are sub-atomic particles really particles or mere concepts in our minds? do they exist independently of human thought?
In the tenth century, Ibn al-Haytham initiated the view that light proceeds from a source, enters the eye, and is perceived. This picture is incorrect but is still what most people think occurs, including, unless pressed, most physicists. To come to terms with the Universe, we must abandon such views. The world is quantum mechanical: we must learn to perceive it as such. One benefit of switching humanity to a correct perception of the world is the resulting joy of discovering the mental nature of the Universe. We have no idea what this mental nature implies, but — the great thing is — it is true. Beyond the acquisition of this perception, physics can no longer help. You may descend into solipsism, expand to deism, or something else if you can justify it — just don’t ask physics for help. There is another benefit of seeing the world as quantum mechanical: someone who has learned to accept that nothing exists but observations is far ahead of peers who stumble through physics hoping to find out ‘what things are’. If we can ‘pull a Galileo,’ and get people believing the truth, they will find physics a breeze. The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
■ Richard Conn Henry is a Professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA