On Shakespeare and Quantum Physics

“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare wrote: actors, strutting and fretting, and audiences projecting worlds into the theatre. But how much deeper it runs! The “actors” are perhaps the fundamental energies of the world: quarks, electrons, the very fabric of space and time. They “play,” moving about in random ways, taking on “roles” when we observe. And we, the audience, project all kinds of meaning onto these players — these ghosts become for a short time family, cities, music, books. And like an electron in quantum superposition, when we look away, all things go back to being only actors, only clouds of potentiality on an infinitely empty stage.

Written after reading Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli.

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