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Our universe is not local

Anne Dalke's picture
Shaye spoke of my being “more present" in recent postings, and other correspondents have written of the same thing. Those characterizations seem not-quite-on to me (that is, I don’t quite recognize myself in them), because I am so often feeling not-present, or—perhaps more accurately--multiply-present in so many different worlds simultaneously, as I talk w/ you all over the ‘net, with Norwegians @ the dinner table, with other Spanish-studying students from all over the world, with Guatemalean ex-guerillas in the mountains, with whatever thoughts are arising out of my own unconscious (oh, these dreams-away-from-home!!), and with whichever author I happen to be reading @ the moment…

For example: I’m still working my way (VERY slowly) through Brian Greene’s book on space, time, and the texture of reality, The Fabric of the Cosmos --and being blown away, bit by bit, before bedtime each night, or before arising in the morning, by Greene‘s description of a world (it happens to be our world) in which

The over-arching lesson that has emerged…is that human experience is often a misleading guide to the true nature of reality….much of what we experience physically…turns out not to be the reality of the world….

The smallest, indivisible constituents of matter…are composed of a tiny filament of energy…

Extra dimensions might be so tightly crumpled that they’re too small for us or any of our existing equipment to see, or … large but invisible to the ways we probe the universe…the reality we have known is but a delicate chiffon draped over a thick and richly textured cosmic fabric…the entirety of human experience …left us completely unaware of a basic and essential aspect of the universe…even those features of the cosmos that we have thought to be readily accessible to human senses need not be.

quantum mechanics shatters our own personal individual conception of reality….our universe is not local …. intervening space…does not ensure that two objects are separate, since quantum mechanics allows an entanglement…to exist between them…

The need to abandon locality is the most astonishing lessons arising from [contemporary physics]. By virtue of their past, objects that at present are in vastly different regions of the universe can be part of a quantum mechanically entangled whole….

Now, Greene refuses to engage in what he calls the sort of “gushy, loose and overstated talk” that insists on “everything being connected to everything else,” that we are “all entangled in one universal whole,” since “everything emerged from the same something,” and all now-different places “were the same place way back in the beginning.” He insists, instead, that we recognize how extremely delicate quantum connections are….

I’d say, nonetheless, that his careful adumbration of quantum entanglements works quite effectively as a metaphor for--a way of articulating--my understanding of the complex interconnections, here, between history and the present, between the richness of this country and the poverty of its people, between what happens in the U.S. and what happens in Central America, between my life and work and friendships in the Philadelphia area, and ditto, ditto, ditto here….

In such a universe, what can it possibly mean to “be more present”?


Shaye's picture

My, you jumped away from being present mighty fast, didn't you! I made another post to your journal a couple days ago, but it does not seem to have made it through the administrator. I'd like to continue conversing but this method seems problematic at best. At least I can continue reading...
admin's picture

I'm sorry that some of your comments are getting swallowed up in our system. We moderate anonymous comments because of the quantity of spam we receive every day. I did find your previous comment at the same time I found and published this one.