From quantum physics to the concept of Maya

The Whirlpool Galaxy

Did you know that sub-atomic particles can communicate with each other instantaneously over a distance?

Well, they can.

If you think about it, this is kind of amazing.

In quantum physics, there is something that physicists call “entanglement”, which refers to the relationship between two sub-atomic particles. (I don’t understand this very well, so one or two details may be amiss, but you can read more about it at

All this is interesting because of the implications of the theory. A number of actual physical experiments have been conducted, the Bell test experiments, which scientifically proved this.

Sub-atomic particles have a spin – either clockwise or counterclockwise – and this can be measured. When two particles are “entangled” or connected, one will have a spin opposite to that of the other.  When the spin of the first one is changed, say from clockwise to counterclockwise, then the spin of the other will automatically reverse as well.

Now the really weird thing is that this happens even when they are not near each other.  It happens across distances.  In the experiments that have been done, in which the spin of Particle A is changed from one direction to the opposite – the spin of Particle B, which has been moved to several kilometers away, then changes automatically, by itself, at the exact same moment in time – even though there is no possible line of communication between the two.  Somehow information has passed instantaneously, faster than the speed of light, from one particle to the other.

Max Planck, who discovered quantum physics

To actually understand this properly and be convinced, you’ll need to read an explanation from an authoritative source, which is not me – so I would suggest you look it up online – or read any of many books on quantum physics or watch any of several TV programs.

In any case, it is an accepted scientific observation in the real world.

These experiments are intriguing – and what seems most intriguing, though this is a leap from the scientific world of measurement to the philosophical world of speculation is that it would seem that the only way to explain this is to say that space and time do not have any absolute existence – indeed that the entire physical universe is not really real in quite the way we have always imagined it to be. This is generally accepted by physicists as true too, since the last time the physical world seemed to actually correspond to the “common sense” way of perceiving it was in the days of Isaac Newton (although even Isaac Newton had his own peculiarities, being obsessed with topics like prophecy and alchemy, but that’s another story).

Anyway, this lack of substantiality of the physical world cannot help but remind one of some of the concepts of ancient Hindu thought that evolved hundreds or thousands of years ago – like the concept of Maya – sometimes translated as “illusion,” but it certainly seems that the concept of Maya is much more complex than that.  It is associated with ideas of “magic” and “power” and the bringing into existence of a field of limitations which cause one to see only the physical reality that we live in every day – and to mistake this for the ultimate reality, which we are generally blind to – except in flashes of great, clarifying insight.

The example used often is that of a rope. In the darkness, a rope lying on the ground can be mistaken for a snake, which can be a great cause of fear.  But when daylight shines, it is seen clearly to be just a rope.

Adi Shankar, ninth century Hindu saint who wrote about “Maya”

There are higher levels of reality, and we have glimpses of these – intuitions, inspirations, visions, and dreams – moments of clarity and insight, which come to us from a higher source or a higher world, where the things that are are not at all separate, distinct, and isolated – but where reality is much more fluid, where there are millions of unseen connections, not explainable by the simple laws physics as we think we understand them.

This awareness leads to a perception of art, myth, spiritual traditions, history and prehistory, as having a more profound, more pervasive reality than we might have thought – where “truth” is of a higher level – where we are not isolated individual beings – but instead are all interconnected – where, for example, the environment and the human are not in opposition, but are one – where, ultimately, the trees, the stars, the clouds, the butterflies, the rabbits, and the tigers are not separate from us.  We are they, and they are us.

In the end, scientific and mathematical theory and also the knowledge passed down in the most ancient writings point the way in the same direction – that there is a mystical, spiritual reality – that there are levels infinitely more real — clearer, brighter, and more luminous than the foggy world shown to us through the cultural lens of our current world civilization.

Dr. Michio Kaku has some interesting, sometimes similar, observations.  Here is the link to his website:

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons. “This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA and ESA.” / (Spiral Galaxy M51, NGC 5194) is a classic spiral galaxy located in the Canes Venatici constellation.

Second photo: / Wikimedia Commons / “This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or fewer.” / Photo of a 1904 painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

Third photo: “For photographic pictures (fotografiska bilder), such as images by the press, the image is public domain if created before January 1, 1969.” Wikimedia Commons / source: 

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