One of the most memorable concepts I learned in high school is the “Heisenbergsche Unschärferelation,” for one because it’s so incredibly wordy that it’s ironically easy to remember, and for another because it is simply incredible altogether.
Named after German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the Uncertainty Principle, as it is more commonly known, postulates we can never know both a particle’s speed and its position at the same time. The more accurately we aim to measure the particle’s speed, the less able we’ll be to predict its position, and vice versa.
When Einstein was first confronted with this new reality, he wasn’t very happy. He wanted the world to make sense, not be subject to the random whims of quantum mechanics. Einstein theorized there must be some hidden variable we are missing, a property we can’t yet observe but that, once we’re able to analyze it, would reveal each particle’s exact location and momentum.
In physics, such hypotheses are called hidden-variable theories, and, for the most part, have been disproven. Unlike Einstein famously claimed, it does seem like God plays dice.
Life, however, is bigger than the laws of physics. For us, it usually does pay to ask: What’s the hidden truth I’m missing? Because there’s always a truth we’re missing. It may not be an important one nor relevant to the matter at hand, but sometimes it will be, and in those cases, it usually makes all the difference.
Why is your significant other hesitant to move in together? Could she be worried about her career, afraid of your habits, or perhaps her own? Is there a simpler message to structure your book around? Can you say it all in one word, one theme, one act instead of three? Do your back issues come from the obvious – too much sitting – or are they actually driven by the flat feet you’ve had since you were born?
Think! That’s what good scientists do. They never stop chasing the truth because they know the whole truth has never been fully revealed just yet. Often, we can’t get there in our own lifetime. We’ll have to leave some uncertainty in the system. That’s okay. Even that we can account for.
Whether God plays dice is not up to us – but investigating why the dice have fallen the way they did is a choice we must make again and again. Look for the truth hidden from the surface. You won’t always find it, but even allowing chaos into the room will make your life, ironically, a little less uncertain.