We Are All Connected

entanglementLast night, I was scratching around for something to read when I found a book that Diana’s son had recommended, titled “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. It explores the metaphysical implications of quantum mechanics and posits that the universe is a giant holograph.  I haven’t read enough to comment one way or another on Talbot’s proposal about the nature of the universe, but one idea stood out as a I read the forward. That is that “the universe is one giant inseparable organism”. Talbot wrote “Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seemless web.”[ref]The Holographic Universe Michael Talbot (1991)[/ref]

Talbot came to this conclusion due, in part, to the work of French physicist Alain Aspect. In the early 80’s, Aspect was examining quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which subatomic particles which have been in contact continue to exert influence on each other instantaneously and with no regard for distance. Albert Einstein was uncomfortable with quantum mechanics (he once said “God does not play dice”, to which Niels Bohr replied “Einstein, stop telling God what to do with his dice”). Entanglement was no different (he called it “spooky action at a distance”) because it violated the speed of light, the universal speed limit in Einstein’s view. In 1972, physicist John Bell came up with an idea to test entanglement by taking measurements of two particles that had once been in contact and were now separated. If entanglement were true, no time would elapse between the reactions of the particles. Aspect conducted this experiment and comparisons showed the measurements were the same, as if a wire connected the particles and made them follow each other. Later, David Bohm a physicist at the University of London, concluded that the reason they remained in contact is that their separateness is an illusion, that they were never discrete entities, but “extensions of the same fundamental something.”[ref]ibid[/ref]

So, what business does such scientific gobbledygook have on a site that is ostensibly Christian? How about community. If our world was created as a result of the Big Bang (and I believe it was), then each and every bit of the universe was, at one point, connected. And, science has shown that once protons and electrons connect, they remain connected forever. That means I am connected to you and, because of this, what I do affects you and vice versa. That is the very essence of community. While there are people (on both sides of the argument) who would have us believe that faith and science are diametrically opposed. The more I read, the more convinced I am that, like Tillich’s quote on doubt, belief and science aren’t opposites, they are elements of a whole. Finding a scientific principle that validates the concept of community and the interconnectedness of everyone blows me away in the nerdiest possible manner.