138 Rewritten

I actually have quite a number of things to post, but once again I forgotten that WiFi is undependable, so, @#$% you M1 (that's not the F word, L word, or S word, if you're wondering, it's a harmless little bleep).

So, there'll be very little on-the-spot typing, and a lot of last time-last time writing.

In some obscure Internet subcultures in Malaysia, it is considered good luck to post essays written for interviews on blogs, before attending the interview itself. Although I don't usually wish to subject myself to every interesting belief I encounter, there's no harm in doing this, is there?

The USP (University Scholars' Programme) essay

A Life's Entanglement with Quantum Physics.

“There is only one philosophical problem, and that is suicide”
- The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus -

We have to concede that ultimately, it is only the choice to live that matters, but to do that is to consider reality itself, which is an inseparable part of life. Hence, I believe, if there is one theory that would affect a person’s thinking in a profound way, it must be a theory that describes reality. There are a few fields of knowledge that attempt to understand reality, but one stands out in contrast to the others, and that is the field of Physics. Physics itself has undergone several revolutions in attempting to explain the nature of reality, but the most interesting and intriguing of all is the Quantum Theory of Reality.

When I was first learnt of the Quantum Theory, I was taken in by the sheer difference of the theory compared to conventional Science. It challenged my worldview greatly, and I began to accept that we are not to believe all that we know by habit. At the end of the 19th Century, most physicists believed that the Physics was nearly complete, as Lord Kelvin said, “All that was left was to fill in the fifth decimal place”. Little did they know that beneath the sheaths of the common perception of our macroscopic world lies a whole new reality that defies both logic and imagination. For instance, it may initially seem logical that we should be able to measure everything with precision, but quantum theory tells us that it this is impossible, and that we can never know the momentum and position of a particle with absolute certainty. It shows us that we must never be as arrogant as to believe that we know all there is to anything and everything, thus continuing the spirit of inquisitiveness and discovery that has brought us to the knowledge of this day and age. It is the lessons learnt from the pre-quantum scientific revolution days, which remind me that apathy towards the acquisition of knowledge cannot be adopted.

Other counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, such as the quantum measurement problem, encapsulated by the renowned Schrödinger’s Cat paradox and quantum entanglement, has convinced me that human knowledge is by no means complete, and it is humbling and exciting experience to realize that there still remain areas and aspects of reality that still remain out of our reach. It is humbling in the sense that we, humans are not accustomed to leaving stones unturned in the development of knowledge, and yet, even today, we still must accede that we still have questions about the quantum reality, which is indirectly part of the beauty of reality that provides the meaning of life. However, there is a silent excitement in that I could be part of the process of discovery and play my part in the expansion of human knowledge at the frontiers of human knowledge, if not our imaginations. This motivates me to do my part in our pursuit to reduce the gray areas of our knowledge, and pursue a programme that would enable me to play this part.

The Quantum Theory is indeed a departure from the tradition of classical physics by postulating a whole new concept and perception of reality. The crux of quantum theory, which is the introduction of a limitation to knowledge and measurement through the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, shook the long-held and intuitive ideas of the layman’s reality. The audacity, tenacity and boldness of the founders of the theory to go beyond conventional theory and defy commonsense intuition about reality are an inspiration to aspiring scientists such as myself. Furthermore, the formulation of this theory has shown that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of reality is guided by neither convenience nor simplicity, but by whatever data and observations we collect and make. This fundamental principle that governs the processes that scientists, and humankind in general, should always be used in the construction of our knowledge of the reality, and I have adopted it as a life’s principle.

In conclusion, the introduction of quantum theory to human thought and subsequently, my own thinking, is an event that is life altering. One cannot help but wonder of the possibility that even after the efforts of decades and centuries of human inquiry, we may still only be scraping the façade of the true reality. With many more lacunae of knowledge hidden in worlds, if not dimensions unknown, the consideration of suicide seem distant, as I constantly tell myself, “Why end my own life, when there is so much more out there to learn.”