This is the title of a book I’m currently reading by Brian Greene. I first came across some of his work here which captured my attention enough to warrant buying this book. I’ll do a review later when I’ve managed to read all 500 or so pages, however, I suspect this will provide some material for posts over the next month or so.
As a physicist, I have to say that his style is not as academically dry as some others and I have benefited already by his observations and general style of communication. As someone who fundamentally believes in non verbal and non local communication, the history of the rise of quantum theory is a most interesting, though sometimes totally incomprehensible, journey.
Quantum mechanics has been used to justify a lot of pseudo scientific theories. There are various ways to view this. The academically trained invariably give short shrift to anything that has no basis in peer-reviewed material. Yet, there is no denying that the ramifications of some of quantum theory’s evidenced material does lend itself to some spiritual world views. It has been my experience not to completely dismiss most things as there is always the possibility of some element of truth in these theories, however arrived at and everyone has the potential with which to further add to our understanding of the bigger picture. So, much to the annoyance of some, I tend to spend time contemplating material from these sources. I am also unwilling to place all my world views into the hands of a community that has been observed to be as fractious and splintered as any world religion.
As someone who holds a generalized animist perspective, quantum entanglement speaks of interactions based upon, what may be speculatively suggested as, a form of relationship. Greene goes further than this and suggests the entanglement of pairs of particles may actually represent the basis of an entity, which for a physicist is a pretty bold statement! The nature of this inter-relationship has been placed in some quarters as being reliant upon a “wave” of probability, the wave being the mechanism by which these particles travel upon. The action of observance causes the wave function to collapse and the particles are linked by this collapse. What is interesting though, is that spatial distance plays no part in the how the wave collapse is transmitted to the particles. Distance seems to be no object in the instant collapse of this wave. So, if the speed of light was the limit to how fast anything could travel, there would have to be a delay between the collapse of the wave here and where-ever the second particle traveling on that wave happened to be. Experiments have proven this not to be the case, the collapse is instantaneous across any spatial distance and would appear, therefore, to suggest light speed is not the upper limit to velocity that Einstein thought.
So the mechanistic viewpoint of the physical limitations applied to the nature of interactions will have to be addressed again. These are interesting times we live in!