When it comes to thinking, I think the masses are classical when they need to be quantum. By classical, I mean Newtonian, linear, certain. I mean logical. And when I speak of logic, I mean the logical mind … the systems in our brains that sorts things into categories, black or white, based on rules and past experience. It’s an awesome computer. No complaints about its ability to do its job. My complaint is about the extent to which we rely on logic for all jobs—even when there are better tools available to us.
Consider that our consciousness contains logic as well as other mechanisms … imagination … intuition. To think in a quantum way is to ditch logic and embrace the non-linear, paradoxical, trippy truths that physicists discovered in 20th century quantum physics, and that each one of us can unlock daily in our imaginations.
While linear thought might be visualized as A then B then C, non-linear thought is more like A then caterpillar. Non-linear thinking thus commands us to look beyond obvious sequences, unlocking insight into the beauty and rhythm of chaos and revealing paradoxical yet complementary relationships simply by bending our perspective and thought processes.
Look at it like this. Once, religion ruled us. We worshiped our sacred cows and feared hidden forces. Then, science came along, and we got all big and fat and died and turned to oil … wait, that didn’t happen … that’s a line from Airplane. But seriously, science and Descartes and Newton and maps and clocks ushered us into a modern era of certainty, an era where logic and its beneficiaries took the front row spot in our collective consciousness. You can see how the logic mindmeld affected our thinking by looking at art, which in reaction to Modernism adapted “perspective”: Paintings newly depicting singular events of a world “out there.”
In the mid-20th century, our science—and our art—changed again. It seems logical that we would see such a shift as the very science that brought us to Modernism began eating its own tail. But that’s exactly what I’m getting at. Classical physics went on to spawn quantum physics, which went on to change the rules dramatically. Particularly because the quantum truths are paradoxical; they are not objectively knowable in a traditional way.
Despite the fact that the truths are not ultimately illogical, that prima fascia logical, computer-like part of the brain just can’t conceive of these concepts. Light cannot be both a wave and a particle inside our logic-sorting brains; it takes imagination to accept that it can be both. Empirical physics finally revealed reality to be more of a yin/yang king of thing than a binary 0s and 1s kind of thing. It seems our artists, too, heeded that call with their melting clocks and Dada.
And it’s exactly these concepts that I’ll explore In iLLogic. I’ll take you on a journey into non linear thought and help you break free from the binds of logic as we look at subject matter from quantum physics to Buddhism to butterflies.
Einstein is said to have realized that the planets might exude a gravitational pull on light during a dream where he was flying all over the universe and his trajectory bent as he rounded the moon. I say the smart money is to embrace that eventuality: To step outside of the confines of your logical mind. Take some time to unseat logic’s hijacking of our experience of consciousness and all of the other tools in there that we’ve discounted for years. It’s time for us to unseat this unworthy King Logic and reclaim the validity of our imagination.