We live in two universes. There’s the one which most people are aware of, what we could call the physical plane, and another universe that is at right angles to it.

In mathematics there is the concept of numbers. Briefly, I’ll explain these. You are probably aware of the square of a number, which is a number multiplied by itself (eg: 4 x 4 = 16). The square root (√) of a number is the opposite (eg: √16 is 4). You may also be aware that a negative number multiplied by another negative number is a positive number (eg: -4 x -4 = 16). So the question arises: what is the square root of a negative number (eg: √-16)?

So the concept of (for imaginary) numbers was introduced, and with it complex numbers which have two components: a real part and an part. If we imagine real numbers as being on a scale then i numbers are at right angles to it:

Any point on the surface can be expressed by two numbers: the real component and the component:

The two points here are approx. (12,–3i) and (-12,9.5i).

So is the i plane just a mathematical sleight of hand or does it pertain to reality, and if so what is the relationship between the imaginary plane and the physical plane?

Light, as most people are aware, is made up of photons. Photons are like bullets. They can even be counted. But light is also a wave. For instance, colours are due to different wavelengths of light, as are radio waves, X-rays and so on. So how can light be a both a particle and a wave?

To understand this better we need to understand a theory proposed by Werner Heisenberg which is usually referred to as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. This says, in short, that the position and speed (or direction) of a particle cannot both be predicted with certainty. The greater the position is established, the more unknown is the speed or direction, and visa-versa.

Imagine a snooker table. Above it we have mounted a camera. We hit a ball and it travels in a particular direction and at a particular speed. As it travels it bounces off the sides of the table. We take a snapshot of the ball at a fast shutter speed, say 1–5000th of a second. We take another snapshot at a very low shutter speed, say 5 seconds. In the first picture we see a very clear image of where the ball is, but we don’t know in what direction or how fast it is traveling. In the second picture we get a very fuzzy picture of where the ball is

but we can see clearly in what direction it is traveling and we can calculate how fast it travels. There is a tradeoff. The more clearly we can determine the position (by using a faster shutter speed) the less clearly we can determine the speed and direction, and visa-versa. The problem arises because position is determined at a fixed point in time and speed and direction are calculated over a period of time. This is a similitude for Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

We could consider that when we take the picture with the very fast shutter speed we see a particle and when we see it with the slow shutter speed we see a wave. The more we see it as a particle, the less we see it as a wave. The more we take into account time, the more we see it as a wave.

This concept of particle wave duality gets down to the basis of the relationship between the mind and world. Thoughts are what goes through our mind and our thoughts are about the past or we project into the future. When we go too much into the past we get depressed, and when we go into the future we get anxious. But there’s another aspect of consciousness which is awareness, where we detach ourselves from the past and future and bring our attention into the moment. It’s sometimes called mindfulness. This is not thinking, it is another aspect of consciousness. It’s as if the real world is the real number plane and when we bring ourselves into the moment we become aware of this other plane of existence. Because this other plane is at right angels to the physical plane we see it edge-on so it only exists for that moment. We have to rediscover it at every moment.

In one sense the real plane is objective and the imaginary plane is subjective.

He’s another example from statistics. We toss a coin twice and we throw heads each time. What is the probability of us throwing heads again? Well, if we take the three throws into consideration then the probability is (½ x ½ x ½) = ⅛. However if we see this only in terms of this moment and remove the past then we have a ½ (1 out of 2) probability.

In a way this how many people go through life. Because they are looking at the past they confuse themselves with the present.

Another instance of this duality is money. Most people in the West have an objective view of money. It’s a balance sheet with income on one side and expenses on the other. It’s called a balance sheet because it has to be kept in balance. On the other hand, currency is called that because it has to be current. It’s like a river that has to flow. If it doesn’t flow then money dries up and the economy collapses.

Some people would argue that money has a life-force. If you spend it generously it will come back to you. And there’s many self-help books on this approach to money. The sceptics dismiss this but it gets down to the two ways of approaching money. The more you see it as a mechanical process the less you see it as a life force and visa-versa. Seeing it purely as a life force can get people unstuck, and many people who have read up on the so-called law of attraction fell into this trap. You have to have the balance of the real component and the imaginary component.

The human body has a mechanical component and a mental component, and doctors are usually trained to only deal with the body as a machine. However, the functioning of the body is very much related to the functioning of the mind. In fact it could be said that the conscious aspects of the body are controlled by the conscious aspects of the mind and the unconscious aspects of the body are controlled by the unconscious aspects of the mind. People who work in medicine are often not trained in this mind-body relationship, and drug companies have, to a large extent, abandoned using science and instead use statistics to evaluate the effects of their drugs. The formulation of the drugs may have been based on science (although sometimes even that is not the case), but the evaluation is determined by how effective the drug is compared to placebo — which works only on the mental aspect of the functioning of the body.

By Philip Braham on .

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