Reality is full of paradox. The happiest moment may bring tears to our eyes; enrichment can lead to depletion; a statement may be both true and false. Most of us learn early on to accept life’s ambiguity, only occasionally balking at the unfairness of a world that is never exactly as it seems. As it turns out, paradox is encoded in our very being, so fundamental though we hardly know how to talk about it. But in this week’s episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra sits down with Menas Kafatos, a physicist and professor at Chapman University, to unpack the principle of complementarity and the paradox inherent in reality.
Complementarity is a quantum mechanical principle first formulated by Niels Bohr, an early 20th century Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner. The principle describes the way in which atoms act both as particles and as waves, a seemingly contradictory, though undeniably true, fact. During experiments it may be impossible to witness both properties at once, given the limitations of measuring equipment. But both aspects of matter are essential.
As Deepak and Menas discuss, complementarity is a fundamental principle of reality, which means it applies to all aspects of the universe: mind and body, unmanifest and manifest, dead and alive, local and nonlocal. Without opposites, Deepak concludes, there would be no universe. Neither particle nor wave on its own is enough to constitute reality – only their duality allows nature to act and function as it does. Thus paradox is at the center and in the very essence of creation.
What do you think? Have you experienced paradox? Let us know in the comments section below!
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