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August 24, 2011

What is Reality? ~ Geir Isene

Photo: Takomabibelot

She looked at me with a slight smile.

My heart thumping and hands starting to sweat. I wanted to move but the legs wouldn’t obey. I had to force my body to take the first step. I walked over while a thousands thoughts competed for my approval. My mouth should have opened and a pick-up line should have left my dry lips, but my jaws were glued shut and my vocal cords had left me speechless. After a few embarassing seconds that felt like a full quarter hour, uncertain sounds finally left my body.

Photo: Aigle Dore

The feelings were real and they were mine. Although much of it was subconscious, I was the source. I created the words and I inspired feelings in her. After the first date, we both started to create stronger feelings. Until we became a couple. We continued to create a growing relationship. I created my view of it, she created hers. Together we created a marriage.

It was hard, enjoyable work. Lots of communication, lots of cuddling. I knew I was 100% responsible for the marriage, and so was she. I was responsible for my view of our relationship and she was responsible for her view of it. And we kept our views synchronized with quality communication to create a strong and healthy life together. The more we communicated, the more we kept in sync.

What does all this have to do with Quantum Mechanics? Hold that question, we will get there.

The marriage was real. It was reality. It is our reality. Just like a company is real for the employees, the owners, customers and suppliers. Just like a nation is real among those who agree that it is a nation. Palestine is a reality amongst some while others would disagree.

Is Pluto a planet? Not anymore. August 24th marks the 5 year anniversary where the International Astronomical Union changed the definition of what constitutes a planet and little Pluto was summarily removed from the prestigious list. Our solar system went from 9 to 8 planets with the a show of hands. Reality was changed.

Is Facebook really worth gazillions of dollars? Is an ounce of gold really worth what someone says it is? Is Mona Lisa really a beautiful painting? If you think it represents beauty, you will see beauty. If not, you will see old color on canvas or even ugliness.

Reality lies in the eye of the beholder. And when many agree, feeble reality becomes very real indeed. Right here we may

Photo: Andreas Wetterberg

just be touching upon the essence of reality — agreement. “But wait a minute,” you may object, “there is surely a real world out there!” Really? Are you sure? Quantum Mechanics cast doubts upon that certainty. Man’s most successful theory to date has shown that whether an electron is a particle or a wave depends on what you want to see. In fact, anything could be decided whenever consciousness views the physical world. Reality on a subatomic level is created by observation. The act of observing determines what is seen.

But since the chair you are sitting on is merely a composite of subatomic particles, even that object is subject to the laws of Quantum Mechanics. And so is the computer in front of you, the country where you live, the planet, the universe. And if you create everything you see by the sheer act of observing it, then so must my view of the universe be created by me.

Photo: NASA Goddard

“But how on earth, or elsewhere, is it possible that we see almost the same universe? Sure, there are differences in our views, but how could our views be so similar?” That is a really good question. It boils down to “How do we keep our
observation/creation in sync?” It’s almost like we decided to agree upon some basic laws of the universe and with so many viewpoints agreeing, the reality became so strong that we stopped doubting its seemingly absolute objectivity. If this was the case, there would be room for free will in the universe. There would be room for you —a viewpoint capable of any and all creations.

It would mean that you could introduce changes in your life, in your relationships and in the society. Simply by observing and creating, you could introduce changes in the world around you. Then you would be the ultimate creator and source of all that you see. You are the source of your feelings, the heart thumping, the relationship with your wife, the life that you live, the universe that you see.

The possibilities may suddenly seem endless. And they would be if you so desired.

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Geir Isene is a writer and highly regarded public speaker on a wide variety of subjects – from personal motivation, management, recruitment and business processes to IT, astrophysics, quantum mechanics and free
will. He is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of FreeCode, an international software and consulting firm in Oslo. He is considered a leading figure in the Norwegian IT business community, being a free software and Ant Hill Innovation evangelist. He lives in Oslo with his wife and three kids. He recently starting yoga lessons and is loving it. You can read more about him at isene.com

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