I wrote this piece on love, valentines and quantum theory last year. I re-read it today to see if I’d changed my thinking on love – and was surprised and heartened to find it’s still pretty spot-on.
Quantum love and the essence of life
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Like so many other days that are deemed significant in our culture, it’s one that rattles me as perpetuating so many heteronormative myths and being nothing more than a cheap consumer charade. (Tee-hee. I’ve been itching to use ‘heteronormative’ for ages!)
What that means is that, no, unlike the ever-popular Lisa Simpson, I never received the “choo-choo-choose me” Valentine’s cards from secret admirers as a child (or teenager, or adult, for that matter). Granted, I never gave anyone a card either, but hey, at age seven I was yet to discover feminism or The Secret.
Feeling unloved is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. And I don’t think I was alone in feeling exceptionally unloved on Valentine’s Day. So why participate in a cultural event that ends up just spreading the non-love?
But here I am, a pathetic, hypocrite of an adult, quite happy to be swept along in this folly of romantic love. On Valentine’s eve, I went searching for a special ‘love’-themed positive tune to post on this site and my V day plans include a special dinner with my love. (No, not the cat. Nooo, not my sMacBook. The other one – with two legs.) Actually, my enthusiasm for tunes of love and celebrating the day is probably more to do with “will use any excuse to eat wonderful food, guzzle champagne and dance around the house to cheesy music”.
It is true, though, that I’m a big sucker for love. In fact, it is my one value or guiding principle that has not changed over the years. For me it’s like the ultimate truth, the only reason we’re here, the singular essence of life: To live with love. And to isolate that to one day of the year just seems ridiculous.
In fact, my love attraction is so strong that whenever I’m making a tough decision, it only takes a Marianne-Williamson-moment for me to work out what I need to do. You see, I just ask myself, “What would love do?”
Now as I drag myself out from under my rock of new-age shame, let me explain why this works for me. Like so many popular songs have suggested, the world needs a lot more love. The alternative is living with fear, and although I’m pretty skilled at that, after years of giving the fear-based-life gig a red-hot go, I’d have to rate it as a pretty ineffective strategy for achieving quality of life.
So what is it about living with love that makes life a whole lot more worthwhile?
A recent paper in the journal NeuroQuantology by Antonella Vannini and Ulisse Di Corpo attempts to explain the life-giving power of love in terms of quantum mechanics.
In their paper, Retrocausality and the Healing Power of Love, Vannini and Di Corpo draw on the work of early 20th century mathematician, Luigi Fantappie, and suggest that there are two competing laws at play that regulate our material needs (such as food, water, shelter, etc) – the law of entropy (waves diverging) and the law of syntropy (waves converging). Due to entropy we are always replacing lost energy through food and water, or minimising loss through shelter. Syntropy, on the other hand, is the law that sustains life. According to Fantappie, who gave syntropy its name,
“The law of life is not the law of hate, the law of force, or the law of mechanical causes; this is the law of non-life, the law of death, the law of entropy; the law which dominates life is the law of finalities, the law of cooperation towards goals which are always higher, and this is true also for the lowest forms of life. In humans this law takes the form of love.”
If we’re serious about sustaining life, then we have to “be like the atoms” and encourage convergence of energy. That is, work together toward higher goals and share the love. It also means that instead of always making rational, head-based decisions based on certainty (or our illusion thereof), we make heart-based decisions. In true quantum physics style, they also contend that the future determines the past (retro-causality is the inverse of causality where past events causes future events).
So when we have feelings we just can’t rationalise, like when we feel anticipation, it is the future sending us a message. And so in acting on our feelings, living with our heart, our future is determining our past.
Yup. [Back away slowly from the crazy lady…]
There’s more to the theory than that, as it deals with identity and meaning and how we connect with the environment. But I thought the stuff about love being the essential law of life was pretty neat – and way better than a tacky card and a hastily-bought box of chocolates.
I also like the theory because there’s a bit of a Taoist dichotomous balance thing going on as well; love and hate paradoxically co-exist, and the redress of hate or force is love. It also gives me insight into one of other great paradoxes of love, which was the fabulous opening line (and theme) of Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body:
Why is the measure of love loss?
Why do we not realise how much something, or someone, means to us until it has gone? That only through absence do we recognise what we truly have. By their very nature, love and loss co-exist.
If you want a brain-melt trip into the edges of research, you can read the full paper here.
And my Valentine’s wish? I hope all your days are filled with love.
POST SCRIPT: I was so chuffed when I published this piece last year to receive the comment “Beautiful” from the authors of the quantum love paper. A simple acknowledgment can mean so much.
This piece was first published 14 February 2009.