Humanistic Tunneling

Getting through barriers in relationships

Understanding tunneling requires a quantum leap in our linear thinking. In other words, when we encounter a wall we are stopped dead in our tracks, but on the level of quantum particles this is not necessarily the case. An electron can go “through” that “wall”. Quantum mechanics, the subdiscipline in physics exploring and correlating the “spooky” behavior of photons, electrons, and electromagnetic and subatomic particles, and classical mechanics do NOT jive. Classical mechanics says if a person hits a wall the person cannot go through it. At the subatomic level, however, a particle because it possesses a very tiny “wave-like” character unlike us, it can pass through walls.

Let us take another example in our observable world: a ball without sufficient energy to surmount an uphill mound would roll back. If you through it a the hill, it would bounce back. In quantum mechanics, however, a particle with the right frequency can tunnel or cross the hill by borrowing energy from its surroundings which it repays when it gets to the other side.

If we consider the seemingly untenable nature of human relationships, we can invoke an allegorical retelling of quantum tunneling to overcome the extreme barriers we always encounter to meaningful relationships. Today, more than anytime in human history, people are more isolated, distant, and cold in part due to the pandemic, but also due to the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, characterized in part by an embrace of individuality and self-centrism that are diametrically opposed to the good of our neighbors and society. If we lament the loss of the networks built on human capital and respect, we can seek a solution in “relational tunneling”, a concept undergirded by quantum mechanics which relies on taking advantage of the idea of the “environment.”

Most of us fail to recognize how vital and necessary a good environment is to our well-being. Without good water, air, soil, and ecosystems, the living systems found in nature die. Likewise, without a society filled with good intentions and constructive interactions, our institutions and systems will crumble and die. The engines of commerce, economy, education, and government will cease to function. The environment is key to ensuring we all survive and thrive. The barrier to our happiness and success is so high, we can never sustain the energy alone to go over. Indeed, as quantum mechanics teaches, we derive the motivation from the environment to “tunnel” through a barrier (e.g., emotional, physical, etc.) and come on the other side. When we reach the other side, as we are taught, we repay the input we received by returning it back to society through our own useful work.

Reproduction courtesy of

A lifelong seeker of the Truth

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Lucian Lucia

Lucian Lucia

A lifelong seeker of the Truth

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