20 October 2009

Quantum Entanglement and the Pre-Trans Fallacy

(Of of my favorite things about being here is that between the slower pace of life and the dearth of the usual entertainment options, i have plenty of time to study and read. a few things have been converging:
i have been leading meditations at work based on the physics of higher dimensions, and their psychological analogs.
i visited the bhaktivedanta institute, a graduate school that studies problems in physics from the point of view which incorporates the nature of human consciousness, and i picked up a couple new papers which i’ve been reading.
i found a great book on amazon that i can read on my phone which describes the conversations between the scientists who created the physics of the early 20th century.
apple’s iTunes has a section called iTunesU, which offers free audio and video recording of University courses on a variety of subjects, in my case modern physics and religion.
heather’s been tutoring physics back home and once in a while i help.
the spiritual nature of this country lends itself to introspection.

with all these factors, lately my mind has turned to quantum physics, the nature of human consciousness, human spiritual evolution, and other fun subjects.)

here are some musings on quantum physics. i won’t do an introduction to the subject here, although i know many of my readers are novices. please forgive me for that; perhaps i will another time. all i’ll say for now is that quantum physics, also called quantum mechanics, is the physics of the 20th century and beyond; post-Newtonian physics. without it, we wouldn’t have computers or many other things, but it is still not well understood, even (especially) by physicists. it’s the weird stuff.

One reason why quantum mechanics (qm) is so difficult to comprehend is that it belies the information offered by our vision, and we, as mammals rely so heavily on our vision.
qm is telling us what the Buddha told us; what the most basic of Hebrew prayers, the Shema, tells us. we are not separate. we. are. one.
and i don’t mean we’re all one big indistinguishable blob. not at all. my friend krishna and i have been discussing this. what is the difference between repression of feelings and equanimity? they can look the same on the outside. but repressing your feelings is not the same as transforming and transcending them.
it’s like the difference between a baby that can’t speak, and an adult that has a mystical experience that cannot be described in words. one is pre-verbal, the other post-verbal. just because they are both non-verbal does not make them the same.
ken wilber calls this the pre-trans fallacy.
(sometimes people fall into its trap; this happens often with people who get involved in the landmark forum. the forum is really good for strengthening the ego level. people who get pushed around, aren’t in touch with their feelings, or don’t stand up for themselves can benefit. but in my view, the point of that is so that you can continue to evolve, to truly connect with people, which you can’t do if you’re being pushed around by them. sometimes people have so much success strengthening their ego that they develop an attitude which further isolates them from others. i’ll do what i want, and if that bothers you, that’s your problem. they are no longer controlled by people, but they are still isolated from others.)
anyway, it’s not that we’re all one big blob.
it’s that we’re all entangled. in very specific ways. ways which create and transform our experience.
when anything comes into contact (physical or psychological) with anything else, they become entangled, part of one system, together forever. we’ve all heard stories of a daughter cutting herself in the kitchen or something, and the mother feeling something instantaneously, knowing something happened. from a certain point of view, the mother-daughter are intrinsically linked, one system. in the early part of the 20th century, physicist struggled with this and didn’t know how information could be transfered instantly like that. Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance” and hated the idea. he was right. nothing is being transfered, nothing is being transmitted. rather, mother and daughter are one entity. it’s like my foot doesn’t have to tell me i stepped in something. my foot is part of me.
scientists are slowly, slowly, getting used to the idea of entanglement.
of course each of us is involved in multiple entanglements, which interact and overlap like a web of multi-faceted jewels.
and those entanglements are themselves entangled, like groups of facebook friends that overlap.
our eyes tell us that we stop at our skin, and that the next person starts at theirs. the reality of the heart, of human experience, isn’t quite so simple...