Notes For Creators

cross fit for the creative soul

How the Uncertainty Principle liberates you

It’s strange. The most destabilizing concept of the 20th century can also set you free.

I love sharing excerpts from books with you, with the hope they might spur thoughts for your own life.

And — I must emphasize this — I also hope you just might run out and buy one or several of these books for yourself. For really deep dives into the material.

Good writers deserve to be read.

Every excerpt I share as part of the Book love series comes from a book I adored in some way. (See the link in the side column under Categories.)

Some are insanely useful. Some deliver an insight in a way no other has. Some — especially memoirs — share experience so richly I feel I partially lived it too.

Today’s choice deviates from most of the excerpts presented here at Notes For Creators. Instead of one contained segment to give you a sense of the style and thrust, this is a series of excerpted bits to help key you into Mel Schwartz’s premise.

From The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Help You Think, Live, and Love.

Enjoy —


I awakened one weekend morning some twenty years ago feeling quite anxious. Having recently divorced, I was missing my kids, who were with their mom that weekend, and I thought getting out of the house might help.

I headed out for a bike ride, but as I pedaled around the gently rolling hills of my hometown, my angst only continued to heighten.

I realized I was experiencing the start of an anxiety attack—something that had never happened to me before.

Still feeling shaken when I arrived home, I walked into my office and absently pulled a book off the shelf: The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, written by theoretical quantum physicist Fritjof Capra….

. . . . .

I read of a wondrous universe—one that was inseparably whole and thoroughly interpenetrating—in which all notions of separation faded away.

. . . . .

I no longer felt alone, but sensed that I was an integral part of this universe.

. . . . .

As my understanding of reality altered to align with these discoveries, my beliefs changed too. I reflected on how my misinformed beliefs, rooted in fear and the idea that change was onerous, had constrained my life.

This insight ultimately touched virtually every aspect of how I think and live.

The new life that emerged was untethered by many of my old limitations. Rather than feeling unmoored, I marveled at my transformative experience, reflecting that if this worked so well for me, why not for others?

. . . . .

Over time, I developed an accessible approach that applied the quantum worldview to personal growth, showing people how to live more resiliently and fearlessly and how to think, feel, relate, and communicate differently based on this worldview.

. . . . .

A defining moment is a singular burst of insight in which we choose to embark in a new direction.

. . . . .

I’ll demonstrate how our operating worldview creates the landscape we live in and, as a result, is the basis of our experience. Because I’m not a scientist, my descriptions of quantum physics are easy to understand and intended as metaphorical, not literal.

. . . . .

Welcome to your new quantum life.

. . . . .

A worldview is the “meta-picture” of how we think reality operates. What we need to understand is that it’s merely a temporary snapshot of reality.

Over time, new theories and discoveries presage shifts in our worldviews. The paradigm that Earth was the center of the universe prevailed until it was eventually overturned in the early 1600s by Galileo, who suffered persecution for claiming that Earth moved around the sun.

What we think of as reality is actually no more than the current worldview. Yet as each new theory and discovery arises, we re-envision the world and how we come to live in it, and our new vision has profound consequences on most aspects of our lives.

. . . . .

The philosopher and mathematician René Descartes followed the astronomical discoveries of these men—including the heliocentric model of the solar system—and discovered what he believed to be the absolute certainty and truth of scientific knowledge.

Among other things, he described the universe as operating like a giant clock.

Isaac Newton straddled the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and furthered Descartes’s vision by depicting the universe as a giant machine, a worldview known as the mechanistic paradigm.


. . . . .

[M]any of our operating assumptions and beliefs are obsolete, incoherent, and invalid.

. . . . .

The motif of separation isolates us and induces us to compete rather than collaborate and promotes extreme individualism over the common good. Winning replaces compassion. Conflict trumps cooperation.

. . . . .

As the noted eco-philosopher Henryk Skolimowski succinctly put it, “As we read the universe, so we act in it.”

. . . . .

The primary principles from quantum physics show up in three vital conceptions that can enable us to live the lives we choose. 

1. ​Embrace uncertainty.

. . . . .

Think of uncertainty as the wind in our sails, empowering us toward the lives we seek. Uncertainty is where new possibility lies. 

. . . . .

2.​ The universe is in a pure state of potential.

. . . . .

Uncertainty implies potentiality, as all outcomes are possible. It appears that reality looks more like a reality-making process—a perpetual state of flow—than a fixed state of being.

. . . . .

3. ​The universe appears fundamentally inseparable.

. . . . .

This whole new vision of reality created by the discoveries of quantum physics is also known as the participatory worldview.

The revelation of the participatory worldview is that reality appears to be a kind of creative dance in which we all participate—again, more of a reality-making process than a fixed, objective reality.

. . . . .

When we are grounded in wonder and enchanted by the hopefulness of possibility in our lives, we are far less likely to feel depressed, anxious, or listless.

. . . . .

Our fears about the future are often focused on what we call outcomes. But an outcome is nothing more than a momentary snapshot that we take in a particular moment.

This way of looking at life—living in dread of certain outcomes—is rooted in the static picture of Newton’s universe.

From the perspective of a flowing participatory paradigm, no such thing as an outcome exists because reality is always continuing to unfold.

If we are part of that flow, we can choose differently as we wish, but we must be in the flow. Embracing uncertainty frees us from fear of outcomes.

From The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Help You Think, Live, and Love by Mel Schwartz
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