Vanity thought #1373. Quantum entanglement

This is one of the weirdest things ever to come out of quantum mechanics. Normally, physics as we know it are governed by the principle of locality, that is any interaction between two objects must have intermediate agents – they either have to bump into each other, or send deadly laser rays, or have electrons passing messages around, or bend each other’s will by creating powerful electromagnetic fields. Locality here means that an object must be affected by something in its immediate surroundings, without agents coming in direct contact it won’t get out of bed.

Taken speculatively (because none of what I say here can be classified as philosophy) it means that there could be no such thing as telepathy. One cannot possibly know what goes some place else without having some sort of a connection. Even mediums understand that and claim departed soul’s direct presence to communicate with the dead.

Quantum entanglement throws all of that out. Two different particles form one single system there and this means that if we affect one of them, the entire system would respond, meaning the other particle would be affected, too, without any means of communication. Two particles might be having different spins, for example, canceling each other out for the system as a whole. If we change the spin of one particle in a different direction the other would change its spin, too.

The spooky part here is that other particle knows what we are doing and reacts regardless of the distance and unconcerned by limitations of the speed of light. It doesn’t wait to be informed, it just knows.

This experimentally confirmed phenomenon doesn’t mean telepathy is real, so far quantum mechanics hasn’t stepped out of the world of invisible particles and into something available to our eyes and other senses. Einsteins relativity deals with stars and galaxies, things we can observe, but quantum mechanics is just what we think happens down inside the atoms. It is impossible to be observed as a principle, because the very act of observation affects quantum systems. The glance we cast in the sky can’t knock planets out of their orbits but quantum mechanics deals with objects so small and delicate that we can literally destroy them by simply looking.

Another analogy is the radars – airplanes become visible to air traffic controllers when they reflect radio waves emitted in their direction. Waves bounce of plane’s surface (or don’t, if we are talking about stealth planes) and we catch that reflection, measure where it came from, and know the position of the plane in the sky. Bats do the same thing with sound waves, they don’t even have functional eyes, they just hear the echo and know where and how close things are. We humans can’t see radio waves and we can’t hear bats’ ultrasound but that’s just our ears.

There’s no violation of the principle of locality here – something, some form of a wave, must reach the observable object and come back. In quantum mechanics it’s not possible, those objects are too small. Radio radars would nuke them as if they were in a microwave oven, and shrieking sounds of bats would shatter them like wineglasses hearing some terrible opera singing.

This obviously raises questions. Is quantum mechanics even real? We are not talking about tuning our radios or capturing bats voices and then reducing their frequency to the one suitable for our ears, we are talking about principal inability to observe something, period. Science made this leap nicely in the past couple of hundred years and doesn’t think much about it.

We can’t observe something this small but we have a theory what it is and how it would behave, and we can make predictions how this behavior could manifest on a macro level, and it does, so quantum mechanics is as good as real.

OTOH, it’s just a theory, we can come up with another one that would describe these things differently but come up with the same predictions, and from our POV it would be just as correct. Describing the world as strings is one such candidate. They have a lot of work ahead of them but, theoretically, it’s possible that it would become as good at predictions as the standard model of quantum mechanics. Then we could say that quantum mechanics was never real but a useful crutch before we figured that really everything is made of strings and not particles. Then another theory would come along and the progress in scientific ignorance would continue. In the meantime millions of people will die without knowing the next iteration of the “truth”.

The more interesting part for me is crossing quantum mechanics into our understanding of the world, which comes from Kṛṣṇa. I’m not sure it’s legitimate, but it’s certainly interesting.

It explains how Kṛṣṇa knows everything – He is the Absolute Truth and His “quantum system” includes the entire universe. Due to “quantum entanglement” on His level all entangled particles immediately know what happens on the other side of the world, and Kṛṣṇa is, of course, in the loop, too. He doesn’t have to wait for the flash signs traveling at the speed of light to inform Him what’s going on.

Or we can set aside His name and His personal aspect for a moment and simply talk about Absolute Truth as the ultimate quantum system. Speculatively it’s easy, but I’m not sure how science would react to such scaling up. Quantum mechanics does not yet describe the world at our level of observation. A string theory would, however, and it would explain quantum entanglement, too. They don’t have the formulas yet but one day they would and then we can talk about omniscient God in terms of theoretical physics, not religion.

Excluding Kṛṣṇa might seem a bit disrespectful at first but who says that these quantum system phenomena are governed by actual persons rather than by an impersonal system like karma? The Lord is not entangled into the workings of the universe and He is not personally responsible for anything that happens here. He put up the laws in place and gave us the opportunity to think that this isn’t just a game but a real life, He is not playing Himself.

So, it’s possible to say that this quantum omniscience is not Lord’s personal property but simply a bank of data He draws from when He needs to. We can’t, and we accept that it’s only the Lord who can know everything, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Lord Brahmā knows quite a lot, too. Even if we describe our universe as a quantum system for the Lord it’s as insignificant as one mustard seed in a bag. We can’t step out of bounds of our universe and so our quantum omniscience will always be limited but the Lord can use the data from each and every universe, and perhaps treat the entire material world as one quantum system. And then He also knows everything about the spiritual world, too.

Once again, we can figure all this out figuratively and speculatively but the Lord’s personal aspect would always be hidden and inaccessible unless we surrender to Him and develop bhakti. Let’s not waste another thousand lives trying.


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