Synchronicity, Spookiness + Your Shoes


A propos to last month’s newsletter: Listen to the sound of the Milky Way rotating. You know, the galaxy you/me/we are in right now. For the composition, astronomers transformed astronomical data about galactic gases into musical notes. Apparently, our galaxy grooves to upbeat jazz/blues 🙂

Speaking of life in our galaxy…classical mechanics and quantum mechanics are ways of describing life/the universe/everything from a physics lens:

Classical mechanics (CM): Describes the motion of big things, from your arms and legs, to planets and galaxies. It’s deterministic. Causal. It breaks down, however, when applied to extremely small objects or objects moving near the speed of light. Which leads us to…

Quantum mechanics (QM): Describes the motion and interaction of really small things like subatomic particles, incorporating the concepts of quantization of energy, wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, etc. It’s probablistic. Acausal.

Remember: this is not an either/or situation. It takes two to tango. Classical AND quantum mechanics…like good AND bad…happy AND sad. We’re well beyond dualism with these newsletters, Toto, because many qualities exist at the same time, like multiple channels on TV (Right? Just because you’re watching channel 4 doesn’t mean channel 5 no longer exists).


When you hear the sound of our galaxy, for example, CM explains the vibration and rotation of the galactic gases; QM adds electron spin to the equation, which introduces a lot more behaviors, including quantum entanglement.

Entanglement is a phenomenon whereby particles that interact with each other become permanently correlated/dependent on each other, and in many ways behave as a single entity. Entanglement is closely related to nonlocality, which describes the awesome ability of these particles to instantaneously know each other’s state, even when separated by large distances (even as large as light years).

An example of entanglement:
In the closet, you’ve got a pair of shoes. In the classical version of the world, one shoe is left-footed, and the other is right-footed. But in the quantum version, both shoes are left- and right-footed until you observe them. Better yet: the left-footed shoe doesn’t become left until you observe the right-footed one (or vice versa) — at which point both shoes adopt their definite footedness.

[See why it seems as if there are no macro manifestations of quantum phenomena?]

[See why Einstein dubbed this, ‘spooky action at a distance’?]

What does all this spookiness portend? That seemingly separate parts of the universe are intimately and instantaneously connected.

What does this mean for you? That there may be some rhyme-and-reason behind your daily experiences of synchronicity. Synchronous experiences occur when you are thinking about your friend Jane and later that afternoon she calls you. Or, when you are looking for a book in the bookstore, the exact one falls off the shelf in front of you. Or, as someone is telling you her dream about a beetle, you glance at the window and see a beetle crawling on it.

This last example is an oversimplification of Carl Jung’s famous experience of synchronicity. Synchronicity, as coined by Jung, is a meaningful coincidence that appears between a (subjective) mental state and an (objective) event in the external world. He referred to the phenomenon as linked by an “acausal connecting principle.”  And he studied it along with a founder of QM, Wolfgang Pauli, with whom he had a close collaboration for decades (which you can read more about in this book). A beautiful example of open-minded scientific inquiry.

One of my big take-aways from the possible convergence of nonlocality/entanglement/synchronicity is that everything is/can be connected. So, what you put into the world has a far greater effect than you may realize, or our society can currently quantify. That’s one reason why my past couple of newsletters have asked you how you want to be. Because that’s what you’re putting into the world, and not just for yourself.

Here’s a tip to practice intentionally putting something out there for others: Meditation.

  • Choose a quality (yes, again). I choose compassion (yes, again) because I think our world needs a lot more of it. In fact, through my meditations, I’ve come to experience that compassion = love in action. Consider.

  • Find a quiet location, turn off your cell phone, set its timer for 2-minutes (because that’s a totally doable time, and you can always do more).

  • Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, bringing to your mind’s-eye a scenario that makes you feel compassion (e.g. holding puppies in shelter, tending to a sick child). Hold that image and sensation til the ringer rings.

  • Sit, breathe…and then do it again sometime. Choosing any quality you think the world needs.

There are many qualities out there.

You get to choose which to invoke and when. And, without knowing (or needing to know) any of the details, you may be invoking that quality somewhere else in the world, too. It’s a lot of personal work and responsibility but it’s also a lot of rich, new and hopefully positive experiences for you and the world.

A world that is classical, quantum, and everything in between.