Are We Wavicles?

Wavicle is a term from physics that refers to a ‘thing’ that can be thought of (seen?) as either a wave or a particle, and i find it pretty useful when thinking about the Fetish of the Individual.

Feynman’s double-slit thought experiment.

In Feynman’s double-slit thought-experiment, a specific material is randomly directed at a wall which has two small slits that can be opened and closed at will — some of the material gets blocked and some passes through the slits, depending on which ones are open.

Based on the pattern that is detected beyond the wall on a backstop — which is fitted with a detector — one can discern whether the material coming through behaves as either a wave or particle.

When particles are fired at the wall with both slits open, they are more likely to hit the backstop in one particular area, whereas waves interfere with each other and hit the backstop at a number of different points with differing strength, creating what is known as an interference pattern.

In 1965, Feynman popularised that electrons — historically thought to be particles — would actually produce the pattern of a wave in the double-split experiment.

Unlike sound waves and water waves, Feynman highlighted that when electrons are fired at the wall one at a time, an interference pattern is still produced. He went on to say that this phenomenon “has in it the heart of quantum physics [but] in reality, it contains the only mystery.”



So electrons can be thought of either as waves or as particles, which are very different things.  Waves happen in a medium, like waves in the ocean. And particles are solid things, like an ice cube or a drop of water. Waves (think of a wave in the ocean) can be described by their frequency (how often do the waves hit the shore), their ……. Particles have a definite location, mass, and something else. FIX WITH TABLE

Are you a wavicle?

People are not electrons, though we are made up (at least in part) of electrons.  But just as I think we can gain some insight into thoughts and people and society by modifying the idea of fractals into s-fractals, so we might gain some insight in individuals by playing off the idea of wavicles.

The basic idea is that people can view a person (you) as being like a particle or like a wave.

How we are like particles — table e seen either as things, or as awareness. And we can map that to wavicles.


make a table

person   electron

body, self image, ego— mass, location

awareness — wave properties

Am “I” like particles or like waves?

Again i need to call on what i’ve found from studying/practicing the dharma.

For our purposes I’m going to posit that “I” am the thought of me, that (for this discussion at least) “I” am whatever i think i am.

I’m having trouble putting this into English, into words, because what i have experienced is just what i have experienced (and words are not what they are describing, what they point to).

We have thoughts and we can be aware of our thoughts.  Those are very different things. Let’s say i see an attractive person, and i know i’m seeing an attractive person.  There is the thought “she is cute” and there is awareness of that thought.  Then i think of Joanne, and there is the thought of Joanne and awareness of that thought.  And right now as i am struggling with how to say this, i have the thought i am struggling and awareness of that thought.

So what if we thought of thoughts as being like particles, and the awareness of thoughts as being like waves? If you think back to the double-slot experiment, it showed that electrons can be thought of as particles or as waves.  What if physics had developed slightly differently and the scientists had discovered this thing they called e-waves and another thing called e-particles. The scientists knew they were related to each other, but they thought they were different things.  And then somebody came along and said “maybe they are the same thing, just viewed from different perspectives?”

Following that line of thought, what if thoughts and awareness were actually one thing, that we have always thought of as two different things? So the thought “she is cute” and awareness of the thought are a single thing that can be looked at or examined or thought about as if it were two different things.

One way of looking at it, or thinking about it, is the thought is either true or false, that is is accurate or inaccurate, that it exists or it does not exist.  i didn’t have that thought before i saw her, and a little while later i will be thinking of something else.

The ‘true or false’ aspect is like a particle.

The duration of it is like a wave.

A bit of a leap

So here is the thing.  All thoughts have different content, but they are all the same in having duration and energy and something else.

So the awareness aspect seems more fundamental than the content aspect.

So so, if i had to say what it continuous in my stream of being, it would be awareness.

For Gillian on her 40th Birthday.

ps.  i just took a little break, and thought of Anne, who died twenty years ago. After she died she appeared to a number of my friends, and left a drawing of herself in the grime on the window of our old Toyota Corrola.  It would be intereesting to think that perhaps it was the wave aspects of her that could do this, rather than the particle aspects.



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