Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Collapse of Our Wave Position

It is a popularly held notion, both in the United States and throughout the rest of the world, that Americans, most notably American leaders, set themselves apart from the other inhabitants of Earth. This concept is most notable when it comes to the foreign policy of the United States, especially in regards to recent history. The U.S. has plainly stated and, in turn, demonstrated that it adheres to a set of principles which dictate that the common laws and standards applicable to all other nations of the Earth do not necessarily apply to itself. The United States sets itself apart from, or above all of the basic laws that govern the collected societies with which it interacts. The nation does so merely by suggesting such a rift exists.

The most commonly cited cause for this variance has been the combination of the events of September 11th and the ensuing War on Terror. It is the held position of the United States that since being so attacked, all necessary steps must taken to maintain the nation's security and to preserve its sanctity. This implied sanctity, as such, is bolstered by the assertion that by acting for the good of the nation, the United States acts toward the good of mankind. While the prophecy of determining who is with one and who is against one can be self fulfilling, in the case of the U.S. there is the implied added dimension of absolute righteousness, a prophecy that is conveniently self sufficient.

The United States poses itself as the standard bearer of humanity's highest ideals: equality, justice and freedom. It appoints itself as the international defender and arbiter of these ideals. America portrays itself, through word and deed, as the keystone of decency without which civilization oftlinewould descend into a netherworld of totalitarianism, Godlessness and terror. By doing so, America becomes the Leviathan written about by Thomas Hobbes in his book of the same name. Leviathan is the name Hobbes gives to the ultimate nation state, that which defends mankind from the descent into chaos. The methodology utilized by this fictional superpower is that of unquestioned and unchallenged rule. By appointing itself as lone sovereign, Leviathan as a nation was free to enforce its perception of justice on both its own people, and the rest of the world, without a need to ponder the legitimacy of its opponent's actions. Hobbes’ assertion was that in order to effectively govern its subjects, be they national or foreign, the Leviathan state must not be subject to the same laws as it enforces.

There is another, much smaller, and much less apparent set of parameters within which such a chasm exists. This is the rift observed in the scientific realm between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. In essence, classical mechanics state that all objects are separate entities, bound to their own existence, governed by laws applicable to their own current situations of placement and motion. Examples of such laws are Newton's Laws of Motion and Newton's Laws of Universal Gravitation. By theory, these principles assert that objects and their actions are controllable and predictable. In contrast are the laws of quantum mechanics, which assert that all objects move and behave in relativity to each other and furthermore, that all objects are interconnected. The rift between these two theories is a matter, mostly, of size. Classical mechanics apply to larger, conceivable objects, while quantum mechanics apply mostly at an atomic level. The invisible, arbitrary, and as yet undefined threshold where these two realms meet is referred to as The Collapse of the Wave Function.

The analogy can be made, then, that the United States operates its foreign policy in a manner consistent with the laws of classical mechanics: it presupposes that the actions it takes within and against the rest of the world will have direct, predictable and conclusive results. This theory frees the nation to pursue its goals unabated, so long as there is no physical, or financial, impediment the nation cannot overcome. There is, however, a major flaw with practice of this theory. While the United States sets out to apply itself to a "classical" world, the world, in fact, operates on a "quantum" scale.

A main tenet of both the reasoning behind the aggressive posturing of the United States on the world's stage, and of quantum physics, is the existence of the unified field. The unified field theory is the practical application of interconnectivity to the physical world. This applies to quantum physics most famously through the theory of relativity, and applies to U.S. foreign policy as one of the strongest arguments for the need a "War on Terror." It is the openness and increased entanglement of our societies, America argues, that necessitates the heavy handed actions of a single, sovereign world power. This, fundamentally, is a paradox. Because the world is indeed open and interconnected, a ruling nation must act within the construct of the quantum spectrum. By removing itself from these laws, the U.S. is hopeless in its efforts to exert meaningful change upon them.

More effective would be an acceptance on the part of the U.S., of its place within the unified field that is modern society. It has been a failure to grasp the construct of this "brave new world" that has led America to repeated failed experiments in authoritarianism. The suspension of human rights, torture, domestic spying, et al point to the U.S. acting as a sort of mad scientist, refusing to recognize the failure of its experiments. What's worse, in the case of the United States, is that the more numerous and egregious these failures become, the more akin to the nation becomes to the very enemy it seeks to combat.

Quantum theory does allow for certain objects to carry more relevance, weight, or, in essence, importance than others within the unified field. In seeking to become such an object, the United States should consider the ideals with which it will seek to distinguish itself from the collected entanglements constituting the rest of the planet.

1 comment:

  1. I like your analogy here which likens the world power struggle to physics. It's very thoughtful. But in reality don't you think that the argument would be a hard sell (especially to the majority of Americans)? With regard to one of your examples, I feel like there are the overly compassionate and naive Americans who feel we should grant habeus corpus to the Guantanamo detainees because that should be their right. However when our national security and even our personal securities are at risk I don't think the unified field theory would or should stop our president from doing what is necessary to ensure my and my country's safety.