The Wiccan view of an interconnected world isn't just a mystical, spiritual notion. Modern science, especially cutting-edge ideas in quantum physics, supports the ideas of life's interconnection and interdependence. The following are some of the leading theories that blend perfectly with Wiccan belief.
Going quantum: Matter versus energy
People see the physical world as a bunch of independent and stable objects, but that's not exactly the truth. Modern science reveals that matter and energy are not separate.
Energy flows in waves that form patterns. What you see as a separate object (a dog, a bird, or a tree) is really just a pocket of reality where the energy is more dense, according to quantum physics.
Physical matter is made up of molecules and atoms, which are made up of smaller components, called subatomic particles. In quantum physics, particles of matter and waves of energy are the same thing.
A subatomic particle isn't a little dot of matter that scientists can hold still and examine; it's more like a little dancing point of energy. These particles can't be understood as separate units. Scientists can describe subatomic particles only by talking about how they act with one another. The only way to meaningfully describe these particles is to explain the way that they interconnect.
Wicca meets quantum physics
Quantum physics clearly demonstrates the Wiccan belief that all reality is an integrated web of energy. Even at the subatomic level, life is interconnected.
Tuning up the strings and dancing with the universe
The preceding section describes subatomic particles as dancing points of energy. String theory suggests that they may not even be points, but strings.
String theory is bold and beautiful, but complicated.
A subatomic particle is not pointlike but is made of a tiny loop. Like a super-thin rubber band, each particle contains a vibrating, dancing string. Like a guitar string, each tiny string can vibrate. Every string is identical; the only difference is the way that it vibrates. Each string has a different vibration, like each guitar string creates a different musical note. The movements of the string — the "note" it creates — determine the kind of particle it will be. These itty-bitty vibrating strings make up everything in the universe — all physical matter and all forces (such as gravity). These strings vibrate throughout space-time.
We live in space-time. Space-time consists of three dimensions of space (length, width, and depth) and the dimension of time. All objects and all events exist in these four dimensions. Well, that's what scientists used to think. According to string theory, space-time can have up to nine dimensions of space, plus the dimension of time.
Wicca meets string theory
String theory unites matter and energy, and confirms the Wiccan view that the cosmos — from the smallest particles to the largest solar systems — operates by the same principles and is made from the same stuff. At all levels, life is interconnected.
String theory shows the interconnectedness of life at all levels, big and small. Chaos theory deals only with the big — and super-complicated.
Chaos theory suggests that the weather and other huge, complex systems in nature have an underlying order, but they are chaotic and virtually unpredictable. The problem with predicting the weather and the behavior of other big systems is that nature is extremely sensitive to changing conditions. Very tiny changes can have major effects. Nature on a large scale can drive a scientist nuts!
Any small inaccuracy in evaluating the initial conditions leads to growing errors in the calculations. For example, the flapping of a butterfly's wings in one location may affect the weather on the other side of the Earth.
Wicca meets Chaos Theory
The important lesson here is that any action, no matter how small or insignificant, can affect everything else. Earth's ecology is a network of relationships. All the members of Earth's environment are interdependent. The success of the whole community depends on each living thing, and the success of each living thing depends on the success of the community. This idea forms the core of Wiccan ethics.
Gazing at Gaia
The universe appears to be made up of individual parts, and these parts may function on their own. However, the parts are all made of the same energy and are connected to form one giant whole. For example:
- An individual cell is a part of a human being.
- Human beings are part of life on Earth.
- Earth is part of the solar system.
- The solar system is part of the universe.
The point is that each part isn't separate and isolated from the others, even though it may function by itself. Small parts join together to form a living thing. That living thing joins others to create a bigger living thing. Bigger living things join into groups to form an even bigger living thing, and so on. Throughout reality, small parts join together to form an integrated whole.
The grand mystery is that the whole is always much greater than its parts. For example, a human being is so much more than just a collection of simple little cells. The human brain's cells work together in networks, and together, they create a brain that is so complex and sophisticated that the world's top scientists can't fully figure out how it works.
Some scientists believe that Earth as a whole is one big living system.
The Gaia hypothesis
Atmospheric chemist James Lovelock, microbiologist Lynn Margulis, and others have developed a theory termed the Gaia hypothesis, in honor of the Greek Goddess of the Earth. This concept describes all of Planet Earth as a living system that organizes itself and keeps all its parts in balance.
The Gaia hypothesis links Earth's inanimate objects (rocks, oceans, gases, and so on) with living parts (plants and animals) and brings together all the planet's cycles and rhythms into one unified whole. The hypothesis links the evolution and survival of a species to the evolution and conditions of its environment.
Lovelock and Margulis never suggested that Earth is a sentient being (a conscious, creative being), but others have expanded the theory to arrive at this idea.
Wicca meets the Gaia hypothesis
Of course, the view of Earth as a living being isn't new. From Neolithic times, human cultures all over the globe have worshipped Mother Earth. This scientific theory reveals that life organizes itself into larger and larger networks that form one big integrated whole. If this is the model of the universe, then the idea of immanent Deity is rational and even probable. All reality may, indeed, arise from and be embedded in one creative source.