My wife and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of emotional support this past week from many in our online social networks. What has surprised me is the depth of response from childhood friends that I haven’t seen for 25 years, as well as from those with whom I was never particularly close. These heartfelt sympathies were as profound as those from my own family, which made me wonder how was it that such bonds have endured over time and distance? What I realized is that like everything else in the universe, once bonds are formed between things, changes in one affect changes in the other. It’s called quantum entanglement and it links us in ways that we cannot easily perceive, but has an enduring effect on all of us.
Quantum entanglement is the fundamental concept of quantum physics, and one that defies both classical and relativistic concepts of space and time. We know it exists, but we cannot explain why. It is what Einstein described as “Spooky action at a distance”.
In The God Effect, author Brian Clegg explains the effect in this way:
“It’s possible to link together two quantum particles — photons of light or atoms, for example — in a special way that makes them effectively two parts of the same entity. You can then separate them as far as you like, and a change in one is instantly reflected in the other.”
In order to make sense of this, physicists have proposed theories involving “hidden variables” to account for the spin of each particle that is determined when the entangled pair is created. It’s as if there is encoded information, like DNA, that connects objects, though we have no way to know what information is communicated between them. If we measure the spin of an entangled electron, it communicates the value somehow to its twin — but we have no idea what the spin was going to be.
It appears that the hidden variable describing one particle must be able to change instantly when the other is measured. This is the “God Effect”, because there is an instantaneous communication between separated particles no matter how far apart the particles are. Once the quantum states of constituting objects are linked, one object can no longer be adequately described without full mention of its counterpart. They forever remain parts of the same whole.
This instantaneous non-locality of entanglement must apply to everything in the universe, as we are made of the same cosmic stuff. Throughout our lives, we form bonds that create an emotional/psychic imprint and these become embedded in the states in which we operate. Even as our states change, we can never escape the fundamental forces of entanglement. We forever maintain linkage to our counterparts, whose “spin”, or state continues to be reflected in us, though we may not be aware of it or how it works.
Entanglement is not the same as family ties, nor is it determined by how long we remain in a particular state. It is our innate sense of common humanity, the mysterious way in which we create links to one another that transcends time and space and reminds us that we are never alone.
You take two bodies and you twirl them into one
Their hearts and their bones
And they won’t come undone
— Paul Simon