The Pathway between Art and Science
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In order to abide by Leonardo's publication agreement, this is only the pre-edited version of the article, which was published in Leonardo, Volume 33, Nr 3, with 13 of my paintings, which you can find by clicking on Figures.

The Pathway between Art and Science—One Painter's Metaphorical Journey


Guy Levrier describes his understanding of the place and purpose of his Art in the context of our late twentieth century: he does not accept his responsibility to society, as an artist, in the current "death of art" situation. He agrees that abstract Art is not self-explanatory although its meaning exists in the collective unconscious. To explain his effort, he has found "metaphors" in quantum physics, to his predicament which eneble him to link his artistic process to the dynamics of progress found in science rather to the regression found in the art.

Those of an inquiring mind are always scrupulously careful not to talk about themselves in the first person; they realise only too well how such a lack of humility could make them lose their reason, as Euripides1 warned. But however much they may wish to be the eternal recluse, concentrating on their work in splendid solitude, in the final analysis they need to communicate their findings. The researcher will have his own special language in which to express himself, and whether its formulation be mathematical, logical, chemical or otherwise, it is this language which will enable him to be understood by his peers within the limits of his field of investigation.

As a painter, I communicate by means of my painting, but as abstract art is not something which is self-explanatory, I have no other choice but to comment on it myself, using words, and furthermore, in the first person singular, for which I am suitably contrite, for this is a very personal adventure, a narrow way between art, science and spirituality, which I shall walk with care, conscious of the need to preserve my reason, under the watchful eye of Euripides, and of the fact that I am not about to produce some kind of scientific proof.

In this way, I hope to be able to measure, on the one hand, the full impact of the collective unconscious in my feelings of individual responsibility for the present state of humanity2, and on the other, its force as a conceptual source3, as I follow the very subtle course which I intend to steer between analogy and metaphor.

But first, let us be clear about what we mean by certain terms.

An analogy is defined as a relation of likeness between two things or of one thing to or with another, consisting in the resemblance, not of the things themselves, but of two or more attributes, circumstances, or effects (Webster).

"Analogies are based less on notional resemblances (similitudines), than on an internal stimulation, on a will to assimilate (intentio ad assimilationem)."4 I observe here with interest that the second latin expression expresses the idea of the intention to assimilate.

A metaphor is "the process whereby the inherent meaning of a word is transported to another meaning which only fits it by virtue of an implicit comparison" (Larousse).

It is fairly common to find analogy and metaphor taken to mean the same thing in scientific literature5, and this is why I should like to situate my approach somewhere between the two. To be more precise, for instance, to give an example to a young student, I can throw a pebble into the water to create rings which will give him a rough idea of a light wave in its shape and movement. This is an analogy: we remain in the world of physics. Once the student has understood, I can say that "the light" of his mind has illuminated an obscure notion to understand it. This is a metaphor: a transposition from the physical domain into the intellectual domain.

From the moment at which my painting, which was originally impressionist, became abstract, with all the mystery which that implies, I attempted to find words which would adequately describe what I was feeling, in this search for creation. Curiously enough, it was in the terminology of quantum physics that I found them, in their metaphorical form, and I was more surprised than anyone.6

The first thing I did was to ask myself about my motivation: why should I as a painter have such a need for science, and for quantum physics in particular?7 When I assume my share of individual responsibility in a dehumanised, decadent society, which has lost control of itself, and is characterised among other things by the death of its Art, I totally share the sentiments expressed by Ernst Gombrich, the well known Art historian, when he writes:

"The advances made by modern science are so astounding that it makes me feel a little uneasy to hear my university colleagues discussing genetic codes, when art historians are still talking about the fact that Duchamp sent a urinal to an exhibition. When you think about the difference in intellectual level, it's just not possible."8

These then, are the slightly shameful feelings of a specialist in the field who realises the gulf which exists between the progress of science and the regression of art.

Consequently, my position is to reverse the tendency, to link my artistic creation to the dynamics of progress instead of the decadence of regression, by situating myself with those who adopt a serious approach: scientists, who work in a painstaking way for the common good, with the sense of a kind of order in nature, which I share. That then, is my motivation.9

As for my conceptual source, the story of my metaphorical journey between art and science is punctuated by three bombshell events:

First bombshell

The statement by Malevitch concerning his art, i.e. painting, (white square on white background, 1918), paralleled to Heisenberg's statement about science (the uncertainty principle, 1925).

As an initial approximation, and speaking as a man in the street, I expect the artist to give me art, the criterion for which, as far as I am concerned, is beauty, and the scientist, science, the criterion for which is knowledge based, demonstrable and predictable certainty.

Now for me, Jung's concept of the collective unconscious is validated by the fact that the idea of non-art, formulated by Malevitch10 in 1918, was followed 7 years later by the concept of uncertainty, or the limits of knowledge, proposed by Heisenberg in 1925. This looks like a rather unsettling case of synchronicity. It seems to me in this particular case that the idea of uncertainty has a special kind of force when applied to the notion of metaphor. Anyway, the artist is always in advance of the scientist, as he has the total freedom which the other cannot have. However, this total freedom has a price, which is considerable risk-taking, likely to end in total failure, in nothing, in a sterile void, whereas the scientist is protected by the necessity of experimental proof.

I can't help thinking that if he had wanted to be sincere when talking about his work and to listen to what his readers were saying to him, Malevitch would certainly not have continued down the road of nihilism. After all, it is precisely this kind of self-check, this kind of self-criticism, which is at the heart of the process of inspiration and creative work of the artist. Inspiration requires a lot of hard work. Let us hope that at least this will serve as a lesson for the future: this experimental act by Malevitch has led us into the most profound delirium from which we have still not yet recovered in 1998.

Metaphorically speaking, it is as if there were a sort of higher sphere11, where new concepts emerge by a dual process ( bottom-up from the push of human progress, and top-down by the pull of God's intervention, or the sum of the two?); and where seekers of truth can find inspiration: enabling them, depending on their mental structure, special gifts and personal willpower, to produce a work of art or science, but with a similar inspiration born from a same general concept (in our case non-art and limited science).

Second bombshell

The confrontation between Einstein and Bohr over the foundations of quantum physics, based on the Copenhagen interpretation, according to which "Only that which is observed is real".

According to Penrose "...the thing which most troubled Einstein was an apparent lack of objectivity in the way that quantum theory seemed to have to be described. In my exposition of quantum theory I have taken pains to stress that the description of the world, as provided by the theory, is really quite an objective one, though often very strange and counter-intuitive. On the other hand, Bohr seems to have regarded the quantum state of a system (between measurements) as having no actual physical reality, acting merely as a summary of "one's knowledge" concerning that system. But might not different observers have different knowledge of a system, so the wavefunction would seem to be something essentially subjective—or "all in the mind of the physicist"?"12

It will be objected that what is true at microscopic level is no longer so at macroscopic level: in the field of art it is the macroscopic level we are concerned with, i.e. the level where traditional physics prevails. Not at all, I would answer, this is precisely what I felt when I went from the representation of objects by figurative art to the non-representation of anything by abstract art. By making this transition I moved forward by a degree in the expression of my subjectivity.

The point is that when I was an impressionist, I tried to paint a tree, for example, in the most beautiful way possible, in the hope that the observer would find it beautiful, very beautiful even, and that was that. I hoped to add to the intrinsic beauty of the tree the uplifting feeling which I experienced when I contemplated it and enable the observer to share the sum of the two.

If I stopped painting "impressionist", it was partly because the process of reproducing objects had become something of a routine for me, i.e. anti-creative, and partly because the public had become tired of looking at paintings of objects: it's not enough, there is a demand for a new sensation, something different, something stronger and more profound. But it can also be explained by the fact that once you no longer have the support provided by an object, and you are totally alone in the solitude of your studio, you feel this call, which comes as much from yourself as from others, so why not make the effort and reply to it?

"What were you trying to represent?" I am asked by those who have not yet dared to embark upon the adventure I hold out to them. If I simply wish to represent an object, of course these questions don't arise: the object is real and comforting, but if this object is taken away, what remains? Motherwell answers this question by saying "The prime purpose of painting is to be the vehicle of human relations". This is precisely what happens when I answer the question. Knowing in advance what is going to happen, and depending on my mood and the person I have in front of me, I say either "Your question is meaningless, because I wasn"t trying to represent anything at all", which invariably destabilises them a little, or I make some off the cuff remark such as, "It's a particle" just for a joke.

This is followed by a silence while they take all this in, and then they say something like "Oh yes, I hadn't looked at it like that, I was thinking more of a wave, for example". That's fine: the viewer could quite easily have come to the same conclusion himself without asking for my advice, but this exchange between us has set him off on an adventure into the realm of abstraction, into a reality which belongs to him alone. So my "real" when I look at this painting is no truer than the "real" experienced by my viewer, simply by virtue of the fact that I am it's author, I have no particular authority in the matter, our "reals" are simply complementary. Complementarity, ... another concept central to quantum physics.13

This is also the reason why, in the introduction to my Internet sites, I invite the viewers not to try to guess the dimensions of my paintings, because, from those of a post stamp to those of a whole universe, it will be their choice again.

So we are not dealing here with a microscopic or macroscopic reality, but with the real expressed as metaphor, by a sort of "shared archetype" of the collective subconscious. And the similarity between art and science, in terms of the common image, is disturbing.

Third bombshell

The resemblance between my perception of my personal process of inspiration and the new concept of reality, as outlined by Bell's theorem.

Until Einstein, it appeared that matter had a reality which existed independently of our observation of it, and which it was up to us to discover by our research. Niels Bohr, in his Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, maintains that on the contrary, only that which is observed, exists. Bell, in 1964, starting from the thought experiment of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, "shows that orthodox quantum theory predicts a correlation between remote objects which cannot be explained by means of any kind of local reality"14 and thus agrees with Bohr. This theoretical demonstration was finally confirmed experimentally by Alain Aspect in 1982.

It follows that a higher correlation exists in quantum mechanics, compared to any theory of local reality: any attempt to understand the real must therefore take account of the universe as a Whole. It is this correlation which I seem to have become aware of, like anyone trying to perform an act of creation: it is a correlation which places me in contact, outside my immediate and local reality, with the component elements of our "holistic" universe—i.e. which acts on each of its basic elements, each of which reacts on the whole of the universe—with its cosmic and psychic forces.

It is as if the creative act necessarily implied that all creators had to work out their own personal mode of inspiration, while remaining receptive to the universe, by an exterior and an interior contemplation15, by a self-checking way of working, by a kind of dialogue with the public and all this continually evolving, because nothing is fixed in this Whole.

The Necessary and the Sufficient

This great methodological law which applies to mathematics, and uses metaphor, is my law of creation in my auto-controlled work: say everything there is to say and only what there is to say, in order to achieve the maximum concentration of the mind, both of the author and of the viewer, in the exchange, without any useless verbiage. (Incidentally, it is possible without forcing things, to extend the metaphor to make it express a moral lesson. It seems to me in fact, that instead of trying to impose some kind of mythical equality on each other, we would be much better off and happier if we each tried to obtain just the necessary and to be satisfied with the sufficient.)

Metaphors are always arguable, and creative people are always arguing about them in their incessant quarrels over imaginary experiences which go something like "your metaphor is absurd, while mine is pertinent". Unlike in science, we haven't got any way of settling the matter by means of experimentation leading to some form of proof. However, I was incredibly lucky to discover a very convincing presumption of proof, quite disturbing in fact, considering that I paint exclusively on a white background, in an article by Jacques Mandelbrojt, a quantum physicist, mathematician and abstract painter, who writes:

" of the characteristics of my paintings is that apart from the brushstrokes which are necessary to transmit my mental image, there is only the white of the canvas or the paper. This can be paralleled with one of the properties of mathematical reasoning and of the axiomatic method, in which the minimum necessary assumptions... are made in order to arrive at the most general result and in order above all to highlight the basic mechanism which underlies a mathematical property. It is difficult for me to say whether the fact of representing only the significant details makes reference to mathematics, or whether it reflects a property of mental images such as that described by Jean-Paul Sartre: 'The character of Pierre expressed as an image is "dappled"'."16

This astonishing synchronicity affords additional proof, if it were needed, of the rightness of Jung's intuition concerning the reality of the collective subconscious.

So, in the joy of my creation, I subject myself to this methodological rigour which seems to be so good for our scientific brothers, and I swim along happily against the present tide of artistic death, just in order to survive. My past interest in Zen Art, which is coherent with "the Whole" of Eastern philosophies and the holistic universe of quantum physics, was rewarded by the following laconic comment made recently by a Benedictine monk on my work: "To be able to fully appreciate such a painting, one must be enlightened.

"Anything goes", non-being and non-art

The fashion in art, for the last decades, has been to allow the artist total freedom: "do whatever you like!" I make a point of doing exactly the opposite, and what's more, I really try. All criteria have evaporated in the face of this fashion and the public complains that it has lost its way. Yves Michaud describes the situation as follows:

"...the judgement involved in aesthetic appreciation is identified with a judgement based on criteria and norms recognised by a particular community, and, potentially, by the whole of humanity. The triumph of 'anything goes' thus marks the end of aesthetics and even of art itself.

Even a moderate version places responsibility for the situation on a failure of critical judgement, which is incapable of distinguishing adequate criteria(Olivier Mangin), which lacks the courage to impose them (Domecq), or which has allowed itself to become marginalised by social change engendering fashion trends, snobbism and even a kind of terrorism of aesthetic judgement (Le Bot, Gaillard). In the radical version, art is proclaimed as dead as it is void (Baudrillard)."17

What must be happening inside the head of a man who has devoted his entire life to art and who ends up painting a white square on a white background and declaring that it is time to stop painting, both for himself and other painters? How can such an absurdity be given any credence in art circles in the first place and as a result by the rest of the general public? Sadly, the answer is simple: because of money and pseudo-intellectual snobbism.

I observe that those who populate this "world" have managed to bring about the destruction of our contemporary art, whereas scientists, faced with a situation which is paradoxical and uncomfortable for those accustomed to rational thought ("if you believe in quantum physics, you can't take it seriously") have managed to make advances in science. The latter have the advantage of experimental verification of their theories compared to the former. However, artists should have realised that the reactions of rejection which their work provoked from the general public were the equivalent of the scientist's experimental verification.

Fortunately, this public, which represents the last embodiment of sincerity of judgement, has retained its common sense i.e. reason, and refuses to embrace this movement of decadence in society and rejects its symbol: non-art. Now the situation has taken on a whole new and highly alarming aspect since the French Ministry of Culture commissioned a major sociological study entitled "The rejection of contemporary art".18

So it's simple, basically: we are going to have to re-attach ourselves to our moral, ideological and aesthetic values, to name but a few. The method is the same as that applied by the lost pilot: look for a guiding star. For us, this will mean our spirituality. Then we shall have to pick up again from the last known point on our route: nature. Because nature constantly gives us lessons in eternal beauty. It will need a lot of work, because you have to work hard to achieve inspiration, to have the honour of making Art which exists outside of time.19


References and notes

1 "Quos vult Jupiter perdere,dementat prius": Jupiter begins by removing reason from those whom he wishes to confound.

2 "In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations just take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, but also its makers. We make our own epoch."
C.G.Jung, The Collected works, Vol. 10 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964), p.149.

"If things go wrong in the world, this is because something is wrong with the individual, because something is wrong with me. Therefore, if I am sensible, I shall put myself right first."
Ibidem, p.154.

Quoted in Dana Zohar, The Quantum Self (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1990).

3 "Jung's work—his emphasis on the collective unconscious, his notion of synchronistic connections between people and events, his wider definition of the self to include shared archetypes and images of unity, totality..."
Zohar, [2], p.158.

4 M. Blondel, L'Etre et les Etres, p.225-226 (I. Benrubi).

5 "When we assume that all our utterances are metaphorical, the history of scientific thought takes on new and interesting turns. We have found that models are metaphors that can function like analogies. Sometimes metaphorical entities turn out to be physically real : particles transmitting forces, light quanta, and weak natural currents. Being tools for scientific exploration, metaphors can provide access into possible worlds that can become actual ones. Metaphors are a means for continuity in scientific progress."
Arthur I. Miller, Insights of Genius (Copernicus, 1996), p.252.

6 "Art generally anticipates scientific revisions of reality. Even after these revisions have been expressed in scholarly physics journals, artists continue to create images that are consonant with these insights. Yet a biographical search of the artists' letters, comments and conversations reveals that they were almost never aware of how their works could be interpreted in the light of new scientific insights into the nature of reality. In these cases to be discussed, artists have continued to work in splendid isolation, bringing forth symbols that have helped the rest of us grasp the meaning of the new concepts even they, the artists, may not have formulated intellectually."
Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1991), pp.24-25.

7 "It does not matter if the critics and even the artists themselves are unaware of their singular purpose: If the artist's work is truly the apparition of the zeitgeist, it can become evident only in retrospect, as society matures and its members achieve the same vantage point visionary artists occupied decades earlier. As Teilhard de Chardin put it:

In short, art represents the area of furthest advance around man's growing energy, the area in which nascent truths condense, take on their first form, and become animate, before they are definitely formulated and assimilated. This is the effective function and role of art in the general economy of evolution. Art is the singular harbinger of universal mind. (Teilhard de Chardin, Toward the Future, trans. René Hague (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1975), pp.90-91)."
Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1991), pp.387-388.

8 Ernst Gombrich, "Entretien" in L'Image, Paris, Musée d'Histoire contemporaine, B.D.I.C., no.2, March 1996, p.207.

9 "The artist introduces a new way to see the world, then the physicist formulates a new way to think about the world. Only later do the other members of the civilization incorporate this novel view into all aspects of the culture. The view sitting astride a light beam is all here and ever now. Spacetime consciousness must be holistic, merging as it does all space's vectors with all time's durations. It most likely issues forth from the right hemisphere, since the artists and mystics, expressing themselves in images and poetry, are more attuned to this type of consciousness."
Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1991), p.427.

10 "The famous 'Black square on a white background' was produced in 1913 and first presented in Petrograd in 1915, at the Suprematism exhibition. 'Painting is finished, the painter is just a prejudice from the past', he wrote. After this initial production, he discovered that just as an expressive contrast could be achieved by opposing like to like: this was his 'White square on white background' (1918). Malevitch pursued this 'pure experience of the world without objects' until the point at which he ceased painting."
Frank Maubert, La peinture moderne (Nathan, 1985), p.75.

11 I observe that philosophers frequently have recourse to the metaphor of an "other" sphere, separate from our material world, such as the sphere of mathematics for Plato, or the noosphere for Teilhard de Chardin, among others.

12 R. Penrose, The emperor's new mind (Oxford University Press, 1985), p.280

13 "In rejecting the attempt of physics to hold on to the last shreds of a reality in which objects possess well-defined properties, Bohr introduced a new notion, which he called complementarity. Complementarity means that the quantum universe cannot be contained within a single description . Rather, complementary and even paradoxical descriptions are required—like wave and particle. The closer one focuses on one description, the more ambiguous the other becomes."
F. David Peat, Einstein's moon (Contemporary Books, 1990), p.46.

14 Peat, [10], p.127.

15 "The theory of complementarity, however, fuses the out there back together with the in here. Not only are the observer and the observed connected, but the connection is not classically causal: It is part of the new quantum thinking. In the words of another physicist, Erwin Schrödinger,

...the reason why our sentient, percipient, and thinking ego is met somewhere in our world picture can easily be indicated in seven words: because it is ITSELF that world picture. It is identical with the whole and therefore cannot be contained in it as part of it. (R. Fischer, ed., Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Time (New York: New York Academy of Science, 1967), p. 102)."
Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1991), p.430.

16 Jacques Mandelbrojt, "Has my scientific activity influenced my painting?" in Cahiers art et science, May 1994, p.50, Editions Confluences. And a remarkable and demonstrative coincidence: one of the paintings which illustrates the article is entitled "Necessary and perhaps sufficient"! It dates from 1986, whereas I started myself to paint on a white background in 1983, and this article only appeared in 1994.

17 Yves Michaud, La crise de l'art contemporain (Presses Universitaires de France, 1997), p.31.

18 Nathalie Heinich, Les rejets de l'art contemporain (Association ADRESSE, 1995).

19 "A prophet, then, does not look forward in time so much as expresses the condition of the spacetime continuum: that which is timeless. In spacetime the most ancient is intermingled with the most futuristic. For the prophet these two are one, since in the unified mythic realm of spacetime such distinctions as 'past' and 'future' are meaningless."
Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics (Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1991), p.428.


Bell, John: A physicist at CERN, the European elementary-particle laboratory in Geneva, in Switzerland, John Bell is famous for his theorem, published in 1964, which gave an elegant solution to the debate between Einstein, defending classical physics, and Bohr favorable to quantum physics, which involves a new concept of reality. The theorem proves Bohr right by saying that a higher correlation exists in quantum mechanics, compared to any (classical) theory of local reality. Consequently, any attempt to understand reality must take into account the universe as a Whole.

Bohr, Niels (1885–1962): One of the foremost scientists of the 20th century, Niels Bohr was the first to apply the quantum theory, which restricts the energy of a system to certain discrete values, to the problem of atomic and molecular structure. He was a guiding spirit and major contributor to the development of quantum physics. Bohr won the 1922 Nobel Prize of Physics, chiefly for his work on the structure of atoms. In his last years, he tried to point out ways in which the idea of complementarity could throw light on many aspects of human life and thought.

Collective unconscious: Unitive unconscious—that aspect of our consciousness that transcends space, time and culture, but of which we are not aware. A concept first introduced by Jung.

Complementarity: The characteristic of quantum objects possessing opposite aspects, such as waviness and particleness, only one of which we can see with a given experimental arrangement (Goswami).

Death of art, non-art: Roughly equivalent expressions commonly used throughout the artistic press (e.g. Art press De la mort de l'art à la mode de l'art et comment s'en sortir, 1986, n° 100).

Einstein, Albert (1879–1955): Recognized in his own time as one of the most creative intellects in human history, Albert Einstein, in the first 15 years of the 20th century, advanced a series of theories that for the first time asserted the equivalence of mass and energy and proposed entirely new ways of thinking about space, time, and gravitation. His theories of relativity and gravitation were a profound advance over the old Newtonian physics and revolutionized scientific and philosophic inquiry.

Einstein's special theory of relativity held that, if, for all frames of reference, the speed of light is constant and if all natural laws are the same, then both time and motion are found to be relative to the observer. A mathematical footnote to the special theory of relativity established the equivalence of mass and energy. This relationship is commonly expressed in the form E = mc2.

Einstein afterwards perfected his general theory of relativity, which he published in 1916. The heart of this postulate was that gravitation is not a force, as Newton had said, but a curved field in the space-time continuum, created by the presence of mass.

He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics "for his photoelectric law and his work in the field of theoretical physics." Relativity, still the centre of controversy at the time, was not mentioned.

Malevich, Kazimir (1878–1935): Russian painter, founder of the Suprematist school of abstract painting. In his early work, he followed Impressionism and Fauvism, and was later on influenced by Picasso and cubism. In 1913 Malevich created abstract geometrical patterns in a manner he called Suprematism. He published a book entitled "Die gegenstandslose Welt"("The Nonobjective World"). He constantly strove to produce pure, cerebral compositions, repudiating all sensuality and representation in art. His well-known "White on White" (1918; Museum of Modern Art, New York City) carries his Suprematist theories to their logical conclusion. He died in poverty and oblivion.

Microscopic: So small or fine as to be invisible or not clearly distinguished without the use of a microscope.

Macroscopic: Large enough to be observed by the naked eye.

Quantum physics: According to quantum theory, electromagnetic radiation does not always consist of continuous waves; instead it must be viewed under some circumstances as a collection of particle-like photons, the energy and momentum of each being directly proportional to its frequency (or inversely proportional to its wavelength, the photons still possessing some wavelike characteristics). Conversely, electrons and other objects that appear as particles in classical physics are endowed by quantum theory with wavelike properties as well, such a particle's quantum wavelength being inversely proportional to its momentum.

Although atomic energies can be sharply defined, the positions of the electrons within the atom cannot be, quantum mechanics giving only the probability for the electrons to have certain locations. This is a consequence of the feature that distinguishes quantum theory from all other approaches to physics, the indeterminacy (or uncertainty) principle of Werner Heisenberg.

Although it deals with probabilities and uncertainties, the quantum theory has been spectacularly successful in explaining otherwise inaccessible atomic phenomena and in thus far meeting every experimental test. Its predictions, especially those of QED, are the most precise and the best checked of any in physics; some of them have been tested and found accurate to better than one part per billion.

Synchronicity: Acausal but meaningful coïncidences, a term employed by C.G.Jung

Uncertainty principle: One can never be exactly sure of both the position and the velocity of a particle: the more accurately one knows the one, the less accurately one can know the other (Hawking).