When poetry collides with physics

“The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation. Here the impossible union Of spheres of existence is actual, Here the past and future Are conquered, and reconciled,”

The Dry Salvages T. S. Eliot


“In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse occurs when a wave function—initially in a superposition of several eigenstates—reduces to a single eigenstate due to interaction with the external world. … Significantly, the combined wave function of the system and environment continue to obey the Schrödinger equation.”

Wikipedia “Superposition collapse”

TS Eliot, after the despair of The Wasteland, came to his realisation that the only way out of the endless cycle (“when is there an end to it, the voiceless wailing”) is the intersection between now and infinity -the Incarnation. The universe does not revolve around humans. Neither are we apart from all-that-is. Rather we are here to bear witness; or as quantum physics might put – to be observers – and thus to crystallise actual from the infinity of potential. What they would call observation collapsing the wave function, is what Eliot calls The Incarnation.

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