We exist, and always will exist, in a state of possibility.
We are but particles (and waves) moving about, not really sure of where we are until some sort of measurement is conducted — when we’re asked what we plan to do with our lives or tasked with reconstructing circumstances after everything falls apart on us.
“We want Google to be the third half of your brain.”
— Sergey Brin
A few days ago, headlines began swirling about that Google had entered a new echelon of information-processing as it had claimed to achieve what many call Quantum Supremacy — a term originally coined by theoretical physicist John Preskill denoting the moment whereby a computer is able to solve a problem that is deemed impossible for a traditional computer to solve.
Originally reported by the Financial Times, the publication was soon after deleted and Google has since denied media requests for comments. Many are quick to point to the fact that Google has merely achieved a quantum advantage with its sophisticated computers proving able to process information and solve problems at an exponentially and unfathomably faster rate than classical computers.
Regardless of the did they or didn’t they’s, we’re finding ourselves exposed, ever more and ever curiously, to the enigmatic winds of quantum science. Smoldering for over a hundred years now, quantum physics has relentlessly questioned hard-line science, infuriated the likes of Einstein and, really, anyone trying to grasp at one of its common theories, and ultimately proved to us that we know far less about this structure of reality than we think we do.
Not to fret — this post isn’t going to delve into the abyss. Nor will it regurgitate the same sorts of ideas that the likes of Sean Carroll are currently re-introducing and re-framing for public digestion. This is more so about taking a simple premise of quantum mechanics and overlaying it onto our everyday existence.
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan
To quickly double-back to Google’s self-proclaimed and self-sustained achievement, quantum computing functions in a manner that takes advantage of a qubit’s (a quantum bit) superposition state — a state whereby there exists a combination of possibilities and configurations and that its general resting state is actually a combination of all of these possibilities or configurations.
It’s an extremely difficult thing to squeeze a description out of without getting into murkier quantum waters but suffice it to say that it can be considered as simply Possibilities²- that to exist in a state of super-positioning means to exist in a way whereby all configurations are evident, all opportunities and possibilities are open.
In applying this sort of principle to our own circumstances, ambitions or overall existence — this is exactly where roads begin to diverge.
“The ‘paradox’ is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality ‘ought to be’”
— Richard Feynman
To apply the rules of quantum mechanics to life is to earn some quick backlash — for it’s become somewhat of a trope to rely upon these quirky happenings as evidence for something much more at play, something far from the realms of our comprehension.
Truth be told, it’s too soon to tell one way or another. It’s rather naive to assume that humans, like particles, can’t be entangled in some method beyond our imaginations or that Shrodingers time-tested cat is either alive or dead — we can’t do much but observe at this stage, and even that seems to have its share of controversy.
Nevertheless, I’ve formed a habit of applying natural laws to our day-to-day, because it provides for a good reframing of how we work, subconsciously or otherwise; our relationships with things like time or beauty; our tendencies and perspectives, our interactions with opportunity or venturing into the unknown.
And so we arrive at the crux of this post — like the qubit, which we’ll be hearing more and more about in the coming years, we too can be in a superposition state. We too can blow the limits off the innumerable configurations that we tend to operate under and we too can begin looking at things like possibility or opportunity as more tangible than we previously thought.
“To see an opportunity we must be open to all thoughts.”
— Catherine Pulsifer
To think of opportunities as exits on a highway that we can take or pass. To realize that we can truly construct the type of reality we want to exist in by simply following our strings of options and decisions as we go along — this is the sort of thoughtful albeit fluffy notions that I’m sure can both improve our circumstances and methods of perception but also prove several other quantum theories true - or sort of true, for truth is hard to come by in this game.
That our observation and measurement (or awareness) has an undeniable influence on states of possibility; that we need not subscribe to the classical methods of interpreting the nature of reality and that it may really be a wholly subjective enterprise. Why not act as though we are in a state of limitless possibility? For we really and truly are — despite what mortgages or personal circumstances may do to limit us.
“Every thought we think is creating our future”
— Louise L. Hay
We are but particles (and waves) moving about, not really sure of where we are until some sort of measurement is conducted — when we’re asked what we plan to do with our lives or tasked with reconstructing circumstances after everything falls apart on us. As much as we like to assert ourselves as the dominant force in the reality we know, we’re no different from the stars or the atoms — we have purpose, we abide by certain laws, we react and we exist.
And so to think of ourselves as existing in this superposition state, we suddenly come to realize that we’re not confined to the linear, one-dimensional mode of acting upon opportunities as they come. We realize that, as daunting as it may counter-intuitively seem, we really can do whatever it is that we want to do — the only questions left to be answered consist of how we do it and if we really want to do it.
While it’s certainly an over-used platitude to say that we can do whatever we want to do, it’s reverberated through time for good reason.
It comes down to a very simple common-denominator: We exist, and always will exist, in a state of possibility. The more we appreciate this simple rule, this unwavering law of nature, the sooner we blow the ceiling off our prospect and the sooner we can begin to move, much more effectively and vigorously, towards the opportunities we seek.