A basic concept in physics is that of the wave-particle duality which, simply put, states that all quantic entities exhibit both wavelike and particle-like qualities. One of the consequences of this duality is that an accurate measurement of the position of the entity in question would disturb the calculation of its momentum – and vice versa.
There is something about this duality that I find truly fascinating and it has nothing to do with physics, but rather with the way we are trying to live our lives and the uncertainty that follows when we try to focus on these aspects individually: Our position in the educational and/or societal hierarchy, and the waves of life that either carry us to or prevent us from achieving those positions, but nonetheless shape us into who we are.
Those of us who feel that we are not reaching our goals regardless of our efforts, our merits, our ambitions and the hope with which we try to carry ourselves may not see that one of the greatest accomplishments that we have achieved perhaps is what we have become. And those of us who have achieved them, well, we might also have put personal growth aside, deeming it to be unimportant now that we finally are successful.
Trying to obtain an inner tranquility and growth at the same time as trying to survive and be successful in a ruthlessly unfair world is a difficult, uncertain task. And focusing on merely one of the factors can make us incapable of making a correct assessment on the other. When we e.g. feel that we are stuck in life, we tend to measure our self-worth in terms of positions – what we have or haven’t accomplished – by so doing missing how beautifully carved we have become by the streams of life. Not seeing that we, in our struggles, also have become patient, determined, resilient and maybe even inspirational to others.
So, in a way, this duality can be looked upon as an illustration of hope. Whenever we look to the horizon and sigh at the sight of our seemingly unreachable goals, we can look away from it and give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back for still trying to reach it, and embrace the ways in which our journey has shaped us.