Quantum Entanglement, God Immanent, and Talking Socks

Two Pairs Talking SocksSo 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 writer’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—here’s the golden part—when all of those things to which you are connected register the hit, YOU get pinged.

It’s all very small. It might seem insignificant. But what if it isn’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 hadn’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 else’s country? Could you and a hundred other quanta listeners track down Osama bin Laden with just your minds because you’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 doesn’t look like it’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 you’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?

Abundance Talking SocksWhy? Well, because socks are fun to make, first of all, and if you’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.

Give Thanks to Spirit SocksThe demo socks I’ve shown here are Quantum Socks—or Talking Socks, to the Anzi people, whose culture I’m thinking about and developing as I make the socks. I’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.

Give Thanks to Spirit GlyphThe green, brown, gray and red Abundance Socks on the right (in the picture above) carry the Give Thanks To Spirit glyph in a continuous band.

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.Winds of Change, Waters of Serenity glyph Each color has a meaning, the placement of each band has a meaning. (Yes, I have worked out the placements and meanings. I’m deeply geeky that way.)

So where’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 one’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, don’t you think?

Talking Socks. They talk to Spirit, they talk to people, maybe they talk to quanta.

I’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 (I’ve never written a knitting pattern before, so that in itself may take some time.)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

25 comments… add one
  • Stephanie Oct 22, 2011 @ 15:21

    I have implemented a similar idea into the Fertility afghan I am knitting! A bombardment of fertility images, babies, birth, joy, love, growth, beauty, etc I focus on while knitting!

  • Danzier Jun 19, 2010 @ 22:45

    So if anyone sees this ever, can someone reccommend any books on the topic? I’ve tried the ones at my library and they’re junk, according to a physics professor I know. Unfortunately, I’ve lost his recommended reading list and he’s no longer in the area….

  • Rebecca Jun 16, 2010 @ 18:01

    I love the theory. it makes alot of sense. Wish i knew more about it. But im not to that point in school yet…
    It’s a really cool theory. Have you proved it yet in anyway besides the book thing???

  • Noxi Oct 22, 2008 @ 12:00

    Love the socks and the ponderings Holly! Looks like I have another reason to hit up the book store this weekend 🙂

  • Carolyn Bahm May 14, 2007 @ 22:00

    Thanks for putting up the photos, Holly — they’re lovely and the concept just delights me. (fyi, one pic still isn’t showing up: summonspiritinvokechange-glyph.jpg)

    I’ve got a post set to go on my blog at http://www.loopyknits.com tomorrow, linking here; I can’t resist sharing what a cool project this is. Hope you don’t mind.

    Best – Carolyn

  • hollylisle May 14, 2007 @ 11:15

    Carolyn–I have to fix the placement of the socks pictures, but they’re all back up.

  • Carolyn Bahm May 13, 2007 @ 14:02

    oops — “sock” pix, I meant.

  • Carolyn Bahm May 13, 2007 @ 14:01

    Your ock pics are not showing up — are they still available online?

  • arrvee Sep 5, 2006 @ 7:56

    Quantum tarot? Deal me in. You may groan, if you wish. Holly, that’s an experiment that really must be done. And, while I’m thinking about it, I really must go make some quick notes about an idea for a short story…

  • Jaye Patrick Sep 5, 2006 @ 0:52

    Strangely enough, I’m reading an article in an old Cosmos magazine on string theory and the many dimensions involved. How about that for pinging your quanta? (And I mean that in the nicest possible way…)

  • hollylisle Sep 3, 2006 @ 9:32

    Katie—blue is the color of change winds and storm waves, but also the color of the serenity of the placid lake and the autumn sky. Your blue socks are doing good in the world; more power to them.

    Jim—Thanks. I wish I could do the math. I can visualize the various issues in entanglement quite well; the whole thing simply makes sense to me. I can see ways to design practical experiments (like the double-blind quantum tarot experiment I put together a couple of years ago, and then dumped for lack of the time to run it, for example), and I can figure out useful applications for entanglement involving nothing but our current wetware, should the experiments pan out. But the math that explains why entanglement works the way it does is far beyond anything I can reach.

  • katiehasen Sep 2, 2006 @ 14:30

    Woah. I found this article eerie, because there was a very big plot twist in something that I’ve been writing that hinged only upon the power of socks (blue socks in particular) in the toppling of a totalitarian regime. Another proof of the power of quantam at work!

    You know, I really should continue writing that one… I don’t want to piss off the quantam particles.

  • hollylisle Sep 2, 2006 @ 10:44

    Anthea—my daughter and I are having a discussion about this very thing right now, because I’m making her a pair, and she wants them to do two things. I’m thinking of ways to work two glyphs into borders. But I’m also considering the effects of mismatched socks.

  • Anthea Sep 2, 2006 @ 10:27

    I admire you more than words can say 🙂

    And I love the socks!

    Do any of the Anzi wear mismatched socks for modifying the purposes?

  • Jim Sep 1, 2006 @ 22:18

    Beautifully done, Holly. A good understanding of the physics and an excellent adaptation to your story concept.

    I agree with e-Jim that it would be nice if Bell’s theorem were true, but it isn’t, and that is deeper into the depths of quantum physics than I have had time or opportunity to penetrate. At least with understanding. I can follow the math — or at least convinced my teachers I could 🙂 — but most of the arguments at that level leave me subtly unconvinced. I really need to find time to capture that intuition the leaves me unconvinced and win my Nobel prize. 🙂

    In any event, I’m looking forward to the story. 🙂

    Jim

  • e_Jim Sep 1, 2006 @ 14:52

    Holly: I think there is something else called nonlocality of mind. Maybe that’s part of Bell as well, since I haven’t done a complete study of it. But I seem to recall that the “ancient” philosophers like Plato etc were dabbling in this stuff too. I once wrote an sf story (buried in the vaults somewhere)where the protagonist managed to access nonlocality of mind and was able to confirm a connection with every mind in existence. I don’t know what I did with the story but I think the idea had been done way before I got into writing sf:-) Also, Rupert Sheldrake has been on Coast to Coast a few times. Interesting stuff. I like the new layout of the Blog btw, Thanks for the reply.

  • hollylisle Sep 1, 2006 @ 14:18

    Bell’s theorem is sort of comforting. Testing, however, keeps suggesting that it’s wrong, and that “spooky action at a distance” is a real thing. It is increasingly appearing that God does play dice with the universe. Nice thing is, though, I suspect we get to play, too.

    I keep digging through books on the subject. So far, ENTANGLEMENT, by Amir Aczel, is the one I like best.

    And I deeply suspect that DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME by Rupert Sheldrake is not, as he believes, a series of elegantly-designed experiments in telepathy, but rather in quantum entanglement.

  • e_Jim Aug 31, 2006 @ 23:46

    I like Bells theorem or nonlocality better. But that’s just me 🙂

    Jim

  • Nicole Aug 31, 2006 @ 15:24

    Neat theory. I love coming up with ways to combine science and magic, though I haven’t yet made socks out of any of them.

  • firelight Aug 31, 2006 @ 14:01

    Oh man. Socks.

    But what if everything you said were true?

    I think I need to go lie down a bit.

  • The English Rose Aug 31, 2006 @ 12:44

    Infinitely geeky, Holly. I love it. And now I must go research quantum entanglement to satisfy my own infinitely geeky curiosity! 😀

  • S William Shaw Aug 31, 2006 @ 11:04

    God as hidden quanta. There is a book by a Jewish scientist called the Hidden Face of God. It isn’t a proselytistic book, but moreso a book that descibes the complexities of science in a manner that makes everything look almost like we are living in God’s dream. While deep in science, it is a pretty easy read (for those that read such stuff). It is right up the same alley as this post.

    But I have to say, making the leap (quantum pun intended) from quanta to socks is pretty impressive.

  • Liz Aug 31, 2006 @ 10:29

    And consequences -> conflict -> plot!

    Sounds awesome.

  • hollylisle Aug 31, 2006 @ 10:05

    Well, that’s the cool thing about any magical system (any workable one, anyway). Actions have consequences.

  • arrvee Aug 31, 2006 @ 9:50

    The really cool part about your quantum entanglement speculations is that everything you might do using that theory will have ripple effects and, possibly, backlash effects, as well. Unintended side effects can be an awful lot of fun.

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