The Quantum Universe

OK, time for something really heavy: the quantum universe. Once upon a time, when the big bang was ready to go, all places were one place, all times were one time, and all things the same thing. Has the universe, billions of years later, forgotten?

Perhaps not. John Stewart Bell was an Irish physicist who proposed an experiment that would test for possible nonlocal effects. His experiment was carried out by two groups, each of which obtained the same positive result: nonlocality exists! So, what is this nonlocality? Nonlocality is when one quantum event must excite another quantum event BUT, and this is a big BUT, there is no time for the one event to effect the other.

It’s as though everything is connected together just as it was in the beginning. It suggests that a memory exists in the universe, a memory of the great unity that once was.

For a deeper discussion of this, and other equally weird interpretations of nonlocality, see the book by Timothy Ferris, “The Whole Shebang”, pages 283 -289. I’m on my second, or maybe third, reading of this book which is written for the lay person. It’s well worth a read.

  1. Church of Integrity’s avatar

    That was an interesting read. Quantum physics are full of surprises and sort of counter-intuitive results. I wonder if we’ll every be able to use that effect for some good.

  2. chris davis’s avatar

    I love this stuff…Not sure if my brain could absorb it in the particular form in which it sounds like Bell writes – I hope I can. I did a my senior paper (only a couple of years ago…late bloomer!) on Body Mind and Evolving Medicine, and came across the non-locality ‘feature’ as written on by Rupert Sheldrake I think. You might also like to check him out – a very interesting scientist indeed.

  3. Mardé’s avatar

    Church of Integrity:
    Yes! Extremely counter-intuitive. Yet it fits the facts. Which shows that the universe is a stranger place by far than was thought previously, and it appears to be getting stranger. How we as humans fit in is still not at all clear — at least to me.

    Chris:
    That’s a fascinating topic: Body Mind and Evolving Medicine. I’ll have to look up Rupert Sheldrake. I’ve always been fascinated by the mind-body problem, i.e., where exactly is the mind? I wish I could be a dualist, but don’t want to engage in self-deception either. It’s tough! One could almost 😆

  4. Danielle’s avatar

    You had me searching last night. I found this that I wanted to share with you here

    I find it so fascinating how the outer reaches seem to hold clues to our inner regions.

  5. Mardé’s avatar

    You did well, Danielle. I just viewed the YouTube talk by Dr. John Hagelin which you link to above, and then I looked up a bio on him. Here’s the sentence that fascinates me: He has published groundbreaking research establishing the existence of long-range “field effects” of consciousness generated through collective meditation, and has shown that large meditating groups can effectively defuse acute societal stress… I get so easily carried away so I always try to be the sceptic for self-protection. But I sure wish it were true: the long-range field effect of consciouness. Maybe it is! Guess I’ll have to read his research, and somehow find the time. And yes, the outer reaches can hold many clues for the inner.

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Chris, I did a quick look-up of Rupert Sheldrake and see that he’s another mind field theorist, in fact somewhat similar to Dr. John Hagelin. The “Hundreth Monkey Phenomenon” is that after one hundred or so monkeys learn a particular task, a critical mass is reached and monkeys on other islands spontaneously pick up the ability to perform the task: the conscious field is strong enough that these other monkeys couple into it with their own consciousness fields. Amazing, eh wot?

    Needless to say sceptics have attempted to explain this phenomenon by means other than consciousness fields. I’m not sure where I stand at this point. I haven’t read all the info yet but I would love to be a believer!

    It’s amazing, Danielle and Chris! You’ve each found a separate person who suggests a form of nonlocality exists for human consciousness. Wow!

    Update: The Hundreth Monkey phenomenon is thoroughly debunked here. Ah well, win some lose some.

  7. Danielle’s avatar

    I too tend to get “caught up” in the metaphysical and also consciously distance myself before forming my own opinion. It feels so true however the connection between the power of internal and external energies. I also have to be careful around conspiracy theories as well.

    Wishing you and yours well.

  8. Mardé’s avatar

    Yes, there may very well be such a connection. I’m agnostic about a lot of things, meaning I don’t just write them off with a pooh-pooh, like, say, the ESP phenomena. There may very well be something to these things. And Dr. Hagelin’s consciousness field effects may in fact exist in some sense. Nothing is straightforward or unproven in this universe, I feel.

    Best to you and yours too.

  9. Missy’s avatar

    I feel there’s nothing wrong with taking a position AND withholding final judgement until all of the evidence is in. Hey, I’m a woman.

    Seriously though, this stuff does boggle the mind. I’m fascinated by string theory, myself.

  10. Mardé’s avatar

    I often have moments when I say YES, IT’S SO! Then I subside back into my reductionist mode. So, it’s an oscillating thing with me. But I try to see the irony of myself in the grand scheme of things, and laugh. Perhaps laughter is the savior?

    You had mentioned Brian Greene in a post and he’s a big time string theorist. There are some pretty strong opinions in other directions too among scientists. I’ve got no idea where I stand but it’s all very very fascinating.

  11. chris davis’s avatar

    Love all the exchanges. I wasn’t aware that Sheldrake had anything to do with the 100th monkey theorem, though I do heartily feel that that that particular theorem is dead on; regardless of the how, there is definitely something to an idea catching on and spreading way faster than the physical or verbal contact would allow or support. Sheldrake spoke of morphic fields for one thing – which is supported, I feel, but people who lose limbs and still itch or feel the extension of their body, tho Sheldrake does not speak of this comparison I don’t think. He also says something that has always resonated with me – we humans tune in all the time, depending on which antenae we are using – words are floating all about my apartment right now, I think I’ll get out my cell phone and tune in to one particular on out of the MILLIONS. Or I’ll tune in with my television, or my computer. He goes on to say that we need no instruments, and can tune in ourselves to different wave lengths or vibratory extensions (I don’t remember what he calls them, sorry to be so…non scientific!). You know who writes fabulously on the fallacy of thinking that scientists instruments are somehow able to measure and to PROVE these things, this phenomena which is BY ITS VERY NATURE not local, non measurable by tools measuring phenomena of a linear nature, is Daniel W. Miller (2003) from Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 16(2) pages 82-90, fabulous article if anybody’s interested. Lawrence Rossi (The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing) is also outstanding. It is IMPORTANT to explore and to talk about this ‘stuff’, because it is life, and we effect the world, the planet every day in ways we do not learn in schools or in the media. Our thoughts are things, clean ’em up…
    blah blah blah
    Good Morning!

  12. Mardé’s avatar

    Atta go, Chris! Keep that energy coursing through us all! It IS important to explore and talk about this ‘stuff’. There is a lot of it out there. It’s hard for me at times because I was trained to be a scientist and to think in terms of material things, cause and effect all the way, and I had only a small liberal arts exposure. I’m trying to make up for it now.

    But Chris, you oughta read that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” story. Resist the temptation of looking up comments on it first, especially Missy’s link. Just read the story first.

  13. chris davis’s avatar

    Do you have that book Marde / could I borrow it? I won’t be at UU this weekend – it is my birthday! (I’ve always thought banners should be hung about the town on ones birthday, but this year I don’t. In fact I’m off to the woods a bit for a private ceremony – not nearly enough of those…nor rituals in our culture; to recognize the past 27 years spent with my husband, and to welcome in the coming moments…without him as an intimate partner. This separation has been difficult at different times, almost like giving birth – painful but you know it will be rewarding. Well, the rewards are ready for me. I found someone very interesting on match.com, and so moving forward on that! This is a very long parenthesis indeed…) In fact, I should remove the parenthesis, but I’m not going to.
    One thing more, I really like the comments by Danielle and Missy (and you of course)on this metaphysical piece- interesting people everywhere!

  14. Mardé’s avatar

    Hey, Chris, have a great birthday weekend celebration! Yes, we UUs need more such rituals. Now that the Unitarians and the Universalists have joined (as of 1960) we also can join the intellectual and the emotional aspects to form a more holistic synthesis (which I think we’ve gradually been doing). But I digress! That is a very heartfelt and honest parenthesis, and I hope your match.com person works out swell for you. Oh, and you can read that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” story online at this link.

    Glad you like the comments of Danielle and Missy on this metaphysical post. It’s great to have unique views coming from unique individuals. Have a great weekend!

  15. Helen Texier’s avatar

    I can’t believe it happened. The other day I jogged backward and put on eight pounds!

  16. Mard’s avatar

    Hey, that’s a good one, Helen. Thanks for your comment. It must be that it’s all in the mind? Or did the universe give your body a backwards time travel experience? Who knows, eh? ❓ ❓

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