The definition of entangled particles

Then in 1983, the theorists Don Page and William Wootters came up with a novel solution based on the quantum phenomenon of entanglement. This is the exotic property in which two quantum particles share the same existence, even though they are physically separated.

Quantum Experiment Shows How Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement — The Physics arXiv Blog — Medium

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

atfttbShortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013, A Tale for the Time Being rocketed to the top of my all-time favorite books list after two consecutive reads. It’s rich and deep, yet accessible. East / West, past/present, the relationship between the writer and reader, quantum theory, reflection, memory, regret, shame, cruelty, brutality, and pacifism are just some of the ground Ruth Ozeki covers in this stellar novel that left me thinking differently about how I perceive the world. I will probably be processing this book for the rest of my life. The twin protagonists, Naoko (Nao) Yasutani and Ruth, a blocked writer, are in the language of quantum theory, entangled particles — two things that share the same characteristics. Bravery, heroism, and the examined life take on new meaning viewed through the lens of this book. Highly recommended, and worth every time being’s time.

— September, October 2013

Leached the good right out of her

She said Harold had got off on the wrong foot in life. She was Harold’s eldest sister. Sue Ellen Molloy, her name was, she said, and she’d tried to look out for him but she’d had a lot on her plate when Harold was growing up.

There’s twenty-one in our family, she said. It was hard on our mother’s teeth. Leached off the enamel. They turned to dust in her mouth. Her bones got soft. Took the good out of her. Our father died all of a sudden and Harold came after that. Nobody knows from where. He’s only my half-brother. That never made any difference to me. I tried as hard with Harold as I did with the rest of them after our mother passed on.

Caught by Lisa Moore

Ghostly imagery

There was a woman smoking a cigarette in the passenger seat. She turned all the way around to get a good look at him as they rolled to a stop.
Slaney would remember her face for a long time. An amber dashlight lit her brown hair. The reflection of his own face slid over hers on the window and stopped when the car stopped, so that for the briefest instant the two faces became one grotesque face with two noses and four eyes, and there was an elongated forehead and a stretched mannish chin under her full mouth and maybe she saw the same thing on her side of the glass.

Caught by Lisa Moore

Ambition: to become a quantum array

To study the self is to forget the self. Maybe if you sat enough zazen, your sense of being a solid, singular self would dissolve and you could forget about it. What a relief. You could just hang out happily as part of of an open-ended quantum array.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Quantum theory in A Tale for the Time Being

The cat and the atom represent two entangled particles. Entangled means that they share certain characteristics or behaviors, in this case their fate within the box: decayed atom = dead cat; and undecayed atom = live cat. The two behave as one.

Imagine that instead of an entangled atom/cat in the box, you were measuring a single electron. Before you open the box to observe it, that electron exists as a wave function, which is an array of itself in all of the places it might possibly be in the box. This quantum phenomenon is called superposition: that a particle can be in all of its possible states at once.

The measurement problem arises the moment you open the box to observe the particle. When you do, the wave function appears to collapse into a single state, fixed in time and space.

Due to the quantum principles of entanglement and superposition, until you observe it, the cat must be both dead and alive, at the same time.

But the questions his thought experiment poses are interesting: At what point in time does a quantum system stop being a superposition of all possible states and become a singular, either/or state instead?

And, by extension, does the existence of a singular cat, either dead or alive, require an external observer, i.e., you? And if not you, then who? Can the cat be an observer of itself? And without an external observer, do we all just exist in an array of all possible states at once?

The many-worlds interpretation, proposed by the American physicist Hugh Everett in 1957, challenges this theory of wave function collapse, positing instead that the superposed quantum system persists and branches.

At every juncture—in every Zen moment when possibilities arise—a schism occurs, worlds branch, and multiplicity ensues.

Every instance of either/or is replaced by an and. And an and, and an and, and an and, and another and . . . adding up to an infinitely all-inclusive, and yet mutually unknowable, web of many worlds.

The paradox is that the particles exist in superposition only as long as no one is looking. The minute you observe the array of superposed particles to measure it, the wave function appears to collapse, and the particle exists in only one of its many possible locations, and only as a single particle.”

“The many collapses into one?”

“Yes, or rather, that was one theory, anyway. That there’s no single outcome until the outcome is measured or observed. Until that moment of observation, there’s only an array of possibilities, ergo, the cat exists in this so-called smeared state of being. It’s both alive and dead.”

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The beat of the drum is now

Finally I achieved my goal and resolved my childhood obsession with now because that’s what a drum does. When you beat a drum, you create NOW, when silence becomes a sound so enormous and alive it feels like you’re breathing in the clouds and the sky, and your heart is the rain and the thunder. Jiko says that this is an example of the time being. Sound and no-sound. Thunder and silence.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki