So I got to reading about quantum entanglement and thinking about how it could be used in with worldbuilding to create a magic system. Quantum entanglement is the extraordinarily cool fact that quanta—the very, very smallest, indivisible particles that are force carriers for the matter of the universe—form connected pairs, and these pairs have connections to each other that are not hindered by space or time. A quantum particle in one place that is acted upon will respond … while its connected quantum particles elsewhere will ALSO respond identically, and simultaneously, no matter how far away they are. (Or perhaps even in which universe they exist.)
This little bit of science is perhaps the fantasy writerâ€™s great motherlode of workable magic, and I tripped over it, and dug into it, and fantasy gold started raining on my head. Let me show you why.
(Beyond this point, we drift from science into my speculation.)
Everything contains quanta. Not just light, but you and me and the kitchen table and the stars scattered across space and through time. You, through the connections of your quanta, are connected to the Eiffel tower, and some chick in Monterey, and the planet Venus, and the star Alpha Centuri, and perhaps to the moment and the place of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, and to some eight-eyed scientist in another universe. Right now. And when your quanta get pinged, all these things to which you are connected register the hit. And—hereâ€™s the golden part—when all of those things to which you are connected register the hit, YOU get pinged.
Itâ€™s all very small. It might seem insignificant. But what if it isnâ€™t? What if those pings are what are registering when you suddenly think of your best friend from high school, and then the best friend, out of the blue and after fifteen years, calls you the same day? What if those pings are registering when three different people in three different parts of the world stumble over the same new scientific theory at the same time, and start pursuing it independent of each other?
What if those pings are registering when you have the sudden, very bad feeling that you need to get off the road right now, and you do, and a truck comes around the corner the very next second, on your side of the road, where you would have been if you hadnâ€™t listened to your gut?
What if those pings are registering when you ask God, however you may perceive God, for something, and that something happens?
What if you could connect to these pings on purpose, through meditation or prayer or biofeedback or because You Can Build A Mainframe From The Things You Have At Home*? (* Title of an old computer-geek filk that I happen to love. Sorry about that.) Could you learn to control what you heard? What you saw? Could you track what is going on somewhere else in the country? In someone elseâ€™s country? Could you and a hundred other quanta listeners track down Osama bin Laden with just your minds because youâ€™re all connected to his quanta? Could you create a cure for some heinous cancer? Could you turn a hurricane around? Could you listen to the birth of the universe, or witness life on another planet, in another star system?
Magic, all of those things. But maybe not.
Maybe all the stuff our brain is doing with the 90% that doesnâ€™t look like itâ€™s doing anything is related to connecting with quanta, with listening to pings. Maybe your gut has a quanta listening station built in, too.
Maybe God is connected quanta—the part of each of us that is also part of everything and everyone, everywhere, everywhen—that knows everything, that feels everything, that is everything, eternally. God immanent. A number of religions have described God in this fashion—maybe the folks who follow those religions are listening to their quanta.
So, if your magic system is based on quanta, if youâ€™re going to utilize the principle that everything is connected to everything else and that all these connections are in constant, immediate communication with each other, how do you make that work?
Why? Well, because socks are fun to make, first of all, and if youâ€™re going to do magic, it might as well be fun. Next, the technology for making socks is available to the most primitive and the most sophisticated people equally. Also because socks are useful and warm, and they are a physical, tangible point of contact between the maker and the wearer. Because socks can come in any colors, any patterns, any styles. And you can have people agree on what those colors and patterns and styles mean. Agreement on meaning, that is, language, is critical.
The demo socks Iâ€™ve shown here are Quantum Socks—or Talking Socks, to the Anzi people, whose culture Iâ€™m thinking about and developing as I make the socks. Iâ€™ve decided that the Anzi created a small language to embed prayers and, eventually, communication with other Anzi, in their clothing. They started with colors, each of which has a meaning and a meditation. They moved on to simple patterns; braids and blocks and checks and bands. And then they created glyphs. The glyphs embed the specific desire of the maker into clothing in visible, readable form.
The blue, green, white, tan, and rose Winds of Change, Waters of Serenity Socks on the left (in the picture above) carry the Summon Spirit, Invoke Change glyph in a continuous band. Each color has a meaning, the placement of each band has a meaning. (Yes, I have worked out the placements and meanings. Iâ€™m deeply geeky that way.)
So whereâ€™s the magic?
In the quanta. The act of willing something, of praying for it, of visualizing it, pings the quanta (in my worldbuilding system). The act of putting oneâ€™s will into a tangible, visible form allows others who know the language to ping the quanta again, simply by seeing the patterns and reading the language (because the act of observation changes that which is observed, remember).
The Abundance Socks give thanks for something needed. They acknowledge the Anzi belief that as soon as you put your will into the system, the system answers simultaneously, though you may not see the results immediately. So when the Anzi pray, they don’t pray for something. They give thanks for it, because whether they have what they need yet or not, they accept that Spirit has already answered.
From a real-world perspective, I started in on the first Abundance Sock, working out the magic of it as I was making it, and the next day, got word that THE RUBY KEY and a second book sold for nice money—news that I desperately needed. Were the socks, the prayer, and the quanta involved in this? Dunno. It makes an excellent story, though, donâ€™t you think?
Talking Socks. They talk to Spirit, they talk to people, maybe they talk to quanta.
Iâ€™ll put up the background material (color meditations, band patterns and theory, and glyphs) and a pattern for the socks in the Reader section of the site as soon as I can. I have to write the sock pattern first (Iâ€™ve never written a knitting pattern before, so that in itself may take some time.)