What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

By Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. in Research on January 15th, 2009 / No Comments

How Quantum Physics Can Change Your Life
Ever wonder how lucky or unlucky you are? Or do you think that whatever success or failure you’ve had had nothing to do with luck at all?

Well, if the quantum world has anything to do with it, not a single moment has passed without Lady Luck looking over your shoulder as you attempt to draw to that inside straight called the game of life. But if the quantum world has anything to say about it, there is a way to beat Lady Luck at her game. All you need to do is look vigilantly and carefully at the world – and take action with that same care and vigilance.

Observing in the Quantum World
Quantum physics is the theory of the behavior of matter and energy, particularly at the level of atoms and subatomic particles. It is nearly impossible to imagine the strange behavior of matter at this level using our common sense. An electron in an atom, for example, performs a trick much like the crew aboard Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise when it “beams” from one energy level to another. It simply jumps from one place to another without passing in between.

If we aren’t watching this electron jump, then we have no control as to when this will happen. But suppose we do watch? Ah, that changes everything.

The quantum physical worldview is very different from the way in which we have become accustomed to looking at the world. In our ordinary, everyday lives, this difference seems very slight. But if current experiments in quantum physics are relevant to our everyday experiences, you can actually alter the crapshoot of life, so long as you begin seeing things quantum mechanically, and take appropriate action in doing so.

According to quantum physics, there is no reality until that reality is perceived. We call this “the observer effect.” Because we don’t typically pay attention to ourselves in the perception process, our immediate experience usually will not appear to show how our act of perception changed anything. However, if we construct a careful history of our perceptions, it will often show us that our way of perceiving did indeed change the course of our personal history.

This may make sense to you when looking at something new and deciding what it means. But you may wonder, “I’m not actually changing reality, am I? I’m just changing my interpretation of reality.” The answer, as surprising as it may seem, is that you are in fact changing reality by the manner you go about observing it.

How to Make a Watched Pot Never Boil

In the world described successfully by quantum mechanics, observers ultimately and fundamentally affect the universe whenever they observe it or anything in it. This is so because it is not possible to observe everything about reality in any observation. If we refine our ability to see by looking at atomic and subatomic processes, this realization would be very apparent and the different possibilities would be quite magnified and astonishing to our normal way of seeing.

Take the old proverb “a watched pot never boils.” Now imagine a tiny quantum-sized pot of water being heated on a really tiny stove. We all know that heated pots of water will in fact come to a boil, given a little time. You would certainly think that a watched quantum pot would also boil. It turns out, however, that if you vigilantly watch the pot, it will never boil. In fact, all vigilantly watched “quantum pots” refuse to boil, even if they are heated forever.

The only requirement for this to happen is that observers must have the intent to see the object – in this case, the quantum pot – in its initial state by persistently observing it the same way in each moment of observation. This intent is determined by the frequency of their observations. They must look repeatedly, in very short time intervals – and if they do, they find the object in the same state as it was the last time they looked.

Suppose a physicist doesn’t watch vigilantly. Or suppose that she or he does, but does so with the intent of seeing the situation evolve naturally. Then what? If the physicist looks intermittently, expecting it to boil eventually, the pot will follow its natural unobserved course and will boil. These observations, because they are infrequent, have little effect on the natural result. Or, if they wish, the physicists may vigilantly observe the object along its natural evolution by narrowing their vision to observe only pots that have reached the expected goals at the appropriate times. In other words, a watched pot boils if you intend it to.

A Watched Life
I’m referring here to boiling pots of water, but I’m sure you see how the principle applies to your life, to the pursuits and aims you care about in your life, and to the power of your consistent intent.

I must point out here that “intents” and “intentions” are not the same things. Intent refers to a vigorous action of vigilant observation along a specific path of evolution. It matters little what you hope for or even what you passively expect will happen. You need to actively pursue your vision in order to manifest your intent in the physical world, not passively dream about it or simply hope it will come true.

Thus, intent requires a quantum physical basis, a basis that in our own everyday lives looks like this: hard work with lots of desire.

If this “watched-pot” theory turns out to be as true at the human level of our everyday achievements, then our desires and the actions that accompany them are what actually govern our daily lives.

What does luck have to do with? Nothing!

About the author:
Fred Alan Wolf is the National Book Award-winning author of Taking the Quantum Leap, The Spiritual Universe and 13 other books and 3 audio books. His latest book is entitled Dr. Quantum’s Little Book of Big Ideas.

For more information please visit: fredalanwolf.com

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