The classical idea of discrete particles – the indivisible
atoms of Democritus – gave way, for a time, to the powerful idea of
electromagnetic waves. We discovered an entire spectrum of invisible energy. We
are exploiting it for our purposes.
But the universe is far stranger than this. Once we could conceive, in our mathematics and science, our art and our poetry, the
idea of everywhere-interpenetrating waves, we were compelled to consider even
more of the mysterious quantum universe we inhabit.
What is often referred to as the most astounding
discovery in science – the principle of complementarity – demonstrates
experimentally that electromagnetic radiation exhibits essential characteristics
of the mutually exclusive categories of wave and particle. This
paradigm-shifting result indicates that what is evolving is our own ability to
comprehend ideas that defy much of our common experience.
We are limited only by our capacity to comprehend our
situation. Fortunately, this is something that seems to increase. As it does,
we will continue to discover new territories, new dimensions which have been
here all along. We just need to develop an ability to imagine them.
*Image: “Photon Stream” by Tullio DeSantis, altered ink
YouTube Video: Dr.
Quantum Double-Slit Experiment