Quantum Metaphysics

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The “path” comes in to existence only when we observe it.  ( Heisenberg, 1927 )

 

 I just finished submitting my photo essay for the emerging photographer grant 2009. I don’t really think I will win the $10,000 grant but entering the competition was free and it would get my images in front of people. When I enter such competitions I remember the story Ernesto Bazan tells of entering the W. Eugene Smith Award competition 15 times before finally winning in 2005! 

Now I want to take a break and write about something other than photography. My other great love is reading and books. I just finished reading several really good books. They were all very imaginative. I am moved by words as much as by images and music.  I am currently reading a collection of short stories by Steven Millhauser called “Dangerous Laughter”.  The stories are idiosyncratic and filled with curiosity and wonder. In one a lonely woman slowly disappears, in another a group of teenagers play a dangerous game where laughter  pushes them to dark excess. The story that prompted this posting deals with a teenager’s involvement with a friend’s sister who has had a nervous breakdown and lives in a room where light has been banished. He cannot see the girl, he can only hear her, feel her presence. As they spend more and more time together the hero imagines the sister, Isabel, as any and all women. Images flash into his mind and when he is not with her in the room he sees her everywhere in his mind. Finally Isabel decides she is well enough to let in the light but as she draws back the curtains our hero runs away afraid to see. 

As I finished this story Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle” immediately popped into my head. When a particle is unseen it exists everywhere simultaneously but when it is measured (i.e. seen) all the possibilities collapse into one. Isabel, as long as she remained in the dark was all possible women. She was full of any and all possibilities and that is what attracted our hero, the mystery of the infinite. By drawing back the curtain Isabel was collapsing herself destroying that which our hero found most intriguing.

Cool! Can’t wait to ride the train and read the rest of the stories.


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