In Genesis 2:18 we read, “The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone.” It is the prelude to the creation of a partner for Adam, but it also speaks of what is a fundamental reality: we are social creatures in relationship with others. Why? Nature, nurture, we are wired that way, biological imperative, and the list is as long as the areas of study which consider the questions. It is a tangle of theories of why we are entangled in relationships. Here’s my take on such entanglement: God made the entire universe that way. The universe is intrinsically entangled at the quantum level.
Quantum entanglement is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance. According to the uncertainty principle of quantum physics, a pair of particles once associated would be eternally connected, even if they were light-years apart. Measuring a property of one particle — its direction of spin, say — would instantaneously affect the measurement of its mate. If these photons were flipped coins and one came up heads, the other invariably would be found out to be tails.
Einstein, the one who conjectured quantum physics, thought that this consequence of his theory was obviously ludicrous, and he dismissed it as “spooky action at a distance.” But today physicists call it “entanglement,” and lab experiments confirm its reality every day. Last week the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to a trio of physicists whose experiments over the years had demonstrated the reality of this “spooky action” that occurs at distances more than 10,000 times faster than could be explained by speed of light communications.
Because of the Nobel Prize Award, there is lots of information and articles swirling around about quantum entanglement. It has implications about the way we understand blackholes, Einstein-Rosen bridges (wormholes in the popular vernacular), and a whole range of topics – even information theory and quantum computing. I leave it to you to go down all the available rabbit holes of scientific inquiry. But I will leave you with this thought for Saturday morning: at the core, quantum entanglement means that we are eternally connected – in this life and in the next. Make of it what you will but from the beginning we were never alone.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video, CC-BY 2.0