Quantum Psychology: Interacting with Others in Spite of Different Points of View
William D Horton Psy.D. Psychologist and Master NLP Trainer
What’s up with all of the people in the world? Why it is that nobody can ever see things from your point of view? A new field of study, know as quantum psychology, is looking into the answers to that very question.
Quantum psychology is a new way of looking at the human mind that applies the logic of quantum physics. In quantum physics, one of the main principles is something known as the “observer effect.” While the mathematics and science behind the observer effect is extremely complex, it can be boiled down at its most simple to say “the observer affects the outcome.”
In essence, the observer becomes part of the equation and can’t help but interfere merely by attempting to observe or measure something. There is a famous thought experiment in quantum physics known as Schrödinger’s Cat, which explains this duality. According to the thought experiment, a cat is placed in a box with a Geiger counter, a small amount of a radioisotope that as a 50% probability of decaying, and a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If the radioisotope decays, the Geiger counter measures the decay, releasing a small hammer, which breaks the flask and releases the acid. Once the acid is released, the cat dies. Since the box is closed, the observer would have no way of knowing whether or not the cat was dead or alive until he opened the box and observed either a live cat or a dead cat. In the meantime, according to Schrödinger (the author of the thought experiment), the cat existed for the observer in both the alive and dead state until the box was opened and the cat was observed. In other words, the cat existed in neither a state of yes or no, but rather as a maybe until the observer took a look and rendered the cat either dead or alive.
If this sounds very much to you like the age old question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around, is there a sound?” you are correct. Both rely on the same principle – that the observer is extremely important in the observation of the universe.
It’s no secret that we all experience the universe from our own unique point of view. Two people having the exact same experience never have the same story of that experience. This is why eyewitnesses to the same accident will all see something slightly different – because each individual has filters in place that affects their observation of everything that happens in their own personal universe.
Our personal filters are an important part of who we are. Without them, we would be continuously bombarded by so much information that we would be unable to fully process our experiences. The filters are in place as a protective mechanism.
No two human beings have the exact same filters in place. Our personal filtering system is developed throughout our lifetime through a variety of types of conditioning, including the symbols and semantics we use for communication, imprinting we’ve received early in our lives, life experiences and psychosocial programming, just to name a few. While all of this leads to each of us having our own unique view of the world, it also serves to help us to maintain our sense of separateness from everyone else. This programming is what allows us to define ourselves as “I” and to determine the “isness” of everything else we encounter. It is how we form our judgments about ourselves and create definitions of everything in the world around us.
While these filters aid in self-definition, they also can be our greatest blocks to our sense of connectedness to the universe and to discovery of who we truly are. In a very real way, we use our filters - which were originally intended to keep us from being inundated by data – as a means of self-limitation, because who we imagine ourselves to be and how we view the universe is always a much smaller model than what it is representing.
A good analogy for this is to think of a globe. While a globe is a representation of the planet Earth, it can never be more than a much smaller, more limited representation of our planet. In order for it to be the entire planet, it would need to contain the entire history of the planet, including the consciousness of every single individual, animal, plant and object that had ever existed.
Looking at it from this perspective, it is easy to see that our view of the universe, our view of others, our view of the world and our view of ourselves is much like a globe is to the planet Earth. It is a smaller, far more limited model than the real thing.
According to the principles of quantum psychology, these limited and very different models of one another and ourselves that we carry around inside of our heads is a source of much of the difficulty we have interacting as human beings. Indeed, so different are our models of the universe that it is quite possible that no two people have ever truly met. How could they when each sees the world only from their own points of view? From there, it’s easy to extrapolate why it is so darn difficult to get others to see things from your point of view. It’s because they can’t. They simply aren’t wired that way. It’s actually amazing that we get along as well as we do.
If our point of view is so firmly entrenched, then, how can we stop limiting ourselves, and stop limiting our perceptions of others? The answers may lie in a technique called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). NLP is a technique that allows you to bypass the filters of others (or your own filters) to establish rapport with another. Once rapport has been established, it becomes easy to anchor certain thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviours that can then be triggered through simple physical actions.
For self-limitation, hypnosis may be another answer. Hypnosis allows you to bypass your conscious point of view and reformulate how you see the universe in a trance state, where you are at your most suggestible.
It is certainly true that we are conditioned to see the world in a certain manner; however, this construct that was designed to protect us doesn’t need to become self-limiting. Using the knowledge gleaned from quantum psychology alongside therapeutic modalities such as hypnosis and NLP can truly help you change how you see the world.