Sunday, November 3, 2019

Love and Quantum Entanglement

Love and Quantum Entanglement share at least one thing in common - we don't understand how either one of them works. People get entangled with each other when they fall in love; it can start when they’re nowhere near each other, perhaps catching each other’s eyes for the first time across a crowded room. Just as perplexing is that tiny, subatomic particles — things like electrons or photons — can also get entangled with each other at a great distance, in a way that physicists still don’t completely understand but are already starting to make use of. Even to some of the best brains in the world — quantum entanglement seems a phenomenon more emotional than physical, like love, an attraction more of the mind, or heart, than of matter.

Danish physicist Neils Bohr discovered that once sub-atomic particles like electrons and photons come into contact, they remain cognizant of each other and are influenced instantaneously by each other, even at a great distance, forever, despite the absence of things like force or energy that would normally influence particles. For instance, once two particles become entangled, something like a change in magnetic orientation will instantly influence the other particle to orient in the same or directly opposite direction, no matter how far apart they are. This property of entanglement, which physicists more commonly refer to as 'non-locality', may be the defining, or central property and premise of quantum physics.

It's like identical twins that have been separated at birth, one raised in Hawaii and the other in Paris. They've never met, yet they both take a job as architects; they both love to surf and when one breaks her left leg, her twin breaks her left leg the same day half a world away. Quantum entanglement is uncanny. It requires a type of instantaneous connection in which information travels faster than the speed of light. When the idea first surfaced over eighty years ago, even Einstein dismissed it as nonsense, violating his own special relativity theory. He called it “spukhafte fernwirkung” — "spooky action at a distance."

When I was a young man at university in 1976, I lived apart from a girl that I loved very much. Living on a remote farm, one hundred miles apart from my girl friend, with no phone or electricity, an urgency came over me while I was in the barn taking care of horses; I sensed she was experiencing some terrible trauma and knew that something was very wrong. Hiking a half mile through deep snow to reach my van, I drove several miles to town to reach a pay phone to call her. At the very moment I received this powerful feeling, there had been a violent explosion at a chemistry lab at the University of Pittsburgh. The roof had collapsed and students were killed. My girl friend was in the lab but able to escape the flying debris without injury. The love we shared connected us in ways only a quantum physicist might understand. She was traumatized certainly, but physically unharmed. Somehow, I sensed that she was alright even before I hiked out to find a phone, but the overwhelming sense of tragedy forced me to immediately venture into town to call her. How was I so instantly certain across the miles?

We live in a world that is still hesitant to accept the nature of quantum reality. If we were to finally appreciate the concept of entanglement and apply it to our everyday lives, the potential in our personal lives as well as our collective worldview might expand beyond our wildest imagination. Love is a strong force enabling each of us to remarkably influence those we love and be influenced by those who love us instantaneously without any regard for distance or time. Invisible threads of mysterious quantum energy connect each of us across a vast cosmic background field. The individuality that we perceive, the uniqueness we identify with, does not mean we are independent of one another. Quantum physics is telling us we are all part of ONE incredible awareness, inseparably networked together. Such an overview certainly gives new meaning to the phrase 'Where We Go One, We Go All'.

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