One of the challenges of magick has nothing to do with magick. Rather, it has to do with those of us who believe in various magickal or occult principles but feel insecure because we don’t know exactly how one thing, such as a ritual, directly causes a result. As I have described before, some magicians look for the latest “scientific” principles as an explanation for how magick works. As a result there have been books that “explain” the functioning of magick by associating it with magnetism, electricity, atoms, spirits, ghosts, synchronicity, and most recently, quantum physics.
I have a feeling that the next explanation of magick may be a subdivision of quantum physics known as quantum entanglement. Is it interesting? Well, Albert Einstein described it as “spooky action at a distance.” So I’m taking the attitude that if Einstein thought it was “spooky,” this must be really weird!
To understand this concept we have to look at the weird world of subatomic particles. Most of us are familiar with the basic electrons, protons, and neutrons. You probably studied them in school. However, there are even smaller particles, some of which combine to form these particles (as well as make other subatomic particles). These smaller particles are called quarks.
There are six types of quarks of which two, known as up quarks and down quarks are the most stable. They also have certain intrinsic properties, one of which is spin. That is, they can spin in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
Now this gets a bit fuzzy and is the reason some people relate this with magick. It is only when a quark is measured that its spin becomes established. This does not mean that we simply can’t see the direction of the spin without measuring the quark. The spin direction is actually indefinite. When we measure it, the spin direction becomes established. This means that our actions (think “ritual”) determine the qualities of the basis of all matter. That sounds like magick to me. But wait, this science gets weirder.
Quarks don’t exist by themselves. They interact in the quantum universe with other quarks, often becoming entangled with them. Now comes the freaky stuff: Suppose there are two quarks that are entangled and then separated by a large distance. You measure one, resulting in its establishment of a spin direction. Even though there is no known connection with its now-distant counterpart, that other quark will also establish its spin, but in the exact opposite direction.
So let’s think about this. You affect quark one and quark two, at a distance, performs predetermined actions. By the way, this isn’t sometimes. It always happens. Every time.
Now let’s relate this to magick.
- You perform a ritual.
- The words, thoughts, and actions have an effect on matter.
- Matter is ultimately composed of quarks.
- Therefore, your ritual interaction with the quarks in some way results in specific changes in the quarks.
- At a distance, other quarks that are entangled with the quarks you affected react instantly in a known way.
You do X. Y occurs at a distance. Although there is no direct cause-and-effect that we can detect, quantum entanglement is the name given this currently unmeasurable and unknown process. The result is definitely “spooky action at a distance.” But does it explain magick?
The Quantum Problem
Quantum physics, including quantum entanglement, produces all sorts of counterintuitive phenomena. Quantum particles can start down one wire and end up going down a separate wire. How did it get there? Currently, scientists can’t tell you how it happens, only that it happens. It certainly seems like the principles of quantum physics could explain, scientifically, how magick works.
The problem with this explanation is that quantum physics explains phenomena in the quantum world, not our physical world. If you roll a bowling ball down the gutter of a bowling alley, it’s not going to suddenly appear in the gutter of a bowling alley 50 miles away. Knock two bowling balls together, separate them by fifty yards, and spin one counterclockwise. The other won’t immediately begin spinning in a clockwise direction.
Quantum physics doesn’t explain magick in our world because its rules apply to the subatomic world. It’s like the laws of a completely different universe.
So if someone tries to explain magick in terms of quantum physics, they would have to solve the problem of how the rules of one universe can expand beyond that universe and into our physical world. Without that, such an “explanation” of magick is meaningless…until we look at quantum entanglement.
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Quantum entanglement might explain magick if we could show that it exists on the physical plane. Well, it seems as if this has been detected. According to an article in NewScientist, researchers have shown the effects of entanglement in tiny diamonds. This blurs the separation between the quantum universe and our physical universe.
But does this mean that entanglement can exist on all levels and explain magick? Well, not yet. Even if you see books or articles that claim this for the scientific explanation of how magick works, remember that the same announcements were made for magnetism, electricity, psychology, etc.
Quantum entanglement may be great from creating tiny, ultra-fast computers. But does it explain magick? No.
Well at least, not yet.