I went cross-country skiing today, for the first time this winter! It’s just been so cold, and combined with my crazy schedule and whatnot, this is the first chance I’ve had to go. It was great! It was so mild out, only about -5, and the trail was nice and all the trees draped in snow looked beautiful. I am so amazed at how snow, which is made of frozen water, can look so much like a liquid! On the edges of roofs, it flows off and hangs like a frozen wave… on the trees, it clumps in such interesting shapes, it looks like the snow is splashing! It’s hard to describe! I am going to have to take my camera next time, and get some photos of the snow on the trees, the trees bent over under the weight of the snow, and the snow clinging to branches of poplar and evergreens alike.
There’s this paradox of nature that thing that are essentially particles–independent like snow flakes–can take on the appearance and even characteristics of waves, behaving like a liquid. It reminds me of physics, where I learned that elementary particles like electrons behave like waves much of the time, and so they are said to have wave-particle duality–indeed, a dual nature. So, as I skied along the trail, I got to thinking about other things that seem to be separate, but are also connected, or fluid. Like people.
I am my own person. I am responsible for my own actions, and no one else’s. I am responsible for my own thoughts, and what those thoughts create, either by way of my mood, attitude, opinions, as well as more concrete things in my life, like what job I have or where I live. In these ways, I am separate from those around me. Yet, with close friends and loved ones, I am in harmony, not separate. I have so much in common with them and although I don’t have any psychic abilities, we seem to read each others’ minds. On a much larger scale, I’ve read about the collective mind or consciousness–where a large group of people share attitudes and are somehow linked. For example, in the tropical paradise of Hawai’i, everyone is miserable! They have collectively decided to ignore their idyllic surroundings and instead focus on things which add to their unhappiness. The mood was quite palpable, and like I said, I’m not psychic, just observant (when I want to be).
When I first read about the collective consciousness, I found it hard to believe. I’m a scientist, after all, and this phenomenon can’t be measured, at least not measured and displayed on an oscilloscope. :) But, yet, when you look at the US, and the aftermath of 9/11, it’s pretty plain to see that the entire country has adopted a fear-based thought pattern, mixed with revenge, and it’s also pretty clear to see the result. Anxiety, pain, paranoia, violence, disease, and more things to be afraid of! Now, I think the collective consciousness is amplified by the mass media, and that abstaining from any media, as I do from time to time, really helps cushion one from the effects. But, I have lived in a few places in Canada (and wasn’t much of a TV watcher then either), and I have noticed a different “feel in the air” in each place I go.
So what we, as particle-like people, think and do affects absolutely everyone around us. It’s practical; if some people litter, soon everyone’s doing it. It’s mystical; the consciousness of a population practicing Christianity is different from that of Eastern religions. It’s amazing; we aren’t very different from lemmings at all!
Take care everybody!