, really, has to discover that unifying theory for themselves, if they’re going to really, truly, without-doubt, because-they-have-to, believe it. Quantum Physics can give our hard-science-based, skeptical society hope for greater vision and power. Indigenous people’s, young children, and mystics have always had the ability to view the universe as unstable, multi-layered, and open to possibility; however, for most of us, it’s going to take these billions of dollars of particle-collider experimentation and indecipherable equations to allow ourselves to get beyond material realism. So be it. I’ll dive head first in. Since I was five years old (riding horses with my grandfather through once-strip mined woods, hoping to come upon a lost tribe that would take me in), I’ve tried grasping on to my one-eighth indigenous heritage and laying claim to the spiritual connection/ authenticity that that might offer me. However, for some time now, I’ve realized the shame and forgery in such cultural appropriation. We need to find our own path, on our land, in our own language, with our own realities. Here’s our opportunity.
I unexpectedly had the opportunity to meet up with something of a mysterious, see-once-a-year-for-a- few hours, spiritual sister in the search for sacred spaces in modern performance who was in town to take part in a twenty-four hour workshop/ritual with a small community theatre group. On Sunday night she saw me read my poetry in the guise of a disillusioned German cowgirl to strangers one-on-one in a speakeasy. In the morning we visited the MoMA and discussed transcendence, iconography, and revolution in Modern vs. Post-Modern art. It came back to quantum physics. I cried. She said “ I love you.” She left. I got a refill on my coffee and started writing this. Halfway through typing it out at here at Ganas I went down to the main dining room to help bring in the food from the weekly shopping trip and eat dinner. As I was getting up to leave and come back to my room, my housemate, Johnathan, that I was discussing Daniel Quinn and Jared Diamond with just last night, told me excitedly that there was a segment on NPR about quantum mechanics. He’s going to start researching it.
I have real hope. This new language, this new vision for our consensual reality can begin to infiltrate popular culture, art, and vision. The possibilities for an expanded collective unconscious are real–Just what all of my heroes always wanted and just in time.