Breaking Bad


Did I catch your attention with this title? – (I know I’ve missed the Zeitgeist with Breaking Bad, I’m not ashamed of it!)

I recently saw this crazy experiment on youtube, and that’s where this post’s title comes from – it’s to do with Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty.

Apparently when you shine light through a barrier with two slits cut out you get a differentiated pattern on the background – because light travels in waves and so these waves either blend to amplify or cancel each other. If you pour sand through the slits (vertically) you get two distinct lines as sand travels in straight lines.

Here’s the rub. When you fire atoms through the slits they give a differentiated pattern – but when you put a camera in front of the atom gun you then get the double line pattern. So basically the outcome of the experiment changes because you are adding in a third component – being observed.

This got me thinking about a number of things – firstly, why write a blog not a diary: does the probability of being observed affect how I write – of course it does.
And secondly, does that matter? Is there a need for true ‘good’ or true positive – because I am far from that. I’m very negative, very judgemental and very very lazy. But my thoughts go through layers and layers of filters such as: should I be thinking this way? Is it healthy? Is it helpful? Is it a result of the chimp brain? Is it a result of the ego? How would I feel if my mum / my David / that cool person I look up to saw me acting in this way?
Eventually, the action that results might not be what my initial thoughts would have created. It may be much more considered and careful. On a good day it is, on a bad day it isn’t.

But does the initial thought have to be good to make you a good person – or does the resulting action just have to be good? Does the first part matter? I’m not sure, but I hope not. If it does, well then I’m just another fake.

The final thought that came into my head was that maybe the whole reason why we find the uncertainty principle experiment so crazy is because we don’t think atoms are conscious. Maybe they are just as aware and sentient as us, or the only reason we are intelligent humans is because we are made up of sentient atoms.
If that’s the case, I really need to be a lot nicer to everything in this world. I should try.


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