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Interconnectedness of all things ?

  1. May 21, 2007 #1
    Interconnectedness of all things ?!!

    Hi all ..

    I have a question please.

    Poeple that believe and practice mystical, and paranormal experiences,, claim that there is a scientific evidence that support their experiences.
    This evidence, is that according to quantum physics, everything in the universe is interconnected, and according to that sub-atomic particles can exist in many places at once .. and that everything in the universe is interconnected by the universal energy ...

    So, is that all real ??! yes or no ??! and why ???!

    thank you .... and waiting for your reply ...

  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2007 #2


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    Short answer: no. There is no place for mysticism in science, other than as something to be explained away. Quantum mechanics is such a little-understood subject that charlatans will naturally gravitate toward it as an incomprehensible way to bamboozle the masses. Whether or not they actually know anything about it, they can manipulate aspects of it to suit their purposes. I'll leave it to the scientists here to elaborate upon it.
  4. May 21, 2007 #3


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    Pythagoras thought that the "secret of the universe" was lying in the rational numbers (and was hence deeply shocked by the discovery of sqrt(2) ) ; Plato thought that nature was to be understood by the perfection that resides in the Idea of Circle and Line. Medieval scholastics thought that the universe's secrets were based upon number properties such as 3 and 7 and so on.

    I guess that the modern version is the quantum-mechanical wavefunction.

    Although quantum theory does introduce some very strange ideas, it is always a mistake to err on the mystical side. The mystical side finds its attractiveness in the obscure and the un-understood, or better, the only very partly understood. Once something is well-understood and one has knowledge of why certain things behave the way they do, they loose all mysticism. "The obscure by the more obscure" (Nostradamus) is not the scientific way of looking upon things, but has always had a strange attraction on the human mind.
  5. May 21, 2007 #4
    Is it customary here to rule away social sciences? o:)
  6. May 21, 2007 #5
    What is truly mystical is how human intelligence, observation, and understanding may have an actual effect, in and of itself, on the environment. If ones own understanding and beliefs can have a real effect in reality, we tend to think of that as magic. And quantum mechanics offers these mystics a possible means of scientific explanation for these events. But the explanations have not been convincing so far.

    But perhaps there is an explanation. It just may be that human intelligence and belief may constitute a system that possesses entropy. It is this intelligence and belief which results in engineering highly complex systems like computer chips that represent low entropy states. And we would measure the state of a psychotic maniac to be in a higher state of entropy than, say, a creative genius.

    Then if we use some results of black hole entropy studies, that entropy can not change instantaneously, it might be concievable that miracles could happen for those who have enough faith. Instant destruction can not happen for them, and thus miracle occur to prevent it, because their beliefs have such a high state of entropy that it cannot be instantly destroyed.

  7. May 21, 2007 #6

    That said...
    There is something going on quantum physics that you might care to look at. The first two statements are actually true, but the bit about "universal energy" is lobbing metaphysical beliefs into the mix where they don't belong.

    What's happening is that QM is discovering the the sub-atomic world behaves very much as if everything happens according probability waves and formulas that defy all intuition. The functions *are* interconnecting in amazing ways between light, matter, fields, etc. It's actually more fascinating than what the paranormal folks are saying, because it's REAL, and it's still about as mind bending as you could as for. Read about the experiments and understand the implications for yourself and don't rely on what dribbles down to you from other sources. You don't have to have much math to get the full WOW of it, just persistence. The problem is that the paranormal folks don't bother to understand what is really going on, and/or lump their own belief systems into it without foundation.
  8. May 21, 2007 #7
    Why does it have to be mystical? I'd settle for "wonderous", and "inspiring", but not mystical. The things you mention have an effect because we *do* them, not because intelligence oozes into the woodwork of reality. Well, at least I haven't been able to prove it so far. :smile:

    Even if such a thing were true, I think you're grossly under-estimating the difference in entropy represented by a person compared to the world and the universe around him. Destruction of macro systems is never instant anyway, so it doesn't matter if your entropy is a bit better, you won't see the difference. Also, I think you're using entropy backwards; high entropy means maximum dispersal.

    Truthfully, I want miracles to be true; now if someone would just point me at one that I can see and touch...

    If you want to live forever, read up on the many worlds idea of quantum suicide.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_suicide" [Broken]

    The problem with this, is you have to shoot yourself. :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  9. May 21, 2007 #8
    The problem is in how to measure the entropy of correct thinking and right belief systems. But we do talk about measuring the entropy of computer code and written information, which is just pure abstractions with no physicality in and of themselves. Do the thoughts and ideas about creating the code have more or less entropy than the code itself? Which has more entropy? I would think that if entropy must increase, and the code is the result of the ingenuity of the writer, than the very idea of the code must have less entropy than the code itself.
  10. May 21, 2007 #9
    I think entropy measured in terms of information density, so my guess is that equally complex "right" and "wrong" concepts would be equivalent, entropy-wise. My guess is also that the entropy of any concept would be insignificant in comparison to the brain tissue that held it.

    I don't think entropy is going to be any kind of moral or ethical metric. Well, it might indirectly, in that Evil likes to destroy, and Good likes to create, in trite terms, but those are actions directly translatable into entropic changes.

    Code is certainly more than abstraction. It takes up physical resources, as well as information complexity. My guess is the code would have much less entropy (i.e. better), since an idea is much lighter weight than all the work that goes into creating the code for it, and it's interface with the surrounding code, and the hardware, etc. An ingenius idea has less entropy that a stupid idea, I'd think, because it packs more information into a tighter package. However, translating an ingenius idea into computer code takes ingenius code, or lots of mediocre code, but the balance is about the same.

    BTW, entropy doesn't have to increase or decrease in any particular instance, all we know is that the entropy of the containing system will increase. Lower entropy things are created constantly, take an egg to an adult for example.

    My guess is that if the universe is keeping score of good and evil, it will be using a more sublime measure than entropy, or if it does use entropy, then it will take the human race a few million years of colonizing the Milky Way for us to even get noticed.
  11. May 21, 2007 #10
    How do u know this? It could also be that once one understands how things work, mysticism turns out to be true.

    Of course, if u are talking about it semantically, then yes mysticism disappears because there is no longer a mystery.
  12. May 22, 2007 #11


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    Well, I take the mysticism thesis to be that certain things cannot be rationally understood, but are ineffable and can only be known through experience. This thesis precludes the possibility of explanation and hence understanding in the sense of being able to explain.

    Back to the original question, though, is it actually the case that quantum theory claims all subatomic particles are interconnected? I've heard of quantum entanglement, but not of every single particle in existence being entangled. And how many mystics really say that quantum theory can explain their experiences? I know a lot of Northern Californian new-agers do so, but has any mystical tradition with any long history actually made this claim?
  13. May 22, 2007 #12
    Well, all particles, atoms, molecules, cells, people, planets, etc. all have wave functions, of increasing decoherence, of course. Thus, one can say that everything is part if a big path integral, although it's true that calculable effects can only be seen between subatomic particles.

    Still, the idea is implicit in QM that at each instant to truely know all the infinitesimal influences on an event, one would have to integrate the universe, no? In practice, of course, infinitesimals approach zero, and are excluded from meaningful calculations.
  14. May 22, 2007 #13
    The distinction is that until the understanding happens, unsupportable ideas should be considered hypotheses, but mysticism puts them into the category of "faith", which is outside of science.
  15. May 22, 2007 #14


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    The trouble with issues like this is that people only learn ONE part of physics and ignores the rest. And when they do that, they are also ignoring something that could make their guesses utterly wrong.

    Let's get ONE FACT VERY clear. There is a distinction between the quantum world that is described by QM, and the classical world that we are very familiar with. You do NOT normally observe quantum superposition, entanglement, phase coherence, etc... etc.. in our classical world. Even when such weird phenomena manifest themselves at the macroscopic scale, most people don't recognize it (example: superconductivity). Thus, our world is VERY different than the quantum world. If not, we would not be able to use classical laws to build our houses and make our vehicles run.

    So already there is a problem in extrapolating QM phenomena into the classical regime. We just don't see it, nor can we measure its effects. But there is another often-neglected aspect of physics that could throw a severe wrench into such extrapolation - the study of PHASE TRANSITION.

    Any physicist worth his/her salt would know what this is, and why it would be relevant here. In a phase transition (such as going from ice to water), the thermodynamical behavior that is valid in ice cannot be extrapolated into the water phase. It just won't work! There is a discontinuity of several thermodynamical variables right at the phase transition. It means that the trend that we see in each phase cannot simply be extended through to the other phase. They behave differently right after that phase transition.

    Now, no one knows if the distinction between quantum and classical world is similar to a phase transition, or simply a continuous crossover. Studies that are continuing in this area are starting to indicate that https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1315661&postcount=42" as a quantum system is coupled to a large degree of freedom. But regardless of that, our knowledge of what goes on with phase transition should make everyone weary of bastardizing QM in such manner. You simply cannot extrapolate the phenomena and description of one regime into another without ample justification. So far, there's none. In fact, there's mounting evidence that you just can't do that.

    This is what happens when only one aspect of physics is taken while the rest is ignored. Physics cannot be used, much less understood, in bit and pieces. It is ironic that the argument of "interconnectedness" on things here actually ignores the interconnectedness of various areas of physics.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  16. May 22, 2007 #15
    If one version of the scientist dies.. Where would the consciousness be placed? In the living one I assume?
  17. May 22, 2007 #16
    Clearly, the consciousness is duplicated with the body in the duplicated universe. I don't think anybody has proposed a conservation of consciousness, though that would be funny. :smile:
  18. May 22, 2007 #17
    I think Bohm claimed that at some level the entire universe is interconnected (he wrote a book called "wholeness and implicate order"). And the idea of an interconnected whole is accepted as the state of the universe during the moment of the big bang.

    Of course in physics they want to leave consciousness out of the equation ("it should be dealt with by neuroscience"), but when one considers the idea that it goes back in time all the way to the bigbang, the experiences of mystics make sense.
  19. May 22, 2007 #18
    Ironically it was the physicists, not the mystics, who started this nonsense. I can't imagine someone having a mystical experience and thinking "geez, this is just like quantum mechanics!".

    Ordinarily people interpreted mystical experiences in the context of their religious beliefs, but nowadays nothing seems to matter much unless it has the rubberstamp of "science". I still think mystical experiences mean exactly what they mean, and science has nothing to do with it one way or another.
  20. May 22, 2007 #19
    Everything you have ever experienced is a sensation generated by your own brain. This is the way in which everything that you will ever experience is interconnected.

    Was it the physicists who started it? Or was it the oppurtunists who transmitted there poor understanding of quantum physics to the masses for personal gain?

    Most of the connections between QM and mysticism were started by the sensationalist newspapers of the first half of the 20th century. The current popularity of these discussions is due mostly to Brian Greene, who I consider to have no more integrity then Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, et al. Lets finally let these silly vague speculations go away. Learn physics if you want, but don't propogate garbage.
    Last edited: May 22, 2007
  21. May 22, 2007 #20
    If that is true, then the mystics are right.

    Come on, stop for a minute and think: how can a person without training look at, say, Schrödinger's equation and see a cat that is half-dead and half-alive? To a non-physicist quantum mechanics looks just like a bunch of cryptic Greek letters and undecipherable jargon.

    Even here, I think the blame is still with the physicists. They should come out and declare openly that they don't understand what they are doing, that quantum mechanics does not describe the world as it really is, and that physics is nothing more than a tool to help engineers get the job done at best, and an expensive pastime at worst. Until they do so, people will feel justified believing physicists are on to something.
  22. May 22, 2007 #21
    I think there are 2 bad situations: the people who claim QM proves that paranormal events exist and that mysticism is right, and the physicalists who try to distort QM by claiming there is no connection between it and mysticism.

    Schrodinger himself also saw connections between millennia old mysticism and QM.
  23. May 22, 2007 #22
    I guess, even if QM explains paranormal or parapsychological phenomena, so they are no longer paranormal of parapsychological ...
    they are just normal ..

    The world is matter ,, and there is nothing beyond matter ..

    it's only the capacity of our knowledge to explain phenomenas.
    So there is nothing beyond nature ... There is just many things beyound our current understanding .. and it is a matter of time to understand it.
    Last edited: May 22, 2007
  24. May 22, 2007 #23
    I see Crosson's comment as neurologist's point of view, not a mystic's. I could be mistaken, but he seems to be limiting interconnectedness to what your senses and your brain make of the world.

    Both are true. There are plenty of opportunist physicists. Brian Greene is a physicist, Gary Zukav is educated enough to know better, and even guys like Penrose manage to raise the level of hype, IMHO, through the very commercialism he uses to title his books with.

    This statement remains to be seen. QM clearly does describe the real world, but not at the macro scale, and that's just for now. Yes, QM is a tool, but the more I understand about it, the deeper the significance goes for me.

    They *are* onto something. QM is truely fascinating in its own right, more so than the fictionalized stuff, but that's just me. I find the ramifications of QM about the nature of reality better food for the soul than anything I've heard in a long, long time.

    You can try to lay the blame on the physicists if you like, but that's not practical. Remember, the physicists aren't media darlings. With the exception of Einstein, all the down to earth ones were too boring for the media to care to talk about. Well, Openheimer, but that's a different story.

    I'll wager that there isn't one Hollywood exec who would ever allow any reality into any movie, cause all they care about are the viewers they've already conditioned to lick up their pap. My WAG is that only 1% of the movie goers cringe at the crap they teach the populace.

    If you were to write a book that said, "Quantum Physics, the hard cold facts", who's gunna buy it? A recent poll has 40% of Americans refusing to believe in evolution, and there is a huge amount of educational effort that has been trying to fix that for most of the 20th century. NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT! (Well, not nobody, but the already converted aren't the problem.)

    The only hope in this arena is if some sort of "foundation" were set up to do television adds like the milk and beef industry does. The problem is, that such adds would have no economic return, so who's going to finance it? All the working physicists with their million dollar salaries?

    Sigh. Sigh, and sigh again. A subject as complex as QM has no chance until the playing field changes from our religious based society which refuses to accept anything that doesn't make them feel all warm inside.

    God, I hate people. :biggrin:
  25. May 22, 2007 #24


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    You are forgetting pop-science books. Many people without any physics training read them and think they have mastered it.

    And if you think this is just confined to amateurs, then I suggest you trace back each step of the way that led to the Alan Sokal hoax in Social Text. Those postmodernists did not think their lack of physics knowledge was any hindrance to them using and bastardizing not just QM, but also Relativity in formulating their ideas.

    Eh? And you think classical mechanics actually can describe the world "as it really is"? Or can you show me something that you would qualify as describing the world as it really is?

    There's more validity to QM than there is to your statement above.

  26. May 22, 2007 #25


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    Nicely put and mostly understood! Thank you Zapper dude!
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