Open your eyes – Should you lose what you love in order to realize this…?


David Laroche World
Published on Oct 5, 2017

http://davidlarocheworld.com/inspirin…

After months of work, I am so happy to share this with you.

If you like this video, please share it :slightly_smiling_face:

And if you want to go deeper on this subject, we realized a series of free videos so you can create yourself the inspirational life that you want to live.
Click here to access the free videos : http://davidlarocheworld.com/inspirin…

I also want to thank personally my team for their work and commitment.

To begin with, I especially want to thank David and Amandine, that I love and are important to me for their co-directing, their creativity, their commitment, their desire to give to others and their joy of living always makes me smile.

Axl for his beautiful music.

Messia and Thibaut for their very focused help to improve my English.
Alban, Timy, Julie, Gaetan for their several hours giving me feedback.

Gabriel for his contribution and his wonderful acting.

Sophie, Alban and the little Gabriel for showing their love in this video.
David’s dad for reminding us how our parents are essentials.
Elia for her dedication to help us add the subtitles.

And to everyone that directly or indirectly contributed to this project.

And finally, thanks for watching this video and share it if you liked it.

Let’s open our eyes on how lucky we are to be alive and to be surrounded by the people we love.

Gratitude.

Subtitles available : In English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Rusian, Italian

if you want to contribute to this message and subtitle the video in other language :
http://www.youtube.com/timedtext_vide…

#Let’sGrowTogether

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Richard Feynman on Knowing Something and Certainty

Richard-Feynman

(conversationagent.com)

When we look to figure out how something works in first person, we become more intimate with how it works and add multiples of value to our own capacity to think about problems. Filtering through our own lens encourages exploration and an open mind.

Richard Feynman was a practical thinker, he enjoyed working from first principles and personal reasoning to understand how things came to be. He says:

“There’s all kinds of myths and pseudoscience all over the place. I may be quite wrong, maybe they do know all these things, but I don’t think I’m wrong. You see, I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself.

I know what it means to know something, and therefore I see how they get their information and I can’t believe that they know it. They haven’t done the work necessary, haven’t done the checks necessary, haven’t taken the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know, that this stuff is and that they’re intimidating people.”

To know something for ourselves, we need to do the work necessary to figure it out. Delegating thinking or assimilating the ideas of someone else, or as often is the case, many others, does not a full picture make ― it most likely makes a Franken-pastiche.

With the added discomfort of still not knowing what we think.

We should look to ourselves to investigate rather than fear what others say or hold ourselves to their statements. Because even in science, there are no certainties. As Feynman says:

“Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.”

“We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty.”

“I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything.”

A life lived from curiosity and desire to learn new things is much more interesting and enjoyable than a life of assumed answers that might not hold up to closer scrutiny.

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3 Hindi insights

“Our work is not to perform on the stage or anything like that.  It is that whatever you get from your Guru, your entire existence is to pass that on, so that this teaching can go on and on and on, and give that essence for the future.  Maybe a very worthy person can come who can achieve something much more than me, if I keep this teaching intact.  So the main thing is to keep this teaching alive.  The rest is up to the Guru, and up to the Almighty.”
–Somjit Dasgupta

“Educational institutions are not enough to make good citizens, Every home should become an educational centre.  Indulgence causes disease whereas sacrifice leads to accomplishment.  When the person learns to see beyond his self-interest, he begins to get mental peace.  One who performs all worldly functions and still remains detached from worldly things is a true saint.  Salvation of the self is part of salvation of the people.  It is impossible to change the village without transforming the individual.  Similarly, it is impossible to transform the country without changing its villages. If villages are to develop, politics must be kept out . . . .  Some of the crucial junctures of history demand that we live up to our national values and ideals; not living up to those values and ideals is like a living death.”
–Anna Hazare

“Hinduism also holds up four major goals that define the good life.  One is dharma, or carrying out one’s responsibilities and duties, for the sake of social and cosmic order.  A second is artha, or success in worldly activities, including the pursuit of wealth and advantage.  A third is kama, which refers to love and sensual pleasures, and also to aesthetic expression.  Many other religious paths regard eroticism as an impediment to spiritual progress, but the Mahabharata proposes that dharma and artha both arise from kama, because without desire and creativity there is no striving.  The fourth and ultimate goal of life is moksha, or liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth.  Its attainment marks the end of all the other goals.”
–Mary Pat Fisher from “Living Religions”

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Pope Beatifies God In Important Step Toward Sainthood (theonion.com)

VATICAN CITY—Announcing that the all-powerful deity had met the requirements for being considered a blessed person within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis beatified God on Monday, initiating an important step in the Almighty’s journey to sainthood. “Our independent committee of researchers has verified that the Lord’s intercession was directly responsible for the creation of existence, thus allowing Him to proceed further in the canonization process,” said the pontiff, explaining that the Almighty had already earned his previous status as a venerable servant of the Holy Spirit through his heroic deeds, embodiment of the Church’s teachings, and promotion of the faith, and that he was confident they would be able to confirm his performing of a second miracle in order to fully make him a recognized saint. “Our team of theologians has thoroughly analyzed relics, documents, and testimonies from God’s life, confirming that He performed an act unexplainable by reason or science. While the canonization process is technically supposed to occur five years after a candidate’s death, God has been granted a special dispensation given the fact He is one of the most venerated figures within the church.” At press time, a cardinal in Romania, acting as Devil’s Advocate, disputed the beatification, arguing that God had committed many violent acts in the past He had not repented for.

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How Magnets Work (video)

The well-known Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, is inquired how magnets work. As an answer, you might assume him to maybe talk about the magnetic field or Maxwell’s equations … but nope … instead what he does is to disclose something pretty remarkable that cuts straight to the heart of what is being asked and how significant any answer might or might not be … for a “why” question.  Why would he be asked this exact question? Well essentially because he won the Nobel Prize for coming up with the current mathematical explanation of the electromagnetic force, and this has turn out to be one of the most precise models in the history of physics, agreeing with all acknowledged experiments to an unbelievable degree of correctness. The following 7 minute video clip has been watched over millions times …

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“Breaking the Codependency Myth: The Power of The Trauma Bond” by Shahida Arabi

November 4, 2016

[“Free” by Alice Popkorn via Flickr. Creative Commons License.]

Ever had a victim-blamer claim you were “codependent”? That you in some way deserved the abuse, or that it was your fault? Let them know: codependency was a term historically used to describe interactions between addicts and their loved ones, not victims and abusers. Dr. Clare Murphy asserts that abuse victims can actually exhibit codependent traits as a result of trauma, not because they are codependent.

Contrary to popular myth, anyone can be victimized by an abuser – even one with strong boundaries initially, because covert abuse is insidious and unbelievably traumatic, resulting in symptoms of PTSD, Complex PTSD or, if they were abused by a malignant narcissist, what is known as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome. Remember that abuse involves a slow erosion of boundaries over time. The abuser first idealizes the victim, then begins to test and push the boundaries of the victim once he or she has already been conned into the sham of a relationship. Meanwhile, the survivor of abuse is like a frog in slowly boiling water, gaslit into believing that it is all their fault, not knowing the danger they’re in until it’s too late.

In some contexts, it may be helpful to pinpoint codependent traits and behaviors, but when the label codependent is used to shame, stigmatize or blame abuse survivors, it becomes very problematic and harmful. We need to be able to take into account the idea that emotional and psychological abuse, much like assault or any other form of physical violence, is not our fault. We can own our agency and heal without having to blame ourselves in the process. The fault lies with the perpetrator, not with the victim.

It is not the victim’s fault for ‘choosing’ the abuser either, because victims rarely consciously choose an abuser.  They choose someone who appears rather kind, caring and compassionate at the onset. The victim falls in love and invests in the false mask an abuser portrays, and rarely the true self. It is only when they are invested in the relationship that the mask begins to slip and the terror begins.

Once someone has been traumatized, again and again by someone who claimed to love them, once an abuser has warped the victim’s reality and caused him or to mistrust their perceptions through gaslighting, once a victim has been made to believe he or she is worthless, they are already traumatically bonded to their abusers. It takes a great deal of professional support, validation and resources in order for victims to detach from their abusers and begin to heal.

There is only one person who can “control” the abuse, and that is the abuser alone. There is a great deal of variety within the survivor group and we have to acknowledge that there are many survivors who come into the abusive relationship very independent, strong-willed, and empathic, but their strengths are exploited, manipulated and slowly broken down by the abuser over time. It doesn’t matter how codependent or how independent we are, because abusers will abuse their victims regardless – that is their nature. In fact, they would probably enjoy the challenge if a victim was independent, as sick as they are.

When it comes to living in a perpetual war zone of intermittent kindness and chronic cruelty, there is no ‘enabling’ of the abuse, merely a need to survive in a hostile environment. There is a clear power imbalance between abuser and victim as the abuser ‘manages down’ the victim’s expectations, threatens, controls, coerces, blameshifts and projects onto the victim his or her own vile attributes. As the victim is verbally abused, psychologically terrorized and emotionally assaulted, he or she has to find ways to minimize, rationalize, deny and ‘bond’ with the abuser in an effort to survive.

This is a survival mechanism known as ‘trauma bonding,’ and victim-blamers ought to educate themselves on it, because anyone can be made to ‘act’ or ‘appear’ codependent simply by being traumatized in the first place. As you learned in my article, Your Brain on Love, Sex and the Narcissist as well as my book, Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare, abuse has traumatic effects on the brain, tying us psychologically, biochemically and psychologically with our abusers.  This bond has very little to do with codependency, and everything to do with the traumatic effects of abuse. Even a highly independent victim who is strong-willed at the beginning of the relationship can begin to demonstrate symptoms of the trauma bond, PTSD or Complex PTSD – because it doesn’t have anything to do with the traits of the victim when it comes to trauma. No one is immune to the effects of severe, life-changing trauma and chronic abuse – no one.

Even if you feel you have codependent traits or were ‘primed’ by childhood abuse, the abuse you’ve experienced in any stage of your life is still not your fault.  You are not an “enabler” of the abuser. You are a victim who has been traumatically bonded to an abuser as an effort to survive. Understand the trauma bond, and you will understand how it is different from your actual feelings of disgust, anger and pain towards your abuser. Your authentic feelings about your abuser are buried beneath the apparently inextricable bond. In order to extricate yourself, you must develop a separation between the bond and your actual reality of the abuse. Write about the abuse when you feel safe to do so; consult a trauma-informed, validating mental health professional; speak with other survivors to validate the manipulation and mistreatment you’ve endured.

Holding onto the reality of the abuse, as well as your true feelings about it, is one of the most important things you can do in order to resist the gaslighting effect, release self-blame and begin to break the chains of the trauma bond. The bond may keep you attached to your abuser, but it is possible to sever it and regain your power.

—CROSS-POSTED AT THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Copyright © 2016 by Shahida Arabi.

(submitted by Robert McEwen, H.W., M.)

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“How Does Meditation Work?” by Derek Beres

Article Image
People meditate during a during a mass meditation session at the DisclosureFest in Los Angeles, California on June 17, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Meditation. Perhaps you’ve been told you need to start. Maybe you’ve tried, found it dumb, and moved on. Or you have no idea where to begin. You download an app, then another, switching from voice to ambient music to binaural beats in hopes of finding something that works, which all raises the question: How does meditation work? 

Seeing meditation as one thing is the first problem. That’s the consensus of two experts and longtime friends, Daniel Goleman and Richard J Davidson. These men are responsible for first scanning the brains of Buddhist monks, a psychologist/journalist and neuroscientist famous for making “emotional intelligence” and “affective neuroscience” mainstream. How you’re meditating—what your point of focus is while practicing—affects different neural circuitry, which changes what you get out of your sessions. 

That’s one of the driving ideas behind their new book, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body.

While meditation is popularly presented as a panacea for the world’s ailments, Goleman and Davidson have written a highly approachable work based on solid clinical evidence. Being researchers and longtime meditators themselves—both started in the seventies and have kept up a daily practice—they wanted to parse the science from the hype. 

They explored six thousand studies conducted over the last few decades, deciding to use sixty for their book. Their interest is not in the “highs along the way,” but “who you become” from a dedicated practice, which hints at the title. An altered trait is different from an altered state, as Goleman told Big Think: 

Altered states are temporary conditions. When whatever it was that brought on the special state of awareness leaves, then the state fades. So if you get into a flow state rock climbing, when you come down from the mountain it’s gone. Altered traits, on the other hand, are lasting changes or transformations of being. They come classically through having cultivated an altered state through meditation, which then has a consequence for how you are day-to-day that’s different than how you were before you tried the meditation.

Unsurprisingly, the more you practice, the more altered traits appear. For Olympic-level meditators, who have practiced for more than 62,000 hours, life resembles a constant state of meditation rather than a sudden shift in brain chemistry. They’re able to switch attentional focus at incredible speeds, dropping into whatever style of meditation is requested within seconds, returning to conversation equally quickly. 

But what are these states? One chapter is dedicated to metta, a Pali word that translates to “loving kindness.” Goleman says this practice often accompanies mindfulness, with an internal focus on someone you love or care deeply about. This could even be yourself—certain therapeutic applications are designed to quiet negative self-referential chatter. Short phrases about kindness are repeated in your head. Goleman continues, 

It turns out that the repetition of those phrases is psychoactive; it actually changes the brain and how you feel right from the get go. We find, for example, that people who do this meditation who’ve just started doing it actually are kinder, they’re more likely to help someone in need, they’re more generous, and they’re happier. It turns out that the brain areas that help us or that make us want to help someone that we care about also connect with the circuitry for feeling good.

Meditation is often marketed as anxiety relief. While classically the goal is to dissolve the ego, stress reduction is quite popular. Fortunately the science holds up here as well. As with other styles, the more you put in, the more benefit you receive, even though, as Goleman says, even one session has proven to help people deal with stress. The effects just won’t last as long if the practice isn’t continued.

This is really the sign of resilience. Resilience is measured scientifically by how long it takes you to get back to what we call your baseline that pleasant mood you’re in before that thing flipped you out. The shorter that is the more resilient you are. We see this as a lasting trait in long-term meditators: they are able to bounce back from stress. Also we see that their amygdala, that trigger point for the stress reaction, is less reactive; they’re calmer in the face of stress.

One of their most incredible findings concerns longtime meditators and their relationship with pain. These monks recognize what many of us think of as painful as sensations; they’re able to immediately quiet the neurological stimulation and return to baseline. This is, in part, because when we think something should be painful, or are expecting something painful to occur, we start feeling pain before it begins: 

Ordinarily if you bring someone into the lab and you tell them we’re going to give you a burn in ten seconds—it won’t cause blisters on your skin but you’re going to feel it—it’s going to hurt. The moment you tell them that the emotional circuitry for feeling pain goes ballistic, as though they’re feeling the pain already. Then you get them the touch the hot test tube and it stays ballistic, and they don’t recover emotionally.

Not so the case for longtime meditators:

The Olympic level meditators had quite a different response. You tell them you’re going to feel this pain in ten seconds; their emotional centers don’t do anything. They’re completely equanimous. The pain comes and you see it register physiologically but there’s no emotional reaction afterwards. In other words they’re unflappable. Even though they experience the pain physiologically they don’t have the emotional reaction.

Altered Traits is a treasure of proven benefits and styles of meditation to explore, meticulously detailing what the various practices known as mediation do and don’t do. Just as jumping from task to task while awake is cognitively taxing, they don’t suggest jumping from style to style. Spending months to years practicing one form of meditation appears more beneficial than trying many at once. But if you think meditation can help you, you’re probably right—you need only to recognize which style you need. Then, you sit.

Derek is the author of Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health. Based in Los Angeles, he is working on a new book about spiritual consumerism. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

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Love Found: A Diverse Illustrated Collection of Classic Poems Celebrating Desire, Longing, and Devotion

(brainpickings.org)

“The alternations between love and its denial, suffering and denial of suffering … constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart,”philosopher Martha Nussbaum wrote in contemplating how we know we love somebody. How unsurprising then, and how inescapably human, that we should try to steady ourselves through these oscillations — violent, beautiful, disorienting — on the armature of language, on poetry’s precision of sentiment.

To curate a corpus of poems that stretch across love’s vast spectrum of joy and suffering with resonance that edges on the universal is a Herculean task, but that is what editors Jessica Strand and Leslie Jonath have accomplished in Love Found: 50 Classic Poems of Desire, Longing, and Devotion (public library) — a collection plumbing the depths of the commonest human experience in the most uncommon and arresting of verses, alongside vibrant illustrations by artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Among the fifty poets, who span an impressive range of epochs, sensibilities, and cultural backgrounds, are Pablo NerudaAdrienne RichLangston HughesMark StrandWisława SzymborskaE.E. CummingsWalt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. (I was especially delighted to find Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love,” one of the greatest works of art I’ve ever encountered, among the selections.)

Here are a few favorites from this tiny treasure trove:

LOVE SONG FOR LUCINDA
by Langston Hughes

Love
Is a ripe plum
Growing on a purple tree.
Taste it once
And the spell of its enchantment
Will never let you be.

Love
Is a bright star
Glowing in far Southern skies.
Look too hard
And its burning flame
Will always hurt your eyes.

Love
Is a high mountain
Stark in a windy sky.
If you
Would never lose your breath
Do not climb too high.

(I CARRY YOUR HEART WITH ME)
by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

THE DREAM
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, —it screeched!

Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
Ah, it is good to feel you there!

THE HEART’S MEMORY OF THE SUN GROWS FAINT
by Anna Akhmatova

The heart’s memory of the sun grows faint.
The grass is yellower.
A few early snowflakes blow in the wind,
Barely, barely.

The narrow canals have stopped flowing —
The water is chilling.
Nothing will ever happen here —
Oh, never!

The willow spreads its transparent fan
Against the empty sky.
Perhaps I should not have become
Your wife.

The heart’s memory of the sun grows faint.
What’s this? Darkness?
It could be!… One night brings winter’s first
Hard freeze.

ONE ART
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

LOVE SONG
by Joseph Brodsky

If you were drowning, I’d come to the rescue,
wrap you in my blanket and pour hot tea.
If I were a sheriff, I’d arrest you
and keep you in the cell under lock and key.

If you were a bird, I ‘d cut a record
and listen all night long to your high-pitched trill.
If I were a sergeant, you’d be my recruit,
and boy i can assure you you’d love the drill.

If you were Chinese, I’d learn the languages,
burn a lot of incense, wear funny clothes.
If you were a mirror, I’d storm the Ladies,
give you my red lipstick and puff your nose.

If you loved volcanoes, I’d be lava
relentlessly erupting from my hidden source.
And if you were my wife, I’d be your lover
because the church is firmly against divorce.

A GLIMPSE
by Walt Whitman

A glimpse through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around
the stove late of a winter night,
and I unremark’d seated in a corner,
Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently
approaching and seating himself near,
that he may hold me by the hand,
A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of
drinking and oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking
little, perhaps not a word.

SONNET XVI
by Pablo Neruda

I love the handful of the earth you are.
Because of its meadows, vast as a planet,
I have no other star. You are my replica
of the multiplying universe.

Your wide eyes are the only light I know
from extinguished constellations;
your skin throbs like the streak
of a meteor through rain.

Your hips were that much of the moon for me;
your deep mouth and its delights, that much sun;
your heart, fiery with its long red rays,

was that much ardent light, like honey in the shade.
So I pass across your burning form, kissing
you — compact and planetary, my dove, my globe.

Complement the thoroughly resplendent Love Foundwith Anne Sexton’s stunning love poem “Song for a Lady,” then revisit the story of how young Vladimir Nabokov met the love of his life and won her over with a poem.

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“HOW QUANTUM COMPUTING COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING” by Roxanne Palmer

(WorldScienceFestival.com)

On October 22, the World Science Festival will be looking at the history of dreamers, nerds, inventors, and businessmen who have shaped our digital age and continue to propel it forward at Science and Story: The History of the Future, with the help of Walter Isaacson, author of the new book The Innovators. In the spirit of the event, we wanted to look a little further into the future, to the next computing revolution waiting in the wings.

The trend in computing for decades has been packing more power into smaller spaces—your smartphone, after all, is leagues ahead of the network of computers that sent Apollo 11 to the moon and back. But the next wave of computers, for some dreamers, gets really, really small, down to the quantum level. A quantum computer, essentially, is a way to harness quantum mechanics to process information. Its fundamental unit is called the qubit, analogous to the bit in conventional computers.

WHAT’S IT MADE OF?

A bit in an ordinary computer records one of two states, which we usually think of as 0 or 1. In some of the earliest computers, a bit was recorded as either a hole or no hole, in a paper punch card or in a paper tape. As computers got more advanced, the ways to represent bits changed: You could translate a 0 or 1 from the “open” or “closed” position of an electrical relay, the magnetic polarity of a strip of film, the presence or absence of a tiny pit on a disc that is read by a laser, or two different levels of electric charge.

A qubit, on the other hand, takes advantage of some of the quirky features of quantum mechanics. Since particles can exist in a superposition of states, a qubit is a mixture of both 0 and 1 at the same time. And if you could link qubits together, you could take advantage of quantum entanglement, also known as “spooky action at a distance,” the ability of particles to instantaneously influence each other no matter how far apart they are.

WHAT’S THE USE?

So, what’s the usefulness of all these odd features of quantum computing? Well, thanks to those quantum mechanical quirks, a quantum computer could crunch complicated calculations much quicker than the fastest computers today. Because the qubit exists in a superposition of one and zero, rather than one or the other, it can use ones, zeroes, and the superposition of both. By being able to encode multiple possibilities in its fundamental units, the quantum computer should be able to tackle problems beyond the reach of normal computers, like quickly calculating the factors (all the numbers that can be multiplied together to create another number—the factors of 12 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12) of very large numbers.

Calculating factors might not seem like a big deal—until you realize that factoring plays a huge role in encryption. Theoretically, a quantum computer could be the key to taking away the protections that are used to keep credit card numbers secret in online shopping or to create untraceable email addresses for whistleblowers.

“That is the ‘killer app’ in quantum computing: Stuff like factoring numbers, breaking code—basically being a big pain in the butt to the places with three letters…NSA, CIA, et cetera,” says MIT mechanical engineer Seth Lloyd (who sparred with Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Edward Fredkin at the 2011 World Science Festival program Rebooting the Cosmos over whether any useful quantum computer could ever be made.)

Just as quantum computers could allow for someone to easily bypass existing encryption methods, the technology could allow people to encrypt information in new and even more secure ways. And codes aren’t the only use for quantum computers: We could use them to peer even deeper into the underlying fabric of reality.

“The bottom of the world is quantum mechanical—is digital,” Lloyd says. “In my mind, the most important application of quantum computing is understanding the fundamentally digital nature of the universe.”

HAVE WE MADE ONE YET?

Scientists have already built some collections of qubits for use in experiments, but a lot of work remains to be done to make truly useful quantum computers. Researchers at IBM are making qubits from superconducting metal circuits, but are encountering high error rates. “Entanglement is necessary for quantum computing, but can also lead to errors when it occurs between the quantum computer and the environment (i.e. anything that is not the computer itself),” IBM researcher Jerry Chow wrote in a recent blog post. “Quantum effects disappear when the system entangles too strongly to the external world, which makes quantum states very fragile. Yet, there is a kind of tension, since the quantum computer must be coupled to the external world so the user can run programs on it and read the output from those programs.”

Canadian company D-Wave Systems has already developed and sold quantum processors like the D-Wave Two, specifically designed for “quantum annealing,” a way to find the absolute minimum of a certain mathematical function. A D-Wave processor has qubits hard-wired into a circuit to perform a certain type of task; they aren’t general-purpose machines. But some scientists have cast doubt on whether D-Wave’s processors really act like quantum computers, or whether any quantum effects they do exhibit actually help to speed up the calculations; in one test, the D-Wave Two crunched numbers 10 times faster than a regular computer, but could also go 100 times slower, according to Physics World.

Microsoft is trying its hand at building another kind of qubit called a “topological qubit,” made by manipulating particles called non-Abelian anyons so the paths they take form a braid (a really good detailed explanation of the physics behind can be found at Quanta magazine). Theoretically, the topological qubit would be more immune to the errors of other qubits, but one major problem remains: Scientists have yet to conclusively detect a non-Abelian anyon.

Even when the physics and engineering kinks are worked out, quantum computers probably won’t be landing on your desk anytime soon. The superconductors that power them need to be kept very cold (usually in a container that “looks like a gigantic beer keg,” according to Lloyd). But with the awe-inspiring power (theoretically) lurking in these quantum machines, it’s understandable that so many scientists would throw their weight into this seemingly quixotic quest.

“When you start thinking about quantum computing, you realize that you yourself are some kind of clunky chemical analog computer,” Microsoft’s Michael Freedman told the MIT Tech Review. There’s nothing more humbling—or, perhaps, weirdly invigorating—than that sentiment.

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