243 – As Everything in Nature, We are a Synthesis of Three Complementary Properties …

There is nothing that empirically proves our profound interrelatedness with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Niels Bohr’s Complementarity principle gets close to do that for me. I highlight close because the theory does not include a property that is essential for the complete understanding of all evolving systems in Nature.

The most well-known example of Complementarity is the phenomenon of Light as a synthesis of particle-like and wave-like duality. Light manifests as particle-like in its components (photons) and as wave-like in the patterns photons create as they interact with environments. Light is not one or the other; it is both. But Light is also a component of the Universe, and as such, it is universal-like as the manifestation of the common blueprint[i] that maps the development of all the components of our Universe. Therefore, for the principle of Complementarity to provide a complete understanding of Light, it must include the universal-like manifestation: Light is particle-like and wave-like and universal-like.

As all evolving system in our Universe – light, hydrogen, cells, solar systems, galaxies –  human beings are a synthesis of three complementary properties: We are particle-like as individual components of a system (humankind) AND wave-like as the patterns we create as the species affects and is affected by environments AND universal-like as we reiterate the common blueprint that maps the development of all universal components and endows us with a degree of freedom in adaptation.

It is, of course, evident that each complementary property can be explored with the exclusion of the others. The particle-like property of a photon, or a human being, or any evolving system in Nature, can be isolated and studied with the exclusion of the other complementary properties. But by doing so, we forgo the essence of the system we are trying to understand.

In the generation, organization, and bonding together of the components of our bodies, we, like any evolving system in Nature, have no choice; these processes are relatively pre-determined by the demands of the environments in which we exist. But in the way we adapt, self-regulate, and self-perpetuate, whether we do it instinctively or by our own determination, we become pro-active participants in the evolutionary processes of a species. And as we unfold, transforming ourselves and our world, we re-assert the universal mandate that endows us all with a degree of freedom to choose.

The principle of Complementarity proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is. Whether it is an atom, a cell, a human being, a solar system, a galaxy, we are all synthesis of three complementary properties: we are all particle-like and wave-like and universal-like, not one or the other but all at the same time. And I believe that we will be more rational and understanding in our relationship with Nature when we accept this about us.

[i] Self-organize, self-generate, bond, self-regulate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform.

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2 Responses to “243 – As Everything in Nature, We are a Synthesis of Three Complementary Properties …”

  1. Mundo says:

    Dear Kirk, For most of us the only experience of Life is, whether internally or externally, our immediate interaction with it … getting up every day and doing what we need to do to get through the day. But this is only a reflection on the kind of reality we have created; a reality in which the pressure to survive makes it almost impossible for us to perceive the extent of what we are, of what we can be. Yes, you are unique; there’s no one in the entire Universe with the same exact composition of your body, no one with the exact same set of experiences that gave you the capacity and self-determination to say I AM!, but you also are the species whose progressive evolution has given you the power and self-consciousness to know it, and also are the Universe in which you not only exist but exists within you imposing the universal laws of self-generation, self-organization, self-regulation, self-perpetuation with which you and everything in Nature develop with a relative degree of freedom to adapt and transform ourselves and our world. We are all synthesis of these three complementary properties – particle-like and wave-like and universal-like – and only perceiving ourselves as such can we comprehend the essence of what we are.
    Thank you for your interest in the blog,
    Mundo

  2. Hkirk Willard says:

    Hi again
    I am comfortable with your position and yet one part of my self determination is stronger than the note implies. We humans cling to our self consciousness as if it was unique. It my be but very likely it is all that I can hold out as a vital individual. When I think back on my whole life after being 2 yrs I see it as unbelievably unique and has grown wise. Yes I wish that I could share the many insights and values. Only I know the many unnecessary errors that fell short of what I knew to say or do. Having read for days over years on ancestry to prehistoric people, I realize there is nothing in me unique except for my immediate emotion gained from recalling my senses and history. That is enough. I am part of all you say and thus just follow life — but on each instance that I object and emote I AM!

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