Something randomly occurred to me on the drive home just now. What makes constants make no sense? If change is happening all the time, just what is constant? There has to be a bedrock to the universal continuum of change, something that underpins evolution in favour of some random collective of meaningless, disconnected entities. Driving past the trees, those trees choose to be there as I choose to be driving past them. They may not choose exactly where their seed sprang to life in the soil, but they choose to survive against the challenges nature throws at them. We know enough about trees to accept their sentient position - they feel fear, they feel pain, they scream when attacked by chainsaws. They might not have a brain as we know a brain to be but they are very much alive.
What if conscious choice is the only constant in the Universe? Think of what we choose to be there - roads, houses, cities, infrastructures, our children, our friends, our food. Things we don't choose are those things beyond our control, and sometimes that line gets very blurred when it comes to lifestyles, relationships and career events. We do invite certain repetitions in life and our behaviour creates blueprints for effects we've no idea we caused. So, some things we consciously choose, some we subconsciously choose. Ok. So what's left?
The things we ultimately have no control over whatsoever are loosely termed "Acts of God". This covers everything way beyond the boundary of our personal environment and is most often assigned to a catastrophe. But the things that happen out there in the Universe at large fall into this "Act of God" category too, and there are some very beautiful happenings going on. Creation and destruction seem to be part of a cycle and the part we play is very, very small. Even if we were to systematically strip the Earth of everything she has to offer, which we might well do if we're not careful, the Universe has plenty of other options in its quest to evolve life. And plenty of time to evolve it in.
If we miss our boat, that's our problem.
In science, constants are chased mercilessly in attempts to make the formulas fit the reality. Planck's constant, the speed of light, supersymmetry, all these and many more rigidities have made their way into scientific processing. This is a matter of choice, borne of a reliance on mathematics to unravel mysteries still locked tightly into universal coils. We're free to choose how to look at things, and when we change our point of view our world has a habit of changing with it. If that's the only constant we can rely on to be there, perhaps it's time we used it to advantage instead of persecuting our planet while scrabbling for the spoils of self-pity, dread, loathing and fear.
Kathy is the author of Quantumology. She met up with quantum mechanics in 1997, pledging allegiance to its sources thereafter. These are her personal thoughts and testimonies.