Just like any ol’ teenager in the 21st century, I love an excellent quantum walk. (OK maybe not generalizable to teenagers, but the recent quantum hype is real).
Quantum entanglement, quantum superposition, heck — even quantum-blockchain.
What’s better than slapping quantum onto anything? Slapping it onto philosophy! Specifically Daoism.
This morning as I was taking my dog out for a (not quantum) walk, she wouldn’t move! Contrary to literally any other dog, she was not up for a walk. At first, I was like, “ugh, dog, let’s skedaddle, I don’t have all day.”
But then, I remembered the teachings of Daoism. It was a powerful moment. I became one with my dog, and she began to walk. So, if you wanna learn how to walk your dog, or if you just want to become enlightened, let’s learn about Quantum Daoism…☀️
A hasty explanation of Daoism 🏃♂️
Ancient Chinese philosophers (or simply, old Chinese dudes with long white beards that hopped around ancient china on buffalos) were ahead of the curve when it comes to being connected to nature.
Specifically, Laozi (he’s also called Lao Tzu, Lao Tse, and heck we might as well also call him Rick) was the father of Daoism (to make it more confusing, sometimes it’s called Taoism).
It’s a philosophy that uses nature as its guiding force.
Daoism is about harmony with the Dao, which means “the way.” Everything that makes up life is one (we’re all connected). My dog and I are the same things. I am grass. I am chairs. I am all the snowmen.
Think about the Dao as the mommy of everything. Everything = connected.
Last week I was in Denmark. I found myself staring out of trains into the beautiful surroundings.
Specifically at lots of grassy fields. It was fantastical! I started to internalize this powerful force around us deeply, and its potential to provide answers and fulfill our lives. (The outside world).
I live in a big city, so I often forget about trees and natural stuff. This friendly reminder to get off my phone was well needed.
Daoists believe that nature has all the answers; it can teach us and inspire us.
I might be some amateur Daoist, but spending some time outdoors this week, as opposed to a big bustling city, reminded me to re-connect with what’s natural. Everything in nature is slow, yet everything still gets done. Powerful.
- Daoism is about living in harmony with the Dao (way).
- Nature is there to guide and inspire us
- Everything in life is one entity.
Oh, and FYI, no words can describe what “the way” is. Language is not powerful enough to do that. One who’s connected with it just knows.
“The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.” — R̶i̶c̶k̶ Laozi
Being connected to the Dao = like being a moving river.
You experience things and move on.
This is the symbol of Daoism. If you google “Daoism,” it’ll be the overwhelming majority of the results.
What’s the yin-yang? It’s a balance of opposites.
Nature is full of opposites. Think summer vs winter, masculine vs feminine, night vs day. These polar opposites cannot exist without each other.
For example, when you call something “pretty,” you’re automatically calling other things ugly.
It teaches us that opposites can live in harmony; in fact, we NEED opposites.
If you had an island full of men, it doesn’t matter how hard they tried, no one’s having babies. To create life, we need opposites. In nature, we have constantly changing cycles of different things existing.
A fundamental principle of the yin-yang is that all things change.
“If you realize that all things change, there’s nothing you will try and hold on to” — Laozi
Here’s what it all boils down to:
- Trusting change and living with the flow. We know it’s gonna happen, no need to become resistant: live on.
- We can learn so much from nature. The very principle of the yin-yang comes from it.
- An Island full of men will not produce any babies.
How Quantum Mechanics Supports Daoism
Quantum mechanics is the super funky world that no one really understands.
It’s the rules of the universe that are just confuzzling. There’s a super famous experiment called the double-slit experiment that showcases how BONKERS this world really is 🤯.
We have a screen with two slits.
An electron beam fires electrons at this screen one at a time. It creates an “interference pattern,” which is caused by waves. This suggests that the electrons are actually waves (not particles).
So, scientists are like, HUH! Puzzling. Let me check it out. They put an electron measuring/observing device and fire the same beam… with the observer, a new pattern is formed: the double-slit pattern.
When observed, the electrons which we thought were waves turn into particles. The nature of reality shifts when we observe it. This is what creates classical reality.
As a gross simplification, when we say electrons are “waves,” they’re really in super-position. In short, they’re located nowhere and everywhere at the same time, with some probability distribution. In nature, most things exist in this dynamic reality.
When we observe, we create objects. Humans label things: nature doesn’t care; it doesn’t collapse the waves into particles.
The observation of objects (such as calling something “beautiful,” “a chair” or “the season of summer”) builds our classical world that we understand today.
According to Laozi, labelling things creates boundaries. Once we stop “observing” the world, we enter the limitless potential of super-position.
Once we remove the labels, we step out of our subjective, classical world, and enjoy the real power of waves around us.
Within the emptiness, there is limitless potential.
My Takeaway: Embrace Simplicity
We are nature, and nature doesn’t need much to be happy.
If you need a little, you become very rich.
“Embrace simplicity. Put others first. Desire little.” — Laozi
It’s like I’m freeing my mind. I’m giving myself permission to enjoy more by trapping myself less. That’s incredibly powerful.
In a world full of rapid-consumption, we forget about emptiness. We freak out when our schedule isn’t hectic. But it gives room for growth, experience and the dao.
As you’re navigating your quantum world, remember that if things exist, they’re natural, and nature doesn’t label things. That’s artificial. You can start to lose the labels that surround you, which detaches yourself and frees your mind.
Here’s an example of what attachment does:
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” — Laozi
As you remove unproductive thoughts, you give yourself time to feel the Dao. I’ve personally felt a spike in my excitement and enthusiasm to wake up in the morning.
It’s impeding my sleep.
I now jump out at 3 AM, way too excited to start my day. That’s the life of a simple girl following the Dao, trying to walk the dog.
From my quantum interpretation to yours, “a journey of 1000 miles starts with one step” (lol Laozi said this).
I would even argue it starts with a decision (which fun fact, in Latin means “to cut off”).
Make your decision to simplify more and more every day; you’ll start to enjoy the Dao.