The Wave Particle Duality and the Brain

"A problem can not be solved from the same mindset that created it." Einstein

In the physics of Newtonian mechanics, all matter is particles of different sizes, acting like billiard balls. Quantum mechanics introduced the new idea of wave particle duality. When you do an experiment looking for particles, you find particles. But when you do an experiment looking for waves, you find interconnected waves. This interconnected wave physics created interconnected technologies, from the connective destruction of nuclear weapons to the connective communication of smart phones and the Internet.

Matter seems to have two facets, like two sides of the same coin. You can't say that matter IS a particle, or IS a wave. It depends on how you look at it.

The human brain has a similar kind of duality hardwired in. The left side of the brain works like a serial processing computer, detecting differences in space and time. It holds our sense of past and future, and stores information as concepts or stories, which give accumulated meaning to our experiences in life. As such, it holds the sense of self, our ego, different from the rest of the world.

The right side of the brain works like a parallel processing computer, looking at whole systems, rather than linear discrimination. Visual and audio processing take place in this side of the brain. Large volumes of information are experienced at the same time.

The left brain is always in the past, considering what we remember has happened, or in the future, planning actions or worrying about what may come to pass. The right brain is in the moment, the ongoing now, where experience takes place and reality unfolds.

The two halves communicate through a very small common connection, allowing a binocular vision of the world, like the particle wave duality, specificity and difference on the left, and whole systems on the right.

For thousands of years, our culture has operated with an imbalance between these two perspectives, giving priority to the left brain differential perspective. A good discussion of this is presented in Leonard Shlain's book, "The Alphabet Versus The Goddess". If all we see if differences, the world is a place of war and threat. But we are missing half of the story. We are missing the inclusive nature of the wave field perspective.

An excellent presentation of this dichotomy is Jill Bolte Taylor's book and TED talk, "My Stroke Of Insight". She is a neuron-anatomist who had a massive left brain stroke. She describes the experience as her left brain capacity slowly shut down, leaving her with only her right brain functions. She felt an undifferentiated connection and compassion with all beings and things, and a profound sense of bliss and peace.

She wasn't able to function as an individual without her left brain perspective, and it took her eight years to make a complete recovery. In her recovered condition, she can intentionally choose which perspective to use in any given situation, and can easily switch between them. This is our human birthright.

Taylor's situation came about through a stroke, but through the ages, people have found techniques to come to the same balanced awareness. Mindfulness meditation is one. With practice, we can become aware that we are not just the left brain stories constantly running in our mind, but can sit in a place of aware presence, that allows the information from the other half of our brain to be heard as well.

This is how inspiration and creativity show up. We are already connected to the wisdom of the universe, if we are balanced enough to listen. Motzart wrote his first drafts in ink, because he heard the music whole, and simple wrote it down. All creative individuals have had the experience of solutions "suddenly" appearing, whole and complete, where before was only question and confusion.

We are a young species, still evolving our active consciousness. These last few millennium we have been living in an unstable state, operating from only half our birthright perspective. Within the last two centuries, with the rise of photographic and audio technologies, we have begun to manifest access to the other half, the connection aware half. We are in the middle of another stage in the evolution of human consciousness, and we need all the creative inspiration we can gather, if we are to survive much longer as a species. Each of us has to become part of the solution by becoming more balanced within ourselves.