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Quantum Social Change

The new IPCC Report on “Global Warming of 1.5″C” provides yet another clear call for policies and actions that reduce the risks of climate change. More specifically, the IPCC report (2018, SPM-21) emphasizes that Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence).”

The scale of the transitions and transformations that are called for are considered unprecedented, yet the approach to realizing these changes is fairly straightforward. The report draws attention to enabling conditions such as “multi-level governance, institutional capacity, policy instruments, technological innovation and transfer and mobilization of finance, and changes in human behaviour and lifestyles” (IPCC 2018, SPM-25).  The question is, will these be sufficient? Or do we need something more?  For example, new stories and new paradigms for social change?

This is a great time to explore  the wide range of understandings of our shared social reality, including how different worldviews and paradigms influence our relationship to and engagement with social change.  In particular, it is worth considering whether some of our core assumptions and beliefs about social reality have created blind spots, obscuring our collective potential for social change. Alternative paradigms may provide some important insights. For example, what does quantum social science have to offer to our understanding of transformatiaon? Alexander Wendt, author of Quantum Mind and Social Science, reminds us here that “quantum theory was not just a revolution in our understanding of the physical world; it was also a revolution in thought.”

The cCHANGE team is interested in promoting a wide range of perspectives on conscious change, creative change, and collaborative change — and not the least, we are interested in quantum social change. Building on an ongoing interest and inquiry, we will use this page to present ideas, reflections, and resources about what “quantum social change” might look like.

The AdaptationCONNECTS project at the University of Oslo has recently announced a call for climate change short stories on Our Entangled Future that highlight the potential for quantum social change. Our Entangled Future will focus on the potential to  create alternatives to the dystopian futures that are beginning to feel a bit too real. We are looking for new narratives, stories and metaphors that can catalyze transformations to sustainability, especially compelling stories about quantum social change.  As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson write in Metaphors we Live By“New metaphors have the power to create a new reality.”


Quantum Social Change Resources

(more to come soon!)

Recommended Books

Al-Khalili, J. and McFadden J. Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology, (London, Bantam Press,

Barad, Karen, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning
(Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).

Bohm, David, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge, 1980).

Bohm, David and Peat, David F., Science, Order and Creativity 2nd ed. (Routledge, [1987] 2000).

El Khoury, A. Globalization Development and Social Justice: A propositional political approach. Routledge,
London, 2015.

Haven E and Khrennikov A. Quantum Social Science. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013.

Kaiser, David. 2011. How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.

Stapp, Henry. 2011. Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer, Second Edition. Berlin: Springer.

Wendt, Alexander, Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying physical and social ontology (Cambridge University Press, 2015).


Recommended Articles

O’Brien, K.L., 2016. Climate change and social transformations: is it time for a quantum leap? Wiley Interdiscip. Rev. Clim. Change 7, 618–626. (Pdf available upon request: leonie.goodwin@nullcchange.no)

Peterman, William, ‘Quantum Theory and Geography: What can Dr. Bertlmann teach us?’, Professional Geographer, vol. 46 (1), February 1994, pp. 1–9.

Rosado, C. Context Determines Content: Quantum Physics as a Framework for ‘Wholeness’ in Urban Transformations. Urban Studies 2008, 45 (10): 2075-2097.

Williams, J., Parkman, S., 2003. On Humans and Environment: The Role of Consciousness in Environmental Problems. Hum. Stud. 26, 449–460.


Recommended Videos

Professor Alexander Wendt on Quantum Mind and Social Science

Philip Ball on Why Everything you Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics is Different


Other Links

Quantum Poetry by Amy Catanzano