The Ancient Greeks were an impressive bunch. While many societies assumed matter was infinitely divisible, they guessed that the world was made of atoms. These atoms were tiny particles, too small to see, that build up the physical universe.
Either they were very clever or it was a lucky guess.
Don't nitpick and say they thought atoms were indivisible, while we know we can split them. That misses the point – it's still impressive, and they were right anyway because that's what quarks are.
But let's take this idea to an extreme:
Let's say there was someone in Ancient Greece who had a different view of reality.
Matter is composed of small particles. These particles are made of smaller electric particles, whose charges balance out. And some of those particles are also waves – somehow, you can treat them as solid bits and waves of energy at the same time.
And then they start talking about uncertainty and interference and whatnot.
This hypothetical ancient philosopher is correctly describing quantum mechanics. Well done, you champion!
But they're also crazy.
Because, yes, they cottoned on to the right answer … but based on nothing. Where's the evidence for this idea? What's the chain of reasoning?
If it's based on "eh, it sounds right" then it's a hallucination that happens to be true.
Speaking of quantum physics …
There's a theory that explains hypnosis, the placebo effect and other strange phenomena using the many worlds model of quantum physics. It's not surprising that hypnosis can cure phobias. It's a little more surprising it can cure warts.
Specific warts, too. If you have three on your right hand, you can choose which one your body rejects.
It's not foolproof – what in medicine and psychology is? – but it isn't coincidence, either.
How does this work?
Quantum hypnosis says that in the many worlds model of the universe, there are infinite possible futures. In some, you're healthy in body and mind. In others, not so much. What quantum hypnosis does is it uses your mind to select your preferred futures out of the infinite quantum range.
It's an interesting idea and a fantastic metaphor. Who wouldn't feel empowered if they knew they could choose any future they wanted?
But is it true?
No idea. No one knows – how could they? Sure, you could get folk to fixate on the outcome they want and watch them achieve that. Is that your mind using some sort of quantum power, though?
Or is it simply your nervous system activating certain parts of your immune system?
Both explanations explain the outcome … and one is far simpler than the other. We know many of the chemical pathways behind how the immune system controls the immune system. We can even see the mind switch on or off certain genes.
But who among us has seen consciousness manipulate future timelines?