Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

The Quantum-ness of Relationships

Having just finished reading BEYOND WEIRD: WHY EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT QUANTUM PHYSICS IS DIFFERENT by Philip Ball, I feel inspired to discuss…personal and social relationships. (I never studied physics.) Experience has taught me we can never know all there is to know about another person because we live in flux. We don’t even know ourselves from one year to the next. After 47 years together, my husband and I realize we influence one another minute by minute for better or worse—as observers and participants. Can anyone or anything exist in a static state?

In films such as HERE TODAY, THE NOTEBOOK, or STILL ALICE, a main character is losing the physical capacity to maintain memory or identity. Relationships reel. Who are you when you can’t express a coherent self? Some loved ones hold onto the affected one, gripping what was, perhaps believing the energy of the self still exists and will be accessible after death in another dimension. Some give up and walk away to establish new relationships, unwilling to sacrifice the potentials of this life for a relationship that might or might not be rekindled in the next. The death of one half of a blissful pair may produce a similar result. Can a one-sided relationship be preserved, still defined as a relationship after the mutual interaction ceases, or does it become a sort of worship?

In the film THE FABELMANS, roughly a childhood autobiography of Steven Spielberg as Sammy Fabelman, we watch a long-term marriage strain and finally, of necessity, transform into a structure less happy or kind yet still loving in its way. We alter one another by proximity, pushing and pulling, giving and taking, and are changed by circumstances and environment. To keep our cup of contentment full, we must each make adjustments—adding a little here, subtracting something there, tolerating almost too much or too little from time to time. Mitzi Fabelman, the wife, ultimately discovers she feels overwhelmed and defeated by her husband because he’s too good—too smart, too successful, too tolerant, too serious, too much in love with her. He’s close to being a constant. She’s emotionally exhausted by the effort of trying to keep up and turns her attention to someone she thinks is more like her, someone more fun. What is the priority of the cup of peaceful contentment beside passion or happiness or security?

Some relationships thrive because no one questions the rules that bind them. Others thrive because the participants want them to badly enough to work at it together. We are social beings, after all, constantly created and recreated by ourselves and those around us and maybe also by an outside force to an unknowable degree. We are perfect large scale expressions of quantum reality—just as complicated and confounding if you look closely enough.

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