Fields: A Property of Space
In his book, Fields of Color, Rodney Brooks offers this physics-based definition of “field”:
“A field is a property or condition of space”.
If that has an odd ring to it or simply isn’t what you expected, don’t sweat it. By the time you’ve finished reading this issue of QHJ, “a field is a property of space” will be your new mantra.
A field is a property of space.
What exactly does that mean? And why get all bothered about it anyway? Give me a few and you’ll have your answers. Okay? Let’s start with the last question.
The answer is YOU.
In future issues we’ll explore therapies that find their home in the realm of quantum physics. If the ever inquisitive you insists on knowing how those treatments work (which after all is why you’re here), you’ll need a passing acquaintance with the nature of fields. Besides, I find the subject uncommonly fascinating, curious about the never ending interplay between us and the myriad unseen fields that imperceptibly and continuously enfold and permeate our beings. Got that?
And there is this. The not-so-mere act of imagining the healing effects of a field may itself be therapeutic.
Ether it’s there or it’s not
When Isaac Newton first discovered gravity, he had no explanation for how this force could exert itself across vast reaches of space. More specifically, how does our earth keep the moon in orbit? Newton was uncomfortable with the notion of action at a distance, at least without some intervening medium.
Similarly and equally perplexing was the mechanism by which life giving rays of light travel the span from our sun. These concerns gave rise to the idea that there must be some invisible substance, the ether, filling the void between, serving as an intermediary. But the ether could neither be seen nor touched nor smelled, casting doubt on its existence.
That’s not to say the ether isn’t real. In fact, although scientists long ago came to believe there is no such thing, more recently some highly regarded physicists have suggested otherwise. Or at least they now agree there is no good reason to dispense with the ether. Not yet anyway. So as of this moment regarding the ether… ether it’s there or it isn’t.
But let’s get back on task.
In 1845, Michael Faraday first used the word field to describe the action of a magnet on a small clump of iron filings. He showed that lines of force emerge from a magnet and propagate for some distance. You probably recall seeing his experiment repeated in your grade school science class.
Less than twenty years later, James Clerk Maxwell showed that electricity and magnetism are parts of the same field. Yes, that’s correct, the electromagnetic (EM) field of which visible light forms a very small segment. He even formulated a series of mathematical equations, four actually, that neatly described the EM field. Soon after, it became generally accepted that gravity must also be the effect of a field. Right again. I’m referring to the gravitational field.
Fields manifest in different ways. Take the weak EM field generated by your brain… or the much stronger EM field that surrounds your heart. They interact not only with each other, but also with the brain waves and heart fields of those nearby.
Fields propagate continuously, spreading out from their source until the phenomenon of field collapse occurs. That’s when the all the energy (or information) in the field is absorbed as a unit. Don’t ask me how this happens. As best I can tell, no one really knows.
The point is that the EM fields created by your heart and brain engage the EM fields of not only the person you’re sitting next to, but perhaps even the fields of those living very, very far away. Is it possible that all the brain and heart fields of every human and animal alive today are rapt in silent, bucolic dialogue with each other?
Imagine what this might mean for global harmony and health. We’ll come back to this when we look at the findings of the Global Consciousness Project and the rationale behind the ongoing Global Coherence Initiative.
But we’ve gotten a bit ahead of where we should be, so let’s backup a step or two.
General properties of fields
Perhaps the easiest way to conceive of a field is to review in your mind’s eye what happens when you drop a pebble into a body of water. Ripples form and propagate outward, away from the initial disturbance. The first ripples are the largest, getting smaller and smaller as the energy at each point diminishes over distance. In a similar way, the strength of every field varies over distance and time.
The strength of a field at any given point will vary depending on what happens at adjacent points and what influence neighboring or intersecting fields exert – just as happens when different waves on the surface of a pond interfere with one another. If the field strength at some arbitrary point is altered, the local change will affect neighboring points. These will in turn cause a shift in other adjacent points so that eventually, even remote parts of the field will be impacted by the original perturbation.
What are fields made of? Fields are made of quanta.
A quantum is the smallest possible (as in indivisible) unit of a field. If this sounds familiar, it should. But we aren’t talking about particles. Field quanta are not discretely localized. They propagate – spread out – and can do so without limits, overlapping with the quanta of other fields – each maintaining their integrity – and interfering with the quanta of fields of the same type.
The fact that field quanta are discrete and are absorbed in their entirety in the event of a field collapse creates the illusion of particles, which is why so many (particle) physicists are so confused.
Remember the Double Slit Experiment? A photon – a quantum of light – finds its way through a double slit in a wavelike fashion. The ripples that emerge on the other side interfere with each other. When the photon hits the screen, field collapse occurs as all the energy in the photon is deposited as a unit, giving the appearance of a particle. But you and I know it’s only a facsimile. The photon isn’t a particle. It’s a wave, or more correctly, a field.
Oh, the energy of a field quantum is proportional to its frequency or rate of vibration. High frequency means more energy.
Quantum Field Theory in a really tiny nutshell
Everything and I mean everything and everyone including you and I and William Beebe are made of overlapping, interfering fields… at least according to Quantum Field Theory (QFT), without a doubt the most elegant and paradox free interpretation of quantum physics.
In QFT, as we’ve just seen, there is no wave (think field) – particle duality. And at last we have an intuitive way of thinking about the Uncertainty Principle. In QFT, it simply means that fields unlike particles are not localized. They’re spread out.
Unfortunately for some, there is no Observer Effect. Or at least no need for one. Field collapse occurs whether you are looking or not. I know… you were hoping to have some fun seeing what you might be able to observe into existence. Sorry, but QFT describes reality just as we experience it.
Illness as a field anomaly
If we are made up of fields, could at least some illnesses be the result of disturbances in one or more fields? If so, what if we introduce a field of just the right frequency and type? Could destructive interference disrupt the anomaly or at least introduce a correction? We’ll consider this possibility when we examine treatments that fall under the rubric of Vibrational Medicine.
Well, that’s enough for now. Go out and enjoy the day. And while you’re at it, why not pick up some good vibrations.
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Image: By Geek3 [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons