Green leaves do not waste enough energy (for our scientific models)… Why?
Q: What’s the significance of this effect in algae, to us humans?
A: Well, on the research level, this work is a promising lead for future solar cell technology. Equally as interesting this research implies that the quantum description could be universal and is certainly involved in biological processes and is most likely involved in human processes. So it jumps the gap between you thinking of yourself at human scale and being aware of the quantum effect within your body. This means our perceptions ought to shift as well from classical Newtonian sensing, ‘simple cause and effect’, bodies in space – a deterministic, no-probability view of ourselves – to a view of ourselves as ever-changing probabilities. It’s another tool, another way of shifting our attention.
Meditation teachers have talked about quantum stuff for years, but have had some difficulty making the bridge because they can easily get sidetracked in abstraction – e.g. in the uncertainty principle and the difficult language of physics and mathematics.
And quantum stuff was cold but this is warm. It’s biology. It’s alive. Anytime I’ve heard people talk about quantum mechanics and meditation, it just hasn’t gone anywhere. But this is the bridge. Meditation practitioners are experiencing non-Newtonian effects so they can relate to the quantum description, whereas non-meditators think they are only experiencing Newtonian ‘cause and effect’. All I’m saying is that introducing meditators to physics has not always been productive. Introducing them to biology is more accessible. This is an example of an exercise to shift your perception, that’s all! Imagine all the things we are doing are a result of quantum effect, but they are happening too fast for us to observe, so the meditators need to slow down and observe. This is a surface summary, but it made me so excited to study this research that I stayed up late reading it.
Q: I was excited too when I heard the radio story, but I didn’t understand all the implications. Thanks for this. What I see, in Dharma terms, is how your helping me to understand this science is both dharmavicaya (investigation of phenomena*) and mudita** (Pali: “shared joy”)–the shared joy of discovery.
*Dharmavicaya (investigation of phenomena) is one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment enumerated by the Buddha. (See chapter 26 of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh, 1998.)
**Mudita (Pali: “shared joy”) is one of the four Brahma Viharas, four Illimitables, key to full (boundless) development of human consciousness. (See chapter 22 of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh.)
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