Quantum physics is rocking the scientific world. At first, people thought that quantum physics describes what happens on the subatomic level - how our world works in its teeny, tiniest parts. The sheer exploration of electrons and protons was shocking enough, but in the past decade, physicists have been discovering “that quantum behavior persists on a macroscopic scale.”
I don’t really understand most of what is going on in quantum physics, but there is one point that makes a lot of sense to me: entanglement. This is when two or more objects are mysteriously tangled together. According to our normal reasoning, they shouldn’t effect each other, but they do. “Even when the entangled particles are far apart, they still behave as a single entity, leading to what Einstein famously called ‘spooky action at a distance.’” Sometimes, things are connected even when it looks like they aren’t.
This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to us when we’re talking about the super-microscopic level of what happens inside atoms. Most of us don’t understand and don’t care about that. But what physicists are discovering is that quantum physics are everywhere in our world - working even with larger objects. There is “spooky action” all over the place. Things are connected even when it looks like they aren’t.
Quantum behavior is counter-intuitive. It “eludes visualization [in graphs and charts] and common sense. It forces us to rethink how we look at the universe and accept a new and unfamiliar picture of our world.” (Vlatko Vedral, “Living in a Quantum World,” Scientific American, June 2011)
Social scientists are beginning to apply this quantum entanglement theory to family systems, organizations, and cultures. Psychologists are applying entanglement theory to the inner workings of our minds and hearts. Astronomers are exploring the possibility of quantum relationships in the largest parts of our universe. We are quantum people in a quantum world. Things are connected even when it looks like they aren’t.
This forces us to rethink how we look at our universe and to develop a new picture for how our lives work in the world. Sometimes we call this quantum phenomena irony. How many of you have heard your mom or aunt say to some single woman, “You’ll meet Mr. Right just about the time you stop looking for him”? There is some kind of quantum connection there between finding and not looking.
Today, we begin our series on the Sabbath, with the basic premise that there is a quantum connection between our practice of Sabbath and the rest of our week. Even our calendars experience quantum entanglement. Good Sabbath practice leads to good weeks and good years. Bad Sabbath practice has a “spooky action from a distance” that drags down our moods, our health, our spirituality, and our performance in school and work. Some things are connected even when it looks like they aren’t.