Quantum entanglement + Ferris Bueller + instability


I was with dear friends from Stanford last month and, somehow, the topic of quantum entanglement came up. Surprisingly, I was not the originator, lol. I can’t even remember the context in which it arose...but the backdrop was one of a bbq, babies, pets, a Transformer toy (Optimus Prime) and kids. Pure chaos.

Apparently, quantum entanglement and chaos can co-exist ;)

Some physicists have found this to be true, as well – in a much more scientific way – finding traces of chaos in a quantum system. Chaos, by the way, refers here to chaos theory, which studies seemingly random behavior in large systems. In so doing, the theory describes how a change in one system can affect another; the ‘butterfly effect’ is a popular example of it, illustrating how weather changes caused by the beating of butterfly wings in one location could eventually lead to the formation of a tornado in another. In other words: chaos theory describes interconnectedness of large scale phenomena.

Chaotic phenomena contrasts with the quantum variety, which are (currently) as small scale as it gets. (For a refresher on quantum entanglement, read here). In fact, one of the fundamental questions in physics is how to reconcile our two worlds, large (classical physics) and small (quantum physics). Outer-inner alignment, anyone?

The aforementioned scientists’ findings may be another step forward in this regard: "We found that atoms starting out in one of the islands of stability remained unentangled, but for those that started out in the chaotic sea, the electron and nuclear spins rapidly became entangled," says Jessen. "This suggests that chaos may have some fundamental connection to entanglement."

I’m all for chaotic entanglement. Makes sense to me that chaos would lead to a jumbled domino effect...and that this jumbling-up mechanism exists to help us create something new. No one has changed the world from a place of continuous comfort within an ongoing order. By definition, world movers-and-shakers shake-up the status quo (think: Alexander the Great, Einstein, Steve Jobs). They up-end how things have been done in order to create a new paradigm for how things could be done. They create instability in the existing system.

Instability is messy. It goes against our training of groomed paths to follow, neat delineations between right/wrong black/white good/bad, and definitions of success. In other words: it goes against our life school of disentangled stability...

...which serves its purpose...but not every purpose.

So, if your life is needing a nod to instability – if you feel the need to breakthrough something/everything/yourself – know that a) you are not alone (!), and b) for things to change things have to change and—guess what?—you may feel unstable and chaotic in the process.

Because instability can be scary, start practicing it with baby steps. Literally:
Use dance steps to ‘shake it up’ to the song Twist and Shout, from the iconic scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In this scene, Ferris’ character takes over a predictable parade with chaos that is so contagious that EVERYONE—even a baby— starts dancing, singing, releasing balloons, etc. Even you– the movie watcher – becomes entangled in his charismatic chaos as you also smile, tap your foot to the beat, etc.

Go with it! Shake up the next 2 minutes of your life. What would you normally be doing...continuing to read emails? Going to replenish your coffee? Instead of your predictable routine for the next 2 minutes, introduce some (minor) chaos by doing something out of the norm, like dancing in the middle of the day, oh my gosh!

You may notice positive results of this chaos (a more smiley mood?) along with how its effects entangle folks around you (more smiles from them, too?). After all, you're one of the systems that quantum and chaotic phenomena describe.

- moment of pause -

Honestly, in writing about chaos and entanglement I feel that this newsletter became a bit of both. But, hey, alignment is alignment and my guess is you get my drift. If not, well then you’re confused-as-heck and well-entangled in the chaos of this newsletter, lol.

Dancing or not, may you allow for whatever chaos and instability today brings...and learn to embrace it. Because even seemingly stable islands don’t last forever.