In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.
When surprising coincidences occur, it seems we are connected to the world around us in a mysterious way. For example, you are thinking about a song you haven’t heard in years, and as you have this thought the song starts playing on the radio. In this case, it seems your mind is connected to the world around you—the coincidence occurs between a mental state and a physical state.
Coincidence also appears between the psyche of two individuals. For example, you and your friend simultaneously buy identical shirts without knowing it.
“Synchronicity phenomena are characterized by a significant coincidence which appears between a (subjective) mental state and an event occurring in the (objective) external world,” explained Francois Martin, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics at the University of Paris, and Federico Carminati, Ph.D., Physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), in a paper titled “Synchronicity, Quantum Information and the Psyche,” published in the Journal of Cosmology in 2009.
Martin and Carminati say that synchronicity cannot be explained by classical physics. They look to quantum entanglement for an explanation of the connection between mind and matter and between the minds of multiple people. They use quantum physics to examine the relationship between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, and to examine free will.
How the Conscious Mind Interacts With the Unconscious
In quantum physics, an electron exists in an oscillating wave form—it isn’t in one fixed state until it is measured. Measurement collapses the wave-function.
Martin sees the unconscious mind as similar to an electron in this regard. It’s in various potential states, and the conscious mind acts like a measuring device that fixes it (at least temporarily) into a particular state. The conscious mind collapses the wave-function of the unconscious mind.
“Free will plays a central role in the transition from potentiality to actuality and vice versa,” he wrote in another paper titled, “Quantum Psyche: Quantum Field Theory of the Human Psyche,” published in 2005 in NeuroQuantology.
So, according to this theory, there’s a quantum process occurring between different parts of your mind. But the process extends beyond the individual mind in synchronistic events. Martin and Carminati wonder if the mind of an individual is connected to a collective unconscious through entanglement.
How Two or More People May Be Entangled
Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which pairs or groups of particles that have been in contact with each other seem to remain connected over vast distances. When actions are performed on one of the particles, corresponding changes are observed on the others.
“The analogy for the human psyche of a bound state is a nuclear family, where all the elements of a family are kept ‘bound’ together by constant interaction, be it emotional, financial, [or] social interactions that arise due to living in the same household,” wrote Martin in his 2005 paper. “The analogy of the entanglement between two individuals is, for example, the continuing bonds between children who are adults with their aging parents; for such a case there is no longer any common household, and no financial or other co-dependence; but entanglement can continue to exist over great distances and over many decades. The correlation between such apparently disconnected individuals is very well represented by the concept of the quantum entanglement of two or more psyche.”
Quantum Information Transfer
Martin acknowledges that his hypothesis requires further investigation—there’s still much to discover in the field of quantum physics as it applies to particles let alone to the human psyche.
Garret Moddel, an engineering professor at the University of Colorado who has worked extensively with quantum mechanics, explained to Epoch Times how easy it may be to oversimplify entanglement. The effect “is a very subtle one. It’s not a causal effect, it’s a correlational effect. What the distinction between those two is requires a rather patient and detailed explanation.”
“People tend to think that quantum entanglement means that when I shake one particle, I’ll be able to see the effect on another, but that’s not so,” he said.
There’s no indication that information can be communicated through entanglement—or at least not as we would think of “information” within the framework of classical physics.
In classical information, there’s a binary system of bits, which can take only two values: 0 or 1. “A quantum bit (in a shortened form qu-bit) can take simultaneously the values 0 and 1,” explained Martin and Carminati. Qubits are in a superposition of both states at the same time.
A preliminary step toward quantum data storage occurred in 2008, when scientists transferred a superposition state from one qu-bit to another qu-bit.
Martin and Carminati wrote: “We suppose that the mental systems first proposed by Freud, i.e. the unconscious, pre-consciousness, consciousness, are made up of mental qu-bits. They are sets of mental qu-bits.” They said these different levels of consciousness may be quantum entangled.
The entanglement of the conscious mind with the collective unconscious (of people with whom we have emotional bonds, et cetera) could explain coincidences in which the psyche of two or more people are shown to be connected.
But the conscious mind may also be entangled with matter, they said, explaining coincidences in which the physical world around us seems to mirror our thoughts.
“One can possibly see synchronistic events between the mental and the material domains as a consequence of a quantum entanglement between mind and matter. For us mental and material domains of reality will be considered as aspects, or manifestations, of one underlying reality in which mind and matter are unseparated,” they wrote.
For them, the existence of synchronicity refutes the strict materialist point-of-view: “The projection of our subjectivity in the environment in which we live (synchronicity phenomena … ), in agreement with quantum mechanics, refutes the local hypothesis (‘each individual is in his parcel of space-time’) as well as the realistic hypothesis (‘the object has a reality well defined independent of the subject who observes it’).”
Collective, Global Behavior
Martin and Carminati close with a reference to the Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC). The Encyclopedia Britannica defines BEC as “a state of matter in which separate atoms or subatomic particles, cooled to near absolute zero … coalesce into a single quantum mechanical entity.”
Martin and Carminati wrote: “As an end let us mention a quantum effect that can have important consequences in mental phenomena, for example for awareness (for the emergence of consciousness). It is the Bose-Einstein condensation, in which each particle loses its individuality in favor of a collective, global behavior.”