Cleaning Up with Heisenberg

I woke up in a shitty mood. I was feeling ineffectual, useless and to make matters worse, had a persistent skin problem that made me feel that much more unattractive. The world seemed to be collapsing on me. Of course, with all my high-mindedness, I should be able to “choose” to not feel that way. After all, I’m a daily meditator. I know how to connect with my breath. I know that all phenomenon are devoid of meaning aside from the meaning we give them. But this morning, I couldn’t seem to choose positive meaning: the rash meant ugly. No amount of mental prodding could seem to shake that association.
And then I looked around my room. It was a fucking mess. There were clothes and shoes strewn about. There was paperwork all over my desk. Summer shoes sat on the floor (it’s like 20 degrees outside).
The living room and kitchen were hardly better—dishes and paper and clothes and other sundries dotted that homescape.
I don’t believe that there’s an inherent connection between external appearances and internal realities. I don’t think it’s true that people who bite their fingernails are anxious. I don’t think it’s true that people who wear wrinkled dress shirts to formal occasions are disorganized and oblivious of other people’s perception of them. I don’t believe that any of these conclusions are “true” as in immutable. But I do believe there’s a connection. I do believe that we advertise our inner lives with our external realities. I just don’t believe that’s “true”—it’s just a belief, and beliefs come and go. Truth doesn’t.
With that belief in mind, I spent the first hour of my day cleaning, organizing and scrubbing. After that, I meditated. Got up, wrote a little then started getting organized with some paperwork, systematically knocking off my to-dos.
I’ve brought up quantum mechanics before as a governing principle of perception. In the quantum realm particles exists as both waves and particles. Werner Heisenberg came up with the “Uncertainty Principle”, which proclaimed that we can’t accurately a particle’s location and momentum because of the inherent instability of particles and also because of the impact of measurement (i.e. the measurement always impacts the object being measured).
So we’re kind of fucked. Things exist in a perpetual state of uncertainty without our observations and they really get wonky when we observe them. But….
We have probabilities. We might not be able to accurately determine the location and momentum of the particles that constitute the couch we lounge in, but we can determine probabilities. Those probabilities are what we call the physical world. Totally unprovable on an elemental level, but pretty reliable on a composite/macro level.
It’s important to keep in mind the lack of truth that a messy room means something—that I’m disorganized, lazy, etc. If we can’t locate any physical substance accurately, how can depend on it as true? If I can’t locate my body, how can it be fat?
But we can do a lot with probabilities. If too many of these probable particles get together, it’s probably I’m getting kind of fat. Carrying that logic to perhaps a too far conclusion, when my room is messy, it’s probable that I’m being negligent with my life in general. It’s not true, but it’s probable.
I have a theory that believes that higher consciousness will only come after we’ve handled the most mundane, earthbound activities. I cannot transcend our narrow world if I don’t do my laundry, keep on top of my relationships, pay my bills, etc. If I can’t transcend reality with things that are so gross in their scale (laundry, choosing language to cultivate harmonious relationships, setting up online payments), how in the hell do I expect to get to the more subtle levels, where I can see that nothing is real, nothing means anything, that in the infinite probability, I can rearrange particles just with my viewing.
But in the meantime, until I see the matrix, I wash the dishes, fold my clothes, apologize for being such a dick the other night and, like Candide, tend my garden.

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