While I am not a professor or researcher in physics, I did do my undergrad in physics. I understand the basic concepts of physics and have spent many hours working away with the math in order to understand those concepts. There is nothing that riles me faster than reading some pagan or new age book that compares magic/spellcraft to quantum mechanics. IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THE SAME THING!
There is this deep compulsion in our community to “justify” our practices and belief with burgeoning scientific theories. Sometimes, there are REAL connections between the research being done in many scientific fields to the practices and magic we use. The problem arises from authors who do not understand the science trying to manipulate the science to fit their magic. Let’s start to fix this.
Quantum Mechanics “is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.” (Wikipedia is surprisingly useful when describing physics and math. . . so enjoy the rabbit hole.”
Physics is often a matter of scale. The magic that we are working in our lives and communities might be subtle, but I argue they are not at the scale of quantum mechanics. Clearly just because things are small does not mean they don’t affect our lives, but the affects of quantum mechanics is much different then the direct affects of magic and spellcraft.
Then of course, there is the cat. Witches and magical folks love their cats. Schrödinger’s cat is thought experiment from Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. Please remember that the world of quantum mechanics was really very new at this point. It was a glamorous time to be a physicist (you laugh, but like cool discoveries were happening at a pace that most couldn’t keep up with and these discoveries were getting press. . . like in newspapers and stuff in a way we hadn’t seen before). The most common thought about quantum superpositions (as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. . . again wikipedia rabbit hole) was that the state of being “alive” and “dead” at the same time until the situation was observed or acted upon. This was the Copenhagen interruption. Schrodinger thought this was absurd. He designed his experiment to show that having something be alive and dead at the same time was just ridiculous. There are many, many ways that this thought experiment has been expanded upon and used in physics today. We don’t have time for that. . .
The point is your magic and spellcraft is not an example of quantum superposition. At no point is your spell both working and not working. Your spell might be growing in power. Your will might be changing the landscape of your life. The magic of your craft might be shifting to the winds of your will. But it is not holding multiple phases/locations (my word choice fails me here) at the same time.
You can insert your “but what about the multiple world theory” call here. Just no. . . your spell is not grabbing a possible outcome in a parallel universe and dragging it into ours. Magic works in the here and now just fine.
Quantum mechanics is not really in the game of absolute values for things. More often we are talking about probabilities. Do you want to describe your magic as probability? Is your spell only 36% likely to happen in your life? No, I think our magic is much more in the realm of classical physics. We use magic to shift and change energy, often at a scale large enough to affect our whole community or family. There is a definite causality between the ritual and spellcraft we do and the outcome. Both quantum mechanics and classical physics deal with energy. We could go into the math in more detail, but the point is there are other realms of physics that can be applied to magic with more ease and less confusion. So, why do we try to shove magic in with Quantum mechanics?
Quantum mechanics is fun and sassy. There is a lot we are still learning and integrating into our understanding of the universe both on the theoretical and experimental side of things. It’s exciting to not know and to have room for uncertainty in our scientific understanding of the universe. Just because we are still learning the best way to describe magic and spellcraft does not mean that they are the same thing. Just because you can’t describe WHY quantum mechanics or magic works doesn’t mean that they have the SAME WHY.
Let’s stop selling the power of magic short. Don’t forget that the why behind our spells is our very own will, belief, and ability to connect with the energies around us.
And please, let’s do some of the math first before trying to write about physics in a new-age book.