The Quantum Flux
Thanks to Sharon for passing on to me this report from the New York Times of a very interesting experiment conducted at the Delft University of Technology for the purpose of testing quantum entanglement or “spooky action at a distance”, as Einstein once called it. The experiment seems to have bolstered proof for “entanglement” or “quantum non-locality”, or what might be better called “transluminosity” or “supraluminal effect” — faster-than-light effect.
Why this matters is the subject of today’s post.
It’s an odd thing that Einstein apparently held that time was an illusion of the senses, yet he couldn’t bring himself to accept what his own theories pointed towards — quantum non-locality, which he dismissed as “spooky action at a distance”. I’m not entirely sure how Einstein could insist on the speed-of-light constant as an absolute limit and yet hold that time was illusory, too.
Nonetheless, the Delft University experiment is being hailed as a significant and major test of the validity of non-locality and transluminal effect.
Briefly put, supraluminal (or transluminal or non-local) effect is the condition in which, say, two energetic entitites that were in close proximity to each other in one state retain a bond or memory or “empathetic connection” — we might call it — even though they end up on “opposite ends of the universe” (wherever that might be). A change of state in one is immediately and instantaneously reflected and mirrored as a change of state in the other.
Here’s the rub, though. All things were in such close proximity in the state prior to the “Big Bang”, on the other side of what is called “Planck’s Wall”. Logically, then, quantum entanglement pertains to everything in the cosmos. Everything is immediately and simultaneously connected to everything else despite appearances and the authority of our physical senses.
This is also confirmation of an old theme from the Wisdom Tradition — Indra’s Net. Everything is interconnected and interdependent in quite mysterious ways. We could even say that everything participates in an empathetic bond, and empathy is the fundamental reality of the cosmos.
The experiment also lends credence to the theory of the indivisible “quantum field” or the “quantum flux” (or energetic flux) as the root source of what we call “physical reality”. There is much talk today about “the field” or “fields”. But like Planck’s “Wall”, “field” is a metaphor for something that is quite incomprehensible otherwise — the energetic flux. There is only the energetic flux, in various states of metamorphosis, or of manifestation or de-manifestation. And we also know now that this continuous rising and returning to the quantum flux also has something to do with our own perceptual apparatus — with consciousness itself.
Metaphors like “field” or “wall” are poetic devices to help our minds comprehend what is essentially incomprehensible. It is our physical senses that give to the energetic flux determinant form as a field of sensible objects. That is to say, it is our own senses that translate the energetic flux into a field of sensible objects. It is all energy. “Matter” has become problematic, and so has the meaning of the word “physical”. Sound energy, light energy, chemical energy, thermal energy are some of the various “articulations” of the energetic flux, but they are all, you may note, connected to one or more physical senses — energy perceived by the ear is translated into a sensible object — sound; energy perceived by the eye is translated into a sensible object — colour; energy perceived by the nose is translated into a sensible object — smell; energy perceived by the tactile sense is translated into a sensible object — hot or cold, solid or liquid, and so on. Yet it is all energy.
The belief that reality is as it appears to the physical senses is called “naive realism”, and it has been completely discredited. There is only the energetic flux and awareness cannot be extricated from that flux and treated itself as a “sensible object”. It is not only an inherent factor of the energetic flux, some physicists have come to believe that the flux is awareness itself. (eg, Amit Goswami: The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World).
We may say the same for the spacetime matrix itself. Our perceptions of before or after, behind or ahead, or beginning and ending, above or below are sense bound perceptions. Space and time are themselves translations of the energetic flux into sensible objects. The energetic flux, however, is formless. Something formless is, by definition, infinite. But somehow our biological organism works to effect the translation of the energetic flux and our own perception of ourselves into a “physical world”. Seth calls the physical senses “the lovely liars” for that reason.
The fundamental reality of the energetic flux is, however, perceivable. Carlos Castaneda achieved it when he suddenly saw “energy as it flows in the universe” when he finally “stopped the world”. William Blake perceived it directly also. Buddhism likewise refers to it as “stopping the wheel of space and time” or stopping the wheel of karma. There is even an intuition of the energetic flux in Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night”.
The energetic flux (or “quantum field”) is also what Gebser calls “the ever-present origin” — the Source.
The fact that what we call physical reality is a sensual and consensual construct woven out of pure energy has some interesting and even humourous implications. You see a friend walking towards you down the street. What are you actually seeing? What are you actually hearing? You are perceiving an energy form, an energy entity, a manifestation of the energetic flux that your own physical senses translate into a physical form — into a sensible object — by some mysterious process. That mysterious and even magical process is what is called “intent” or “intentionality”. As Blake would say, you are actually seeing a piece of infinity, a manifestation of the infinite, which is the formless itself.
And some big part of you sees and knows already. That’s the part that blew Castaneda’s mind when he finally (and quite unexpectedly) “stopped the world” and saw “energy as it flows in the universe”. It wasn’t so much that seeing that overwhelmed Castaneda. It was the realisation that he had always seen the world this way, only he didn’t know it. That’s what it means to be “a man of knowledge”. It’s just a matter of coming to remembrance of oneself, of who and what one already is — the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Or, as the Zen koan puts it “show me your face before you were born”.
In some sense, the long era of the Greek philosopher Parmenides is over, and the Age of Heraclitus begins. Heraclitus, who has been called “the Greek Buddha”, also perceived the energetic flux and declared that the world originated in “fire” (ie, the flux of energy) and everything was connected through the Logos. Nobody understood him then. He was called “Heraclitus the Dark” and “Heraclitus the Obscure”. But Heraclitus has haunted the footsteps of the “Greek Mind”, and pursued it like a shadow, down through the centuries.
It’s just too bad we don’t have a complete text of his writings.