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Number 7

The universe is infinitely mysterious. And contrary to the assertion of Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is not always the correct one. The word "atom" is derived from the ancient Greek notion of the "uncuttable"—the final elementary particle. But since the discovery of protons, neutrons, and electrons, scores of subatomic particles have been identified, with no end in sight. It’s impossible to predict the direction that future scientific inquiries may take. Staying open to new ideas is essential.

Quantum theory indicates that we live in an interactive universe, and that consciousness may be woven into the very fabric of existence, as surely as space and time. Some theorists believe that the universe exists because of consciousness and that the simple act of observation can affect both the future and the past, a phenomenon known as retrocausality. The quantum double-slit experiment and the Schrödinger’s cat conundrum imply that (at the quantum level) reality is literally altered by our observations. Prayer and affirmation might even be cast in this same light.

Some theorists have gone as far as proposing that reality consists of a series of discrete moments in time, rather than a smooth, linear progression of events. The way these moments are navigated is believed to depend, to some degree, on our beliefs, observations, and intent. These notions seem completely counterintuitive, but so did Einstein’s theories of relativity when they were first introduced.

Roughly 500 years ago, most scientists believed that the earth was the center of the universe, around which all other bodies revolved. And 150 years ago, the existence of radio waves was a topic of heated scientific debate. Who could blame scientists of that day—on any of these fronts? The truth could not have been deduced using the observational tools and methods of the era.

Gravity is now seen as a bending of the space-time continuum—a trough created by a body of a given mass. But what if consciousness creates a similar trough in a currently unknown continuum? Perhaps we all exist at a locus of physical and spiritual energy—what some have called an "assemblage point." Our current experience of reality may be funneled through a profoundly narrow porthole of perception that offers only a hint of the true picture. The spiritual component of existence may be no more apparent or quantifiable today than the space-time aspect of gravity would have been to Isaac Newton as he watched an apple fall from a tree.

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