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Physics of Action
the copenhagen interpretation of action
The world was once simple and brutal. Strength stood as the sole virtue, and divine powers determined destiny. From the day of your birth, your place in society, profession, and beliefs remained largely unaltered. When the expected order was disrupted, it was often attributed directly to another's effort, whether divine or mortal – every action had an equal and opposite reaction.
In time, this perspective shifted into a useful application. The world revealed itself to us; it was a grand clockwork, a deterministic system awaiting discovery. This bore the scientific method and reason. Factories and assembly lines, with their standardized parts and replicable processes, epitomized the belief in a world governed by cause and effect. Every cog in the machine had its place, every process its outcome. Even abstract concepts, like the law and policy, aimed to engineer a predictable, structured system to oversee human conduct. The world, as it was experienced then, could be parsed and understood. At a fundamental level, the world was Newtonian.
Yet, this was only a surface-level understanding. In the early 20th century it was discovered that the universe, at its core, was not deterministic, but a set of probabilities, revealing quantum complexity hidden beneath Newtonian simplicity.
This famously drove Albert Einstein mad, and until his dying breath, he sought to prove otherwise. “God does not play dice with the universe," he said, clinging to the hope of uncovering "hidden variables" that might restore causality, but none were found. As quantum mechanics flourished, so did societal intricacies. Splitting the atom rang in a new age of unparalleled scientific advancements and burgeoning bureaucracies.
Today, we no longer attribute disasters and unfortunate events to the will of the gods. Instead, we decry intricate webs of people, systems, and inscrutable markets. A torrent of stimuli and information that purports to contain answers, yet so often blinds us in haze. How does one solve big problems? Where do you even start? Looking for truth in this mess can unintentionally breed cynicism or madness. The naysayers proclaim, "That problem is impossible to solve." And, at times, it might seem so.
However, the complexity was always present; it’s only our awareness that has evolved.
The elements of the world exist in superposition; it’s in our engagement with it that the complexity collapses into clarity. Through holding a point of view, the system becomes deterministic. The challenge is not in finding the "right" perspective, but in having one at all. Our ancestors, perhaps unknowingly, embodied this principle. Because they believed the world was simple and clear, it was; you can do this, too. This is the Copenhagen interpretation of action.
While the universe operates on probabilities, it is only malleable to those who view it deterministically. In staking out beliefs, you manifest reality into a machine with levers to pull. Be careful; you might live your entire life without ever actually having opinions of your own, forever tossed around in another’s wake. The world will drown you if you don’t believe in anything. True transformation demands a Newtonian approach. Virtue is perseverance in the face of random indifference.
Life cannot be viewed as a game of chance. Embracing randomness will lead you astray, even if it is scientifically correct. Amidst this chaos, simplicity beckons, and self-conjured certainty becomes an inner compass. While your actions do not alter the true quantum nature of the world, they will undoubtedly shape its course.