Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective

By Shimon Malin | Go to book overview

18

Our Place in
the Universe

Do we have a place in the universe? A role to play in the cosmological
scheme? If the universe is largely inanimate, clearly the answer is no. If,
however, it is alive and multileveled, our consciousness, especially our
innate potential to reach high levels of consciousness, may well have a
cosmological function. Analyses of the observer's role in the context of
quantum measurements and of Heisenberg's discovery of the uncertainty
principle suggest that we do have a function in the universe: to bring about
a relationship between the phenomenal and noumenal levels.

We comprehend the wondrousness of Being, but are abashed at the
thought, affirming only at rare moments that real possibilities exist. We
forget that man was made to be a meeting place of the phenomenal and
noumenal worlds. Every man's true nature is one of tranquility, bliss and
happiness. The fact that we do not become what we are destined to be does
not diminish this truth.

—William Segal


1. Do We Have a Place in the Universe?

In the vast recesses of space billions upon billions of galaxies, in clusters and superclusters, approach and, for the most part, recede from each other. Most of these galaxies are too faint for us to see, except through powerful telescopes. Only one galaxy features prominently in the night sky: the Milky Way, the galaxy we inhabit. Each galaxy contains billions upon billions of stars. Our sun, an averagesize star, is situated rather far from the center of the Milky Way. Still, it is a thousand times bulkier than our very own planet earth, which circles around it as it circles around the center of our galaxy.

A billion is a very large number. Any one galaxy is an insignificant speck of dust among the billions of galaxies. Any one star is an insignificant speck of dust among the starry inhabitants of a galaxy. The earth is very small compared to the sun. We are very small compared to the earth. In view of all that, isn't it obvious that the place of human beings in the cosmological scheme is one of total and complete insignificance?

Let us examine the tacit assumptions behind this assessment. To begin with,

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Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Nature Loves to Hide *
  • Nature Loves to Hice - Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Part One - The Quandary *
  • I - Mach's Shadow *
  • 2 - Einstein's Dilemma *
  • 3 - The Call of Complementarity *
  • 4 - Waves of Nothingness *
  • 5 - Paul Dirac and the Spin of the Electron *
  • 6 - An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Rock *
  • 7 - "Nature Loves to Hide" *
  • Part Two - From a Universe of Objects to a Universe of Experiences *
  • 8 - The Elusive Obvious *
  • 9 - Objectivation *
  • 10 - In and Out of Space and Time *
  • II - "Nature Makes a Choice" *
  • 12 - Nature Alive *
  • 13 - Flashes of Existence *
  • 14 - The Expression of Knowledge *
  • 15 - A Universe of Experience *
  • 16 - The Potential and the Actual *
  • Part Three - Physics and the One *
  • 17 - Levels of Being *
  • 18 - Our Place in the Universe *
  • 19 - Physics and the One *
  • ∼ Epilogue *
  • Appendices *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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