The idea that something can be both a wave and a particle defies imagination, but the existence of this wave-particle “duality” is not in doubt. … It is impossible to visualise a wave-particle, so don’t try. … The notion of a particle being “everywhere at once” is impossible to imagine.

—  PAUL DAVIES, 1985

…nature has arranged that it is impossible for man to feel “right” in any straightforward way. Here we have to introduce a paradox that seems…especially sharpened in man. The paradox takes the form of two motives or urges that seem to be part of creature consciousness and that point in opposite directions. On the one hand the creature is impelled by a powerful desire to identify with the cosmic process, to merge himself with the rest of nature. On the other hand he wants to be unique, to stand out as something different and apart.

Alaskan Forest – ©Dave Higgins

In A Nutshell: Things exhibit both individual particle and collective wave qualities, depending on how they are observed.

Please note: when we talk about “dual nature” here we are not speaking in either/or terms. Instead, as the above quotes indicate, we are talking in both/and terms. For example: a computer connected to the internet is both an individual terminal and a part of the larger network at the same time. The same applies to forests (collective) composed of (individual) trees.

The Science

Particles and waves: The central mystery of quantum mechanics A great introduction into the strange concept of the partical/wave duality.

Double Slit Experiment explained! by Jim Al-Khalili, of the Royal Institution.

The Photon Has Two Faces – a more in-depth (and amusing!) take on the subject.

Is It a Wave or a Particle? It’s Both, Sort Of. – A look into the question by Space.com

How It Can Apply In Our World

Social Norms 101 Primer – Resources from Hobart and William Smith Colleges on this approach, which strives to shape responsible alcohol use through an individual/group perspective.

Breaking Ground – while most social work focuses on the needy as individuals, this organization tackles the problem of homelessness by integrating individuals into communities.

Common ground on housing crisis – a BBC article about Common Ground Community (now called Breaking Ground) and a similar organization in London. 

Quantum Sense – My writings on the subject.

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