Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spooky Reincarnation

Entanglement is responsible for what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," but few consider the concept's relationship to reincarnation.

Consider, if you will, the state for two quantum bits |01> - |10>. In this state, if you look at the first qubit and find that it is 0, then the second qubit is 1. Similarly, if you look at the first qubit and find that it is 1, then the second qubit is 0. That is, the two qubits are the opposite of each other. The two qubits are made up of nuclear spins, so that when you measure the first spin along some axis and find that it is spin-up, the second spin will be spin-down.

So far, that's not too overly complicated, right? The two spins rotate in the opposite direction, no matter which axis one chooses to measure their rotation about. Anyhow, the problem is that before the measurement of the first qubit, both qubits are in a completely indefinite spae. Measuring the first quibit puts it in a definite state, |0> or |1>. This is not surprising, as measurment is supposed to determine the state of the thing measured.

What's surprising is that measuring the spin of the first particle about some axis also puts the second particle in a definite state of spin about that axis; that is, if you choose to measure the first spin about the vertical axis, then after the measurement the second spin is in a definite state of spin about the vertical axis. If you choose to measure the first spin about the sideways axis, then after the measurement the second spin is in a definite state about the sideways axis.

Somehow, it appears that measuring the first spin does something to the second spin as well. And the first particle need be nowhere near the second particle. After entanglement, one particle could be kept here on Earth and the other particle sent to Alpha Centauri.

How can measuring something on Earth simultaneously affect something on Alpha Centauri, which is some four light-years away from us? No signal can possibly arrive there in less than four years, let alone simultaneously.

That's what Einstein meant when he called the effect of entanglement "spooky action at a distance."

Now, like I said, few people (I leave open the option for the possibility though I'm the only one I know who talks about it) think about entanglement with respect to reincarnation. In my mind, it works a little like this...

Imagine growing up in a nice, loving, prominent family in Austria, with BIG DREAMS finding their way into nearly every discussion. Then, one day, you're shipped off to France, Frenchified at the border, married shortly thereafter; you begin adjusting, living, learning, loving, growing, playing, eating, and shopping for shoes!

You live your life, things happen, some good, others not, time passes by, you develop interests, habits, preferences, likes and dislikes, fears and attachments, frustrations and rebellious attitudes, then things take a real rotten turn for the worse, and keep getting worse until it all ends, sadly, painfully, and mournfully... except for the idea that you're headed for Heaven because you were a loving, giving, affectionate spirit who delighted in the happiness of everyone around you - and you really, really, really LOVED children! ڿڰۣ

Then... silence. Everything goes black. After what feels like some time, you gather enough of yourself to float around... you go to see the ocean, soar above the mountain tops, and dance on the water. But you're alone, you miss your friends and family, so you look toward others... then almost instantaneously, you wake up, you're an infant being lifted up out of a sink filled with warm, soapy water, and placed onto a cold counter, bundled up into a warm, slightly thin towel, and nestled in your grandmother's arms.

You don't look like yourself anymore, but you like the new look. Slowly but surely, you begin unfolding yourself, like a tender rose petal blossoming to greet the spring. You develop interests, habits, preferences, likes and dislikes, fears and attachments, frustrations and rebellious attitudes. You take-off in search of new adventures, you make new friends and meet new people. You're ushered into a whole new world... it's all encompassing, but it's not enough. You want more, so you leave again...

You delight in your newfound freedom, armed with the knowledge of poetry, philosophy, politics, and business, you begin experimenting with it all... you create, you build, you take off again on new adventures, naturally and most joyously, taking your children with you.

Then things take a real rotten turn for the worse, you lose important people in your life, meet new important people, and move on again... until:

Something happens, a trajectory hits you like a ton of bricks... it feels as if the weight of the entire cosmic universe is on your shoulders. You stand to face it.

But, this time, an awful story is averted. Certain qubits drop off, losing their entanglement with that trajectory. One qubit might be spinning somewhere off in the universe, but there's not enough shared qubits to spin the ones in your physical possession. Destiny changes...

You get a second chance! You delight, laugh, marvel, and celebrate joyously. You explore and take your friends and family along for the ride. Suddenly, an old friend you didn't know you had seeks you out.

Instantly, you know one another: likes, dislikes, preferences, quirks, and inside jokes. You laugh and sing and draw again...

Tragically, your beautiful little boy comes down with a serious health concern. You panic. Memories and feelings flood your mind - you can't breathe. No one has an answer, not even the so-called specialists.

Your own healing experience tells you that there are ways to correct certain trajectories. Your limited understanding of quantum physics tells you it's possible. You take off in hot pursuit of a possibility from a once-forgotten dream - back to a place deeply entrenched in your life, a place that haunted you, a garden that soothed you...

You read one letter and stop. It can't be. It's not possible. But somehow, it is. Somehow, it makes sense in a dreamlike, imaginary quantum thought experiment.

You delve further. Nervous, embarrassed, intrigued... if each spin registers one qubit, no more, no less, two spins are always spinning in the opposite direction, no matter which axis we choose to measure, more than one bit of information seems present. There's more than one bit of information in each qubit. Entanglement may not involve action at a distance, but it's certainly connected.

There's nothing impossible about this kind of connectedness. It is just that in the classical world we must share a bloodline to be related to other people. In the quantum version of reincarnation, in the quantum version of the story, the two entangled lives (spins) share quantum bits and are capable of giving multiple answers to an infinite variety of questions or experiences corresponding to the infinite set of possible axes that connect them, about which they can be measured.

Spooky, indeed.

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