Saturday, August 23, 2008

We Are All One

Recently I've been finding my thoughts returning to this idea, the whole We Are All One idea. I'm sure that it's been around forever, and I can't exactly remember who first presented the idea to me, or when I started thinking about it. Mostly, I've dismissed it as spiritual bibble-babble and stuff that only hippies/mystics/crystal energy people believe. Lately though, I've been seeing more and more how this view fits into my own view of reality. Really the whole idea makes sense from an anti-separate-everything-into-boxes view of reality, something that science loves to do at every turn. Our brains seem to enjoy this classification of things into their proper place. You have to wonder, however, does the universe really work like that? It seems to me that every time we try to classify and separate things (like the sciences for example), we spend the rest of the time seeing how things overlap and work together.

I think I should go through some things that I believe. There are reasons why I believe these things, and I'd be more than happy to go into detail as to why I believe these things are true, but I'm more interested in the consequences of believing these things right now. Some of these things are fairly well agreed upon, and some (one in particular) is a highly debatable subject. (Note: I omitted one that I originally had- infinity or unboundedness. This doesn't in itself lead to the We Are All One thing, but is fundamental in the logical progression that I am detailing here.)

1. The Big Bang
2. Stardust, Stars, and Supernova Explosions
3. Quantum Entanglement
4. The Multi-verse View of Quantum Mechanics

A brief description of each:

1. The idea that the entire universe was confined to an infinitesimally small region of space at the beginning of time, which was about 13 billion years ago.

2. The idea that there are stars in the universe which are going through nuclear fusion converting hydrogen into helium to release energy in the form of photon radiation. The stars form from dust which coalesces gravitationally into a fusing star given the right conditions. The stars die in many different ways, and if big enough will explode in the form of a supernova which allows the star to fuse heavier elements beyond iron which get dispersed into the universe.

3. This is a phenomena of particles interacting quantum mechanically. Basically, when you have two particles that are physically (quantum mechanically) interacting in some way (typically through spin or some other quantity that follows an exclusion rule- meaning if particle A has state X then particle B has to have state Y, and if particle A changes to state Y then particle B HAS to change to state X), and you separate these particles by a distance, the still interact. More than that, they interact in such a way that the change is instantaneous (you change particle A from state X to Y, then particle B INSTANTLY changes to state X!) over distance, meaning that information traveled from particle A to B faster than the speed of light. According to relativity (Einstein) this shouldn't happen, and I haven't heard a good explanation for it yet. The only commentary that I've heard is that phase is what gets transmitted, and phase cannot contain data so it retains coherence with relativity.

4. Physics still doesn't have a satisfactory explanation of HOW a particle's wave function collapses. There are many different schools of thought on what is going on with the collapse of a particle's wave function, but none that has been crowned the winner- mostly because this question is a philosophical one at it's core. We cannot observe a particle's wave function, and thus cannot 'observe' it's collapse. Basically, the question is, why is a particle's state observed to be X when it could just as likely have been observed to be in state Y? Well one answer to this question is that it actually did get observed in state Y, it just wasn't observed to be in state Y in this universe. In this universe it was observed to be in state X. The essence of the Multi-verse view of quantum mechanics is the idea that there are an infinite number of universes co-existing at the same time (and different times), and that every particle wave collapse (think of all those photons you are observing as you read this) creates and infinite number of multi-verses.

Now, I'm just going to start blathering about how all of these things support the view that "We Are All One". I've only recently been able to get my brain around what that means to me. Each person's path to understanding is an individual one (that an infinite number of yous take all ever so slightly different), and this is mine.

1. Big Bang: Seems to me that the Big Bang fits rather succinctly into the view that We Are All One I mean how can you get more One? Every single particle that makes you and me and the trees up was at one time (time zero) squished into a single infinitely small point.

2. Stars: From what I understand, the stuff that makes up our solar system originally came from other stars first. At first this seems like a chicken and egg sort of thing, but I think the first few rounds of stars that came into being directly from the dust and stuff left over from the Big Bang. So, the same stuff that makes up the Earth, and makes up you and me, and makes up our Sun, is all stardust! All of it. At some point the atoms and molecules that make up your body, mind, and (if it is physical) the soul were all at one time stardust. Not to mention the fact that the heavier than iron elements that make up stuff all came from a relatively rare supernova event. I'd even guess that the majority of the heavier than iron elements came from the same supernova event as well. So some of us, possibly the majority of us is made of material that was in the same star. This seems like another good basis for believe in the We Are All One thing.

3. Quantum Entanglement: This is a very interesting phenomena that physicists still don't have a good grasp on, though some ongoing experiments are starting to narrow in on this effect. Basically when you have two particles (say electrons) that are linked together in such a way that you cannot adequately describe on particle without full mention of its counterpart- these particles are described as entangled. The interesting thing is that this effect continues to occur even if you separate the particles by distance, even large distance. Furthermore, if you know the state of one particle, you instantly know the state of the other particle, since they are entangled. For example, with spin, if you measure a particle that can have spin up (+) or spin down(-) (ie electrons) - you have a 50/50 probability of measuring the particle to be up or down, so if you have two particles (A and B) that are NOT entangled, then you measure A and it can be say +, and then you measure the B and it could also be +, or you measure A and it's +, and measure B and it's -; the point being that the state of A doesn't have anything to do with the state of B. However, when you have two particles that ARE entangled- this 50/50 relationship breaks down. If you measure A to have spin up, then you know that particle B has to be spin down- and visa versa (measure A as - then B is +). Also, it means that you can't have A and B both spin up or both spin down.

Now, how does this relate to WAAO? Well, if you believe that this whole show got started at some infinitely small point in space-time called the Big Bang, then at some point we were all entangled in some weird crazy thing. If all the particles of the universe were at one space-time point and entangled, well then what happens to some particle on the otherside of the Earth (solar system, galexy, universe) still has some quantum effect on the particles that make up you.

4. Multi-Verse: Finally we arrive at my last point, the multi-verse theory of quantum mechanics. The idea revolves around an idea of how a wave function collapses.

What happens when a particle's wave function is observed to be spin up? It is possible to describe the collapse as both having a particle observed to be spin up and spin down, spin up in our universe, and spin down in a parallel universe. This means that there is an infinite number of different universes that have all of the infinite of possibilities of wave functions available. Here is the deal with this idea, there are an infinite number of different people like you who have lived very different lives. Some have been bums, some have been wealthy, some have been ugly, some have been sexy, some have been healthy, some have been sickly, some have been anything, some have been nothing. The reason this is important is when you look at another person, just imagine that there is another you, a you who has lived just like this other person, no matter who they are. That is what is unifying, there is another you, that is living a life like this person you see. Ok now, I know this is a stretch, but really what is the real difference between it being you, and some alternate you? I don't really see it as being that big of a deal. I see the more important thing being that we are all connected by these alternate realities, we are all one because there is someone like you/me/everything everywhere/everytime- NOW.

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