God and the Higgs Boson

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Through the Looking GlassBecause quantum physics deals with the unseeable world of energy fields, atoms, and particles, we do not notice it in our daily lives, even as it is more and more incorporated into our computers and other devices. However, if you are the kind of person who wonders about the fundamental nature of reality, you will probably want to dabble in the things it has to say.

Modern thinkers are looking at the growing congruence between quantum physics and philosophies about God. Many authors have written about this trying to make it palatable to lay readers. Because I think is important to know how our understanding of reality is changing, I too have tried to simplify the subject.

Quantum physics has demonstrated that at a fundamental level of reality, there are no particles, only energy waves or fields. The Higgs boson, discovered in 2012, dwells on the border between energy and solid matter and is able to slow down energy allowing it to accumulate mass. The energy becomes organized into the particles which make up atoms and molecules, and ultimately everything that exists. Thus, the Higgs boson earns its nickname, “the God particle.”

Some physicists question the idea that the universe is mechanical; they think it may be more like a living entity, one that forms itself with energy that has a kind of consciousness. As physicist Sir James Jeans put it, “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” And physicist Max Planck said that whatever you may call it (God, the universe, the Force, etc.), consciousness underlies physical creation.

All this speculation about how quantum physics and spirituality are reinforcing each other is not yet mainstream thinking. Indeed, the people who first called the Higgs boson “the God particle” were doing it as a joke. Its existence was first predicted by physicist Peter Higgs back in 1964, but it took almost 50 years and the expenditure of billions of dollars to get to the point where scientists had a physical demonstration of its existence.

What first started me thinking about consciousness and the universe was a famous physics experiment called the double slit experiment. It was found that if you set up the experiment one way, you demonstrate that a quantum of light is a particle. If you set the experiment up another way, you demonstrate that the quantum is a wave. In reading about this experiment, you will sometimes find that the author refers to the quantum as DECIDING what to be. Hence this little poem I wrote in 2009:

Quantum Consciousness

The teeniest tiny quantum
Decides what it will be.
“Wave or particle,” it thinks
Long before we see.

If quanta can decide
Which way they will express,
It’s very clear to me
They’re imbued with consciousness.

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