Flash of Reality

Average: 4.6 (5 votes)
Your rating: None

I looked at him as he clicked his pen out of a nervous habit while glancing at his notepad.
“Ok,” he began trying his best to keep the sound of skepticism out of his voice, but failed, “You say you have the ability to teleport yourself to different worlds?”
I smiled and folded my hands while trying to formulate the right words to explain without sounding even more insane than I already did, “’Worlds’ would suggest ‘planets,’ which is wrong. And I’m not sure if ‘teleport’ is quite right either. To be more accurate, I can at will come to exist in any other reality.”
He looked at me with an expression that suggested he was waiting for the punch-line, but when it clearly wasn’t coming, he reluctantly clicked his pen out and jotted a scribble into his pad—following his pen-strokes, I’m fairly certain he wrote the word “Nuts.”
He looked back up at me while mentally sorting out which question would sound the least insulting to someone who may or may not be nuts, “And… how exactly do you do that, ‘willing yourself to other realities’?”
“I’m not much of a scientist, but I have tried my best to figure it out through library reading on the subject. But did you know, that there is actually a concept that existence only exists because it is observed by conscious observers?”
“You mean, like the tree in the woods; cat in the box—that sort’a thing?”
“Yes, those are thought exercises around the idea that these things exist because a consciousness observed it. On this idea, my existence here only exists because I’m being consciously observed.
“But, I myself am conscious, and therefore making you and all around me exist as well.”
He smiled, “I’m pretty sure I existed on the drive over here before you had the chance to observe me.”
“Yes, but not to me,” I said and let the words sink in before continuing, “Before you got here, you didn’t exist to me—and just as such, I didn’t exist to you. And the ability to fully understand this, allows me to exist anywhere else, anywhere I desire. I can be a rock singer or dragon slayer simply by willing it.”
He looked at me with a confused squint, “Do you me literally, or figuratively? I mean, are you actually talking about transporting your existence at all, or just having an active imagination, or day dreaming?”
“Oh, I mean quite literal, but you do direct us to the right questions. What is the difference between imagination and reality, or dream and wake? How do you know you’re awake right now? How do you know this isn’t a dream, and if it’s dream, which one of us is dreaming?”
“This is getting absurd, but alright. I guess if I really thought about, I really can’t tell—I could come up with logic problems like whose eye am I looking out of as opposed to who’s I’m not, but the answer could just as much be part of the dream.”
“Do you know what a waking dream is?”
He gave his pen a few unconscious clicks, “Yeah, it’s when you’re able to make yourself conscious of your dream and take control of it—are you about to tell me that’s what you do with reality?”
A smile spread across my face, “Exactly—although ‘reality’ is a bit more like a very convincing dream. We’ve all had dreams that for some reason, we believed they had to be real, until we woke-up—even if the dream was absurd, we still believed it. But even those dreams can be broken through with the right amount of convincing. And that’s all that is required here. Convince yourself that this is all just a dream—completely truly be consciously aware that this is something you control, and—poof—it’s all yours.”
He looked at me with a mix of skepticism and pity, and just shook his head, “I’m sorry, although I’m convinced you fully believe your delusion, it’s just too completely unbelievable. I don’t know if I could even write an article on this if I filed it as science-fiction.”
“That was expected,” I said with a smile, “after all, I have been in your place before.”
I look at the man as he absently smiles at me, I couldn’t tell what he possibly meant, beyond an insane rambling. So, with a final shrug, I close my notebook, click my pen and slide it in the spiral, and leave him to his lost mind.

About the Author: 
David A. De Ryckere was born and raised in the Metro Tri-county of Detroit, MI. Surrounded by a life of stories, he has spent years adding to his own skill of creating worlds and fascinating minds so he may one day succeed in breaking ground as a great story teller.

Newsletter Signup

Submit your email address so we can send you occasional competition updates and tell you who wins!

Quantum Theories

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.